Tech News Today 299
Recorded: August 4, 2011
Published: August 4, 2011
Tech News Today 299: Sea Monkeys On Mars!
Microsoft and Google in slapping fight, facial recognition gets scary, AT&T trying to kill any competition and more.
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- Tom Merritt ( )
- Sarah Lane ( )
- Iyaz Akhtar
- Natali Morris ( )
- Microsoft calls Google out over patent bullying accusations - two senior Microsoft executives implied that Google had actually declined an invitation to join the consortium that formed to buy Novell's patent portfolio, with one representative posting a screenshot of what looks like e-mail proof of Google's decision to not play along.
- Google vs Microsoft Isn’t Just A Battle of Products, But A Battle of Ideas
- Google updated its "When patents attack Android post
- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith "Google says we bought Novell [sic] patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no."
- Microsoft Corporate Communications lead Frank X. Shaw "Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog." http://t.co/PfKle9H
- Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond
- Tim Carmody at Wired argues this is a battle for the public mind
- Google isn't pleased with Microsoft's position and updated its "When patents attack Android post"
- "It's not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false "gotcha!" while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised."
- "Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android — and having us pay for the privilege — must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn't fall for it."
- Germany Investigating Facebook Tagging Feature
- Report on Facial recognition tech from Carnegie Mellon to be released at Black hat today
- A German regulator said Wednesday that he had asked Facebook to disable its new photo-tagging software, saying he was concerned that its facial recognition feature amounted to the unauthorized collection of data on individuals.
- European Commission’s data privacy advisory panel would determine whether tagging itself violated a user’s privacy.
- A study presented today at Black Hat, authored by Alessandro Acquisti, Ralph Gross and Fred Stutzman from Carnegie Mellon University show ho easy it is to derive personal info from your profile pic. Used PitPatt software now owned by Google.
- 1st experiment: collected images from 5,000 anonymous profiles on dating site and cross-referenced them with Facebook got 10% right
- 2nd experiment: Took Webcam photos 93 CM students and identified 1/3.
- 3rd experiment: By mining public sources, including Facebook profiles and government databases, the researchers could identify at least one personal interest of each student and, in a few cases, the first five digits of a social security number.
- Sony’s Debut of PlayStation Vita Player in U.S., Europe to Miss Christmas
- Kaz Hirai told reporters that the Vita would launch in Japan before the end of December followed by launches in Europe and the United States early next year.
- Sony will miss out on Christmas shoppers in two markets where the company generated more than 40 percent of its revenue last fiscal year.
- The Vita, equipped with a 5-inch display and touch pads at the back, will be offered from $249 in the U.S., Sony said in June. That’s $80 more than Nintendo’s 3-D portable player after the price cut.
- Sharp and Pioneer resurrect Elite with line of LED LCD TVs, pricing starts at $6,000
- Sharp Elite LED LCD TV hands-on (video)
- New Elite TV's from Sharp and Pioneer resurrect some of the old Kuro
- 60 and 70-inch LED LCDs
- Elites will only be available through high-end retailers, and will be priced at $6,000 and $8,500, respectively. The Pro-60X5FD will ship in the US next week, and the Pro-70X5FD will hit stores later this month.
- Claims frame rate of "about 720hz," thanks to 240Hz quadrupling and scanning backlight technology.
- Sharp's Quad-pixel (4th yellow pixel OH MY!)
- Internet connectivity, with pre-loaded Netflix, Vudu, and social media apps.
- Prepaid wireless market hits a snag
- T-Mobile Still Bleeding Customers, Though Losses Slowing - lost 50,000 subscribers in the second quarter (prev quarter lost 99k)
- T-Mobile loses 50,000 customers in Q2 2011, revenue dips slightly
- TracFone: added 236,000 net customers big drop from Q1 and Q2-10
- MetroPCS: added 199,000, 50,000 less than expectations
- Leap (Cricket) lost 103,000 customers (expected to gain)
- So Q2 not good for pre-paid unless you're Sprint or...
- Assurance Wireless, which is a government-subsidized offering only available to low-income families. Unsurprisingly, Assurance's parent, Sprint Nextel, reported robust prepaid growth, adding 674,000 net prepaid customers--1.1 million if you exclude defections from its iDEN network.--- or...
- T-Mobile: T-Mobile USA, which, despite its struggles, has still been able to add prepaid customers. It said today that it had signed up a net 231,000 such customers, despite larger losses on the contract end.
- Philip Falcone: AT&T, Verizon are undermining LightSquared
- LightSquared's Phil Falcone talks to CNBC, airs his feud with Verizon and AT&T (video)
- LightSquared inks multi-year deal with PowerNet Global, quest for LTE domination continues
- Billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, runs Harbinger Capital and spoke to CNBC
- Harbinger runs LightSquared
- LightSquared faces opposition from the GPS industry over how they plan to use spectrum to provide wholesale LTE service
- Falcone claims an AT&T lobbyist is heading up the GPS coalition. He added the carriers are pressuring local officials to throw their support behind the GPS camp.
- Falcone said the GPS industry has had years to prepare for the eventual conflict in spectrum use, and never did. He noted that the FCC has mandated the use of the spectrum for wireless service.
- PowerNet Global will become a wholesale customer on LightSquared's 4G-LTE network and will develop its own branded voice and high-speed mobile data services for its business and residential customers.
- Verizon's upcoming smartphone and tablet plans have been leaked and posted by IGN. The Bionic announced way back in January will launch on September 8th. The HTC Vigor, the replacement for the Thunderbolt, with a 1.5GHz processor and 720p res will hit on the 29th of September. The Samsung Galaxy S II will be known as "Stratosphere" and land on September 8th. 4G versions of 7-inch Galaxy Tab and the Xoom are also coming.
- AT&T has confirmed with Boy Genius Report that AT&T customers running a jailbroken iPhone or other smartphone as an unauthorized hotspot will have their unlimited data plans revoked. AT&T will offer those users 3 options: stop tethering and keep your plan, 2. have the user move to a required tethering plan or 3. AT&T would add the tethering plan for the customers.
- An undeletable cookie from KISSMetrics has irritated plenty of people. KISSMetrics as well as sites that use the cookie are now subject to a class action lawsuit. Spotify, GigaOm, Etsy, About.me and more are being charged with violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Trespass to Personal Property and more. Damages could be up to $10,000 per member of the class.
- Google has been kicking people out of its still-invite-only Google Plus social network. The latest high profile reject is Blake Ross who just so happens to be Facebook's product director. Ross announced he was booted via Twitter, showing that he loves lots of communication methods, writing "Are they just banning all FB'ers? I smell fear." A quick Google News search for "Blake Ross" also shows a recent murder by a man named "Blake Ross." Perhaps Google confused them? The Facebook Blake has gotten a G+ profile back.
- comScore has issued a new report about the top smartphone OS. Guess who's #1? Nope, it's not webOS. It's Android which is now up to 40.1% which is up 5.4% since March. Rounding out the top three is Apple iOS at #2 with 26.6%, RIM at third with 23.4%. Symbian is hanging on strong with 2.0%.
- Want to play games, get a deal and help indie game developers all at the same time? Well, check out the Humble Indie Bundle that lets users pay what they want for a suite of games from $1 to $6000. The Bundle has already made more than $1 million in sales in under one week. If you buy the bundle, you can even send a percentage of your purchase price to fund a charity, the developer or tip Humble Bundle.
- Clearwire's CTO John Saw told CNET today that even though they announced a new LTE network they would sell wholesale, they will not give up on WiMax and intend to add capcity and expand into new markets with the rival fast wireless technology. Saw said they still sell a lot of WiMax devices and they're not stopping. That said, nearly all of its resources will be devoted to the newer LTE network.
- The second-ever federal CIO will be Steven VanRoekel, who worked with Microsoft for 15 years, running the company's Web Services and Platform Strategy and Windows Server Solutions groups. He went to the FCC in 2009, where he then advocated for open government and open platforms. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stevenvDC
- Over at Black Hat, Dan Kaminsky showed off a tool called N00ter that helps you see if your ISP is slowing down traffic or speeding up traffic from particular sites. The method is similar to the way a VPN works, but the traffic is not encrypted. Once the user gets the data, they can compare the speeds from various sites to see if the ISP is being evil or not. Kaminsky hasn't named any ISPs being guilty for this non-net-neutral approach.
- Also at Black Hat, Dillon Beresford presented more software vulnerabilities for Siemens industrial controllers, including a serious remotely exploitable denial of service vulnerability, more hard-coded administrative passwords, and even an easter egg program buried in the code that runs industrial machinery around the globe. Beresford reported 18 separate issues to Siemens and the company is readying a patch.
- Haven't had enough fun stuff from Black hat yet? Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins unveiled WASP today, the Wi-Fi Aerial Surveillance Platform. It'sa remote controlled, unmanned aerial vehicle that is capable of cracking Wi-Fi passwords, exploiting weak wireless access points and mimicking a GSM tower to intercept cell phone conversations.
- NASA Spacecraft Data Suggest Water Flowing on Mars - According to NASA, images generated from its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show possible flowing water on Mars. During the warmer season on Mars, "dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes..." These patterns suggest water flow, however NASA cannot say with certainty without further observations.
- Skype 2.1 is out and it lets the majority of Android devices use video chat. Phones include HTC Evo 4G and the Galaxy S, on the tablet side the Flyer and the Galaxy Tab are now supported.
- Beating a lot of streaming audio services, the Rdio iPad App Now Available with Streaming and Offline Music Access
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 shows up for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk, ships August 11th
- Sony, GeoHot Earn Black Hat Pwnie Awards
- The Pwnie Awards were announced at Black Hat last night. Best Privilege Escalation Bug went to Tarjei Mandt of Norway's Norman Security, Lifetime Achievement went to pipacs, Most Peic Fail went to Sony, the man who hacked sony, GeoHot won for Best Song, and Epic 0wnage was a fight between Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, Stuxnet, and LulzSec.----Black Hat may get DDossed, 'cause Lulzsec lost to Stuxnet.
- Nokia has launched a N9 countdown page that says the Nokia's MeeGo phone is coming in 49 days.
- Tomorrow through Sunday, HP will sell the 16GB TouchPad for $400, that's $100 off its original price.
"There is something that can only ever be done on a virtual segway tour,
The virtual segway tour of the canals of Venice.
Even WOZ can't do that in real life.
Frank Daniels "
I can confirm that after you buy Lion from the Mac App Store and it downloads that “Install Mac OS X Lion.app” file/folder to your Applications folder that there’s NO DRM associated to that installer. I can tell you this because I’ve successfully used that Installer to install Lion onto my Dell Hackintosh (it works well on there).
That’s probably one of the reasons that after you install Lion, it deletes that Installer, so you can’t copy it to a USB to give to your friend (& also probably because it does take up 4GB of space).
"Hi TNT Crew,
I noticed that Chrome 13 has gone "stable" now and with that release, the pre-rendering feature is automatically turned on.
The rule used to be that you had to be careful what you clicked on when surfing the web, but with pre-rendering, I'm wondering if we're going to see an increase in the number of machines inadvertently infected with malware due to pre-rendering.
Pre-rendering automatically fetched documents, images and scripts as well as actually rendering pages in an ""invisible"" tab for links specified with the <link rel=prerender> tag, wouldn't it be possible for some sneaky webmaster to infect someone's computer with malware when the unsuspecting user visits a page that just tells chrome to pre-render another page? And since I believe that Google also uses this technique on their search results page, could it be possible to infect someone's computer just by getting your malware site listed as a search result?
I know that the Chromium specification says that rendering should be cancelled if ""Any of the resources on the page are flagged by Safe Browsing as malware or phishing"" (http://www.chromium.org/developers/design-documents/prerender), but you'd think that getting a site flagged in a database that your browser can use would take some time. So, between the time when a site is infected and the time it gets listed as an infected site, it seems like any search result the infected site pops up in would cause a problem without a user even clicking on anything links.
Maybe I'm wrong about all of this, but I just thought it might be something for TNT listeners to think about and decide whether they want to turn off the pre-rendering feature of Chrome.
Thanks for the great show. I listen every day and I love the new TWIT Brick House.'
-- Del Putnam"
- "We've thought hard about this issue, and we don't believe there is any additional risk to users," a Google spokesman explained.
"Sites marked as potentially harmful by our Safe Browsing technology will not be pre-rendered, nor will sites that Chrome detects as suspicious. We also exclude sites with SSL certificate issues and those that try to download files or display popup alerts."
- Google added that search engine poisoning to promote scareware sites and the like is an industry-wide problem. ®
- ad times: 0:33-0:46 and 16:44-18:00
- Edited by: Tony
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