Techman Texts: Patch suffers a cruel fate under AOL


AOL has finally stuck a knife into Patch, its dying project to report neighborhood news on the Internet.

Hyperlocal news, once a buzzword for revitalizing the the newspaper industry, never quite caught on. Patch has 900 local websites and AOL has put more than $100 million into it, but it could never build a big enough audience or a base of local advertising.

Two weeks ago, AOL sold controlling interest in Patch to Hale Global. AOL laid off 400 journalists in August, and last week Hale Global laid off hundreds more. Foxbusiness.com reports that only about 100 total employees remain, including about 50 journalists.

Tech Talk: Motorola's new owner; the Yahoo hack

In this edition of "Tech Talk," the PG's Ced Kurtz and Laura Malt Schneiderman talk about Motorola's marriage to Lenovo, Yahoo's email hack and AOL's sale of Patch. (Video by Melissa Tkach; 2/3/2014)

Patch isn't the first hyperlocal effort to suffer this cruel fate. Many large newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post, made forays into the field only to shutter them.

• • •

Losing Mobility: The big tech news story of the week was Google selling Motorola Mobility, which it bought two years ago for $12.1 billion, to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. A huge loss for Google, no?

Not necessarily. According to TechCrunch, Google will retain ownership of the vast majority of Motorola's patents. And although it failed in legal efforts to use those patents to damage Apple's iPhone business, they may be very useful in defending Google Android mobile operating system from legal attacks.

• • •

Cyberattack: Yahoo said its email service recently fell victim to a coordinated cyberattack that resulted in the compromise of an undisclosed number of user accounts, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., tech company announced the attack Thursday, saying it has taken action to protect users who were affected by prompting them to reset their passwords, according to the Times. Yahoo did not say how many users were affected. Yahoo Mail is the second largest email provider -- behind Google's Gmail -- with 273 million accounts.

• • •

Micro-processor: Dell's new Wyse Cloud Connect is a computer about as large as an oversized USB stick, according to ZDNet. Inside there's a multicore Cortex-A9 ARM System-on-Chip, 8GBs of internal storage, and 1GB of RAM. A power supply is connected through the mini-USB port.

You can use it with a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to turn any properly equipped display into an Android PC, according to ZDNet. Price is $129.

• • •

Scam alert: The Better Business Bureau is warning about the "One-Ring Phone Scam." Bad guys program their computers to make thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once and then disconnect.

According to the BBB, If the consumer returns the missed call, it will connect them to a paid international adult entertainment service, chat line or other premium services. Victims who return the call are billed a $19.95 international call fee, along with per-minute charges for the unwanted "premium service."

• • •

Website of the week: Informationisbeautiful.net -- David McCandless takes data sets and turns them into moving infographics.

• • •

Sci-fi movie line of the week: "Try not. Do ... or do not. There is no try." -- Yoda in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back."


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