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Today in Tech News Digest, the U.S. takes on patent trolls, Android 4.4.1 arrives with added camera goodness, there’s a difference of opinion over Bitcoin, with China and America on opposing sides, the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is possibly revealed, Google gives you your Gmail data, Twitter comes to dumbphones via USSD, Any.do Cal arrives on Android, and the real-life Robocop makes its (his? hers?) debut.

Patent Trolls Begone

The United States House of Representatives has passed the Innovation Act, and, in doing so, has taken the first step in stopping patent trolls in their tracks. The Innovation Act isn’t a golden bullet to the growing issue of patent trolls, but it is at least a first step in trying to alleviate the problem.

The Innovation Act introduces changes to the way patent lawsuits work, all of which are designed to make it less attractive for patent trolls to do business. These changes include more specificity and transparency in legal cases, an effort to make losing plaintiffs pay legal fees, and added protection for end users.

Bizarrely, this new attempt at setting the ball rolling on patent reform comes just two years after the last attempt. But the America Invents Act of 2011 was a stunning failure thanks to all of the big ideas being left out. The Innovation Act is looking more promising, but there are still interested parties looking to kill this change in the law.

This move will hopefully end the most egregious examples of patent trolls and trolling, but expert onlookers are suggesting a more extreme overhaul of the patent system is required. Still, you have to start somewhere, right?

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Android 4.4.1 Gets The Picture

Android 4.4.1 is being rolled out to compatible devices, and with it comes a variety of fixes to the camera on the Nexus 5. While many reviewers loved the Nexus 5 Nexus 5, BlackBerry Blitz, Steam Machine, Snowden Tweets [Tech News Digest] Nexus 5, BlackBerry Blitz, Steam Machine, Snowden Tweets [Tech News Digest] Find out how good the new Nexus 5 really is, watch the BlackBerry soap opera unfold, discover that Windows Phone isn't dead, see Steam Machine put through its paces, and hear about Coursera's plans. Read More , the buggy and inconsistent camera came in for criticism. Android 4.4.1 goes a long way towards solving these issues.

The Verge has a detailed description of the camera changes present in Android 4.4.1, and the comparative screenshots show just how much of a difference these changes have made to picture quality. If only Google could fix the speaker on the Nexus 5 Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Approximately a year after Google released the Nexus 4, the company behind Android has come out with its successor -- the Nexus 5. Read More then we could have an amazing handset at our disposal.

America & China Split On Bitcoin

Bitcoin, the virtual currency that everyone wants a piece of, has had a mixed day. On the one hand China has banned all financial institutions from dealing in Bitcoin, which sent the price plummeting. On the other hand Bank Of America has stated that Bitcoin has the potential to be a “major means of payment for e-commerce” and a “serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers.

On top of all that the real identity of Bitcoin mastermind Satoshi Nakamoto may have been uncovered. Is it any wonder people are still confused over the very notion of Bitcoin?

Google Data Download

Google users can now download a copy of their Gmail and Google Calendar data. The new feature, built into the Google Takeout service, is being rolled out “over the next month.” Until then Google advocates can obtain an archive file of data from a host of other Google services, including Google+, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, and YouTube. All we need now is for Google to sort out the YouTube comments mess YouTube's Comments Section Now Cleaned Up, Courtesy Of Google+ YouTube's Comments Section Now Cleaned Up, Courtesy Of Google+ Google has cleaned up YouTube with a new Google+ powered commenting system. You'll now see the most upvoted comments, the ones from people in your Google+ circles, and from the owner of the video. Read More and life will be great once more.

Internet-Less Twitter

Mobile phone users who have ignored the lure of smartphones 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone You may feel pressured into buying a smartphone, even though you're perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don't be. Read More will soon be able to enjoy the delights of Twitter on their dumbphones. This is thanks to an impending partnership between Twitter and U2opia Mobile, a Singapore-based startup which will use USSD, or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, to deliver trending topics to users dialling a simple code. U2opia already offers Facebook access to entry-level mobile owners, and the Twitter offering is set to launch in the first quarter of 2014. Or, dumbphone users could just use Twitter via SMS, like almost everyone did in 2006.

Any.do Cal Lands On Android

Any.do Cal has landed on Android Any.do Launches Cal For Android – Adds A Touch Of Elegance To Your Schedule Any.do Launches Cal For Android – Adds A Touch Of Elegance To Your Schedule Any.do Cal wants to make calendar planning pleasurable. With the launch of Any.do Cal on Android, they attempt to give you a better overview of your days with a smart calendar app. Read More , having been available on iOS for some time. Any.do Cal is a smart calendar app which layers your daily routine with extra tools such as Google Maps and navigational pointers. This means you can not only pencil in a meeting with someone but also discover where the best places are to eat in the local vicinity. Which is undoubtedly more exciting in practical terms than it sounds on paper.

Robocop Is Real, Goddammit

And finally, Robocop is real, though in its prototype form it looks more like a budget R2-D2 or Dalek than it does a superhuman cyborg. This particular crime-fighting robot is the K5 Autonomous Data Machine from Knightscope, a Silicon Valley robotics company.

Unlike Robocop, the K5 will not be armed, but it will, according to CEO William Santana Li, be able to “see, hear, feel, and smell” as well as “roam around autonomously 24/7.” And all for $6.25 an hour. The main job of the K5 will be to collect and analyze data in order to predict crimes and alert real police officers to the s**t that’s about to go down.

Knightscope hopes to have K5 units deployed on the streets by 2015. Which is the future, apparently.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks

Image Credits: Peter Sieling, Cairo

  1. Deano
    December 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    As soon as bitcoin is taken over by the NWO banks its pure form and independence will be twisted into another tool for our Gov to know all that we do and tax us for it. Satoshi please stay hidden.

  2. dragonmouth
    December 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    "The main job of the K5 will be to collect and analyze data in order to predict crimes and alert real police officers to the s**t that’s about to go down."
    World of "Person of Interest" here we come!

    @anonymous:
    What you believe or practice behind closed doors is your business but please do not try to inflict your religion and/or morality on the rest of the world. We are not in the 11th or 12th century. This is a world-wide forum with users of many faiths and moralities. I know that many find your views offensive. I certainly find your priggery offensive.

  3. Fik of Borg
    December 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Ok, so now chicano black gay jews are ok to use the word "goddamn", or can we all use any proper word, regardless of which group could be offended?
    Because none of those four I used is a curse word either, so they should not offend anyone. I know it is fashionable to pick on Christians, but just don't, or your group will be next. It's called being civil, people.

  4. a43asvrvsetvbterswvy525gxestcbh5yjbu6
    December 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    goddamn bitcoins

    • Koshy G
      December 7, 2013 at 6:16 am

      Damning Bitcoins now that is offensive.

  5. anonymous
    December 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    wow, offended by someones thoughts...I bet you have been to college a lot!

  6. anonymous
    December 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to take God's name in vain (robocop headline) anywhere on Make Use Of. You must know how offensive that is to Christians.

    • Koshy G
      December 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      You are the one which chose to be offended, you can't expect everyone in the world to live the way you want them to live. Something you may do may be offensive to others, have you thought some atheists might find you comment offensive, they might be offended by the mere thought of you believing in a God.

    • Dave P
      December 7, 2013 at 2:52 am

      Anonymous, I'm sorry you're offended by that word but it is just that, a word, and not one that's particularly blasphemous, in my opinion. For it to be blasphemous you'd have to declare "damn" a curse word, and most right-thinking people haven't considered it to be so for decades.

      Having said that, no offence was meant, and MakeUseOf certainly tries to be inclusive and politically correct whenever possible.

    • Fik of Borg
      December 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      I agree with the anonymous O.P., there is no need for using such a word in a technical article (maybe it fits better in a noir police novel). Regardless of beliefs, that word can be offensive to a lot of people, use it privately but not in an article.
      And Dave, "black" is also a politically incorrect but non-curse word, society avoid using it anymore out of courtesy with those that could be offended by it ... despite te fact that no right-thinking people should consider it offensive.

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