Every week, the news team at VentureBeat brings you a blitz of news day after day, but even for our most dedicated readers it can be a challenge to catch every single story.
So, we’ve decided to pull together a handful of the best stories from VentureBeat this week, just in case you missed them, or want to read them again.
In the list of humanity’s greatest achievements, we must now consider adding an Australian e-commerce service called “Ship Your Enemies Glitter.” The service appears to be real, though even if it’s just a gag, it gets so many things right that, well, who cares? Perhaps collectively we could will this into being. Read more
Privacy and security researcher Samy Kamkar has released a keylogger for Microsoft wireless keyboards cleverly hidden in what appears to be a rather large, but functioning USB wall charger. Called KeySweeper, the stealthy Arduino-based device can sniff, decrypt, log, and report back all keystrokes — saving them both locally and online. This is no toy. KeySweeper includes a web-based tool for live keystroke monitoring, can send SMS alerts for trigger words, usernames, or URLs (in case you want to steal a PIN number or password), and even continues to work after it is unplugged thanks to a rechargeable internal battery. That’s an impressive list of features, especially given that Kamkar told VentureBeat the whole process “took a few days” including a few over Christmas break and this past weekend when he decided “to properly document it.” Read more
Today Google announced that it plans to publicly launch its first Project Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico this year. To make this happen, the company is partnering with Ingram Micro, OpenMobile, and Claro. Google plans to distribute the devices through “mobile “food truck”-style stores” in the country. Read more
After having spent a few days at the International CES gadget show in Las Vegas and then attending J.P. Morgan’s annual health care conference in San Francisco, I’m feeling pretty bullish on health technology. Fitness wearables and apps dominated a huge hall at the Sands in Vegas. Wearables were easily the main storyline at this year’s CES. Read more
No one yet knows who will win best picture, best actress, or best director when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts the 87th Academy Awards on February 22. But one thing is a lock: No matter who takes home the Oscar for best visual effects, they’ll have used Maya, Autodesk’s animation software, to bring their robots, hobbits, astronauts, monsters, and other on-screen creations to life. Indeed, the visual effects and animation teams on all 10 films considered for this year’s Oscar nomination, and all five that received nominations this morning, used Maya, a powerful, customizable tool that enables deeply complex processes like character animation to look seamless and realistic on the silver screen. Read more
Nico Sell’s PR wrangler is trying to convince me to spend my entire Wednesday on a boat off the coast of Northern California with the sunglasses-clad CEO as she kicks off a three-day women’s big wave surf competition at Mavericks. I’ve been trying to get together with Sell, cofounder of the self-destructing-messaging app Wickr, for weeks and as luck would have it I’m in San Francisco that day. And though there is nothing more I would love than to do this article oceanside, I had a full day of news ahead of me. Read more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google has been quite busy improving the hardware for its highly customizable Project Ara smartphones. The latest version of the Spiral 2 prototype features a 3G modem and an RF bus that will support antennas, and it contains a totally different type of processor — application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), rather than field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), Paul Eremenko, director of Project Ara, announced at the Project Ara Module Developers Conference on the Google campus today. Read more