Hang around in the tech industry long enough and you or someone you know will be heard saying, “that’s so crazy it just might work.” Two years ago, if you’d have told me that an open-source, P2P currency would soon be a thriving, billion-dollar market, I would’ve told you that you were on a lonely bus headed to CrazyTown, U.S.A. But today, Bitcoin officially became a crazy idea that’s actually working.
Today, all the Bitcoin in circulation — some 10.9 million of them — have collectively crossed the billion-dollar mark. As it is wont to do, the value of Bitcoin (and its exchange rate) has fluctuated wildly today. At one point, it hit a dollar value around $78, then pushed into the mid-nineties. As of this minute, it’s hovering around $90.
Okay, it’s still a tiny fraction of Google’s market cap, but this is something — especially for a largely unregulated, decentralized virtual currency. (Say that three times fast.) The world’s most popular controversial crypto-currency, mind you.
Bitcoin supporters will scoff and tell you that this is no news, and that Bitcoin has been alive and thriving for years. In fact, it first appeared back in 2009, and has been slowly gaining steam since. But Bitcoin has largely remained outside the realm of mainstream media attention, because no one has been quite sure what to make of it. Is it a passing fad, a hilarious geek-driven phenomenon, or the real deal?
In fact, it has really been relegated to the realm of the uber geeky, or seen as the currency of anarchists or crazy digital libertarians. The black market marketplace known as Silk Road, which allows pretty much anyone to anonymously sell “alternative products” (i.e. large quantities of one’s drug of choice), uses Bitcoin for its currency. Something which hasn’t exactly helped Bitcoin’s “cross over” appeal.
Read the full article: TechCrunch
Google Opens Universal Analytics Beta To All, Creates A Single Analytics Platform For Tracking Online And Offline Interactions
Last October, Google announced the limited beta of Universal Analytics, an effort to bring new features like cross-platform and mobile app analytics, as well as the ability to incorporate data from offline sources, to Google Analytics. Today, it is opening up Universal Analytics to all Google Analytics customers.
As Google argued when it first announced this change, “measurement today is evolving from technology that counts site traffic into a broader system that measures your effectiveness in advertising, sales, product usage, support, and retention.” Universal analytics is meant to help business owners “to understand the changing, multi-device customer journey,” as Analytics product manager JiaJing Wang writes in today’s announcement.
Read the full article: TechCrunch
Microsoft is to learn the hard way that “a deal is a deal,” at least in the eyes of the European Union, by being forced to swallow a massive fine for breaching earlier promises made with the 27-nation bloc.
The software giant breached a settlement that it signed with the European Commission in 2009, which mandated that it display a “browser choice” screen on all existing and new PCs in the region.
Europe’s antitrust and competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, stressed the importance of maintaining the legally binding commitments.
“In 2009, we closed our investigation about a suspected abuse of dominant position by Microsoft due to the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows by accepting commitments offered by the company.”
He added: “Legally binding commitments reached in antitrust decisions play a very important role in our enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems. Of course, such decisions require strict compliance. A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly.”
A Microsoft spokesperson in Brussels said in an e-mail to ZDNet that the company takes “full responsibility for the technical error.” He added:
“We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake — or anything similar — in the future.”
Read the full article: cnet
With the first month of the year almost over, the Guardian’s Digital Development team offer their thoughts and predictions on what the year will bring us in technology, gadgets and business.
With the new year in full swing, we thought it was time for the Guardian’s Digital Development department to offer up a few predictions and thoughts on what might happen in technology over the rest of 2013. We’ve pulled together some observations, expectations and opinionated rants, giving you a flavour of what our team thinks the next twelve months could offer us. We put it together through a rapid-fire exchange internally. So without further ado, here’s our thoughts for 2013.
Wearable technology and other gadgets
Several people mentioned Google Glass, the wondergadget of much speculation. QA Neal Madlani suggested that Glass, alongside other “wearable tech” items like Pebble (a customisable watch), could be big for 2013, a prediction backed up by Head of QA James Murphy and developers Andrew Mason, Nicholas Tollervey and Michael Brunton-Spall. Michael added “While it’s easy to pass off Google Glass as being merely a toy, I suspect that as we learn more about it, the developer interest in it is going to skyrocket”. Client-side developer Patrick Hamann was less convinced, though, putting “wearable computing” on his list of things he felt 2013 “will not be” the year of (along with Firefox OS andUbuntu for phones).
Other gadgets abound: developer Justin Pinner suggested flexible screens and 3D printing as tech to watch out for this year. QA Troy Harris agreed on the printers, speculating that their rise could cause “overseas toy manufacturing industries to crumble” (with “object anti-piracy” quickly following – and failing – to prevent this).
Developer Andy Rome pointed out the closing stages of Galileo(European GPS), which should lead to more accurate geolocation, coinciding with the launch of “next-generation GPS satellites from the US”. Andy also went on to talk about “indoor geolocation”, leading to commerce-driven marketing: “where exactly can you pick up this product within 500 metres of your current position?”.
Read the full article: theguardian
For decades, Microsoft Windows was the computer platform of choice — not just for the overhwelming majority of computer users, but also for a growing legion of malware creators. As the dominant computing platform, it offered the fattest, most lucrative target, and some of its fundamental architecture decisions made it vulnerable to many kinds of malware.
With the transition to the mobile era, Windows is no longer at the center of the computing universe — for users or for hackers. That role is now occupied by Android. According to Stephen Cobb, a distinguished security researcher for the IT security company ESET, “Android is like early Windows.” It’s now the locus for security attacks and prevention — even if it’s not getting as much attention in this regard as Windows used to.
Flying Under The Radar?
“There’s so much malware on Android, you’d think it would be a huge deal,” Cobb said. And the growth of is “huge,” he added, “both in the number of malware exploits and their increasing sophistication. The rate of growth in Android malware is impressive, and scary.”
At this week’s RSA conference in San Francisco, ESET did a live demo on Android, downloading an infected app that roots the phone and opens it up to whatever the attacker wants to do with it — including dumping out its entire contents in a few seconds over the Internet.
Why aren’t we hearing more about Android’s security problems? “It’s death by 1000 cuts,” Cobb said. Instead of emptying the bank accounts of infected users, the malware is more often used to for premium-rate SMS fraud against mobile carriers, “which isn’t bankrupting anyone immediately. They’re flying under the radar.”
“I don’t think the criminal underground is sophisticated enough that it is holding back,” Cobb said. It’s just that when a mobile platform is the target, “the model is many times a smaller attack — or you can look at it as part of a larger attack.”
Read the full article: readwrite