Weekend tech reading: The man behind online black market Silk Road

By on August 18, 2013, 11:43 AM

Meet the Dread Pirate Roberts, the man behind booming black market drug website Silk Road An entrepreneur as professionally careful as the Dread Pirate Roberts doesn't trust instant messaging services. Forget phones or Skype. At one point during our eight-month preinterview courtship, I offer to meet him at an undisclosed location outside the United States. "Meeting in person is out of the question," he says. "I don't meet in person even with my closest advisors." When I ask for his name and nationality, he's so spooked that he refuses to answer any other questions and we lose contact for a month. Forbes

In WikiLeaks trial, defense shows Bradley Manning as good-intentioned idealist When, at the end of July, Bradley Manning was found guilty of nearly all the charges facing him, his long-running story entered a new chapter. With his guilt established, the trial turned to the matter of his punishment. He faces a potential 90 years in prison, and the judge, Army Colonel Denise Lind, holds his fate in her hands. She will consider the consequences of Manning's actions and the circumstances surrounding them. The deeper question Lind will also consider, though, is: who was Bradley Manning then, and who is he now? The Verge

How mobile technology created a workforce that never stops working Is the end of the cubicle upon us? For most people, the answer is "not today," but the mobile worker -- rarely in the office, getting most work done on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop -- is becoming an increasingly large presence in corporate America. Take Chad Burton, an attorney who founded Burton Law in Ohio. The members of his eight-lawyer team all work remotely. Burton himself almost never uses what most people think of as a "computer." Ars Technica

The untold story of Google's quest to bring the internet everywhere -- by balloon On October 16, 2012, the granddaughter of one of Allen Epling's houseguests spotted a shiny object in the sky. Epling, an amateur astronomer living in Pike County, Kentucky, grabbed his binoculars and spied a glimmering, tubelike shape hovering ominously high above. Along with his wife and guests, he watched it for more than two hours. "It wasn't anything I recognized," Epling later told a local reporter. Wired

Buying a laptop: everything you need to know We're not living in the "post-PC" era. Not by a long shot. As more of us work from home, or the plane, or the coffee shop, laptops might be more important than they've ever been. They've also become harder and harder to buy, as hardware specs have hit stratospheric heights while simultaneously somehow becoming even more difficult to explain or differentiate. It’s hard to buy a truly terrible laptop these days... The Verge

Expecting the unexpected from Jeff Bezos Early employees of Amazon still remember the day the company took away their aspirin. It was late 1999. After years of heady excess, the Internet boom was beginning to falter. Amazon, among the most celebrated of the dot-coms, was burdened with debt and spiraling losses. Jeff Bezos, its founder and chief impresario, had to impress Wall Street that he was serious about cutting costs. But how? The NY Times

Ask the experts: Intel's Aicha Evans talks wireless and answers your questions We've followed Intel's CPU team's march towards mobile for years now, but we've seen very little from the wireless group. That's all beginning to change. Earlier this year at MWC, Brian and I had one of our first meetings with the wireless group at Intel. In that meeting we met Aicha Evans, Vice President of Intel's Mobile & Communications Group. AnandTech

New discovery may make encryption ‘exponentially easier’ to break "Brute force" may not seem like a term well suited to mathematics or the quiet pursuits in cryptography that helped drive information security from the Second World War on through to the modern surveillance state. Yet, it's a term that may come back to prominence in the coming years, as researchers inch closer to finding the cracks in modern encryption algorithms. ExtremeTech

Out of the comics, into realityjet pack moves closer to market From Buck Rogers to James Bond, we all have a pretty concrete mental image of a jet pack -- a motorized backpack with little handles in front and smoke shooting out of the back. The New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Co. doesn't just think it's turned the jet pack of your imagination into a reality. It thinks it's made something better. NPR

Hacker posts Facebook bug report on Zuckerberg's wall A Palestinian information system expert says he was forced to post a bug report on Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page after the social network's security team failed to recognize that a critical vulnerability he found allows anyone to post on someone's wall. RT

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