Weekend tech reading: Graphene is even more conductive than expected, eBay's $50b turnaround

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ebay, graphene

Graphene conducts electricity ten times better than expected Physicists have produced nanoribbons of graphene -- the single-atom-thick carbon -- that conduct electrons better than theory predicted even for the most idealized form of the material. The finding could help graphene realize its promise in high-end electronics, where researchers have long hoped it could outperform traditional materials such as silicon. In graphene, electrons can move faster than in any other material at room temperature. But techniques that cut sheets of graphene into the narrow ribbons needed to form wires of a nano-scale circuit leave ragged edges, which disrupt the electron flow. Nature

Microsoft, past and future In broad strokes, here is my view of Microsoft’s history. In the beginning, Bill Gates stated the company's goal: "A computer on every desk and in every home." That was crazy. The PC revolution was well underway, but the grand total of PCs sold when Gates stated that mantra was, by today’s standards, effectively zero. PCs were for hobbyists. Everyone involved knew they were on to something, but Gates realized, at the outset, that they were on to something huge. The industry was measuring sales in the thousands, but Gates was already thinking about billions. Here's Gates, in an interview from 2010... Daring Fireball

Editorial: Why games should enter the public domain A few days ago I inadvertently caused a bit of a fuss. In writing about GOG’s Time Machine sale, I expressed my two minds about the joy of older games being rescued from obscurity, and my desire that they be in the public domain. This led to some really superb discussion about the subject in the comments below, and indeed to a major developer on Twitter to call for me to be fired. I wanted to expand on my thoughts, rather than leave them as a throwaway musing on a post about a website’s sale. RPS (and a response by Steve Gaynor)

New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time Shooter and victim were just a pair of pixels, dark specks on a gray streetscape. Hair color, bullet wounds, even the weapon were not visible in the series of pictures taken from an airplane flying two miles above. But what the images revealed -- to a degree impossible just a few years ago -- was location, mapped over time. Second by second, they showed a gang assembling, blocking off access points, sending the shooter to meet his target and taking flight after the body hit the pavement. The Washington Post

Florida targets high-dollar Bitcoin exchangers State authorities in Florida on Thursday announced criminal charges targeting three men who allegedly ran illegal businesses moving large amounts of cash in and out of the Bitcoin virtual currency. Experts say this is likely the first case in which Bitcoin vendors have been prosecuted under state anti-money laundering laws, and that prosecutions like these could shut down one of the last remaining avenues for purchasing Bitcoins anonymously. Krebs on Security (separately, a major BTC exchange has suspended withdrawals and the currency is banned in Russia)

How Adobe got rid of traditional performance reviews Renowned American novelist Ernest Hemingway said that the most essential gift for a good writer is “a built-in shock-proof shit detector,” the ability to spot bad or unnecessary text, the skill to fix what is salvageable, and the will to throw away what is beyond repair or unnecessary. Leaders and teams that spread excellence act the same way, ruthlessly spotting and removing crummy or useless rules, traditions, tools, and roles that clog up the works and cloud people’s minds. LinkedIn (here's Adobe's post on the matter)

Dread Pirate Roberts 2.0: An interview with Silk Road's new boss Silk Road, the infamous and anonymous online marketplace specializing in illicit goods, sells everything from pot to black tar heroin. If you can smoke it, inject it, or snort it, there’s a good chance Silk Road has it. Well, had it. Late last year, the FBI burst into a local branch of the San Francisco Public Library and arrested one Ross Ulbricht, the alleged kingpin who ran the site. It all happened while Ulbricht's laptop was open and he was logged into his encrypted accounts. Ars Technica

Tunnel vision: how an obsessed explorer found and lost the world's oldest subway Bob Diamond had been guiding tours in an abandoned subway tunnel under Atlantic Avenue for almost 30 years when he was blindsided by a phone call from a New York Daily News reporter asking him how it felt to get kicked out. Diamond was confused. His relationship with the city was getting increasingly rocky, but he had a contract for use of the tunnel. "Look, it’s a misunderstanding," he told the reporter. "They didn’t kick us out. Why would they?" The Verge

V2V: What are vehicle-to-vehicle communications and how do they work? Vehicle-to-vehicle communications moved one step closer to reality this week with the Obama administration’s plans to push the technology forward. The February 3rd announcement outlines a set of proposed rules would be announced for comment by the time this administration departs in 2017, with hopes that sometime around 2020, cars will communicate with each other and alert drivers to roadside hazards ahead. ExtremeTech (also, an expert's take on transportation in 2050)

Rate-limiting State By design, the Internet core is stupid, and the edge is smart. This design decision has enabled the Internet's wildcat growth, since without complexity the core can grow at the speed of demand. On the downside, the decision to put all smartness at the edge means we're at the mercy of scale when it comes to the quality of the Internet's aggregate traffic load. Not all device and software builders have the skills -- and the quality assurance budgets -- that something the size of the Internet deserves. ACM

You can explain eBay's $50 billion turnaround with just this one crazy story Back in the middle of the last decade, eBay, the massive auction site, was in trouble. Between 2005 and 2007, its stock price was cut in half and its market cap shrank by $30 billion. In October 2007, eBay admitted that Skype, a company it had acquired for $2.5 billion two years earlier, was actually worth less than half of that. During the third quarter of 2007, eBay lost money for the first time as a public company. Business Insider (...and Carl Icahn wants eBay to sell PayPal)

Broken Age and the Kickstarter factor I haven't done a ton of gaming on my PC lately. It's not for a lack of games -- I have access to a lot of new releases for testing purposes -- or for a lack of hardware -- there are literally crates full of graphics cards in my office. It's not even for a lack of free time, so long as I'm not crunching away on another time-sensitive TR review. No. My problem is that, these days, big-budget games are stuck in a rut. The Tech Report

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