MediaFile

Tech wrap: New Nook Color on the way?

Barnes & Noble sent out invites on Monday to a Nook-related event coming up on November 7. Most tech watchers expect the company to use the occasion to unveil a new version of its Android-powered Nook Color tablet e-reader, which could sport a better screen and upgraded hardware.

As CNet points out, the most anticipated question will be how much Barnes & Noble decides to charge for the new device. “With the Kindle Fire on sale at $199 (it ships November 15), there’s some pressure on B&N to come close to matching that price, though Amazon is allegedly losing money on each Fire it sells (our sources suggest the Fire currently costs around $220 to build). With that being the case, Barnes & Noble is more likely to come out with a faster, more powerful Nook Color that costs $249, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see it at $299,” writes David Carnoy.

Netflix has added a slew of new TV show episodes to its streaming video catalogue through an expanded licensing deal with ABC Television Group, a division of Disney. In addition to extending licensing for popular ABC shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” that it already offers, Netflix added ABC’s “Switched at Birth,” “Alias” and episodes from past season of Disney Channel’s animated series “Kick Buttowski” to its streaming selection. Amazon.com also unveiled a content agreement with Disney on Monday that will let Amazon Prime subscribers stream shows from ABC studios, Disney Channel, ABC Family and Marvel.

A single hacker based in China launched a coordinated cyber attack earlier this year that compromised computer systems belonging to at least 48 chemical and defense companies, according to a new report from security firm Symantec. Computers belonging to these companies were infected with malicious software known as “PoisonIvy,” which was used to steal information such as design documents, formulas and details on manufacturing processes, Symantec told Reuters on Monday. The companies were not identified, but Symantec said the bulk of the infected machines were found in the U.S., Bangladesh and the UK and included some chemical companies that develop advanced materials used in military vehicles.

It’s no secret that Steve Jobs used to enjoy taking the occasional potshot at Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates. But Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the Apple co-founder, which was released shortly after he died earlier this month, reveals just how harsh Jobs could be in his criticism of Gates. In addition to calling Gates “unimaginative”, “weirdly flawed as a human being” and “fundamentally odd”, Isaacson quotes Jobs as saying “He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”  When ABC’s Christiane Amanpour brought up the comments in an interview last week, Gates dismissed the criticisms, saying “none of that bothers me at all.”  He went on to praise Jobs in the interview. At one point, he even went so far as to claim he helped Jobs invent the Mac.

Tech wrap: The Web is about to get some new domains

Brand owners will soon be able to operate their own parts of the Web — such as .apple, .coke or .marlboro — if the biggest shake-up yet in how Internet domains are awarded is approved.

Today, just 22 generic top-level domains exist — .com, .org and .info are a few examples — plus about 250 country-level domains like .uk or .cn.

The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites — and a danger for those who fail to take advantage.

Tech wrap: Government bringing knife to cyber gun fight?

A recent wave of computer network attacks has boosted concerns about U.S. vulnerability to digital warfare. The Obama administration is racing on multiple fronts to plug the holes in the U.S. cyber defense, focusing on an expanded effort to safeguard its contractors from hackers and building a virtual firing range in cyberspace to test new technologies.

However, the overall gap appears to be widening, as adversaries and criminals move faster than the government and corporations can respond, officials and analysts say.

Microsoft has made available a Windows 7-compatible test version of the software behind its hit Kinect motion-sensing game device, in the hope that developers will invent a host of “hands-free” features for standard PCs.