GOOGLE's Lego-like smartphone -- Apple abandons SNOW LEOPARD -- Security-first ANDROID 'Blackphone' -- PROPUBLICA debuts Data Store

 

February 27, 2014 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Project Ara: Inside Google's bold gambit to make smartphones modular, by Harry McCracken: "On January 29, Google announced that it had agreed to sell Motorola, its phone-manufacturing business, to Chinese electronics giant Lenovo. Thus concluded the company's brief, unprofitable foray into smartphone hardware, which began when it revealed plans to acquire Motorola Mobility in August, 2011. Except that it didn't really end there. It turned out that Google was holding onto one organization within Motorola: the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group... Among the ATAP initiatives that have been announced, one in particular is quintessentially Google-y. It's Project Ara, which aims to reinvent the smartphone by breaking it down into modules that can be assembled and customized in a limitless number of configurations." Time

> Google announces Project Ara developers' conference, taking place online via live webstream April 15-16 Android Police

> Mountain View City Council inks deal with Google for new Wi-Fi network San Jose Mercury News

> Welcome to Googletown Mountain View, Calif. The Verge

>> LEFT OUT IN THE SNOW: Apple retires Snow Leopard from support, leaves 1 in 5 Macs vulnerable to attacks, by Gregg Keizer: "Apple on Tuesday made it clear that it will no longer patch OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, when it again declined to offer a security update for the four-and-a-half-year-old operating system. As Apple issued an update for Mavericks, or OS X 10.9, as well as for its two predecessors, Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), Apple had nothing for Snow Leopard or its owners yesterday. Apple provided Snow Leopard security updates for slightly more than four years, just four months shy of the record set by Tiger (OS X 10.4), which received its final fixes in September 2009. Snow Leopard was also ignored in December, when Apple patched Safari 6 and 7 for newer editions of OS X, but did not update Safari 5.1.10, the most-current Apple browser for the OS. Apple delivered the final security update for Snow Leopard in September 2013." Computerworld

> Apple makes big improvements in iOS management tools for enterprise and education TechCrunch

> RSA security attack demo deep-fries Apple Mac components NetworkWorld >> LIBERTY & JUSTICE: Attorney subpoenaed Mt. Gox, other bitcoin businesses: source, by Emily Flitter: "Manhattan Attorney Preet Bharara has sent subpoenas to Mt. Gox, other bitcoin exchanges, and businesses that deal in bitcoin to seek information on how they handled recent cyber attacks, a source familiar with the probe said on Wednesday. In the attacks - known as distributed denial of service attacks - hackers overwhelmed bitcoin exchanges by sending thousands of phantom transactions. At least three exchanges were forced to halt withdrawals of bitcoins on February 7, including Mt. Gox, which was the largest at the time. Mt. Gox never resumed service before going dormant on Tuesday, leaving customers unable to recover their funds." Reuters

> Everything you need to know about the latest bitcoin crisis WaPo

> The Mt Gox bitcoin scandal is the best thing to happen to bitcoin in years The Guardian

> Senator Charles Schumer calls for bitcoin ban in letter to financial regulators Forbes

> 5 reasons Mt. Gox won't take bitcoin down with it Mashable

> The final goxing The Two-Bit Idiot

> That which does not kill bitcoin makes bitcoin stronger Tom Robinson >> PRIVACY PRIMER: White House weighs four options for revamping NSA telephone surveillance, by Siobhan Gorman, Devlin Barrett: "Administration lawyers have presented the White House with four options for restructuring the National Security Agency's phone-surveillance program, from ditching the controversial collection altogether to running it through the telephone companies... None of the three options for relocating the data have gained universal favor. But failure to agree on one of them would leave only the option of abolishing the program, which would be a setback for intelligence agencies and other backers of the surveillance effort. Of the three options for relocating the data, two of them -- with phone companies or another government agency -- appear most technically possible." Wall Street Journal

> Government still pretending that letting phone companies hold mass surveillance data would improve privacy TechDirt

> NSA reform advocates oppose White House proposal to hand data to FBI The Guardian

> Obama officials seek to hold NSA phone records longer ... say data needed in lawsuits challenging such surveillance Wall Street Journal

>> FIRST LOOK: A closer look at Blackphone, the Android smartphone that simplifies privacy, by Natasha Lomas: "... a pro-privacy handset being developed by Spanish startup Geeksphone, in partnership with U.S. security company Silent Circle using a 'security-oriented' Android build called PrivatOS... The Blackphone will ship in June -- with a price-tag of $629." TechCrunch

> Why the Blackphone isn't good enough for mobile privacy CITEworld

> Boeing's secret 'Black' spy phone (no relation to Blackphone) will detect tampering, self-destruct if cracked open GeekWire >> MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD: Introducing the ProPublica Data Store, by Scott Klein and Ryann Grochowski Jones: "In the Data Store you'll find a growing collection of the data we've used in our reporting. For raw, as-is datasets we receive from government sources, you'll find a free download link that simply requires you agree to a simplified version of our Terms of Use. For datasets that are available as downloads from government websites, we've simply linked to the sites to ensure you can quickly get the most up-to-date data.... For datasets that are the result of significant expenditures of our time and effort, we're charging a reasonable one-time fee: In most cases, it's $200 for journalists and $2,000 for academic researchers. Those wanting to use data commercially should reach out to us to discuss pricing. If you're unsure whether a premium dataset will suit your purposes, you can try a sample first. It's a free download of a small sample of the data and a readme file explaining how to use it." ProPublica

> Big Data in the driver's seat BloombergView

>> MICROSOFT MISCHIEF: Windows 7, XP vulnerabilites doubled in 2013, security firm finds, by Jeremy Kirk: "The number of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft's Windows 7 and XP operating systems doubled last year over 2012, with the highest number of flaws reported in Windows 8, according to new research from Secunia... Windows 8 had the most vulnerabilities, at 156, but Secunia said that was due to the integration of Adobe System's Flash Player into the Internet Explorer browser, which accounted for 55 of those problems." InfoWorld

> Internet Explorer 'SnowMan' zero-day spreading: Use alternative or patch with KB 2934088 InfoWorld

> Tablets, PCs and Office Benedict Evans

>> SOS: Sony closing 20 US Sony Store locations by end of 2014, by Samit Sarkar: "Sony is planning to close 20 of the 31 extant Sony Store locations in the U.S. by the end of the year… part of companywide cost-cutting efforts -- including a sale of its Vaio PC division and a spinoff of its television business into a separate entity -- that Sony announced earlier this month. That plan calls for 5,000 layoffs worldwide by the end of Sony's 2014 fiscal year, which will conclude on March 31, 2015." Polygon

>> Mobile phone use now widely outpacing online PC use Time

>> Google did not bid for WhatsApp The Telegraph

>> Google, Microsoft, Salesforce back OpenID Connect -- but it's not enough InfoWorld

>> Nuodb raises $14.2M round led by Dassault Systèmes for its distributed database management system TechCrunch

>> Digital invoicing platform Tradeshift raises $75 million Fortune

>> IDC: Server market revenue declines for fourth straight quarter InfoWorld

>> As the Valley dials back on cleantech, VCs are MIA at energy tech summit GigaOM

>> 10 amazingly stupid things the 'experts' will try to tell you about Microsoft ZDNet

>> Microsofties ponder fate of ad exec Mark "Scroogled" Penn in the new Nadella regime Re/code

>> Why Ford is dumping Microsoft for Blackberry's QNX OS Computerworld

>> Hands-on with Samsung's Tizen OS: An impressively capable Android clone Ars Technica

>> The fingerprint scanner on the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be accessible by developers TechCrunch

>> IDC: Smartphone annual growth to hit single digits by 2017; Windows Phone well equipped for the future Neowin

>> Bouncing back from CIO unemployment CIO

>> IBM wants to see your Watson mobile apps InfoWorld

>> HAD TO RUN IT: A polarizing new font made with iron filings and magnets Wired

>> BITCOIN: $592 Coinbase

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Upcoming meme: Energy As A Service. Store it in the cloud, tap into it remotely when needed. Details at 11." @counternotions

FEED ME, SEYMOUR: Comments? Questions? Tips? Shoot mail to Trent or Woody. Follow @gegax or @woodyleonhard.

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