Feds nab SILK ROAD mastermind -- DELL still kicking -- Patent troll LODSYS defeated -- Cerberus sizing up BLACKBERRY -- GOOGLE grabs gesture startup


October 3, 2013 06:00 PDT | 09:00 EDT | 13:00 UTC

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>> VILE BOOTY: Feds take down online fraud bazaar 'Silk Road,' arrest alleged mastermind, by Brian Krebs: "Federal agencies have taken over the Silk Road, a sprawling underground Web site that has earned infamy as the 'eBay of drugs.' On Tuesday, federal agents in San Francisco arrested the Silk Road's alleged mastermind. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht, a.k.a 'Dread Pirate Roberts' (DPR), will be charged with a range of criminal violations, including conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, and money laundering." Krebs on Security

>>>> Silk Road's mastermind allegedly paid $80,000 for a hitman. The hitman was a cop. WaPo

>>>> How the feds took down the Dread Pirate Roberts Ars Technica

>>>> Why the case against "Dread Pirate Roberts" will fall flat. Medium.com

>> NEOMONEY: The FBI and the legitimation of the bitcoinverse, by Felix Salmon: "FBI bust of Silk Road may in fact help legitimize Bitcoin by removing its shadiest aspect … although I'm skeptical about bitcoin's future, I don't see today's news as bad for the cryptocurrency. In fact, quite the opposite. If Silk Road is now shut down and if no one else manages to enter the vacuum caused by its disappearance, then the FBI will at a stroke have managed to remove the single skeeviest aspect of bitcoin." Reuters

>>>> FBI claims largest Bitcoin seizure after arrest of alleged Silk Road founder The Guardian

>>>> Bitcoin forum goes offline after hack InfoWorld

>>>> Bitcoin values plummet $500M, then recover, after Silk Road bust Wired

>> LET'S TRY THIS AGIN: With new Venue tablets, Dell signals its PC division is alive and kicking, by Agam Shah: "Dell sent a message that it intends to keep its PC division alive with the launch of new Venue tablets on Wednesday. The company launched two Venue tablets with Android, and two with Microsoft's latest Windows 8.1 OS. The tablets will come with screen sizes ranging from 7 inches to 11 inches. All the tablets will be available in November. The Android tablets from Dell include the Dell Venue 7, which will have a 7-inch screen, and the Venue 8, which will have an 8-inch screen. The Venue 7 will be priced at $149, and the Venue 8 will be priced at $179." InfoWorld

>>>> Look out Nexus 7, Dell's new 7 and 8-inch Android tablets pack a punch TechHive

>> ALL YOUR BASE: Edward Snowden's email provider defied FBI demands to turn over crypto keys, by Kevin Poulsen: "The U.S. government in July obtained a search warrant demanding that Edward Snowden's e-mail provider, Lavabit, turn over the private SSL keys that protected all web traffic to the site, according to to newly unsealed documents. The July 16 order came after Texas-based Lavabit refused to circumvent its own security systems to comply with earlier orders intended to monitor a particular Lavabit user's metadata." Wired

>>>> Lavabit founder waged privacy fight as FBI pursued Snowden NY Times (paywalled)

>>>> Lavabit founder raises $20,000 to fund court battle The Guardian

>> YOU DO NEED A WEATHERMAN?: Monsanto bets nearly $1 billion on big data analytics platform, by Chris Kanaracus: "Agribusiness giant Monsanto is paying $930 million to acquire the Climate Corporation, maker of a software platform that crunches weather-related data in order to help farmers more effectively grow crops." InfoWorld

>> BWAAAK-BUK-BUK: Patent troll Lodsys chickens out, folds case rather than face Kaspersky Lab, by Joe Mullin: "In 2011, Lodsys seemed like it was working hard to earn the title of the nation's most-hated patent troll by sending threat letters to small developers. At the end of the day, it turns out that Lodsys is one tremulous troll. After settling dozens of cases, the patent-holding firm finally ran into one man who was willing to face it down in front of a jury: Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab. Lodsys decided over the weekend to dismiss its case against Kaspersky with prejudice. Instead of facing a jury, Lodsys will slink away instead. It was an unconditional surrender." Ars Technica

>>>> Patent troll Lodsys settles for nothing to avoid trial Electronic Frontier Foundation

>> MOOD MUSIC: Why 'Hummingbird' -- Google's first new search algorithm since 2001 -- is a huge deal, by Gerry Brown: "Google's new Hummingbird algorithm could create a more even playing field for 'the long tail' of website publishers, and help Google to rival Apple Siri in voice search." Business Insider

>> ALL JUICED UP: They're (almost) all dirty: The state of cheating in Android benchmarks, by Anand Lal Shimpi, Brian Klug: "Almost all Android OEMs are complicit in creating this mess. We singled out Samsung for the initial investigation as they were doing something unique on the GPU front that didn't apply to everyone else, but the CPU story (as we mentioned back in July) is a widespread problem... we're still talking about small gains in performance." AnandTech

>>>> In contrast to Android OEMs, Apple and Motorola don't fudge their benchmarking results TUAW

>> BOTTOM LINE THREAT: The overlooked details of Google's antitrust deal, by Amir Efrati: "If a deal is approved by the EU, it will mark the first time that Google has agreed to demands by antitrust authorities that it make legally binding changes to the way it presents many types of search results. It could also hit the company's revenue growth by crimping the lucrative category of search results tied to consumer products." Jessica Lessin

>> MINORITY REPORTING: Google acquires YC-backed Flutter, a gesture recognition technology startup, for around $40 M, by Ingrid Lunden: "Google's Glass, Android and other products may soon be picking up more Kinect-style gesture features: the company has bought Flutter, a Y Combinator-backed startup that focuses on gesture recognition technology. Its first and only product -- an app that provides gesture detection and recognition from standard webcam devices -- will remain live and operational, the company says. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but we have heard that the price was around $40 million." TechCrunch

>>>> Flutter, makers of gesture control app for Mac, acquired by Google Y Combinator Universe

>> SALVAGE YARD: Cerberus Capital said to express interest in BlackBerry, by David Carey & Hugo Miller: "Cerberus would bring expertise dealing with troubled companies. The New York-based firm, which manages more than $20 billion in assets, invested in automaker Chrysler in 2007 and led a group that acquired grocery-store chains from Supervalu Inc. earlier this year." Bloomberg

>> MICROSOFT MISCHIEF: Challenging the Bing-it-on challenge, by Ian Ayres: "67% of worldwide searches go through Google, 18% through Bing. But Microsoft has advertised in a substantial TV campaign that -- in the cyber analog to blind taste-testing -- people prefer Bing 'nearly 2:1.' ... together with four Yale Law students, I set up a similar-sized experiment using Microsoft's own BingItOn.com site to see which search engine users prefer. We found that, to the contrary of Microsoft's claim, 53 percent of subjects preferred Google and 41 percent Bing… we think that Google has a colorable deceptive advertising claim against Microsoft." Freakonomics

>> GET SMART FAST: GitHub for beginners: don't get scared, get started, by Lauren Orsini: "It's 2013, and there's no way around it: you need to learn how to use GitHub. Why? Because it's a social network that has completely changed the way we work. Having started as a developer's collaborative platform, GitHub is now the largest online storage space of collaborative works that exists in the world. Whether you're interested in participating in this global mind meld or in researching this massive file dump of human knowledge, you need to be here." ReadWrite

>> BIG PICTURE: Coding is an art -- software people should learn 'art thinking': "The tech world is being inundated by design gurus preaching "iteration!" But thinking like an artist can be more profound for programmers -- and more natural." Fast Company

>> Microsoft returns to CES Las Vegas tech show BBC

>> How F# learned to stop worrying and love the data Channel 9

>> 1Password for Mac gets first major overhaul in four years The Verge

>> Secure QR Login Gibson Research

>> Facebook's check-in based free Wi-Fi rolling out nationally with Cisco's help The Verge

>> Apple faces repeat of iMac sales fiasco if Retina iPad Mini supplies are tight Computerworld

>> 4 simpler alternatives to Google Analytics PC World

>> In a big mobile move, Pivotal buys Xtreme Labs for $65M AllThingsD

>> Stop losing your sh*t Indiegogo

>> Blizzident's 3D-printed toothbrush cleans teeth in 6 seconds … for $299 Computerworld

>> Why rural broadband means you can now buy a bull online Modern Farmer

>> TWEET OF THE DAY: 'Will Microsoft have a new CEO by Thanksgiving? I'm betting yes.' @gigaom

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