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Matt’s Favorites: Ford’s Mulally On Microsoft Short List, Indian Satellite Enroute To Mars, And Much More

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FORD MOTOR COMPANY HOT WHEELS
(credit: istock) Technology Report
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So what’s the latest on hump dayyyyyy? Don’t mind the camel, here’s the latest…

* First of all, here are links to the Tech Report home page and Tech Report Page Two, as well as our latest reports on tech-related meetings and events in Michigan (namely, your humble narrator’s super-cool Nov. 14 confab on how Detroit’s pro sports teams use social media marketing) and HR notices (including a bunch of promotions at DTE Energy).

* Heads up, Dearborn. CNet’s News.com reports that Ford CEO Alan Mulally is on the short list to succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft.

* Meanwhile, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen likes the idea of splitting the company up, spinning off its consumer products like Xbox. Guess he’s really become a finance guy now.

* India on Tuesday launched its first spacecraft bound for Mars, a complex mission that it hopes will demonstrate and advance technologies for space travel. Hundreds of people watched the rocket carrying the Mars orbiter take off from the east-coast island of Sriharikota and streak across the sky. Many more across the country watched live TV broadcasts.

* Notice the art in this article? I wondered when somebody was going to pimp the very cool little Ford Transit Connect minivan. Turns out it was Hot Wheels and it’s at the SEMA aftermarket car stuff show in Vegas.

* The long wait is almost over: Twitter will hold its public offering Thursday — but is it a good buy? Here’s a guide for the perplexed.

* Cool app alert from CNet: Flipp is a free app that aggregates all the weekly shopping circulars for your area. Just enter your ZIP code (or let the app determine your location) and it’ll find all your local stores. Here in metro Detroit, for example, it produced a whopping 75 flyers — all of them scanlike replicas of the real thing.

* Apple’s iPad Air is making the company more cash with every unit it sells, according to new data from research firm IHS. The iPad Air costs between $274 and $361 to build, depending on the model, according to IHS data that All Things Digital published Tuesday. Apple sells the iPad Air for between $499 and $929, meaning it makes hundreds of dollars on every unit it sells.

* NASA’s prolific Kepler spacecraft could get a new mission that allows it to continue searching for alien planets, albeit in a modified fashion. Kepler team members are drawing up plans to repurpose the space telescope, whose original exoplanet hunt was derailed in May, when the second of its four orientation-maintaining reaction wheels failed. The potential “K2″ mission would peer in the plane of Earth’s orbit, hunting primarily for planets circling relatively small stars.

* Another reason all the global hyperventilating over Snowden’s NSA spying revelations is more than a little hypocritical — Brazil has admitted it spies on us, too. And Iran. And Russia.

* For Android fans who don’t have a Nexus 5when they’ll get KitKat is a serious and angst-inducing question. To their credit, some handset manufacturers like Samsung and HTC have already promised the update for their flagship devices, but others haven’t been so forthcoming. Here’s what we know so far; we’ll keep updating this post as we get more KitKat news.

* Trekkies and wanna-be Mars colonists might soon have a permanent, brick-and-mortar place to convene and share their love of all things science fiction. On Nov. 4, a group in Washington, D.C., announced plans for a Museum of Science Fiction. Comprised of sci-fi artists, entrepreneurs, law professors, and a former NASA program manager, the groups says it will soon begin creating a storefront preview space to open in late 2014. That space will serve as the precursor to a larger, permanent space slotted to open in 2017.

* Apple says that the “vast majority” of the requests for information that it gets from law enforcement are queries related to lost or stolen devices. On Tuesday, Apple released a “Report on Government Information Request” (PDF) to inform its customers about how their personal information is handled and to provide assurances that it does as much as it can to protect their privacy. The report covers the period between January 1 and June 30, 2013.

* Everyday seems to bring another analyst report or memo declaring the continuing proliferation of smartphones worldwide, and that trend certainly rolled right through the third quarter. This time the update comes from Canalys, which revealed smartphone shipments grew by 44 percent year-over-year in Q3. But the number to know is simple yet astounding. The tech insight firm cited that nearly a quarter of a billion (yes, billion) smartphones shipped over the three-month period.

* A new trailer for “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is packed full of action, humor and features a cameo that has people buzzing. In the trailer, a group of friends run and gun their way through a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, fighting against enemy forces. Actress Megan Fox appears heavily armed and flawless as she shoots down a drone. The men continue their adventure in several settings including space.

* One of the United Kingdom’s largest retails chains will soon install face-scanning technology to help target advertisements displayed on screens. The OptimEyes screen, which made by Amscreen, is said to work by scanning the faces of people waiting in line to pay — to determine gender and approximate age, so that commercials can be catered to specific demographics. The ads will also be chosen by the date and time of day, and will monitor what customers purchase.

* If you’re a Twitter user, you’re in the minority. If you get your news on the social network, you’re in even a smaller minority. Pew Research Center released a new study that shows only 16 percent of U.S. adults use Twitter and only 8 percent get news on the site. This is compared with Facebook, where 30 percent of U.S. adults get their news.

* T-Mobile is proving it is no one-hit wonder. The “Uncarrier” impressed on Tuesday with third-quarter results that yielded a second consecutive period in which it netted more than 1 million customers, with a large bulk of them being phone customers that its larger rivals have struggled to gain.

* Since high tech is so universally good these days in terms of processor speed and pixels, tech buyers are beginning to pay more attention to design and fashion.

* Put that novel password “12345” aside for a moment. The founders of Knock — an iOS app that launched Tuesday — want to make getting into your computer as easy as rapping your knuckles through the pocket of your jeans.

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