PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

More than a dozen companies have joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative to provide funding to open source projects, starting with OpenSSL. The Linux Foundation, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm, and VMWare have each pledged $100,000 over the next three years to pay for full-time developers, security audits, computing and testing infrastructure, and more to help financially strapped open source projects. Continue reading New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Popular websites have been scrambling to update software and Internet users have been encouraged to change their passwords following the news of an encryption flaw known as the Heartbleed bug, which is already being categorized as one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever experienced. The bug has affected a number of websites and services (although the extent is not clear), and may have exposed account info including passwords and credit card numbers going back two years. UPDATE: Cisco and Juniper said yesterday that some of their networking products contain the bug, which means sensitive info may have been obtained while moving across corporate networks, home networks and the Internet. Continue reading Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Twitter Makes Its Data Available to Academics with New Grant

Through its new Data Grants program, Twitter is opening its archives to academics who want access to the data — and it’s all free. The data goes back to 2006, and social scientists and researchers can submit applications until March 15th to request access to old tweets. Until now, Twitter has only made this data available to partner companies for a fee starting at $500 a month. Twitter previously worked with Johns Hopkins University to predict where flu outbreaks will hit; this project hopes to make similar research possible. Continue reading Twitter Makes Its Data Available to Academics with New Grant

NSA Creates Website and Games to Educate Young Children

In a mission to make government agencies more understandable to children, and the general public, the National Security Agency has created a website filled with interactive games, cartoon characters and puzzles. The goal is to educate children about spying, and spark an early interest in related career paths. The CryptoKids website for “future codemakers and codebreakers” is aimed to make these occupations seem cool, and even has a section entitled “How Can I Work for NSA?” Continue reading NSA Creates Website and Games to Educate Young Children

Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

According to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and former CEO of Google, we may be close to a new “network age” in which Internet traffic will be protected with code, allowing users to communicate and organize socially without the fear of government censorship. Schmidt believes that Internet users will communicate via private channels that are shielded by encryption, scrambling data that can be decoded with a special digital key. Continue reading Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

Announcement: Entertainment Matters at the 2014 CES

Entertainment Matters at CES, sponsored by Variety, is returning to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The program helps entertainment professionals navigate CES through exhibits, conference sessions and events specifically geared for the Hollywood community. CEA is offering ETC members complimentary CES registration as well as a 25 percent discount off the Entertainment Matters Conference Pass. Please use priority code EMETC when registering to receive these discounts. Continue reading Announcement: Entertainment Matters at the 2014 CES

Hshtags Search Engine: The Google Search of Social Media

Hshtags is a new search engine from developer Kim Goulbourne that is designed to help users easily navigate the mass onslaught of hashtags, which have become a nearly ubiquitous utility of the social Web. The universal hashtag search client, launched in September, provides access to all the content posted with a specific hashtag from an array of social platforms including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube (support for Vine and Google+ is expected soon). Continue reading Hshtags Search Engine: The Google Search of Social Media

Engineers Defaulting to Encrypted Browsing for the Internet

The engineers behind the Internet Engineering Task Force are responding to public outcry over Internet surveillance by encrypting Web traffic with plans for a revamped system by the end of next year. In light of National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s exposure of the agency’s mass Internet surveillance, the effort will introduce the default of encryption in Internet browsing, intended to reduce the ease of snooping. Continue reading Engineers Defaulting to Encrypted Browsing for the Internet

Google Limits Some Development on Chromecast and Android

Google is beginning to restrict developer access to Chromecast and the Android operating system. The company is disabling workarounds of its Chromecast streaming device and other app options on Android. The move may be bad news for developers as certain functions are no longer available, but it may be good news for consumers if the user experience becomes more refined and features less ads on the new Chromecast and maturing Android. Continue reading Google Limits Some Development on Chromecast and Android

Developers Struggle to Build Ideal Apps for Every Smart TV

Developers face significant challenges in creating apps for smart TVs due to the large number of devices. Most manufacturers have their own platforms, with limited compatibility among them. TV makers are beginning to simplify the programming process by adopting HTML5, while bringing an app to multiple platforms still requires significant resources. Netflix devotes major resources to creating its apps, but few may be able to follow their example. Continue reading Developers Struggle to Build Ideal Apps for Every Smart TV

Code of Conduct to Disclose What Data Mobile Apps Collect

A group of app developers, consumer advocates and others are agreeing to test a voluntary code of conduct for data privacy for mobile apps. The code would set requirements for participating developers to release notices regarding whether their apps collect certain types of personal information or share user specific data with third party groups or data resellers. The Obama administration favors consumer privacy laws, but has yet to release additional details. Continue reading Code of Conduct to Disclose What Data Mobile Apps Collect

UTA Draws Developers for Third Annual Hollywood Hack Day

The third annual Hollywood Hack Day took place last weekend, bringing a hackathon — a timed collaborative event during which software developers create new apps or Web services — to Los Angeles. United Talent Agency hosted the event and provided increased bandwidth for the 135 developers and designers involved in the 2-day competition. Because the event was in LA, several teams chose to create apps about the art and business of entertainment. Continue reading UTA Draws Developers for Third Annual Hollywood Hack Day

Facebook Under Siege: Hackers Exploit XSS-Flaw in Massive Spam Attack

  • Facebook suffered one of its largest ever security breaches this week when hackers found a way to spread violent and explicit images to some users’ profiles.
  • Hackers reportedly tricked users into copying and pasting malicious Javascript code onto their browsers, thus providing attackers access to personal profiles.
  • “The ‘self-XSS’ exploit refers to the fact that social engineering techniques were employed to trick users into entering the code necessary to execute the attacks, as opposed to other types of XSS-based attacks where the perpetrators inject the code on to the Website,” reports eWeek.
  • Facebook reported yesterday that it had identified those responsible for the attack, was taking control of the spam and making plans for preventing such a future attack.
  • “Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us, and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms,” said a Facebook spokesperson, adding that no user accounts or data were compromised.

CodeNow Aims to Promote Innovation and Train the Next Pioneers

  • CodeNow is a non-profit initiative for early technology education, launched in February 2011 by social entrepreneur Ryan Seashore.
  • According to the organization: “CodeNow works with underrepresented youth to develop the next pioneers in technology by teaching foundational skills in computer science and programming to narrow the digital divide. Creating a fluency in this language spurs innovation and opens doors for our youth, while creating a pipeline of talent for American companies.”
  • “Coding is the language of the future. If we want our youth to be competitive globally we need to teach them be tinkerers and look under the hood of technology,” explains Seashore. “Though we are a non-profit we function more like a start-up. We take a ‘lean’ approach to our work and are in constant beta. It’s been an amazing experience.”
  • The organization earned some government recognition when director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson recently discussed CodeNow on the White House blog: “Ryan got me thinking about ways that we could engage non-profits around the country and the ways we could share their incredible stories. I am happy to announce a new weekly blog series highlighting non-profits dedicated to improving their communities. It felt appropriate to have CodeNow inaugurate the series.”