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Day 2 at CES 2014: Five things we learned

Ford displays their C-Max Solar Energi Concept at CES.(Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY) SHARE 2 CONNECT EMAILMORE More gadgets are powering up thanks to solar energy, homes are growing more tech friendly, and what happens when a CEO crashes his ri...
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Google, Iowa firm clash over blog photo

Joel Aschbrenner, The Des Moines Register 11:13 p.m. EST January 7, 2014


The photo of Ann Dieleman posted on SexyExecs.blogspot.com.(Photo: The Des Moines Register)

Story Highlights

  • Exec's photo posted on SexyExecs.blogspot.com
  • Google refused request from company to remove photo
  • Case illustrates growing pushback against those who post photos without permission, observers say

DES MOINES — A photo posted to a blog that mocks corporate headshots has pitted a Des Moines company against Google in a copyright lawsuit.

ARAG North America, which provides legal insurance, sued the Internet giant last month in a case legal experts say exhibits an increasingly common clash over bloggers who post images online without permission.

The lawsuit concerns a head-and-shoulders photo of Ann Dieleman, a senior vice president and chief marketing officer with ARAG. The photo was published in 2009 on SexyExecs.blogspot.com, a forum where users post photos of executives with satirical comments.

Google owns Blogger, the company that hosts the website.

While no new photos have been posted to the site since 2011, the photo of Dieleman remained as of Tuesday.

The page with her photo was the top result when searching Google for her name.

Dieleman, a Drake University graduate who works from ARAG's Kansas City office, said in a statement that the website invited unfavorable comments by posting the photo.

"We've followed the appropriate procedures to remove the content. However, after continued back and forth it was time to assert my legal rights," she said.

"Given I've spent the majority of my career educating and empowering people to protect their rights, I didn't feel it would be right to ignore protection of my own when this situation arose," Dieleman said.

Brett Trout, an attorney for ARAG and Dieleman, filed the lawsuit Dec. 31 in federal court in Des Moines.

The legal battle started in September 2012, when Trout sent Google a letter accusing the company of copyright infringement. Google declined to remove the photo without proof that ARAG held the copyright.

Trout responded by saying ARAG owned the copyright of the photo and requesting Google to remove it.

In an email, Google again declined.

"As always, we encourage you to resolve any disputes directly with the blogger in question," the email said.

The case illustrates the growing pushback against bloggers who post copyrighted material, said Shontavia Johnson, an associate professor who teaches about intellectual property at the Drake University Law School.

Companies like Google and Facebook receive thousands of requests each day to remove content.

Last month, Google received nearly 25 million take-down requests for copyright violations, according to the company's self-published transparency report.

Many bloggers don't realize what they post online may infringe on copyrights, Johnson said. There are many exceptions to the law, but in general you cannot post someone else's photo online without their permission, even if you attribute it.

"Bloggers think they can take a picture on the Internet and give credit to whoever and that will save them from liability, but that is really not true," she said.

Jeff Hermes, director of Harvard University's Digital Media Law Project, said the lawsuit shows Google is willing to look at copyright infringement accusations on a case-by-case basis.

"Google is apparently not rubber-stamping all of these as they come through," he said.

A request for comment from Google's media office was not returned.

Hermes said the company has little financial incentive to fight for one photo on one blog. But the company, he said, might see a competitive advantage in protecting their users' right to post images online.

"What is interesting is Google is putting up resistance to being used as a lever in this case," Hermes said.

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CES 2014: Sony’s Kaz Hirai talks cloud TV, 4K

Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas.(Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images) Sony CEO Kaz Hirai touched on Sony's plans for a cloud-based TV service, 4K TVs and other topics in a roun...
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Yahoo can afford content push for now –thanks to Alibaba

John Shinal, Special for USA TODAY 8:48 p.m. EST January 7, 2014

GTY 461277991

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.(Photo: Ethan Miller Getty Images)


With the big content push Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer showcased in Las Vegas on Tuesday, her strategy is beginning to look more like that of her Yahoo predecessors than that of her former bosses at Google.

The question now is whether Mayer's strategy will start to pay off before her extended honeymoon with Wall Street – paid for with Yahoo's lucrative stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba – eventually ends.

One thing does look certain right now: Mayer's initiative to create more original video and online magazine content will keep significant upward pressure on the company's already-surging product development costs.

MORE: The latest coverage at CES 2014

Yahoo CEOs have been paying up for original content ever since Terry Semel arrived from Hollywood a decade ago.

Google, meanwhile, has trounced its smaller rival in the online ad wars by getting low-cost, text-based stories via its news-search product and high-volume video on the cheap, via YouTube.

CES 2014: Yahoo's Mayer puts on a show

Until Mayer arrived, the battle was no contest, which is why even today Google's market value is nine times that of Yahoo.

Yet Mayer has rejuvenated Yahoo's credibility within the tech industry, helping to create a buzz about the company that's not been seen since the dotcom boom.

RIEDER: Yahoo doubles down with new tech, food sites

"I hear people talking about going to (work at) Yahoo that I never thought I would," says Pete Koomen, co-founder and president of Internet software startup Optimizely and a former associate product manager at Google.

In addition to buying a bunch of small, mostly mobile-based startups to acquire both technology and talent – a la Google - Mayer has lured high-profile media names to produce original shows.

Former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric and former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue were onstage with Mayer Tuesday during her keynote presentation to CES, the industry's biggest trade show.

Yet while Mayer has brought more star power to Yahoo, it's the company's roughly 24 percent stake in Alibaba that's been padding its bottom line.

In the third quarter, for example, Yahoo's earnings from equity interests – mostly from its stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, respectively – were nearly $233 million .

That was more than twice its quarterly operating income of $92.8 million.

Optimism over Alibaba has helped boost Yahoo shares, which have surged more than 160 percent since Mayer arrived in July, 2012, compared to a 55 percent gain in the broader Nasdaq Composite Index.

The company's equity investments have allowed Yahoo to invest heavily in product research even as revenue has declined on Mayer's watch.

Product expenses leapt 23 percent in the third quarter of 2013, compared to a year earlier, even while Yahoo's revenue fell 5 percent.

Mayer can afford the investment – even while the company's top line slips -- as long as Yahoo's lucrative stake in Alibaba keeps padding its bottom line.

If Alibaba conducts an IPO as expected sometime this year, most of the benefit to Yahoo shareholders will also come in 2014.

When Yahoo sold its first large chunk of Alibaba shares in the third quarter of 2012, for example, it recorded net income of $3.2 billion.

That was more than 10 times the profit it recorded in last year's third quarter.

If that pattern holds, Yahoo's profit growth could face significant headwinds in 2015 – once the Alibaba halo begins to fade – if Mayer's content push doesn't boost the company's ad revenue enough to offset its higher costs.

John Shinal has covered tech and financial markets for 15 years at Bloomberg Businessweek, San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal Digital Network and others.

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Interactive: The gadgets revealed at CES

The history of CES Since 1967, the International Consumer Electronics Show has helped several gadgets make a splash. Here's a look at some of the notable unveilings. 1970 1974 1978 1982 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006 2...
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Ford CEO Alan Mulally won’t move to Microsoft

USATODAY 6:08 p.m. EST January 7, 2014 Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally during unveiling of the 2011 Ford Explorer in New York,(Photo: Bebeto Matthews AP) Story Highlights Ford CEO Alan Mulally puts rumors to rest He says he won't l...
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Reviewed.com CES Roundup: Day 1

Reviewed.com Staff, USA TODAY 12:17 a.m. EST January 7, 2014


With the BMW app on Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, you can check your car's remaining range, see if you left your sunroof open or windows down, or more.(Photo: Reviewed.com)

Monday was the first full day of the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas. With endless gadgets before us, from innovative to repetitive, these were a few items that caught our eye.

Samsung smartwatch to interface with BMWs

The line between wearable and drivable tech continues to blur at CES 2014, as BMW unveiled an app for a Samsung smartwatch. Today, BMW announced that its i3 electric car will feature a special app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Already, i3 drivers could check how much battery life they have left or send navigation directions to their cars from a smartphone using the BMW iRemote App.

LG unleashes slew of TVs, home theater tech

LG Electronics on Monday announced a whopping 15 new TV product lines for 2014. That's on top of the three OLED series already tipped last week, bringing LG's tally to 18 new series for the year. Four of the newly announced lines are UHD, seven are LCD, and four are plasmas. It's a bold statement of intent: This is LG saying it can go toe to toe with Samsung, by far the dominant force in today's TV market.

Toyota says fuel-cell car has 310-mile range

After its initial debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota FCV —short for fuel cell vehicle; the production model will get a new name—made its first U.S. appearance at CES.

The Toyota FCV promises a 310 mile range between hydrogen fill-ups, room for four passengers, and a refuel time of just three minutes. Unlike a plug-in electric vehicle, there's no waiting for a battery to recharge. Promised top speed is over 100 mph, and zero-to 60-mile-per-hour times are about 10 seconds. And most interestingly, Toyota says a fully-fueled FCV could be be used as a generator to power a home for a week during an emergency.

Bluetooth toothbrush will smarten your mouth

A French startup called Kolibree brought the world's first smart electric toothbrush to CES 2014. Sleek and fashionable, the electric toothbrush's main selling point is its ability to track just how clean you're getting your teeth—or whether your kids are actually brushing the way they should be.

For folks who really want to take dental health to another level, you can even bring in the app and show your dentist just how well (or how poorly) you're brushing.

New home tech will care for your loved ones

Alarm.com announced the Wellness Program at CES 2014, which makes use of a security suite to monitor the well-being of the elderly. Far from being a contemporary Big Brother, the system provides real-time info on your loved ones whereabouts and well being, all without the use of intrusive cameras.

The system uses a combination of bed presence monitors, motion sensors and panic buttons to track movement and alert users and caregivers of any unexpected changes in routine.

Get more coverage of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show from Reviewed.com and follow @ReviewedDotCom on Twitter.

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CES 2014: Trail of failed wearables a warning for Google

Private Eye wearable gadget from 1989(Photo: USA TODAY) LAS VEGAS - Wearable technology is one of the hottest trends at this year's CES conference. But a showcase of head-mounted gadgets from the past that never became popular is a warning to Goog...
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CES 2014: Yahoo’s Mayer puts on a show


CEO Marissa Mayer of Yahoo(Photo: Tim Loehrke USA TODAY)


LAS VEGAS — Hundreds came to see Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer speak at the International CES show today. What they got was a show straight out of P.T. Barnum.

During a far-ranging hour-long discussion on Yahoo's 2014 plans, Mayer shared the stage with John Legend, Katie Couric, cast members of Saturday Night Live, Tumblr CEO David Karp and former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue.

Hundreds waited in line to pack the 1,700-seat Las Vegas Hilton Theater to get an update from Mayer, who delivered her first major speech in months. She made her point early and often. "We are amid a massive shift to mobile," she said.

MORE: The latest news out of CES 2014

Yahoo, which recently eclipsed 400 million monthly mobile users (800 million total worldwide), is throwing its chips into the mobile game. That's where the people – and revenue – are, Mayer says. By 2017, the company expects 3.8 billion connected devices worldwide.

RIEDER: Yahoo doubles down with new tech, food sites

Mayer made a strong pitch for Yahoo's commitment to news in the smartphone and tablet age. She brought onstage Couric, who joined the company late last year, to explain her role. Couric, who poked fun at herself for famously asking "What is the Internet?" on the Today show in 1994, intends to interview newsmakers on Yahoo and bring "perspective and experience" to a "Tsunami" of data that overwhelms consumers.

"We're re-imagining how we take original and curated content and deliver it on mobile," Couric said.


Marissa Mayer of Yahoo greets Katie Couric.(Photo: Tim Loehrke USA TODAY)

Mayer also announced Yahoo News Digest, a twice-a-day news update, which is the off-shoot of its acquisition of Summly. Pogue premiered Yahoo Tech, its new digital magazine.

They even threw in a SNL Update spoof, with cast members Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong. Yahoo has a content partnership with the venerable NBC show.

By most measures, Mayer's first year as Yahoo CEO has been a roaring success. Its stock has nearly doubled, to about $31 per share, and she was recently named No. 1 on Fortune's "40 Under 40" list – the first woman to earn that honor.

She has overseen more than 20 acquisitions in that time, adding much-needed buzz and users to the Yahoo brand through the purchases of companies like Tumblr and an intriguing partnership with Katie Couric. And, in a chat with USA TODAY during the holidays, she strongly hinted more deals are to come in 2014.

Still, questions linger over Yahoo's long-term advertising revenue prospects, under withering competition from Google, Facebook and others.

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CES 2014: Sleep Number rolls out a smarter bed


The Sleep Number x12 bed will be available in select markets beginning in February, with a queen-sized x12 bed starting at a $7,999.99.(Photo: Sleep Number)

LAS VEGAS — You have a smartphone, smart TV and smart car. What's next? A smart bed.

Adjustable bed maker Sleep Number is making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show with a cutting-edge $8,000 dual-sided bed that tracks your sleep patterns and even lets you talk to it.

If you have a partner that snores, you can tap the universal remote and use a Partner Snore feature that will adjust the other half of the Advanced DualAir bed about 5 degrees to gently move the snorer. "It actually raises the head," says Sleep Number chief product officer Annie Bloomquist. "It's an ever so slight articulation and it at least temporarily relieves your spouse's snoring."

The bed also has built-in Sleep IQ technology that monitors your sleep patterns and recommends optimal settings for the adjustable mattress. It also tracks heart rate, breathing rate, amount of time you are lying still or moving and, using an app, cross-references pre-sleep activities such as exercise and caffeine to deliver Sleep IQ scores.

The bed responds to simple voice commands, too, that can be used to turn on the anti-snore feature, as well as the built-in massage function or the under-bed lighting so you can see in the dark.


Sleep Number's Sleep IQ technology, designed with BAM Labs, suggests the best settings for your bed.(Photo: Sleep Number)

Sleep Number's x12 beds, with technology from BAM Labs, will be available first in customizable beds (a queen-sized bed starts at $7,999) with additional smart features such as smartphone charging bays and power plugs. But the Sleep IQ features will migrate to all Sleep Number beds by the end of the year, starting at $999.

"While this bed is a first of its kind with really unique consumer benefits, everybody deserves to know better sleep," Bloomquist says. "In the coming months we will be introducing these technologies across our entire Sleep Number line."

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider

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CES 2014: Lighting Science bulbs meet the space age

Ed Baig interviews astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria about new smart bulbs from Lighting Science.

USATODAY 2:58 p.m. EST January 7, 2014


The "Good Night" bulb from Lighting Science.(Photo: Lighting Science)

Story Highlights

  • One bulb helps you dose off
  • Another helps wake you up
  • Technology can be applied in outer space

LAS VEGAS — You're tempted to tell a joke: "How many astronauts does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"

But retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria is quite serious about the about the "biologically corrected" light bulbs that he is helping to promote at the Consumer Electronics Show. The bulbs in question, both from Lighting Science, are the Definity Digital Good Night bulb that is meant to help you dose off at the proper time, and the Awake & Alert energy enhancing light, which has the opposite effect.

"Sleeping is important for everybody including astronauts, says Lopez-Alegria, who commanded International Space Station Expedition 14. "Sometimes we would launch in the middle of the night and have to shift our sleep to wake up at the right time. The way we would do that is by exposing ourselves to bright lights."

MORE : The latest news out of CES

The International Space Station or ISS circumnavigates the globe every 90 minutes, which means the astronauts experience the fully day/night cycle every hour and a half.

Though Lopez-Alegria says the lighting technology was primitive back when he flew in space, scientists have "figured out there are certain frequencies in light that when you suppress them or enhance them can either help you fall asleep or wake up."

These energy efficient LED bulbs screw in and seemingly function like any other bulb. They come with 5-year warranties, but should last much longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs that are being phased out.

According to Lighting Science, the Good Night bulb emits less of the "blue" light that would otherwise interfere with melatonin production. The 12-watt bulb is meant to replace 60-watt bulbs.

As you might suspect, the Awake & Alert light exposes you to more blue light, which is supposed to increase your energy and alertness. It's a 9-watt bulb that replaces 65-watt lamps.

In case you were wondering, you still must switch on the wake-up bulb as normal—it's not like the bulb will suddenly flash on when your alarm clock goes off.

The new bulbs are due out this spring for $69.99 each and will be available at homedepot.com as well as Lighting Science's own site.

Lopez-Alegria says the technology is not yet up in outer space but he hopes it'll be part of the next ISS launch next summer. The idea is that one light will handle three functions: to help wake the crew up, help keep them alert during the work day, and help them sleep at bedtime.

And that is no joke.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter.

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CES 2014: Audio-Technica Releases Nine New Headphones

Chris Thomas, Reviewed.com / USA TODAY 4:23 p.m. EST January 7, 2014

Audio-Technica SonicFuel headphones

The over-ear SonicFuel headphones mix affordability and portability.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Kicking off the International CES 2014 with a bang, Audio-Technica has taken the wraps off of a new line of gaming headsets, a new addition to its QuietPoint line of active noise-cancelers, five additions to its SonicFuel line, and a set of sport-oriented in-ears. Where last year the Japanese audio company was focused on the enthusiast crowd, this year Audio-Technica is courting more consumers with its new headphones.

Audio-Technica's announcements include open and closed back variants of its new gaming headsets (the ATH-ADG1, ATH-AG1). Five over-ear offerings from the SonicFuel take the stage for the first time, including the ATH-AX5iS, ATH-AX3iS, ATH-AX1iS, ATH-AX5, and ATH-AX3. The in-ear ATH-CKP200iS also made it's debut with several color options, and speaking of in-ears, the SonicFuel headphones ATH-CKX9iS, ATH-CKX9, ATH-CKX7iS, ATH-CKX7, ATH-CKX5iS and ATH-CKX5 are also shipping as of today.

Cans for gamers - ATH-ADG1 and ATH-AG1

Audio-Technica gaming headset

The new gaming headsets from Audio-Technica combine comfort and function.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Courting gamers, Audio-Technica is swinging for the fences with high-quality components and features with two new gaming headsets. Both the open-backed ATH-ADG1 and the closed-back ATH-AG1 have Audio-Technica's proprietary 3D-wing band design, built-in microphones, and a detachable USB digital/analog converter to squeeze the most out of your games. No hard date for release has been set.

Gamers are a tough crowd to please as their demands on cans varies from game to game. To accommodate this, Audio-Technica has loaded the new gaming headsets with game-specific features to make the most out of their hardware.

New QuietPoint cans - ATH-ANC70

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 headphones

The new ATH-ANC70 is clad in a slick metal exterior.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Designed for extended listening sessions, the memory foam-clad ATH-ANC70 headphones boasts up to 90% noise cancellation. Additionally, this pair comes decked out with the same smartphone-specific features to control track changing, in-call controls, and volume as the over-ear SonicFuel headphones. Should the AAA battery run out, the only thing that stops working is the noise-cancellation unit—not the headphones. The ATH-ANC70's also fold up for easy storage.

Sonicfuel line - A big, portable family

First for the over-ears: the ATH-AX5iS, ATH-AX3iS, ATH-AX1iS all come with a microphone standard in their design, as well as smartphone controls—the ATH-AX5, and ATH-AX3 come without. While only the ATH-AX5iS, ATH-AX3iS, ATH-AX5, and ATH-AX3 come with padded bands, the real star of the show is the ATH-AX5iS: With 40mm drivers and an aluminum housing, these cans look slick in both their black/blue and gunmetal/red color schemes.

For the in-ear fan, Audio-Technica is now shipping its in-ear segment of the SonicFuel line, the ATH-CKX9iS, ATH-CKX9, ATH-CKX7iS, ATH-CKX7, ATH-CKX5iS and ATH-CKX5. These have rather unique features, like 360° rotating tips, smartphone compatibility with call answering, and several bold colors. All headphones with the —iS designation have Audio-Technica's proprietary in-line remote. For more details, spy on the Audio-Technica website.


  • ATH-AX5iS ($89.95), ATH-AX5 ($84.95)
  • ATH-AX3iS ($59.95), ATH-AX3 ($54.95)
  • ATH-AX1iS ($39.95)

Waterproof sport headset - ATH-CKP200iS

Audio-Technica ATH-CKP200iS headphones

The ATH-CKP200iS comes in several color options.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Rounding off this long list of releases is the ATH-CKP200iS: A value set of waterproof and sweat-proof in-ears with an over-the-ear ear hook design. Included with each set will be four sizes of silicone ear tips, and a 2-foot extension cable. The ATH-CKP200iS will retail for $44.95 at launch, available in black, red, yellow, and blue models.

Availability of all these headphones varies, but they should hit the shelves soon if they haven't already. The in-ear SonicFuels are currently shipping, while the over-ear models are set to hit stores in Spring 2014.

Get more coverage of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show from Reviewed.com and follow @ReviewedDotCom on Twitter.