Weekly tech bulletin for week ending 2015-06-07. Office of Personnel Management data breach serious.

Published: Sun, 07 Jun 2015 by Rad

1. Amazon leaning towards the lucrative gaming industry

Published: Jun 07, 2015 tech

Last year when Amazon acquired Twitch, a popular game streaming website, for $970 million all paid in cash, Amazon heralded to the tech and gaming industry that it has now set its sight on the gaming industry and that it is here to give some tight competition to other game developers. Moreover, Amazon has been a known patron of diversifying its business: Twitch's acquisition was one such example.

A revolutionary game for PCs

Amazon is in the works of developing a revolutionary game for PCS that shall integrate Twitch and AWS cloud together for creating something unique. Although, Twitch has already been integrate in PS4 and Xbox One, but integration of AWS cloud and Twitch together would be unprecedented. Amazon§s stated goal in using AWS cloud and Twitch in the game is to provide a more immersive gameplay and unite players and viewers across all platforms.

Amazon itself has made it plain and clear that it is hiring the best talent among the gaming industry. It has already posted job postings and Amazon Game Studios has made it clear that it will only hire those who are the best in game design and technology. Amazon's team for games already has hot-shot former designers and developers who have got their hands christened with big titles like World of Warcraft, BioShock, Portal, Halo and Half-Life 2.

Follow   www.dailytimesgazette.com to read more.

2. Apple may reduce its cut of app store revenue for some developers

Published: Jun 05, 2015 tech

Apple will begin taking a smaller cut of application revenue from some developers on its App Store, according to a report Friday from the Financial Times. Since the App Store opened in 2008, one of the costs of being an iOS developer has been handing over to Apple 30 percent of an app's revenue. But the company is now working with media companies including Spotify, Netflix and Time Inc. to give them a larger cut of the sales from their apps, the FT said, citing unnamed sources.

Stiff competition from Android

The move could make sense for Apple, which is facing stiff competition from Android. It would also be good for developers, giving them an added incentive to develop (or continue developing) for Apple's platform.

Apple has reported that it paid out more than $10 billion to developers last year, which means it made more than $4 billion just from operating the App Store. That's a lot of money, but it's still a single digit percentage of Apple's overall annual revenue. Apple could easily afford to take a smaller cut of sales in order to promote development.

Some developers have been clamoring for changes from Apple when it comes to the revenue split, like AnyList co-founder and former Apple software developer Jeff Hunter. He wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook suggesting that the company could change to a tiered system that scaled up Apple's cut of an app's sales as it makes more money.

Follow   www.pcworld.com to read more.

3. Here Are The Features Microsoft Is Cutting From Windows 10

Published: Jun 07, 2015 software

Windows 10 is fast approaching and while there's no immediate need to upgrade from 8.1, or even 7, odds are you'll want to make the jump eventually. Before you do, you'd best check out the Windows 10 "feature deprecation section", to make sure your favourite features aren't being cut from the latest release.

Feature deprecation section - Windows Media Center cut

  • If you have Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, or Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center and you install Windows 10, Windows Media Center will be removed.
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
  • Windows 7 desktop gadgets will be removed as part of installing Windows 10.
  • Windows 10 Home users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available. Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the ability to defer updates.
  • Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts Games that come pre-installed on Windows 7 will be removed as part of installing the Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft has released our version of Solitaire and Minesweeper called the "Microsoft Solitaire Collection" and "Microsoft Minesweeper."
  • If you have a USB floppy drive, you will need to download the latest driver from Windows Update or from the manufacturer's website.
  • If you have Windows Live Essentials installed on your system, the OneDrive application is removed and replaced with the inbox version of OneDrive.

Windows 10 minimum system requirements: For running Windows 10 you will need 1 GHz processor or faster, 2GB RAM for 64-bit system, 20GB of hard disk space for 64-bit OS, DirectX9 graphics card

Source: Windows 10 specification page

Follow   gizmodo.com to read more.

4. Senate committee backs bill that targets patent trolls

Published: Jun 04, 2015 legal

The legislation aimes to protect businesses from abusive patent lawsuits. A U.S. Senate committee has voted to approve a bill aimed at curbing abusive lawsuits by so-called patent trolls.

Curbing abusive lawsuits

Capitol building US Senate
Credit: www.GlynLowe.com , CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr

The bipartisan Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act, introduced in late April, now heads to the full Senate for consideration after the Senate Judiciary Committee vote Thursday.

The bill targets patent-holding companies that use infringement lawsuits as a primary business model. It would require judges to award attorney fees to defendants or plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits when the court finds the other side acted unreasonably.

It also requires that companies sending patent licensing demand letters provide details of the alleged infringement, not "vague" demands. The bill would also delay expensive discovery procedures in some patent infringement lawsuits, and it would shield customers using allegedly infringing products from lawsuits.

Follow   www.computerworld.com to read more.

5. Meet the Egyptian Repairman who outranked Google and doesn’t even know!

Published: Jun 02, 2015 tech

Egyptian HVAC Technician is ranking #1 in organic search results with a Google Places listing that outranks Google's own knowledge graph snippet. His business name doesn't even include the keyword nor is it in any way related. His page had received 3,550,628 views, which is a sign that his top ranking spot has been there for a while.

Mysterious algorithm error

For a time, anyone typing Google into Google from an Egyptian computer got a page belonging to Mr Saber El-Toony as the first result despite the fact that his business doesn't include the keyword and is in no way related.

When contacted Mr El-Toony said that he had not done anything to promote his page. In fact, other than a vast increase in the number of phone calls he had received, he seemed unaware of his new high ranking.

However, why would Google think that this HVAC technician's page is the most relevant thing to show when people search for Google's exact-match brand keyword?!

"Google" should be the most difficult keyword to rank for. Nobody should be able to outrank Google for their own name on their own search engine. It is like the only thing that holds "the matrix" from falling apart. At least for SEOs.

Follow   medium.com to read more.

6. Apple's Tim Cook warns the FBI not to weaken encryption

Published: Jun 03, 2015 tech

The new crypto wars continued to ramp up this week as Apple CEO Tim Cook doubled down on the need for strong encryption in a speech in Washington, D.C., on Monday night. Cook pushed back against a campaign led in part by FBI director James Comey to require adding backdoors—intentional weaknesses in the encryption code—for law enforcement to encryption technology, such as the encryption used in Apple's iPhone devices.

Warnings from technical experts

"So let me be crystal clear: Weakening encryption or taking it away harms good people who are using it for the right reason,"

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Cook said that adding encryption backdoors for law enforcement would weaken the security of all devices and "is incredibly dangerous". The audience at the Electronic Privacy Information Center awards dinner, which was honoring a variety of privacy experts and activists, reportedly responded warmly to Cook's words.

First, forcing American companies to weaken encryption would fundamentally change the relationship between government, the private sector, and citizens for the worse. How could you trust Apple to protect your privacy if its primary privacy tool is broken?

Second, any intentional backdoor meant for law enforcement can also be accessed by hackers. "It is important to remember that computer code and encryption algorithms are neutral and have no idea if they're being accessed by an FBI agent, a terrorist, or a hacker," the congressmen wrote.

Follow   www.dailydot.com to read more.

7. Cisco and IBM acquisitions show pressure is on to make OpenStack easier to use

Published: Jun 04, 2015 tech

The companies are aiming to speed up rollouts and cut management costs for private clouds. Cisco's intention to buy Piston Cloud Computing and IBM's acquisition of Blue Box Group, both announced this week, are bids to make private cloud platform OpenStack less of a headache for IT departments.

Management capabilities are a vital differentiator

For public, private and hybrid clouds, management capabilities are a vital differentiator and something that becomes even more important as CIOs decide to move large IT systems from traditional on-site installations.

OpenStack has in the last couple of years become the go-to choice for vendors, including IBM and Cisco, that want to offer a private cloud platform. But the software is still maturing and the development of better management capabilities and tools is a key part of that process.

The Cisco and IBM acquisitions are part of the vendors' efforts to speed up OpenStack development. Whether the IBM and Cisco acquisitions help spur enterprises to implement OpenStack on a larger scale than they have so far remains to be seen. Not everyone is convinced that the market for OpenStack implementations will rapidly pick up anytime soon. OpenStack vendor Nebula, for example, shut down in April, saying: "We are deeply disappointed that the market will likely take another several years to mature."

Follow   www.itworld.com to read more.

8. Millions of US government workers’ records exposed by data breach

Published: Jun 05, 2015 security

The US government has been hit by a massive data breach at the department which handles government employee records, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). According to officials this has the potential to affect every federal agency. In what may be one of the biggest data breaches ever affecting the U.S. government, hackers broke into the systems of the Office of Personnel Management and the records of approximately four million people have been stolen.

Foreign government player suspected

According to the OPM's official announcement it first became aware of the incident in April of this year. The OPM says that as a result of the incident it will begin sending out notifications to around four million individuals starting on Monday.

office of personnel management building
Credit: By Another Believer (Own work), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

US law enforcement source that a "foreign entity or government" was believed to be behind the attack. Suspicion has fallen on China although Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the accusations were, "irresponsible and unscientific".

The OPM acts as the human resource department for the federal government. The agency is responsible for issuing security clearances, conducting 90 percent of background checks, and for holding records of federal employees. Information held on OPM databases covers employee job assignments, performance reviews and training.

In order to guard against the risk of fraud and ID theft it says it will be, "...offering affected individuals credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance with CSID, a company that specializes in identity theft protection and fraud resolution". This protection will be free for 18 months.

Follow   betanews.com to read more.

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