Snowden and Greenwald: The men who leaked the secrets Early one morning last December, Glenn Greenwald opened his laptop, scanned through his e-mail, and made a decision that almost cost him the story of his life. A columnist and blogger with a large and devoted following, Greenwald receives hundreds of e-mails every day, many from readers who claim to have "great stuff." Occasionally these claims turn out to be credible; most of the time they're cranks. There are some that seem promising but also require serious vetting. This takes time, and Greenwald, who starts each morning deluged with messages, has almost none. "My inbox is the enemy," he told me recently. Rolling Stone

iPad Air: Escaping Apple's reality distortion field At first glance, with the Apple Reality Distortion Field at full power, the iPad Air seems like an impeccable, immaculate device that could only ever be conceived by the magicians at Apple in California. The iPad Air is some 30% lighter and 20% thinner than the iPad that it replaces, while still retaining the same Retina display and 10 hours of battery life. Somehow, just somehow, Apple made us feel that it had yet again pulled off the impossible. In reality, the iPad Air, while very attractive, isn't remarkable at all. The new Kindle Fire HDX, for example, has a higher-resolution screen, more battery life, weighs less, and even costs less than the iPad Air. ExtremeTech

What the hell is wrong with Nintendo? Earlier this week, amidst all the hype over the launches of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Bloomberg news service took a step away from the wall-to-wall coverage of the new consoles to discuss Nintendo and the Wii U. They say no press is bad press, but... "Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. each sold more game consoles in 24 hours than the Wii U maker did in nine months," read the story "[Nintendo] sold just 460,000 Wii U machines in the six months ended Sept. 30, about 5 percent of its target for the fiscal year." Christmas may represent a big part of Nintendo's yearly business, but it sure as heck isn't 95 percent. Wired

Thoughts on Amazon Prime delivery drones This past weekend, just in time for Cyber Monday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed plans on 60 Minutes for delivery drones for Amazon Prime shipments weighing up to five pounds. While the target of getting drones involved in the next five years sounds ambitious, there are many questions and technological obstacles that need to be overcome first. Taken at a high level, Amazon states that the drones could handle up to 86% of all Amazon shipments, getting product to your door as quickly as 30 minutes after you place your order. If that sounds too good to be true, it probably is for most of us. AnandTech

How the Bitcoin protocol actually works Many thousands of articles have been written purporting to explain Bitcoin, the online, peer-to-peer currency. Most of those articles give a hand-wavy account of the underlying cryptographic protocol, omitting many details. Even those articles which delve deeper often gloss over crucial points. My aim in this post is to explain the major ideas behind the Bitcoin protocol in a clear, easily comprehensible way. We'll start from first principles, build up to a broad theoretical understanding of how the protocol works, and then dig down into the nitty-gritty, examining the raw data in a Bitcoin transaction. DDI

My week as an Amazon insider The first item I see in Amazon's Swansea warehouse is a package of dog nappies. The second is a massive pink plastic dildo. The warehouse is 800,000 square feet, or, in what is Amazon's standard unit of measurement, the size of 11 football pitches (its Dunfermline warehouse, the UK's largest, is 14 football pitches). It is a quarter of a mile from end to end. There is space, it turns out, for an awful lot of crap. But then there are more than 100m items on its UK website: if you can possibly imagine it, Amazon sells it. And if you can't possibly imagine it, well, Amazon sells it too. The Guardian

The ordeal of the PayPal 14 "All rise." These words set off the space of the court, announced by the staff as the judge comes in to take his seat on a podium. When Judge D. Lowell Jensen entered his court on Thursday morning, only some of the room was standing at attention, others were milling around and chatting. This disorderly court was packed with lawyers, an odd-looking and slightly scruffy gallery of supporters and media, and the cohort of co-defendants, a mix of young and middle aged, also scruffy and be-suited. They laughed and needled each other like old friends at a reunion. Medium

Create your own bullet time camera rig with Raspberry Pi Matrix was the movie that showcased what can be achieved by putting dozens of cameras together. Back then it was an extremely expensive technology and it still is. However people have found a lot of cheap and 'can-be-done-at-home' ways of doing it – including strapping a camera to a phone. None as elegant as the actual bullet time set-up. Enters Raspberry in the picture. Muktware

Google squeezes margins on Moto G phone Google's Motorola unit is selling its new Moto G smartphone at starkly thinner profit margins than rival phones, according to a new analysis, a move that could put new pressure on industry leaders Apple and Samsung. Research firm TechInsights estimates that the components inside a Moto G with 16 gigabytes of memory cost $123. Motorola charges $199 for the device in the U.S. without a wireless contract. Including other costs, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Mark Newman estimates that the Moto G will generate an operating profit margin of less than 5%. The WSJ

Check if you're the victim of a database breach with 'Have I Been Pwned?' It seems to me that there is almost always a website making the news headlines, attempting to explain to innocent users that hackers breached its security, and stole the email addresses and passwords of innocent users. And it's not always just the online criminals who hacked their way into the poorly-secured systems who have the opportunity to explore the exposed information. Sometimes the databases are also uploaded to the net, for anyone with an interenet conntection to mull over. Graham Cluely (

The rise and fall of BlackBerry: An Oral History In 1984, Mike Lazaridis, an engineering student at the University of Waterloo, and Douglas Fregin, an engineering student at the University of Windsor, founded an electronics and computer science consulting company called Research In Motion, or RIM. For years the company tinkered in obscurity, until it focused on a breakthrough technology: an easy, secure, and effective device that allowed workers to send and receive e-mails while away from the office. They called it the BlackBerry. Businessweek

Why Microsoft needs three – or more – operating systems At the moment, Microsoft has a bunch of consumer-facing Windows-derived brands: Windows 8.1 for x86 and x64 PCs, Windows RT for ARM PCs, and Windows Phone for smartphones. According to research firm Canalys, that's at least one too many, with Windows Phone and Windows RT specifically named as confusing "to both developers and consumers alike." Both operating systems are used on "smart devices," so why have two? Ars Technica

FBI's search for 'Mo,' suspect in bomb threats, highlights use of malware for surveillance The man who called himself "Mo" had dark hair, a foreign accent and – if the pictures he e-mailed to federal investigators could be believed – an Iranian military uniform. When he made a series of threats to detonate bombs at universities and airports across a wide swath of the United States last year, police had to scramble every time. The Washington Post