• IRS demands Ballmer, other Microsoft leaders testify in corporate tax audit

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    SEATTLE — The Internal Revenue Service has sued former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and a slate of other former and current executives, seeking to compel them to testify in an investigation into the company’s tax practices. The lawsuits, filed in federal court in Seattle, are the latest salvo in a long-running investigation of Microsoft’s tax practices. At issue is whether the company’s various subsidiaries properly followed tax law in transferring software-selling rights to countries and U.S. territories with lower taxes. The IRS earlier this month sued Microsoft itself to compel the company to turn over a trove of documents as part of its inquiry into how Microsoft valued agreements with subsidiaries in P

  • Who hacked Sony becomes Internet's new mystery

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Everyone has a theory about who really hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Despite President Barack Obama's conclusion that North Korea was the culprit, the Internet's newest game of whodunit continues. Top theories include disgruntled Sony insiders, hired hackers, other foreign governments or Internet hooligans. Even some experts are undecided, with questions about why the communist state would steal and leak gigabytes of data, email threats to some Sony employees and their families and then threaten moviegoers who planned to watch "The Interview" on Christmas. "Somebody's done it.

  • Martin Schram: A belated gift for hearing impaired theater-goers

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    This holiday season, the news media’s big eye has focused bigtime on whether Americans will be able to indulge their holiday movie-going tradition by enjoying just one film — a silly spoof about a CIA plot to kill North Korea’s dictator. But this season I’m focusing on different reality-based truth for all who hope to enjoy entertainment in playhouses, concert halls and theaters. Namely: How wonderful it is that millions of Americans with profound hearing loss can now go to at least some theaters and entertainment venues and hear, for the first time, the full surround sound that is happening on the screen or stage.

  • Where to watch 'The Interview' online

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    You don't need to leave your house to watch "The Interview." Sony Pictures released the comedy on digital platforms Wednesday. The online release comes a day after the studio reversed its previous decision not to show the movie after hackers stole internal documents and emails from Sony. The U.S. said North Korea was behind the hack. In "The Interview," Seth Rogen and James Franco play journalists tasked by the CIA with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Viewers can rent the movie for $5.99 or buy it for $14.99. Rentals are good for 48 hours. The movie's running time is 1 hour, 52 minutes. Here's where you can watch "The Interview" online: GOOGLE PLAY Buy or rent the film from Google Inc.'s platform.

  • Google now displays song lyrics in search results

    Published: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Google is starting to show the full text of song lyrics in search results. It's a clean and quick solution to the current messy method of looking up lyrics. Song lyric sites are notoriously slow, and they inundate you with pop-up ads.

  • GPS used to track some immigrants caught at border

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security Department is experimenting with a new way to track immigrant families caught crossing the border illegally and then released into the U.S.: GPS-enabled ankle bracelets. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month launched a program to give GPS devices to some parents caught crossing the Mexican border illegally with their children in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. They were given the devices after being released from custody with notices to report back to immigration officials, according to a confidential ICE document obtained by The Associated Press.

  • Health, Human Services chief said he was misled in ‘dubious’ 21CT deals

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Now embroiled in a contract scandal and criminal investigation, the top official at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said Tuesday he was misled by the Office of Inspector General when he approved $110 million in questionable deals with an Austin tech company. Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek said he is responsible for his agency’s brokering of no-bid deals with data analytics company 21CT, whose software was billed as the future of Medicaid fraud detection. “I never forget that, ultimately, I’m responsible,” Janek told reporters during a two-hour meeting Tuesday, as he sought to answer mounting questions raised by an American-Statesman investigation into the 21CT’s work.

  • T-Mobile is the tech company of the year

    Published: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    T-Mobile had a more remarkable 2014 than any other American tech company. Sure, Apple (AAPL, Tech30) unveiled the iWatch and Apple Pay. Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) has been on an absolute tear since new CEO Satya Nadella took over in February. Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) solved its speed issues. And Facebook (FB, Tech30) dominated the social landscape with its WhatsApp purchase. It has been a great year for tech. But no other tech company shook up its entire industry the way that T-Mobile (TMUS) did this year.

  • 'Foodini' machine lets you print edible burgers, pizza

    Published: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    As further proof that you can now 3D-print anything, a company called Natural Machines has introduced a 3D printer for food. The "Foodini," as it's called, isn't too different from a regular 3D printer, but instead of printing with plastics, it deploys edible ingredients squeezed out of stainless steel capsules: "It's the same technology," says Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines, "but with plastics there's just one melting point, whereas with food it's different temperatures, consistencies and textures. Also, gravity works a little bit against us, as food doesn't hold the shape as well as plastic."

  • Manufacturers lure millennials with new training

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Finding millennials who are interested in manufacturing and have the aptitude for it are two challenges facing western Pennsylvania manufacturers trying to replace retiring baby boomers. But there's another: teaching millennials once they find them. Employers are discovering that the next generation of workers learns differently than they did. "Millennials like to see results right now," said Scott Covert, who runs an in-house training program at Penn United Technologies, a Butler County tool-and-die shop that employs about 600. That requires online courses and lots of hands-on work where students learn practical applications of theory.

  • 'Innovation fellows' test ideas, learn lessons

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Change comes slowly. Flexibility is critical. Failures aren't all bad. These are some of the lessons Rhode Island's "innovation fellows" have learned as they test bold ideas with the help of $300,000 grants from the Rhode Island Foundation that come with few strings attached. The inaugural fellows are in the home stretch of their three-year fellowships, as the foundation combs through hundreds of new applications for the next round. Soren Ryherd's Retail Project set out to revitalize Main Streets in Rhode Island with new small businesses. His plan was to create online stores first, then open brick-and-mortar locations later. The pace has been slower than he envisioned.

  • Automated vehicle tech shown at Orlando event

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    American highways are still a long way from being controlled by driverless cars, but the automated vehicle industry is taking baby steps toward that day. Some of those advances were shown off at Walt Disney Speedway recently for the second annual Florida Automated Vehicle Summit. Demonstrations revealed a range of automated options including simple camera systems on buses that warn when a person is too close to a completely automated shuttle that roams a set course in a campus environment. MobileEye used an Orlando LYNX bus to show how the warning cameras work. As the bus approached mannequins on a cart, cameras detected that the mannequin was moving toward the bus. A flashing light and audible alarm told the bus driver

  • Game review: 10 Best games ported to Android

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Mobile gaming has come a long way in recent years, especially when Tegra graphics technology is involved. Today, you can play games on your Android tablet, phone, or Shield device that were once exclusive to PCs and consoles. Here are the ten best games to go mobile. 1. “Half-Life 2” Considered by many to be one of the best games ever made for the PC, “Half-Life 2” is faithfully ported over to Android mobile systems and optimized for Tegra technology. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the game for the first time, or the twentieth time. You can bring the story of Gordon Freeman’s fight against the alien Combine forces with you wherever you go. 2.

  • [BC-MCT-PLUGGEDIN-BJT]

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    (TNS) Tribune News Service PLUGGED IN Budget for Wednesday, December 24, 2014 (EDITORS: Lifehacker content will no longer appear on the budget.) Plugged In, moves Wednesdays, as a premium package of technology, gaming, social media and entertainment stories targeted toward 18- to 34-year-old readers. To subscribe, please call Rick DeChantal at 866-280-5210 or rdechantal@Tribpub.com.

  • Galaxy Note Edge: Cool screen, but it costs how much?

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Hooray for something different. I love smartphones, and I don’t hide the fact that I’m an iPhone user, but even I crave a little variety once in a while. With phones coming down in three camps — iOS, Android or Windows — there hasn’t been much in the way of risk-taking in the last few years. In my very unscientific survey, Samsung seems to have the most models and types of phones and tablets on the market, which means it can take some risks. The Galaxy Note Edge is a risk, which is why I like it. The Note Edge’s screen is unique. It’s curved. The edge of the display (and front bezel) wraps around the right side of the phone, and Samsung’s interface designers have made the most of that s

  • Gift of understanding, Grant for iPads will help children relate and connect with others

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Two nonverbal McAlester children were given the gift of communication Monday morning. Branson Byrd, 5, and Ardie “AJ” Bowles, 8, both of McAlester, were given iPads by Ability Connection Oklahoma (ACO), an organization which serves those with disabilities. “It’s amazing,” said Branson’s mother, Kendall Byrd. “My child will be able to communicate. He will be able to tell me what’s wrong and what he wants. This will make life a lot easier.” Melissa Byrum, a McAlester speech therapist and owner of Melissa Byrum Speech Therapy, works with Branson and AJ Byrum. She is the one who applied for the iPads. She said the cost of the equipment and the software needed is almost $1,000.

  • Feline fame in cyberspace gives species a boost

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Cats these days aren't associated with deities the way they were in ancient Egypt, but the Internet has gotten them a little closer. We adore Nora the piano-playing cat. We chuckle as a comical feline named Maru leaps into cardboard boxes. We revel in Grumpy Cat's permanently sour expression. And with millions watching videos of other kitties getting tongue baths from horses and playing peekaboo with their owners, cats have become online stars. For feline fans, it's a sea change. In the affections of Americans, cats often get short shrift compared with dogs. Some see cats as aloof, poor companions and indifferent to attention that dogs enjoy. But with cats' celebrity expanding, experts say cybers

  • Sony, YouTube will stream 'The Interview' on Thursday, source says

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sony, YouTube will stream 'The Interview' on Thursday, source says.

  • Auto industry acts globally _ except on recalls

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    DETROIT (AP) — When it comes to making and selling cars, the auto industry thinks and acts globally: There is near-seamless coordination between parts suppliers, factories and dealerships. But when an unsafe car needs to be recalled, that global coordination breaks down — in part because governments do not demand it. There are no international standards for determining what's unsafe and should be recalled, or how car owners should be notified. The consequences can sometimes be deadly. Six years ago, Honda began recalling driver's side air bags in the U.S. The air bags, made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. at a now-shuttered plant in Georgia, can inflate with too much force, spewing shrapnel into the vehicle.

  • Honda recalls 1,252 Crosstours over side air bags

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Honda is recalling 1,252 Crosstour vehicles due to a faulty side air bag made by troubled air bag supplier Takata. The Honda recall is for 2015 model year Crosstours. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the side air bag may not inflate properly because of a problem with its inflator tube. Crosstour owners will receive a letter in the mail asking them to take their car to a Honda dealer and have the side air bags replaced free of charge. Honda said no injuries were reported. Takata Corp. declined to comment. Takata, a Japanese air bag maker, is at the center of massive recalls around the world.