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Tumblr lets loose its first Transparency Report

In an effort to be fully open, Tumblr unveiled a Transparency Report on Monday that detailed all government requests for user data. This report shows that in 2013, the company received 462 requests and it gave the government data 76 percent of the time. Tumblr said that from now on it will publish these Transparency Reports twice a year.

"Consistent with our core principles, we'd like to shine some light on an issue that is deeply important to both our community and the greater public: government requests for user information," Tumblr wrote in a blog post. "… Read more

With NSA reform, what does more disclosure from tech firms mean?

The US Department of Justice announced on Monday that it made a preliminary deal with a handful of top technology companies that will let them publicly disclose the number of times the government requests user data. While it appears this is a step toward greater transparency, what does it really mean?

For years, it's been unclear how much and what type of information the National Security Agency has been collecting from tech companies. The NSA is one of the biggest surveillance and eavesdropping agencies in the US and was where Edward Snowden worked before he decided to leak some … Read more

Two ways to enable the root user in OS X

Besides the user account you use to log into the system, OS X contains a number of other accounts, most of which are hidden, but are used for running specific background tasks and system features. One of these accounts is called the "root" account, which is the main overarching system account that has unrestricted access to all system resources. Most of the system's background tasks are run under the root account, as can be seen if you open the Activity Monitor utility and choose "All Processes" from the View menu.

When a program or process … Read more

Ask the Experts, Episode 6: Upgrading a PS4 hard drive

So you've got your shiny, brand-new PS4 and you're thinking about swapping out the system's built-in 500GB hard drive. Is it worth putting in a larger-capacity drive? How about a solid-state drive? Find out if it's really worth tweaking in this episode of Ask the Experts.

The first round of Ask the Experts wraps up tomorrow, so be sure to check back then!

Twitter announces about-face on controversial new blocking rules

After ruffling the feathers of Twitter users with a controversial new user-blocking policy, the microblogging site appears to have heard the growing discontent and reverted to its original policy.

A new policy that came to light earlier Thursday changed the way blocking worked on the social networking site. Formerly, blocking someone on Twitter had meant that they could no longer see your tweets, but the change meant that blocked users could still see everything the blocker did.

"We have decided to revert the change after receiving feedback from many users -- we never want to introduce features at the … Read more

Apple aims to clobber Web page spoofers

Apple has cooked up a novel way to thwart cybercriminals who serve up malware via spoofed Web pages.

A patent application called "Graphical user interface element incorporating real-time environment data" published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office describes a method to automatically update your browser's interface in real time. Okay, so how would that impede Web page spoofers?

To trick people into visiting malicious Web sites, the bad guys can mimic or spoof parts of your browser's GUI (graphical user interface). Clicking on a link or entering log-in credentials on one of these spoofed … Read more

Enter Australis: Mozilla streamlines Firefox's look

Mozilla took a major step Monday to launch a significantly revamped look for Firefox Monday, a project months in the making called Australis that will unify the browser's look across personal computers, tablets, and phones.

Australis brings a new look to the frame around the Web page: curvy tabs, more emphasis for the tab you're using and less for the one you're not, and graphical menu that looks more like a grid of apps than a list of options.

At Australis landed in the nightly version of Firefox for browser testers on Monday, taking its first step … Read more

Twitter a news source? Not so much

If you're a Twitter user, you're in the minority. If you get your news on the social network, you're in even a smaller minority.

Pew Research Center released a new study on Monday that shows only 16 percent of US adults use Twitter and only 8 percent get news on the site. This is compared with Facebook, where 30 percent of US adults get their news.

For its survey, Pew interviewed more than 5,000 US adults, which included 736 Twitter users and 3,268 Facebook users, and analyzed Twitter conversations around major news events.

While Twitter … Read more

Chrome's parental controls step closer to adulthood

Google Chrome's rumored parental control feature moved into Chrome beta on Tuesday, and it stands to make Chrome and Chrome OS even more appealing to parents and teachers.

Chromebooks have done well in the United States, capturing around a quarter of the sub-$300 PC market in the past year. The low-price laptops also have gained attention from educators, in part because of their price, but also because they include keyboards, essential for teaching children typing skills.

Supervised Users would give Chrome OS a long-missing feature: multiple accounts that can be differentiated by privilege status. For now, a supervised … Read more

Twitter IPO reveals interesting tidbits

CNET Update keeps it short and tweet:

In this episode of Update:

- Discover a few surprises uncovered from Twitter's IPO filing, including how the network is not making a profit, and it's ahead of Facebook when it comes to making money from mobile ads.

- Prepare to see video and photo advertisements on Instagram in the coming months.

- Reset your passwords if you're an Adobe user, since hackers stole personal data of 3 million users, along with software source code.

- Find big discounts on Apple's iPhone 5C and Samsung's Galaxy S4 now at Best Buy. … Read more