The Apple Watch Just Got the Perfect Rival: Microsoft’s Band (from WIRED)

If Microsoft wanted to grab a slice of the impending Apple Watch audience, it couldn’t have crafted a better plan than with its just-released Microsoft Band. The company’s first wearable piggybacks off of the style and functions we’re already familiar with in today’s activity trackers. But with nifty features, a more affordable price tag, and a broader potential audience, Microsoft is taking a different approach than Apple and other wearable makers.

via The Apple Watch Just Got the Perfect Rival: Microsoft’s Band | WIRED.

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The WWDC Keynote Takeaway

…originality isn’t Apple’s priority. Any attempt to compete with Apple in a space it considers its own will be answered with Apple’s comparable version. Though Apple will advertise these new self-made additions as better, the quality isn’t paramount. The real advantage is that they come pre-installed.

Any attempt to compete with Apple in a space it considers its own will be answered with Apple’s comparable version.

The recent history of mobile is full of examples of third-party apps doing Apple’s version one better and succeeding. Users probably won’t stop using Dropbox or Snapchat on their iPhones, just like they won’t stop using Google Maps. But Apple has never been more relentless at trying to persuade the developers whose loyalty it needs that its deeply integrated collection of PCs, tablets, and smartphones is the most complete, self-contained, usable platform in existence, the one that should be foremost in their minds as they ponder which master to serve first.

via Apple to Developers: We Love You, But We’ll Also Take You Down | Business | WIRED.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft Join Forces to Prevent Another Heartbleed

More than a dozen tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM, have joined forces to try to prevent another Heartbleed-like security breach.

Heartbleed is one of the biggest and widespread vulnerabilities in the history of the modern web. The problem stemmed from an errant line of code in the open-source project OpenSSL. About 66% of web servers rely on OpenSSL to encrypt data and keep things secure.

The bug in OpenSSL meant that the secret-encryption keys — which are what ensures that your passwords and other data are securely transmitted — could be stolen from a web server without anyone knowing. The bug existed in OpenSSL for more than two years before being publicly patched and announced.

The program, dubbed the Core Infrastructure Initiative, is an an offshoot of Linux Foundation and designed to “fund open source projects that are in the critical path for core computing functions,” according to a description on its website. The group will work with “an advisory board of esteemed open source developers to identify and fund open source projects in need.”

via Facebook, Google, Microsoft Join Forces to Prevent Another Heartbleed.

Google: Brilliant or Desperate?

Perhaps it’s too melodramatic to call Google desperate. After all, how desperate can you be when you still reap billions in profits every quarter? But if there’s one thing Page likes to think about, it’s the future. And he’s smart enough to see that the future is getting dimmer for a company that depends upon people surfing the web and clicking ads on PCs. In a recent onstage interview at TED, Page spoke with relish about Google’s many grand experiments to change how the world works for future generations. One thing he didn’t talk about is ads. But he did say he believes in business as the best way to reach that future.

via What’s Driving Google’s Wild Moonshots? Desperation | Business | WIRED.

Americans Aren’t Ready for the Future Google and Amazon Want to Build | Business | WIRED

If the stigma surrounding Google Glass (or, perhaps more specifically, “Glassholes”) has taught us anything, it’s that no matter how revolutionary technology may be, ultimately its success or failure ride on public perception. Many promising technological developments have died because they were ahead of their times. During a cultural moment when the alleged arrogance of some tech companies is creating a serious image problem, the risk of pushing new tech on a public that isn’t ready could have real bottom-line consequences.

These findings, of course, can’t be taken as a sign that these industries are outright doomed. After all, if someone had told people 50 years ago that we’d all have tiny glass-and-metal boxes in our pockets that could take pictures, pinpoint our exact location anywhere in the world, and hold the contents of thousands of books all at the same time, it would have seemed impossible, if not downright scary. But the findings show that tech companies still have a lot of work to do to educate a public hardly willing to put blind trust in tech giants. Innovation can be a powerful force for positive change, but it goes down easier when the people whose lives will be affected feel like they have a say.

via Americans Aren’t Ready for the Future Google and Amazon Want to Build | Business | WIRED.

New Rocket Expands Russian Space Launch Capabilities | Russia | RIA Novosti

The Soyuz-2.1 rocket.

The Soyuz-2.1v rocket lifted off from Russia’s northern Plesetsk space center on December 28. It can carry up to 2,800 kg of payload into orbit and is powered by rocket engines left over from the Soviet Union’s lunar program.

via New Rocket Expands Russian Space Launch Capabilities | Russia | RIA Novosti.

The Best New Superzoom Cameras | TIME.com

What are bridge cameras?

Bridge cameras fill the gap between low-cost point-and-shoots and more expensive mirrorless ILCs and DSLRs by melding the best features of both. They have fixed long zoom lenses and easy to use Auto and Scene modes as well as advanced settings, (electronic) viewfinders, and excellent image quality.

To compete with smartphones, these models often come with Wi-Fi connectivity and apps for iOS and Android for simple picture transfers and remote viewfinder features. Bridge cameras also usually fall between the two categories when it comes to pricing.

If you are looking for a better camera than what’s included in your smartphone, one of these bridge cameras is what you need to get the professional quality pictures you want without the technical difficulties and high prices of ILCs and DSLRs.

via The Best New Superzoom Cameras | TIME.com.

Pro-Quality Aerial Photography Goes Plug-and-Play with the DJI S1000 | MAKE

The DJI S1000

With the announcement of the S1000 octocopter at CES 2014, DJI has introduced an aerial platform capable of turning almost any aspiring moviemaker into a top-notch sky shooter. Until now, anyone caring to fly a camera bigger than a GoPro essentially had to build their own high-powered machine at home and hope that it’d carry expensive, heavy gear reliably. While a few kit options have been released by smaller specialized companies, the S1000 now offers an out-of-the-box professional system that is ready for those willing to put their $3500 5D Mark III high in the sky.

via Pro-Quality Aerial Photography Goes Plug-and-Play with the DJI S1000 | MAKE.