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  1. #41
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    Same here, site was extremely slow!

  2. #42
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    I got a 7" tablet, today, from Big Lots for $79 that runs on Android. I got the last piece from the Big Lots nearby, so they're flying off the shelf, too.

  3. #43
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    That's cool. I don't really need one, i was going to buy two of them and sell one later to cover the cost of the both and keep the other for fun

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    Dell Unveils OptiPlex XE For Retail, Healthcare

    The desktop fits into medical carts, video rental kiosks, and retail point-of-sale systems and can withstand high heat, dust, and 24-hour operation.

    By Antone Gonsalves - January 12, 2010



    Dell on Tuesday introduced the Optiplex XE desktop for retailers, the healthcare industry, and original equipment manufacturers.

    The system is designed to withstand high heat, dust, and 24-hour operation. The desktop fits easily into medical carts, video rental kiosks, retail point-of-sale systems, and other custom deployments, Dell said.

    The OptiPlex XE is built to operate in enclosed spaces and can withstand heat up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit with an optional ducting kit. Standard port covers offer basic dust protection, and an optional dust filter is available to help reduce downtime associated with dust removal.

    The OptiPlex XE supports Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, and XP, along with POSReady and Ubuntu Linux. The latter is available only in China.

    The system comes with a variety of peripheral connectors, including PS/2, Serial RS-232, VGA, and up to seven USBs. Powered USB and powered serial connectors are available as options.

    To reduce downtime, the desktop is available with built-in system monitoring capabilities. In addition, Broadcom's TruManage service is available through Dell for remote systems management.

    Security options include full disk encryption, chassis intrusion alerts, and RAID 1 support. The desktop's power supply is rated as 88% efficient and the system meets Energy Star 5.0 standards.

    Besides selling direct to customers, Dell offers the OptiPlex XE to original equipment manufacturers, which can choose to customize and resell the system under a different brand. The desktop has a 3.5-year lifecycle and prices start at $709.

    Dell in December upgraded the OptiPlex line with smaller systems for space-constrained organizations. One system, the OptiPlex 780, is 22% smaller than the smallest desktop in the previous generation. The 780 mini-desktop replaced the 760. Prices for the series start at $329.




    picture slideshow:
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    HP Blows Through Final TouchPad Stock On eBay

    HP sold the last of its TouchPad tablet stock through a firesale that nearly broke eBay. Was demand sparked by HP's open sourcing of webOS?

    December 12, 2011

    Only those with a hair-trigger finger were able to score HP's $99 and $149 TouchPad tablets, which went on sale at 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday evening on eBay. The cheaper 16-GB model (mostly refurbished units) was scooped up within minutes, and it didn't take the 32-GB model long to sell out, either. Together, the sale lasted all of 25 minutes, based on the start/end times for the auction.

    According to official numbers, there weren't that many TouchPads available to begin with. In fact, the total is rather pathetic. eBay shows that 2,316 of the $99 16-GB TouchPads and 5,534 of the $149 32-GB models were sold. That's a total of just 7,850 units. (You may remember that HP held a firesale for the TouchPad back in August. Demand for the TouchPad at $99 was so much that HP ordered another production run.)

    Buyers acted so feverishly Sunday that eBay's website ran very slow during the sale. PayPal crumbled under the strain, firing off error messages when it was unable to complete transactions.
    Who bought the discontinued tablet? Holiday gift shoppers likely made up some of those eager buyers. The $99 price point is certainly attractive to those who simply want a Web-surfing and email-browsing machine. (Given the limited supply of applications for webOS, TouchPad users won't be able to do much more than that.) It wouldn't be surprising, however, if developers, coders, and tinkerers made up a significant portion of those purchasing the TouchPad.

    On Friday, HP's CEO Meg Whitman announced that the company plans to release webOS--the platform on which the TouchPad is based--to the open source community. This means that HP is making the code available to anyone who wants it. While we can argue whether or not this is a different kind of death sentence or a reprieve from the executioner, the idea of having a cheap tablet and the code to write for it surely appeals to many.

    What makes the situation even more interesting is that Whitman indicated in several press interviews Friday that the company is open to making webOS-based tablets again, though probably not until 2013.
    When asked during an interview with The Verge if HP will use webOS in future hardware, Whitman responded. "The answer to that is yes but what I can't tell you is whether that will be in 2012 or not. But we will use webOS in new hardware, but it's just going to take us a little longer to reorganize the team in a quite different direction than we've been taking it in the past. In the near term what I would imagine--and this could change, in full disclosure--is I would think tablets, I do not believe we will be in the smartphone business again."

    That statement certainly provides some hope to the TouchPad fan, though it is still fairly open-ended. Whitman left nothing to interpretation as to the future of HP smartphones, however. There won't be any more.

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    Firefox 9 released, JavaScript performance improved by 20-30%

    By Sebastian Anthony on December 19, 2011

    Ahead of an official release tomorrow, Firefox 9 has winged its way to various mirrors across the web and is now available to download from the official Firefox website — no messing around with a hammered Nightly FTP server this time, oh no!

    The most significant change over Firefox 8 is the addition of type inference to the JavaScript engine, which singlehandedly improves JS execution speed by 20 to 30%. Without getting into the complexities of this change, type inference basically brings JavaScript one step closer to compiled languages (like C or C++) in terms of speed and optimization. For more information, see our type inference explainer. As far as we’re aware, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari all lack this rather juicy feature. It’s a bit too early to say that Firefox now has the fastest JavaScript performance of the Big Four, but it’s definitely very close.

    If you’ve been using either IE or Chrome because of their superior JavaScript performance, now would be the time to give Firefox another spin; you’ll be surprised at how well it deals with JavaScript-heavy sites, like Gmail, Facebook, and Google+.

    Along with a bunch of bug and stability fixes, and overall speed increases, the Mac OS X version of Firefox 9 now allows for “two finger swipe navigation,” (after playing with Firefox 9 on Mac for half an hour, we’re not sure what this entails — leave a comment if you find out) and deeper theme integration (presumably some themes couldn’t skin some parts of the Mac UI, but they can now). Finally, there’s some additional HTML5 and CSS support, and new hooks that allow developers to query your Do Not Track status via JavaScript.
    Download Firefox 9 now (Windows / Mac / Linux) or see the full release notes


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    Lenovo Could Unset iMac as Top All-in-one PC

    By Ben Camm-Jones - Dec 10, 2011

    Apple is currently the world's number one vendor of all-in-one PCs but is likely to lose that crown next year to Lenovo, according to research.

    Digitimes' figures give Apple's iMac a leading share of the all-in-one PC market for 2011, with 3.7 million units sold, ahead of Lenovo's 2.9 million and HP's 2.4 million.

    Next year, though, Apple is likely to sell 3.8 million iMacs while Lenovo could shift four million all-in-one PCs, Digitimes reckons.

    "Although Apple's iMac series has advantages in industrial design, the product series has shown only limited room for change in specifications. However, HP and Lenovo have delivered above-the-standard industrial design in their products, while offering better hardware specifications, price and a variety of choices. Therefore, Apple's leading position in the AIO PC market will be taken by Lenovo in 2012," Digitimes says in its report.

    Overall, 13.5 million all-in-one PCs will be sold in 2011, which will rise to 15.8 million in 2012, Digitimes reckons. In 2011, all-in-one sales will account for 9.3 percent of the desktop market, whereas they will account for 10.5 percent of the overall desktop market in 2012, according to Digitimes' projections.

    China is seen to be one of the key markets for all-in-one PCs and Lenovo's foothold in this market, combined with lower prices than Apple's, will be key to its growth in 2012.

    "AIO PC models that feature a Wintel structure and have a lower price than iMac will continue to penetrate into advanced countries due to many brand vendors entering into the AIO PC market in 2011. Meanwhile, Lenovo's aggressive planning for AIO PC market in China will become another key driver that helps drive market growth."

    HP, however, "has been affected by a lack of stability in its PC department, which may mean it will have difficulty expanding its share of the AIO PC market."


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    Spammers propel India to junk-mail top spot


    By Phil Hazlewood (AFP) – 1/2/2012

    MUMBAI — India has emerged as the world's top source of junk mail as spammers make use of lax laws and absent enforcement to turn the country into a centre of unsolicited email.

    A recent report by Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based global Internet security firm, says more spam was sent from the south Asian giant than anywhere else in the world in the third quarter of the year.

    An average of 79.8 percent of email traffic in the three months to the end of September was junk. Of that, 14.8 percent originated in India, 10.6 percent came from Indonesia, and 9.7 percent from Brazil.

    Darya Gudkova, a spam analyst at Kaspersky, said the statistics reflect a growing trend for spam to be sent from computers in Asian and Latin America countries.

    India's dubious top spot was attributed to lack of awareness about Internet security and anti-spam laws, which had effectively given spammers free reign, she added.

    Vijay Mukhi, an Internet security specialist in India's financial capital, Mumbai, said spammers, forced to look for new bases after other countries cracked down on the practice, can act with impunity in India.

    "We have an Information Technology Act that was introduced in 2000. But we don't have any convictions under it and it's silent on spam," he told AFP.

    "If I'm a spammer, I would rather spam from India to India and the rest of world because nothing will happen to me."

    Spam -- whose name is derived from the cheap, canned meat product that flooded the market in austere times after the end of World War II -- refers to anonymous, unsolicited commercial or bulk emails.

    These can include political messages, apparent appeals requesting donations from charities, financial scams, chain letters or emails used to spread harmful computer viruses.

    Spammers run the gamut from legitimate marketing firms and advertisers who have adapted telephone cold-calling techniques to the computer age to "phishers", who solicit personal data from naive recipients to defraud them.

    India currently has 112 million internet users, the third-largest number in the world after China and the United States, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI).

    The industry body estimates that five to seven million new users are being added every month and at the current pace the country will have more users than the US in under two years, deepening the pool of potential spam victims.

    Experts say that basic Internet security -- from the use of anti-virus software or "strong" passwords -- is poor among individuals, companies and even the government.

    Earlier this month, hackers broke into the official web site of India's ruling Congress Party and defaced the profile page of party president Sonia Gandhi with a *!*!*!*!ographic message.

    In December 2010, a group identifying themselves as the "Pakistan Cyber Army" hacked the web site of India's top police agency and claimed to have broken in to several other company sites.

    Kaspersky's Gudkova said in emailed comments that lack of awareness in India "means that for cyber-criminals, it is much easier to construct the botnets (networks of infected computers)".

    India's booming mobile phone sector, which has recently seen the introduction of third-generation smart phones, also provides a potential open door for spam and malware (malicious software), industry figures say.

    IT security firm McAfee, part of the Intel Corporation, said in its 2012 Threat Predictions report that the last 12 months saw the highest levels of mobile malware, with the mobile banking sector particularly at risk.

    Mukhi said individuals and companies needed to take the issue seriously and India's government has to get tough.

    Legitimate companies advertise by email or text message and continue to operate, despite a directive from the telecoms regulator banning SMS spam.

    Government officials and ministers were unlikely to act decisively against the email equivalent while the massive state sector, which is still heavily paper-based, lagged behind private companies in the use of computers, he added.

    Until that happens "it will get better for spammers. More and more people will start realising that India doesn't have an anti-spam law", he said.


  9. #49
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    Islamic smartphone launched, with compass permanently pointing to Mecca and the Koran already downloaded

    By Daily Mail - 5th December 2011

    An Islamic smartphone has been launched with a compass pointing permanently to Mecca and the Koran already downloaded.

    Inventors of the Enmac in India said they focused on religious technology when designing the new phone.

    And the market is heaving as India has the fastest growing mobile phone users in the world with more than 850 million subscribers including farmers and rickshaw drivers.

    Anuj Kanish, who has launched the Enmac in India, told The Telegraph: 'India has around 180 million Muslims and the penetration of mobile phone in that community is less.

    ‘But when a compelling product or service is available, it has a potential to increase the number of users. So far, we have had a tremendous response for the product.’

    He added: 'Religion has a very important place in Indian society, so has the mobile phone. Our aim was to bring a device which caters to both the sections, the product is a combination of both technology and religion, the first of its kind in India.'

    The Enmac translates the Koran from Arabic into 29 languages, and includes the Hadith sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, and a guide for Indian Muslims on how to perform the Hajj rituals in Mecca and Medina.

    Mr Kanish said his company had focused on 'religious technology' to help customers with busy lives 'remain connected with God.'


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    A hindu made this phone with already existing technology and applications. There is a huge Muslim market out there, yet sadly we don't see many Muslims taking the initiative to provide for them. The ones that do are only thinking small with their over priced stalls at islamic events.

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    Hackers find iPhone, iPad users' personal data on FBI laptop

    • From: AFP
    • September 05, 2012 12:41AM


    A HACKER group has claimed to have obtained personal data from 12 million Apple iPhone and iPad users by breaching an FBI computer, raising concerns about government tracking.

    The group called AntiSec, linked to the hacking collective known as Anonymous, posted one million Apple user identifiers claimed to be part of a larger group of 12 million, purportedly obtained from an FBI laptop.

    The hackers said they found the data during the second week of March 2012, when they hacked "a Dell Vostro notebook, used by Supervisor Special Agent Christopher K Stangl from FBI Regional Cyber Action Team and New York FBI Office Evidence Response Team".

    On the notebook's desktop they found a file called "NCFTA_iOS_devices_intel.csv". The NCFTA is the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance, a government taskforce set up to share data between private industry and law enforcement in order to combat cybercrime.

    Contacted by AFP, FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said: "We're not commenting."

    The group said many of the user IDs had come with the users' user names, addresses and mobile phone numbers - which the group had edited out of the data it released.

    Social media and news blogs were aflutter with the news. The tech blog Geekosystem called it "one of the worst privacy disasters yet" and various Twitter comments said the news suggested the FBI is tracking Apple users.

    One website set up a database to help users determine if their device was on the hacked list of Apple unique device IDs (UDIDs).

    "Quite why the FBI was collecting the UDIDs and personal information of millions of iPhone and iPad users is not yet clear - but it's obvious that the data (and the computer it was apparently stored on) was not adequately secured," said Graham Cluley of the British security firm Sophos.

    "My suspicion is that the hackers were more interested in embarrassing the FBI's team than endangering innocent users. All the same, hackinginto computers is a criminal act - and I would anticipate that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies will be keen to hunt down those responsible."

    Others expressed concern about the apparent leak.

    "Since UDIDs are unique to each iPhone and iPad, having yours end up in the wrong hands is a concern," said Josh Ong on the technology blog The Next Web.

    "The bigger issue, however, is that they were tied to additional personal information, including user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses, that could potentially lead to identity theft."

    Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Internet Storm Center said it was difficult to verify the report.

    "There is nothing else in the file that would implicate the FBI. So this data may very well come from another source. But it is not clear who would have a file like this," he told AFP.
    Mr Ullrich said it is unclear why the FBI, if the report were true, would have the data.


    "The size of the file... would imply a widespread, not a targeted tracking operation, or the file was just kept in case any of the users in the file needs to be tracked," he said.
    "The significance of this breach very much hinges on the source, which as far as I know, hasn't been authenticated yet. The data is, however, real based on some of the reports that people do find their own UDID in the file."
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/technolo...-1226465169509

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    The UN asks for control over the world’s Internet


    Members of the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have agreed to work towards implementing a standard for the Internet that would allow for eavesdropping on a worldwide scale.

    At a conference in Dubai this week, the ITU members decided to adopt the Y.2770 standard for deep packet inspection, a top-secret proposal by way of China that will allow telecom companies across the world to more easily dig through data passed across the Web.

    According to the UN, implementing deep-packet inspection, or DPI, on such a global scale will allow authorities to more easily detect the transferring and sharing of copyrighted materials and other protected files by finding a way for administrators to analyze the payload of online transmissions, not just the header data that is normally identified and interpreted.

    “It is standard procedure to route packets based on their headers, after all it is the part of the packet that contains information on the packet's intended destination,” writes The Inquirer’s Lawrence Lati, “but by inspecting the contents of each packet ISPs, governments and anyone else can look at sensitive data. While users can mitigate risks by encrypting data, given enough resources encryption can be foiled.”

    Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Internet,’ spoke out against proposed DPI implementation on such a grandiose scale during an address earlier this year at the World Wide Web Consortium.


    "Somebody clamps a deep packet inspection thing on your cable which reads every packet and reassembles the web pages, cataloguing them against your name, address and telephone number either to be given to the government when they ask for it or to be sold to the highest bidder – that's a really serious breach of privacy,” he said.

    Blogger Arthur Herman writes this week for Fox News online that the goal of the delegates at the ITU “is to grab control of the World Wide Web away from the United States, and hand it to a UN body of bureaucrats.”

    “It’ll be the biggest power grab in the UN’s history, as well as a perversion of its power,” he warns.

    The ITU’s secretary general, Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, has dismissed critics who have called the proposed DPI model invasive, penning an op-ed this week where he insists his organization’s meeting in Dubai poses “no threat to free speech.”

    “It is our chance to chart a globally-agreed roadmap to connect the unconnected, while ensuring there is investment to create the infrastructure needed for the exponential growth in voice, video and data traffic,” Dr. Toure claims of the conference, adding that it presents the UN with “a golden opportunity to provide affordable connectivity for all, including the billions of people worldwide who cannot yet go online.”

    Despite his explanation, though, some nation-states and big-name businesses remain opposed to the proposal. The ITU’s conference this week has been held behind closed doors, and representatives with online service providers Google, Facebook and Twitter have been barred from attending.

    In a report published this week by CNet, tech journalist Declan McCullagh cites a Korean document that describes the confidential Y.2770 standard as being able to identify "embedded digital watermarks in MP3 data," discover "copyright protected audio content," find "Jabber messages with Spanish text," or "identify uploading BitTorrent users."

    On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a Senate resolution that asks for the American government to oppose any efforts by the United Nations to control the Internet.

    http://rt.com/usa/news/un-internet-itu-packet-385/

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    Boeing Successfully Tests Microwave Missile That Takes Out Electronic Targets



    HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (CBS St. Louis) — Boeing successfully tests a new missile that can take out electronic targets with little collateral damage.

    The aerospace company tested the microwave missile last week on a two-story building on the Utah Test and Training Range where computers and electronic systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the missile’s radio waves, according to a Boeing press release.


    The missile, known as CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project), fired a burst of High Powered Microwaves at the building, successfully knocking out the electronic systems and computers, and even taking out the television cameras recording the test.


    “This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works, said in the press release. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”



    Seven targets were taken out in total during the one-hour test which left no collateral damage.


    Coleman believes this can be a huge advancement forward in non-lethal warfare.


    “Today we turned science fiction into science fact,” Coleman said in the press release.


    James Dodd, vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft, is hoping to get these microwave missiles in the field sooner rather than later.


    Members of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate and Raytheon Ktech also took part in the test.


    Boeing Defense, Space & Security division is headquartered in St. Louis.

    http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2012/10/...ronic-targets/

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    HTML5: The future of the Web is finally here


    The tool that promises to launch the next era of websites, smartphone apps and online video is finally finished.

    HTML5, the long-in-the-works update to the language that powers the Web, is "feature complete," according to an announcement made Monday by the standards-setting Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). There's still some testing to be done, and it hasn't yet become an official Web standard -- that will come in 2014. But there won't be any new features added to HTML5, which means Web designers and app makers now have a "stable target" for implementing it, W3C said.

    The HTML5 language lets developers deliver in-the-browser experiences that previously required standalone apps or additional software like Java, Adobe's (ADBE) Flash or Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) Silverlight. It supports lightning-fast video and geolocation services, offline tools and touch, among other bells and whistles.

    The W3C has been developing the spec for the better part of a decade.

    "As of today, businesses know what they can rely on for HTML5 in the coming years," W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe said in a prepared statement. "Likewise, developers will know what skills to cultivate to reach smart phones, cars, televisions, e-books, digital signs, and devices not yet known."

    Most of the top browser makers didn't wait for the language to be 100% finished before building support for some elements into their software.The latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari are already compatible with most HTML5 elements.

    App developers followed suit.

    Netflix (NFLX) and Google's YouTube are two of the most prominent HTML5 adopters, but many others have also taken the leap. The Financial Times abandoned its smartphone app last year in favor of an HTML5 mobile website. The site looked and functioned like a native app -- with the advantage that FT didn't have to make changes to multiple versions of its code on multiple smartphone platforms. (Using a mobile website instead of a native app also let FT avoid paying Apple for in-app purchases.)

    Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), a strong supporter of HTML5, produced a viral interactive video in 2010 with the help of rock band Arcade Fire that showed off the potential of the new Web features. Firefox browser maker Mozilla made a splash in February when it created a smartphone operating system called "Boot to Gecko," which is almost entirely based in HTML 5.

    HTML5 grew prevalent enough by 2010 that then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs was able to unleash an epic rant against Flash and get away with it. A year later, Adobe more or less conceded that Jobs was right, abandoning its mobile Flash software in favor of HTML5 support. In November 2011 blog post, Adobe called HTML5 "the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms."

    There's still more work to be done. W3C said that about 63% of Web and app developers are actively using HTML5 to make their sites and software, but "browser fragmentation" remains a big reason why many still aren't using it. Though most up-to-date browsers support at least some aspects of HTML5, older versions of some Web browsers like Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) Internet Explorer don't.

    That's why W3C is working on cementing HTML5 as a new Web standard, making it interoperable and fully supported by any modern browser. It will take two years to complete the testing and standardization of HTML5, the consortium said.

    What's next? W3C is already working on HTML 5.1, the first parts of which were just submitted in draft form.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/17/tech...ource=linkedin

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    I like these products. I have used them and got good results from them.

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    Consumer Reports Says iPhone 5 Is The Worst Of The Top Smartphones


    One of the reasons Apple's stock has gotten clobbered lately is that many people think Apple has lost its edge in its most important product line: smartphones.


    The iPhone has been such a mind-boggling success that it drives more than half of Apple's overall profit. And for most of the past five years, Apple has had a lock on the "best smartphone in the market."


    In recent years, however, competitors have caught up with the iPhone. Some reviewers think Samsung's new phone is superior to Apple's latest phone. And many people expect Samsung to leap ahead when the new Galaxy S4 comes out this spring.


    Another respected product reviewer, Consumer Reports, agrees with those who think Apple has lost its edge.


    In fact, Consumer Reports' conclusion is even more depressing for Apple fans.


    Consumer Reports actually rates the iPhone 5 the worst of the top smartphones.


    CR doesn't spell out the reasoning for its numerical ratings (yet), but the results are still startling.


    Below is the summary box of CR's lab tests, which appears in the February issue of the magazine. The numerical ratings are close together, but they're unequivocal.


    As you can see, on AT&T and Sprint, the iPhone 5 is rated behind two phones:


    * The LG Optimus G (Android) [The what?]
    * The Samsung Galaxy S III (Android)

    On Verizon, meanwhile, the iPhone 5 is rated beneath at least three smartphones:
    * The Motorola Droid Razr Maxx (Android, and owned by Google)
    * The Motorola Droid Razr HD (Android, and owned by Google)
    * The Samsung Galaxy S III (Android)







    Not even ranked in the top 3 at Verizon? Ranked behind Google phones in addition to Samsung phones? That must feel like a bit of a slap in the face.


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    Apple Has Quietly Started Tracking iPhone Users Again, And It's Tricky To Opt Out

    Apple's launch of the iPhone 5 in September came with a bunch of new commercials to promote the device.

    But Apple didn't shout quite so loud about an enhancement to its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, which also occurred in September: The company has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA.

    Previously, Apple had all but disabled tracking of iPhone users by advertisers when it stopped app developers from utilizing Apple mobile device data via UDID, the unique, permanent, non-deletable serial number that previously identified every Apple device.

    For the last few months, iPhone users have enjoyed an unusual environment in which advertisers have been largely unable to track and target them in any meaningful way.

    In iOS 6, however, tracking is most definitely back on, and it's more effective than ever, multiple mobile advertising executives familiar with IFA tell us. (Note that Apple doesn't mention IFA in its iOS 6 launch page).
    Users can switch off that targeting, but it's tricky, as we discovered a couple of days ago. Although at least iOS 6 users are able to turn off tracking, which they weren't before.

    Here's how it works.

    IFA or IDFA stands for "identifier for advertisers." It's a random, anonymous number that is assigned to a user and their device. It is temporary and can be blocked, like a cookie.

    When you look at an app, or browse the web, your presence generates a call for an ad. The publisher's site that you're looking at then passes the IFA to the ad server. The advertiser is then able to know that a specific iPhone user is looking at a specific publication and can serve an ad targeting that user. IFA becomes particularly useful, for instance, if an ad server notices that a particular IFA is looking at a lot of different car sites. Perhaps that user is interested in buying a new car. They'll likely start seeing a lot of car ads on their iPhone.

    More importantly, IFA will allow advertisers to track the user all the way to "conversion" — which for most advertisers consists of an app download. Previously, advertisers had no idea whether their ads actually drove people to download apps or buy things. Now IFA will tell them.

    The IFA does not identify you personally — it merely provides a bunch of aggregate audience data that advertisers can target with ads.



    iPhone Screengrab

    Tracking is on by default

    The new iPhone operating system comes with three things that make tracking easier for advertisers and reduce the likelihood that you'll opt out.


    • iOS 6 comes in a default "tracking on" position. You have to affirmatively switch it off if you do not want advertisers to see what you're up to.
    • The tracking control in iPhone's settings is NOT contained where you might expect it, under the "Privacy" menu. Instead, it's found under "General," then "About," and then the "Advertising" section of the Settings menu.
    • The tracking control is titled "Limit Ad Tracking," and must be turned to ON, not OFF, in order to work. That's slightly confusing — "ON" means ads are off! — so a large number of people will likely get this wrong.

    Those three factors combined mean that a huge proportion of iPhone users are unlikely to ever opt out of tracking.

    "It's a really pretty elegant, simple solution," says Mobile Theory CEO Scott Swanson. "The biggest thing we're excited about is that it's on by default, so we expect most people will leave it on."

    (His take on IFA's capabilities was confirmed by two other mobile ad execs at rival companies.)

    Again, IFA doesn't identify you as a person to advertisers. What it does do, however, is provide advertisers with "a really meaningful inference of behavior," Swanson says. "We haven't had access to that information before."

    Related:





    http://www.businessinsider.com/ifa-a...#ixzz2A7cIHOG8

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    WhatsApp Violates International Law

    Two international government agencies which investigated a popular smartphone app for violating privacy laws, say the matter is still only partly resolved.

    Cross-platform instant messaging application WhatsApp, recently came under fire by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Dutch Data Protection Authority.

    Both parties formed a collaborative investigation into the handling of personal information by the US company, and found its actions to be in contravention of Canadian and Dutch privacy laws.

    Although WhatsApp has taken steps to implement many recommendations to make its product safer from a privacy standpoint, there are still outstanding issues – one in particular relating to the storing of phone numbers.

    Once the app users consent to the use of their address book, all phone numbers from the mobile device are transmitted to WhatsApp to assist in the identification of other WhatsApp users.

    Non-users’ details stored

    However, WhatsApp was found to have retained mobile numbers from people’s address books who were non-users – instead of deleting them.

    This practice contravenes Canadian and Dutch privacy law which states that information may only be retained for so long as it is required for the fulfilment of an identified purpose.

    Chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority, Jacob Kohnstamm, said: “We are not completely satisfied yet. The investigation revealed that users of WhatsApp, apart from iPhone users who have iOS 6 software, do not have a choice to use the app without granting access to their entire address book.

    “Both users and non-users should have control over their personal data and users must be able to freely decide what contact details they wish to share with WhatsApp.”

    The coordinated investigation was a global first, as the two national data protection authorities worked together to examine the privacy practices of a company with hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.

    Unencrypted passwords

    At the time the investigation began, messages sent using WhatsApp’s messenger service were unencrypted, leaving them prone to eavesdropping or interception.

    However, in partial response to the investigation WhatsApp has introduced encryption to its mobile messaging service.

    The investigation also found that WhatsApp was generating passwords for message exchanges using device information that can be ‘relatively easily exposed’. This created the risk that a third party may send and receive messages in the name of users without their knowledge.

    WhatsApp has since strengthened its authentication process in the latest version of its app.

    Both investigating authorities will now pursue outstanding matters independently.


    http://techbeat.com/2013/01/whatsapp...ernational-law

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    US authorities can spy on the iCloud without a warrant

    Personal information uploaded by British computer users to cloud services such as Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive can be spied upon by US intelligence without the need to apply for a warrant, it has emerged.

    All documents and photographs stored on computer systems based in the US can be accessed without telling the owners under newly approved legislation.

    Cloud services are a cheap and supposedly secure way for computer users to store information. Rather than saving it on their own machines, they upload it via the internet where it is held on central computer servers.

    In addition to the private users, it is estimated that 35 per cent of British companies store information on cloud systems.

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows US government agencies open access to any electronic information stored by non-American citizens by US-based companies.

    Introduced towards the end of President George W Bush’s administration in 2008, it was renewed in December. But only now are privacy campaigners and legal experts waking up to the extent of the intrusion, according to The Independent.

    Caspar Bowden, who served as Microsoft Europe’s chief privacy adviser for nine years until 2011, told the newspaper: “What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed.”

    Bodies such as the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA can gain access to any information that potentially concerns US foreign policy for purely political reasons – with no need for any suspicion that national security is at stake – meaning that religious groups, campaigning organisations and journalists could be targeted.

    The information can be intercepted and stored in bulk as it enters the US via cables crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

    A Google spokesperson said: “It is possible for the US government (and European governments) to access certain types of data via their law enforcement agencies. We think this kind of access to data merits serious discussion and more transparency.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolog...a-warrant.html

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    Wow

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    U.S. spy agency collects phone records on Verizon customers




    June 6, 2013 – TECHNOLOGY - The U.S. National Security Agency is collecting telephone records of millions of Verizon Communications customers, according to a secret court order obtained and published by the Guardian newspaper’s website. The order marked “Top Secret” and issued by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court directs Verizon’s Business Network Services Inc and Verizon Business Services units to hand over electronic data including all calling records on an “ongoing, daily basis” until the order expires on July 19, 2013. The order can be seen at: r.reuters.com/kap68t. Signed by Judge Roger Vinson at the request of the FBI, the order covers each phone number dialed by all customers and location and routing data, along with the duration and frequency of the calls, but not the contents of the communications.

    The disclosure comes as the Obama administration is already under fire on other privacy and First Amendment issues. In particular, it is being criticized for a search of Associated Press journalists’ calling records and the emails of a Fox television reporter in leak inquiries. Officials at the White House and the NSA declined immediate comment. Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden declined to comment. Verizon’s biggest rival, AT&T Inc, did not provide any immediate comment when asked if the government had made a similar request for its data. “That’s not the society we’ve built in the United States,” said Kurt Opsahl, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing the NSA over surveillance inside the country. “It’s not the society we set forth in the Constitution, and it’s not the society we should have.” The order expressly compels Verizon to turn over both international calling records and strictly domestic records, and it forbids disclosure of the order’s existence. It refers to mobile and landline numbers, though not explicitly to Verizon’s consumer business. The order is the first concrete evidence that U.S. intelligence officials are continuing a broad campaign of domestic surveillance that began under President George W. Bush and caused great controversy when it was first exposed. In 2005, the New York Times reported that the NSA was wiretapping Americans without warrants on international calls. Los Angeles Times and USA Today later reported that the agency also had unchecked access to records on domestic calls. In addition, a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, said that a room accessible only with NSA clearance in the carrier’s main San Francisco hub received perfect copies of all transmissions.

    Privacy lawsuits against the government are continuing, though cases filed against the phone carriers were dismissed after Congress passed a 2008 law immunizing the companies that complied with government requests. That law also allowed for broader information-seeking, though methods must be approved by the special court handling foreign intelligence matters. The new order cites legal language from the 2001 U.S. Patriot Act, passed soon after the September 11 attacks, that allows the FBI to seek an order to obtain “any tangible thing,” including business records, in pursuit of “foreign intelligence information.” Verizon is the second biggest U.S. telephone company behind AT&T in terms of revenue. The vast majority of Verizon’s overseas operations come from its acquisition of MCI Communications, which is also covered by the order although foreign-to-foreign calls are exempted from it. Opsahl said it was unlikely that Verizon would be the only subject of such an order and that the other major carriers probably had similar orders against them. It is unclear what the NSA and FBI do with the phone records they collect. If past practices have continued, though, Opsahl said, they are probably mined with sophisticated software in an attempt to figure out close connections between people the agencies consider to be terrorism suspects and their associates.


    –Reuters


 

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