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20% of all Yelp reviews are written by paid shills

How many of the Yelp reviews you read would you guess are forged by the companies being reviewed? MarketWatch reports that 20% of Yelp reviews are fraudulent, typically written by freelance writers from the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe who receive between $1-10 for each review.  New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman eventually stepped in with “Operation Clear Turf,” a year-long investigation that is culminating in an agreement with 19 companies to stop their practice of forging reviews….

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Steve Ballmer moved to tears

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, one of the world’s hardest-charging executives, was moved to tears Thursday as he led what is likely his last annual meeting with employees. Ballmer, choking up near the close of the roughly seven-hour meeting, told more than 10,000 attendees about his love of Microsoft and pledged the company will keep innovating and “change the world,” according to people familiar with the meeting. He also alluded to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison skipping a planned speech this week to catch his America’s Cup…

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Apple fixes lock screen passcode bypass

Apple has just released iOS 7.0.2, a minor new update delivering several changes including a fix for a lock screen passcode vulnerability. The new version arrives as Build 11A501 for all devices. Apple has detailed the two passcode issues fixed in this update in a new support document.  The iOS 7.0.2 release follows the launch of iOS 7 on Wednesday, September 18. That day also saw a special release of iOS 7.0.1 specifically for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which launched on Friday, September 20. …

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Meet Hummingbird: Google's new Search

Google has updated its core algorithm that controls the answers we get to queries on its search engine in a bid to make them work better for longer, more complex questions. Most people won’t notice an overt difference to search results. But with more people making more complex queries, especially as they can increasingly speak their searches into their smartphones, there’s a need for new mathematical formulas to handle them. This update to the algorithm focuses more on ranking sites for better relevance by tapping further…

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Bill Gates: Sorry for Ctrl-Alt-Del design

Bill Gates said that a convoluted login screen was a big design flaw for Windows, but he’s not taking credit for it. The Microsoft co-founder revealed in a speech at a Harvard University fundraiser that forcing users to use the control-alt-delete key combination to log into their PCs was a mistake — one made by IBM, the designers of the reboot combination. Gates went on to explain that the multiple-key command — often called the three-finger salute — was created by David Bradley, an engineer who worked on the original IBM design….

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MPAA takes aim At Google over piracy

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has released a report claiming that search engines are a significant contributor to piracy. Contradicting Google recent claims that its moves to fight piracy are working, the MPAA concludes that 82 percent of search-derived traffic to the infringing sites it examined came via Google Search. Overall, it says, search engines influenced one in five of the sessions in which consumers accessed infringing TV or film content online between 2010 and 2012. This translates to over four…

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Calico: Google's project aimed at solving death

Google is planning to launch Calico, a new company that will focus on health and aging in particular. The independent firm will be run by Arthur Levinson, former CEO of biotech pioneer Genentech, who will also be an investor. Levinson, who began his career as a scientist and has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, plans to remain in his current roles as the chairman of the board of directors for both Genentech and Apple, a position he took over after its co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011. In other words, the company behind YouTube and Google+ is gearing…

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