'60 MINS' gives NSA wet kiss -- MICROSOFT flavor o' the month: Nadella -- Sprint and T-Mobile HOOKING UP -- VALLEY's arrogance bubble


December 16, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> IN THE TANK: NSA speaks out on Snowden, spying, by John Miller, Ira Rosen, Gabrielle Schonder: "The NSA gives unprecedented access to the agency's HQ and, for the first time, explains what it does and what it says it doesn't do: spy on Americans." 60 Minutes (video)

>>>> 60 Minutes: NSA good, Snowden bad: "As if that whole retracted Benghazi report and the Amazon commercial/drone reveal didn't undermine 60 Minutes' credibility enough in the last few weeks, here's another gem: a report on how the NSA has simply been misunderstood by all those Snowden leaks and is a good guy, really." The Wire

>>>> NSA officials consider Edward Snowden amnesty in return for documents The Guardian

>>>> Officials say U.S. may never know extent of Snowden's leaks New York Times

>>>> By cracking cellphone code, NSA has capacity for decoding private conversations WaPo

>>>> How Americans were deceived about cell-phone location data The Atlantic

>>>> The mission to decentralize the internet The New Yorker

>>>> Lawsuit accuses IBM of hiding China risks amid NSA spy scandal Reuters

>>>> An NSA coworker remembers the real Edward Snowden: 'A genius among geniuses' Forbes

>> MOUSE LAPS CAT: Internet's sad legacy: No more secrets, by Nick Bilton: "'What's clear is that tracking technologies have outpaced democratic controls'" New York Times

>> BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Silicon Valley is living inside a bubble of tone-deaf arrogance, by Jim Edwards: "There is a feeling outside Silicon Valley that those inside the tech business are living in a tone-deaf bubble of arrogance. Inside the bubble, everyone is subverting! -- disrupting! innovating! --  in a permanent revolution of creative destruction. From the outside, people see multiple billions of dollars swirling around companies that sometimes do trivial things.... As Andrew Leonard recently wrote in Salon, 'it all feels like the blind, unconscious decadence of a great empire just before its final descent into madness and irrevocable decline.'" Business Insider

>>>> S.F. tech companies' civic image at stake as backlash grows SFGate

>>>> What tech hasn't learned from urban planning New York Times

>> RICKROLL: Facebook to Wal-Mart using face recognition, help write U.S. rules, by Chris Strohm: "Facebook, Wal-Mart, and other companies planning to use facial-recognition scans for security or tailored sales pitches will help write rules for how images and online profiles can be used.... The U.S. Department of Commerce will start meeting with industry and privacy advocates in February to draft a voluntary code of conduct for using facial recognition products, according to a public notice. The draft will ready by June." Bloomberg

>> STAT DU JOUR: One in every 5 people in the world owns a smartphone, one in every 17 owns a tablet, by John Heggestuen: "By the end of this year, 6% of the global population will own a tablet, 20% will own PCs, and 22% will own smartphones... By the end of 2013, global smartphone penetration will have exploded from 5% of the global population in 2009, to 22%. That's an increase of nearly 1.3 billion smartphones in four years... PCs have only gained 6 percentage points in per-capita penetration the last 6 years." Business Insider

>> SHOT: Dell joins forces with Dropbox to boost hosted storage for enterprises, by Mikael Ricknas: "Dell is combining Dropbox for Business with the Cloud Edition of its Data Protection suite to let employees use hosted storage at work while at the same time providing IT departments with more control." InfoWorld

>> CHASER: Box has been thinking outside of the cloud, by Brandon Butler: "One of the most impressive things about recent advancements for Box... has been the integrations between Box with apps already being commonly used in enterprise settings. From Salesforce to NetSuite, Box has plugins that allow documents to be shared across these platforms, easing the onboarding process." Network World

>> REDMOND CONCLAVE: The future of Microsoft as seen by an insider who could be its next CEO, by Leo Mirani: "Some Microsoft watchers have focused on Satya Nadella, the Indian-born head of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise division who is known to staff as one of the most articulate and intelligent people in the company. A Microsoft employee since 1992, Nadella rose through the ranks to lead its search efforts with Bing, head its servers business and eventually to lead the cloud division, which the company says is enjoying fast growth with revenues doubling in the past quarter... 'It's all going to move to the cloud in some shape or fashion. It need not all be a public cloud run by one North American company. It can be a private cloud or a public cloud. In our case we're participating in both those markets. We've built a big business here. But we're still a low-share player.'" Quartz

>>>> Microsoft's CEO search and the art of non-denial denials Computerworld

>> DEADPOOL: AOL chief's white whale finally slips his grasp, by David Carr: "Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL, is finally winding down Patch, a network of local news sites that he helped invent and that AOL bought after he took over... The hunt to own the lucrative local advertising market, Mr. Armstrong's white whale, is over. But Patch did not go quietly -- hundreds of people lost their jobs over the last six months." New York Times

>> HAL'S REVENGE: Google dives headfirst into robotics with Boston Dynamics buy, by Sharon Gaudin: "Less than two weeks after reports circulated that Google has been buying up robotics companies for the past six months as part of an effort to develop its own robotics technology, the company said it's buying Boston Dynamics, one of the most well-known robotics companies in the world... the company behind the four-legged rough-terrain traversing BigDog robot, as well as Atlas, a six-foot-tall, 330-pound robot designed to function much like a human." Computerworld

>> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 screenshot reveals new on-screen buttons, by Tom Warren: "Microsoft is removing the physical button requirement in an effort to lower costs for device manufacturers. It's an option for handset makers, and future devices without physical buttons will display on-screen virtual buttons, while other handsets will still ship with the standard capacitive buttons and no on-screen versions. Although it's largely targeted at lowering costs, the removal of physical buttons could allow Android device makers to use almost identical hardware to produce Windows Phone handsets." The Verge

>> CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS: Bogus antivirus program uses a dozen stolen signing certificates, by Jeremy Kirk: "A fake antivirus program in circulation uses at least a dozen stolen digital code-signing certificates, indicating cybercriminals are increasingly breaching the networks of software developers... The samples of Antivirus Security Pro collected by Microsoft used stolen certificates issued 'by a number of different CAs to software developers in various locations around the world.'" InfoWorld

>>>> Be a real security pro -- Keep your private keys private Microsoft Malware Protection Center

>> MATING ELEPHANTS: A Sprint-T-Mobile merger makes perfect sense, except for all the obvious problems, by Dylan Tweeney: "Sprint is mulling a $20 billion-plus acquisition of T-Mobile US, if you believe the rumors... And it makes perfect sense ... until you start considering the particulars... Bottom line? This merger may be an interesting transaction from the financial markets' point of view. But it's unlikely to reach completion given the regulatory, technology, and market hurdles facing it. And if it does, somehow, manage to come about, it's only going to buy Sprint and T-Mobile a little time at best." Venture Beat

>>>> T-Mobile and Sprint (owned by Softbank) want to merge. Here's why you should worry. WaPo

>>>> Why regulators don't scare Softbank's Masayoshi Son Wall Street Journal

>> TABLET KILLED THE TV STAR: BBC Sports app on larger tablets, by Ryan Thomas Hewitt: "....at the time of launch, mobile accounted for a third of BBC Sport's total traffic, rising to over 40% at weekends and peaked at 45% on Saturday afternoons, as users accessed live scores and results while out and about." BBC

>> OPEN TRANSPARENT STACK TRACE: A stream of music, not revenue, by Ben Sisario: "When Spotify, the digital music company of the moment, announced this week an exclusive deal with Led Zeppelin and free access on mobile devices, it also reported impressive numbers. Its listeners have streamed 4.5 billion hours of music this year, and it has paid more than $1 billion in music royalties since its founding. But Spotify, a private company, omitted the results that music executives, competitors and investors care about most: how many people use the service and how many pay for it." New York Times

>>>> The download hits middle age (and it shows) Billboard Biz

>> CALLING GOLDILOCKS: Too different, not different enough: Why Instagram Direct may fail, by Josh Constine: "If I want to share a photo with a few friends, I can text it, email it, or Facebook message it. These each let me get friends' reactions and have a conversation around the photo. In fact, they're all more flexible than Instagram Direct in that I can reply with another photo -- the absence of that feature is my biggest gripe about IDG. It also suffers from a creation interface that's too slow for sharing to such a limited audience. Filtering and adding a witty caption bog down the flow, making Instagram Direct too time intensive to be a rapid-fire visual communication tool." TechCrunch

>>>> Instagram senders can delete their messages from recipients' phones Ars Technica

>> Old Apple Safaris leave IDs and passwords for scavengers to peck The Register

>> CrunchBase reveals: The average successful startup raises $41M, exits at $242.9M TechCrunch

>> Massive surge in Litecoin mining leads to graphics card shortage ExtremeTech

>> Avago to buy LSI for $6.6 billion New York Times

>> Botnet enlists Firefox users to hack web sites Krebs on Security

>> Adobe rises to record as designers move online to cloud Bloomberg

>> Huawei pulls back on network side, but still hopes to build U.S. brand for phones AllThingsD

>> Good riddance! 25 percent of IaaS providers will be gone in a year InfoWorld

>> Tech billionaires spend millions on 'Science Oscars' BloombergBusinessweek

>> Chromecast in 2014: an open SDK, big international plans and maybe even new devices GigaOM

>> The three most common ways data junkies are using Hadoop GigaOM

>> Expanding options for mining streaming data O'Reilly Strata

>> Long live Java -- and the new JavaWorld InfoWorld

>> Are academics adopting Github? @statwonk

>> These three graphs prove that bitcoin is a speculative bubble Ordinary Times

>> HAD TO RUN IT: The woman who built the Lego Hogwarts just made a 200,000-piece Rivendell Wired


>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Of course, the 60 Minutes episode on NSA never once mentions the privacy rights of us, the foreigners." @mikko

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

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