How will they pay for souvenirs?
Imagine the faces of PayPal’s executive team when their boss asked for ideas on how to make payments in space.
Let’s just hope no one laughed, because David Marcus, PayPal’s president, wasn’t joking.
As if international expansion wasn’t hard enough, he has now launched PayPal Galactic – a partnership with the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute – to find ways of taking payments into outer orbit. Read more
One of the world’s greatest computer scientists and prolific authors, Dr James Martin, has died. His body was found in waters off Bermuda on Monday, although the news did not immediately become public. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.
As well as writing 104 textbooks, Dr Martin stood out for his gifts totaling $150m to the University of Oxford for the study of future challenges. That highlighted his belief that people could anticipate the effect of technology if they put their minds to it in the right way. Read more
As apps go, Ant Smasher sounds simple enough. The free game, which has been downloaded more than 50m times from the Google Play app store, allows mobile phone users to entertain themselves by squishing digital ants as they scurry down the screen. Splat, splat, splat.
But Ant Smasher has a dark side. It is one of a growing wave of apps that contains “adware” – aggressive advertising technology that displays ads in a phone’s notification bar and other places outside of the app itself, without consent. Read more
Will some online users pay to preserve a free service for all? Wikipedia’s fundraising efforts seem to show that they will – but only if it is not founder Jimmy Wales personally asking for the money, writes Andy Bounds
As regular as Christmas, Mr Wales has fronted an end-of-year fundraiser for the past decade that features his personal appeal to keep the site running without resorting to advertising. Read more
By Dan Thomas, telecoms correspondent
Sony will bolster its mobile range with a large screen “phablet” phone that is sized neatly between the high end smartphone and tablet launched last year to revive the Japanese group’s ailing devices business.
At 6.4 inches, Xperia Z Ultra acts perfectly as a small video screen, with a remarkably clear luminous display that carries HD videos with great clarity using Sony Bravia TV technology. Read more
The Federal Trade Commission is probing Google’s $1bn acquisition of Waze, the social navigation app.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company had been contacted by the FTC about the mapping deal but did not comment on the nature of its investigation. Read more
Leap Motion, a radical new device for controlling computers using hand movement, isn’t even on sale to the general public yet. But Highland Capital Partners, already an investor in the San Francisco startup, is putting another $25m behind a new fund for companies looking to build on the Leap platform. Read more
Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s founder, didn’t mention Vine at all when he unveiled his photo-sharing app’s new video function. But he wasn’t exactly subtle about pointing out the places where Instagram differs from Twitter’s 6-second video app. Here’s a quick rundown and some first impressions of how the two apps stack up: Read more
By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, FT media editor
Most marketers see the “second screen” (the smartphone or tablet catching your eye as you watch television) as a valuable second opportunity for engaging viewers, rather than a distraction from their expensively-crafted messages on the first screen. But in spite of this, some experimentation in how to make this extra channel pay its way is starting to take place. Read more
No wonder Tim Cook has escalated Apple’s position on the television market from “hobby” to “area of intense interest” in recent months. New figures from Apple suggest that it’s making at least $3m a day from TV and movie downloads. Read more
(and only one is, can we play with it?)
In a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page, the officials – from the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and three Canadian provinces – have formally raised their concerns about Glass.
Here are their questions and our brief commentary: Read more
It may seem hard to understand how one could go bankrupt selling iPads and MacBooks in one of Europe’s richest countries, but that is what happened Tuesday to iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.
A judge in the Dutch town of Haarlem proclaimed the 34-store chain bankrupt on Tuesday, after a week of negotiations between the company, its creditors and potential buyers failed to produce a rescue plan. And on closer inspection, iCentre’s fate is not so hard to explain. Like other Apple resellers, iCentre was coping with a long-term shift from notebook and desktop computer sales towards smartphones and tablets, which have lower profit margins. Read more