Bing censors Chinese search results in the US?

It's no secret that many search engines abide by China's rules and censor Web results for users living in mainland China. But, typically, results in other countries don't have the same filters.

Bing, however, has been allegedly censoring results for Chinese speakers in the US, according to a report by the Guardian. The Guardian writes that sensitive political topics -- like the Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, and Tiananmen Square protests -- are showing up on the Chinese-language Bing in the US with filters. When searching the same topics on the English-language Bing, users get far more results.… Read more

Why Chinese smartphone clones may not be a good deal after all

Nobody loves a bargain like I do. So when a reader asked me what I thought about buying "knock-off" smartphones in China, I was intrigued.

After all, I've bought my share of counterfeit handbags in New York's Chinatown. But when you're talking about electronics and cell phones, to be specific, you need to be careful about what you are buying. In this edition of Ask Maggie, I offer my advice on whether to buy counterfeit smartphones and how you can find an affordable smartphone made for the US market.

I also explain to another reader … Read more

The 404 1,364: Where we DM til the PM (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Watch Dogs delayed to spring 2014.

- Teenage girls discussing body issues on YouTube: "Am I pretty or ugly?"

- I didn't want to talk about this, but Rebecca Black's producer dug up new "talent".

- Is this the worst T-shirt Abercrombie has ever sold?

- Twitter Direct Messages might soon be easier to send.

- Google reportedly set to unveil its own smartwatch.… Read more

The 404 1,322: Where our bark is worse than our roar (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- OkCupid stakeout finds men prefer women who cheat.

- Digital era threatens tenuous future of drive-ins.

- Chinese zoo takes heat for trying to pass dog off as lion.… Read more

Cool Kinect move: Reading sign language in real time

Earlier this week at Microsoft's DemoFest in Redmond, Wash., the company's research arm showed off an incredible union of technologies that could finally usher in an inexpensive solution for people who want to communicate with a computer through sign language.

Dreamed up by researchers with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Microsoft Research Asia, the system involves the use of a Kinect camera sensor, Bing's translation services, and some recognition software that detects American and Chinese sign language and converts it into computer text -- all on the fly.… Read more

Apple's mea culpa works wonders in China

Apple CEO Tim Cook's apology to China over his company's warranty apology seems to have succeeded in reducing tension with the Chinese government.

Global Times, a state-run media outlet in China, today wrote that Apple's "apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market," according to Reuters, which was first to report on the statement. The Global Times also said that Apple's apology was "worth respect."

Tim Cook yesterday issued an apology, saying his company was sorry for the lack of communication on its warranty … Read more

Chinese hackers said to wage cyberwar on The New York Times

After a lengthy newspaper investigation on China's prime minister, The New York Times claims, the newspaper's computer systems were infiltrated and attacked by Chinese hackers.

The attacks began four months ago and culminated with hackers stealing the corporate password for every Times employee, according to the paper. The personal computers of 53 of these employees were also broken into and spied on.

The Times discovered the attacks after observing "unusual activity" in its computer system. Security investigators were then able to get into the system and track the hackers' movements, see what the infiltrators were after, … Read more

Apple's Chinese New Year sale hits Jan. 25 -- but only in Asia

Apple will kick off its Chinese New Year sale Friday, giving customers in the key Asia market access to discounts as part of its effort to attract buyers in the fast-growing region.

The sale will last from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 25 and will take place in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan.

Apple already has introduced a Chinese New Year gift guide, but it's unclear what discounts it will offer Friday. Deals in the past included 8 percent off iPads and 10 percent off iPod Touches, as … Read more

Tackle a missing Chinese word list update from Apple

Recently a number of OS X users who use Chinese input options in OS X have noticed an update to Apple's Chinese word list dictionary; however, for some reason this list has not been made available to everyone.

The update seems to be spurred by the use of some third-party software packages; however, it is not listed as a standard available update by Apple.

MacFixIt reader Sanchai recently wrote in regarding this issue:

"I'm running Mountain Lion and found that on my friend's machine, Chinese Word list update had been updated to version 1.1 on … Read more

SpaceX rocket engine shut down at launch

Monday's CNET Update finds a few problems:

Although it appeared to be a flawless launch, there was a problem with one of the engines of the SpaceX Falcon 9. About a minute after takeoff, one of the engines detected a drop in pressure and shut down. Video posted on YouTube shows debris falling off in what some have called an explosion. SpaceX said the engine did not explode, but rather the protective fairing for the engine ruptured due to the pressure change. The other engines compensated for the failed engine, as was designed to happen if there was a … Read more