PTJ 68 News: How ‘Bout an October Surprise?

This week brought the annual Ada Lovelace Day, a remembrance of the First Lady of Computer History — and a celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and math. Several events were held in honor of the the day, including a Wikipedia Editathon to add and enhance entries for notable women in science and technology.

Change is in the air for Twitter, which is rolling out an update in the way it handles direct messages. A new setting allows anyone to send a direct message to another account without having to follow it. While this could be a spam magnet, it’s an optional setting at the moment. And Google has updated its privacy policy for those Shared Endorsements on the way. (Want to opt out already? Here’s the settings page.) The change to the Terms of Service prompted Senator Ed. Markey of Massachusetts to fire off a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to look into the matter.

oct22Apple has finally confirmed that it will be having its second fall announcement on October 22. New iPads are expected, as well as new MacBook Pro laptops, that funky Mac Pro that looks like a canister vacuum, OS X Mavericks and who-knows-what-else. Here’s hoping for a genuine, giddiness-inducing surprise next week. (At least TUAW had some fun overanalyzing the official invitation to the event.) As for Apple’s earlier product releases this fall, while there have been reports that the iPhone 5s is outselling the 5c two phones to one, the 5c is still selling. And in other phone news, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software is getting another update later this year and HTC showed off its One Max phablet earlier this week.

From the Paranoid Security News desk, the National Security Agency has been collecting buddy lists, online contacts files and address books and a researcher has found a backdoor in the firmware used by a number of D-Link routers (here’s a Sophos blog post on the issue with a list of affected models). And an app for Snapchat called, naturally, Snaphack, can save videos and photos sent through the self-destructing instant message service.

Nextflix is reportedly in talks with some cable companies to get its service included in set-top boxes, a move which Wall Street seemed to like a lot. And Netflix has signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television to produce a 13-episode psychological thriller from the creative team that made Damages for the FX channel. Grab the Lime ‘n’ Salt popcorn and stand by for a binge!

But some shows still stick to that old once-a-week airing plan, which can attract viewers as well, as the fourth-season premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC drew enormous ratings last Sunday night. (It’s a good bet many attendees from last weekend’s massive New York Comic Con staggered right home to watch.)

And finally, from battling zombie rot to stopping link rot: A coalition of about 20 university law libraries is trying to provide a permanent home for online documents cited in legal documents. The new consortium, called Perma CC, includes Oxford, UCLA, Harvard, Yale and Columbia and will hopefully keep those legal links that escaped the Wayback Machine all nice and Downy fresh.

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