In Brief for December 18, 2013

Posted by · December 18, 2013 4:34 pm

You’d better watch out: NORAD will be tracking Santa in a few days, but with Microsoft as a partner instead of Google. True to form, they’ll be encrypting Santa’s whereabouts too.

The fine print: We’re sure you saw the TV news reporters going all gaga over Amazon’s delivery by drone. What they didn’t tell you is that it will cost a bundle. UPS says “Me too! Me too!”, and there’s no sign the drones are being used to deliver tomatoes. Am I the only one who remembers Webvan.com?

In requiem: “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”Peter O’Toole. Also ended: Google’s reign as the top tech company to work for.

Dog

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog

How much is that doggie in the window? Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, the eighth robotics company it has picked up in the last six months. It’s a sure bet that the first dog they start selling will have a screen that displays ads of kennels and pooper-scoopers. The company also figured out another way to get a bigger slice of the advertising pie.

And it’s the same… old song…: Yahoo has another new look. So are the complaints about Yahoo Mail.

Fifteen minutes of fame: “Community engagement consultants” are souring on Facebook. Also, Edward Snowden of “release-NSA-documents” fame is Time Magazine’s runner-up for Person of the Year.

Y’know, it don’t come easy: California’s judges moved to shut down a $2 billion system to connect the state’s courts — in March 2012 — a process that only took 19 months. So is it really all that surprising that the federal government has similar problems?

Signs of the times: A San Francisco man killed over a PlayStation, the most shoplifted items, what we searched for, and abandoned websites.

Denial is the first symptom: The Chinese government doesn’t like bitcoins either — probably because they keep disappearing. And then there are the thieves and robot telemarketers who say they’re not.

Floppy
Signs of the Apocalypse: The thought of the NSA reading all those tweets is mind-boggling, but we’re happy for the security anyway. TV newspeople — who all look alike to us anyway — are getting doppelgängers. Microsoft is getting into the women’s fashion industry. The US government still uses 3.5-inch floppy disks.

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