Matt’s Favorites: NSA Hitting U.S. In The Wallet, CNN Discovers Detroit, And More
What the latest hip happnin’s in the hoppin’ haven of high tech? Well, how’s this just for starters?
* The National Security Agency surveillance scandal will hurt the U.S. cloud computing industry to the tune of $35 billion over the next three years, according to the public policy think-tank Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. The problem is that as cloud services adoption expands throughout the world, potential corporate and consumer users might be concerned about the prospect of government surveillance of their data, and U.S.-based providers would be seen as legally unable to prevent such action.
* Well whaddya know — CNN has discovered the essential paradox that is Detroit. Bankrupt city government — but red-hot, rapidly developing and growing downtown area.
* Apple is expected to announce its next iPhone this fall, according to a report by the tech blog AllThingsD — and this time, the smartphone is expected come with a companion. Citing unnamed sources, AllThingsD reports that Apple is holding a press event on Sept. 10 to announce its next flagship smartphone, but did not give any more details on what may be revealed. Apple is widely expected to unveil an update to the iPhone 5, which will likely be called the iPhone 5S, and a cheaper iPhone that many have dubbed the “iPhone 5C.”
* Imagine commuting from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes by train. The man who founded Tesla and SpaceX thinks it can be done, and he’s laid out the plans for a transport system called Hyperloop.
* Here’s a nifty photographic peak at the Perseid meteor shower, since our skies did not oblige by clearing up (and getting really dark — around here the nearest place where that happens is the tip of the Thumb).
* Yes, as a matter of fact, that was a reference to Schrodinger’s Cat in Monday’s Google Doodle. Cool stuff.
* Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry will consider selling itself. The company said Monday that its board has formed a special committee to explore “strategic alternatives” in hopes of boosting the adoption of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
* We are now, theoretically, one step closer to landing a robot on a Jupiter’s moon Europa. There are no actual missions in the works, or in NASA’s budget, but a study published in the journal Astrobiology spells out the needs and goals of a robotic lander mission on the potentially life-supporting moon.
* In the Creepy So Creepy dept., U.K. officials demanded Monday that an advertising firm stop using a network of high-tech trash cans to track people walking through London’s financial district. The Renew ad firm has been using technology embedded in the hulking receptacles to measure the Wi-Fi signals emitted by smartphones, and suggested that it would apply the concept of “cookies” — tracking files that follow Internet users across the Web — to the physical world. “We will cookie the street,” Renew CEO Kaveh Memari said in June. But the City of London Corporation insisted that Renew pull the plug on the program, which captures smartphones’ serial numbers and analyzes signal strength to follow people up and down the street.
* In the Ow Ow Ow Dept., Danish skinny-dippers beware: A piranha cousin rumored to go after testicles might be invading brackish waters near Copenhagen. On Aug. 4, fisherman Einar Lindgreen was going through his catch after fishing in the Oresund, the strait between Denmark and Sweden. Besides the eels and perch, Lindgreen also netted an exotic fish suspected to be a red-bellied pacu, which is native to the Amazon and has uncannily human-looking teeth.
* As promised, the team behind Google Glass is rolling out its monthly update, and this one especially taps into third-party offerings. Baking in extra features and taking further advantage of the very small but growing third-party ecosystem for the Android-based spectacles is incredibly important for touting Glass as a viable consumer product.
* Blood clots in the brain are a growing health problem with devastating effects. These clots have a 40 percent mortality rate, and survivors can suffer from brain damage. Treatment is extremely challenging, but researchers at Vanderbilt University hope a new robot will be able to help. Thebot uses a steerable needle to clear out clots.
* The Xbox One will still ship with the new version of the Kinect camera, but connecting it will no longer be mandatory, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten told IGN. “Like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor,” Whitten said.
* It’s no secret that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison greatly admired Steve Jobs, and he spells out this esteem for the late Apple co-founder in an upcoming interview with Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning.” “He was brilliant,” Ellison tells Rose in a preview of the interview released Monday. “He was our Edison, he was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor.”
* The U.S. Secret Service on Monday released the first 104 pages of agency documents related to its investigation of Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who committed suicide earlier this year while under federal prosecution. The heavily redacted documents, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Wired, detail the charges against Swartz as well as the evidence seized during the execution of a search warrant on his Cambridge, Mass., apartment in 2011. The activisthanged himself in January while facing 13 felony charges of document theft.
* Here’s a look beyond sugar cane and corn at plants that really could produce usable amounts of biofuel.