Tech News Today 573

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Tech News Today
Episode 573

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Tech News Today 573: What Apple-Samsung Means to You

Patent reverberations, what's coming and NOT coming from Apple, Facebook's fancy new digs, and more.

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  • Samsung wants the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales ban in the US overturned and is demanding damages for lost sales from Apple, after the tablet was found not to infringe on any patents. In June Apple secured a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Judge Lucy Koh called it “virtually indistinguishable” from the iPads 1 and 2. The latest jury didn't agree, and ruled the Tab 10.1 didn't infringe on Apple's IP, possibly giving Samsung an opportunity to get back some of the $2.6m bond its Apple posted to secure the block.
  • Dropbox is testing two-step login verification with users who install the experimental build of their software. The functionality will roll out to all users in a few days. Users will need to activate the feature in their account settings. Dropbox will then require unrecognised machines to provide a code from an authenticator app or received by text message. You can also get an emergency code to disable the feature if you lose your phone.
  • AllThingsD says sources are confirming the rumors that the iPhone and “iPad mini” will debut at two separate events this fall, rather than a single one as was originally reported.

The iPhone event is still expected on September 12th, though journalists are still waiting for their invites. After the iPhone ships the Apple will announce the smaller iPad it’s been working on, at a second special event, which sources said is slated for October.

  • Apple won another patent victory on Friday, though not as decisively as against Samsung. The US International Trade Commission ruled Apple did not violate three Motorola patents. A fourth patent regarding the sensor that detects your face when it comes close to the phone was sent back to Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender for reconsideration. This is the resolution of complaints filed in October 2010. Motorola filed separate complaints against Apple last week.'
  • Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, says it has resumed operating its main internal computer networks after a virus infected about 30,000 of its workstations earlier this month. Immediately after the Aug. 15 attack, the company announced it had cut off its electronic systems from outside access to prevent further attacks. Saudi Aramco said the workstations had been cleansed of the virus and restored to service. Oil exploration and production were not affected because they operate on isolated systems.
  • Google has complied with a court order to disclose any financial relationships with anyone who commented on their court case against Oracle. Google named a dozen people, including a staff member who posted on Twitter, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, former intern Timothy B. Lee who writes for Ars Technuica now, and TechDirt writer Mike Masnik. Masnik worked for the Computer and Communications Industry Association once, which Google has contributed money to.
  • Optiarc Inc is shutting down according to reports. Why should you care? Optiarc is Sony’s subsidiary that makes optical disc drives for PCs. The sub is being closed due to “fierce competition” forcing super-low prices. However, Sony’s DVD player and Blu-ray production will continue in the Device Solutions Division.

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E-mail #1

TNT Crew, I heard you discussing the Amazon press conference set for September and I was wondering if in addition to a new Kindle Fire that Amazon will announce a set-top box, like the Google TV. Since they have been focussed on improving their Amazon Prime offering a set-top box seems to me to be the logical next step.

Paul Franz Reading, PA

E-mail #2

Hey TNT crew

Just wanted to point out that Facebook's "old" iOS (and current Android) app was *not* HTML5, so it makes me sad panda when I hear about people suggesting that HTML5 is slower. Here's why:

The app originates from Apache Cordova, a project designed to enable developers to write code in HTML, CSS and Javascript and "convert" them to lower level languages like Objective-C. This means that they can run as compiled apps on multiple platforms. Cordova does this by wrapping your code in a Web View object within a native app - effectively a running a mini browser in your app which can display your HTML. It also gives hooks into the OS's capabilities that are not provided by the browser, such as camera access. Sounds great, what's the problem? This Web View is never as fast or as efficient as a real browser, as it is not considered a priority by the OS developers.

Secondly, the moniker "HTML5" is probably a close second to "4G" in the misused words category. HTML5 refers to a collection of separate technologies and APIs that are slowly being built into browsers. It is not some sort of magical wand that suddenly turns your website into rainbows and unicorns. The majority of the spec is either not supported by all browsers (especially mobile browsers) or incomplete.

tl;dr version: Tom's right - web apps are difficult right now, but will beat native apps eventually, and HTML5 is a hideously misused term.

Love the show though,

Ali (a.k.a. fortythieves in chat)

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