Someone’s Threatening to Expose Bitcoin Founder Satoshi Nakamoto


Ariel Zambelich/WIRED. Coin design: Gail Anderson + Joe Newton

Someone has taken over the email account belonging to Bitcoin’s secretive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and says he will sell his secrets for money.

The hacker, who told WIRED his name is “Jeffrey” claims to have also obtained information on Nakamoto that could be used to unmask his identity. Jeffrey didn’t tell us much, but when we asked him how he managed to take control over the email address that Nakamoto had used for some of his correspondence, he wrote, “The fool used a primary gmx under his full name and had aliases set up underneath it. He’s also alive.”

In a Pastebin post, Jeffrey said he will release Satoshi’s secrets if someone pays 25 bitcoins — about $12,000 to his bitcoin address. He says he has email messages dating back to 2011.

Jeffrey wouldn’t say how he took over Nakamoto’s account and he didn’t respond to many of our questions. But it looks like he leveraged the address to take over other Nakamoto accounts. One was used Monday to post a message to the P2P Foundation website. Another to deface an old bitcoin developer page on the Sourceforge open-source coding site.

In his P2P Foundation message, Jeffrey claimed that information about Nakamoto was already being sold online. “Apparently you didn’t configure Tor properly and your IP leaked when you used your email account sometime in 2010. You are not safe. You need to get out of where you are as soon as possible before these people harm you.”

Jeffrey didn’t provide any evidence to substantiate this claims, however. And it’s not clear what information he really has on bitcoin’s creator.

Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared from the public eye back in 2010, so it’s possible that after a few use of disuse, the webmail provider that Nakamoto used,, simply allowed somebody new to register the email account. Based in the U.K., couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A more intriguing possibility, however, is that the account was hacked. If that’s true, Jeffrey could have access to a treasure trove of private Satoshi Nakamoto emails. And that information could help unmask Nakamoto’s true identity.

Michael Marquardt, the head administrator of the the discussion forum says that Jeffrey sent him an excerpt of an email he’d sent to Nakamoto back in March of this year. “So either the email account was compromised since March,” he says, “or the attacker gained access to old emails when he compromised the account.”

“I’m pretty sure that this is just some troll in it for the laughs,” he added.

New antimicrobial strategy silences NDM-1 resistance gene in pathogens

Researchers have synthesized a molecule that can silence the gene responsible for severe antibiotic resistance in some bacteria. The research, presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), an infectious disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) could be a viable new strategy for treating resistant infections.

The focus of this new molecule is NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1) a gene carried by some bacteria that allows them to produce an enzyme called carbapenemase.

"NDM-1 confers bacterial resistance to all classes of beta-lactam (penicillin type) antibiotics including carbapenems, powerful antibiotics used when others fail," says Bruce Geller of Oregon State University and author on the study. "NDM-1 has spread rapidly to many bacterial pathogens, including E. coli, Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Many of these pathogens are resistant to multiple antibiotics, which limits treatment options."

Molecule known as a peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PPMO) are synthetic analogs of DNA or RNA that have the ability to silence the expression of specific genes. In this study Geller and his colleagues at Oregon State University and the University of Texas Southwestern have design, synthesized and tested a PPMO that is complimentary to the NDM-1 gene, allowing it to bind specifically to NDM-1 mRNA, essentially silencing the gene.

"When the NDM-1 PPMO was added to growing cultures of multidrug-resistant E. coli, A. baumannii or K. pneumoniae that express NDM-1, it restored susceptibility to carbapenems at therapeutically relevant concentrations," says Geller.

NDM-1 infection was first identified in 2009 in people who resided in or traveled to the India and Pakistan. The first cases in the United States were identified in 2010, and the number of cases is growing. The concern is that these highly resistant bacteria carrying NDM-1 could supplant more antibiotic-sensitive strains.

"There is a critical need to find new treatments for antibiotic-resistant pathogens and using a gene-silencing approach, such as with a PPMO, could be one viable strategy for new antimicrobial development," says Geller.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Bacteria from bees possible alternative to antibiotics

Raw honey has been used against infections for millennia, before honey -- as we now know it -- was manufactured and sold in stores. So what is the key to its' antimicrobial properties? Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have identified a unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria found in fresh honey, from the honey stomach of bees. The bacteria produce a myriad of active antimicrobial compounds.

These lactic acid bacteria have now been tested on severe human wound pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), among others. When the lactic acid bacteria were applied to the pathogens in the laboratory, it counteracted all of them.

While the effect on human bacteria has only been tested in a lab environment thus far, the lactic acid bacteria has been applied directly to horses with persistent wounds. The LAB was mixed with honey and applied to ten horses; where the owners had tried several other methods to no avail. All of the horses' wounds were healed by the mixture.

The researchers believe the secret to the strong results lie in the broad spectrum of active substances involved.

"Antibiotics are mostly one active substance, effective against only a narrow spectrum of bacteria. When used alive, these 13 lactic acid bacteria produce the right kind of antimicrobial compounds as needed, depending on the threat. It seems to have worked well for millions of years of protecting bees' health and honey against other harmful microorganisms. However, since store-bought honey doesn't contain the living lactic acid bacteria, many of its unique properties have been lost in recent times," explains Tobias Olofsson.

The next step is further studies to investigate wider clinical use against topical human infections as well as on animals.

The findings have implications for developing countries, where fresh honey is easily available, but also for Western countries where antibiotic resistance is seriously increasing.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

How Europe Can Seize the Starring Role in Big Data

Could Europe make a clean sweep of the Big Data Oscars?

Could Europe make a clean sweep of the Big Data Oscars? WEBN-TV/Flickr

On the world stage, it is clear who enjoys the starring role in the Internet-sphere. It’s safe to say that the US has given the Oscar-winning performance while Europe has played a distinctly supporting role. Consider this: globally, US-based companies represent close to 67% of the total market capitalization of public Internet companies while European companies account for less than 4% . Britain, Germany and France combined have 15 Internet firms valued at over $1 billion while the US alone has 87. Europe is yet to produce its own champions on the scale of Google, Facebook and Twitter. Tellingly, in fact, Google accounts for a larger share of the European search market than it does of its home market.

Early signs indicate that history might well repeat itself as we enter the age of Big Data. As many as 17 of the top 20 Big Data companies belong to the US, while only 2 come from Europe. With trillions of dollars worth of economic and social value at stake, Europe can’t afford to be left looking from the wings once again.

The good news: Europe has woken up to the issue and is taking steps to enjoy its time in the limelight. The European Commission (EC) has launched the Startup Europe program to help domestic startups grow beyond early-stage and cross the €100 million mark. The program includes a range of initiatives that will provide startups with easier access to resources such as accelerators, venture capital investment and crowdfunding. As part of the program, the Commission has also launched the “Startup Europe Partnership” to involve European corporations, universities and investment communities in growing Europe’s startups. Key goals of the partnership include increasing private and institutional investment in startups and encouraging European corporations to buy more services from startups.

But winning the plaudits in Big Data will certainly need more. For a start, Big Data requires a multi-disciplinary skill-set that is in critically short supply. Addressing the supply deficit will require a multi-pronged approach that emphasizes a mix of education, training and skills development. First, new master’s level degree programs in data science will need to be created to meet the need for highly specialized quantitative and technology skills. As an example from outside Europe, the Advanced Analytics Institute (AAI) at the University of Technology Sydney has developed Master of Analytics (Research) and PhD degrees in analytics with the aim of producing the next generation of analytics graduates.

Second, Europe will need to ensure that its existing IT and management workforce is trained to take advantage of Big Data. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can play a vital role here. MIT is launching a 4-week online course on Big Data through the edX MOOC platform — “Tackling the Challenge of Big Data” — which is directed specifically at professionals and executives.

Third, the seeds of strong computing and analytical skills will need to be sown at the earliest stages. Here, the rest of Europe can take a leaf out of the UK’s book. The UK’s new computing national curriculum requires that students aged between 5 and 16 be given the skills they need to build apps and write computer programs — skills that will lay the foundations of a future pool of data scientists. Importantly, teachers too need all the ammunition they can get in order to take on Big Data. The UK has taken a range of steps towards this. For instance, it has put together a £2 million fund to build a network of 400 “master teachers”, who will help train thousands of other computing teachers in Big Data skills. Further, it is providing financial incentives of up to £25,000 to encourage exceptional computer science graduates to become teachers.

Of course, if Europe is not going to fluff its Big Data audition, it will need to ensure that conditions for the use of personal data are clearly established and citizens have greater control over how their personal data is used. Measures such as those taken by Japan can serve as a starting point. Japan has established the Personal Data Working Group to develop user-friendly descriptions of terms-of-use so that consumers are better able to choose whether to opt in or out of online services. Europe will also need to support business models that offer companies a legitimate means to access user data. UK-based startup, for instance, is an online marketplace that allows consumers to negotiate the exact price of the personal data they are willing to share with brands.

When William Shakespeare said that “all the world’s a stage”, he probably wasn’t thinking of Europe’s need to define a strong role for itself in the global political theatre. However, if Europe doesn’t want itself condemned to play a minor role in Big Data, while others again take the major parts, it needs to step into the limelight, building a fertile startup ecosystem, a robust talent pool, and privacy safeguards that protect consumers without stifling businesses. Who knows, Europe may make a clean sweep of the Big Data Oscars.

Jerome Buvat heads up Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Research Institute.

At 99 Cents, the Fire Phone Is a Super-Cheap Way to Get Amazon Prime

Amazon Fire Phone

Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

The Amazon Fire Phone isn’t a bad phone. It’s just not worth $200. But how about if only cost you a buck?

Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone market launched a little over a month ago. And while it suffered from a smaller app ecosystem and a strange focus on holograms-’n’-shoppin’, it’s a solid phone. Its shortcomings did make it a tough sell at $200 on a two-year contract with AT&T. But now Fire Phone’s price has dropped to a dollar with that same two-year contract, and it’s quite a bit more compelling.

Here’s a big reason why: Even at the drop to 99 cents that Amazon announced today. the Fire Phone includes a free year of Amazon Prime. Along with streaming-video services for a year, free two-day shipping for items you buy on Amazon, and access to Amazon’s Prime Music streaming service, the Fire Phone also has HDX-like perks such as downloadable videos for offline viewing. A Prime membership normally costs $100 per year, so the savings are significant. If you’ve already subscribed to Prime, the company tacks on another year of service when you buy the phone.

The Fire Phone also has a couple more traits that make it worth considering at that much-cheaper price. You get free cloud storage from Amazon for all the photos you shoot with the phone’s camera, and you get 24/7 live help over video through its Mayday service.

Along with all that, you’re essentially getting a free phone with free Prime services. Separately, those things combined to cost $300 before today. The Fire Phone’s sub-dollar deal is for the 32GB model with a two-year AT&T contract through Amazon.

Why Facebook Is Totally Rethinking Online Ads in Africa and India


Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

In Africa, over 100 million people are now using Facebook. But they don’t use it quite like we do here in the U.S.

Each month, as Mark Zuckerberg and company revealed today, 80 percent of those 100 million visit Facebook from mobile devices, and many of these devices are a far cry from the iPhones—with their 4G wireless connections and relatively spacious touchscreens—that are now commonplace across the U.S.

In Africa, a good percentage of people use Facebook on “feature phones“—cheaper devices with small screens that provide a far more limited means of accessing modern online services—and they’re dependent on relatively slow cellular services that charge by the megabyte, so they’re extremely careful about how much data they send and receive.

That may not sound like a viable avenue for online ads, Facebook’s primary source of revenue. But Brendan Sullivan says otherwise. He’s part of a Facebook team that’s exploring new kinds of carefully tailored advertising that could allow businesses to effectively reach people in emerging markets where internet technology is limited, including not only Africa but also India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Argentina.

“We’re seeing a ton of user growth, especially on mobile, in these different regions,” Sullivan says, “and we realize we have a huge opportunity to help marketers better connect with these people.” In some cases, these new-age ads are targeted to the particular speeds of wireless service, and in others, they behave in ways that don’t even use online data.

The company’s work in this area could also show how other online operations can pull added revenue from such regions. In these emerging markets, Facebook is completing with a simpler breed of social networking service that’s better suited to low-end mobile phones—this is one of the reasons that the company acquired the messaging app WhatsApp, which is extremely popular in certain foreign countries—and on the surface, these services also seem ill-suited to advertising. But initial tests by the company indicate, there are ways of running viable ads in extremely constrained situations.

In India, for instance, Facebook is letting businesses run ad campaigns that behave like missed phone calls. Across the country, Sullivan explains, many people use missed calls to send messages without racking up charges on their wireless data plans. It’s a bit like people once used collect calls to send messages here in the States: They’ll call a friend or family member and immediately hang up, and this will represent some pre-determined signal, such as “I’m waiting for you outside” or “call me back.” So, Facebook is now offering “missed call” ad campaigns.

When users see one of these ads and click on it, they send a missed call to the advertiser. The advertiser can then respond with a call that delivers certain information or services, such as a cricket score or a product offer—and the user doesn’t eat into his wireless data plan. According to Sullivan, this mimics billboard ad campaigns in India, in which companies arrange for roadside signs that promise services if you send a “missed call” to a certain phone number.

According to Facebook, tests of its “missed call” ad unit have already proven successful in India, and the plan is to roll out similar technology in South Africa and beyond. In similar fashion, the company is also letting advertisers target particular ads to particular speeds of wireless connections, another effort to hone campaigns in places with limited infrastructure.

Sullivan declines to discuss other ways that Facebook could drive ads on more limited phones and through more limited data connections, but he does say that Facebook is constantly exploring new ways of delivering ads that suit particular regions. In South Africa, for instance, the missed call ads may respond with SMS text messages rather than another phone call, because this is more in tune with the way people use their devices in the country. “As we think through these things and expand them,” Sullivan says, “we’re making sure we’re tweaking them in a way that makes sense for each individual market and functions properly under the constraints of the way people behavior there.”

FBI’s Story of Finding Silk Road’s Server Sounds a Lot Like Hacking


Screenshot: WIRED

To hear the FBI tell it, tracking down the secret server behind the billion-dollar drug market known as the Silk Road was as easy as knocking on a door. The bureau’s latest court filing in the case describes how the hidden site accidentally revealed its location to anyone who visited its login page, thanks to a software misconfiguration.

But the technical side of the security community, who have long tracked the dark web’s experiments in evading law enforcement, don’t buy that simple story. They read the FBI’s statement differently: as a carefully worded admission that it didn’t knock on the Silk Road’s door so much as hack its way in.

As the trial of alleged Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht approaches, his defense has focused on how the government initially discovered the Silk Road’s server in Iceland, in spite of the site using the anonymity software Tor to hide its physical location. In a motion filed last month, the defense argued that discovery may have represented a search without a warrant and an illegal violation of Ulbricht’s privacy. Then on Friday, the prosecution fired back with a memo claiming that the FBI’s investigation had been entirely legal, accompanied by an FBI statement explaining how the server was found.

As bureau agent Christopher Tarbell describes it, he and another agent discovered the Silk Road’s IP address in June of 2013. According to Tarbell’s somewhat cryptic account, the two agents entered “miscellaneous” data into its login page and found that its CAPTCHA—the garbled collection of letters and numbers used to filter out spam bots—was loading from an address not connected to any Tor “node,” the computers that bounce data through the anonymity software’s network to hide its source. Instead, they say that a software misconfiguration meant the CAPTCHA data was coming directly from a data center in Iceland, the true location of the server hosting the Silk Road.

But that account of the discovery alone doesn’t add up, says Runa Sandvik, a privacy researcher who has closely followed the Silk Road and worked for the Tor project at the time of the FBI’s discovery. She says the Silk Road’s CAPTCHA was hosted on the same server as the rest of the Silk Road. And that would mean all of it was accessible only through Tor’s network of obfuscating bounced connections. If some element of the site were accessible through a direct connection, that would represent a significant flaw in Tor itself—a well-funded and frequently audited piece of open source software—not a mere misconfiguration in the Silk Road. “The way [the FBI] describe how they found the real IP address doesn’t make sense to anyone who knows a lot about Tor and how web application security works,” Sandvik says. “There’s definitely something missing here.”

If the IP address of the Silk Road was in fact leaking on its login page, there’s little doubt the flaw would have been quickly spotted by others, says Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian security consultant who has made a hobby of analyzing the Silk Road’s security since just after it launched in 2011. The bitcoin-based market, after all, received millions of visits, fascinated the security community, and represented a tempting target for hackers seeking to steal its cryptocurrency. “The idea that the CAPTCHA was being served from a live IP is unreasonable,” Cubrilovic writes in a blog post. “Were this the case, it would have been noticed not only by me, but the many other people who were also scrutinizing the Silk Road website.”

Moreover, Cubrilovic agrees with Sandvik that a simple leak in a Tor hidden service site isn’t a plausible explanation. “There’s no way you can be connected to a Tor site and see the address of a server that’s not a Tor node,” Cubrilovic said in a followup interview with WIRED. “The way they’re trying to make a jury or a judge believe it happened just doesn’t make sense technically.”

Instead, Cubrilovic and Sandvik both posit that the FBI took a more aggressive step: Actively attacking the Silk Road’s login page to reveal its IP. They speculate that the FBI used a hacker trick that involves entering programming commands into an entry field on a website that’s intended to instead receive data like a username, password, or CAPTCHA response. When that carefully crafted input is interpreted by the site, it can trick the site’s server into running that code as actual commands, forcing it to cough up data that could include the computer’s IP address.

Just a month earlier, Cubrilovic points out, a Reddit user had posted that he or she had found a vulnerability that would allow a similar attack in the Silk Road’s login page. And that early May date matches up with a footnote in the FBI’s statement that mentions an earlier “leak” of the Silk Road’s IP address.

If that were the sort of security vulnerability that the FBI considered “fair game,” Cubrilovic says it could easily have found another such hackable flaw in the site’s login page in June. “If two FBI agents were tasked with investigating this server, it would be simple to find this bug,” he says. “Someone with resources and persistence would discover this in a matter of hours.”

To be clear, all such theories of an FBI hack targeting the Silk Road are still just speculation. And neither Cubrilovic and Sandvik is accusing the FBI of lying. They argue only that its account of entering “miscellaneous” characters into the site is a carefully cloaked description of injecting commands into the Silk Road’s login fields.

In a statement to WIRED, an FBI spokesperson writes only that “as a U.S. law enforcement agency, the FBI is bound by the U.S. Constitution, relevant laws and U.S. Attorney General guidelines to carry out our investigations. We obtain proper court authority for law enforcement actions through every step of our investigations, the case against Mr. Ulbricht is no different.” The bureau declined to comment further, citing the ongoing judicial process in the case.

But the ambiguities and unanswered questions in the FBI’s account will no doubt serve as ammunition for Ulbricht’s defense as it further presses its case that the Silk Road investigation involved illegal searches. Ulbricht’s defense team, meanwhile, declined to comment.

If the FBI did use a remote code execution technique against the Silk Road without a warrant, it could raise more hairy legal questions for the prosecution. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has an exception for valid law enforcement investigations. But whether an active attack of the Silk Road’s login page without a warrant constitutes an illegal search might hinge on exactly what data the FBI gathered from that theoretical hack, says Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It could also depend on exactly who owned or hosted the server—the FBI’s statement claims that it belonged to a web hosting firm, not Ulbricht himself. “If the government did some intrusive injection of code, the issue will be whether Ulbricht can complain about it,” says Fakhoury. “There are some very interesting Fourth Amendment questions, but it will depend on what exactly he did and the terms of his agreement with the web hosting company.”

If, on the other hand, the FBI did find the Silk Road IP without any hacker tricks, it should produce the evidence to prove it, argues hacker Andrew Auernheimer in a blog post that circulated widely through the security community over the weekend. “It is very easy for a federal agent to claim something. It is several orders of magnitude more difficult to fake packetlogs of network traffic which include a protocol as complex as Tor,” Auernheimer writes. “I think the FBI needs to release these in a timely fashion to corroborate their claims here…If the federal government fails to produce them, it is absolutely a matter of evidence destruction.”

In its filing, the prosecution already argued that it shouldn’t be forced to answer a series of questions about the server discovery included in a motion from Ulbricht’s defense, including what agencies and contractors were involved in the investigation and what software tools were used.

“There is…no basis—especially at this late juncture, six months after discovery was originally produced—for Ulbricht to go on a ‘blind and broad fishing expedition’ for proof of some darker, alternative storyline, somehow involving violations of his Fourth Amendment rights, when there isn’t a shred of evidence that any such violations actually happened,” the prosecution’s statement reads.

Given the controversy now swirling around the FBI’s story, don’t expect Ulbricht’s defense to give in so easily.

Homepage image: Courtesy The Ulbricht Family

E Pluribus Unum Gone Digital: Connected Software Is the Next Step in Productivity

Image: Global X/Flickr

How’s your work-life balance in the mobile age? Global X/Flickr

Google. Evernote. Wunderlist. Mailbox. Dropbox. GoToMeeting. The newest wave of apps is all about leveraging the right tools to help you get things done across multi-screen. This proliferation of mobile technology has promised liberation for today’s workforce. So why do we feel more chained to our work than ever?

Nearly 1.3 billion (yes, billion) people now work untethered from their desks, and organizations are getting serious about keeping this new distributed workforce connected and productive with tools that support with mobility and collaboration.

The arrival of the mobile workforce has given many entrepreneurs the hope that they will be able to find some time for life outside of work. But with time as the ultimate commodity in today’s increasingly busy world, the work-life balance that many seek is still more of an illusion than reality.

We should be at a point where we can spend our Sunday afternoon playing catch with our kids, instead of wasting hours sifting through emails to get a handle on where our business stands. Or have time to go out and meet with prospective clients and make deals that will grow our business, instead of being bogged down and overwhelmed while pulling all of the pieces together.

So why is this still a problem in a time when we have more productivity tools and technologies than ever before? Because all of our tools are entirely disconnected, and its contributing to our ever more fragmented workflows. We’ve put too much of an emphasis on our email as a productivity tool, with the hopes that new productivity management and content sharing tools from Google Docs to Asana will pick up the slack where email fails.

But that’s not happening. Workers are still spending 28% of their office time on emails daily, which amounts to more than 650 hours a year and 13 hours a week.

Microsoft, Apple and Google have tried to solve this information overload, with more than half of the workforce stating that they are demoralized when they can’t manage all the information that comes their way each day, but have ultimately failed to create a solution that enables everyone, from the small business owner to the corporate manager, to get their work done faster and more efficiently.

The tools that we turn to for personal productivity have made the shift from web to multi-screen and while they are useful, they are not transformative. Why? Because they are all great at doing one thing — but don’t talk to each other.

Ultimately, we’ve gotten away from the simplicity of work. No one should have to open 5-6 different tools, email, Google Docs, GoToMeeting, Dropbox, Basecamp, Evernote and the myriad of other tools we use, in order to get an update on just one project. All of these tools have become somewhat counterproductive as only 2 percent of us can actually multitask between all of them and because more than 50% of us are now spending more time trying to be productive than actually working.

In trying to make things simpler we’ve only diminished productivity, which combined with wasted time, negatively affects the bottom line.

So how do we solve this snowballing productivity problem? We need all of these software tools to work together as one, creating a digital E Pluribus Unum.

By approaching the productivity problem from a position of connectivity, our workflow immediately becomes more efficient because our tools are working for us, and doing the information sifting and organizing so that we don’t have to.

For example, CEOs should not be copied so often that they have 300 emails coming through their inbox each day. This system makes email another job that managers don’t have time for, and ultimately defeats the purpose of email as a tool for communication.

However, if email, project management, meetings, documents, notes, etc. are all unified in one place, CEOs can utilize the time they used to spend searching for the latest email update to actually get something done.

Working on the go can also be as productive as working at your desk if you’re able to access apps in a single connected place that doesn’t require opening and closing different programs constantly in order to complete one task on a phone or tablet. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be able to see it all at a glance when out of the office, whether we’re at the kitchen table or on the train.

Technology has helped us break the chains and free ourselves from being stuck at a desk all day, and now its time to keep track of what really matters when it comes to working efficiently — context and clarity.

We have realized how fragmented and disconnected our workflows have become, now its time to reconnect.

Steven Berlin is co-founder and CEO of Uskape.

Ex-Googler Shares His Big-Data Secrets With the Masses

Theo Vassilakis and Toli Lerios (left to right).

Theo Vassilakis and Toli Lerios (left to right). Theo Bryna Cain

Google’s search engine makes it wonderfully easy to locate stuff on the web, whether it’s in a news article, a corporate website, or a video on YouTube. But that only begins to describe Google’s ability to find information. Inside the company, engineers use several uniquely powerful tools for searching and analyzing its own massive trove of data.

One of those is Dremel, a tool that helps Google’s employees analyze data stored across thousands of machines, at unusually fast speeds. What’s more, Dremel lets the Google team to manipulate all of this data using a language very similar to SQL, short for Structured Markup Language, the standard way of grabbing information from databases.

Like most of its custom-built tools, Dremel is only available inside Google. But now, the rest of the world can hack data a little more like Google does, thanks to Quest, a Dremel-like query engine created by Theo Vassilakis, one of the lead developers of Dremel at Google, and Toli Lerios, a former engineer at Facebook. The tool is one of a growing number of that seek to mimic the way web giants like Google and Facebook rapidly analyze enormous amounts of online information stored across hundreds or even thousands of machines. This includes everything from a project called Drill, from a company called MapR, to a sweeping open source platform called Spark.

Vassilakis and Lerios cooked up the idea for Quest in 2012. “We were looking inside of Google and Facebook at how hard it is to get data and combine data and produce useful results,” Vassilakis says. “And we thought about what’s going on at all these companies without 15,000 engineers.” So they quit their jobs and started their own company, Metanautix, and set about building Quest. Today, after two years of development, the product is now available to any company that would like to use it.

The idea behind Quest is to make it simple for analysts to query data from anywhere in a company with a single tool, regardless of where that data is stored, without the need to learn new programming languages. Using Quest, analysts can query traditional sources such as Oracle’s flagship database, “big data” storage systems like Hadoop, log files, Word documents, images and media files, and more. But it isn’t just a search engine.

Just like Dremel, Quest lets you query data using a SQL-like language. “Our view is that if you can show people the traditional metaphors that they’re used to, such as tables and SQL queries, that’s the easiest way for them to get started,” he says. “We’re trying to support all the traditional metaphors without teaching people new things.”

Quest isn’t a database. It doesn’t store data. And although Quest can be used to move data around from system to system, it can also analyze data without moving it, making copies of the data and shuttling these copies through its own memory system. To accomplish all of this, Metanautix built connectors for several major storage systems, including Oracle, Hadoop and Amazon S3. And thanks to its use of the Java Virtual Machine, it can interface with just about any data source you can think of.

You could use it to correlate data from purchase orders stored a data warehousing system in your own data center with product photos stored in the cloud, for example, or analyze web analytics data stored in Hadoop with customer profiles stored in an Oracle database, and throw in some information laying around in Word documents on the company shared drive for good measure.

It can also keep track of the changes you make to your data. That’s a big part of what sets Quest apart from many other big data tools, says Mark Madsen, founder of the analyst firm Third Nature. Companies in regulated industries—from health care to finance to pharmaceuticals—need to be able to provide an audit trail to prove their compliance with the law. That’s not something that many new age data analytics tools account for, Madsen says.

There are a few other Dremel clones out there already, such as Cloudera’s Impala and MapR’s Drill. But these other projects are more concerned with collecting data, says Madsen, while Quest is focused on manipulating data. “Data in its raw form isn’t that useful,” he says. “You have to do things to it. You have to shape, and discard the stuff you don’t need.”

Beastly 24TB TiVo Mega Has 8 Times the Capacity of Any Other TiVo

TiVo Mega. Enough room to save every Dodgers game... for the next seven seasons.

TiVo Mega. Enough room to save every Dodgers game… for the next seven seasons. courtesy TiVo Inc

If you’re interested in hoarding TV shows on your TiVo—but not interested in hoarding actual TiVos—consider the TiVo Mega. It costs $5,000, it has 24TB of storage in a RAID 5 array, it comes with free TiVo service forever, and it eats CHiPs for lunch. The entire six-season run of CHiPs.

It may not fit on your Ikea Smöbbo TV stand, because it will weigh 40 to 50 pounds and is designed for rack-mounting. Its ten hot-swappable drives and “anodized precision-machined” enclosure will look more at home on a server farm than in a TV room, but the on-screen interface will be your typical TiVo experience. You get the TiVo channel guide, the ability to stream and schedule recordings on mobile devices, the ability to transfer shows to other TiVos on the same home network, and universal searches across live, recorded, and streaming shows.

For its $5,000 price of entry, you automatically get free TiVo service until the end of time, which normally costs $500 or $15 per month. Another perk for the high price: It comes with TiVo’s higher-end Slide Pro Remote, which has a built-in keyboard and normally costs $50 extra. Savings!

Just like the TiVo Roamio Pro, which has a mere 3TB of storage for a practically free $600 (plus service), the TiVo Mega has six tuners, so you can only record a half-dozen shows at a time. According to TiVo, the Mega stores up to 4,000 hours of HD programming, which is about 167 days (or 6 months) of hoarded TV. If you’re willing to settle for standard-definition shows, you can eke out 26,000 hours of programming. That’s 1,083 days, or about three years of Small Wonder reruns.

Until early 2015, you’ll have to make do with your measly existing DVR. The TiVo Mega is slated to go on sale in the first few months of next year.

Mobile Payments: Waiting Is No Longer an Option

David Marcus, VP of PayPal mobile, shows off the ‘Here’.

David Marcus, VP of PayPal mobile, shows off the ‘Here’. Kim White/PayPal

No doubt about it: the mobile payments marketplace is set to explode — and soon. The fuse has been burning for years, lit perhaps by PayPal, perhaps by Apple, perhaps by Near Field Communication (NFC) or other enabling technologies. Whatever the origin, the imminent rise in mobile payment technology is going to change life in a big way.

Players across a spectrum of industries, from retail to wireless, mobile device to financial services, are vying to dominate this next phase in the mobile payment revolution. In the social media realm, for example, Twitter will soon be able to offer its users the ability to Tweet “in the moment” purchase experiences, thanks to the company’s recent purchase of CardSpring, an application platform that allows the creation of promotional offers directly supported by credit cards and other forms of payment. Photo-sharing service SnapChat has unveiled the ability to add location-based logos and other labels to photos — a move that will not only enhance its monetization strategies through corporate branding, but is also likely to spur other eCommerce opportunities in the future.

Facebook, perhaps the most commercially aggressive of the major social media destinations, has plans to process purchase transactions using its own smartphone technology. Soon users will be able to make purchases right from their Facebook mobile app. Just click “buy,” enter your credit card information once, and the item will be on its way — and Facebook will be the more profitable for it.

Social media channels are anxious to support commerce transactions because they need to diversify their income streams beyond advertising. What’s more, they know a great deal about their users’ preferences and habits — and that information has immense value. Bricks-and-mortar merchants, for their part, are collecting the same kind of customer data. For some of the best-known retail names, this is supporting a wide range of mobile payment initiatives.

Starbucks, an early pioneer in mobile payments through its proprietary smartphone app, is going to begin testing a new advance-ordering capability that will allow customers to place (and remember) their favorite orders before ever walking into the store. Domino’s Pizza is currently expanding its Android smartphone payment options to include Google Wallet; and Chipotle, another chain that embraced online ordering in its infancy, is spending millions to equip its stores with in-store payment readers similar to those in place at most Starbucks locations.

Other merchants are looking to mobile apps and devices to facilitate mobile payments. OpenTable, the restaurant reservation app, is testing a capability in New York and San Francisco that allows diners to review their bill, add a tip, make their payment, receive acknowledgement from their server, and have their receipt emailed to them, all from within the OpenTable app. On the other end of the spectrum, Amazon has announced the Fire Phone, a smartphone that lets users scan items in stores and immediately purchase them — a move that will potentially redefine “showrooming” for thousands of bricks-and-mortar retailers.

[ Also see on Insights: Will Apple Kill Off the Credit Card Like It Did the Compact Disc? | And Wired's preview of the Apple launch Tues, Sept. 9: What to Expect From Apple’s Big Event Tuesday ]

As might be expected, payment service providers and at least a few financial institutions are in the game as well. Earlier this year, MasterCard acquired C-SAM, the global digital wallet technology provider behind ISIS and other commercial mobile payment services. Using C-SAM technology, MasterCard intends to accelerate deployment of its MasterPass digital service. Visa has countered with Visa Checkout; its lineup of big-name merchants includes Neiman Marcus, United Airlines, Pizza Hut, Staples and TicketMaster.

PayPal, the leader in digital payments, is moving forward with mobile payments on several fronts. In addition to Pay at Table, a service similar to OpenTable’s mobile payment offering, PayPal is offering mobile payment options with Jamba Juice, ridesharing innovator Uber, and hundreds of other businesses where customers can pay from their phones simply by checking into their PayPal app.

Tech giant Apple, however, may play the biggest card of all later this year. Rumors are increasing that the iPhone 6 will include Near Field Communication technology for contactless payments. Earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook mentioned in an earnings call that the iPhone’s Touch ID capability offers “a big opportunity” for advancements in mobile payments; the company also announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference that it would extend Touch ID to third-party app developers, almost certainly giving payment service providers a key enabling technology. Also giving Apple a strong advantage are the hundreds of millions of credit cards it has on file through its iTunes service.

For virtually anyone interested in making money from the growth in smartphones, mobile payments make sense. Transaction fees trump online content as a means of generating profit — and as time goes on, a larger percentage of customers both online and at the cash register will be expecting the ability to pay through their smartphone. The question is, which direction should merchants take to position themselves for mobile payments?

Small-to-midsize retailers don’t have the means to develop smartphone payment capabilities in-house; for them, linking with a major payment service provider makes sense. PayPal’s mobile payment API (Application Programming Interface) supports pay-by-phone integration within a merchant’s app; another option is to adopt reader or NFC technology at the cash register. One aspect that many merchants don’t realize is that transaction fees are negotiable. With so many companies and institutions competing for merchant business, the market favors the merchant.

Whichever direction online and/or bricks-and-mortar retailers choose, it’s clear that a big step forward in the mobile pay space is imminent. As customers become increasingly comfortable with the idea of leaving their traditional wallets at home, merchants of all stripes need to plan their mobile payment strategy. When this tech wave hits, retailers and e-tailers need to be riding it — not caught in the undertow.

Sumit Mehra is the CTO of Y Media Labs.

The Physics of Wireless Charging

What if you could charge your phone (or device) without having to worry about the charging cable? Well, you can. This is the idea behind wireless charging. In short, you place your device on some type of pad and then phone gets power without a wire (as long as the phone also supports wireless charging). That’s where they get the term “wireless charging” – you know…because there are no wires.

Magnets and Wires

Let’s start with a very simple demonstration. Here I have a coil of wire connected to a Galvanometer. I could write a whole post on just the Galvanometer, but for now I will just say that it measures electric current. Inside the red coil I am holding a very strong magnet.

Summer 14 Sketches key

If I just hold the magnet inside the coil, nothing happens. However, if I move the magnet either in or out of the coil I get a current.


This is all about changing magnetic flux. Yes, just like a “flux capacitor” even though that isn’t a real thing. You can have flux for all sorts of things. My favorite flux to use as an example is rain flux. This is simply the rate that falling rain hits some area – let’s say it’s a sheet of paper.

Summer 14 Sketches key

There are three things you could change that would also change this “rain flux”. First, you could change how much it rains. If the rain comes down faster of course more water will hit the paper (note – real rain drops aren’t shaped like that). Second, you could change the angle between the paper and the rain. Third, you could change the area of paper. That’s rain flux.

We can do the exact same thing with the magnetic field. Guess what we call this? Yes, it’s called the magnetic flux. This magnetic flux depends on the strength of the magnetic field, the angle between the field and the area and the size of the area.

Summer 14 Sketches key

The curved lines are representations of the magnetic field from the magnet.

Here is the physics part. When you change the magnetic flux, you create an electric field inside the wire. This electric field then makes an electric current and electric currents can recharge your phone. Remember, CHANGE in flux is the important part. Actually, you could just use a spinning magnet and a coil of wire and make as much electricity as you want. In fact, this is exactly what happens with a gasoline powered generator. Oh, it’s also how a nuclear power plant makes electricity (the nuclear reactions just turn water to steam and the steam turns a turbine).

Magnetic Flux Without Magnets

The wireless chargers don’t have magnets in them. If you place a wire with current over a magnetic compass you can see that these currents also make magnetic fields.

The Physics of the Railgun Science Blogs Wired

If you replace a moving magnet with a wire that has alternating current, you are all set. The changing electric current in one wire makes a changing magnetic field. This changing magnetic field then induces an electric current in another loop. Also, the more loops you have (in both coils of wires) the greater the effect. Here is simplest version of wireless charging.


On the bottom is a huge coil of wire. This wire is then attached to a household style plug. Yes, it’s just a loop of wire with a plug on the end. When you plug this thing into the outlet, electric current runs through the wire. All the outlets in your house have alternating current. This means the current oscillates with a 60 Hz frequency and provides the changing current needed to make a changing magnetic field. On top of this large coil is a smaller coil (in my hand). This coil is just connected to a small lightbulb. When this small lightbulb-coil is near the changing magnetic field, you get an induced current. The current is large enough to light up the lightbulb.

Maybe you prefer a video demonstration. Here you go.

Of course, an actual wireless charger is a little bit smaller – but same idea.

Last question. Previously, I looked at the possibility of charging a smartwatch just by shaking it. Could you power a smartwatch with a wireless charger? Yes, you could. However, the smart watch would have to be right on the charger. It wouldn’t work over a long distance – at least not with this type of wireless charger.

Targeting protein-making machinery to stop harmful bacteria

One challenge in killing off harmful bacteria is that many of them develop a resistance to antibiotics. Researchers at the University of Rochester are targeting the formation of the protein-making machinery in those cells as a possible alternate way to stop the bacteria. And Professor of Biology Gloria Culver has, for the first time, isolated the middle-steps in the process that creates that machinery -- called the ribosomes.

"No one had a clear understanding of what happened inside an intact bacterial cell," said Culver, "And without that understanding, it would not be possible to block ribosome formation as a new means of stopping bacterial growth."

Since proteins are essential for life, organisms would die-off if not allowed to manufacture proteins.

Culver's work has been published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

Ribosomes are made of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein molecules that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. In order for the puzzle to work, the strands of RNA molecules need to be pared down to the right size. This multi-step process happens very quickly, making it difficult to capture a piece of ribosomal RNA in one of the intermediate states. Culver and graduate student Neha Gupta have managed to do just that by using genetic tags as markers inside E. coli cells.

By attaching the tags to non-functional regions of the uncut RNA, the researchers were able to isolate the immature RNA strands during the various stages of processing.

On analyzing the intermediate fragments, Culver and Gupta found that ribosomal RNA does not follow a single sequential series of steps. While there appears to be an early common step, some of the intermediate RNA strands had started losing fragments from one side, while other intermediate RNAs at a similar stage were being cleaved from the other side. The different pathways of processing the RNA take place simultaneously among the various molecules, resulting in RNA strands being able to fit together with protein molecules to form fully-developed ribosomes.

Targeting ribosomes to kill drug-resistant bacteria is nothing new, except, in the past, scientists focused on mature ribosomes. While a range of antibiotics were developed to attack the ribosomes, the microbes eventually became resistant to those drugs.

While Culver's work creates new possibilities for stopping super-bugs, a great deal of work remains to be done.

"If bacterial cells have more than one way to make ribosomes, blocking just one pathway may not be enough to kill them." said Culver. "But our discoveries suggest that there is at least one common step that could be exploited to one day help scientists prevent the ribosomes from developing, which would kill off the bacteria."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Inexpensive lab test identifies resistant infections in hours

Researchers from Oregon State Public Health Lab have modified the protocol for a relatively new test for a dangerous form of antibiotic resistance, increasing its specificity to 100 percent. Their research, confirming the reliability of a test that can provide results in hours and is simple and inexpensive enough to be conducted in practically any clinical laboratory was presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, an infectious disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

The test, called Carba NP, originally developed by Patrice Nordmann and Laurent Poirel at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and Laurent Dortet of the University Hospital of the South-Paris Medical School, France, allows for rapid identification of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), often referred to in the media as "super bugs" for their ability to resist most major antibiotics. Carbapenems are an important class of powerful antibiotics for treating severe infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram negative bacteria. Carbapenemases are enzymes produced by some bacteria which inactivate these antibiotics.

"Over the past decade carbapenemase-producing CRE (CP-CRE) have rapidly spread around the globe and are currently considered an urgent public health threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," says Karim Morey of the Oregon State Public Health Lab, an author on the study. "Timely detection of CP-CRE is critical to patient care and infection control."

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a DNA-based test, is currently the gold standard for detecting CRE, but it is expensive and requires equipment that many labs just do not have, especially in low-income countries that are large reservoirs for CRE. Carba NP is a much less expensive test that most labs should be able to afford.

In the study Morey and her colleagues evaluated the ability of the Carba NP test to properly identify 59 of the 201 clinical isolates as carbapenemase producers. Using a previously published Mayo Clinic protocol, they correctly identified 92% as being carbapenemase producers, including all strains of NDM-1 and KPC, two important types of CRE. When they adjusted the protocol to increase the inoculum size and tested again they achieved 100% sensitivity. The average time to complete a test was 2.5 hours.

"We conclude that the Carba NP test is highly sensitive, specific and reproducible for the detection of carbapenemase production in a diverse group of organisms," says Morey.

This work was done as part of the Drug Resistant Organism Coordinated Regional Epidemiology Network, a statewide initiative to prevent the emergence and spread of CRE in the state of Oregon and Funded by the CDC.

Also at the meeting Nordmann, Poirel and Dortet presented a new method for identifying extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), another dangerous form of antibiotic resistance, directly from urine samples. This new test, which costs only a few dollars to perform and can be implemented in almost any microbiology lab, has a specificity of over 98% and takes 20 minutes to obtain results compared to current methods which can take 1 to 2 days.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Antibiotic stewardship programs reduce costs, improve outcomes

Antibiotic stewardship programs, which promote the appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals and other healthcare centers, not only lead to reduction in antibiotic use with reduced adverse events, but also lead to significant savings. In the case of one New York hospital, more than $600,000 was saved annually, according to research presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), an infectious diseases meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

"This work emphasizes the rational approach to treating patients: choosing antibiotics at correct doses only when really needed, limiting side-effects, limiting the selection of super bugs, and limiting the risk of infection to new patients admitted to hospitals," says Nishant Prasad, M.D., attending physician, The Dr. James J. Rahal, Jr. Division of Infectious Diseases, New York Hospital Queens.

Dr. Prasad and his colleagues tracked the rate of antibiotic-resistant infections, antibiotic use patterns, and antibiotic-related costs after the implementation of a hospital-wide antibiotic stewardship program at New York Hospital Queens, a 535-bed community hospital in Flushing, New York. At least half of the more than 5,000 interventions made by the program in 2013 improved patient safety and led to more than $600,000 in antibiotic-related savings. Additionally, they found the rate of antibiotic-resistant infections decreased including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile- associated diarrhea.

"With our antibiotic stewardship program, we demonstrated decreased antibiotic use and increased antibiotic-related cost savings, as well as a significant decrease in antibiotic-resistant infections. We believe these findings show that limiting unnecessary antibiotics improves patient safety and streamlines use of limited healthcare dollars," says Dr. Prasad.

Other research presented at the meeting also shows the results of antibiotic stewardship programs. A study carried out by researchers at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden during a six-month period at four geriatric wards found a 27% decrease in antibiotic use when guided by a brief discussion with an infectious disease specialist. The reduction did not affect mortality, but a reduction in hospital readmissions due to infection was observed.

"The strategy seems to be a cost-effective, promising way to reduce antibiotic use with very little risk to the individual patient," says Fredrik Resman, Skåne University Hospital, who presented the data. "The success of this very simple strategy has led to a continuation on a permanent basis."

Antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine, making once lethal infections readily treatable and making other medical advances, like cancer chemotherapy and organ transplants, possible. The prompt initiation of antibiotics to treat infections has been proven to reduce morbidity and save lives. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20%-50% of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. A growing body of evidence suggests that antibiotic stewardship programs can both optimize treatment of infections and reduce the incidence of adverse events associated with antibiotic use. In recognition of the urgent need to improve antibiotic use in hospitals and the benefits of antibiotic stewardship programs, in 2014 CDC recommended that all acute care hospitals implement Antibiotic Stewardship Programs.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Apple Is in Big Trouble if It Doesn’t Make Bigger iPhones


Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Smartphones with bigger screens are poaching Apple’s business from both ends of the size spectrum.

As noxious as the “phablet” category may be in name, phones with screens larger than the iPhone’s four inches are hitting the sweet spot where mobile users want to browse. Odds are, Apple will announce a new iPhone tomorrow with the biggest screen yet, but the reason is far from just cosmetic. In contrast to Apple’s past successes in defining expectations for how users should use devices, this time the company is playing catch-up.

Some of the most compelling data showing why Apple must expand the iPhone’s screen comes from software maker Adobe. Apple’s longtime frenemy has a marketing analytics arm that sifts through a huge volume of web traffic looking for industry trends. In a new report released Monday, based on the analysis over over 18 billion web visits, Adobe researchers say that browsing on screens larger than four inches has more than doubled. At the same time, web traffic flowing through devices the size of an iPhone or smaller is on an unmistakable decline, falling 11 percent compared to the same time last year.

‘The Samsung phones are starting to become more useful for browsing, and Apple ones are becoming less so.’

And the news for Apple gets worse. For a brief moment last year, tablet browsing topped smartphone browsing, according to Adobe’s metrics—a fillip for Apple, whose iPad accounts for 80 percent of tablet-driven web traffic. But since then, tablet browsing has flattened, while smartphone browsing has jumped, again due to phones with bigger screens.

“On both ends of the spectrum, this middle piece is taking away browsing from the iPhone and the tablet,” Adobe Digital Index principal analyst Tamara Gaffney tells WIRED.

Popular, But for How Long?

To be clear, Apple’s devices still command a definitive majority of mobile web traffic. In no way is Apple suffering for popularity.

But Apple’s absolute share of the market now is not the most salient number for gauging its future prospects. The decline in web traffic measured by Adobe parallels the stagnation in iPhone sales. While the figures are staggering in themselves, the growth curve has begun to level off, a trend that new features like Touch ID and iOS 7′s design revamp have failed to reverse. At the same time, iPad sales have declined in tandem with the rise in “phablet” popularity.

From Adobe’s figures, at least, Apple seems not to be offering users the bigger screen they increasingly want, and which archrival Samsung has been more than happy to offer. “The Samsung phones are starting to become more useful for browsing, and Apple ones are becoming less so,” Gaffney says.

Tomorrow, the world will see whether Apple really is listening to what users want, rather than once again trying to tell them. “The implication from the data is the tablet business for Apple has been impacted by that larger screen smartphone that I would say isn’t to their best interest,” Gaffney says.

Messaging Rules, Facebook Doesn’t

Adobe’s new report also looks at several other trends, involving everything from social networking to instant messaging. Although Apple is losing on screen size, for instance, it’s winning on messaging.

According to Adobe, sharing links over iMessage has more than tripled over the past year. Similar sharing on Facebook, meanwhile, has dropped 43 percent—a good indicator of why the world’s biggest social network was willing to pay $19 billion for WhatsApp. “People are less likely to want to share with these large networks they’ve created on Facebook,” Gaffney says. “Facebook has its place and its role in our lives, and it’s not going to go away. But I am suggesting it’s overly broad now.”

Facebook isn’t even the most mobile social network, at least by web traffic referrals. That would be Pinterest. Nearly two-thirds of click-throughs on Pinterest come from mobile users. Twitter follows close behind, with Facebook a distant third, by Adobe’s measure. As for clicks that turn into purchases, the most lucrative referrals come from Tumblr users on tablets, who spend an average of $2.57 per visit, compared to $1.55 for Facebook tablet users and $1.11 for Twitter.

The other interesting find is that people aren’t using tablets on cell networks—at least not that much. A full 93 percent of tablet web traffic was funneled over Wi-Fi, according to Adobe. Users just don’t want to pay for a separate data plan for their tablets, Gaffney says. What’s more, over half of all smartphone web browsing happened over WiFi as hot spots proliferate. “As WiFi becomes more available and a lot of mobile plans become more penalizing, people are learning how to switch over to WiFi on their phones,” Gaffney says. “The telcos through their data plans are essentially teaching people how to avoid mobile data charges.”

Twitter Rolls Out ‘Buy’ Button, Transforms Tweets Into Retail Engines


Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Twitter is now testing a system, long in the works, that lets businesses embed “Buy” buttons in their tweets, so that you can instantly purchase products through the popular social networking service.

According to the company, a “small percentage” of Twitter users in the U.S. will start seeing the Buy button today, and this percentage will grow as time goes on.

Earlier reports indicated Twitter was developing such a system, and apparently, non-working Buy buttons appeared on the service this summer, but this is the first time the company has publicly acknowledged efforts to transform its social networking service into a kind of e-commerce engine. “This is an early step,” the company says in a blog post, “in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.”

According to company spokesman Jim Prosser, Twitter has been “dogfooding” the technology inside the company, but it has not turned on Buy buttons for public use until now. Prosser makes a point of saying that tweets embedded with Buy buttons needn’t be advertisements, or “sponsored tweets,” meaning businesses needn’t pay to give them prime placement in front of the public at large. But the move is designed to make Twitter more attractive to outside businesses—and keep users on the service—and naturally, this helps drive advertising dollars.


The technology is part of a larger effort to combine purchasing with social networking. Newer social networking apps such as Fancy double as e-commerce engines, and now, older social services are moving in similar directions. Facebook is testing a “Buy” button on its service, and last year, the payments outfit Square—co-founded by Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey—rolled out a quasi-”Buy” option for merchants that use its Square Market service to promote products on Twitter. For Facebook and Twitter, integrated Buy buttons can potentially expand revenues in big ways. If advertisers know that ads can lead to a direct sales, they’re more likely to pay for them.

Twitter’s technology was built in tandem with Stripe, an up-and-coming startup that handles payments for all sorts of operations across the net. And the initial testers include Fancy, whose app already dovetails with Facebook in similar ways.

When you click on Twitter’s Buy button, you’re prompted to enter your shipping and payment information, and once this information is confirmed, the merchant in question will ready your purchase for delivery. “An entire purchase can be complete in just a few taps,” reads Twitter’s blog post. After your first purchase, your personal data is stored—encrypted—on Twitter servers, so that you can purchase more quickly in the future.

The 8 Best Apps for Hardcore Stock Traders


iOS | Yahoo Finance | FREE

Track real-time performance of any stock or index. For more in-depth analysis, flip your phone sideways and sift through vast amounts of data on any company you choose.

Android | Bloomberg+ | FREE

Smart investing means staying in the know. Read breaking news in this app, and create custom stock watch lists to track and analyze personal holdings.


iOS | TD Ameritrade Mobile | FREE

Like other apps, this one lets you track, buy, and sell. Unlike other apps, you can use it to scan a barcode and look up the public company behind the product.

Android | E-Trade Mobile | FREE

Easy-to-use interface for executing trades quickly. Use voice search to find specific stocks or company data. Move money into and out of your bank account inside the app.


iOS | Stock Wars: Virtual Investing | FREE

Test out new strategies before implementing them in the real world, and do it with real-time urgency. Compete with friends to see who's the biggest wolf.

Android | Stock Market Simulator Plus | $2

Wall Street is intimidating, particularly for newbies. Hone your skills by building and tracking your virtual portfolio in this stock market simulator.


iOS | Stocktouch | FREE

Greed is good. Heat maps are better. StockTouch uses color-coded maps of the top stocks in the major sectors to help you understand the ups and downs of the market.

Android | Stocktwits | FREE

It's Twitter for traders. Get minute-by-minute insights from fellow investors. A Sentiment Indicator shows members' bullish- or bearishness on any specific asset.

Where to Watch Livestreams of Tomorrow’s Apple Event

Netflix TV. Photo: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED


Our long national nightmare is nearly over. Before you know it, we’ll have all the details about Apple’s next-generation iPhones, and perhaps even the company’s first-generation smart watch. We’ll know how much these items cost and what colors they’ll be available in. We’ll even know what’s inside that mysterious structure Apple built for the show. Piles of cash? A sapphire mine? E.T. Atari cartridges? Could be all three.

Whether you’re legitimately interested in Apple’s new stuff or just want material for your next parody video or jackanapesing around on Twitter, here’s how to watch it live.

What Time Does the Apple Event Start?

It starts at 10 am Pacific/1 pm. Eastern on Tuesday, September 9. If you want to know exactly how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds that is from right now, refer to Apple’s handy countdown clock.

Can I Watch a Live Stream of the Event?

Yes, you can do that right here: .

But here’s the thing: You’re must use specific pieces of software and hardware. You need to use Safari as your browser, and Apple doesn’t officially support streaming of the video to Windows PCs, Android phones, or anything other than Apple-made hardware. If you’re using a computer, the fine print on Apple’s livestream page says the video stream will only work on Safari 5.1.10 or later, and that tje browser must be running on Mac OS X 10.6.8 onward.

If you want to use a mobile device, Apple’s event page says that you’re restricted to using mobile Safari on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 6 or later.

You can also watch it on your Apple TV, just as long as it’s a second- or third-gen unit running firmware version 6.2 or later.

Safari and an Apple Device are Mandatory? That Seems Unnecessarily Restrictive

I know, right? I guess if you’re pondering a switch to an Apple device, Apple doesn’t want you to see the new devices you’ve considered switching to. Live video of Apple’s new products are only for existing Apple-product owners, capisce?

That’s just one great reason to follow WIRED’s live coverage from the show floor, which is platform-agnostic and available in several speeds. For rapid-fire play-by-play, keep your browser pegged to our live blog. We’ll post the link at the very top of the WIRED homepage on Tuesday morning — really, you won’t be able to miss it. There, you can follow the illustrious Christina Bonnington (@redgirlsays) and Mark McClusky (@markmcc) as they bring you live updates from Cupertino. We’ll also post links to in-depth stories on GadgetLab’s Twitter feed (@gadgetlab), WIRED’s Twitter feed (@wired), and WIRED’s homepage.

And there’s no guarantee that it’ll work, but you can also try a user-agent-string spoofer for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera to make it seem like you’re using Safari. There are also iPhone and iPad user-agent spoofers available for Chrome on Android.

Ha Ha, Suckers! I Received an Invitation to the Event

Take an Uber, drive your Tesla, or program a self-driving car to deliver you to the Flint Center in Cupertino, California. While attending, be sure to live-tweet which songs are playing before Tim Cook takes the stage. Also, use phrases such as “fit and finish” to describe Apple’s new products. “Chamfer” earns you a +1.

The 8 New TV Shows We’re Most Excited About This Fall

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) gets struck by lightning and becomes a superhero, saving ordinary folks while also seeking out fellow metahumans. The Flash is the latest DC Comics hero to get his own show and comes from the same production team behind the CW’s Arrow, so we’re optimistic this won’t be, well, a flash in the pan. It also differs from the show it’s spun off of. “Arrow is a crime world and The Flash is a sci-fi world,” Greg Berlanti, the executive producer of both shows, recently told The Hollywood Reporter . It also seems willing to have a little fun with itself in a way DC superhero movies won’t. Just consider this line from Allen: “Lightning gave me … abs?” Here’s hoping this show’s mix of fun action hero stuff and police drama keeps us tuning in week after week.—Angela Watercutter


A remake of the highly-acclaimed British show Broadchurch, this 10-episode crime drama follows two detectives investigating the murder of a 12-year-old boy in a small California town. While rejiggering British shows for US audiences is nothing new, this one has a twist: David Tennant, beloved among Doctor Who fans as the Tenth Doctor, reprises the lead detective role he played in the BBC series, but with an American accent. Anna Gunn, who recently won her second Emmy for her performance as Skyler White on Breaking Bad, plays his partner Ellie Miller. “Whodunit” shows like True Detective and The Killing have proved popular in recent years, and with the keywords “Doctor Who” and “Breaking Bad” attached, the murder of little Danny Solano could be the mystery that hooks viewers this fall. —Laura Hudson

Premiere Date: Oct. 2 (Fox)

Marry Me

Sometimes, a show’s title is more misdirection than a true indicator of what to expect (looking at you, How I Met Your Mother). Marry Me is this year’s case in point. As the producers have pointed out, this isn’t really a show about getting married. Instead, it’s a sitcom from the writers of ABC’s much-missed Happy Endings, with that program’s Casey Wilson and Ken Marino (Party Down, Veronica Mars) leading a cast that also includes Tim Meadows and Broad City’s John Gemberling. Based on that talent, Marry Me is a must-watch for the first few episodes no matter what it’s about.—Graeme McMillan

Premiere Date: Oct. 14 (NBC)


So here’s the problem: with rare exceptions (both of which my colleagues are writing about), this fall is a wasteland for new comedy. All the truly intriguing stuff—whether Will Forte’s Last Man on Earth for Fox or the Tina Fey-produced Ellie Kemper vehicle Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—are slated for January, where they’ll swoop in to rescue the failures limping off the battlefield. Which leaves us Selfie. Can I understand your revulsion at the title? I can. Do I share your misgivings about the “My Fair Lady recast for the social-media generation” premise? I do. HOWEVER. John Cho is one of the most underrated actors working today (comedy or drama), and creator/E.P. Emily Kapnek has a flair for spinning bland flax into to offbeat gold, as evinced by her previous ABC outing Suburgatory. (Which, if you never watched, was a constant source of joy, thanks to supporting-cast winners like Cheryl Hines and Alan Tudyk.) And Karen Gillan is Karen Gillan, for chrissakes. So annoying topical title or no, I’ll be letting this one creep into my feed for at least a few weeks. —Peter Rubin

Premiere Date: September 30 (ABC)


There’s no way this reality show—in which 15 people “from all walks of life” are challenged to build a harmonious, cooperative society—can possibly end well. After all, idealists as far back as Ancient Greece (see: Plato’s The Republic) have endeavored to build a theoretically perfect society, only to have their ideas torpedoed by, well, reality. It’s easy to come up with your idea of a perfect paradise, but what if your neighbor disagrees with you? Proving that point, Utopia’s contestants ran into conflict even before the show’s premiere last night. That said, watching group dynamics—utopian or otherwise—disintegrate is why we love reality shows to begin with, so watching this particular pack of contestants try to succeed at building a perfect society should at least be amusing. —Devon Maloney

Premiere Date: Sept. 7 and 9 (Fox)


Through no fault of its own, Modern Family has become the Tracy Flick of sitcoms. Theirs is the house at the end of the TVLand cul-de-sac with the Griswold-sized Christmas light display every year, the prize-winning roses lining their white picket fence and the greenest, plushest grass. All the kids are honor students. Mom and dad are members of PFLAG. They spearhead the impeccable Fourth of July block party every year. You bitch about them to your neighbors, but you also want all their recipes and look forward to their annual come-one-come-all Thanksgiving roundtable. In other words, the neighborhood is in desperate need of some new blood—a family we actually want to hang out with, instead of one we sort of hate. So let’s give a warm welcome to the Johnson family on Black-ish! Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne co-produce and star in this show about a successful father and husband, Andre, looking to establish a stronger cultural identity for his black family in their vanilla suburban landscape. We’re eagerly looking forward to our first Hip Hop BroMitzva alongside African Rights Of Passage Ceremonies, and having balance restored to this thoroughly Modern TV age. —Jordan Crucchiola

Premiere Date: Sept. 24 (ABC)


Everyone knows how Batman begins (or at least they should by now), but the point of Gotham is to give screen time to the origins of everyone else. And while the show ostensibly follows the rise of detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Gotham is also about how good guys go bad, so Oswald Cobblepot (aka Penguin), Selina Kyle (Catwoman), and Edward Nygma (Riddler) are all here too. A very young Bruce Wayne is in the mix as well, but this show is about the days long before he put on the cowl. Count us in for a few dark nights. —Angela Watercutter

Premiere Date: Sept. 22 (Fox)


To be honest, Constantine—about “master of the dark arts” John Constantine—could hit or miss. It could hit because it’s a comic book adaptation with a little more of a horror/supernatural side—something that can help scratch that Penny Dreadful itch. However, it could miss because it’s a version of DC Comics/Vertigo’s Hellblazer made for network TV, so there’s a chance it may not be able to get as gritty as fans want it to. However, place us in the “optimistic” column on this one. It’s being executive produced by David S. Goyer, who has had a hand in everything from Christopher Nolan’s Batman flicks to Da Vinci’s Demons, so there’s a good chance Constantine could be just the kind of primetime antihero we’ve been waiting for. (And just in time for Halloween too!) —Angela Watercutter

Premiere Date: Oct. 24 (NBC)