Tasty Tidbits of Tech News

In our latest installment of Tasty Tidbits from the Tech Front, here are some recent news stories in case you missed them.

Tech: Apple ditches Google Maps
Apple is replacing Google Maps with its own mapping software, said Brad Stone in Bloomberg.com. The company announced that iPhones and iPads will soon run Apple’s new map app, with 3-D overhead visualizations of major cities, in order to ward off concerns that “it was becoming too dependent on its chief rival.” Apple also unveiled a new version of its mobile operating system, a revamped line of laptops, upgrades to the voice-recognition app Siri, and new agreements with Twitter and Facebook that make it easier for users to share updates.
- As seen in The Week

Apps that Verge on the Absurd
Last fall, digital designer Alex Cornell pitched a spoof app, but his boss loved the idea. “In Silicon Valley, it is getting tough to tell the difference between a joke and the next big thing,” said Geoffrey A. Fowler and Amir Efrati in The Wall Street Journal. Last fall, digital designer Alex Cornell pitched a spoof app that would let people grade anything, such as tree leaves or ice cubes. The idea was to “think of the most ridiculous possible app that no one would ever consider a real thing,” said Cornell. But his boss loved it, and now Jotly has tens of thousands of users and two competitors. Another app balanced between the absurd and the creative is Cloo, short for “community loo,” which helps urbanites “market their bathrooms to nearby smartphone users in need.” And there’s iPoo, the social network for people sitting on toilets. More than 200,000 people have paid $1 for the app, enough to put one of its designers through Harvard Business School.
- As seen in The Week

Hackers target LinkedIn and eHarmony
Hackers stole 6.5 million passwords from LinkedIn, the career-oriented social network, and 1.5 million passwords from dating site eHarmony last week. Cyber-security experts say the breaches should prompt users to create harder-to-crack logins, especially if the same passwords are used across a number of accounts.
- As seen in the Los Angeles Times

Dwindling Phone Time
Since the iPhone was launched in 2007, the amount of time Americans spend making old-fashioned voice calls on their mobile phones keeps falling. Wireless customers used an average of 826 minutes per month making calls in 2007, but just 681 minutes on average in 2011. The average call lasted 3.03 minutes in 2006, but just 1.78 minutes last year.
- As seen in The Wall Street Journal

Twitter-Guided Trading

Twitter and Facebook are revolutionizing stock trading, said Ariana Eunjung Cha in The Washington Post. Wall Street analysts are increasingly incorporating data from social media and Internet search trends into their investment strategies. Five years ago, 2 percent of investment firms used “unstructured” data in trading decisions, such as scanning comments on Amazon to predict sales or tallying job listings on Monster.com to discern hiring trends. Today, “that number is closer to 50 percent.” Digital data is so valuable, according to the World Economic Forum, that it qualifies as a new class of economic asset, like oil. London hedge-fund manager Paul Hawtin monitors millions of Twitter postings each day. When tweets trend happy, he buys; when they trend anxious, he sells. His fund was up more than 7 percent in the first quarter. “Big data is fundamentally changing how we trade,” said financial services consultant Adam Honore.
- As seen in The Week

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