Researchers Design Stretchable Antenna for Wearable Devices

North Carolina State University scientists have created a stretchable antenna for use with wearable technologies. They say the antenna can be deformed and return to its original shape as the wearer moves. The researchers have been working on wearable sensors for health monitoring, but said there was “a clear need” for antennas to be developed in order for the data collected to be transmitted for proper monitoring or diagnosis by healthcare professionals. They created the antenna using silver nanowires and liquid polymer. Once the polymer material is set, the result is an elastic material that serves as a microstrip patch antenna’s radiating element, the portion of the antenna that radiates or receives radio-frequency energy. This printed antenna is bonded to another stretchy polymer ground layer containing an embedded, continuous layer of silver nanowires to complete the antenna. The researchers published their work online in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. (PhysOrg)(ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces) 

Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Updates Website, Letting Users Verify Balances

Mt. Gox, the troubled Japanese bitcoin exchange that was once the largest in the world, reportedly has updated its website, enabling users to check their account balances. The website, offline for about three weeks, is now posting the last data available from the exchange servers before they were taken offline 25 February. The company reportedly lost 850,000 bitcoins, currently valued at about $520 million, to hackers. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in Japan and the US earlier this year, On the company’s homepage, there is now a message in English and Japanese: “Please be aware that confirming the balance on this site does not constitute a filing of rehabilitation claims under the civil rehabilitation procedure and note that the balance amounts shown on this site should also not be considered an acknowledgment by Mt. Gox of the amount of any rehabilitation claims of users.” Some users have said they think the reactivation may be a ruse perpetrated by hackers attempting to secure account-holder information since a database with user information was previously leaked. (Reuters)(Reddit)(PC World)

Berlin Is the First City with Its own Internet Domain

Berlin is the first city to have its own Internet domain name, allowing those based in Germany’s capital to register an address ending in .berlin. Those wishing to obtain Berlin Web addresses—which will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis—will pay €50 (about $70) each per year. ICANN expanded the number of available generic top-level domains—including those for cities—in 2011 to accommodate the Web’s expansion. The German cities of Hamburg and Cologne are reportedly planning to have their own domains, as are other large cities worldwide, including London, New York City, Paris, and Rome. (PhysOrg)(BBC)


US Ends Administrative Control of Internet

The US will end its longtime administrative control of the Internet as it plans to transfer control to an international group whose operations will be determined during the next year or so. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will end its 15-year formal relationship with ICANN on 30 September 2015, when its contract with the organization expires. To prepare for the future, ICANN is developing a new Internet governance model that will include the public and private sectors, and, according to the NTIA, “maintain the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System.” ICANN has invited government agencies, companies, Internet organization and others to discuss the model at a meeting later this month in Singapore.


ICANN coordinates the Internet’s system of addresses and other identifiers. Many groups outside the US have argued for a decade that no single country should control an international resource like the Internet and have thus praised the US government’s decision. This push increased after recent revelations about US agencies using the Net to gather data on online communications. Many business leaders say this new approach will cause chaos in the management of the Internet, which they depend on for e-commerce and many other purposes. US officials say they have always planned to cede control of Internet administration to international control and have just been waiting for the right time to do so.
(BBC)(InfoWorld)(The United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration)

Vodafone Buys Ono in $10 Billion Deal

UK telecommunications giant Vodafone Group is buying Spain’s largest cable operator in a deal worth $10 billion. The purchase of Grupo Corporative Ono is designed to bolster Vodafone’s TV and broadband offerings, offset declining mobile revenues, and add 1.9 million customers in Spain, according to analysts. Vodafone—the world’s second-largest wireless carrier, after China Mobile—is reportedly financing the deal via the sale of its US operations. It bought two other broadband companies, one each in Germany and the UK, during the past two years.

Man Named by Magazine as Bitcoin Inventor Denies Connection

Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto—a California programmer who Newsweek claimed was the Satoshi Nakamoto who created the bitcoin virtual currency–has issued a statement denying the newsmagazine’s report. “I did not create, invent, or otherwise work on bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report,” he said in the statement that his attorney, Ethan D. Kirschner, released. Kirschner said there would be no additional comment. Newsweek is standing by the article, in which it featured Nakamoto. The bitcoin creator’s supposed identity of Satoshi Nakamoto has long been thought to be a pseudonym. (The New York Times)(Associated Press)(Tech Crunch)

Entertainment-Industry Demand for Fake Computer Code Is Growing

With computer technology increasingly appearing in TV shows and movies, a niche industry is growing to serve the demand for custom-built realistic-appearing code. Traditionally, the code used on TV and in film has been repurposed from existing sources, which may include webpage CSS code or from a WordPress admin page. The public is more aware of the use of code in media, so the film industry is willing to pay for convincing code. The public has been recognizing repurposed code as not being what the TV show or movie said it was. Code supposedly for drones’ artificial intelligence capabilities in the film Stealth, for example, was actually nonsensical equations generated by LaTeX. At least one popular website shares examples of these depictions with a succinct explanation of the code origins. In addition, much of the code used in TV shows and movies must be custom-made because producers can’t acquire the rights to use it. Chicago-based Twisted Media produces code for several prime-time TV series including "Leverage" and "Torchwood" and the films Gravity and Divergent. Some observers contend these more realistic depictions are spurring interest in coding. (SlashDot)(SD Times)

US-CERT: Those Remaining with Windows XP Should Update Browser

Individuals planning to continue working with Windows XP after Microsoft ends support on 8 April 2014 should use a browser other than Internet Explorer, according to a newly-released US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) bulletin. Microsoft ties support for its Internet Explorer browser on an operating system to the OS’s end-of-support date. Thus, Windows XP users will no longer get patches for IE7 or IE8, the last version that the operating system supported. Moreover, Microsoft will end its support for IE6 in April. Mozilla, on the other hand, has not indicated when it will discontinue Windows XP support. And Google says it will issue XP patches for Chrome through at least April 2015. Thus, US-CERT advised, “Users who choose to continue using Windows XP after the end of support may mitigate some risks by using a Web browser other than Internet Explorer. The Windows XP versions of some alternative browsers will continue to receive support temporarily. Users should consult the support pages of their chosen alternative browser for more details.” (Computerworld)(US – CERT)

Google Revamps Search Results’ Appearance

Google Search has significantly changed its appearance on desktop computers this week. It stopped using underlines in the links displayed and big yellow boxes around advertisements, and increased the text size in its results. The design is similar to that found in the company’s mobile search results, according to Google Search design lead Jon Wiley. “This improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look. We’ve also brought over our new ad labels from mobile, making the multidevice experience more consistent.” Some critics contend it is more difficult to see the AdWords paid search results in the new design. Consumer say advertising links should be clearly labeled. Google claims the recent changes are experimental. (PC World)(Mashable)(Tech Crunch)(Jon Wiley on Google+)

Evaluation Shows US College Computer-Science Enrollment Rising

Enrollment in US college computer science programs now appears to be increasing, according to preliminary findings by the Computing Research Association. The organization publishes an annual report on college computer science enrollment and graduation and released early findings, showing a 22 percent increase in bachelor’s degree enrollment from 49,564 students in 2011-2012 to 60,453 in 2012-2013. The organization also reports that from 2012 to 2013, the number of doctoral degrees in computer science increased by 6.8 percent, although enrollment in PhD programs was down 1.2 percent. In the US, universities awarded 1,991 computer-science doctoral degrees, the highest number ever reported. The full 2013 Taulbee Report is scheduled for publication in the May 2014 issue of Computing Research News, which the organization publishes. (SD Times)(Computing Research Association)

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