NSA logo

Fear and Loathing and the NSA

In the couple of months since the flood of revelations about National Security Agency internet snooping was unleashed by Edward Snowden, we have seen a great deal of knee jerk reactions on all sides punctuated by an occasional burst of …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 21st, 2013
Internet Security

The Limits of Cloud Encryption

Revelations of National Security Agency snooping on email and other internet traffic has inspired long-overdue concern about privacy and security–and set off a wave of opportunistic announcements of encrypted services. Adding encryption is a good thing, but you have to …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 15th, 2013
Apple patent application drawing (USPTO)

The Feature the Next iPhone Should Have

I know nothing about what Apple is going to announce at an iPhone event expected on Sept. 10. But I do know about one feature the is a strong candidate and definitely should be included in the next generation of …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 14th, 2013
IP search screen shot

NSA, Google Glass, and Confirmation Bias

Two stories that were literally too good to be true made news this week, one of them silly, the other much more serious. But the fact that both got wide circulation before being corrected shows once again the serious flaws …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 8th, 2013
rs6000

OpenPower Consortium: A Trip Down Memory Lane

IBM announced today that it was working with Google and Nvidia in an alliance called the OpenPower Consortium to promote the use of IBM’s Power processor as an alternative to x86 CPU’s from Intel and AMD. Power, a descendant of …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 7th, 2013
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Esdhington Post headline (via Newseum)

Bezos and The Washington Post: Mr. Disruption Buys a Newspaper

You’d think a newspaper would be the last business in need of disruption. Yet Jeff Bezos, whose Amazon.com is the most disruptive force in retailing and perhaps in all of American business, has just plunked down $250 million of his …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 7th, 2013
Motorola screenshot

The Motorola Mystery Deepens

The Moto X is a phone.

It’s a little newer than your phone.

It will be available for sale in late August.

This is the true story of the Motorola Moto X.

–”The Amazing True Story of the Moto X,” John Herman’s Buzzfeed story …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 2nd, 2013
Microsoft campus photo (Microsoft)

A Microsoft Without Client Software: It Could Be the Future

It’s easy to forget today but Microsoft got its start as a highly disruptive company. The IBM PC running Microsoft software revolutionized business computing in the 1980s, bringing down the priesthood of the mainframe. As cheap clones and …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 31st, 2013
Photo of Forbidden City (© lujing - Fotolia.com)

Semi-random Thoughts on China

I’m writing this as I am flying home from 10 days in China. Not the tech temples of Shenzhen but a concert tour of five of China’s largets cities with the Children’s Chorus of Washington. This opens you eyes to …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 29th, 2013
Windows 95 splash screen

When Microsoft Ruled Tech: An Elegy

Almost 20 years ago, when Microsoft was king, I became a full time tech writer after many years of writing about economics and politics and working as an editor. As I watch Microsft struggling to get its mojo back, especially …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 17th, 2013
Xbox 360 logo

Microsoft Reorganization and the Future of Xbox

Microsoft today announced a long-awaited reorganization that is aimed at eliminating the company’s often warring business units in favor of a more unified, collaborative organization. Kara Swisher at All Things D had the details first and has reported them in great depth, …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 11th, 2013
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feedback

Apple, Microsoft, and Listening to Customers

Earlier this week, Apple released iOS 7 Beta 3, the third test version of the upcoming software for iPhone and iPad released in a month. Users, by definition registered Apple developers, who installed it made a remarkable discovery: The Helvetica …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 10th, 2013
WevbTV screenshot (via Wayback Machine)

A Requiem for WebTV

It’s not too often that I am reminded of something I wrote 17 years ago and am able to read it without cringing, at least not too much. This happened over the weekend, after Microsoft quietly announced that it was …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 8th, 2013
Windows 8.1 screen shot

Windows 8.1: A Step Forward, a Ways To Go

Windows 8.1 has arrived, at least in preview form. And while it shows that Microsoft has made significant improvements in the eight months since the original version of Windows 8 shipped, it also shows just how far the software has …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 3rd, 2013
© Sergey Yarochkin - Fotolia.com

NSA Spying: Why So Little Outrage?

Since the revelations about the extent of telephone and internet surveillance by the National Security Agency first broke a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been struck by how little outrage there has been aside from activists at the left and …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 27th, 2013
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Pilot uswing iPad in Airbus cockpit (Airbus Industrie)

Why the FAA Slow Walks Electronics in Planes

Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Aviation Administration was moving to relax rules banning passengers from using phones, tablets, and other electronics at the beginning and end of flights. But by Monday, the Journal was warning us, not so fast. It …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 26th, 2013
Windows 8 set files control panel

How Windows 8 Is Truly Broken

Regular Tech.pinions readers know that I am not a fan of Windows 8. But an experience today brought home just how truly broken the two-operating-systems-in-one-package really is. I have been setting up a Lenovo ThinkPad Helix–one of the new breed of …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 22nd, 2013
11" and 13" MacBook Airs (Apple)

Apple Could Challenge Microsoft for Desktop Dominance. But It Won’t

Apple’s opportunity to dominate desktop computing probably disappeared the day in 1981 that IBM shipped the Personal Computer. Apple’s first attempt at a “business” computer, the Apple ///, was a technical and commercial flop. The anti-corporate “computer for the rest …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 19th, 2013
Dennis Woodside (Asa Mathat-D:All Things Digital)

Google, Motorola, and the Future of Android

To hear both Sundar Pinchai, head of Android and Chrome at Google, and Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola Mobility, tell it, Motorola is just another Android OEM despite being a wholly owned Google subsidiary. This may be technically true at …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 18th, 2013
Cover page of Final Report on Project C-43

An Old Mystery Solved: Project C-43 and Public Key Encryption

For most of history, it was believed that the only way a message could be encrypted was if the sender and the receiver shared the secret of srambling and unscrambling the text. That view changed sharply in 1976, when Stanford …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 13th, 2013
Mavericks Finder with tags (Apple)

Apple and Microsoft Desktop OSes: Two Models, One Winner

When Apple and Microsoft contemplated software for a new world in which tablets were taking over much of the work once done on traditional PCs, it quickly became clear that they were following very different paths. Microsoft opted for an …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 12th, 2013
webOS-22

The Second Most Important Failed OS

There’s little doubt that NeXTSTEP was the most important failed operating system. Though it went down with the overpriced and underpowered NeXT computer, it evolved into Mac OS X when NeXT was acquired by Apple and NeXTSTEP architect Avie Tevanian …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 10th, 2013
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Windows 8 promo (Microsoft)

My Windows 8 Wishlist

In a couple of weeks, Microsoft is expected to release a preview version of Windows 8.1. Preliminary indications are that ti will be a relatively modest overhaul of the radically new Windows 8 user interface. My suspicion is that it …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 9th, 2013
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prism-cover-slide

Sorting Through a Flood of Leaks

It now appears there may have been less than met the eye to reports about the National Security Agency’s PRISM program for obtaining information on users from a variety of top internet players including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and Apple. …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 8th, 2013
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Photo of NSA HQ (Wikipedia)

What the Government Knows About Your Phone Calls

A remarkable story by Glenn Greenwald in the British daily The Guardian yesterday revealed a secret court order requiring Verizon Communications to give the National Security Agency information about every telephone call, international or domestic, made to or from phone numbers in the …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 6th, 2013