Tech Sightings, April 8, 2014

Posted April 8th, 2014 at 2:22 pm (UTC-4)
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Scientists Develop Optical Diode that Can Lead to Faster Computers Running on Light

Scientists at the Washington University of St. Louis (WUSTL) have created the first optical diode – a breakthrough toward building the first light-based computer.

The Emerging Dark Side of Social Networks

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, which have been credited with mobilizing people and spreading democracy, are now projecting a darker side. In some cases, governments are using them for espionage or to spread dis-information to crack down on descent under authoritarian regimes.

Police Blame Social Media for Santa Barbara Riot

An annual spring break celebration near the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus that used Twitter and Facebook to draw more than 15,000 people, turned into a riot as fires were set and police  were attacked. More than 100 people were arrested; and police have blamed social media – the same social media they use for preparedness and law enforcement – for the riot.

Windows XP: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Microsoft’s termination of Windows XP support Tuesday threatens to leave hundreds of millions of PCs in homes and businesses worldwide open to security vulnerabilities, which will no longer be patched.

In-flight Internet Speeds to Increase to 70Mbps

In-flight Internet access provider Gogo plans to introduce a service that increases maximum data speed on planes to 70Mbps in the middle of next year. Japan Airlines is expected to be among the first to test the technology.

China Finally Gives Green Light for Nokia-Microsoft Devices Unit Sale

China’s Ministry of Commerce has approved the Nokia-Microsoft deal. Microsoft has had to make a few patent concessions to secure China’s approval.

Battery Charges Phones in Less Than 30 Seconds

Israeli start-up StoreDot has come up with a prototype for a battery made of biological structures that recharged a dead cellphone battery in a demonstration at Microsoft’s Think Next Conference in 26 seconds. It will take three years before the product becomes commercially viable.

New Robo-Soldier to Test Chemical Warfare Suits

Britain’s Ministry of Defense has unveiled a new robot to test equipment for the British armed forces. The robot, also known as Porton Man, mimics the movements of human soldiers and is equipped with sensors that register data for testing chemical and biological suits.

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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