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10 tech things we didn't know a week ago

Behind on the news and hungry for more? Here's what we learned this week — from tweets leading to bank hacks, Windows XP lives, and who is the elusive Bitcoin inventor?
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1 of 10 Ellen DeGeneres/Twitter

1. The world's most popular tweet was sent from an Android device

At this year's Oscars, Ellen DeGeneres et al broke the record for most retweets, smashing U.S. President Barack Obama's "Four More Years" tweet when he scored a second term in the Oval Office.

But as Danny Sullivan pointed out, the selfie photo was a marketing ploy by Samsung, which lent the chat-show host an Android device for the night. But it turns out she was using an iPhone backstage, and other scheduled tweeting tools to keep the social momentum going.

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2 of 10 LazyEye/PSD; TracyO/Flickr

2. Meetup.com thrown offline because it wouldn't pay a $300 ransom

Popular organizing website Meetup.com was downed numerous times over three days this week — the longest such downtime in its 12-year history.

It transpired that the site was being held for ransom amid heavy denial-of-service attacks for a mere $300. But the site's chief executive wouldn't bow down to criminals and refused to pay. The site recovered after the company sought help from networking specialist CloudFlare. 

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3 of 10 CNET

3. Coffee machines are now installing DRM to lock out copycat 'pods'

Digital-rights management has long been used in music players and software to prevent illegal copies. But coffee maker Keurig is taking it one step further by putting piracy-punching technology in its brewing stations. The move is in efforts to battle the rising counterfeit coffee pods that are sold on the market by sealing in and controlling the ecosystem.

While DRM technology will likely help solve the piracy problem to a degree, but it may not be enough to keep customers loyal if they aren't able to brew competitors' blends. 

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4 of 10 CNET

4. One month before support expires, Windows XP has 29 percent share

Windows XP has been around for more than 12 years, but it has just shy of a month to go before Microsoft pulls the plug on its life support. That move is a long time coming for the software giant, but its remaining millions of customers will be without crucial updates, and are encouraged to upgrade.

According to latest statistics, the platform has about 29.5 percent market share, behind Windows 7's share of 47.3 percent. In many cases, legacy applications simply don’t work on newer software, which encourages sticking with the old and dusty operating system

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5 of 10 Bing Maps/ZDNet

5. One careless tweet could lead to your bank account getting hacked

Alex sent out an innocuous tweet in reply to a friend in early 2013 and thought nothing about it. A year later, and after a workplace wager based on that tweet alone, it was possible to get his home address and cell phone number. The plan was to see if I could trick his bank into thinking that I was him, and attempt to transfer his life savings into his checking account.

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6 of 10 Stephen Lam via CNET

6. Microsoft's board was initially sceptical of any Nokia buyout

According to a new report this week, Microsoft's board was not overly keen on the idea of acquiring Nokia's devices and services business. Although then-chief executive Steve Ballmer was eager to bring the Lumia business into the software giant's nest, Bill Gates and other unnamed board members were not so keen on the idea.

Ballmer eventually won over Gates et al, but the Nokia deal — not the disaster that was Windows 8 — was reportedly one of the reasons why he was nudged towards retirement.

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7 of 10 stock image

7. Bitcoin's founder may be a 64-year-old man living in California

Newsweek may have succeeded where everyone else has thus far failed — or maybe not as it turns out. If correct, it's a stunning piece of journalism — "outing" the mysterious Bitcoin inventor as Satoshi Nakamoto, a 64-year-old man living in California. "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it," he reportedly told the investigative journalist on the story.

But conflicting reports emerged soon after with the Associated Press reporting that he said it definitely wasn't him. Either way, it's a good read — even if it still up for discussion who the crypto-currency's founder is.

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8 of 10 Downing Street

8. The U.K. government's website has a spam problem

Hundreds of websites run by branches of the U.K. state are in a "perilous state of disrepair," one security researcher claims. The U.K.'s government portal is mostly vulnerable to XSS flaws on sites running "ancient and unsecured software," according to Terence Eden. Not only can spammers attack the comments section of a gov.uk website, hackers can take over entire pages offering dodgy pills and other fake goods.

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9 of 10 ZDNet/Data.gov.uk

9. The man in charge of the U.K. porn filter was arrested for child porn

Sticking with the U.K. government, the man in charge of implementing the U.K.'s online porn filter has been arrested on online child abuse charges. Patrick Rock, a key policymaker in the Prime Minister's political arsenal, resigned after reportedly being tipped off he faced charges.

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10 of 10 CNET

10. If you were left an iPad in a will, Apple might not let you use it

And finally: if you were bequeathed an iPhone, iPad, or Mac from a loved one in their will after they pass, Apple's restrictive security rules may render the device useless. From the BBC News, the Cupertino-based technology giant said it was a preventative measure to protect lost or stolen devices. Only a court order would suffice to unlock the tablet.

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