Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. I’m Nick Barber.

Apple will unveil the next iPad on March 7 and it could feature support for the faster LTE data networks now available in the US from carriers Verizon and AT&T. Verizon has the clear lead in the US when it comes to LTE coverage. It now covers 195 markets in the US, while AT&T has only deployed the service in 26 cities. Most experts believe the iPad 3 will have a higher resolution screen, a faster processor, more internal memory and perhaps Apple's first quad core processor.


In a move that's unlikely to sit well with privacy advocates, the FBI has begun scouting for a tool that will allow it to gather and mine data from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The goal is to use the tool to keep on top of breaking events, incidents and emerging threats. The FBI said it's seeking a "secure, lightweight web application portal using mashup technology." According to the document, "The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center to quickly vet, identity and geo-locate" potential threats to the U.S.


A Yahoo shareholder is challenging the candidates set forth by the company's new CEO. Daneil Loeb, whose hedge fund owns 5 point 2 percent of Yahoo said that Yahoo needs to intensify its focus on media and advertising. Loeb's nominees include former NBC chief Jeff Zucker and other media execs. According to an analyst one likely outcome is that Loeb will succeed in seating one or two of his preferred members on the board.


The US Department of Justice and the European Commission approved Google's acquisition of mobile phone and tablet maker Motorola Mobility for 12 and a half billion dollars. Google is still waiting for approvals from China, Israel and Taiwan before the deal is final. The company hopes to close it in early 2012. With the buy Google will get 17-thousand patents and 68-hundred applications. Many analysts see the deal as an effort by Google to protect its Android OS from patent claims by competitors.

While hard drive supplies are coming back following flooding in Thailand prices will remain high through 2014. They're likely to increase 20 to 30 percent and remain there through most of 2012. The average global selling price for hard disk drives soared by more than a quarter in 2011. PC prices will also be affected because system makers have signed annual contacts with hard disk drive makers that have locked them into elevated pricing deals for the rest of the year.


We have a few items for you in our news in brief this week:

Microsoft is investigating a limited compromise of the company's online store in India. The users names and passwords of some customers may have been leaked and the store was defaced by EvilShadow team, a group of relatively unknown Chinese hackers.

CERN's Large Hadron Collider is shifting into high gear. From 3 and half teraelectron volts to 4 for the rest of 2012. It broke records at 7, but only for a short time. The increased speed can yield more data about the Higgs Boson or God particle.

A humanoid robot from researchers at the University of Manitoba has been taught to play ice hockey. The bot named Jennifer is a proposal for the Darwin OP Humanoid Appliance Challenge and while she’s no Wayne Gretzky, she can do things that are typically difficult for robots.

Sony is developing electric wall sockets and plugs that can control power consumption by appliance, user or power source. The smart sockets will only provide power to approved users or devices and the power grid will track energy use. No launch date’s been announced.

Microsoft's MSN launched its msnNow site that puts together brief summaries on topics that are trending on Facebook, Twitter, Bing and news site Microsoft is using an in-house developed tool, called the Demand Dashboard, that identifies trends from social media in real-time, and also looks at what people are searching for on Microsoft's Bing search engine. The real-time information helps the editorial team pick the more interesting and popular items to present to its audience as short text snippets. 

NASA engineers updated the software for a robotic Mars rover, correcting a more than two-month-old computer glitch while the robot hurtled through space on its way to Mars. Late in November, NASA launched its $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory. Dubbed Curiosity, the SUV-sized super rover is on an eight-month journey to Mars with a mission to help scientists learn if life ever existed on the Red Planet. Three days after launch the rover's computer reset due to a cache access error in the memory management unit of the rover's computer processor, a RAD750 from BAE Systems.

School children joined President Barack Obama in Washington DC recently for the White House Science Fair. Joey a sixth grader from Arizona had a project that intrigued the President, a marshmallow air cannon.




Well that’s our show for this week. Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. Next week instead of our usual show we’ll have a robot roundup special. Tune in to take a look at our favorite bots. Then in two weeks I’ll be in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress so mark your calendars. As we head out we’ll leave you with….   I’m Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we hope to see you next week.




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Nick Barber



IDG News Service

Nick Barber

Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

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Lucas Mearian, Computerworld

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