• Dollar smashes through resistance as mega-rally gathers pace

    Published: Tue, Nov 4, 2014

    The US dollar has surged to a four-year high against a basket of currencies and has punched through key technical resistance, marking a crucial turning point for the global financial system. The so-called dollar index, watched closely by traders, has finally broken above its 30-year downtrend line as the US economy powers ahead and the Federal Reserve prepares to tighten monetary policy.

  • Google Updates Flu Trends to Improve Accuracy

    Published: Mon, Nov 3, 2014

    Google Inc. (GOOGL) is updating the software model it uses to estimate the spread of the flu to improve its accuracy, so that public health officials can quickly respond to outbreaks. The company introduced Google Flu Trends in 2008 to help track the spread of the virus by using Web-search data. Now, Google will incorporate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. to boost its accuracy, Christian Stefansen, senior software engineer at Google, said on the company’s research blog yesterday.

  • Risking a Life for TV Ratings

    Published: Mon, Nov 3, 2014

    For live television, luring viewers has truly become a matter of life and death. As the sun sets over the Chicago skyline on Sunday, the daredevil Nik Wallenda plans to cover his eyes with a blindfold and step onto a tightrope strung between two Chicago skyscrapers, 600 feet above the city, without a net or a harness. Dozens of cameras will document the stunt for the Discovery Channel, beaming each death-defying step onto television and digital screens across more than 220 countries.

  • Hasbro to help 'Operation' game creator John Spinello

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    John Spinello created the game of "Operation" nearly 50 years ago. Since then, millions have attempted to remove small plastic body parts from Cavity Sam without lighting up his red nose and hearing that sweat-inducing BUZZ. In a weird twist of fate, Spinello now needs an operation himself -- one he can't afford, according to a Crowdrise fundraiser launched by his friends.

  • AT&T offers more data as wireless carriers wage a price war

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    AT&T is offering two new data plans for smartphone users as the price war in the wireless industry heats up. Its part of a growing trend in which wireless providers give consumers more gigabytes of data without having to pay more. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, consumers are demanding more data to send photos, watch videos and download music.

  • Apple says it may lose Irish tax break

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    Apple says it is at risk of being hit with a higher tax rate and back taxes as European regulators investigate its tax affairs in Ireland. In June, the European Commission launched a probe to see whether Apple's 1991 tax deal with Ireland violated European Union laws prohibiting state aid to companies. Ireland and Apple say they work in accordance with the law.

  • It looks like Russia and smells like Russia ... but is it Russia?

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    It's easy to say Russians are hacking the White House and major U.S. companies. It's harder to prove it. When cybersecurity firms and U.S. government officials attribute attacks to the Russian government -- or independent hackers operating with Kremlin approval -- the typical evidence they use is pretty circumstantial: A computer virus was written in Russian, created during Moscow working hours and aimed at anti-Russian targets.

  • Can anything save Sony?

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    Sony is in dire straits. Major rating agencies Fitch and Moody's have downgraded the company to "junk" status. Standard & Poor's has warned it could soon do the same. The company has announced plans to scale back its smartphone business. On Friday, Sony reported a second quarter net loss of $1.2 billion, and the company confirmed it's on track to lose a staggering $2.1 billion this fiscal year.

  • What happens when your friend’s smartphone can tell that you’re lying

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    In just a few weeks, the next installment of “The Hunger Games” will arrive in movie theaters. The latest in a long line of films to depict a future all-knowing or controlling government — think “1984” or “Minority Report” — the dystopian tale will likely be a runaway hit. But the power to seem all-knowing – or at least know more than do now – may soon lie in technology that’s already in the palm of your hand. We are nearing a point where our smartphones will be able to recognize a face or voice, in real life or on-screen. And identification is only the most basic of the possibilities. Many app-makers are experimenting with software that can also analyze – able to determine someone’s emotions or honesty just by a few facial cues.

  • Starbucks to deliver in 2015

    Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    Starbucks will offer a delivery option in its mobile app in select areas next year. The announcement came Thursday after the company reported "disappointing quarterly sales," reports the Associated Press. In a conference call, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said, "Imagine the ability to create a standing order of Starbucks delivered hot or iced to your desk daily. That's our version of e-commerce on steroids," reports Advertising Age.

  • Business strikes back with user reviews

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    In business, it might pay to keep the customer happy, but how far should you go just to keep the peace? Thanks to new technology, a bad review now cuts both ways and the peer review is increasingly a feature of everything from holidays and restaurants to cab rides and flat shares. For Bereket Hagos, who drives an Uber car in central London, the two-way street of peer reviews has democratized a process that was normally arbitrated by employers.

  • Verizon ad tech raises privacy concerns

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    Attention Verizon Wireless customers: you may be getting tracked online. The mobile carrier has been using technology that assigns unique identification codes to users as they browse the Web on their phones, sparking privacy concerns.

  • Feds fine dating site for making fake profiles

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    Turns out I'm not actually that popular with the ladies of flirtcrowd.com. The Federal Trade Commission has fined UK-based JDI Dating for using fake, computer-generated profiles to trick users into upgrading to paid memberships. JDI -- which operates 18 dating websites, including cupidswand.com, flirtcrowd.com and findmelove.com -- must pay a $616,165 fine and reform its practices. The case is the first for the FTC against an online dating site.

  • The world is running out of plasma TVs

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    And then there were none. The last company to make plasma TV screens for U.S. consumers said this week that it would stop production of plasma sets in November. The widely expected announcement by LG has put the final nail in plasma TV's coffin. Samsung (SSNLF) said earlier this year that it too would stop making plasma screens by November. Panasonic, the only other manufacturer of plasma TVs for U.S. consumers, shut down its plasma screen production in 2013.

  • The 7 quirkiest Kickstarter gadgets

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    Crowdfunding and high-tech innovation were made for each other. With the emergence of sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, inventors with an idea, but not much cash, have been able to skip traditional business models and go straight to consumers who are excited to be part of something new and exciting.

  • NYSE, Nasdaq 'normal' after seeing trading issues

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    NYSE, Nasdaq, BATS and other exchanges reported issues with price and trading data Thursday afternoon, due to market-wide glitch at a key piece of market infrastructure that consolidates quotes and trading data. The software issue was with the SIP, the Security Information Processor, for stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It reported "market-wide issues" between 1:40 p.m. ET and 1:50 p.m. ET, according to alerts from the NYSE.

  • Headed to the movies? Get ready to leave your Google Glass at home.

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    Get ready to hear "Please silence your mobile phones -- and take off your Google Glass" in a movie theater near you. The Motion Picture Association of America and an industry group representing the owners of 32,000 moving screens across the United States announced Wednesday that they have updated their anti-theft policy banning recording devices to include "wearable tech," such as Google Glass.

  • People trust NSA more than Google, survey says

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    People don't always say what they think. Especially in business and love. Please, therefore, consider this question: whom would you trust more with your private data: the NSA, a company like Google, or your mom? I ask because I'm looking at the results of a survey, conducted between October 9 and12, that asked just that. It asked simple questions, to which its sponsors hoped to get simple answers.

  • Tim Cook: "I'm Proud to be Gay"

    Published: Thu, Oct 30, 2014

    Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them. At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

  • 'Operation' game creator John Spinello needs operation

    Published: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    (CNN) -- John Spinello created the game of "Operation" nearly 50 years ago. Since then, millions have attempted to remove small plastic body parts from Cavity Sam without lighting up his red nose and hearing that sweat-inducing BUZZ. In a weird twist of fate, Spinello now needs an operation himself -- one he can't afford, according to a Crowdrise fundraiser launched by his friends.