Activision Blizzard to buy Candy Crush game maker King Digital for $5.9 Billion


Activision Blizzard announced Monday evening that it plans to buy King Digital Entertainment, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, for about $5.9 billion. It's the third-largest video game industry deal ever. It's quite a dollar amount, but it's significant for other reasons, too.

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Mobile carriers make $24B/year selling your secrets


The largest carriers in the world partner with companies like SAP to package up data on your movements, social graph and wake/sleep patterns and sell it to marketing firms. Read the rest

Back to the Future Flux Capacitor car USB charger

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It's Back to the Future day, the day in 2015 that Marty McFly travels to in the distant hoverboard future. Hoverboards remain nonexistent-to-bullshit, but Thinkgeek does make a very nice $25 Flux Capacitor car-lighter USB charger with one 1A USB port and two 2.1A ports, as well as a credible animated light-show (which you can turn off when the novelty wears off). Read the rest

The new Nexus phones: beautiful, secure, and a shot across the bow


Dan Gillmor has been playing with Google's new Nexus phones, the humungous 6P phablet and the smaller 5X, and he's written a shrewd and thorough review of what these phones do -- and more importantly, what they mean. Read the rest

Exploiting smartphone cables as antennae that receive silent, pwning voice commands


In IEMI Threats for Information Security: Remote Command Injection on Modern Smartphones, French government infosec researchers José Lopes Esteves and Chaouki Kasmi demonstrated a clever attack on smartphones that sent silent voice commands to OK Google and Siri by converting them to radio-waves and tricking headphone cables into acting as antennas. Read the rest

Information leakage shows DEA blew millions on the secret phone trackers it won't admit it bought


Michael from Muckrock says, "Over the past ten years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has spent millions of dollars on cell phone tracking. Federal purchasing documents that are already posted online indicate the make and model of the tracking device, and often even the DEA field office that bought it, according to federal payment records reviewed by MuckRock." Read the rest

New Clay Shirky book on how China challenges western Internet firms and vice-versa

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Clay Shirky writes, "I wrote about the mobile phone manufacturing powerhouse and tech innovator, Xiaomi, for Columbia Global Reports, looking at both what makes Xiaomi so successful (they were founded when it was possible to take ecommerce and social media for granted, basically), and at the challenge internet services firms face operating in China." Read the rest

Smurfs vs phones: GCHQ's smartphone malware can take pics, listen in even when phone is off


In a new episode of the BBC's Panorama, Edward Snowden describes the secret mobile phone malware developed by GCHQ and the NSA, which has the power to listen in through your phone's mic and follow you around, even when your phone is switched off. Read the rest

New $50 Kindle Fire won't recognize sideloaded ebooks on SD cards


The Kindle Fire comes with a SDXC card slot that outclasses every other tablet in its price range, accommodating storage cards that can hold as much as 128GB of media -- but it won't read ebooks from the slot. Read the rest

Newly disclosed Android bugs affect all devices


The newly released bugs are part of the Stagefright family of vulnerabilities, disclosed by Zimperium Zlabs. Read the rest

Execspeak singularity: the spectacular bullshit of Blackberry's CEO


It takes a top-notch MBA and years of training to be able to improvise and enunciate statements like this 2010 gem: "I'm going to really frame our mobile architectural distinction. We've taken two fundamentally different approaches in their causalness. It's a causal difference, not just nuance." Read the rest

Cyber-arms dealer offers $1M for weaponizable Iphone bugs


Zerodium, a new firm started by the founder of notorious French arms dealers Vupen, have put out the $1M bounty for unpublished vulnerabilities in the Iphone; they plan on keeping these vulns a secret so that they can be turned into cyberweapons and sold to repressive governments who want to use them to spy on their citizens using their own phone cameras, mics, and keyboards. Read the rest

Carabiners with built-in USB cables

The Nomadclip draws tons of praise from its users; Nomad also make lots of little charge-cable gizmos like straps that open into cables and cable/keychains. Our house is like Game of Thrones for working USB cables as we steal one another's precious wires. (via Canopy) Read the rest

Mobile phone use may worsen depression


PUMP, or Problematic Use of Mobile Phone, happens when users turn to their phones instead of in-person contact to alleviate depression, according to a new study in Computers in Human Behavior. Read the rest

Charge your phone while pedaling your bike


When I was young, I had a clunky, inefficient dynamo attached to my bike that powered the headlight when I pedaled. The Siva Atom works the same way but it converts your pedaling into power to charge USB devices and the removable 1650mAh battery pack. Read the rest

Your Android unlock pattern sucks as much as your password did

In Tell Me Who You Are, and I Will Tell You Your Lock Pattern, Marte Løge presented some of her Master's Thesis research on the guessability of Android lock-patterns -- and guess what? Read the rest

If phones were designed to please their owners, rather than corporations

Your smartphone was designed to deliver as much value as possible to its manufacturer, carrier and OS vendor, leaving behind the smallest amount of value possible while still making it a product that you'd be willing to pay for and use. Read the rest

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