Clinton’s server security – and four more tech news stories from March

Marc Thaler

Marc Thaler rounds up five tech news stories that caught his eye during 2015’s third month.

So, agents of the U.S. Secret Service guarded the private home server of Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state. Who drew the short straw for that assignment?

One week after The New York Times reported Clinton’s “exclusive” use of a personal email account for work, the possible 2016 presidential candidate publicly addressed the controversy. Clinton – who never received a government account while on the job from 2009-13 – said she “opted for convenience” over handling multiple devices.

The issue of data security was discussed at the same press conference. Clinton said the private server was protected by agents.

Are you puzzled, perhaps alarmed, by that response?

Consider this point from a Yahoo! tech column:

“Movie plots aside, servers don’t get hacked by ninjas sneaking into data centers. Why bother when you can do the same thing from a coffee shop on the other side of the world by exploiting vulnerabilities in server software and in the humans charged with maintaining it?”

While weighing the role nunchucks play in IT security, consider these stories that also made the cut:

What’s missing?

You probably know Apple Watch soon goes on sale (April 24). But do you know the smartwatch doesn’t have a web browser? That’s according to former Apple employee Paul Canetti.

In this brief and informative post on his blog, Canetti contends that few notice (or care) about the absence of browsers – a key factor in their “slow and steady process” of growing obsolete.

“But what about search, you say? You are confusing browsing with searching,” Canetti writes. “If you need some info, just ask Siri. Or I’m sure Google will make an app for Apple Watch too.”

Business Insider, which picked up on Canetti’s post, reports “Sites will have to build their own Apple Watch apps to get around the lack of a web browser.”

A new reality

Who says you can’t be in two places at once – especially for a milestone moment? CNN Money reported that Samsung, with a marketing video posted on YouTube, “demonstrated the first live-streamed virtual reality birth.”

Australians Jason and Alison Larke – separated by 2,500 miles because he had to work – celebrated the birth of their third son as if a few feet apart. Jason wore a Gear VR headset, and relied on a 360-degree camera stationed in the delivery room.

“When Jason moved his head, he could peer around the room in real time,” the report explains. “When Steele was born, (Jason) was able to watch the birth live and in 3-D.”

The video, published March 14, has more than nine million views.

Goodbye, Gigaom

For visitors of Gigaom, March 9 marked the last chance to learn something from the influential tech journalism blog. “A note to our readers” explains that a lack of money forced Gigaom to shut down.

According to Re/code, the site that tech writer Om Malik founded in 2006 features a new management team. The makeover includes an interim CEO.

“It has, in recent years, focused on its more lucrative research business more than its Web news operations,” Re/code reports.

On his personal site, Malik writes that “Gigaom is winding down and its assets are now controlled by the company’s lenders. It is not how you want the story of a company you founded to end.”

Downtime = downgraded

A German pro basketball team is appealing a punishment that calls for reassignment to a lower-tier league. Here’s the story:

The Windows laptop used to operate the scoreboard for the host Paderborn Baskets “required 17 minutes to perform system updates,” prompting a delay to the start of the game, Ars Technica reports. The Chemnitz Niners protested after losing because the delay lasted 10 minutes longer than league rules allow.

Timing – even for system updates – is everything.