Stories for Aug. 19, 2014
In Brief

Facebook announced Tuesday that 95 percent of the notification emails it sends out are now being encrypted using STARTTLS — the extension used to encrypt insecure network connections between mail providers. Facebook singled out Microsoft and Yahoo as being major email providers who have since backed the extension, which requires compliance from both the email clients that send emails and those that receive them. Back in May, Facebook released a study on whether or not mail providers were using the extension and found that only 28.6 percent of the company’s outbound notification emails were being encrypted, meaning not very many services were correctly using STARTTLS.

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In Brief

curved touch display apple patent

Among 48 granted Apple patents published on Tuesday is one that could easily pertain to a wearable device, such as the rumored iWatch. Patently Apple notes that U.S. patent 8,808,483, originally filed in 2010, covers a method to create a curved touch panel. No current Apple products use a curved touch display but the obvious application for one would be on a wearable device, regardless of whether it’s a smartwatch, a health-tracking fitness band or some combination of the two: Curved displays allow for a better, less clunky fit on the wrist compared to traditional, flat screens.

In Brief

In what must surely be the best advert for Tor yet, the elusive electronic music maestro Aphex Twin has announced his new album Syro — his first in 13 years — through a webpage that can only be viewed through the anonymizing network. Those who haven’t downloaded the Tor Browser can still view a similar page in a boring old non-anonymizing browser, but all they’ll get is the information about their ISP and IP address, not the track-listing nor album title. The Tor-only .onion page is part of the “Deep Web”, a below-the-surface scene of hidden services that can’t be crawled by normal search engines.

Stories for Aug. 18, 2014
In Brief

It’s been a year full of tumult for Blackberry since CEO John Chen took over the company last November, but there’s at least one more shake-up in store: Blackberry announced Monday that it is creating a new business unit consisting of its most promising technologies. The Blackberry Technology unit will house QNX, Blackberry’s embedded OS, Project Ion, its foray into the Internet of Things, its cryptography software, and 44,000 patents. It will be headed by former Sony-Ericsson CTO Sandeep Chennakeshu. The reorganization could be the first step to reopening talks to sell off parts of the business.

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