Stories for Dec. 1, 2013

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On The Web

Federal workers and contractors have boosted’s capacity to handle up to 50,000 simultaneous users and reduce errors, but acknowledge privately that page load times are not fast enough.  Administration officials plan to announce Sunday that they’ve met internal deadline of November 30 for some key improvements, according to The Washington Post. But, an official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said true capacity will remain a question mark until it faces peak weekday loads.

Stories for Nov. 29, 2013

mobile shopping
photo: MJTH

Embedded sensors are changing the way we manufacture products, operate airplanes, interact at theme parks and monitor sick kids, so why wouldn’t they also change retail. Here’s how shopping could change. Read more »

Stories for Nov. 28, 2013

photo: Thinkstock

The lean startup model works for some, but not all companies. Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta offers five reasons why companies with awesome products, large markets and access to capital might want to consider bulking up. Read more »

In Brief

Just days after a Berlin court decided Google’s privacy policy and terms of use were too vague, the Dutch data protection authority has done much the same. In a Thursday statement, the the watchdog’s chairman, Jacob Kohnstamm, said the U.S. firm didn’t give users any option or much transparency when it comes to combining their data from different Google services: “Google spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent. And that is forbidden by law.” The company will now need to attend a hearing, after which the privacy regulator will decide whether to take enforcement measures.

In Brief

Hoping to easily install the CyanogenMod (CM) app to change the software on your Android device? It’s no longer as easy as it used to be: The app was voluntarily removed by the CM team at Google’s suggestion as Google said it would eventually have to pull it from the store. The reason? It “encourages users to void their warranty,” which typically happens when a user gains root access to an Android phone or tablet. CM can still be installed through sideloading and is available as a direct download.

In Brief

A team at Georgia Tech has come up with an ingenious way to steer a wheelchair if you can’t move your limbs and torso: your tongue, featuring a magnetic titanium piercing full of sensors. Currently, the most common driving method for people with tetraplegia involves sucking on or blowing into a straw, but the researchers’ method — which basically turns the tongue into a joystick by having the sensors talk to a headset that controls the chair — is apparently just as accurate and much faster. Associate professor Maysam Ghovanloo hopes to commercialize the technology through his startup, Bionic Sciences.

In Brief

A federal judge has thrown out a consumer lawsuit against Apple, which alleged that the gadget-maker betrayed the trust of iPhone and iPad owners by allowing apps to scoop up their data and track them without consent. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh axed the 3-year-old case because none of the plaintiffs could prove they relied on Apple’s privacy policy in the first place. Indeed, as she pointed out, none of them could prove they had even read it – and that’s interesting from a legal perspective, because she rejected the ticking of the “Agree” box on iTunes accounts as evidence of genuinely informed consent.

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