Tech News Today 224

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Tech News Today
Episode 224

Tech News Today 224: Bobsled on your

T-Mobile adds free voice calls to Facebook, Does WiFi violate the wiretap law? Samsung fights back against Apple, and more.



  • Samsung threatens Apple in response to patent lawsuit
  • Nilay Patel's analysis
  • Review of Apple’s unit numbers released in legal filing prior to earnings
    • Samsung public statement "Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property"
    • Another Samsung spokesperson also said that Apple may have violated Samsung's patents in communications standards and Samsung is considering a counterclaim.
    • Nilay Patel's post looks at the entirety of the lawsuit and does a claim by claim analysis
    • "the main question for the court will be whether or not Samsung has used all of these elements in a way that’s likely to confuse consumers about what they’re buying."
    • Side by side of Apple and Samsung's icons
    • Excellent explanation of patent law as it applies to this case"
  • check this pic out
  • T-Mobile Powers Facebook VoIP
  • T-Mo blog post about FB calling
    • T-Mobile introduces first of its ""Bobsled"" applications allowing calls to FB friends with one click.
    • It's a FB app. Can make computer to computer calls. In buddy list/chat window will see a phone icon.
    • Plans to allow video chat and calls to mobile and landline numbers
    • T-Mobile says Bobsled is aimed at "bridging traditional telecommunications and Internet-based voice and data services," and it says it plans to expand the service in the near future to include video chat, the ability to place VoIP calls to mobile and landline phones, and even offer applications on both smartphones and tablets "regardless of the carrier that powers such devices."
  • Facebook rolls out new security features, answers Sophos letter
    • "Two-factor authentication, similar to what Google rolled out in February, gives users the option to have to enter a code when they log in. A key difference:Google’s two-factor authentication stays on all the time, Facebook’s is on only when you log in from a new device.
    • Facebook is also offering expanded secure browsing for those who have selected that option. Now, whenever you use a Facebook app that doesn’t support HTTPS, the site will automatically switch you back to secure browsing when your session’s done."

Discussion Stories

  • NASA ponies up $270 million for commercial spaceflight
    • The Commercial Crew Development program helps U.S. private enterprises develop the capability to transport U.S. astronauts to space. Blue Origin, which was started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, received $22 million in the funding round. PayPal co-founder Elon Musk's SpaceX received $75 million. They were flanked by Sierra Nevada and Boeing, which received $80 million and $92.3 million, respectively.
    • NASA hopes commercial providers will have their spacecraft ready for flight in 2015.
  • Judge: was WiFi packet sniffing by Google Street View spying?
    • US District Judge James Ware in San Jose presiding over nearly a dozen combined lawsuits seeking damages from Google for eavesdropping on open WiFi networks via its Street View mapping cars. Question at hand is whetehr Google breached the wiretap act.

Google says: “There can be no doubt that the transfer of any sign, signal, writing, images, sound, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted over the radio spectrum constitutes a ‘radio communication.’ Indeed, there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the Wiretap Act that would exclude any transmission sent over the radio spectrum from the definition of ‘radio communication,’ Judge Ware wants to know if WiFi counts as radio communications. According to the Wiretap Act, it’s not considered felony wiretapping “to intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured to that such electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public,” according to the text of the federal wiretapping statute. The plaintiffs’ lawyers countered that the communications in question started on a computer and only briefly were relayed on radio waves “across the living room from the recipient’s router to her laptop.”

Laws could be introduced in the future to prohibit blocking services - but no law against tired Internet in general will be proposed. The commission has also asked the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), the European electronic communications regulatory group, to investigate the extent of net neutrality violations. If by the end of the year Brussels finds that there are persistent problems of blocking, the commission will take additional action. Ms Kroes believes the there is enough competition to prevent most abuses.

  • Apple cleaning up App Store rankings by de-emphasizing downloads
    • Lots of apps try to boost rankings by getting you to download their apps in exchange for free in-game stuff. A download ranking tweak and new enforcement of rule 3.10 seems to indicate Apple is no longer tolerating this practice. Inside Mobile Apps put together comments from mobile marketing firm Flurry, promotion network W3i, and game publishers Glu Mobile and Gameview Studios that indicate number of donlowds is no longer the only factor in app store rankings anymore. According to TUAW, some Tapjoy applications seem to have been rejected because they violate section 3.10 of Apple's developer guidelines bars apps that "attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods."

News Fuse




"Hey guys, love the show!

Regarding Ep. 223 about the ESRB survey for app developers; as a father of 2 boys an avid gamer myself, I would love for the ESRB to rate apps and direct download games to help me better make choices about what I allow my kids to play. What I would like to see is that survey published so I can better decide what is apropreate for my kids.

Of course, survey responses don't always tell the whole story . For instance a game themed around kidnapping, with protagonists prone to violent rage, that rewards players for destroying property and killing animals might be a bit much for T rating, but my 6 year old loves playing ANGRY BIRDS.

Keep up the great work,

Mike S."



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Production Information

  • Edited by: Jeff
  • Notes:
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