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Sun, 30 Oct 11
Another Grim Week for RIM
Research In Motion continues its trend of getting beaten up week after week with more and more bad news. This time, it had to swallow three separate helpings of trouble affecting everything from its PlayBook tablet to its as-yet unborn BBX operating system. It's also going to have to deal with some fallout from the massive, days-long, world-wide service outage it suffered a couple of weeks ago. Its services failed users around the globe, critics pounced on it for not responding helpfully, and it seemed that even RIM itself was unclear about what was going on.

Sat, 29 Oct 11
RIM Meets Indian Gov't in the Middle on User Surveillance
RIM has agreed to let Indian officials conduct lawful surveillance of customers in that country using its BlackBerry services, according to a recent report. The decision is yet another step in RIM's long, drawn-out battle with New Delhi over the latter's demands to monitor users of BlackBerry services in India. India has repeatedly threatened to shut down BlackBerry services because of RIM's refusal to capitulate to its demands, but both parties now appear to have reached some sort of compromise. What's noteworthy about RIM's move is that it seems to have sidestepped India's previous demands.

Sat, 29 Oct 11
Google+ Starts Breathing Down LinkedIn's Neck
With a slew of new features and integration with Google Apps, Google+ is now available to businesses, universities, and schools that use Google Apps. The point behind the upgrades is to continue to drive traffic to the fledgling network and fight the feature wars with other social networks, said Gabe Donnini, lead analyst at Chitika. "By integrating its popular services into Google+, Google hopes to see its users increase. It also realizes it has to keep on matching what Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn offer their users -- although in just one network."

Sat, 29 Oct 11
What HTML5 Hath Wrought
"Build once, run everywhere" has been the goal of many platforms, although most recently the motto was used for Java. It has rarely been completely true. In Java's case, "build once, test everywhere" was closer to the mark. A true universal platform offers many financial benefits: It removes uncertainty about future hardware; extends the application lifespan; extends the business' ROI on investment in software development; and lowers the cost of IT development, operations and maintenance.

Sat, 29 Oct 11
Hacking the Google TV Box Without Rooting It
I've long held the opinion that the most effective way to get Internet-based content onto a TV is to simply hook a laptop up to the flat screen with an HDMI cable. The laptop acts as an oversized remote control. You get a full Flash-based Web browser, hard drive and keyboard on your TV. It's not the lean-back user interface that you get with a cable or satellite subscription, but you do get a la carte programming through Web-browser streaming services like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and others.

Sat, 29 Oct 11
New Apple Patent Could Put Android in a Headlock
It's a simple idea: When an unlock slider appears on the screen, swipe your finger to the right to unlock your device. But it could make things very difficult for developers working in platforms, such as Android, that compete with Apple devices, like the iPhone, iPod and iPad. The so-called swipe-to-unlock idea officially became the intellectual property of Apple this week when the U.S. Patent Office approved the company's patent for "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image."

Fri, 28 Oct 11
How Sweet Is Ice Cream Sandwich?
It's no secret that Linux fans tend to be fiercely proud of Android, representing as it does Linux's biggest consumer-focused success so far. Excitement over the newly unveiled version 4.0 of Google's wildly popular mobile platform, however, just may be setting a new record. Buzz over the latest iteration is practically drowning out all other conversations in the blogosphere, in fact, as enthusiasts enumerate all the software's latest bells, whistles and innovations.

Fri, 28 Oct 11
How Apple Can Clean Up in the Living Room
Like the super-duper Apple-focused analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, I've long believed that Apple has been planning to create a new television set. Apple's largest iMac and the Apple Thunderbolt Display already boast a wicked-sharp 27-inch screen. With a current Apple TV set-top box glued to the side of an HDTV, it's not hard to imagine an all-in-one unit. Of course, that's thinking small, and Apple usually thinks much bigger. In fact, former CEO Steve Jobs was quoted about a mythical Apple TV in Walter Isaacson's recently released biography, Steve Jobs.

Fri, 28 Oct 11
Facebook to Build Massive Arctic Data Fortress
Facebook is planning to build a massive new data center in the industrial town of Lulea in Swedish Lapland, about 70 miles from the Arctic Circle. The data center will consist of three buildings, the first of which will cover about 33,000 square yards, Facebook spokesperson Alex Kirschner told TechNewsWorld. That will make the building almost seven times the size of a football field. The data center will be powered "almost exclusively" by hydroelectricity, Kirschner said.

Fri, 28 Oct 11
Easy Streaming From Smartphone to Home Stereo
The convenience of using your smartphone to store, stream and curate your music collection -- or simply stream music from online, personalized radio stations like Pandora -- doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your home stereo system for the dubious quality earbuds that came with the phone. The investment you've made in the stereo gear is as valid as is it was when you bought it. Just because you've retired the original media that you were using with the stereo doesn't mean a phone, with its solid state music player, can't slide into the mix to provide quality audio.

Fri, 28 Oct 11
Unthink Rages Against the Facebook Machine
The creators of a new social network are challenging users to ditch Facebook and other networks to "unthink" and de-clutter with their new, completely user-controlled and private network. Unthink.com, launched Tuesday in beta, hopes to capitalize on growing discontent among social network users for support. The site displays various videos outlining its manifestos and the reasoning behind Unthink. One tells the site's creation story, wherein Unthink founder Natasha Dedis read Facebook's terms of service after her young son came to her asking to join.

Fri, 28 Oct 11
Dropbox Hits Biz Market With New 'Teams' Edition
Dropbox, a cloud service that lets users store and share documents and media files over any device, has introduced a paid version of its product aimed at businesses. Known as "Dropbox for Teams," this comes with new administrative controls, centralized billing and phone support and, of course, more storage. It's priced at $800 a year for five users and $125 for each additional user. Dropbox's new paid service comes with 1 terabyte of storage for the first five users. Additional users get 200 GB each. To add or update files, users just save a document, photo or video to their Dropbox folder.

Thu, 27 Oct 11
Avoiding All-Too-Common App Development Pitfalls
Software development drives business innovation, but many application development teams are stymied by some common, solvable challenges that can sidetrack the success not only of their project, but also of their company. The top three: achieving effective alignment with business concerns; managing time over the course of a project; and building for reuse. The first mistake app dev teams make is a golden oldie: failure to align the application development process with business requirements and expectations.

Thu, 27 Oct 11
Kino: An Easy-Does-It but Incomplete Video Editor
Video editing in any operating system is a wide-open experience. Unlike word processing and audio editing tools, video editing apps present a wider range of options. The Kino Video Editor is a very capable video editing solution that will appeal to novices and moderate users alike. It lacks the full range of sophisticated features that seasoned video pros require. Still, it is a very impressive editing tool that is easy to use and performs well. It is a very good choice for handling many basic video editing functions.

Thu, 27 Oct 11
Nokia Tiptoes Back Into Smartphone Market but Steers Clear of US
Nokia announced its first smartphones running Windows Phone at Nokia World 2011, being held in London through Thursday. These are the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 710. Both have social networking capabilities, 1.4 GHz processors, hardware acceleration and graphics processors. They will have access to a personal navigation system and a music streaming application. Nokia will release the Lumia smartphones in Asia and Russia toward the end of the year and expand to other markets next year.

Thu, 27 Oct 11
US Gov't Getting Snoopier and Snoopier, Says Google
Government authorities in the United States showed an increased interest in Google account holders in the first half of 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the search giant. The report showed that 5,950 requests for information were made by U.S. government authorities during the first six months of this year, compared with 4,601 requests during the last six months of last year -- an increase of 29 percent. "The number of requests we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year after year," the report explained.

Thu, 27 Oct 11
PlayBook Update Drags Into Overtime
Research In Motion has once again pushed back the release of a much-desired software update for its PlayBook tablet. RIM has decided to delay the launch of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, originally expected this month, until it's confident that it has fully met the expectations of its developers, enterprise customers and end users, according to company senior vice president David Smith. The mobile device vendor now expects the new OS to be delivered in February. The delay could shake user confidence in RIM.

Wed, 26 Oct 11
How Do You Like Them Thermostats?
Two former Apple engineers have released a smart thermostat designed to reduce home energy use. Nest Labs -- a company formed by former iPod and iPhone guru Tony Fadell -- has introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat, a device that learns your daily schedule and adjusts your home's heating and cooling accordingly. After starting Nest 18 months ago, Fadell brought in another former iPod and iPhone team member, Matt Rogers, to run engineering. Investors include Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Advisors include Al Gore and AI guru Sebastian Thrun.

Wed, 26 Oct 11
Sprint's Singing the iPhone Blues
It's a complaint heard often in the iPhone's earlier years; Download speeds are sluggish. This time, however, the victims are iPhone owners on Sprint's network. Their complaints have resulted in an internal memo sent to Sprint representatives stating that the carrier is working together with Apple on a confirmed nationwide issue, according to a report. The problem is probably due to excessive downloading by iPhone 4S owners, speculated Allen Nogee, a research director at In-Stat.

Wed, 26 Oct 11
Is Apple TV About to Go Big?
Apple plans to offer a TV set by 2013 to replace its current Apple TV peripheral device, according to a report. The project is said to be headed by Jeff Robbin, who helped create the iPod and the iTunes media store. The rumor has been lent strength by a statement in the biography of the late Steve Jobs, Apple's cofounder. Jobs apparently said that he had finally figured out how to build an integrated TV with a simple user interface that would wirelessly synchronize content with other Apple devices.

Wed, 26 Oct 11
Why Government CIOs Are Giving Security Short Shrift
We've been having a jolly good time lambasting the United States federal government and, by extension, its various CIOs for Washington's problems in cybersecurity implementation. It turns out now that the fault, dear readers, lies not with the CIOs but with the government itself. The U.S. General Accountability Office has found that CIOs don't consistently have responsibility for 13 major areas of IT and information management as defined by law or deemed as critical to effective IT management. However, they continue to focus more attention on IT management-related issues.

Wed, 26 Oct 11
What Open Source Can Learn From Steve Jobs, Part 1
The passing of Steve Jobs earlier this month triggered reactions that spanned the gamut -- from expressions of appreciation and sober reflection to some tasteless extremes of zealotry from a subset of the open source community. We can learn a lot from Steve Jobs, even if we ultimately have different goals. Back in 1997, Steve Jobs made it clear that the way to go forward was not to continue with the "Apple vs. Microsoft" mentality but to concentrate on what made Apple uniquely Apple. As long as Apple was locked into direct competition with Microsoft, it yielded the home-field advantage.

Wed, 26 Oct 11
CarTunes Helps You Master the Art of No-Look iPhone Music Control
I've never particularly cared for the iPhone's built-in iPod app. It's great at playing music, sorting it, letting you make on-the-fly playlists and doing that cool Cover Flow thing. It's a whole lot more interesting to look at than the iPod I had in 2005, that's for sure. But the one thing that hangs me up about the iPhone's music player is its control layout. It has small touchscreen buttons, and the volume control is the only thing that gives you any kind of tactile feedback. It's the only control you can feel out with your fingertips and use without having to look at the screen.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
Wikileaks Muzzled by Donations Blockade
A number of major U.S.-based financial institutions have blockaded payments to Wikileaks, forcing the site to temporarily cease publication. Wikileaks is asking supporters to immediately start donating money through other entities in order to keep the site running. The blockade has cut off 95 percent of its revenue, the group claims. Companies that have blocked donations include Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union, Amazon and the Bank of America, according to Wikileaks. The group blames U.S. State Department missives and individual politicians, including Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
Microsoft Ropes In 10th Android Licensee
Microsoft has signed an agreement with Compal Electronics granting the device maker coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for its tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running Android or Chrome.The deal comes hard on the heels of similar arrangements made with Wistron and Quanta Computer. The result, Microsoft noted, is that companies representing more than half of all Android devices are now under license to its patent portfolio.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
FoamBot Builds Baby Bots for Any Occasion
Those tactical robots some police departments use to deal with dangerous situations are great, but they have one drawback -- they're specialized and so are limited to a few uses. What if a police or fire department could create a bunch of robots as needed for different uses? That's the idea the University of Pennsylvania's ModLab goes after with its FoamBot. This robot carries around modules, called "connector kinetic robots," or CKBots, which it assembles as needed according to templates.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
Verizon Dulls Razr
Verizon Wireless has disabled the bootloader unlock feature in the software on the Droid Razr, the Android smartphone that Motorola unveiled last week. Motorola had shipped the Droid Razr with a bootloader that can be unlocked and relocked, company spokesperson Becki Leonard told LinuxInsider. "Whether that feature is enabled is dependent on carrier and operator partner restrictions, as well as our commitment to meet security, safety and regulatory requirements worldwide," Leonard continued.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
Gates, Palmisano or Branson for President
With the U.S. elections ramping up and IBM's 100-year anniversary event in New York focusing like a laser on what makes a good leader, I'm finding it hard not to compare both the incumbent and Republican challengers to the top leaders in technology and find them wanting. I'm starting to wonder if the problem that the U.S. and most democratic countries have is lack of a clear definition of what is needed in a leader -- and that is why incumbents struggle with priorities, and challengers appear to be all over the map, and rise and fall with the sound bite.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
All About Jobs and Hiring in Linux Land
Well it's been a busy month of October here in the Linux blogosphere. There's been the ongoing Windows 8 secure boot saga -- which just last week gained the voice of the Free Software Foundation. There's also been the long-awaited arrival of Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot," with all the associated angst about Unity and Linux desktops -- a matter that hasn't been helped any by word that Linux Mint is now developing a GNOME 3 edition of its own. Then, too, there's been OpenOffice.org's plea for fundraising support -- followed immediately by assurance from the Apache Software Foundation that everything's A-OK.

Tue, 25 Oct 11
SkyView: A Jam-Packed, Reality-Augmenting Key to the Sky
Even if you don't care about stars, planets, satellites and other celestial objects in the night sky, this point alone may sway you to take a look anyway: SkyView -- Explore the Universe, an app by Terminal Eleven LLC, has a solid five-star rating by users in the Apple App Store. Not 4 or 4.5. All those little stars are filled in with color. Nearly everyone who bought it and bothered to rate it gave it a five-star rating. I don't see that very often at all, certainly not when there are over a 1,000 ratings.

Sun, 23 Oct 11
Will Microsoft Get Lucky With Yahoo?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently commented on Yahoo's present situation by saying "Sometimes you're lucky." He was referring to his company's rebuffed attempt to buy Yahoo a few years ago for $47 billion. But that doesn't necessarily mean he thinks owning Yahoo now would be a bad idea -- perhaps all he meant was that by waiting a few years, Microsoft may be able to get Yahoo for a whole lot less than $47 billion. And that's exactly what it intends to do, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Sat, 22 Oct 11
Irish Authorities to Investigate Facebook's 'Shadow Profiles'
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland will launch a "comprehensive audit" of Facebook Ireland before the end of the month, DPC spokesperson Ciara O'Sullivan told TechNewsWorld on Friday. The audit will assess Facebook's compliance with the requirements of the Irish Data Protection Acts as they apply to its users outside of the U.S. and Canada. Facebook Ireland handles all members of the social network outside of those in the United States and Canada.

Sat, 22 Oct 11
Scientists Have Fun With Quantum Levitation
"Quantum levitation" may not be a household term, but one look at a YouTube video now nearing 3 million views, and you'll soon get the gist of what's going on. In essence, it's a thin but solid disc floating in mid-air. Magic and science fiction might be what spring to mind, but in fact what's being demonstrated is real, live science, courtesy of the Superconductivity Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University. Quantum levitation is the phenomenon behind it, and it's been on the tip of more than a few tongues ever since the group demonstrated the feat last week.

Sat, 22 Oct 11
iPhone 4S Dissection: Gutsier Guts for the Money
While making weighty hardware improvements in the iPhone 4S, Apple has managed to keep the costs of producing the phone flat. That's what the results of a teardown of the phone released Thursday by IHS iSuppli revealed. Teardowns take a product apart piece by piece to analyze its components. In the iSuppli teardown, the firm estimated that the total cost of the parts that went into a 16 GB iPhone 4S amounted to $188, which is same as the cost for the parts in an iPhone 4, although later versions of that phone that supported the CDMA band had parts costing $171.

Sat, 22 Oct 11
Titanium Backup Pro Makes Moving Apps a Snap
Anyone who's gone through the painful task of buying a new smartphone knows that the process of re-installing apps and getting the phone configured just-so is a major job. While the Android Market does keep a list of your apps in its library, automatic syncing is hit-or-miss. You can manually send each app to the new device with a desktop Web browser, but that's time-consuming. There are also peculiar geo restrictions and inexplicable permissions issues that allow an app to be installed on one device but not another. One way around all this, if you're rooted, is Titanium Backup Pro.

Fri, 21 Oct 11
LA's Google Apps Rollout Hits the Skids
Google Apps seems to have stubbed its toe in providing services to the 30,000 employees of the city of Los Angeles. Google and Computer Sciences Corp., which had contracted to implement Google Apps in the city's IT infrastructure in 2009, have apparently failed to meet security requirements as promised, and the city is out for blood. City Chief Technology Officer Randi Levin addressed this issue in a letter to Michael B. Schneider, CSC's senior manager for contracts and subcontracts, in August.

Fri, 21 Oct 11
Asus Revs Up a Lean, Mean Transformer 2 Tablet
Asus offered the world a sneak peek at the company's upcoming Transformer 2 tablet at the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong earlier this week, laying to rest speculation that the device's launch might be delayed. The Transformer 2 is a tablet with a detachable keyboard and a 10-inch screen. It will run on Nvidia's Kal-El quad-core Tegra 3 processor and have USB and mini-HDMI ports, Shih said. The addition of the keyboard takes the Transformer 2 into netbook territory, which is being invaded strongly by tablets.

Fri, 21 Oct 11
Kinect for Kids: The Forgiven Video Games?
Microsoft is partnering with two of the most visible players in the education industry -- Sesame Workshop and National Geographic -- to roll out a series of new "edutainment" video games for its Xbox 360 platform. The games -- "Kinect Sesame Street TV," "Kinect Nat Geo TV" and the code-named "Project Columbia" -- let children interact with characters on screen, taking advantage of the Kinect motion camera accessory. The young viewers can, for example, sing or count along with Elmo and Cookie Monster on "Sesame Street" with Kinect's full-body and voice recognition.

Fri, 21 Oct 11
How to Improve Your Video-Streaming Clarity
The stuttering and freezing that can occur when you're streaming video are indicative of issues related to bandwidth. Commercial hosted solutions like Netflix and Hulu can suffer from degraded performance. Rather than simply calling your ISP and requesting a faster, more expensive pipe, there are some steps you can take first to optimize your existing environment for video streaming. First, turn off your modem, router, computer and add-ons, wait a minute, and then turn them all back on starting with the modem, then the router and then the other gear.

Fri, 21 Oct 11
Ubuntu 11.10 and the Oddly Oneiric 'Countdown'
It's often the case that anticipating a thing is just as pleasurable as the thing itself, and that seemed to be more true than ever with the latest Ubuntu release. Yes, Ubuntu 11.10, or "Oneiric Ocelot," made its long-awaited debut exactly a week ago, apparently -- though not unanimously -- bringing considerable pleasure to users far and wide. At least equally intriguing, however, was the so-called "countdown" that was launched ahead of time, presumably to mark the days until the big release.

Fri, 21 Oct 11
The iPad Mini's Screen Conundrum
I've been thinking about tweener devices lately -- media devices bigger than an iPod touch but smaller than an iPad. This is mostly because of Amazon's Kindle Fire, which sports a wide 7-inch screen. Now, with the latest rumors coming out of Taiwan indicating Apple is looking over 7.85-inch screens, I'm more confused than ever. These smaller form-factor iPads -- if Apple does indeed use a 7.85-inch screen to create such a device -- would immediately fly in the face of the disparaging comments Steve Jobs made about them a year or so ago.

Thu, 20 Oct 11
Stuxnet Sibling Duqu Slinks Into Industrial Systems
Malware that appears to be similar to the highly toxic Stuxnet worm was made public Tuesday by security firm Symantec. Duqu, named for the "~DQ" file names it creates, appears to work as a remote access data-collecting program that uses some of the same infecting techniques as Stuxnet, the malware discovered about a year ago infiltrating global computer systems, particularly in Iran. The extent of Stuxnet's damage isn't entirely known, but some researchers argue it was the most malicious and advanced bit of malware to date.

Thu, 20 Oct 11
Google Serves Up Ice Cream Sandwich With a Nexus on the Side
Google unveiled Android 4.0, aka "Ice Cream Sandwich," in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The presentation was accompanied by Samsung's announcement of the Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone running Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice Cream Sandwich is a redesign of the Android OS. It has a highly visual interface, a facial-recognition feature and home-screen folders. "At one level, you could say that both Apple and Google are simply addressing the needs and wishes of increasingly sophisticated smartphone users by adding similar features and technologies," Pund-IT's Charles King said.

Thu, 20 Oct 11
RIM Gambles on Android-Loving Frankensystem
Can a new mobile operating system pull Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry devices, out of its current funk? Not only has the company been steadily losing market share to competitors with flashier phones -- namely Apple and makers of Android handsets -- but its worldwide network recently experienced technical difficulties that left some of its customers without service for as long as three days. It was against that backdrop that RIM CoCEO Mike Lazaridis announced Tuesday at the company's developers conference a new operating system for future BlackBerry models.

Thu, 20 Oct 11
The False Economies of the Info Security World
Organizations love false economies. It may not be an entirely conscious act on their part, but it's certainly the truth: Hang around any organization long enough, and you'll find at least one instance where it tries to save on doing A but winds up spending more on doing B in the process. Consider, for example, expense policies that require employees to stay one or more extra nights when traveling. Because airfare is lower when weekend travel is involved, organizations might be tempted to ask employees to do this to keep air costs down.

Thu, 20 Oct 11
PhotoRec Heroically Rescues Deleted Files
How many times have you accidentally deleted a photo you really needed from a digital camera or attached storage medium? We've all been there and done that! Sure, if you delete most files -- even some standard graphics images -- from the hard drive, the Linux trash can visibly holds the goods. But unless you know about PhotoRec, your deleted photographic images and files from anywhere else stay buried in hidden-file hell. PhotoRec is a powerful recovery tool that is part of a larger disk and file recovery package.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
Motorola's New Razr: Cutting-Edge or Just Another Droid?
Motorola Mobility on Tuesday announced its latest smartphone, confirming many of the rumors and spec leaks that had already begun to surround the handset. It's called the "Droid Razr," its body is partially made of Kevlar, it has a 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass display, it's a 4G LTE device and it's headed to the Verizon Wireless Network. Motorola touts the Droid Razr's ultra-thin, lightweight design, in keeping with the Razr line's penchant for slimline devices. However, slimness alone is becoming less and less of a truly standout attribute among phones.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
And Now for Something Completely Different: Nanostuff Lets Computers Remake Themselves
Scientists at Northwestern University have developed a new nanomaterial that can reconfigure itself by directing the flow of current. This could lead to computers that can reconfigure their internal circuitry as needed. The hybrid material, created by a team led by Bartos Grzybowski, professor of chemical and biological engineering and chemistry at NWU, combines different aspects of silicon- and polymer-based electronics to create nanoparticle-based electronics. It can handle streams of electrons flowing in multiple, or even opposing, directions at the same time.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Triumphs in Hair-Raising Test Flight
A recent test flight of Virgin Galactic's private SpaceShipTwo spacecraft caused some tense moments for those participating and observing, but ultimately a new safety feature on the suborbital craft allowed its three-person crew to regain control and bring it safely back down to Earth. After being carried aloft by the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft in the test flight of Sept. 29, plans called for SpaceShipTwo to be released into a rapid descent. Upon release, however, "the spaceship experienced a downward pitch rate that caused a stall of the tails," the manufacturer's log explains.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
The iPhone's It Girl
The 4 million iPhone 4S devices sold last weekend came complete with a unique voice-activated personal assistant, Siri. The service is perhaps the most buzzed-about feature found in Apple's new gadget. Siri allows the user to ask questions using conversational speech. This is primarily used to perform search or information requests, but it will also respond to a variety of more off-the-wall queries. So far, the biggest complaint about Siri has come from those unable to use it due to unavailable service.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
October's Scary Security Surprises
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month -- so says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which asserts Americans have a shared responsibility in increasing the resiliency of the nation and its online infrastructure. Perhaps other federal bodies and departments should visit that website, beginning with the United States Air Force. The USAF has issued a statement to "correct" recent reports that servers supporting drone aircraft piloted remotely over Afghanistan were infected with malware.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
How Linuxy Is Android?
The Kindle Fire, the Android-based tablet Amazon revealed in late September, could well be the next step in the ongoing metamorphosis of Google's Linux derivative into a proprietary operating system. Even if Amazon does not lock down its altered Android platform, it clearly has created a major fork in the Linux road. Modifying Android is nothing new. HTC, Motorola and other phone makers have already established that practice. Android is an open source product within the Linux family. In some cases, it may not look much like Linux. But make no mistake about Android's lineage.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
Cybersecurity Proposals Begin to Meld
Prospects for enacting an ambitious and comprehensive national cybersecurity protection program during this year's congressional session may be fading. That's the bad news. The good news is that various approaches to a cybersecurity agenda may be melding into a program that is acceptable to politicians of both parties and to e-commerce businesses as well. In addition, it now appears that the way to achieve legislative success is to enact smaller, more manageable components of a cybersecurity program rather than a major comprehensive bill.

Wed, 19 Oct 11
Find My Friends: Voluntary Stalking Made Simple
Here's an app so powerful it's apparently broken up a marriage less than a week after it hit the App Store shelves. OK, fine, what really broke up the marriage was probably the cheating, or at least the suspicion of cheating. The app just revealed a little sneaking around. And that's presuming the whole story's even true at all -- it was first spotted on a MacRumors forum, where anyone can post almost anything. Hopefully others will have a more pleasant reason to use Find My Friends.

Tue, 18 Oct 11
Stallman on Steve Jobs: Tasteless or Incisive?
Well it's starting to look like 2011 is just going to be one, long roller-coaster ride. No sooner does the prospect of a quiet day loom on the horizon than something happens to turn the world on its ear once again. In the past two weeks, of course, we've had to endure the loss of not just one but two leading figures in the technology world: Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie. That's been upsetting enough, but -- as if we needed any more turmoil -- we've also had free software guru Richard Stallman expounding his views on Apple's former CEO, causing widespread outrage in the process.

Tue, 18 Oct 11
Newsstand Smooths Out iOS Mag-Reading but Could Use Some Curb Appeal
Apple's new Newsstand app, built into iOS 5, is an enigma. For starters, it's not exactly a "newsstand," which is a rack of magazines and newspapers you can browse through, quite possibly on the side of a street. The bookshelf-like Newsstand app sports a pleasingly angled shelf style, similar to the bookcase shelf of iBooks. And like iBooks, it only holds your magazine subscriptions that work with the Newsstand app. If you're not a subscriber, you won't see a magazine on your Newsstand.

Tue, 18 Oct 11
Google's Miscalculated Obama Gambit
Google's earnings knocked one out of the park last week but in other areas, things aren't going as well. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt had to testify in front of Congress that Google wasn't like Microsoft, and the rules that applied to that company didn't apply to his. Evidently unhappy with just cornering the Web advertising market, Google wanted to corner the market on arrogance as well. This was followed by an internal email that once again showcased that Google executives don't use or understand their own products, followed by Eric Schmidt getting a Google+ account. Welcome to your own product Eric!

Tue, 18 Oct 11
New App Aims to Make Energy Use Top of Mind for Facebook Users
A new partnership plans to create a Facebook app that will leverage social networking to improve consumer awareness about energy consumption. The partnership consists of the social networking giant, the Natural Resources Defense Council and energy information software creator Opower. The app will let consumers go on Facebook to compare the energy usage of their homes against the national average, among other things. Such an app "could be helpful, as many times education is the first step towards action," Frank Maisano of Bracewell & Giulani told TechNewsWorld.

Tue, 18 Oct 11
RIM's Apology Gift Bag Gets Mixed Reactions
Battered by customer outrage worldwide over its BlackBerry network failures last week, as well as strong sales of the iPhone 4S from rival Apple, Research In Motion on Monday announced a slew of free gifts in an attempt to remedy the situation. Consumers who own BlackBerries will get premium apps worth more than $100 for free, while enterprise customers will get one month of free tech support. Response to the offer was mixed. "It's too little too late," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

Tue, 18 Oct 11
Specs on Motorola's Droid 'Razr' Dribble In
Motorola and Verizon Wireless are reportedly about to unveil a Droid challenger to the highly touted Apple iPhone 4S. The two have invited the press to an event to be held Oct. 18. Details about the event are not forthcoming, but Motorola has released a teaser video. The clip throws out words like "faster," "thinner," "smarter" and "stronger," kicks off with a bullet, and its imagery includes a bullet and a razor. This sparked speculation that Motorola might unveil a new smartphone Oct. 18 that will be called "Droid Razr" -- a possible throwback to the original Motorla Razr.

Sun, 16 Oct 11
The BlackBerry Blackout: Research In Commotion
The Great BlackBerry Blackout of '11 is clearing up, and not a moment too soon for users who rely on Research In Motion's technologies for critical business communications. The problems started early in the week for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, then spread to India and South America before making its way into North America, including RIM's home turf in Canada. The official cause of the conniption was the failure of a dual-redundant high-capacity core switch, according to RIM.

Sun, 16 Oct 11
New Xoom's Pretty Much the Old Xoom With a Prettier Price
Motorola is trying for another bite at the Apple, so to speak. It has launched its Xoom Family Edition tablet -- a product clearly designed with aspirations to take on the iPad. Going on sale exclusively at Best Buy, Xoom Family is an Android 3.1-powered device with a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display and 16 GB of storage. Among its preloaded applications are parental control software called "Kid Zone" by Zoodles, and MotoPack by Motorola -- a search function for Motorola tablet apps on the Android Market.

Sat, 15 Oct 11
AMD Breaks New Ground With FX Bulldozer Processors
Advanced Micro Devices has unveiled its FX Series family of processors, which includes two it heralds as the first eight-core desktop CPUs. These are the first processors available in retail that use AMD's new Bulldozer multicore architecture. The FX processors are priced at between $115 and $245 and are aimed at "enabling the ultimate multimedia experience for digital enthusiasts," AMD spokesperson Miriam Cox told TechNewsWorld. In addition to faster gaming, they will enable media encoding and system performance with high clock speeds and overclocking capabilities.

Sat, 15 Oct 11
iPhone 4S Release Draws Crowds, Lines, Agony, Ecstasy
Pre-orders for Apple's iPhone 4S hit the 1 million mark quickly after they became available earlier this month, and the deluge swamped the websites of Apple and its retail partners. This week, hordes of people began queuing up outside stores, some camping out overnight, to get their hands on the device, which hit the shelves Friday. Eager crowds have been reported lining up at stores from New Jersey to Japan, in Canada, Australia, the UK, France and Germany. "People feel very passionate about these products," said Andrew Eisner, director of community and content at Retrevo.

Sat, 15 Oct 11
iOS 5: Excellent, Awesome and Somewhat Confusing
After learning that it would cost me $449 to upgrade from my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 4S, I pushed the pause button on those plans and decided to see how iOS 5 on my iPhone 4 shakes out first. After all, it's not as if I don't appreciate my iPhone 4. It's a great phone, quite serviceable, and now, with iOS 5, it's better than it was just a few days ago. Where do I start? Apple boasts 200 new features in iOS 5, and for sure, I haven't found or noticed more than a fraction of them.

Sat, 15 Oct 11
Android News Video Apps: No News Isn't Good News
My first experience with trying to consume news on-the-go was back in the eighties using the original CompuServe text-based online service -- the first commercial online service. The process generally involved trying to connect a laptop to the hotel phone system through a combination of alligator clips, acoustic couplers, brick-like cellular phones, and so on. The acoustic coupler would have to be wrapped in a pillow after carefully removing the chocolate. I decided to see how far things had come.

Fri, 14 Oct 11
Tech World Mourns Loss of Dennis Ritchie, Father of C and Unix
Legendary computer scientist and creator of the C programming language Dennis Ritchie has died at the age of 70, leaving behind a legacy that touches virtually every aspect of modern life. News of Ritchie's death was apparently first revealed to the world on Google+ by Rob Pike, a distinguished engineer at Google who worked with Ritchie on numerous occasions. "It's pretty amazing how much of an influence [Ritchie] had," Pike told TechNewsWorld. "[Steve] Jobs died last week, which was also very sad, but I think Dennis in some ways had a bigger effect on things."

Fri, 14 Oct 11
Sneaky App Masquerades as Netflix in Latest Android Malware Scare
A fake Netflix app for Android that steals users' data has popped up in an Android user forum, according to Symantec. The security vendor has named it "Android.Fakeneflic." The app consists of a splash screen followed by a log-in screen, which captures the victim's information and posts it to an outside server. Here's where things get interesting: The server is apparently offline currently, so any data captured can't be sent to it. Further, unlike other malware apps that autoload, this app must be manually downloaded.

Fri, 14 Oct 11
Tips for Using the Latest Tech Gadgets if You're Physically Challenged
Impairments in the body's functions and structure, as well as the limitations in activities caused by those impairments, have historically placed disabled people at often insurmountable disadvantages. Reader Fred Cheshire, who's a C5/6 quadriplegic, asked how to use tablets and mobile phones when you have no finger control. The good news is that user interface forms have been developed for these types of devices that can allow a person with a disability to interact with them just as well as someone without a disability -- and at an unprecedented low cost.

Fri, 14 Oct 11
Do Volunteer Programmers Produce Better Code?
Those of us who love Linux and other free and open source software are already well-acquainted with the many benefits of FOSS: flexibility, security, customizability and freedom from vendor lock-in, to name just a few. Quality, of course, is another big one, at least in part because there are typically so many people around the globe constantly improving the code. There may also be another reason behind that superior quality, however. Specifically, it was recently suggested that volunteer programmers actually write better code than paid ones do.

Fri, 14 Oct 11
Early Reviews: iPhone 4S Is Almost Revolutionary
When Apple first debuted the iPhone 4S, reactions were less than wowed. The new product looked an awful lot like earlier iterations -- and worse, it was not the much-anticipated iPhone 5. Consumers hankering for a new iPhone have seemed just fine with it, though. Presales have broken records. With the iPhone 4S about to hit the shelves and early reviews coming in, it might be time to reconsider the position of the excitement needle. Were the first impressions correct -- that is, Apple made a ho-hum device? Or are the masses onto something?

Thu, 13 Oct 11
Ubuntu Upgrade a Mixed Bag at Best
Canonical will release its upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10 on Oct. 13. If you suffered through version 11.04 in hopes that something better would arrive in 11.10, you suffered in vain. For the typical user, very little of anything new is bundled into this latest Ubuntu upgrade. To be honest, my early hands-on experience with Ubuntu 11.10 did not disappoint me -- not really, anyway. I was not expecting much in the upgrade. Not much new is precisely what I found. But let's put my reaction in context. I am a die-hard Ubuntu user.

Thu, 13 Oct 11
Feds Secretly Fish Through Suspects' Online Lives
The United States Department of Justice reportedly used a secret court order to get information from the email accounts of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum. The DoJ reportedly put the squeeze on Google and Sonic.net, a small Internet service provider, to turn over the email addresses of the people with whom Appelbaum communicated. The court order was apparently granted under the auspices of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. That tactic doesn't sit well with many privacy advocates.

Thu, 13 Oct 11
iPhone 4S, iOS 5, iCloud: All the Pretty Pieces Come Together
Apple made available on Wednesday the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5. In order to get it, iDevice users will need to install the newly updated iTunes 10.5, which rolled out Tuesday. The new system enables iPhone users to sync their devices with their Macs or PCs via WiFi instead of tethering the phone to the computer. iOS 5 itself offers a slew of new features, including an updated notification system, deep integration with Twitter, and an upgraded version of the Safari mobile browser.

Thu, 13 Oct 11
BlackBerry's Thorny Problem Chokes Service in North America
Research In Motion's continuing BlackBerry service disruptions hit customers in North America Wednesday. This makes the disruptions, which first emerged in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on Monday, a worldwide phenomenon. RIM states that subscribers may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning, that it's working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, and that it will provide a further update when it can. "I don't know why, but RIM won't say anything other than that they know what the problem is and they're working on it," said Farpoint's Craig Mathias.

Thu, 13 Oct 11
Enterprise Security System Puts Android Under Lock and Key
The proliferation of smartphones has created headaches for security-minded IT departments everywhere, but a Motorola subsidiary aims to give system administrators more peace of mind with a solution for managing Android phones in business environments. Three Laws Mobility, purchased by Motorola eight months ago, announced Tuesday that its management solution for Android phones is now ready for prime time. The offering allows organizations to remotely control Android handsets made by 3LM manufacturing partners.

Thu, 13 Oct 11
Sony Recalls 1.6 Million TVs on Fear of Flame-Ups
Sony has issued a voluntary recall for 1.6 million Bravia flat-panel TVs sold worldwide covering certain TV sold since 2007. A defective component reportedly causes them to be slightly more likely to melt or catch fire than the average TV. In September, a Japanese customer discovered that his TV started a small fire. Eleven incidents like this have apparently occurred in Japan since 2008. The faulty component is part of the TV's back-light system. The component can overheat and melt the top of the model.

Wed, 12 Oct 11
Tizen Could Be a Giant Step Back for Mobile Linux
Amid continued traction for Android, there have been a number of other developments for mobile operating systems based on Linux. Given my support for and belief in Linux and open source software, you might expect me to be bullish on the prospects for all of this mobile and device Linux. However, based on what I've seen in the past in terms of mergers, reshuffles and strategic restarts, I believe the introduction of the Tizen Linux-based OS is reminiscent of a time when mobile Linux wasn't really moving ahead.

Wed, 12 Oct 11
Facebook on iPad Leaves Some Room for Fakebooks
The iPad has been on the shelves for about a year and a half, and when it first debuted it seemed only logical that an official Facebook app would be ready within weeks, if not days. The world's most popular social network made the App Store's most popular mobile application with its iPhone version, so how could it pass up making a custom app for iPad? But months passed, then a year, and still no iPad app. I don't know that it caused anyone a great amount of pain or sorrow -- it was just kind of weird.

Wed, 12 Oct 11
AT&T Plays the 4G Card
With presales of the iPhone 4S reaching record levels, competition among the carriers is heating up. Sprint Nextel is reportedly going to offer an unlimited data plan. And AT&T? The carrier reportedly is hoping to secure approval from Apple to use a "4G" label on the signal bar for its iPhone 4S devices. It is unclear how much truth is in the rumors, which were based largely on a leaked memo. They could be nothing more than a creation of the tech blogosphere. Even if AT&T were seeking the designation, Apple would never grant it, said Today in iOS host Rob Walch.

Wed, 12 Oct 11
Malware in the Office, in the Sky and on the Phone
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and various federal agencies are ringing it in with a couple of slaps to the head and a kick or two to the shins. First, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that stated 24 major federal agencies have inadequate IT security. It also pointed out that security incidents from federal agencies have increased more than 650 percent over the past five years.

Wed, 12 Oct 11
Titan Starts Training for Supercomputing's World Cup
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded U.S. supercomputer manufacturer Cray a contract to upgrade its existing Jaguar supercomputer. The contract, which Cray pegs as worth $97 million, will cover a multi-phase process scheduled for completion in 2013. Cray will essentially rip out and replace Jaguar's existing processors with the latest AMD Opteron CPUs and Tesla graphics processing units from Nvidia. The resulting behemoth, which will be named "Titan," will have almost 300,000 cores and 600 terrabytes of memory.

Tue, 11 Oct 11
Consumer Reports App Takes Mystery Out of HDTV Shopping
Consumer Reports is one of the most comprehensive and well-respected magazines and product review organizations in the U.S., and while I'm not a subscriber, I do appreciate its work and occasionally pick up a print issue or special guide when my interests happen to converge with its content. While I'm not in the market for a new HDTV right now, I do like to keep up with the latest action in the industry. Enter Consumer Reports' brand new app, Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper: TVs 2012, available in the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPod for $1.99.

Tue, 11 Oct 11
Passing the Torch at Apple and HP
With Steve Jobs' passing, last week was a sad one for the technology industry, which owes much of its current success to him and will remain forever diminished by this event. Even as people talk about his uniqueness, they also don't seem to get that he can't be replaced like you would replace a shoe or a shirt. Teams are complex, and the team that ran Apple was uniquely successful and powerful. Without Jobs, it is diminished; we just don't know how much yet.

Tue, 11 Oct 11
A FOSS Success Story: LibreOffice Turns 1
It seems hard to believe it was just a year ago that LibreOffice was born, so ubiquitous and widely accepted is the software today. Yet it really was just 2010 when tensions were building about Oracle's treatment of OpenOffice, ultimately prompting the Document Foundation to form and create the new fork that 25 million of us now love and rely on. Happy Birthday, LibreOffice! It's hard to imagine a better open source success story. "The future of libreoffice is bright," asserted blogger Robert Pogson.

Tue, 11 Oct 11
Ice Cream Sandwich Can't Take iPhone Spotlight's Heat
Google and Samsung announced Friday they are postponing indefinitely the launch of the latest version of the Android operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, on a new Samsung phone. The companies released a joint statement asserting that it would be poor timing to unveil the product on the originally planned date of Oct. 11. Representatives from both companies have reportedly said the delay is out of respect for the late Apple Cofounder Steve Jobs, whose death last week left Silicon Valley mourning the loss of a visionary.

Tue, 11 Oct 11
Physicists: If There Is a God Particle, We'll Find It Soon
The long search for the fabled Higgs boson may be drawing to its end. Rolf Heuer, director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, has reportedly stated that the particle's existence will either be proved or disproved within 12 months. Heuer's statement was backed by two other prominent scientists: Pier Oddone of Fermilab, the only high-energy physics laboratory in the United States; and Atsuto Suzuki of KEK, Japan's high-energy accelerator research organization.

Tue, 11 Oct 11
Acer's Ultrabook Muscles Into Tablet Territory
Acer released its Aspire S3 ultrabook in the U.S. on Monday. The device, which weighs in at less than three pounds, provides up to 50 days of standby time and supports up to six hours of continuous usage. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, a 20 GB solid-state drive and a 320 GB hard drive. The Aspire S3 has a "speedy resume" feature and a 13.3-inch high definition LED-backlit display. Pricing is $900 -- substantially lower than the $1,075 to roughly $1,600 the device was originally quoted at when announced at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin last month.

Sun, 9 Oct 11
The Fruits of Steve Jobs' Tireless Quest for Perfection
Steve Jobs' long battle with cancer came to a sad end Wednesday. The Apple cofounder, chairman and former CEO started his company from a garage, revolutionized the technology industry many times over, got fired from his own business, then came back years later to turn it into the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, all in just over a quarter of a century. Nearly every personal computer sold today -- even if it's not made by Apple -- has been influenced on some level by what Jobs accomplished.

Sat, 8 Oct 11
Oracle Brews a Stronger Cup of Java
Oracle this week made a slew of announcements around the programming language and computing platform Java, which it acquired when it purchased Sun Microsystems in 2009. At the JavaOne conference, Oracle disclosed a roadmap for Java Standard Edition on Mac OS X. The company also announced that it's working on Java SE 8, which it will release in the summer of 2013. Oracle stated it will improve the interoperability between Java technology and HTML 5, unveiled the JavaFX 2.0 user interface platform and mentioned its intention to open source JavaFX 2.0.

Sat, 8 Oct 11
Teens Grapple With Cyberethics in the Digital Age
Adolescents growing up in a digital, highly mobile world are increasingly coming to grips with questions of ethics and behavior, with mixed results. On the one hand, cyberpranking and cyberharrassment have increased. On the other, more kids are willing to intervene when they see cyberharrassment. For example, 34 percent of respondents to a recent survey on digital abuse said someone looked at their text messages and recent call logs in their phones without their permission this year.

Sat, 8 Oct 11
Opening the Door to Innovation
The link between open innovation and open source has long been documented. That there is a significant correlation is obvious and not arguable, but to what extent is there causation? And in what direction? Open innovation describes a process, whereas open source has traditionally described a product or end result. The ultimate determination of whether a software project qualifies as open source is its license. I posit that the relationship between process and end result is one-way: Open innovation in software will necessarily lead to an open source result, but not the other way around.

Fri, 7 Oct 11
Electron Road Work May Speed Quantum Computing Development
A team of physicists at Rice University have created an "electron superhighway" that could one day be useful for building a quantum computer -- a machine that would utilize quantum particles instead of the digital transistors in today's microchips. Rui-Rui Du, a professor of physics and astronomy, and graduate student Ivan Knez describe the new method for making the device, known as "quantum spin Hall topological insulator," in a recent paper. The device acts as an electron superhighway -- one of the building blocks necessary to create quantum particles that can store and manipulate data.

Fri, 7 Oct 11
Tech World's Fire Dims With Passing of Steve Jobs
Apple Chairman Steve Jobs, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for years, has died, Apple announced on Wednesday. The company's iconic former CEO was 56. "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," Apple said. "Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."

Fri, 7 Oct 11
It'll Be Raining Tablets in India
India plans to provide very low-cost personal computing devices to millions of students through an agreement with DataWind to manufacture mass quantities of its Ubislate tablet for a price point of around $50, according to Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal. The tablets reportedly will be subsidized by the Indian government, bringing the price down to about $35. The price includes a one-year free replacement warranty from the manufacturer. Internet access and education-related content will be included.

Fri, 7 Oct 11
Samsung's Nexus Striptease - Fascinating or Freakish?
The Android community is abuzz with speculation about Samsung's plans for its Unpacked event on Oct. 11 at the upcoming CTIA Enterprise & Applications Conference to be held in San Diego. Some rumors suggest Samsung will unveil the latest item in the Android Nexus family of smartphones, while others speculate that the device will be a tablet. Many guessers seem to agree, though, that the device will probably run Android 4.0, aka "Ice Cream Sandwich," the next iteration of the Android operating system after Honeycomb.

Fri, 7 Oct 11
iPhone 4S: Just Apple Being Apple
It didn't take long for journalists, bloggers and commenters to start declaring the iPhone 4S an iFail, a disappointment, a wide-open opportunity for competitors. I was mildly surprised that we didn't see an iPhone 5, but in retrospect, I think I got caught up in the mass hysteria of rumors and supposition by bloggers and analysts alike. My nagging thoughts: Why would Apple deviate from its previous roadmap, where it set its basic strategy when it introduced the iPhone 3GS?

Fri, 7 Oct 11
Pondering the Prospect of a Completely Open Linux Tablet
Well, the tablet craze continues apace, putting Linux -- in the form of Android -- into the hands of countless new users every day. Go tablets! Of course, much as we here in the Linux community are fiercely proud of Android and the success it has achieved, there's no denying that the software isn't as open as many of us would like it to be. That, in turn, is probably why the prospect of ZaReason's completely open source offering has been so exciting.

Thu, 6 Oct 11
HTC Scrambles to Fix Android Smartphone Flaws
In an effort to mollify widespread concerns over security vulnerabilities in its Android smartphones, HTC has stated that it's working hard on a security update to resolve the problem. The vulnerability was due to logging tools HTC introduced when updating its smartphones, the Android Police blog stated. These tools apparently collect information such as a list of user accounts, phone numbers from the phone log, SMS data and system logs. Further, network information, CPU information, and detailed information on processes running and on installed apps is exposed.

Thu, 6 Oct 11
Speed, Speech and Signal: The New iPhone's New Tricks
Buyers of Apple's new iPhone 4S will be able to do more with the latest version of the smartphone, and they'll be able to do it faster. The new iPhone, which will be available in black or white models when it ships on Oct. 14, has a new, peppy A5 dual core-processor that provides twice the performance of its predecessor in the iPhone 4 and seven times the graphics muscle. While a 2x bump in performance is nothing to ignore, it may not be big enough for many users to notice.

Thu, 6 Oct 11
For Fast, Light Web Browsing, Dillo's No Dallier
Sometimes you find good things in small packages. At least that has been my experience with picking through the wares often buried in directories of open source software that feeds my Linux OS passion. Dillo, a little-known tiny Web browser, was an unexpected find. This baby browser has a very small footprint and is lightning fast. How fast, you say? It loads in under a second and renders just as quickly. In fact, I tend to be brutal with Web browsers as I constantly open and close URLs and often use them to quick-start opening files to peek inside their content.

Wed, 5 Oct 11
Zune's Flesh Is Weak, but Its Spirit Is Willing
Five years after it first launched its Zune portable digital media player, Microsoft has reportedly decided to stop making the device. However, it will apparently continue to offer the Zune music and media service on Windows Phone 7 smartphones, as well as the Xbox 360. Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment. Microsoft has reportedly stated that Windows Phone will be the focus for its mobile music and video strategy. However, it has pledged to honor the warranties for owners of existing Zune devices as well as those who purchase the last devices on the market.

Wed, 5 Oct 11
Good, Solid iPhone 4S Disappoints iPhone 5 Wishes and Hopes
The steak without the sizzle" is how Jason Wisdom characterized the newly unveiled iPhone 4S, Apple's latest creation. It is essentially a solid workhorse with little pizazz to wow the masses. "The device has lots of technical upgrades, and one feature -- the new Siri -- did get rabid, enthusiastic response from the audience," said Wisdom, principal of Wisdom Consulting. However, the knee-jerk reaction to the release in many quarters is that Apple has lost its magic touch.

Wed, 5 Oct 11
Facebook Enlists Websense for Neighborhood Watch
Facebook, long a darling of cybercriminals looking to lure in unsuspecting cybersocializers, has partnered with content security vendor Websense to help protect members from links that lead to malware and malicious sites. That may prove good news to corporations, where many IT managers consider employees' use of social media a security threat but where few of them do much about it, a global survey by the Ponemon Institute has found. In other security news, experts are suggesting an alternative to the security certificate, which cybercriminals have shown to be an imperfect safeguard.

Wed, 5 Oct 11
HTC's on the Hotseat for Allowing Critical Smartphone Security Flaw
A vulnerability in a logging tool that HTC has installed on some of its Android devices poses a serious security problem for users. The devices at risk are the Evo 3D, Evo 4G and Thunderbolt. The vulnerability allows hackers to collect a great deal of information about the device and its user -- information that the smartphone has been collecting for HTC -- if the user downloads certain malware designed for this purpose. The malware typically resides in an app that connects to the Internet, which leaves just about every unsuspecting device user vulnerable, as most do tend to use apps on their phones.

Wed, 5 Oct 11
GoodPlayer: The Stronger, Faster, Pricier Media Player
Long ago, I reviewed an app called "VLC Media Player," and though I was less than amazed by the app's performance at the time, I'll admit that it grew on me. VLC made it easy to play a wide variety of videos on an iPhone without futzing with an MP4 converter. You could just load up videos through iTunes directly to VLC, then play them regardless of what format you were dealing with -- AVI, WMV, MPG or even the iPhone's own MP4. Sadly, though, VLC was not long for this world.

Tue, 4 Oct 11
Kindle Touch 3G: A Step Up and a Step Down
Turns out there is a catch with the Kindle Touch 3G Amazon announced on Wednesday. The Touch 3G offers the addition of 3G wireless connectivity and sells for $149 -- $50 more than the Kindle Touch, which allows Web access over WiFi networks only. However, when you're using the 3G connectivity you can only access Amazon's Kindle Store and Wikipedia. That means users are forking over an additional $50 to access just two sites. For any other website, they would need to have a WiFi connection.

Tue, 4 Oct 11
Facebook's Timeline Tension
Facebook's Timeline feature has been a focus of controversy since it was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's f8 developers' conference last month in San Francisco. Privacy advocates immediately raised concerns. A coalition of 10 privacy and consumer groups has written to the Federal Trade Commission pointing out the security and privacy risks posed by Facebook features like Timeline. Security experts have also reportedly warned that the wealth of data put out on Timeline will be very useful to stalkers and cybercriminals.

Tue, 4 Oct 11
What iPhones May Come
Invitations to Apple's big Tuesday iPhone event started going out last week, and since the notoriously tight-lipped Apple has managed to keep facts about its next smartphone scarce, the new technologies and design the device will feature are anyone's guess. There are even questions regarding just how many new handsets the public will see Tuesday. Apple could be planning to release a new but trimmed-down version of the iPhone 4 that will sell at a lower price in order to expand market share.

Tue, 4 Oct 11
Amazon and Microsoft Take the Battle to Google
Last week was another big week for technology as Amazon announced a new line of Kindles and Microsoft released its Mango product into the wild. Many of us are thinking these products target Google's gains and missed opportunities more than they do Apple's. I'll share my thoughts on the potential for these products and why Google, rather than Apple, may be the initial target. I'll also take a look at Mango and the Kindle Fire this week, and I'll close with my product of the week: a really cool-looking -- and sounding -- pair of headphones with amazing bass.

Tue, 4 Oct 11
From Moblin to MeeGo to Tizen, Oh My!
It seems like just yesterday that Linux Girl was chuckling over the choice of "MeeGo" as the name for the merger between Maemo and Moblin, and now here we are all over again. "Who named these platforms, a Lord of the Rings fan with a speech impediment?" Slashdot blogger goldaryn wondered back then, and the observation is still apt today. Tizen is the latest member of this Tolkienesque family, of course, thanks to the new effort led by Intel and Samsung.

Tue, 4 Oct 11
Color Splash Is a One-Trick Pony, but It's a Beautiful Trick
One of the things I like most about the Apple App Store for iOS -- and now, the Apple Mac App Store -- is that you can find and buy highly focused apps that just do one cool thing. Instead of shelling out a bunch of money for a powerful application with features you won't ever need, much less truly understand, you can buy a simple app, for example, that turns your snapshots into black and white marvels with a spritz of eye-popping color. Enter Color Splash Studio by MacPhun for Mac OS X.

Sun, 2 Oct 11
Amazon's Kindle Catches Fire
Amazon has launched what may become the first real threat to Apple's iPad. The Kindle Fire has been anticipated for many months now, but this week Amazon officially took the lid off and showed everyone what it's really about. For a device that could eventually loosen the iPad's stranglehold on the tablet market, the Fire's spec sheet doesn't exactly match that of an iPad 2. It offers just 8 GB of onboard storage, WiFi but no 3G or 4G wireless access, no camera, no microphone, no gyroscope -- and it's much smaller, at just seven inches.

Sat, 1 Oct 11
Is Amazon Shopping for WebOS?
In the wake of Amazon's launch of its Kindle Fire tablet on Wednesday, the company's reportedly looking at buying the Palm webOS operating system from ailing HP, according to a report in Venturebeat. Amazon spent quite a bit of time, effort and money tweaking Android for the Kindle Fire, which reportedly presold 95,000 units on its first day. So why would it think of getting a new operating system? Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, who was hired by HP when the latter purchased Palm last year, had previously stated that Amazon would make a good partner and could help expand the webOS ecosystem.

Sat, 1 Oct 11
DoJ Doc Reveals Cellphone Providers' Long, Long Memories
A recently revealed U.S. Department of Justice document has provided details about what kind of usage information is retained by the nation's largest mobile phone providers, as well as how long they retain it. In some cases, information is stored for many years. The document, a single-paged memo, was obtained by the North Carolina ACLU. The chapter was looking into North Carolina law enforcement activities and procured document as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Sat, 1 Oct 11
The Kindle Fire's Browser: Mostly Smooth as Silk
The Kindle Fire made its big debut this week as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the tablet along with other new members of the Kindle family on Wednesday. The Fire's been touted as a challenger to the Apple iPad, but the real threat to Apple's iconic tablet may come from the Silk browser that will run on the Fire. Built from the ground up to leverage the Amazon Web Services cloud, Silk will make it much easier for customers to make purchases on Amazon.com and for the online retail giant to upsell aggressively.

Sat, 1 Oct 11
Giving a Clunky Old CMS the WordPress Treatment
eMusic's old, custom-built content management system was slowing the team down. We're a digital media company, and our team has to be able to react quickly and share content on hot topics. When reviewing the different content management systems out there, we found that WordPress was an ideal solution to suit all of our CMS needs. We wanted an open source tool with support from a passionate community of users -- WordPress developers. We also wanted a mature platform.


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