Around the IT Industry 4/8-4/12

by Modis on April 12, 2013

PC Sales Plummet: The Culprit? Windows 8.

IDC reported the sharpest plunge in PC sales for decades last quarter. The blame lands squarely on the shoulders of Microsoft and Windows 8. While Windows 8 tries to mimic the look and feel of a tablet, it often leaves even traditional PC users confused. Instead of being able to access popular PC features such as a Start menu, users rely on the popular tablet feature of tiles–to navigate their PC. IDC notes that they have suggested Windows 8 offer an option to set a “traditional” desktop, but Microsoft refuses to do so.

If You Think the IRS is Watching You, They Are.

The IRS has quietly updated its technology for next year’s tax season. Boasting an impressive new range of software, the Internal Revenue Service is the envy of private sector data collection. Operating much like cookies in a Web browser, the IRS’s new data collection program allows them to monitor activity for potential auditing such as a user’s Facebook payment options, email patterns, and millions more possible flags. Any of these settings being tripped could mean your tax return is being audited this year, whether you knew you were being monitored or not. While only being used to track irregular returns currently, is it only a matter of time before we see more invasive practices?

CISPA Passes House Committee, Heads to House for Vote

CISPA has quietly managed to pass in an 18-2 measure to proceed in being voted on by the House of Representatives. The bill has seen many amendments to its original text, including a change that prohibits the use of personal information to comprise “cyber threat” data. The committee also noted that CISPA supporters were no longer able to use data obtained from private companies to further “national security” efforts. CISPA remains heavily under fire by the technological community, including social media outlets and over 100,000 outraged petitioners. Whether CISPA will make it through the House to survive a Senate vote remains unknown.

Patent Trolls Catching Heat from New SF Startup

New San Francisco based startup United Patents is making waves in the tech industry. Frustrated with companies that buy and enforce patents, then abandon their projects–the firm looks to bring together the tech community at large to help combat this threat. Members of United Patents will have the ability to notify one another in real time that a patent troll is looking to purchase their technology. United Patents already has the support of Google, and is on the road to becoming a champion of tech inventors worldwide. Stopping patent privateering is just one way they hope to succeed at their mission.

Bitcoin Value Crashes After Reaching new Heights

After peaking at a startling $260 value, the Bitcoin has lost nearly half its value in the last 12 hours. Down to a current rate of $160, the digital currency is seeing tough times ahead. Reddit users trading large amounts of the currency may be responsible for a slight dip in its value, but their actions are a ripple of what may be to come for the Bitcoin. The Bitcoin’s lure lies in the inherent security of the funds, and consumers are hoarding the Bitcoin, hoping to cash in if its value rises again. Whether it does so, or its values continue to fall remains to be seen. If you have purchased Bitcoins, how do you feel about their performance?

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