October 30, 2012

Google Music Ready to Take on iTunes With Warner Agreement

Google is gearing up to go toe-to-toe with Apple and Amazon in MP3 sales.

The company announced Monday that Warner Music Group agreed to begin selling its catalog of songs through Google Play. All four major U.S. record labels have now signed on to Google’s music, video and app retailing platform.

Google launched its music offering, which allows users to upload and play their existing library to the cloud as well as purchase music, last November. The service was hampered by its lack of selection, however, making Amazon’s Cloud Player the superior option for Android users. (iTunes is not available on Android devices.)

Read more: Google Music Ready to Take on iTunes With Warner Agreement

October 27, 2012

Amazon to tax sales in Arizona

Online retail giant Amazon .com has agreed to collect sales tax on its Arizona transactions as part of a legal settlement that could pump millions of dollars each year into state coffers.
Amazon disclosed Friday that it reached an agreement with Arizona that will require it to start collecting taxes on the physical and digital products it sells beginning next year.

The Seattle-based company also agreed to pay Arizona an undisclosed amount to settle the state's claim that it owed $53 million in back taxes from 2006 to 2010.

Read more: Amazon to tax sales in Arizona

Google cameras map popular Grand Canyon trails

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. - Google and its street-view cameras already have taken users to narrow cobblestone alleys in Spain using a tricycle, inside the Smithsonian with a push cart and to British Columbia's snow-covered slopes by snowmobile.

The search giant now has brought its all-seeing eyes -- mounted for the first time on a backpack -- down into the Grand Canyon, showcasing the attraction's most popular hiking trails on the South Rim and other walkways.

It's the latest evolution in mapping technology for the Mountain View, Calif., company, which has used a rosette of cameras to photograph thousands of cities and towns in dozens of countries for its Street View feature. With a click of the mouse, Internet users are transported virtually for a 360-degree view of locales they may have read about only in tourist books and seen in flat, 2-D images.

Read more: Google cameras map popular Grand Canyon trails

Digital legacy

With a few clicks, you've just purchased and downloaded your most-desired songs, books or movies to your computer, and so begins your personal digital collection.

The downloads are synced to your smartphone or tablet or MP3 player, and you add to the collection as time passes.

But what happens to the purchased books and songs when you die?

Read more: Digital legacy

Kansas case puts face on 'total identity theft'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — When Candida L. Gutierrez's identity was stolen, the thief didn't limit herself to opening fraudulent credit and bank accounts. She assumed Gutierrez's persona completely, using it to get a job, a driver's license, a mortgage and even medical care for the birth of two children.

All the while, the crook claimed the real Gutierrez was the one who had stolen her identity. The women's unusual tug-of-war puts a face on "total identity theft," a brazen form of the crime in which con artists go beyond financial fraud to assume many other aspects of another person's life.

The scheme has been linked to illegal immigrants who use stolen Social Security numbers to get paid at their jobs, and authorities fear the problem could soon grow to ensnare more unsuspecting Americans.

Read more: Kansas case puts face on 'total identity theft'

October 22, 2012

Cell phone thefts rise rapidly nationwide

SAN FRANCISCO — In this tech-savvy city teeming with commuters and tourists, the cell phone has become a top target of robbers who use stealth, force and sometimes guns.

Nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco this year are cell phone-related, police say, and most occur on bustling transit lines.

One thief recently snatched a smartphone while sitting right behind his unsuspecting victim and darted out the rear of a bus in mere seconds.

Another robber grabbed an iPhone from an oblivious bus rider — while she was still talking.

And, in nearby Oakland, City Council candidate Dan Kalb was robbed at gunpoint of his iPhone Wednesday after he attended a neighborhood anti-crime meeting.

Read more: Cell phone thefts rise rapidly nationwide

October 20, 2012

Draft order would give US firms cyberthreat info

WASHINGTON -- A new White House executive order would direct U.S. spy agencies to share the latest intelligence about cyberthreats with companies operating electric grids, water plants, railroads and other vital industries to help protect them from electronic attacks, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press.

The seven-page draft order, which is being finalized, takes shape as the Obama administration expresses growing concern that Iran could be the first country to use cyberterrorism against the United States.

The military is ready to retaliate if the U.S. is hit by cyberweapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. But the U.S. also is poorly prepared to prevent such an attack. which could damage or knock out critical services that are part of everyday life.

Read more: Draft order would give US firms cyberthreat info

Japan’s Softbank to buy Sprint » Northwest Asian Weekly |

TOKYO, JAPAN (AP) — Japan’s Softbank has agreed to buy 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion, giving the struggling U.S. cellphone company an infusion of cash and confidence.
The deal, announced Monday, Oct. 15 in Tokyo, positions Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint Nextel Corp. as a stronger competitor to market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Softbank Corp. is the number 3 cellphone company in Japan, but has a better track record. Originally a holding company with investments in Internet and telecom businesses, it bought Vodafone Japan in 2005 and turned it around. Softbank President Masayoshi Son said he is confident he can help improve Sprint’s profits.

Read more: Japan’s Softbank to buy Sprint » Northwest Asian Weekly |

Panetta: Iran a cyberthreat - New York Daily News

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. authorities believe that Iranian-based hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated Persian Gulf oil and gas companies, a former U.S. government official said. Just hours later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the cyberthreat from Iran has grown, and he declared that the Pentagon is prepared to take action if American is threatened by a computer-based assault.

Read more: Panetta: Iran a cyberthreat - New York Daily News

October 8, 2012

Together, we can enhance cybersecurity in the U.S.

Few issues facing our country are more urgent or important as protecting our interconnected world of cyberspace. From the kitchen table to the classroom, from business transactions to government operations, cybernetworks have become an essential part of our everyday life.

And while this increased connectivity has led to significant transformations and advances across our country and around the world, it also has increased the importance and complexity of our shared risk.

Protecting our country from cybercrime and cyberattacks is as vital to our national security as it is to our economic prosperity. Indeed, a recent Norton study reported that cybercriminals steal more than $110billion from more than 556million individuals every year. When combined with the value of time victims lost, this figure grows to $388billion globally, which the study described as "significantly more" than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined.

Read more: Together, we can enhance cybersecurity in the U.S.

A Google Book Deal Is Good for Everyone—Except Maybe Amazon - Businessweek

It’s possible there was some cheering at Google (GOOG) last week, when the search giant announced a deal with the Association of American Publishers over its book-scanning project. But it’s more likely there was just an overwhelming sense of relief, since the deal amounts to a truce in what has been a grueling seven-year battle. For almost a decade now, Google has been trying to scan and digitize as many books as it can, but it’s been stymied by lawsuits from the AAP and the Authors Guild, who claim the scanning process amounts to copyright infringement.
Read more: A Google Book Deal Is Good for Everyone—Except Maybe Amazon - Businessweek

TV industry finds 3-D is no hit with viewers | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com

LOS ANGELES — Phil Orlins knows everything about producing TV in three dimensions. The ESPN producer has captured the undulating greens of Augusta National and the flying motor bikes of the X-Games for ESPN’s 3-D channel. But he can only guess how well his shows resonate with viewers.
Orlins’ problem is that fewer than 115,000 American homes are tuned into 3-D channels at any one time. That’s less than a hundredth of the 20.2 million-strong audience that saw television’s highest-rated show “NCIS” this week. 3-D viewership is so tiny that The Nielsen Co.’s methods are unable to capture any meaningful data about viewers’ programming preferences.

Read more: TV industry finds 3-D is no hit with viewers | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com

October 4, 2012

T-Mobile USA to merge with MetroPCS - m.NYPOST.com

NEW YORK — T-Mobile and MetroPCS have agreed to combine their struggling cellphone businesses in a deal aimed at letting them compete better with their three larger rivals. Read more:  http://m.nypost.com/p/news/business/mobile_usa_to_merge_with_metropcs_B9qZeEXyTr1uI43BrjRWeN

Mars Rover checks in on Foursquare

Meet the robotic "mayor" of Mars: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has checked in on the Red Planet using the mobile application Foursquare, marking the first-ever such check-in from the surface of another world. Foursquare users who check in to a particular venue more times than anybody else in the past 60 days become the "mayor" of that place. It would appear that Curiosity has the Mayor of Mars title pretty much sewn up. Curiosity will continue to check in at various locations throughout its Gale Crater landing site, posting photos and tips as it rolls along, NASA officials said. Read more:  http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageType=scitech&url=http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57525893/mars-rover-curiosity-checks-in-on-foursquare/&catid=57525893


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