In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology news:

  • Apple will start showing ads in the App Store
  • Yahoo plans to sell 3,000 patents
  • App may save reindeer
  • A look at discounts for smart car technology
  • Singapore moves to improve Internet security by cutting government works off from the net

The details:

  • Apple to start showing ads in App Store

Apple says it will start showing paid ads when people search for apps in its popular mobile store.
The ads are among several changes that Apple hopes will bring in more money for itself and independent software developers who want to promote apps for the iPhone or iPad.
Users spent more than $20 billion in the App Store last year, but with more than 1.5 million apps available, developers say it’s getting more difficult to compete for attention.
Apple says it will show no more than one ad, marked in blue, at the top of the list that appears when someone searches for apps by name or category. Google started showing similar ads in its Play Store last year.

  • Yahoo puts more than 3,000 patents on auction block

Yahoo is hoping to auction off most of its technology patents as part of a purge that also could culminate in the sale of its internet operations.

More than 3,000 patents that have already been issued or are under approval review are on the sales block. The Sunnyvale, California, company says it hasn’t set a minimum bid for the patent portfolio that it calls “Excalibur.” Analysts have estimated that YahooInc.’s patents are worth more than $1 billion.

Yahoo says it intends to retain more than 2,000 other patents that have been issued or awaiting approval in the U.S. and abroad.

The patent auction comes at the same time that Yahoo is weighing offers for Internet operations that include its email service and digital sports, finance and news sections.

A report published earlier this week by The Wall Street Journal said Verizon Communications has offered $3 billion for Yahoo’s Internet operations, below the $4.4 billion that it paid to acquire AOL last year. The report, which cited an unidentified person familiar with the negotiations, said Verizon isn’t interested in owning Yahoo’s real estate or patents.

Other parties interested in buy Yahoo’s internet operations include the private-equity firm TPG and a group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert with financial backing from billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Yahoo is considering selling off almost everything it owns except its lucrative stakes in China’s Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan because its own revenue has been crumbling for the past decade. The company hoped to bounce back when it hired former Google executive Marissa Mayer as its CEO nearly four years ago, but instead things have gotten worse.

If Yahoo decides to hold on to its slumping internet operations, Mayer has vowed to boost revenue by selling more mobile ads while she also slashes costs to increase the company’s profits. Yahoo’s internet operations would be spun off into a newly formed company, probably sometime next year, under Mayer’s latest turnaround plan.

  • Glowing antlers failed, so Finns try app to save reindeer

Finnish reindeer herders in the Arctic have painted Rudolph’s antlers in fluorescent colors, hung reflectors around their necks and even used movable traffic signs, but none of the efforts have helped reduce the annual 4,000 reindeer road deaths.

Now they have decided on a new tactic: an interactive reindeer warning app where drivers can tap their mobile phone screens to register any reindeer they see and get warnings if they are approaching an area where reindeers have been spotted. They’re hoping to save at least some of the 300,000 reindeer that wonder freely in the wilds of Lapland, sometimes described as the last wilderness in Europe.

In a pilot project, drivers of heavy transport vehicles are being given 1,000 free handsets, which have been deactivated for any other use than the reindeer warning system. If it proves successful, the app will be available for download on smartphones later this year.

Anne Ollila, director of the Finnish Reindeer Herders’ Association, said Wednesday the other methods simply didn’t work.

“Drivers often mistook reindeer with reflectors for people in the dark, thinking they wouldn’t run into the middle of the road when they saw car headlights approaching,” she told The Associated Press. “And the deer would tear the reflectors off.”

Reindeer traffic warning signs were pinched by tourists for souvenirs, and reindeerwould scrape off the fluorescent paint from their antlers. “Somehow the reindeer know they had paint on their antlers — maybe their friends laughed at them,” Ollila said.

Reindeer husbandry provides work for some 10,000 people in the region.

  • Few insurers cut rates for new electronic safety devices

Insurers aren’t yet ready to give a break to car owners who invest in automatic braking or other new electronic technologies such as lane departure warning or blind spot detection. Many companies are still compiling their own data to confirm that the devices stop crashes, while others say automakers don’t always make it clear which models have the new technologies.

The Associated Press found that of the 11 biggest U.S. auto insurers, only two offer discounts for the new electronic devices. But experts say that because they are so effective in reducing crashes, it’s just a matter of time before widespread rate cuts arrive.

  • Singapore to cut off internet access for government workers

Government employees in Singapore will soon lose their Internet access at work to make official information systems more secure, authorities said Wednesday.

The government’s Infocomm Development Authority said it has begun disconnecting Internet access from the work stations of some government employees, and will expand the removal to all public workers by next June.

It said the employees’ work will remain the same, while the government information network will become more secure.

Singapore’s government is believed to have about 120,000 employees. While authorities did not give further details, the Straits Times newspaper said the move will affect 100,000 computers.

The newspaper said government employees who need the internet for work will be issued separate laptops with web access. If they don’t, they can use the internet on personal tablets or cellphones without access to government networks, it said.

The move was greeted with furor on social media. Many saw it as an obstacle to efficiency in the wealthy city-state, where citizens have pushed for a better balance of work and life. Government leaders have often spoken of the need to master and harness technology.