Microsoft Taking Help Line Scammers to Court

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Microsoft is finally cracking down on scammers who offer to fix non-existent computer problems for hundreds of dollars. In a first strike, Microsoft sued several U.S. companies it said are involved in fake tech support scams.

For years, people have been receiving calls from companies pretending to be official Microsoft tech support staff, who try to convince the victim that their computer is infected with a virus. The scammers often offer to deal with it for a fee.

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FBI Blames North Korea for Sony Hack

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CNET  by   

It’s definitive. North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday.

“As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” the FBI said Friday in a statement.

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Ford Ditches Microsoft For QNX

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Ford today took the wraps off Sync 3, its next-generation, in-car technology package that is, as you’d expect, faster, sleeker and much improved over the old one. It’s also more intuitive and easier on the eyes, and integrates smartphone apps better. But the biggest change is under the hood: Sync 3 is powered by QNX instead of Microsoft Auto.

When Ford first launched the Sync prior to the recession, it was novel in the infotainment space. The platform announced today, several years after version 2.0, is Ford’s third go at infotainment, and from my limited experience with the Sync 3, it’s dramatically better than its predecess.

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Recommended Smart Toy Lists by Age

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Sheri Kam and kidsSean McCarroll

On the Dec. 13, 2014 program Sheri Kam, PR Specialist and involved mom and Sean McCarroll, social studies and technology teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School in suburban Detroit discussed “Smart Toys”.  The follow list shows the smart toys they recommend for each age group listed.


No Coding

  • Tobbles Neo (0-2 Logic) or anything stacking
  • Duplo
  • K’nex Jr.
  • Little Bits
  • Snap Circuits


Ages 5-8:

Modicum Understanding of Coding and Circuits

  • Thames and Kosmos
  • Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
  • Marble Runs
  • Legos
  • More Little Bits
  • Goldie Blox and the Movie Maker


Tweens Into Teens:

Coding, Sensors, Logic Streams, Fluid and Creative Thnking

  • Fluxx Card Game (come in a variety of themes)
  • Top Trumps Card Game (comes in a variety of themes)
  • Ollie (App controlled robot) – a tube with treads
  • Sphero (App controlled robot) – a fast moving orb
  • Marble Runs (some have elevators and lifts)
  • Lego Mindstorms
  • Thames and Kosmos
  • Arduino (controller)
  • Raspberry Pi (microcomputer)
  • Lily Twinkle and ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • Gamer Kits for Arduino
  • 3D Printer
  • App Gift Card (Just be aware that there are some In-app purchase possibilities)
    • Foldify (Design 3D Designs – can be sent to conventional printer or 3D printer)
    • Minecraft
    • Electopocalypse (fundamentals of circuit design)
    • Plants vs. Zombies


Keep trying—make lots of mistakes (the only way to learn)



Young Kids:

Older Kids:

Wi-Fi booster for urban dwellers

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Gigaom     Nov. 11, 2014 – 9:05 AM PST

Wireless startup Mimosa has been plugging Wi-Fi into a lot of networking products lately. It first injected Wi-Fi into transport networks by offering a backhaul radio to ISPs. It quickly turned to access networks, proffering up gear that replace the cable or copper line entering your home with a Wi-Fi link. Now it’s offering up its first consumer-facing product: A Wi-Fi router you actually install in your home.

Mimosa wouldn’t be Mimosa if it were just selling any off-the-shelf wireless router. Its C5i doesn’t have an ingress port connecting to your broadband modem. Instead, it pulls its internet connection directly from the airwaves. Specifically, it’s tapping outdoor Wi-Fi networks to deliver you an indoor Wi-Fi connection, sticking with its philosophy that Wi-Fi can be used to handle the broadband link from the network core all the way to the device.

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Elon Musk worries Skynet is only five years off

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by   @ericcmack /November 19, 2014 9:50 AM PST

For several months now, we’ve been reporting on tech iconoclast Elon Musk‘s public warnings about the dangers of artificial intelligence. What we hadn’t heard was just how soon AI might become a threat.

Turns out Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is worried that “the risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year time frame. 10 years at most.”

Or so Musk wrote in a comment that followed an essay by virtual godfather Jaron Lanier titled “The Myth of A.I.” on last week. A number of comments from notable personalities including XPrize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis, technology editor Kevin Kelly and author George Dyson also appeared alongside the essay. Musk’s comment was quickly removed but not before it was noticed by Mashable and other outlets.

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Twitter teams with women’s group on anti-harassment tool

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One of the groups behind the #FBrape campaign, which compelled Facebook to change its policy on the posting of “cruel and insensitive content” on the world’s top social network, has partnered with Twitter to study how the microblogging service can better police sexual harassment on its site.

Women, Action & the Media (WAM) said this week that it’s created an online form that lets “users report gendered harassment details that have never before been tracked and analyzed.”

“WAM will escalate validated reports to Twitter and track Twitter’s response to different kinds of gendered harassment,” the group said in a release. “At the end of the pilot test period, WAM will analyze the data collected and use it to work with Twitter to better understand how gendered harassment functions on their platform, and to improve their responses to it.”

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Cyberattacks Could Paralyze U.S., Former Defense Chief Warns

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Cyber Security Images

Patrick Thibodeau, Computerworld

Nov. 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta delivered strong warnings about the risks of cyberattacks on the country. His conviction that a possible “cyber Pearl Harbor” may be looming has not tempered since leaving the post last year.
In fact, Panetta today said that the risk of a major cyberattack against the nation’s infrastructure is “the most serious threat in the 21st century.”

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Security for the Holidays

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October 29, 2014

By Joel Rosenblatt
The holiday season is filled with opportunities for the Bad Guys to take advantage of people who are filled with the holiday spirit, out and about having a good time and letting their guard down.  Since I work at a university, I sometimes get asked to pass along tips to increase the awareness of how easy it is to be taken advantage of. Here are some of my “Seasons Greetings:”

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New Super Batteries Charge 70 Percent in 2 Minutes

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A team of researchers in Singapore have developed a next generation lithium-ion battery that can recharge a battery to 70-percent in just two minutes. That means it would charge an entire electric car in just 15 minutes. And here’s the kicker: it lasts over 20 years.

 Normally, it’s safe to be skeptical about new battery technology, but there’s something rather hopeful about this breakthrough. The new battery isn’t altogether new. It’s actually just an improvement upon existing lithium-ion technology.
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