David Jones

About the Author David Jones


Tech Buzz

Here’s Looking at You, Alexa

Amazon is developing a premium version of its Alexa-powered Echo speaker, which will have a 7-inch touchscreen, in a bid to stave off competition from Google and other companies developing rival offerings, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Designed for use in the kitchen, the new device would have an upward-tilting touchscreen that would permit a user to swipe controls from a standing position.

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E-Commerce

Black Friday’s $9B Weekend Haul Shatters Records

Shoppers came out in droves over the Black Friday weekend, spending a record $9.36 billion, a 16.4 percent increase from a year ago, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Black Friday sales hit a new record of $3.34 billion, a 21 percent jump from a year ago. This was the first-ever Black Friday with sales exceeding $3 billion. Thanksgiving Day sales were up 11.5 percent from a year ago.

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Hacking

$5 PoisonTap Tool Easily Breaks Into Locked PCs

Proving once again that you can do a lot of damage with a little investment and a lot of ingenuity, security researcher Samy Kamkar recently managed to take down a locked, password-protected computer using a $5 Raspberry Pi. The low-tech cookie-siphoning intrusion is one of Kamkar’s simplest hacks ever. He previously has unlocked car doors, garages, wireless remote cameras and other devices.

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Cloud Computing

AWS Enjoys Top Perch in IaaS, PaaS Markets

Amazon Web Services maintained a commanding lead over the competition in the public IaaS and PaaS businesses during the third quarter, despite rapid growth from rivals Google and Microsoft in the IaaS space, according to a recent report from Synergy Research Group. AWS, which has become an increasingly important segment of Amazon’s operations, continues to dominate the IaaS business.

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Mobile

Google Insists Android Plays on Level Field in Europe

Google on Thursday fired back at the European Commission’s charges that it violated antitrust law by imposing coercive rules on mobile operators and developers who use or write applications for its Android operating system. The EC this spring charged that Google’s requirements to use its search engine and its Chrome browser on mobile devices running Android were coercive tactics.

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Smartphones

Samsung’s Next Galaxy Phone Could Have Siri-Like Smarts

Samsung Electronics this week revealed plans to unveil its flagship Galaxy S8 mobile phone with a new digital assistant powered by AI. The assistant will be based on technology gained with Samsung’s recent acquisition of Viv Labs. The plans call for Samsung to incorporate the AI into its family of electronics and appliances, ranging from mobile devices to wearable technology and home devices.

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Hacking

Russia’s Fancy Bear Attacks Microsoft, Adobe as Election Nears

Microsoft earlier this week said it had fallen victim to “Strontium,” its code name for the Russian hacking group also known as “Fancy Bear,” which has been linked to recent attacks on Democratic Party systems. The group launched a spear phishing attack that targeted vulnerabilities in both the Windows operating system and Adobe Flash, according to Microsoft EVP Terry Myerson.

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Wall Street

Amazon Builds Fulfillment Centers, Investors Grouse

Amazon shares closed at $785.14 on Monday, having failed to rebound from last week’s slide. The company’s stock had closed at $818.36 last Thursday, just before the company reported third-quarter earnings that unpleasantly surprised Wall Street. Its share price dove $40-plus on Friday. Amazon’s net income rose 52 cents a share, in the quarter, but analysts had expected 78 cents a share.

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Wall Street

Stock Price Rises as Twitter Slashes Jobs, Uproots Vine

Twitter shares were up Friday following a third-quarter earnings report that beat Wall Street estimates despite declining revenue growth. Twitter also announced a widely expected round of job cuts and the unexpected shutdown of Vine. Twitter has been on financial oxygen in recent weeks, after failing to find a buyer. Investors applauded the news that it will slash 9 percent of its workforce.

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Mobile

IBM’s Watson Smartens Up iOS Enterprise Apps

IBM has announced that it will incorporate its IBM Watson cognitive capabilities into the MobileFirst for iOS ecosystem to help boost the productivity of the global workforce. It was a little more than two years ago that the company entered a groundbreaking partnership with Apple to enhance the mobile enterprise space. The move is part of an overall rollout of enhancements to IBM’s Watson tech.

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Social Networking

Social Media Analytics, Meet Big Brother

The ACLU recently uncovered evidence that led Twitter, Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary to stop sharing data with Geofeedia, a firm accused of improperly collecting social media data on protest groups, and sharing that information with numerous law enforcement agencies. Geofeedia, a developer of location-based analytics, had been marketing its technology to law enforcement agencies.

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Software

Antique Kernel Flaw Opens Door to New Dirty Cow Exploit

A Linux security vulnerability first discovered more than a decade ago once again poses a threat, Red Hat warned last week, as an exploit that could allow attackers to gain enhanced privileges on affected computers has turned up in the wild. Users need to take steps to patch their systems to prevent the exploit, known as “Dirty Cow,” from granting access to unprivileged attackers.

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Tech Law

Samsung Bows Under Note7 Fallout

Three owners of Galaxy Note7 smartphones this week filed a complaint in a federal court in Newark, New Jersey, that could become a class action lawsuit against Samsung. “Plaintiffs and the Class have suffered injury in fact, incurred millions of dollars in fees, and have otherwise been harmed by Samsung’s conduct,” the complaint states. Samsung has recalled the phones and stopped producing them.

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Hacking

Assange Lives to Leak Another Day

The status of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange grew a bit murky on Tuesday after the group accused the U.S. State Department of pressuring Ecuadorian officials to block him from posting additional emails linked to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry on Tuesday acknowledged restricting Assange’s access, saying it did not wish to interfere in a foreign election.

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Deals

Verizon Signals Cold Feet Over Yahoo Deal

Verizon last week indicated that its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo could be in jeopardy in light of the company’s delay in disclosing a massive 2014 data breach that compromised about 500 million account holders. Verizon may need some additional assurances, suggested General Counsel Craig Silliman. “I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material.”

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