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Twitter reportedly nixes plan to secure messages from snooping

Twitter has reportedly put the kibosh on a project that would have protected your personal data from hackers and government snoops.

Purportedly dropping the project earlier this year, Twitter had initiated it as a way to secure direct messages, protected accounts, and personal information, The Verge said on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. The aim was to make it more difficult for the government to gain hold of such information without a court order.

Twitter has been an outspoken critic of the methods used by the National Security Agency to vacuum up user data. Last month, the company revealed that it … Read more

Microsoft teases unveiling of DirectX 12 later this month

Game developers' long wait for the next iteration of Microsoft's DirectX will apparently come to an end this month.

Details of the DirectX 12 game programming interfaces will apparently be released March 20 during the Game Developers Conference, according to a Microsoft teaser page. Microsoft's page includes the logos of AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm, suggesting they are partners that will support the new suite of APIs.

Anuj Gosalia, a development manager on Windows Graphics at Microsoft, is scheduled to lead a presentation at the conference, according to a GDC program page:

For nearly 20 years, DirectX has … Read more

Get coordinates, quick directions in new Google Maps

Google removed the ability to get latitude, longitude and quick directions with a right-click when it redesigned the Google Maps site. But with the redesign leaving limited release, and being pushed to everyone now, Google is slowly bringing beloved features back to the site.

On Wednesday, the Google Maps team brought back the ability to right-click on the map and request more information about the location you selected. The feature, announced in a tweet, enables you to get directions to or from the location, as well as view the latitude and longitude.

In order to view the coordinates, you'll … Read more

Home networking explained, Part 9: Access your home computer remotely

Editors' note: This post is part of an ongoing series. Check Related Stories below for the previous installments.

If you've been following this series, you'll know that I explained the LAN and WAN ports on a home router in part 1. And now, I need to tell you how you can use this information to remotely access your device at home. For example, if you know how to use Remote Desktop, a built-in feature of Windows, to control a computer in a different room of your home, how about doing that from somewhere away from home, and save … Read more

How to manually change the scroll direction in Mavericks

When Apple introduced its "Natural" scrolling direction option in OS X to mimic the touch-based swiping on the iPhone and iPad, it also included a system preference setting to revert this, should you wish to use classic scrolling behavior. While this feature offers most users the choice to revert to a behavior they would prefer, it may not work in all situations, especially when using a mouse as an input device, instead of Apple's multi-touch trackpad.

In some cases, the setting might be available in the Mouse pane of System Preferences, but when you check it or … Read more

Facebook bites back

Facebook pokes Princeton back:

In this episode of Update:

- Facebook does some of its own research in response to Princeton's paper.

- Rare NES game fetches thousands on eBay.

- Is a new Apple TV incoming?

- The Macintosh celebrates 30 years.

- Bitcoin is now being accepted at TigerDirect.

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, and what's ahead. Subscribe to the podcast via the links below.

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US retailer TigerDirect accepts Bitcoin payments

TigerDirect.com, a significant US retailer of electronics products, announced Thursday it will accept payments made in the Bitcoin currency.

The move is a small but notable step in the gradual transformation of Bitcoin from an obscure digital currency into a mainstream payment mechanism. Bitcoin has been on a roller coaster ride, with its value surging on technological enthusiasm and speculative investing and then crashing, as when countries like China throw cold water on it.

Partnerships with mainstream companies -- even ones like TigerDirect.com that are focused on tech-savvy buyers -- helps add some legitimacy and make the coins … Read more

How to better spy on a childhood virus

Influenza, Ebola, and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) can be nasty little buggers, infecting their hosts with rash abandon and, especially when they attack young babies, even killing them. And the danger reaches beyond the very young. Pneumonia, for instance, is the leading cause of death in children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and RSV is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.

As imaging techniques advance, researchers are being able to study these viruses in greater and greater detail. Now, according to a team of scientists at Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, and Emory, one new technique for studying RSV … Read more

Ex-IBM engineer builds innovative phono cartridges

Peter Ledermann is one of just a handful of highly skilled people on the planet who designs and hand-builds phono cartridges. These tiny electro-mechanical devices are usually machine made, but Ledermann builds world-class cartridges with his hands and a microscope. His company, Soundsmith, also manufactures speakers and amplifiers, and services vintage Bang & Olufsen and Tandberg products.

Ledermann's resume is impressive: He was the director of Engineering for Bozak, one of America's leading speaker manufacturers in the 1960s. And for 10 years, starting in 1980, he was an IBM senior research engineer and is credited as the primary … Read more

Army laser weapon KOs mortar rounds

It's another small step on the long march toward laser weapons.

The US Army said this week that its big, boxy HEL MD system turned in a bang-up performance in its recent shoot-'em-up on the test range. During a three-week run between November 18 and December 10 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the truck-mounted High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (PDF) successfully engaged more than 90 mortar rounds, along with "several" unmanned aerial vehicles in flight.

No specifics were given on what exactly constitutes a successful engagement, but judging by various earlier tests … Read more