March 31, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court sounded ready Monday to curtail the use of certain business patents in a case involving a patent for a computerized risk analysis of international financial transactions. Use of such business-method patents has soared in recent decades. Once granted, they can give a firm or a person a monopoly for up to 20 years to profit from the patented process. Critics say many of the recent computer-related patents are vague and stifle innovation by giving exclusive rights to commonly used methods or formulas.
March 25, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - A tiny Irvine company founded by a 21-year-old Cal State Long Beach drop-out may play a leading role in Facebook's next major bet on the future of the Internet: that virtual reality will change the way people experience the Web. Facebook said Tuesday that it was buying Oculus VR, maker of virtual reality headsets for video game players, for $2 billion. The ultimate goal of the acquisition, the giant social network said, is to create an immersive 3-D experience in which users don't just chat online with friends but grab a cup of coffee with them in a virtual cafe or travel with them to distant places, just by putting on a pair of goggles with dark lenses.
March 22, 2014 |
To keep an eye on his child via his smartphone, Marc Gilbert installed Internet-connected video baby monitors in his home in Houston. One evening, Gilbert heard a stranger's voice bellowing obscenities from the monitor. He disconnected the device after realizing that it had been hacked. "I'm a pretty technical guy, and I thought I knew how all this stuff should be hooked up," said Gilbert, who has written several letters to his congressman and other elected officials, trying to bring the security issue to their attention.
March 12, 2014 |
NASA's elderly Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flipped into “safe mode” on Sunday after an unexpected computing glitch caused the spacecraft to switch from its main computer to its backup. The 8-year-old satellite, which left Earth in August 2005 and entered Martian orbit on March 10, 2006, has lived well beyond its primary two-year science phase, so perhaps the occasional "brain fart" is understandable. Tasked with searching for signs that water flowed on Mars for a long period of time, it's been sending Earth detailed information about seasonal and longer-term changes on our rust-hued neighbor . In fact, it has returned more data than all other interplanetary missions combined, according to officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, which manages the mission.
March 12, 2014 |
The National Security Agency has reportedly used automated systems to infect user computers with malware since 2010, according to a Wednesday report. And at times the agency pretended to be Facebook to install its malware. The NSA has been using a program codenamed TURBINE to contaminate computers and networks with malware "implants" capable of spying on users, according to The Intercept , which cited documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Between 85,000 and 100,000 of these implants have been deployed worldwide thus far, the report said.
March 11, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - A long-simmering dispute between the CIA and its Senate overseers erupted into public view Tuesday when the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of possible crimes and of attempting to intimidate committee staffers investigating the CIA's former use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee chairwoman, said the CIA secretly searched computers used by Senate staffers and might have violated constitutional provisions on separation of powers and unreasonable searches, a federal law on computer fraud and abuse, and a presidential order that prohibits the CIA from domestic searches and surveillance.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2014 |
I feel out of the cultural loop these days, as I try to follow the news. I can't wrap my mind around bitcoins and I'm not sure what an e-cig is. Pretend cigarettes? Virtual money? It's all too tech-centric for me. If you're also confused about the bitcoin system, here's how Wikipedia explains it: "Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009.... It is a cryptocurrency, so-called because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money.
March 9, 2014 |
Laszlo Bock, the head of human resources at Google, made quite a splash with his announcement last year that the technology firm has changed the way it hires people. Gone are the brainteaser-style interview questions that so many candidates abhorred. But also gone, it would seem, is any concern with discovering how smart applicants really are. "GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless.... We found that they don't predict anything," Bock told the New York Times.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 7, 2014 |
Five suspected White Power gang members were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of breaking into Eastside High School in Lancaster and stealing more than $15,000 in property and causing about $22,000 in damage to classrooms. In a statement, Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators said they arrested David Van Rossum, 18, and four others between the ages of 15 to 17 on suspicion of burglary and felony vandalism. Rossum is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. One 17-year-old juvenile was taken to Sylmar Juvenile Detention Center.