AP Technology NewsBrief at 5:25 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Boeing engineers use spuds to improve in-air Wi-FiCHICAGO (AP) _ If the wireless Internet connection during your holiday flight seems more reliable than it used to, you could have the humble potato to thank. While major airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi on many flights, the signal strength can be spotty. Airlines and aircraft makers have been striving to improve this with the growing use of wireless devices and the number of people who don't want to be disconnected, even 35,000 feet up.
Click, print, shoot: Downloadable guns possibleSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Downloading a gun design to your computer, building it with a three-dimensional printer that uses plastics and other materials, and firing it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked. Sound far-fetched It's not. And that is disquieting for gun control advocates.
Facebook tests $1 fee for messages to non-friendsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Facebook says it is testing a service that will charge users $1 to guarantee that messages they send to people they are not connected to arrive in users' inboxes, rather than in an often-ignored folder called "other." Launched in 2011, the "other" folder is where Facebook routes messages it deems less relevant. Not quite spam, these include messages from people you most likely don't know, based on Facebook's reading of your social connections. Many users ignore this folder.
Investors shed shares of Blackberry makerNEW YORK (AP) _ Shares of Blackberry maker Research in Motion slumped more than 16 percent Friday with future revenue coming into question and a declining number of subscribers. RIM's stock jumped initially Thursday when the Canadian company released better-than-expected third-quarter results and a stronger cash position.
Instagram reverts to prior policy on adsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Instagram has abandoned wording in its new terms-of-service agreement that sparked outcry from users concerned it meant their photos could appear in advertisements. In a blog post late Thursday, the popular mobile photo-sharing service says it has reverted to language in the advertising section of its terms of service that appeared when it was launched in October 2010.
Nokia, RIM settle old disputes in new patent pactHELSINKI (AP) _ Nokia Corp. and Canadian smartphone rival Research In Motion have agreed on a new patent licensing pact which will end all existing litigation between the two struggling companies, the Finnish firm said Friday. The agreement includes a "one-time payment and on-going payments, all from RIM to Nokia," Nokia said, but did not disclose "confidential" terms.
Violence baked into popular cultureNEW YORK (AP) _ Well aware that the television audience may be particularly sensitive, the Showtime network aired a disclaimer warning audiences of violent content in the season finales of its dramas "Homeland" and "Dexter" last weekend. It was two days after a gunman killed 26 people in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. The political thriller "Homeland" that night featured the burial of a bullet-ridden body at sea and a car bomb that killed scores of people. "Dexter," about a serial killer, had a couple of murders.
Oracle buying software co. Eloqua for about $811MREDWOOD SHORES, Calif. (AP) _ Business-software maker Oracle is adding to its cloud-computing capabilities with an $810.8 million purchase of software maker Eloqua. Oracle said Thursday that buying Eloqua will bolster its "cloud" technology for helping companies make decisions on their marketing, sales and customer support. Cloud computing refers to the concept of making software available for anyone with an Internet-connected device, rather than installing it on company computers.
Spain fines top 3 telecoms companies $159 millionMADRID (AP) _ Spain's National Competition Commission has fined top telecommunications operators Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange a total of (EURO)120 million ($159 million) for abusing their dominant position and charging excessively high prices for texts and multimedia messages. The commission said Thursday that between 2000 and 20009 the three companies exploited the absence of regulation to maintain artificially high wholesale prices for operators without their own networks. It said this led to higher retail prices for short messages and created barriers for companies wishing to enter or expand in the market.
EU: Samsung may have violated antitrust rulesBRUSSELS (AP) _ The European Union's executive arm, the Commission, has informed Samsung of its preliminary view that the company's seeking of injunctions against Apple for allegedly infringing "standard-essential" patents in the EU amounts to an abuse of a dominant position. According to industry agreements, companies owning the rights to essential phone technology must usually license it to competitors on what are called fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.
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