Software

The Israeli military’s in-house high-tech research and development unit has spawned a process for coming up with new ideas

When Aharon Zeevi Farkash enters the offices of his company south of Tel Aviv, he needs neither key nor code. As soon as he leaves the elevator, a camera captures his face and body shape, and feeds the information to a computer that recognises his features. The door unlocks.

Should the face recognition software fail, Mr Farkash will be prompted to speak a few words into a receiver. The computer will switch to voice recognition – and unlock the door.

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MasterCard is to invest in mFoundry, a company that provides mobile banking solutions for more than 500 US banks, TechCrunch reports. As part of the deal, mFoundry will offer MasterCard’s PayPass Near Field Communication technology to the banks and credit unions it works with. Read more

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Microsoft is planning an iPad version of its popular Office software suite, The Daily reports.The product is set to cost around $10 – about the same price Apple charges for its Pages, Numbers and Keynote products. Read more

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Research In Motion, the company behind the BlackBerry smartphone, is rolling out a new system that aims to help its corporate customers maintain and manage the security of their employees’ BlackBerrys as well as rival devices such as the iPhone, according to The Wall Street Journal. The new system, the first from RIM to incorporate competitors’ products, is seen as a tacit acknowledgment that an increasing number of employees are calling on their employers to allow work e-mails to be pushed to smartphones other than the Blackberry. Read more

Maija Palmer

George OsborneThe UK government does not have a lot of money to pump into the technology sector so it is trying to be generous with something it does have in plentiful supply – data.

On Tuesday, as part of the government’s Autumn Statement George Osborne, the chancellor, is expected to announce plans to open up access to more government data, including transport data, health records, house prices and Met Office weather information. Read more

Chris Nuttall

DataSift’s full launch this week comes in the nick of time for those seeking to filter out trends and sentiments in Twitter’s ever-expanding tweet stream.

Nick Halstead, DataSift and TweetMeme founder, says Apple’s integration of Twitter in iOS5 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has sent traffic soaring in recent weeks. Read more

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Facebook users are becoming increasingly concerned over a hack that turns their newsfeeds into a stream of hardcore pornography and gory pictures, ZDNet reports. The source of the hack is yet to be discovered, however Gawker speculates that an Anonymous ‘Guy Fawkes Virus’ could be to blame. Read more

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, said the US’ inefficient health care system is a problem Silicon Valley technologists and data scientists are positioned to solve.

“It is my view that the health care system could be dramatically better,” he said at a conference for doctors on Friday. “The intersection of computer science and information technology in health care, and some kind of automation, has to be the obvious next step.” Read more

Did Apple kill Adobe’s mobile Flash? That is the question many asked this week after Adobe announced that it would end development of Flash for mobile devices. Read more

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British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has made a ‘multimillion-dollar’ investment in mobile payment start-up company Square, a spokesperson for the company has told Reuters. The move  follows a $100m investment led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and an injection by credit card company Visa.

Adobe Systems is said to be scrapping its move to bring its Flash Player software to smartphones and tablets, CNET reports. The Flash browser plug-in is widely used on personal computers but has so far only reached a fraction of the mobile phone market.  Read more

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A possible security flaw in Apple’s iOS mobile operating system could allow third-party applications add unapproved features,  Forbes reports. Accuvant security researcher Charlie Miller has found a flaw in iOS that lets applications download unsigned code that is able to change functionality after it has been installed – that could include accessing user contacts and photos, along with activating hardware features like the vibration motor and speakers. Read more

With all the tablets and smart phones that fight for our attention, more traditional tech companies have been pushed to the background. Yet IBM and HP each managed to grab the attention of the tech world this week when IBM appointed Ginni Rometty as chief executive and HP announced it would keep its PC division. Read more

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Research In Motion is facing a possible class action lawsuit in Canada over the global outage that struck BlackBerry customers last month, Cnet reports. RIM said it would not comment on the suit, which was filed yesterday in Quebec Superior Court. Read more

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France Telecom and Publicis are to set up a joint venture-capital fund focused on European technology start-ups, according to Bloomberg. The size of the fund may be greater than €100m ($139m), people close to the plan told Bloomberg.

Apple has had its patent for the “slide to unlock” control used on its devices confirmed, ZDNet reports. This puts every Android phone and tablet that uses the same process to unlock their screens in the line of fire from Apple’s patent lawyers, ZDNet warns. Read more

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Google is preparing a launch in the next two weeks of a music-download store that would work closely with its Google+ social network, according to The Wall Street Journal. The music service would recommend songs in an online library to Google+ contacts, who in turn would be allowed to listen to those songs once for free, two people close to the service told the WSJ. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It might be the most significant meeting of British royals and geeks since Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the web, received his knighthood in 2003.

Thursday evening saw a reception celebrating “innovation through UK entrepreneurship” held at Buckingham Palace, as the great and the good of London’s Silicon Roundabout and beyond gathered to toast digital Britain. Read more

When HTC chief executive Peter Chou said this month that he was on the lookout for further acquisitions, he wasn’t kidding. The Taiwanese smartphone company on Tuesday announced it had acquired Inquisitive Minds, a US company that developed Zoodles, a kids-friendly browser designed to give children a safe browsing environment. Read more

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YouTube has launched Merch Store, a feature where YouTube’s music partners will be able to sell artist merchandise, digital downloads, concert tickets and other experiences to fans and visitors, TechCrunch reports. The online video sharing site has also announced partnerships with a number of companies to launch the service: Topspin is being used to help in sales of merchandise, while Songkick will be involved in concert tickets and iTunes and Amazon will look after transactions for music downloads. Read more

By Dan Thomas

Google wants to get the world talking using their Androids with an application that will translate speech into any of 14 languages.

Although lacking a cute moniker as Apple’s also loquacious new personal assistant (“hello Siri”), Google Conversation will allow many Android users to speak to each other in their own languages – albeit in a slightly robotic female voice. Read more

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Sony has revealed that a third party had this month tried to sign into 93,000 accounts on its PlayStation and other networks, Reuters reports. The company said it had frozen the accounts and informed the affected customers, adding that it believed only a few of the accounts were actually accessed.

Traffic to Google+, the online search company’s social network, has fallen since the massive peak in interest seen when it was opened to everyone late last month, according to Mashable. Quoting research from analysts Chitika, Mashable says traffic to the site has fallen 60% since its public launch. Read more