Tech Sightings, December 24, 2013

Posted December 24th, 2013 at 2:30 pm (UTC-4)
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Apple Still Has a China Problem

Apple’s landmark deal with China Mobile gives it access to more than 700 million new cell phone customers – a staggering number. But it still has a long way to go before it’s a power player in the world’s biggest market for smartphones.

Bill Gates Invests In The Urine Powered Mobile Phone

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested in the second stage of a project to produce electrical power from the digestion of urine, electricity that can be used to then power a mobile phone.

Is Facebook Safe or Not?

Facebook is a normal part of everyday life for many users, with a worldwide user base of over one billion people sharing pictures, activities and even thoughts.Things that were once private now reside on the Internet, ripe for the reading. As with most of the Internet, Facebook is as safe as you make it. For the most part, wise use and utilization of the site’s privacy and security settings protect your Facebook experience.

2014 in Preview: A Look at Upcoming Tech Trends

Contextual computing, the next phase of the post-PC era, 3D printing and the mainstreaming of wearable computing are a few of the 2014 themes we’re watching.

Beacons: What They Are, How They Work, And Why They’re Important

Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware – small enough to attach to a wall or countertop— that utilize battery-friendly low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.

Japanese Team Wins DARPA Challenge to Find Next Generation of Rescue Robots

The challenge had 16 teams attempting to complete tasks like clearing debris, wielding a hose and navigating uneven terrain. Eight of these teams have now qualified for the next round set to be held next year.

Fired PR Executive Apologizes for AIDS in Africa Tweet

A public relations executive who ignited an online furor after posting a message on Twitter joking about AIDS in Africa, apologized on Sunday, saying she was ashamed of her comment.

Apple Patents Integrated Heart Rate Monitor For Smartphones, Hover Touch Sensors

Apple has been issued a couple new patents by the USPTO today, including one for hover touch sensing the likes of which we’re starting to see rolled out in Android-powered devices lately like the Samsung Galaxy S4. Another patent covers an embedded heart rate monitor that could add one more sensor to the iPhone, with potential for biometrics and fitness apps.

Nine Common Mistakes Developers Make

A panel of nine successful entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council discuss the one common and easily avoidable mistake startup developers make.

Kerbal Space Program Dev on Random Solar Systems and the Joy of Failure

Kerbal Space Program became quite the phenomenon in 2013. After two years of quiet work, landing on Steam for Early Access brought the game to the attention of millions of gamers and launched Squad, a small interactive marketing firm based in Mexico City, toward the halls of indie success stories. Now, new educational initiative is bringing a version of the space sim to classrooms.

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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