Sinofsky joins BOX to take down Office -- Microsoft courting FOURSQUARE -- FACEBOOK user pix for facial recognition -- PC nosedive accelerates


August 30, 2013 06:00 PDT | 09:00 EDT | 13:00 UTC

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>> BREAKING: A first, jaundiced look at Windows 8.1 RTM, by Woody Leonhard: "I had hopes that the leaked pirate Windows 8.1 RTM/Build 9600 would correct some of the problems from earlier builds. I was wrong. Very wrong." InfoWorld

>>>> Win 8.1 RTM bug thread My Digital Life

>>>> IDC: Win8.1 won't rescue PC market this year PC World >> ARRIVAL LOUNGE: Steven Sinofsky joins enterprise cloud storage firm Box as an official adviser, by Alex Wilhelm: "Today enterprise cloud file and document storage company Box announced that it has brought former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky on board as an adviser. The move matters, as Sinofsky has deep experience with both Microsoft Office and SkyDrive, two products that Box competes with." TechCrunch

>>>> With Sinofsky on board, Box is now capable of mounting the first credible threat to Office. TechCrunch

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>> HAPPENING TODAY: Amazon to alter pricing policy for traders: "Amazon is to alter its pricing policy for third-party traders amid investigations in the UK and Germany. It will drop a clause banning traders signed up to its Marketplace platform from offering products elsewhere for cheaper. The change will come into force across the EU from Friday." BBC

>> DEV ALERT: Java code signing failures, by Jerry Jongerius: Sun now "requires Java applets to be cryptographically signed in order to run within a web page without a nasty warning message." If the applet isn't signed, Java prompts for permission to run the application. The Name field -- the predominate field on the "Do you want to run this application?" dialog -- can be forged, at will, by anyone. "The new Java security dialogs can simply not even be trusted to provide accurate information about what code was actually signed." Duckware

>>>> Java security will be in the spotlight at JavaOne InfoWorld

>> MOBILE MAKEOVER: Microsoft said to be in talks to invest in Foursquare, by Sarah Frier, Douglas MacMillan, Dina Bass: "Microsoft and American Express are vying to take an equity stake in Foursquare... The two companies are competing to invest in Foursquare rather than cooperating on a joint bid... Foursquare is talking with other companies about a possible investment, and the talks may not lead to a deal. " Bloomberg

>> INTO COUNSELING: Already complex, the VMware-Cisco relationship just got more, um, complicated, by Barb Darrow: "On Thursday, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior took to her blog to explain why software alone won't cut the mustard when it comes to state-of-the-art networking. After dutifully reiterating how important a partner VMware is, she got down to business: ... a software-only approach to network virtualization places significant constraints on customers. It doesn't scale, and it fails to provide full real-time visibility of both physical and virtual infrastructure." GigaOm

>> ANONYMITY, EVERYWHERE: Tor usage doubles in under a week, and no one knows why, by Cyrus Farivar: "This week on the Tor e-mail list, Roger Dingledine, the project leader for the well-known online anonymity tool, pointed out that the 'number of Tor clients running appears to have doubled since August 19.'" Ars Technica

>> SLO-MO RICKROLL: Facebook considers adding profile photos to facial recognition, by Alexei Oreskovic: "Facebook is considering incorporating most of its 1 billion-plus members' profile photos into its growing facial recognition database, ....The possible move, which Facebook revealed in an update to its data use policy on Thursday, is intended to improve the performance of its 'Tag Suggest' feature. The feature uses facial recognition technology to speed up the process of labeling or 'tagging" friends and acquaintances who appear in photos posted on the network."" Reuters

>> DEATH SPIRAL: PC market to post steeper drop of 9.7% in 2013, by Ian King: "Global personal-computer shipments will decline more than previously forecast this year as consumers in emerging markets follow those in developed countries in shifting to mobile devices, IDC said.... Unit sales will drop 9.7 percent in 2013." Bloomberg

>> BEHIND THE #EPICFAIL: Why Microsoft .Net failed, by Andrew C. Oliver: "Microsoft tried, but it couldn't win the hearts and minds of developers who weren't already indoctrinated -- and it alienated others along the way." InfoWorld

>> R&D: Imagination to battle ARM with MIPS server chips, by James Niccolai: "Imagination Technologies, the U.K. company that designs the graphics chips for the iPhone and iPad, will release a new CPU design next year for low-power servers, the company's CEO said this week. It's part of a broad push by Imagination to expand the use of MIPS chips in all kinds of products, including servers, tablets, smartphones, and wearable computers." PC World

>> GEEK ALERT: vBulletin Internet forum software users warned of potential exploit, by Lucian Constantin: "The developers of the popular vBulletin commercial Internet forum software are investigating a potential exploit and advised users to delete the 'install' directory from their deployments as a precaution... A potential exploit vector has been found in the vBulletin 4.1+ and 5+ installation directories." PCWorld

>> DERP: Grabbing random DHL package signatures, by Sean McLemon: "When tracking a DHL package I noticed that I could change the query string parameters and see the tracking info for anyone else's package... you can also go a little further and click the 'Get signature Proof of Delivery' and view a nice PDF containing [the recipient's] signature." SMCL blog

>> LIBERTY & JUSTICE: Privacy is not dead, it may very well be the next big thing, by Panayotis Vryonis: "As we get more and more aware of the value of privacy and the cost of the lack of it, privacy may actually be part of the offering new startups bring to the table, something the incumbents are unable to offer." Medium

>> GET SMART FAST: Neural networks, by Daniel Shiffman: "We'll begin with a conceptual overview of the properties and features of neural networks and build the simplest possible example of one (a network that consists of a single neuron). Afterwards, we'll examine strategies for creating a 'Brain' object that can be inserted into our Vehicle class and used to determine steering. Finally, we'll also look at techniques for visualizing and animating a network of neurons." The Nature of Code

>> CRICKETS: BlackBerry Messenger for Android and iPhone launch imminent, by Simon Sage: "BBM Voice, Video, and screen sharing will come to Android and iPhone in the fall." CrackBerry

>> IT'S ALL POLITICS: Australian Sex Party gets no love from Google's AdWords PC World

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Organic seed-laced single-serve socks. Wear them once, plant them in your garden, 4 months later...geraniums!" @BoredElonMusk

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

NOTE TO READERS: We aren't publishing TechBrief in observance of the U.S. Labor Day holiday. See you Tuesday, September 3.

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