Weekend tech reading: The tech behind football, Intel's Medfield two years later

By on December 1, 2013, 11:46 AM

Any given Sunday: Inside the chaos and spectacle of the NFL on Fox It's 90 minutes to game time in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Troy Aikman's not speaking to anyone. Around him, a dozen or so crew members, assistants, and friends chatter as they finish last-minute preparations, making sure Gillette Stadium is ready for football. They're testing cables and video feeds, rechecking stats, and setting up the fabric "NFL on Fox" backdrop that will turn this bland, gray, carpeted room into the tiny booth millions will soon see on TV. Through it all, Aikman stays silent. He's surrounded by four computer monitors displaying every stat and feed he'll need for the next several hours, but he's focused on a small tablet on the desk in front of him. The Verge

Google's growing patent stockpile Over the last few years, Google executives have had plenty to say about patents. According to Google, patents, particularly software patents, are mostly bogus, largely low-quality, and used in court by companies that can’t innovate to hurt consumers and stifle true innovators. But data from the U.S. Patent & Trademark office shows that Google has been working very, very hard to win more patents on its own ideas. It has accelerated its activity to such a degree that Google inventors -- among them founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page -- are now winning 10 patents every day the patent office is open, covering everything from automated cars to balloon-based data networks. MIT Technology Review

Once you use bitcoin you can't go 'back' -- and that's its fatal flaw Bitcoin is the world's most popular digital currency -- not just a form of money, but a way of moving money around -- and the darling topic du jour of the tech industry right now. As a security researcher, I admire bitcoin-the-protocol. It's an incredibly clever piece of cryptographic engineering, especially the proof-of-work as a way of maintaining an indelible history and a signature scheme which, when properly used, can limit the damage that might be done by an adversary with a quantum computer. But I believe bitcoin-the-currency contains a fatal flaw, one that ensures that bitcoin won't ever achieve widespread adoption as a currency. Wired

Linux worm targeting hidden devices Symantec has discovered a new Linux worm that appears to be engineered to target the “Internet of things”. The worm is capable of attacking a range of small, Internet-enabled devices in addition to traditional computers. Variants exist for chip architectures usually found in devices such as home routers, set-top boxes and security cameras. Although no attacks against these devices have been found in the wild, many users may not realize they are at risk, since they are unaware they own devices that run Linux. Symantec

Crunch time: Working overtime to kill you At the 2012 Game Developer's Conference I went to a talk about the making of Saints Row: The Third. One of the developers talked about the kind of city its Steelport was: a formerly-booming industrial town that had fallen into decay and then been taken over by a few over-the-top criminal organizations, each with their own uniforms. It gave me another thing to like about the game: Its post-post-industrial setting was something I could relate to, living in Pittsburgh. Paste

Medfield, two years in: What killed Intel's mobile phone ambitions? At Intel's Analyst Day last week, the company spoke a great deal about its plans for the future of tablets and its belief that the PC market was done contracting. Along the way, almost incidentally, Intel gave notice that the company's old plans for the mobile phone market were dead in the water. To understand how significant the change has been, we need to hop back two years to December 2011 and Intel's (first) Medfield unveiling. ExtremeTech

Microsoft said to lean to Mulally, Nadella in CEO search Microsoft Corp.'s board is focusing on Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally and internal executive Satya Nadella as part of a group of more likely candidates to become the next CEO of the world's biggest software company, according to people familiar with the matter. While internal candidate Tony Bates and former Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen Elop remain in the mix, they're currently considered less likely to be offered the job... Bloomberg

Snapchat's Evan Spiegel: Saying no to $3B, and feeling lucky Like many a young man, Evan Thomas Spiegel is enamored of expensive cars. Unlike many young men, he can afford them. A little more than two years after leaving Stanford University three classes shy of graduation, Snapchat's co-founder sits atop a hastily established empire that is already worth billions in the eyes of would-be acquirers -- including Facebook, which reportedly offered to buy Snapshot for $3 billion in cash. CNET

Guru3D rig of the month - November 2013 We just adore hardware. And sometimes some you guys really make a PC that really stands out. We ask you to answer a few simple questions and send in photo's of your rig. Each month we'll have a look at the entries and perhaps pick you and post your PC with photo's and everything here at Guru3D.com Here you can find out what you need to do and win a great prize brought to you with the courtesy of OCZ Technology. Guru3D

Bitcoin under pressure All currencies involve some measure of consensual hallucination, but Bitcoin, a virtual monetary system, involves more than most. It is a peer-to-peer currency with no central bank, based on digital tokens with no intrinsic value. Rather than relying on confidence in a central authority, it depends instead on a distributed system of trust, based on a transaction ledger which is cryptographically verified and jointly maintained by the currency's users. The Economist

The fall (and rise?) of Yahoo: How the web giant crumbled and built some great tech in the process At one point not so long ago, Yahoo was one of the top technology companies in the world. "The only exception [was] Google," Bassel Ojjeh, a former senior vice president of data technologies and products at Yahoo, said in a recent interview. "… That's where big data came from. … It didn't come from Walmart figuring out the connection between diapers and beer." Gigaom

Why did 9,000 porny spambots descend on this San Diego high schooler? It was around 5pm last Thursday when Olivia, a San Diego high school student, noticed that something interesting was going on with her Twitter account. A swarm of 30 women with sexy profile pictures had just followed her on the social networking service. "guys wtf 30 PORNSTARS JUST FOLLOWED ME WHATS HAPPENING," she tweeted to her 600 or so followers. The Atlantic

Half an operating system: The triumph and tragedy of OS/2 It was a cloudy Seattle day in late 1980, and Bill Gates, the young chairman of a tiny company called Microsoft, had an appointment with IBM that would shape the destiny of the industry for decades to come. He went into a room full of IBM lawyers, all dressed in immaculately tailored suits. Bill's suit was rumpled and ill-fitting, but it didn't matter. He wasn't here to win a fashion competition. Ars Technica

Best SSDs: Holiday 2013 Since the holiday shopping season is going at full speed and Black Friday is only a few days away, we are doing a bunch of product recommendation posts to help you to make the best purchases. Ian has already covered mini-ITX motherboards and desktop CPUs, so it's my turn to post my take on the best SSDs on the market. I want to start with a couple of tidbits of advice that apply when buying an SSD. AnandTech

The period is pissed The period was always the humblest of punctuation marks. Recently, however, it's started getting angry. I've noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce "I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded." The New Republic

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