AP Technology NewsBrief at 3:56 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Powers of prophesy: Davos looks to the futureDAVOS, Switzerland (AP) _ Forget the endless debates about the euro or government debts. What does the future hold The World Economic Forum at Davos is always a showcase for new research, trends and ideas. And those at the annual gathering of the world's elite don't shy away from making predictions, even if they missed foreseeing seminal events like the Great Recession or the Arab Spring revolts.
UN group OKs new video format to save bandwidthGENEVA (AP) _ The U.N. telecommunications agency says its members have agreed upon a new compression format that could dramatically cut the amount of Internet bandwidth currently used by video files. The International Telecommunication Union says the format, or codec, known as H.265 would require just half the amount of data needed by its predecessor, H.264.
Hackers take over sentencing commission websiteWASHINGTON (AP) _ The hacker-activist group Anonymous says it hijacked the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to avenge the death of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide. The FBI is investigating. The website of the commission, an independent agency of the judicial branch, was taken over early Saturday and replaced with a message warning that when Swartz killed himself two weeks ago "a line was crossed."
Assange: WikiLeaks film script leaked to WikiLeaksLONDON (AP) _ If you're making a movie about WikiLeaks, this is the kind of thing you probably see coming. Julian Assange says he has obtained a leaked copy of the script for "The Fifth Estate," a DreamWorks film about the maverick computer expert and his famed secret-busting site. In a speech before the Oxford Union debating society earlier this week, Assange said his unauthorized sneak peek has left him convinced the film is a hit piece.
Exxon passes Apple as most valuable companyNEW YORK (AP) _ Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter. Apple Inc.'s stock has been on the decline since the company's quarterly earnings report Wednesday suggested that its fast growth phase, rare for a company of its size, may be coming to an end.
Smartphone 4Q sales rise 36 pct led by SamsungSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Smartphone shipments rose 36 percent worldwide in the fourth quarter as the sleek devices supplanted personal computers and other gadgets on holiday shopping lists, according to a report released Friday. The findings from the research firm International Data Corp. are the latest sign of the technology upheaval being wrought by the growing popularity of smartphones that can perform a wide variety of tasks, including surfing the Web and taking high-quality photos.
Will smart machines create a world without work WASHINGTON (AP) _ They seem right out of a Hollywood fantasy, and they are: Cars that drive themselves have appeared in movies like "I, Robot" and the television show "Knight Rider." Now, three years after Google invented one, automated cars could be on their way to a freeway near you. In the U.S., California and other states are rewriting the rules of the road to make way for driverless cars. Just one problem: What happens to the millions of people who make a living driving cars and trucks _ jobs that always have seemed sheltered from the onslaught of technology
Luddites: They raged against the machine and lostWASHINGTON (AP) _ Their name is synonymous with futile attempts to roll back technology _ and with fuddy-duddies who can't figure out how to use the iPhone. The Luddites were British textile artisans who 200 years ago smashed the mechanized looms they thought threatened their jobs.
Inventor's rewards: angry mobs, exileNEW YORK (AP) _ For every clever man who invents a labor-saving machine, it seems a crowd of angry men rises up to destroy it. The most famous of the machine haters were the Luddites, the skilled weavers of England who, in 1811, began smashing power looms that were threatening to take their jobs. Their name became a byword for technophobes ever after, but they were neither the first nor the most violent.
Microsoft's 2Q earnings dip despite Windows 8 liftSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Microsoft's latest quarterly earnings slipped, even as the world's largest software maker showed modest progress adapting to a shift away from the personal computers that have been its financial foundation for decades. The results announced Thursday are the first to include Windows 8. The program is a dramatic overhaul of the Microsoft Corp. operating system that powers most PCs. Windows 8 came out Oct. 26 with slightly more than two months left in Microsoft's fiscal second quarter.
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