CNN's Tom Foreman reports on Dwolla, an app that delivers fast and inexpensive electronic cash transfers all over the U.S.
A service that connects limo drivers to passengers is changing transportation in some cities. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.
Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, Tom Foreman takes stock of the year’s highs and lows, the risky business, and the unforgettable milestones in 2012. Aisha Tyler, Ben Stein, Julie Mason, Pete Dominick, Buddy Valastro, and Isha Sesay break it all down in politics, pop culture, technology and sports.
Remember Clint Eastwood’s empty chair, Prince Harry’s Vegas photos, Fearless Felix, the Olympic wins and losses, “Call Me Maybe,” “Liz & Dick,” Facebook going public, the iPhone 5 release, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and TomKat splitting? It’s all in the show...we'll let you decide whether those qualify for the Best or Worst category!
Plus, we’re taking predictions for 2013. Tweet yours @AC360 and tune in tonight.
The organizers of an attempted Amazon takedown called off the attack less than an hour later.
CNN Money Staff Reporter
The website-attacking group "Anonymous" tried and failed to take down Amazon.com on Thursday. The group's vengeance horde quickly found out something techies have known for years: Amazon, which has built one of the world's most invincible websites, is almost impossible to crash.
Amazon has famously massive server capacity in order to handle the December e-commerce rush. That short holiday shopping window is so critical, and so intense, that even a few minutes of downtime could cost Amazon millions.
So Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) has spent years creating and refining an "elastic" infrastructure, called EC2, designed to automatically scale to handle giant traffic spikes. The company has so much spare server capacity, in fact, that it runs a sideline business hosting other websites. Its customers include the New York Times, Second Life, Etsy, Playfish, the Indianapolis 500 and the Washington Post.
Until last week, WikiLeaks was one of Amazon's website-hosting customers. Amazon gave WikiLeaks the boot in the wake of the site's controversial release of a trove secret U.S. State Department documents.
That put Amazon in the crosshairs of Anonymous, a group that originated on image-board site 4chan.com, which organizes swarms to try to crash the websites of those it deems enemies. In the past, Anonymous has taken down several high-profile sites, including those of the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.
This week, Anonymous launched takedown campaigns against organizations that have shunned the site WikiLeaks. Under the banner "Operation Payback," the Anonymous group successfully crashed Mastercard.com and strained the websites of Visa and PayPal. (Mastercard and Visa's transaction networks - which run completely independently of their websites - were unaffected.)
War and terrorism besiege countries around the world. Infectious diseases kill millions. Environmental catastrophes threaten nature. Is this a time for a conference titled "And Now the Good News"?
Yes it is, according to Bruno Giussani, European director for TED, the nonprofit organization that on Tuesday is beginning TEDGlobal 2010, its third conference in Oxford.
"Someone has written, in presenting the conference, that good news is a species that is becoming extinct. If you look at any newspaper ... we are bombarded by bad news," he said as attendees chatted at a welcome party at Keble College on Monday. "But if you dig, if you look under the surface and search, you will find a lot of new technology, new science, new art, new ways of thinking, politically, socially, philosophically that may give you, when you string them all together, a more optimistic view of the future."
Valerie Plame Wilson
Special to CNN
The story of how I became a national figure in the media is widely known, but few people know what I actually did for the CIA.
I was a covert operations officer specializing in nuclear counter proliferation - essentially, making sure the bad guys didn't get the bomb.
My job was to create and run operations that sought to peer into the procurement networks and acquisition chains of rogue nations. It was intense, tactical, creative and demanding. I believed that there was no more important work to be done.
I resigned from the CIA in 2006 because it was no longer possible to do the covert work for which I was highly trained and which I loved. This happened because in 2003, my covert identity was revealed in retaliation against my husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, who wrote an op-ed piece in which he accused the White House of distorting the intelligence that was used to draw us into the Iraq war.
But I did not lose my belief that the danger of nuclear terrorism was the most urgent threat we face. Nor did I lose my passion for working, albeit in a new way, to address that threat. I am working on this issue now as part of the international Global Zero movement, in which political, military and faith leaders, experts and activists strive for the worldwide elimination of all nuclear weapons.
A customer high-fives Apple staffers after buying a coveted iPad.
John D. Sutter
After months of hype, dozens of reviews, plenty of television promos and an Easter weekend appearance at an Apple store by the high priest of gadgetry himself, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the company's long-awaited iPad is finally in the hands of consumers.
So how did they like it? Is the iPad a runaway early success? Here are a few ways to measure:
Sales: On Saturday, the day the product was released, Apple says it sold 300,000 iPads. Analysts estimate the company sold between 300,000 to 700,000 of the touch-screen "slate" computers over the weekend.
Anticipation: 300,000 iPads is about what analysts expected Apple to sell on opening day.
Comparison: The iPhone – which some think is basically a smaller version of the iPad – launched in 2007 as Apple's greatest hit in recent memory. Analysts estimated 200,000 iPhones were sold on the day it debuted, which is a third less than the iPad. The iPhone sold its millionth unit 74 days after it hit the market.
Frum: 'an iPhone that cannot make calls, a laptop on which it is inconvenient to type.'
Special to CNN
I belong to that class of person once mocked by The Onion: "If it's shiny and made by Apple, I'll buy it."
But I won't be buying the new iPad. I can't see why I need it: an iPhone that cannot make calls, a laptop on which it is inconvenient to type.
The iPad reminds me of a previous Apple product, the Newton. Introduced in the early 1990s, the Newton was a datebook, phonebook and sketchpad too big to hold in a pocket. Who needed it? But the Newton contained the genesis of the iPhone, a machine I depend upon utterly, despite the maddeningly poor quality of the phone service.
So I ask myself: If the iPad is a concept, what is it a concept of? What would I like Apple to do for me next?
When the e-mail arrived the other day, I knew instantly who it was from.
At least I thought I did.
I recognized the e-mail address. It belonged to Kaye Kessler, an old and treasured friend.
When I was a beginning sportswriter, Kessler was the veteran star of the central Ohio paper where we worked. He gave me my first byline, a kindness for which, as I have told him many times, I am forever grateful. He is long retired from daily newspaper work now, living in Colorado, but we write back and forth from time to time.
For techies, the South by Southwest Interactive festival produces a firehose of information.
With keynote speeches, hundreds of panel discussions, a trade floor full of new gadgets and nonstop networking opportunities with 15,000 or so like-minded folks, it's impossible to take it all in.
It also may be too soon to pinpoint the most important things to come out of the festival, which ended Tuesday. The most significant outcome may be an idea sparked in a panel or a party conversation that someone takes home and turns into the next Facebook or Twitter.
But after five days of reporting, we can identify some key themes. So here, in no particular order, are five observations from five days in Austin.