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The 2014 Nobel Prize for physics was announced Tuesday, going to Isamu Akasaki, professor at Meijo University and Nagoya University; Hiroshi Amano, professor at Nagoya University; and Shuji Nakamura, professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara for their workd on Blue LEDs. An efficient way to grow usable sizes of Gallium Nitride crystals paved the way for Blue LED and thus white light LEDs either by combining with green and red LEDs or by exciting phosphors. CNET reports Akasaki and Amano worked together on the technology at Nagoya University, while Nakamura worked at Nichia Chemical Corporation. It took more than a decade of work to produce practical blue-LED designs in the 1990s.
TechCrunch reports Facebook has officially launched its “Audience Network” which allows any advertiser to buy ads —and any third-party app to host them— while Facebook uses its data to target the ads to the right people. This increases the number of ads Facebook can sell and puts them in direct competition with Google’s AdMob, Yahoo’s Flurry, and Twitter’s MoPub. It’s also a reason for many people to investigate how to turn off Ad tracking in iOS and Android.
Venturebeat reports Nvidia is launching its Maxwell based mobile GPUs for laptops, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M and 970M. Maxwell chips can deliver twice the performance per watt of power consumed compared to the previous generation of chips. The chips can render 4K, have multiframe aliasing, Voxel Global Illumination and twice the energy efficiency of the previous generation. The chips are available in many laptops starting today.
Engadget reports Samsung announced its operating profit for Q3 will be down $3.6-$4 billion, which would be the fourth straight quarter of declines. analysts believe Samsung is feeling a squeeze on its phones at the high end by new iPhones and at the low end by Xiaomi and Lenovo.
Josh Ong of The Next Web writes about a company called ‘Highfive, run by two former Google employees, trying to fix the dreaded ‘conference call. First the hardware: a $799 device that includes a wide angle 1080p video camera, microphone array and HDMI and internet connections. It sits on top of a tv or mounts to a wall. If you’re running late to the meeting, you can start the call on your smart device and then ‘send’ it to the Highfive device when you arrive. The device also supports wireless screensharing, and allows up to 10 people (or rooms) on a call. The service is free for any company that buys at least one device, and a pro plan ($10/AU/mo.) with added features is coming soon. Now if they can just work on the pain of scheduling conference calls…
News From You
KAPT_Kipper flagged us to Buzzfeed story about a DEA Special Agent who appropriated the identity of a woman named Sondra Arquiett and created a fake Facebook page in her name in order to communicate with suspected criminals. Arquiett was arrested in 2010; DEA agents alleged she was part of a drug ring, but a judge sentenced her to probation. However one agent used photos from Arquiet’s seized cell phone–including images of her underage son– to populate the fake account. Arquiett sued the agent for violating her privacy and placing her in danger. The Justice Department claims via a filing the agent had the right to do so. Privacy advocates are, to say the least, concerned.
habichuelcondulce points us to the Verge write up of a Buzzfeed investigation which used an Android app called “iBeacon detector” to find 13 beacon bluetooth transmitters inside New York City phone booths. Turns out there were about 500 of them total. Beacons can send alerts and can be used to collect anonymized data like location, time of data app usage and more when coordinated with an app. New York didn’t seek public approval before letting outdoor ad company Titan install them. After Buzzfeed published their report, the city asked Titan to take the beacons down. Titan maintains the beacons were only being used for research and maintenance purposes.
Beacons don’t worry you? Not scared of the DEA? Well how about this article blackandwhitefield submitted from The Digital Reader.com. A hacker recently noticed that Adobe’s e-publishing software seemed to be sending a large amount of data to Adobe’s servers. Apparently Adobe’s Digital Editions 4 is gathering data on which ebooks that have been opened within the app, which pages were read, and in what order. The app also scanned the computer, gathering the metadata from all of the ebooks sitting on the hard disk, and uploading that data to Adobe’s servers. Bonus: All of the data is being sent to Adobe’s server in clear text.
Discussion Link: Google News +
Pick of the Day: Sight via Sachin Bahal
First off I wanted to say, I’m addicted to the Daily Tech News Show, it is now one of my favourite podcasts to listen to. My pick of the day is the app called Sight. It is an awesome app, it works almost like Pocket or Instapaper but all you have to do is take a screenshot of the article you are reading and boom, you can read it later on. The developer just recently updated the app, so it take advantage of iOS 8’s extensions, so you can still save stuff to read it later (and offline). Did I mention that it is a free app? because it is. The only downside is that it is available for iOS only but you can view your saved stuff on their web interface.