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Sat, 30 Apr 11
Hacker Chatter Suggests Thieves Have Millions of PSN Customers' Credit Cards
Hackers are reportedly attempting to sell 2.2 million credit card numbers stolen from the PlayStation Network database. Sony earlier said customers' personal data was encrypted; however, the company could not rule out the possibility that hackers might have accessed it. By Thursday, security researchers had seen talk on underground forums of hackers hoping to sell credit card lists for as much as $100,000. The forum comments indicated that hackers possessed names, addresses, user IDs, passwords, credit card numbers and even credit card security codes. One hacker admitted trying to sell a list to Sony but did not receive a response.

Sat, 30 Apr 11
The Tech Addict's Road to Spiritual Bankruptcy: Q&A With Jane Velez-Mitchell
Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of her own TV show, "Issues," on HLN and author of a newly released book, Addict-Nation, An Intervention for America, well remembers the genesis of one of the topics in her book. She and her partner were about to become intimate, she cheerfully relates -- until she got an overwhelming urge to check her BlackBerry for email first. Uh oh, was her next thought. "Is this the sign of an addiction?" Velez-Mitchell is spreading the word about how easy it is to become addicted to a substance -- from food to drugs to online pornography to, yes, popular technologies such as social networking and mobile devices.

Sat, 30 Apr 11
Life in a Linux-less World
Well, well, well, so Linux has turned 20 at last. While we were reading about the inroads Android is making into the mobile market and weeping over the news that Groklaw is about to pack its bags and move on, we began wondering: Just what would the world have been like if Linus Torvalds hadn't sat down and written Linux? For one thing, Microsoft would be poorer. It's raking in the shekels on Linux patents and filing suit against various companies over Android, a Linux variant. Apple would rule the mobile world.

Sat, 30 Apr 11
iSpy With My Little iPhone - but Not Much to See There
One of the biggest news stories around the iPhone in a long time is the recent -- for lack of a better term -- LocationGate fiasco. As with most stories like this, fear and link bait rule the day. You also have, in this case, U.S. Senators smelling blood in the water and inserting themselves into the story -- and in some cases actually contributing to the misinformation out there. Take Senator Al Franken with this quote when talking about the data file that has location information in it. "Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of a user's home, the business he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attends."

Fri, 29 Apr 11
Nokia Will Launch No Tablet Before Its Time
Nokia chief Stephen Elop said Wednesday that his company is in no hurry to get into the tablet market. In an interview on YLE TV in Nokia's homeland, Finland, Elop observed that there were already more than 200 tablets on the market and only one was really doing well, the iPad, and he didn't want Nokia to put out another tablet that you couldn't tell apart from the others. Nokia was hard at work on a product that would differentiate its tablet from others currently in the market, he said, adding that the company was weighing whether to use Windows or go with MeeGo.

Fri, 29 Apr 11
Mobile Health Apps, Part 3: On the Cutting Edge
The future of mobile healthcare apps is already here, and it readily conjures images of "Star Trek" and Dr. "Bones" McCoy's medical tricorder. Take for example, a new app system developed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital that detects cancer. The palm-size nuclear magnetic resonance device, which mimics the gigantic MRI machine, sits on a patient's bedside table. The tiniest of samples from the smallest of needles can instantly be tested and the results calculated by an app on the doctor's smartphone. In many cases, the system will eliminate the need for surgical biopsies.

Fri, 29 Apr 11
The Slow Boil of Privacy Erosion
As the Apple iPhone personal tracking database brouhaha rolls on, it's becoming increasingly clear that Apple isn't exactly tracking iPhones -- though there are many shades of gray -- and that reactions to the idea or practice of tracking has a surprisingly wide range of feeling. Some seem to think that having their iPhones track their locations is cool, like a personal journal, while others see it as just another way for big brother to watch over our shoulders and help put down the uprising when the distribution of wealth becomes untenable for an open society to thrive.

Thu, 28 Apr 11
FBI May Hunt Down and Destroy Botnets in Zombie PCs
The FBI has requested and received a preliminary injunction from a U.S. district judge to continuing issuing "stop" commands to the zombie machines infected with the Coreflood botnet. It is an essential step that is part of the agency's dramatic takedown of the botnet's command-and-control system earlier this month, an agent said in written testimony. In mid-April, the FBI seized five command-and-control servers and 29 domain names registered in the United States and then obtained a temporary restraining order to intercept signals -- that is, issue stop commands -- from any other C&C servers handling the botnet.

Thu, 28 Apr 11
Figuring Out Your Carbon Footprint's Shoe Size
It's not easy going green. There are, however, software programs and online assessment tools that can measure a business's carbon footprint and help make it smaller. Every technology in business uses energy and has a carbon footprint -- from the lights in the ceiling to the data center they illuminate. "Green IT can mean anything from energy-efficient products to easily recycled products," said John Pflueger, principal environmental strategist at Dell. "While data center customers have, until recently, strictly defined greenness through energy efficiency, they are now showing a lot of interest in other, related issues."

Thu, 28 Apr 11
Zapd: Yes, You Really Can Whip Up a Web Page in 60 Seconds
I ran into a surprisingly compelling app with a short, funny name: Zapd, by PressPlane. It's basically an iPhone or iPod app that lets you create snazzy-looking websites really fast. PressPlane says you can do it in 60 seconds from your iPhone, and if you're really warmed up and on a wicked fast Internet connection, sure, you can create a live site with a real URL in 60 seconds. More realistically, you're looking at a couple of minutes. Yes, it's that fast. Here's how it works. First, select a prebuilt theme that gives you an idea how your photos and text will appear online.

Thu, 28 Apr 11
HomeBank: A Fine Financial App Once You Clear the Setup Hurdle
Keeping track of personal and business finances is one of the most essential tasks I do daily on my computer besides researching and writing about the Linux platform. Lately I am assigning much more of that task to HomeBank to keep my banking transactions in order. Do not confuse this personal accounting system with a banking institution of the same name, based in Martinsville, Ind. HomeBank, the Linux app, dates back to the 1995 Amiga computers. HomeBank, the banking community, has evolved since 1885 and has no connection beyond its name to the open source personal accounts manager.

Wed, 27 Apr 11
Sony Makes Quirky Entrance Into Tablet Market
Sony is developing its first entries into the tablet market. The tablets are going by the code names "S1" and "S2," and they will be available in the global market in fall 2011. S1 will be optimized for rich media entertainment, and S2 will be optimized for mobile communication and entertainment. The Sony tablets utilize the latest Android OS -- version 3.0, aka "Honeycomb" -- which is designed for use on large screens. Both devices are compatible with WiFi and WAN (3G/4G) and run on Nvidia's Tegra CPU.

Wed, 27 Apr 11
The Rising Wave of Gamification
Gabe Zichermann may have coined the term "funware" to describe applications with game-like mechanics and game-like behavior that really aren't traditional video games, but his neologism just may be expanding to encompass much more than initially intended -- the extraordinary paroxysm of technological advances currently convulsing the gaming industry. Zichermann, the head of GamificationCo, chair of the Gamification Summit and Workshops and co-author of the book Game-Based Marketing, might have to share a concept that seems to have outgrown its original meaning.

Wed, 27 Apr 11
This App's Best-Laid Floor Plans Oft Go Pretty Well
A floor plan of your home might not be something you use every day. But having one can come very much in handy in situations like selling your house, renting out a property, working with a contractor, buying furniture, figuring out which stuff is going to fit in which room as you get ready to move into a new place, and at least a dozen other scenarios. With MagicPlan, you can put away the graph paper -- though you'll probably want to hang on to the measuring tape. The app works on the iPhone 4 and the fourth-gen iPod touch.

Tue, 26 Apr 11
Nook Color Becomes Dwarf Star in Tablet Universe
Barnes & Noble unveiled a major update for its e-reader tablet, the Nook Color, on Monday. The $249 e-reader lets customers have some tablet features without having to break the bank. The Nook Color operating system is upgraded to Android OS 2.2/Froyo and will now support Adobe Flash Player. The update also includes full featured built-in email, an enhanced Web experience, additional interactivity with books and magazines, and a collection of apps from third-party developers -- a mere 125 to start, but growing.

Tue, 26 Apr 11
'Frank' Talk About Cloud Architecture
The great contemporary architect Frank Gehry has built a reputation by challenging our core beliefs around what buildings should look like, as well as the very role of design. His work is often described as "deconstructivist," meaning that he reduces his creations to be more of a reflection of the tension that binds atomic elements as opposed to the singular "harmonic" whole of a Frank Lloyd Wright conception. Gehry has established an entirely new paradigm for architecture -- one that is enabled by the most modern construction materials and techniques. His buildings have given us a new way to appreciate architecture.

Tue, 26 Apr 11
I Need a Hero
I've been watching some of the drama surrounding Donald Trump, the concerns surrounding the air traffic controllers, the close call with the first lady, tourists being shot in Florida, U.S. citizens being shot off their jet skis, the inability to control spending -- and the "Shrek" version of "I need a Hero" started playing in my head. We have children committing suicide and folks jumping off the Golden Gate bridge, and I really think a lot of this can be connected back to a government that has simply forgotten about the fact that the country is made of individuals who worked together to fix problems -- not politicians who complained about them.

Tue, 26 Apr 11
TuneIn Radio Pro: So Good You'll Start Listening to the Radio Again
I've been skeptical of streaming radio apps for my iPhone. I've been mostly disinterested because between Pandora and my iTunes music purchases, do I really need to listen to annoying radio advertisements too? I mean seriously, while driving down the road listening to the radio at 70 mph, I sometimes want to beat my head against the driver's side door glass when the inane head-worm ad jingles start infecting my brain. It's just not safe. Why would I want to pack the radio in my iPhone?

Tue, 26 Apr 11
Oracle's OpenOffice Surrender
It's hard to believe that it was only about six months ago that LibreOffice was born. The free and open source productivity software suite was created, of course, in response to Oracle's unclear intentions regarding OpenOffice.org, which had long been the community's suite of choice. At the time, Oracle chose to keep OpenOffice to itself, but now -- fast forward to just a little more than a week ago -- it appears to be giving it up after all. Bigger news in the world of FOSS would be difficult to imagine. Of course, what form the newly freed project will take next remains to be determined.

Sun, 24 Apr 11
Some iPhone to Watch Over Me
Let's talk about privacy. Is it a violation of your privacy if your phone knows where you are at all hours of the day and keeps detailed records without your telling it to? What if the phone never tells anyone else -- doesn't beam your location to Steve Jobs or Larry Page or the Pope or anyone at all? OK, maybe it will tell your computer where you've been, but only when you sync up. Or maybe it will tell Apple where you've been, only the data's been anonymized so they don't know it's you, they just know it's somebody. Is any of this OK with you?

Sat, 23 Apr 11
Natty Narwhal About to Surface
Canonical is releasing its Ubuntu 11.04 suite of corporate and developer desktops and servers -- aka "Natty Narwhal" -- on April 28. New features include a technology preview for Ubuntu Server 11.04, which is downloadable through the Ubuntu software repositories. Ubuntu 11.04 for the corporate desktop includes the Unity interface, which debuted last year in Ubuntu 10.10, geared for netbooks. However, with Ubuntu 11.04, users can opt to stay with the "classic" interface. Unity will be the interface in the next long-term support release, however, scheduled for April 2012.

Sat, 23 Apr 11
VCs and IT Security Firms: Not Much Love in the Air
Although security breaches make the headlines regularly and Washington has plans to upgrade the security of the United States' national infrastructure, up-and-coming IT security companies are having difficulty securing investment funds. The U.S. Defense Department plans to spend $500 million on researching new cybersecurity technologies, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is putting up $40 million to encourage research and development in the field. However, venture capitalists seem reluctant to fund new security companies.

Sat, 23 Apr 11
Amazon's Cloudy Communications Make Bad Situation Worse
The collapse of Amazon Web Services' Elastic Cloud Compute left several large websites out of commission on Thursday. Amazon reportedly attributed the problems to what it called "a networking event" that caused runaway re-mirroring of Elastic Block Storage volumes. The resulting cascade took down hundreds, possibly thousands, of websites, including Foursquare, Hootsuite, Quora and Reddit. Other details were left foggy. Although AWS has multiple regions and availability zones -- a system designed to prevent a single point of failure -- there was apparently an engineering flaw that allowed the mass outage to occur.

Fri, 22 Apr 11
Social Networks Are 'Huge Boondoggle for Bad Guys'
You've gotta love social networking. It lets us make zillions of "friends" all over the world, it's making corporations scramble to meet customer requirements, and it's made Mark Zuckerberg and a few other people very, very rich. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are among those other people enriched by social networking. For instance, it's believed cybercriminals mined data on social networks before launching highly targeted attacks that let them breach the systems of companies like RSA and Epsilon recently.

Fri, 22 Apr 11
Mobile Health Apps, Part 2: Making Life Safer and Sweeter
For years, industry leaders have predicted the Year of Mobile -- but that was back when those in the know thought of mobile in terms of a trend. Trends have peaks. Those crests are marked by a "Year Of" label that largely heralds a forthcoming decline. Mobile will have no peak, despite its growing presence in our daily lives, because it is not a trend. It is pervasive computing in its first incarnation. Mobile technology is so embedded in our psyche and our daily routine that we literally feel vulnerable without it. Therefore, we won't be.

Fri, 22 Apr 11
Red Hat's New Java Alternative: From Coffee to Tea
When a FOSS company gets to be the size of Red Hat, pretty much every move it makes is of interest to those of us here in the Linux community. So when said company unveils plans to create an alternative to none other than Java, well, let's just say everyone sits up and starts listening. Sure enough, that's just what leaked out into the Linux blogosphere last week, thanks first to one Marc Richards and then the rowdy crowds over at Slashdot. In no time at all, Red Hat's own Gavin King was chiming in on the subject.

Fri, 22 Apr 11
Betrayed by My iPhone!
This whole "knowing-where-everyone-is-at-all-times-thing" that we've been experiencing in this century is getting old. We've known that our cellphone carriers keep track of our handsets as they move around, connecting to various towers and using services that require byzantine billing systems. And we know, based on any episode of any murder-thriller TV show or movie that the local cops or feds can find our phones at any time if we happen to be kidnapped or hiding after committing nefarious activities.

Thu, 21 Apr 11
Facebook Security Improvements Require a Bit of Digging
Facebook has introduced a number of security improvements aimed at better safeguarding users' privacy. These enhancements came a day after Sophos published an open letter asking the site to tighten up its security. By all accounts, Sophos was not impressed. Not that Facebook hastily revamped its controls because of Sophos -- as it said in a blog post, it announced these tools were coming during President Obama's White House Conference on Bullying Prevention last month.

Thu, 21 Apr 11
Amazon Kindles Enthusiasm of Library Crowd
Young Kindle is getting a library card -- at 11,000 libraries. Amazon announced Kindle Library Lending on Wednesday. The new feature, which launches later this year, will let Kindle customers borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will work on all generations of Kindle devices and Kindle reading apps. Amazon is enlisting the help of OverDrive to bring the digital content to libraries. Amazon's Whispersync technology will save notations in borrowed books to be accessed later if they're checked out again or purchased.

Thu, 21 Apr 11
Green Data Centers Are Where It's At
It may be an increasingly digital, electronic and paperless world, but that doesn't mean it doesn't use a lot of energy. In particular, data centers -- those places that store, maintain, and manage all the bits and bytes that keep things humming -- use tremendous amounts of energy. Greening these centers, therefore, is one of the top priorities for many businesses. In fact, the desire to save energy with data centers is nothing new; ever since data centers were created, businesses have sought ways to lessen their energy usage.

Thu, 21 Apr 11
Taptu: A Diverse Media Buffet Served on Tiny Little Plates
Those of us who gorge ourselves on a daily diet of bite-sized blog tapas, social media chicken nuggets and the occasional full meal of a long and deep read tend to organize our phones and computers in a highly personalized system of information consumption. These are my bookmarks, here are my single-click access icons, some icons are grouped in folders, I follow these people on Twitter, tweets get relayed to Facebook, Facebook relays to FourSquare, RSS is somehow involved in all this, and my LinkedIn account is locked in a cage somewhere.

Thu, 21 Apr 11
PDF Shuffler: A Dead Simple, Dead Serious, Dead-On Winner
If all you do with PDF files is view them, you have very little need for an application the likes of PDF Shuffler. But if you find yourself in desperate need of a tool to let you slice and dice one or more PDF files, then this little app may well be one of the best computing tools you will use on your Linux desktop. The PDF file format is ideal for locking content from viewers' meddling. It is much handier than password-protecting a word document. But if you do more than consume PDF content, other PDF creation packages are costly and cumbersome to use.

Wed, 20 Apr 11
OK, I'll Draw You a Map - on Google
Google is rolling out access in the U.S. to a tool that has already made a mark in other parts of the world: Map Maker. As the name suggests, Map Maker allows people to create and edit Google Maps. It debuted outside the U.S. because Google didn't believe there would be much demand for it in the states, where there was already a wealth of online maps and geographical data. Map Maker's original goal was to provide mapping tools to people in countries with little or no access to such resources, so they could create their own maps.

Wed, 20 Apr 11
Why Cloud Computing Changes the Game for HIPAA Security
Information security pros working in the healthcare sector quite often experience a high degree of frustration and anxiety when it comes to the Security Rule's "addressable" implementation specifications. As any healthcare provider will tell you, the addressable requirements of the security rule tend to be among the more difficult to meet and more technically focused of the mandates with the Security Rule. Historically, these addressable requirements have tended to fall by the wayside. This situation is undesirable from a compliance perspective.

Wed, 20 Apr 11
What Does Google Owe FOSS?
Mobile device developers are in a holding pattern with plans to plug in the much-awaited Google Android 3.0 upgrade. The delay is causing some bad feelings in the FOSS community. But it is unlikely that Google will carry many scars from the dispute. Claiming it needs more time to solve technical glitches, Google recently announced that it was delaying the promised release of code for Honeycomb, the Android 3.0 operating system. The delay in releasing the code has some mobile product developers worried that Google might recant and keep Honeycomb out of the open source inventory altogether.

Tue, 19 Apr 11
Microsoft's Office 365 Beta Takes On Google Apps
On Monday, Microsoft opened Office 365 -- a cloud-based version of its productivity apps -- to the public for beta testing. The beta version contains Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. The trial is available in 38 countries and 17 languages. The Office 365 suite is billed as an always up-to-date cloud service. The beta comes in two editions, one for small businesses and one for enterprises. Microsoft wants to simplify connectivity and collaboration for employees.

Tue, 19 Apr 11
Will Camcorders Go the Way of the Pager?
Cisco pulled the plug on its Flip digital video camera earlier this week, putting an end to its line of popular, relatively low-cost dedicated digital video cameras. Up until December, Cisco had invested a lot of time and effort into building up the market for the device. Could Cisco's stunning reversal be a harbinger of doom for an entire category of devices? With smartphones, tablets and your average pocket digital still camera able to take videos of increasingly high quality, often in high definition, is the bell tolling for standalone digital videocams?

Tue, 19 Apr 11
Goodbye, Hello and WTF?
Last week was a busy week that seemed to be filled with crazy people -- some in a good way, most not so much. The most annoying story was that Cisco is shutting down its half-billion-dollar Flip acquisition after screwing it up. On a positive note, Microsoft surprised us at its MIX conference with Windows 8 running on ARM and an IE 10 prototype on steroids that made the new Chrome browser beta look obsolete. Speaking of Google, it is now being blamed for destroying Britain's film and music industries and ripping off Steve Jobs.

Tue, 19 Apr 11
Alas, Groklaw, We Hardly Knew Ye
Here in the world of technology, it's an everyday occurrence to see new companies and organizations spring up out of nowhere and begin to play an active role. What's far less common, however, is to see one disappear -- particularly one that has been an extremely productive and well-respected part of the community for years upon years. That, however, is essentially what happened a week ago, if a blog post over at Groklaw is anything to go by. "I have decided that Groklaw will stop publishing new articles on our anniversary, May 16," wrote founder Pamela Jones.

Tue, 19 Apr 11
Secrets, You Say? Tips'n'Tricks, Perhaps, but No iPhone Secrets
As I peruse the iPhone app store, I've run across the Tips & Tricks -- iPhone Secrets app a number of times. Each time, I glanced at it, because hey, secrets are always tantalizing, right? But each time the app's screenshots with the cheesy and hyperbolic marketing verbiage slathered across the iPhone screen turned me off. Besides, I've been using iPhones since day one, so did I really want to shell out a buck to learn that the built-in iPhone calculator app turns into a more powerful scientific calculator when I tip it to landscape mode?

Sun, 17 Apr 11
Disaster Recovery: It's More Than a Plan - It's a Process
Disaster recovery is a term often used in Information Technology circles to describe the necessity for backup technology systems to safeguard an organization's data. While this type of safeguard is absolutely a necessity to protect valuable data, and also reduce the amount of time your organization will need to recover from an incident, a true disaster plan goes far beyond backup servers and drives. For example, when disaster strikes, what plan does your organization have in place to communicate, both internally and externally?

Sat, 16 Apr 11
Wii 2 Will Rock You - Maybe
Five years after Nintendo launched the now-legendary Wii, the company's rumored to have its successor -- the Wii 2 -- in the wings. Hearsay abound about the Wii 2, which is expected to be unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, to be held in Los Angeles in June. A sampling of the choicest scuttlebutt: The Wii 2's going to have a really powerful processor, making it more muscular than either the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360; it'll have a mini-touchscreen with high-definition graphics capabilities; and that it will be backwards compatible with the original Wii.

Sat, 16 Apr 11
Browser War: What Is It Good For?
In the past month or so, we've been inundated with announcements by browser makers of the latest versions of their products. Google, Microsoft, the Mozilla Foundation and Opera have all unveiled their latest and greatest browsers. Most of these companies unveiled full versions of their products after having them in beta for a while, but Microsoft pipped them all when it announced the preview of Internet Explorer 10 was available for download at its Mix event in Las Vegas Tuesday. That was just less than a month after the official rollout of Internet Explorer 9.

Sat, 16 Apr 11
The Great White iPhone Hunt
Captain Ahab was obsessed with Moby Dick. Quint in the movie "Jaws" had his sights set on a great white shark. Now Apple fans are all aflutter over the fabled white iPhone 4, a device that has been winking in and out of potential existence since June of last year, when it was expected to be available. But instead, only a black model appeared. Apple has delayed the launch of the white iPhone repeatedly, to general disappointment. News that the white iPhone may be in production at long last has generated some excitement among Apple watchers.

Fri, 15 Apr 11
FBI Grabs Botnet's Wheel, Steers Into Tree
The United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have hammered the Coreflood botnet, which its owners used to conduct cyberfraud on a massive scale. They have seized five command and control servers and 29 domain names registered in the United States, obtained a temporary restraining order that lets the government intercept signals from any other C&C servers handling the botnet, and filed a civil complaint against 13 John Does over the botnet.

Fri, 15 Apr 11
Mobile Health Apps, Part 1: Taking Your Life Into Your Own Handhelds
With every passing day, smartphones are melding into our personal lives -- almost without our notice. One of the most striking changes in how the ever-tinier handhelds are augmenting our lives is through mobile apps -- most especially healthcare apps. At first, healthcare apps seemed mainly a novelty. There was the expected lineup of first-runners, from calorie counters and diet trackers to exercise reminders and addiction kickers. Want to quit smoking, check your phone. Want to lose weight, check your phone. Want to schedule a run with friends, check your phone.

Fri, 15 Apr 11
V. 3 - You Can't Go GNOME Again
Now that Canonical has adopted Unity for its next Ubuntu release, it seems likely that no desktop environment in history has ever launched to as much scrutiny as the new GNOME 3. Indeed, the GNOME project's latest contender made its long-awaited debut last week, and the reviews have been coming fast and furious ever since. "The new desktop will likely appeal to users who share GNOME's philosophy of debris-free computing, but there are parts that seem to have been pared down too aggressively," wrote Ars Technica's Ryan Paul, for instance.

Fri, 15 Apr 11
iPhone 5: Better Late Than Lackluster
First of all, I'm the happy owner of an iPhone 4. As such, I had no intention of buying an iPhone 5 come June or July, when such a device has been widely expected to appear. After all, Apple has unveiled and released a new iPhone each summer for four straight years. Expecting a new model this summer isn't much of a stretch. Until you add in the Verizon factor, that is. Suddenly, it seems downright doubtful. Why? Because millions of iPhone 4 sales will be new and fresh Verizon iPhone 4 customers who will, no doubt, look at their iPhone 4s and compare them to the better, faster, cooler iPhone 5.

Thu, 14 Apr 11
Kyocera's Dual-Screen Echo May Not Reverberate With Consumers
The Kyocera Echo, a dual-screen Android smartphone on the way from Sprint, will arrive Sunday for buyers who've pre-ordered the device. What exactly will they get with the two screens? For starters, there's the ability to run separate apps on each screen simultaneously. They'll also be able to lock the screens together when the phone's opened at 180 degrees to create a tablet of sorts. In sporting dual screens, the Echo perhaps stands out from the many Androids populating the market.

Thu, 14 Apr 11
Europe's Android-iOS Resistance Movement
Europe is becoming increasingly nervous as Android and Apple's iOS continue to dominate the smartphone market worldwide. "There's a concerted effort on three different fronts where European carriers and manufacturers, mainly carriers, are sounding alarms about not wanting an Apple-Google duopoly," said Marc Beccue, a senior analyst at ABI Research. "France Telecom's CEO has said he believes Apple and Google are Trojan horses to capture loyal customers."

Thu, 14 Apr 11
Bluetile Keeps My App Windows Nice and Neat
Sometimes the number of choices the Linux operating system provides can be overwhelming. I am starting to look at other options for my preferred desktop environment as GNOME 3 and KDE 4 go in directions that might be unsettling to my computing routine. One obscure yet interesting replacement candidate is Bluetile. For the last six months or so, I have been supplementing the desktop navigation maze with a docking app. Bluetile so far has been working well with my docking app. This combination provides me with the best of both approaches to getting my work done.

Wed, 13 Apr 11
T-Mobile to Get HTC's 4G-ish Sensation but AT&T Merger May Chill Demand
T-Mobile Tuesday unveiled what it called its most powerful handset -- the HTC Sensation 4G. It will be available this summer, and T-Mobile is talking up a storm about the device. Among other things, T-Mobile repeatedly refers to the device as the "HTC Sensation 4G." However, HTC's own tech specs indicate the Sensation has only 3G capability. Where's the other G? Here's where some clever marketing comes into the picture. "The ITU had initially defined 4G as LTE and WiMax, but has loosened its definition to include HSPA+," said 451 Group analyst Chris Hazelton.

Wed, 13 Apr 11
The Virtual Workplace: Lean and Green
When collaborating with others in the workplace, physically being there is nice. The fact is, though, that one's physical presence almost always leaves an unavoidable carbon footprint. As an answer to this dilemma, new and emerging collaborative technologies offer a way to be there in spirit, voice and mind, without having to hop on a plane, take a cab, or print out a document. These technologies are one way that companies can make themselves greener -- limiting the time, money, and carbon output of travel, commuting, sharing, talking and creating.

Wed, 13 Apr 11
Groklaw Calling It Quits After a Job Well Done
Groklaw will stop publishing new articles May 16 -- exactly eight years to the day after it was launched. This is because its reason for existence is gone, according to founder Pamela Jones. "In a simple sentence, the reason is this: The crisis SCO initiated over Linux is over, and Linux won," Jones said in a blog post. Over the years, the Groklaw blog has helped pick apart SCO's case as that company tried to take control of Linux, suing IBM and threatening Linux users in the process. It became a beacon for the free and open source software community.

Wed, 13 Apr 11
Forget the 3 Granny Knots in a Row - Learn to Tie a Real Knot
As near as I can tell, there's no "Granny knot" in Winkpass Creations' Knot Guide app. Other than the knot that I use to tie my shoes, a Granny knot may have been the first knot I ever learned to tie. Why? It's easy. All you have to do is take two pieces of rope and throw them around each other and poke the ends through some holes and pull. A knot. In fact, it's so easy to tie that when you set out to attempt to tie a similar, yet much superior knot -- the Square or Reef knot -- you accidentally tie the shoddy and weak Granny knot instead.

Tue, 12 Apr 11
Adobe's Creative Suite 5.5 Gives Devs a Flash Alternative
Adobe on Monday announced Creative Suite 5.5, a mid-point update between major releases of the suite. In a tip of its hat to the realities of browser display, Adobe has included HTML5 support in CS 5.5. With CS 5.5, Adobe is also targeting the mobile platform. Further, it has unveiled a subscription model and is changing the timing of rollouts of Creative Suite versions. The Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection consists of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Tue, 12 Apr 11
Acer's Iconia Takes Its Turn in the Tablet Thunderdome
Acer's Iconia Tab A500 tablet is now available for pre-order exclusively from Best Buy at $450. Consumers will be able to pre-order the device from other stores beginning April 14, Acer said. It will hit retailers' shelves and be generally available online April 24. The Iconia Tab A500 currently supports WiFi only, but Acer plans to unleash a 4G version this summer. The Iconia Tab A500 runs Android 3.0, aka "Honeycomb." It has a 10.1-inch multitouch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras, and support for Flash.

Tue, 12 Apr 11
So, Is Apple Cheating?
Last week, another iPad competitor bit the dust, and so far no vendor has even come close to bothering Apple in the tablet space. In the smartphone space, the only thing that seems to hurt Apple is the carrier and the anticipation of its next phone, which is due shortly but rumored to be delayed. If this were a poker game or any kind of sport, this kind of winning streak would have us wondering if the winner were cheating. I've joked about Apple's 5th column before, but doesn't it seem like Apple's competitors are increasingly doing brain-dead stupid things?

Tue, 12 Apr 11
The War With Microsoft Is Over and Linux Won?
There's nothing like an anniversary to inspire a trip down memory lane, but after 20 years of such milestones, the effect tends to be even more pronounced. No wonder, then, that the occasion of Linux's 20th birthday this year has provoked so much reflection. Numerous Linux fans, of course, were busy kicking off celebrations of the event last week at the Linux Foundation's Collaboration Summit in San Francisco. It was some key comments by the foundation's own Jim Zemlin, however, that caused so many to pause and consider.

Tue, 12 Apr 11
Cool Hunting Puts Amazing Design in Your Sites
If you're a fan of any of Apple's products -- the iPad, iPhone, iMac, MacBook Air or even, say, the delightfully curved Magic Mouse -- there's a decent chance that you appreciate industrial design. Apple, perhaps more than any other tech gadget manufacturer in the world, has consistently delivered the kinds of evocative angles and slick materials that simply beg consumers to walk into Apple Retail Stores and start touching. There's more to the world of design than Apple, however -- a lot more. And that's where the new iPad app Cool Hunting comes in.

Sun, 10 Apr 11
Cosmic Fireworks Erupt When Black Hole in Dragon's Belly Swallows Star
A mysterious cosmic blast in the constellation Draco has astronomers scrambling to try to understand its cause, so unlike is it to anything ever observed before. Rather than the short-lived gamma-ray bursts typically associated with the death of a massive star -- most last no more than a few hours -- this explosion continues more than a week later to emanate pulses of high-energy cosmic radiation for an effect that's brighter, longer lasting, and more variable than scientists have ever seen.

Sat, 9 Apr 11
Facebook Opens Door to New Data Center, Invites the World In
Facebook launched the Open Compute Project Thursday in a move that might reshape the IT hardware industry. The project offers for public use tech specs and data about the custom-engineered technology developed for Facebook's first dedicated data center in Prineville, Ore. That technology has increased the energy efficiency in the data center by 38 percent while slashing costs by 24 percent, Facebook claims. The tech specs and mechanical CAD files for the data center's servers, power supplies, server racks, battery backup systems and building design are available online.

Sat, 9 Apr 11
Keeping your Third-Party Service Provider in Line
It seems that every time we turn around, another major security breach has occurred. The latest was the data breach at Epsilon, which manages customer databases and provides third-party email marketing services to 2,500 corporate clients, including some of America's biggest firms. That breach has led to the loss of client data at more than 50 major companies. It could endanger millions of consumers, who can now be targeted directly by hackers using spearphishing techniques such as the one that successfully cracked the defenses of IT security giant RSA.

Sat, 9 Apr 11
What Tablet Wars? The iPad's Competition Is a No-Show
The iPad 2 is tough to find these days for some folks. If you have the money, it will eventually end up in your hands, but at a hefty price. What makes this a more glaring issue, though, is the lack of competition. There's a competition shortage, which reminds me of the evolution of the iPod. Apple had the foresight and demand to effectively buy out the inventory of existing and planned hardware, making the competition wait to even begin to compete. Is this happening with the iPad 2?

Sat, 9 Apr 11
Cloud Computing, Like Open Source, Is Not Just Puff
Given the amount of hype currently swirling about cloud computing, it brings to mind a legitimate question -- is this just hype? Is there really something to this cloud computing, or is it just another bubble that is sure to burst? The answer, quite simply, is no, there is not a cloud computing bubble or burst taking shape. Here's why. First off, I've asked this question before, only the topic was not cloud computing -- it was open source software.

Fri, 8 Apr 11
Tevatron Experiment Could Send Particle Physicists Back to the Drawing Board
Experiments conducted at the Tevatron particle accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois seem to indicate that a new particle has been found. A paper posted on the laboratory's website Monday brought out this point. Stripped of the scientific terminology, it says there's a bump in mass. That could point to a new particle, possibly a non-standard boson. If a new particle has indeed been discovered, it would mean that most of our ideas about what is beyond the standard model of elementary particle physics are wrong, said Lawrence M. Krauss, foundation professor at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Fri, 8 Apr 11
Virgin Oceanic Sub Will 'Fly' to Ocean Depths
Space may be the final frontier in many senses of the word, but it's by no means the only one facing mankind. Targeting one of the great mysteries that still exist here on Earth, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson on Tuesday announced his plans to begin a series of deep-sea explorations through Virgin Oceanic, a brand-new initiative. In fact, Virgin Oceanic plans to take a solo piloted submarine to the deepest points in each of the world's five oceans in what the company says will be the first time such a feat has ever been attempted. "Virgin Oceanic will expand the reach of human exploration on our planet," Branson said.

Fri, 8 Apr 11
Android and the Great Openness Debate
Fragmentation has long been a criticism of Google's Android mobile platform, but until recently, its reputation for openness had been relatively undisputed. Of course, it's not hard to be seen as open when your principal competition comes from Cupertino. On the other hand, recent decisions in the Googleplex are making that distinction less and less clear. The company's recent announcement that it would delay the distribution of its Honeycomb source code to outside programmers, most notably, has tarnished Android's "open" image in more than a few eyes.

Thu, 7 Apr 11
AMD Ships 32nm Llano APUs at Long Last
AMD has begun shipping production units of its 32nm quad-core "Llano" A-series accelerated processor units (APUs) with discrete-level graphics, it announced Wednesday. That's well behind Intel, which began working on the 32nm process in 2009 and began shipping 32nm processors in 2010. "Once again, AMD's late," said Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist at In-Stat. AMD views its positioning differently. "Customers don't buy nanometers," said AMD spokesperson Phil Hughes. "Our goal at AMD is to deliver the best APU every year. Visual computing technologies drive the AMD pace of innovation."

Thu, 7 Apr 11
Online Security: Very Bad and Getting Worse
The state of Web security has never been pretty, and a new report from Symantec discussing current and future threats only highlights just how risky the Internet environment has become. The daily volume of Web-based attacks increased an eye-popping 93 percent from 2009 to 2010, the report says -- and that's a particularly significant increase given the high level of attacks prior to 2009. Many of the latest attacks were targeted, Symantec noted -- in fact, targeted attacks were an overriding theme for the year.

Thu, 7 Apr 11
Road to Curation Nation a Bumpy One
Last week, several media giants sent a cease-and-desist letter targeting the iPad app Zite, which aggregates news based on a user's Twitter and Google Reader activity. It may not be legal or fair for apps like Zite to collect content and present it absent the originator's advertisements, but many observers argue that this is where the industry is headed, whether anyone likes it or not. "Readers are looking for better ways of consuming content, and they aren't getting it from traditional publishers," says GigaOm's Mathew Ingram. "Why not learn from Zite and others like it instead of threatening to sue them?"

Thu, 7 Apr 11
Banshee: A Howling Good Media Player
Occasionally listening to music files or watching videos with lightweight media apps the likes of Gzine, Alsaplayer or Gnome Player is fine if you are not ultra demanding of your listening environment. If you do not fall into that category, Banshee is a much better multimedia option. The Banshee Media Player's listening and viewing pleasures are in many ways similar to those that Amarok and Rythmbox provide. All three of these media apps have a similar interface with a browser-like design for creating playlists and managing more than just your music libraries.

Wed, 6 Apr 11
Grand Jury Probe May Deter Smartphone App Privacy Abuses
A federal grand jury has subpoenaed Pandora to produce documents in what could be an industry-wide investigation of smartphone apps. In an SEC filing, Pandora said the subpoena was served early 2011, and it was told it wasn't a specific target of the probe. However, it believes similar subpoenas have been issued to publishers of other smartphone apps. The mere convening of a grand jury does not necessarily mean any action will be taken, though, pointed out Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe. "A grand jury can meet and decide not to take action, so this may not come to anything."

Wed, 6 Apr 11
Microsoft May Pull It All Together With Windows 8
If you haven't upgraded your current computer setup to Windows 7 yet, hold your horses -- the landscape is about to change with Windows 8 now becoming the center of attention. Shortly after Microsoft released a pre-beta build of the operating system to select partners, screenshots have begun surfacing on Microsoft enthusiast sites. That shouldn't surprise anyone, but what may are the details revealed within the screenshots. For example, Within Windows exposed several images showing off a Microsoft Office-like Ribbon in Windows Explorer.

Wed, 6 Apr 11
Giving Electronic Rejects a Second Chance
The downer in buying a new gadget is in ditching the old gizmo. The mental gymnastics set in almost immediately. Sell it? Donate it? Trash it? To make matters worse, the ditching dilemma appears to get harder to solve with every passing year. eBay, the old standby for profitable disposal of just about anything, is not a reliable option anymore. "The buyers simply aren't there anymore," says consultant David Papp. The very device you lusted for a year ago -- or less -- is now an albatross that simply won't go away. The new device you have now will inevitably follow this same course. Indeed, the cycle is accelerating.

Wed, 6 Apr 11
Sony May Have a Honey of a Tablet in the Works
It appears that Sony is definitely planning to join the tablet wars: Its CEO Howard Stringer told the Nikkei newspaper that the company was planning to deliver a Honeycomb-based tablet no later than the end of the year, and possibly, according to some versions of his comments, as soon as this summer. If accurate, a Sony tablet -- especially one geared to the gaming market as this development appears to be -- could well realign the still nascent but fast-growing tablet market. There is the Sony name, for starters, and its deep expertise with gaming. Then there is the fact that its tablet reportedly will run the Android Honeycomb OS.

Wed, 6 Apr 11
Touchwriter Lets You Recapture the Joy of Handwriting
Whenever I see super-clean hands touch-typing away on horizontally placed iPads in slick TV ads, I can't imagine that I'll ever get good at that myself. No, when it comes to a virtual keyboard, I fear I'll be forever the hunt-and-peck kind of guy. When I saw Aesthology's Touchwriter HD, $2.99 in the Apple App Store, I saw a possible solution: I could use an app to touch write notes instead of tap typing them out. A very interesting idea. Touchwriter HD is basically a handwriting-based note-taking app. It lets you draw characters with your fingers -- A, B, C and all that -- uppercase, lowercase.

Tue, 5 Apr 11
RSA 'Explanation' Foggy About Breach Details
IT security giant RSA is still trying to figure out exactly what was stolen from its systems, more than two weeks after announcing that they had been breached. The company detailed how the attackers broke into its systems, in a blog post by Uri Rivner, its head of new technologies, consumer identity protection. However, it still apparently doesn't know just what was taken, apart from credentials of compromised users and unnamed data. "RSA are still figuring it all out and are releasing details once they confirm them," company representative Alison Parker.

Tue, 5 Apr 11
Agilyx Alchemists Turn Plastic Into Black Gold
Plastics make our lives convenient, but they're the gift that keeps on taking -- they pollute the environment, and they're often difficult to get rid of in an ecologically sound way. Plastics don't break down readily, which is why they're such a nuisance. Worse yet, some of them contain chemicals that give off noxious fumes in a fire. Agilyx, a company based in Oregon, may have a bright idea for solving our plastic pollution problem -- the company has developed a technology that can make synthetic crude oil out of plastics.

Tue, 5 Apr 11
Executing on Ideas and Other Magic Acts
Two books came out last week: Idea Man, about (and by) Paul Allen; and The Steve Jobs Way, about (but not by) Steve Jobs. These books reveal differences in the approaches the two men took to achieving their goals, showcasing why Apple is so successful and why other companies just can't make the grade. I think by looking at these two men, we can gain insights on a lot of things: why Apple may not be successful after Jobs departs; the problems brewing at Google; the difficulties Microsoft has had competing in the consumer electronics space; RIM's likely PlayBook failure; and HP's CE issues.

Tue, 5 Apr 11
Linux's Own 'Canterbury' Tale: Laughing, Wishing and Hoping
April hadn't even yet arrived in the U.S. when a shocking announcement began circulating through the Linux blogosphere. "We are pleased to announce the birth of the Canterbury distribution," began the announcement from the Debian site. "Canterbury is a merge of the efforts of the community distributions formerly known as Debian, Gentoo, Grml, openSUSE and Arch Linux to produce a really unified effort and be able to stand up in a combined effort against proprietary operating systems, to show off that the Free Software community is actually able to work together for a common goal instead of creating more diversity," it explained.

Tue, 5 Apr 11
With DisplayPad HD, Your Mac Sprouts a Fuzzy Little Second Head
In my office, I use a 24-inch monitor. It's not an Apple monitor; it's a decent Samsung HDTV monitor running at 1,920 by 1,200 pixels, and while it's not as sharp as Apple's monitors, it was a lot less expensive. I like it. My problem now is that when I need to pick up my 13-inch MacBook and work remotely, I feel constrained by the incredibly smaller amount of desktop space at my disposal. It's hard to think, and while I don't break out in a cold sweat, my productivity plummets. But what are my mobile options?

Sun, 3 Apr 11
Easing the Throb of Mobile Security Headaches
There is no denying that mobile devices like tablets are changing the way we communicate, work and share information on the go -- it's the next logical step in the "post-PC" world. In addition to an increase in cloud-based services, there is a surge in multiple mobile devices -- with consumers not only using several at one time, but also switching between them throughout the day. C-level executives are a key driver, especially as tablets continue to grow in popularity and are added to the "workforce arsenal" that already includes PCs and BlackBerry devices.

Sat, 2 Apr 11
LizaMoon Madness: Fast-Spreading SQL Attack Shills Bogus AV Software
An SQL injection attack dubbed "LizaMoon" by security vendor WebSense has spread itself all over the Web. WebSense, which spotted the attack, asserts that Google search results show more than 1.5 million URLs have a link with the same URL structure as the initial attack and that more than 500,000 URLs have a script link to lizamoon.com. LizaMoon is a large campaign meant to infect a large number of URLs at once, Darian Lewis, cyber security technical manager at Cyveillance, told TechNewsWorld.

Sat, 2 Apr 11
Your Gadgets and the Enemy Within
Your cellphone, your digital camera and your color laser printer may be betraying your privacy without your knowing it, Eva Galperin, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told a sparse audience at the Web 2.0 Expo Thursday. The EFF classifies software or devices that act behind the user's back to actively betray their privacy as "traitorware," Galperin said. "The EFF is particularly interested in the issue of traitorware because we are a digital civil liberties organization," Galperin stated.

Sat, 2 Apr 11
'PGA Tour 12': Master and Philanderer
Ever since news Tiger Woods' sex scandal broke in 2009, there have been a lot of questions about the pro golfer's future. Doubt was raised regarding not only his ability to keep winning in the sport of golf, but also the future of his many lucrative product endorsements, including a series of popular video games from EA Sports. But it turns out he's still on board for "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12." Last year's release of "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11" saw lower-than-usual sales, which some blamed on the stigma surrounding the golfer.

Sat, 2 Apr 11
Look Before You Leap: A Consumer's Guide to the Cloud
We've had cloud-based services for consumers for years. That includes online storage services, photo sites like Picasa and Flickr, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Web apps like Google Apps and even online email systems. Amazon took things to the next level when it announced its entry Tuesday into cloud music storage with its Cloud Drive offering, in addition to two Cloud Player utilities -- one for desktop Web browsers, one for Android. Amazon's a well-known brand name that engenders a high amount of trust.

Fri, 1 Apr 11
Google Counts On a New Social Strategy by +1's
Google has launched what many see as its answer to the growing phenomenon of social search in general and Facebook's "Like" button in particular: the +1 button. It is similar in concept, although in Google's case it will eventually be included in search results. When users see something they like on a Google property such as YouTube or a search ad, they can click the +1 button. The icon will start to appear in search results within a few weeks, said Google spokesperson Jim Prosse. For the moment, it is available only to a small group of people who have opted in on Google's website.

Fri, 1 Apr 11
Design Dogma, Mobile Musings and the Social Sweet Spot at Web 2.0
Succeeding with social media marketing was one of the keynote topics at the Web 2.0 conference Thursday. Others involved tips on going mobile, while some touched on the subject of design, which seems to be gaining new importance, judging from the number of keynotes focusing on that topic at the conference. There was no shortage of useful advice on this, the last day of the Web 2.0 Expo, being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Social media marketing is all the rage these days.

Fri, 1 Apr 11
The Many Colors of Cloud Encryption
Cloud computing is a priority for enterprises seeking greater agility, operational efficiency and overall cost reduction, but security concerns continue to inhibit its use. Half of all companies not adopting cloud computing cite security as the reason, according to a Forrester Research October 2010 study, "Security and the Cloud." Whether considering a private cloud or public cloud, IT professionals face new security and compliance challenges.

Fri, 1 Apr 11
Litigious Times in Android World
There's nothing like a splashy success to make the lawyers start crawling out of the woodwork, and that's just what we've been seeing in spades with regard to Android over the past few weeks or so. Just recently it was the hullabaloo over Android's licensing and headers, of course, and now it's starting to look like the litigious follies will never end. Microsoft is suing Barnes & Noble and the manufacturers of its Android-based Nook e-readers, for example, and we've also seen Apple turn green over the use of the term "app store" in Amazon's new Android marketplace.

Fri, 1 Apr 11
Web 2.0: The Useful, the Viral and the Just Plain Strange
It was a generally interesting day of keynote speeches at the Web 2.0 conference Wednesday, although a couple of the presentations were real mind-benders. One keynote laid out how developers can use core concepts of gaming apps to create better products. Others dealt with creating infectious action, going viral successfully, and data and Web 3.0. Amy Jo Kim, cofounder and CEO of ShuffleBrain, laid out seven core concepts that game developers use to create compelling products.


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