Around the IT Industry 12/24-12/28

by Modis on December 28, 2012

Microsoft Research’s Cloud-Powered GPS Chip Saves Power

Microsoft researchers have discovered a way for smartphones to dramatically reduce the power drain brought on by continuous GPS usage:  by offloading data and calculations to the cloud.  Normally, a smartphone’s GPS chip alone is the greatest drain on the device’s power supply since it must constantly recalculate and adjust information based on the data it receives from satellites.  By placing the burden of those calculations on the cloud, the battery life of the device can be improved more than tenfold.  This technology could allow smartphones to catalog GPS data over long periods of time, allowing for greater customization for navigation software based on the user’s habits and preferences.

Think Twice When Using Smartphone Kiosks

Many airports and other public areas have charging stations that allow visitors to plug their smartphones or other devices in so that they can charge the battery during long wait periods.  However, these charging stations might not always be what they appear.  An experiment conducted at DefCon concluded that a computer could be connected to the kiosk discreetly and access the private data stored on devices connected to it via USB directly.

Can Google Apps Break the Monopoly of Microsoft Office?

Almost anyone who has worked an office job in the last 20 years has had experience with Microsoft Office – or at least a few of its component applications, such as MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.  The Microsoft Office suite has become almost ubiquitous in the modern workplace, and most educational institutions as well.  As a result, the suite’s price has steadily increased as the computer world became increasingly dependent on it.  However, with Google Apps now gaining traction in the workplace as a competitor with a much lower price point, Microsoft’s monopoly may soon come to an end.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Instagram Over Terms of Service Changes

Users are still upset with the recent changes to Instagram’s terms of service and, as a result, class action lawyers have jumped at the opportunity to file a class action suit against the company on behalf of the affected users.  The grounds on which the lawsuit are founded are somewhat dubious at best, but the complaint has been filed as a breach of “implied contract.”

PCWorld’s Year in Review for 2012

PCWorld has unveiled the “10 Biggest News Events of the Year” on their website, citing some of the most significant highs and lows of the tech world these last twelve months.  From the release of Microsoft’s ambitious new Windows 8 operating system and the vast growth of crowdfunding due to Kickstarter’s popularity surge to the Apple Maps debacle and the shutdown of Megaupload, 2012 has certainly been an interesting year in technology.

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