Tech Sightings, July 24, 2014

Posted July 24th, 2014 at 1:00 pm (UTC+0)
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Could Food Waste Power Our Cities?

Florida’s Harvest Power, a group that first started by collecting food waste from Walt Disney World, has found a new way to produce energy. Quadrillions of microorganisms, feeding on discarded food, consume the waste much faster than it would take for it to decompose and produce biogas – a mix of methane and carbon dioxide that is helping power up some area businesses.

Robot Furniture That Builds Itself

The biotech lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) is developing self-configurable ‘Roombots’ that could change your concept of furniture. The bots have the ability to merge with other material like a table top or a cushion to create a more adaptable object. But the team’s priority is creating furniture to assist the elderly.

The 75-Year Saga Behind a Game That Teaches Preschoolers to Code

Robot Turtles is a board game that teaches computer programming to preschoolers. Crowdfunded last year, the game, which is being mass produced for the general public, mirrors the evolution of complex computer coding to a language anyone can learn.

How the Internet of Things Could Become a Critical Part of Disaster Response

With so many devices hooked up to the Internet all over the world, a group of  French and German researchers argue the Internet of Things can play a vital role in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, when communication is critical, particularly with devices running on batteries and Bluetooth.

Mass Exploit of WordPress Plugin Backdoors Sites Running Joomla, Magento, Too

Researchers say thousands of websites have been hijacked and remotely commandeered by hackers exploiting the recently-patched MailPoet vulnerability in the WordPress content management system.

Researchers Say Flaws Could Expose Users of Privacy-Protecting Software

The finding, similar to the one recently announced by anonymity service Tor, centers around the privacy-oriented operating system, The Invisible Project. Exodus Intelligence researchers say users visiting rigged websites could have their addresses, and possibly their names, unveiled.

Apple Invites Public to Test Drive Mac OS X Yosemite

Apple has just opened up the beta version of its newest Mac OS X Yosemite to the first million people who sign up to test drive it. The goal is for people to provide the company with feedback on usability and bugs.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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Whether you are in a big city or a small village – technology is in your hands, your pocket, your car, your home. It is everywhere. And everywhere, it is becoming us.

Techtonics looks at how technology intersects people’s lives, how it empowers them or traps them in a world increasingly obsessed with technological wonders even as privacy slips through its fingers. It aims to inform, discuss, and hopefully inspire.

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