Weekend tech reading: Can Marissa Mayer save Yahoo?

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yahoo, marissa mayer

Can Marissa Mayer save Yahoo? Marissa Mayer is sitting in URLs, the Yahoo cafeteria, making the case for the future of a company that almost everyone in Silicon Valley views as doomed. Employees swarm around her, assembling rows of chairs for the afternoon's FYI, a new weekly ritual where employees get to lob questions at Mayer and her executive team. It’s been a long July, in which Mayer’s one-year anniversary as chief executive officer was marked with an uninspiring second-quarter earnings report. When Mayer left her executive role at Google, she knew she was taking on what might be the hardest job in the Valley. Yahoo has had a lost decade, laboring under a series of failed product strategies and CEOs. Bloomberg

Mail from the (velvet) cybercrime underground Over the past six months, "fans" of this Web site and its author have shown their affection in some curious ways. One called in a phony hostage situation that resulted in a dozen heavily armed police surrounding my home. Another opened a $20,000 new line of credit in my name. Others sent more than $1,000 in bogus PayPal donations from hacked accounts. Still more admirers paid my cable bill for the next three years using stolen credit cards. Malware authors have even used my name and likeness to peddle their wares. But the most recent attempt to embarrass and fluster this author easily takes the cake as the most elaborate... Krebs on Security

The legend of The Oregon Trail In the fall of 1971, Bill Heinemann and Paul Dillenberger returned to their Crystal, Minn., apartment to find their roommate, Don Rawitsch, sprawled on the living room floor, drawing a map of western America. The three men, all seniors at Carleton College, were student teachers. They spent their days in junior high classrooms teaching math and history in inner-city Minneapolis. At night, they huddled over dinner, sharing tips and debating teaching techniques. Until earlier that day, Rawitsch had been stumped on how to get his eighth-graders interested in his new history unit, "The Western Expansion of the Mid-19th Century." Mental Floss

Terrafugia's Transition flying car flies and drives for the first time in public MIT start-up Terrafugia says they’re “roadable aircraft,” but everyone else just calls them flying cars. That's the power of the Jetsons and its contemporaries, creating a conceptual framework that can both drive and shackle technology innovators. It might be a bit of a misnomer to call Terrafugia a “start-up” however, since the private aviation company has been collecting capital and working on products for more than seven years now. ExtremeTech

Creator of xkcd reveals secret backstory of his epic 3,099-panel comic When xkcd creator Randall Munroe first posted a new installment of his webcomic titled “Time” on March 25, it looked deceptively simple: a picture of two black and white stick figures, a man and a woman, sitting wordlessly on the ground. There was no story, no punchline, no words. 30 minutes later, the image changed; the figures shifted slightly. And they continued to change every half-hour for the next week -- and every hour for months after that... Wired

Obama Administration vetoes ban on sale of some Apple iPhones, iPads The Obama administration on Saturday vetoed a U.S. trade body's ban on the import and sale of some Apple iPhones and iPads, a rare move that upends a legal victory for smartphone rival Samsung. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman made the decision to veto the ban on the Apple devices, citing concerns about patent holders gaining "undue leverage" as well as potential harm to consumers and competitive conditions in the U.S. economy. The WSJ

The machine zone: this is where you go when you just can't stop looking at pictures on Facebook "People love Facebook. They really love it," Biz Stone wrote earlier this month. "My mother-in-law looks hypnotized when she decides to put in some Facebook time." She is not the only one. ComScore estimates Facebook eats up 11 percent of all the time spent online in the United States. Its users have been known to spend an average of 400 minutes a month on the site. The Atlantic

Frame-pacing driver aims to revive the Radeon HD 7990 When the Radeon HD 7990 first hit the market back in April, it didn't get the sort of reception one might expect for a graphics card that could easily claim to be the world's fastest. The trouble it encountered had been brewing for quite a while, as PC gamers became increasingly aware of a problem known as microstuttering that plagues multi-GPU configurations like AMD's CrossFire and Nvidia's SLI. The Tech Report

Are we at the limit of resolution improvements that people can notice? I saw two things over the past two weeks that made me question whether we humans had reached some kind of landmark. They were not, thankfully, YouTube comments. One was the Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign. I wrote about how the cutting-edge smartphone was so powerful, and so custom-built for certain purposes, that it resembled the kind of bespoke suits one buys on Savile Row. ITworld

Dynamite fishing: an open letter to Phil Fish Dear Phil, We've hung out a few times and enjoyed some beverages and rather animated conversations together. I don't know you that well outside of those interactions. I found Fez to be refreshing in a chic retro way (you were doing that style before many others, which is a tiny bit hipster, sorry!) and the fact that you were so much of the project reminds me of myself in the Jazz Jackrabbit era. Clifford Unchained

Geeks.com ordering is being turned off After 17 years of service, almost half a billion dollars’ worth of computer products put in the hands of loyal Geeks worldwide, jobs for hundreds of people and support for their family members. That is what Geeks.com meant to us and the people who worked here. Words cannot express our gratitude for the relationships and customers we have developed. But all good things come to an end. Geeks.com

Boost the graphics power of a 2013 11" Macbook Air By buying around $250 in commonly available parts, plus a video card, you can make the graphics of your 11" Macbook Air from 5X to 7X faster. Demo video at end of post. Step-by-step, here's how to exactly do it. Warning: not for the faint of heart! Tech Inferno

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