The Future Will See You Now
Annals of Skype
The tech world has been buzzing about Amazon’s new Fire Phone, which has a small array of simple 3D cameras on the front. But today, Intel showed off their new 3D camera tech, and it already makes Amazon’s attempt seem quaint.
Intel has been working for years and has spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” on developing the depth-sensing cameras. They call the technology RealSense because of the lifelike way the cameras take the world in.
Forget using Skype for choppy, pixellated webcam sex. Now, you can use it to get a long-distance exorcism, too!
Rev. Bob Larson, an Evangelical Christian in Scottsdale, Ariz., is using Skype to perform exorcisms to possessed people all over the world, ABC 15 reports.
Yahoo COO Henrique De Castro, who was called a “dead man walking” by coworkers, was finally fired yesterday. He was Marissa Mayer’s first major hire shortly after she was installed as CEO more than a year ago. [BI]
Aol is handing over control of Patch to Hale Global, essentially ridding itself of the flailing network of hyperlocal blogs. [Recode]
In what is seen as a preemptive move against Beats Music, Spotify has eliminated listening time limits it had enforced on its website for free users. [TechCrunch]
Skype carried an estimated 214 billion minutes of international calls between users in 2013–that’s up 36 percent since the year prior. [WSJ]
Welcome to the big leagues, Snapchat! This week the photo-sharing app experienced a startup Bar Mitzvah, of sorts, when it was inundated with its first major spam attack.
Unsuspecting users received an explicit snap from someone calling herself named “Honey.Crush9,” inviting them to a sexy Skype conversation. Anyone foolish enough to take the bait ended up with—surprise, surprise!—malware.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Prolific startup investor and jOBS star Ashton Kutcher has news for everyone: he’s a total brainiac, not unlike Steve Jobs! The whole time he was playing dumb bro characters in sitcoms like That 70’s Show and Two and a Half Men and tweeting clueless riffs on sensitive news stories, he was actually acting.
The Internet’s already disrupted meeting and mating; why not shake up the institution of the wedding itself? The New York Times ventured out to Jackson Heights to watch an American citizen marry a man in Bangladesh via Skype. It’s apparently an increasingly common practice among some immigrant communities, as Islam in particular gives it the Read More
Tim Cook’s not sure where you all got the idea he’s robotic. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
He also confirmed Apple is bringing some manufacturing back to the U.S. No guarantees how much, though. [Bloomberg News]
Get psyched for Skype voice messages. [The Verge]
Hey Best Buy (and all other mega corporations): Maybe don’t assume you can just rip off a startup’s proprietary technology? [Redeye VC]
International fugitive John McAfee has been apprehended in Guatemala, reportedly for entering the country illegally. No word on whether the Vice guys are screwed. [New York Times]
Michael Arrington is very peeved at Instagram pulling Twitter integration. So peeved he felt it necessary to slap on a Winnie the Pooh hat and write a rant. [TechCrunch]
This is what the earth looks like at night. [NASA]
Good news for those of you kept awake at night by terrible apocalyptic visions and/or whose name is Sarah Connor: The BBC reports that the University of Cambridge is taking up the study of the existential risks posed by new technologies. Think killer AIs with indestructible robot bodies.
One of organizers is Skype cofounder Jaan Tallinn, Read More
Worst nightmare for workday Skype gossipers: It appears until very recently there was a vulnerability that made it possible for anyone who knows your email to hijack your account. UPDATED: Skype says it’s been resolved. [TNW]
Do you fret about the amount of info you’ve shared with Facebook? Think for a minute about your Google Search history taken as a whole, and you’ll have a panic attack. [Buzzfeed]
As we head into the holidays, an update from Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson reveals that the community is now 20 million users strong and did more than $700 million in sales in 2012. By the end of the year, total all-time marketplace sales will surpass 100 million products. The company is also doing a holiday popup shop in Soho this year–right next to Dior. Fancy! [Etsy]
Are startups funded in the early-stage investing boom starting to run out of money? [Business Insider]
Judging from this video about the Jawbone UP, wearable computing requires a whole lot of trial and error in the design process. [Fuse Project]
Hackers are spreading new malware attacks via Skype contact lists. Unassuming Skype users are lured into clicking on infected URLS from anxiety-inducing messages like, “lol is that you?” only to find their computer infected by a variation of the Dorkbot worm.
Don’t let the funny name fool you. Dorkbot has a nasty mission. Infected computers may end up locked down and held for ransom: