Security Researcher Reports Privilege-Escalation Bug in OS X

A privilege-escalation bug was identified in the latest version of Apple’s OS X this week by security researcher Stefan Esser. The vulnerability reportedly provides hackers with root user privileges that make it possible to infect Macs with rootkits and other malware. This type of bug is commonly used to bypass security protections created for applications and operating systems. According to Esser, the vulnerability can be found in OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 and the beta version of 10.10.5, but not in the recent beta version of El Capitan 10.11. Continue reading Security Researcher Reports Privilege-Escalation Bug in OS X

Hulu Releases App That Makes Apple Watch a Remote Control

Hulu’s new app for the Apple Watch turns the wearable device into a remote control for users to play, pause and rewind TV shows by simply tapping on their wrists. The app connects to Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, the PS3 and PS4. Apple TV users will need to launch a Hulu stream on their iPhones, whereas users of other platforms can connect to any existing device already streaming Hulu. The launch is Hulu’s way of testing how a smartwatch app might become part of a consumer’s mobile experience. Continue reading Hulu Releases App That Makes Apple Watch a Remote Control

Facebook Writes and Open Sources Mac OS Security Software

It is a Windows-centric world, but not at Facebook where the company has many more Mac laptops than those running Windows. With a lack of Mac OS X-based security network appliances, Facebook began, 18 months ago, to write its own security software. The result, Osquery, enables its security team to monitor, in real-time, the current state of those laptops’ operating systems. Facebook also made the tools freely available as an open source project, bringing outside security expertise to bear. Continue reading Facebook Writes and Open Sources Mac OS Security Software

Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

OrCam Technologies has created a wearable, digital personal assistant device, called Casie, which can be clipped onto a shirt or worn as a medallion on a necklace. The USB-sized device, which will soon go through testing, contains a 5-megapixel camera and microphone, which can record a user’s surroundings and connect with the Casie app on a user’s phone. The app can then pair its recordings with data from the Internet to help the user identify and analyze places and people, such as a LinkedIn connection. Continue reading Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

Tech Industry Presses Government to Address Patent Reform

A number of top technology executives representing the Internet Association submitted a letter this week to leaders of the House of Representatives calling for quick passage of the Innovation Act of 2015. CEOs of Etsy, Gilt, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Rackspace, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yahoo and Yelp are among those urging politicians to pass the patent-reform bill this summer. The letter explains that these execs have “direct experience of the negative consequences of the patent troll business model on our economy.” Continue reading Tech Industry Presses Government to Address Patent Reform

Wi-Fi Alliance Debuts Wi-Fi Aware for Quick Device Connection

After three years of research and development, the Wi-Fi Alliance released Wi-Fi Aware, which instantly connects Wi-Fi-enabled products with devices, applications or information without an Internet connection or mobile data. Wi-Fi Aware software works continuously in the background, sending out short messages that dramatically lessen power consumption. With a Wi-Fi Aware smartphone, a user could find nearby services, videogame players or anyone from a high school friend to a business colleague. Continue reading Wi-Fi Alliance Debuts Wi-Fi Aware for Quick Device Connection

New Emergency Patches for Flash Steps Up Calls for Its Demise

To patch two critical zero-day vulnerabilities, Adobe Systems issued an emergency update for its Flash media player. That’s in addition to a previously unknown vulnerability discovered over a week ago in a 400-gigabyte data dump published after hackers rooted the servers of Hacking Team. That bug allowed hackers to covertly install malware on end-user computers. Mozilla now blocks the hacker-susceptible Flash, and several industry leaders are calling for Adobe to pull the plug on the bug-infested media player. Continue reading New Emergency Patches for Flash Steps Up Calls for Its Demise

InMobi Launches Miip, a New Interactive Advertising Technology

India-based InMobi launched a new advertising technology this week called Miip (pronounced Meep), which features an animated monkey that follows users through apps and provides useful suggestions for products. The recommendations typically involve items that users may be interested in purchasing, and are suggested through a text bubble. Over time, InMobi hopes that users will become more inclined to click on a pop-up or even provide feedback if the monkey makes useful suggestions. Continue reading InMobi Launches Miip, a New Interactive Advertising Technology

Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Despite selling less than 20 percent of smartphones in terms of unit sales, Apple recorded 92 percent of the total operating income of smartphone sales for Q1, up from 65 percent last year. Apple and Samsung lead the industry while other phone makers broke even or lost money, according to Canaccord Genuity research. Apple has recorded such a significant lead because of higher prices per unit. This has forced rival brands, that mostly run on the Android operating system, to compete by cutting prices. Continue reading Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Microsoft Aims to Upgrade Your World with Windows 10 Launch

Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 as a free upgrade and with new PCs and tablets starting July 29. To celebrate the launch, the company will host fan celebration parties in 13 cities around the world that will feature hands-on demonstrations, live entertainment and interaction with developers from the Windows team. A related global ad campaign will launch next week. The Windows 10 release is also part of Microsoft’s year-long Upgrade Your World initiative “to celebrate those who inspire and empower others.” Continue reading Microsoft Aims to Upgrade Your World with Windows 10 Launch

Global PC Sales Experience Sharp Q2 Decline, Excluding Apple

Data from two research firms reveal sharp declines in worldwide PC sales in the second quarter of 2015. According to Gartner, PC shipments fell 9.5 percent, year on year, to 68.4 million units. IDC reports an 11.8 percent drop to 66.1 million shipments during the quarter. The reports do not include tablets in their tallies. The world’s top PC vendor is still Lenovo, which enjoys a 20.3 percent share, notes IDC, followed by HP at 18.5 percent and Dell at 14.55 percent. Most hard hit by the decline are smaller PC manufacturers. Continue reading Global PC Sales Experience Sharp Q2 Decline, Excluding Apple

Silicon Beach Now the Main Tech Hub of Southern California

Silicon Beach has become home to a number of tech startups, publicly traded companies and business incubators. Recent years have seen a wave of talent, innovation and investors that have fostered compelling new companies and, in some cases, acquisitions by larger Silicon Valley tech leaders. However, a number of startups have opted to stay in Los Angeles, while larger companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are building a presence. While still early in its development, the LA tech scene now has the core ingredients that helped launch Silicon Valley. Continue reading Silicon Beach Now the Main Tech Hub of Southern California

MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

MasterCard plans to test a new program this fall that will experiment with using facial scans to approve online purchases. Consumers will photograph themselves with their smartphones at checkout, an approach MasterCard believes will be easier than remembering passwords. The company also believes it will help combat fraud. While SecureCode was used in 3 billion transactions last year, passwords can still be forgotten, intercepted or stolen. As a result, a number of companies have been turning to biometrics as a solution. Continue reading MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our E3 overview, we look at the featured products and emergence of virtual reality. E3 operates with a familiar orchestration: Press events, lavish floor displays and private parties with big name bands. The Who, for instance, entertained guests of Electronic Arts. The layout of the exhibit floor gathers the platform players — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — in the Convention Center’s West Hall and fills the South Hall with the major game developers. In a sign of where VR leader Oculus fits into the spectrum, its booth anchored a prominent corner of the platform-centric West Hall. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Microsoft used its E3 media event last week in Los Angeles to present its vision of the future of immersive entertainment with a “mixed reality” demonstration of the popular video game “Minecraft” seen through its HoloLens headset. The demonstration at the Shrine Auditorium exhibition hall lasted only a few minutes but its impact continues to resonate. Although Microsoft has provided few detailed plans, its early demos and comments made at E3 and other conferences suggest a future that is something more than a virtual or augmented reality. Continue reading Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

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