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Julie Bort

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chinese hacker

For the past four months the New York Times has been under attack by Chinese hackers, the newspaper says.

The hackers were able to "infiltrate its computer systems" and get passwords from reporters and other employees. The Times says it hired an outside firm to study the hacks and block them for good. It also says that no customer information was leaked by these attacks.

The Times thinks the motivation was an investigation into the relatives of China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, and how their business dealings turned them into billionaires.

The hackers were tricky about hiding their tracks. They used a technique called "spearphishing" where they sent emails laced with malicious links. Once opened, malware was secretly downloaded onto the recipients computers. The email was routed through U.S. universities to disguise their origin. These were the same U.S. universities used to disguise Chinese hacker attacks on the U.S. military, the Times says.

Chinese officials deny that the government or military were involved in the attacks.

These type of super targeted attacks, where hackers work to break into a specific company, are particularly hard to defend against. The industry calls them "advanced persistent threats." But there are some U.S. security startups with technology that can thwart them including FireEye, which earlier this month landed a $50 million round of financing and a big name new CEO, Dave DeWalt.

Don't miss: The 15 Most Important Security Startups Of 2013

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Raspberry Pi Beet Box

Raspberry Pi, the $35 Linux computer that's just a tad bigger than a business card, has been phenomenally well-accepted in its first year on the planet.

First released in February, 2012, it's makers say they will soon sell their one millionth unit.

Thanks to its low cost (there's also a $25 version), the tiny computer has become very popular with hobbyists, or "makers," who prefer to create their own gadgets. It's even got its own app store.

It turns out, you can do a lot with a very basic PC. Each Pi includes an ARM-based CPU; a graphics processor; and a few ports and pins to connect it to other electronics.

Phone-activated coffee machine

German developer Sascha Wolter got together with a few friends and hacked a Nespresso coffee machine by connecting it to a Raspberry Pi.

They set it up so they could call the coffee maker on the phone and order it to start brewing. 

Wearable computer glasses

These may not look as cool as the wearable computers that Google is whipping up, but they did win developer Jarred Glickstein first prize in the the Instructables Raspberry Pi contest last month.

The total project cost him $382, including a wireless keyboard and mouse. His glasses are the monitor. Together, it's a fully functional PC.

Old-fashioned coin-operated arcade game

A lot of people use Pi to run old-fashioned arcade games. But Darren J and his buddies took it one step further and built a whole coin-operated video-arcade cabinet, complete with buttons and joysticks. It wasn't easy.

Here's a picture of the arcade cabinet running the vintage game "Track And Field."

A commercially available Pi arcade cabinet is in the works thanks to this Kickstarter project.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Steve Ballmer Churchill Club

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is fully aware that Microsoft must transform itself.

His motto comes from a Woody Allen movie, he told interviewer Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn cofounder, at an event held by the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley Wednesday night.

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies."

He says the same holds true with tech companies: "Tech companies move forward or die."

He also named Microsoft's biggest risks:

  • You're not successful—"you never get there";
  • You do get there and screw up;
  • You don't have the talent to get there.

Ballmer said it wasn't enough to have great talent, either: "You have to have a real point of view of how to innovate in areas where you are not strong."

He added: "Tech is a place where you have to reinvent yourself."

But the pace is accelerated now, he said. When Ballmer started at Microsoft, the company had to reinvent itself every 10 years. Now it's more like every five years.

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Aaron Levie

Everyone in the tech industry knows this simple fact: the pace of change is accelerating.

Legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla said that this is having an interesting affect on the industry.

Khosla, who is 57, was speaking on Thursday at the prestigious Churchill Club event series.

He explained that the older a person gets, the longer it takes to adjust to change. People over 45, he says, are noticeably slower in adopting new tech than, say, teenagers.

Because things keep changing faster, there's less time to adapt to each change. And that means that suddenly, the quick adapters are the smartest people in the room. 

"With all this rapid change, more leadership is coming from much younger people," Khosla said. "I'm spending more time listening to people under 25 then I ever did before."

Don't miss: The Next Big Thing In Tech: Fake Meat, Cheese, Salt, And Candy >

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Eric Jonas

A couple of MIT PhDs have created an amazing new kind of database called Veritable.

Prior Knowledge, a startup, launched Veritable on Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, and while it only made it to the finals at the show, it was the real winner for us.

Veritable doesn't just store information and spit it back out at you. It uses complicated math to predict things based on the data.

"We're aware of a company called Oracle," CEO Eric Jonas said. "But their products only tell us what you already know."

A key feature of Veritable is that it doesn't require special knowledge to use, as some new database alternatives do. It is geared toward the millions of programmers, business analysts, and other users who use SQL, a specialized programming language used to tap into databases.

To give some perspective on that, Jonas said he looked up Yahoo on LinkedIn and found there were 2,500 employees at that company who know SQL. (Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was on stage as a judge.)

Veritable wouldn't replace existing databases from Oracle and the like. Rather, it would run alongside them, much as data-warehouse software does, and generate insights.

Companies could use Veritable to discover hidden relationships in data they already have. For instance, it can sift through a medical database to predict a public-health threat. Dating sites could predict the perfect love match.

Prior Knowledge, which launched in January, last month raised $1.4 million in seed money from Peter Thiel's Founders Fund.

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