Is The Apple iPhone 5 Set To Spy On You?

Apple who are the creators of the soon to be iPhone 5 has recently applied for patents which are to say the least of it controversial. 

These patents will be applied to things like your iPhone 5 and iPad as well as your Apple Mac computer.  What does this do?  This patent will be able to identify you and actually will be able to spy on you and even record your voice, take photos of where you are and even wipe your phone or device clean.  These kinds of patents seem to be interfering with the citizens’ rights and one wonders where it will end.  Your iPhone 5 and other devices will be able to store data of all kinds about you and your situation including taking photos of your face without you even knowing it is being collected.

They say they are doing this to protect you in case of your iPhone 5 being stolen.  Personally I would rather have my phone stolen.  Especially as this can even be done without the iPhone 5 being in use.

The data they collect will be all inclusive from voice to photographs of face and location and even down to your heart beat.   Should the authorities decide to demand all this data be handed over to them can Apple stop it being handed over?  It makes me tremble to think what else is being done without your being aware of it.  Will I be buying an iPhone 5? I don’t think so.



BlackBerry’s Corporate Dominance Seen Eroding

Shares in Research In Motion slipped more than 3% on Friday morning as investors fretted the BlackBerry smartphone’s stranglehold on corporate communications was being eroded by rival devices.

Bank of America and Citigroup have joined a growing throng of financial institutions eyeing alternatives to the BlackBerry for corporate email. The banks are testing software designed to make Apple’s iPhone secure enough for company messages, Bloomberg said, citing three people familiar with the plan.

A source at Bank of America confirmed the details of the report. A Citi spokeswoman declined to comment.

BlackBerry smartphones have long been the device of choice for bankers, politicians and executives who need secure access to email and the Internet when outside the office. But the surging popularity of consumer-oriented smartphones such as the iPhone and devices running on Google’s Android software, coupled with their makers’ moves to boost security credentials, are pressuring RIM’s dominance in the corporate sector.

Allowing the rank and file to access corporate email on personal devices also saves companies the cost of supplying a BlackBerry.

“If the IT department’s security concerns can be addressed it seems to be a win-win” for employers and employees, said James Cordwell, a London-based analyst at Atlantic Equities.

In a September survey, Bernstein Research found 83% of U.S. businesses allow employees to use non-BlackBerry alternatives to access corporate email.

On Thursday, PC maker Dell said it was moving 25,000 BlackBerry-wielding employees over to its own line of smartphones as it eyes gains in the mobile device market. Dell said the move will save money, but RIM disputed that, noting the cost of buying, deploying and supporting new devices.

“We find it highly unlikely that they will actually save any money with this move and far more likely they were looking for a little free publicity,” Mark Guibert, RIM’s senior vice-president of corporate marketing, said in an emailed statement.

“Plus, consider the fact that BlackBerry smartphones are far more efficient with respect to data usage, which means that their monthly service charges will also likely increase,” he said.

The move by Bank of America and Citigroup follows the lead of JPMorgan Chase & Co and UBS, which said in September they were considering allowing employees to use iPhones or other alternatives to the standard-issue BlackBerry.

British bank Standard Chartered already gives employees the choice to use iPhones.

Bank of America has around 290,000 employees, while Citi employs some 258,000.

RIM shares were down 3.4% at $55.17 on Nasdaq late Friday morning and were off 3.2% in Toronto at C$55.28. A RIM executive said the Waterloo, Ontario-based company was still adding corporate subscribers and it continues to lead a growing market.

“We believe the opportunities for both corporate-issued and employee-purchased smartphones are growing and that RIM provides the best overall platform for CIOs (chief information officers) to address both scenarios without compromising security or manageability,” RIM’s senior vice-president for enterprise and platform marketing, Jeff McDowell, said.

RIM responded sharply in October when Apple CEO Steve Jobs boasted iPhone sales had overtaken BlackBerry sales in the quarter, saying that the Cupertino-based tech giant was surrounded by a “distortion field”.

In the third quarter, RIM’s global smartphone market share slipped more than 4 percentage points from a year earlier, according to industry tracker IDC.


Sony Walkman No Longer Walking With Us

After 30 years and 200 million sold, Sony has announced that their April shipment of cassette Walkmans was the last. The official death of the Walkman lands on the iPod’s 9th anniversary.

The device was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-chairman Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips.

The Sony Walkman was introduced on July 1, 1979 in Japan and it was a major breakthrough in delivering a low-cost portable stereo. It wasn’t an overnight hit though, it was largely panned by the media and only sold 3,000 units by the end of July. But Sony kept on pushing, targeting the Walkman toward the younger market and advertising it with younger pop stars. By the end of August, sales increased 10-fold and later in the early 80’s it became the must-have item for everyone.

The final batch was shipped to Japanese retailers in April, according to IT Media. Once these units are sold, new cassette Walkmans will no longer be available through the manufacturer.

Adapted from various sources


Print Files From Any Mobile Phone Using Dropbox

While mobile phones have become a lot more capable in the past few years, the connection between the printer and your phone is still very weak

For instance, if you are using a BlackBerry or an iPhone, how do you print any of the presentations or spreadsheets that you have as email attachments? Or if you are viewing driving directions on Google Maps using an iPad, how do you send that map to the printer?

Your phone’s app store will have a few printing apps to let you wirelessly print files but if you want to save a few bucks, you can simply use Dropbox to print documents from your phone to any printer without requiring any additional software.

Print Files from any Mobile Phone through Dropbox

The workflow is like this. You download a small utility on your computer that runs in the background and constantly monitors one of your Dropbox folders for any new printing jobs.

You can send files for printing from your mobile phone through email or using any of the Dropbox mobile apps. As soon as Dropbox downloads the file locally, the utility will send it to the default printer. Once the file is printed, it gets archived to the logs folder.

To get this thing running on your computer, please follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Make sure that you have Dropbox on the computer that is connected to the printer.

Step 2: To send print jobs from your mobile device to the printer, you have two options.

  • You can download a Dropbox app on your mobile phone — they have apps for BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Nokia, webOS (Palm), and Android based phones.
  • Alternatively, you can send files from your mobile phone to Dropbox using email. Just connect your Dropbox account with Habilis and they’ll give you a unique email address – any files or attachments sent to this address will automatically appear in your Dropbox folder.

Step 3: Download this zip file and double-click the eprint.vbs file. It will create a sub-folder inside your main Dropbox folder called PrintQueue where all the mobile print jobs will queue up and another sub-folder called logs where all the completed jobs will be archived.

Step 4: You are now all set to print files from our mobile phone. Just send a test file from your mobile phone to that secret email address, or upload it through the Dropbox mobile app, and your printer will turn it into a hard copy almost instantly.

The utility can also handle multiple files in one go and it should print almost all file formats for which you have an associated application on the computer. If you would like to shut down the eprint utility, launch Windows task manager and end the “wscript.exe” process from the list.

Some upcoming printers will have built-in support for mobile printing via email but with Dropbox, you get the same feature without requiring any new hardware. If you are curious to know how this script works, here’s the full source code. Give it a shot!



Blackberry ‘PlayBook’ Tablet To Take On Apple iPad

Research In Motion, shows the new Playbook

The maker of BlackBerry smartphones has unveiled its rival to Apple’s iPad: the PlayBook.

Research in Motion (RIM) showed off the tablet for the first time last night and is set to launch it early 2011 in the U.S., with an international rollout due later in the year.

The PlayBook is a smaller, lighter device than Apple’s iPad, which kicked-started the tablet market when it launched in April. It will have a 7-inch screen, making it half the size of Apple’s device, and weigh about 0.9 pounds to the iPad’s 1.5 pounds. And unlike the iPAd, it will have two cameras, front and back.

The PlayBook will be able to act as a second, larger screen for a BlackBerry phone, through a secure short-range wireless link. When the connection is severed – perhaps because the user walks away with the phone – no sensitive data like company emails are left on the tablet. Outside of Wi-Fi range, it will be able to pick up a mobile service like 3G to access the web by linking to a BlackBerry.

RIM did not let anyone to actually get hands-on with the PlayBook and instead kept it hidden within a glass case. The tablet will also work as a standalone device. RIM co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said its goal is to present the full web experience of a computer, including the ability to display Flash, Adobe’s format for video and interactive material on the web.

That means the tablet will be less dependent on third-party applications or ‘apps,’ Balsillie said.

BlackBerry PlayBook

Research In Motion, shows the new Playbook
Display: 7-inch 1024 x 600 LCD

Weight: 0.9lbs

Operating System: BlackBerry tablet OS

Browser: BlackBerry

Flash support: Yes

Ebooks: Yes

Apps: BlackBerry App World

Multitasking: Yes

Camera: 3 MP front, 5 MP back

Input/Output: microHDMI, microUSB

Processor: 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9

Storage: TBC


Wireless: Wi-Fi (3G later), Bluetooth

Battery life: TBC

Price: TBC

Apple iPad

The iPad
Display: 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 LED

Weight: 1.5lbs

Operating System: iOS

Browser: Safari

Flash support: No

Ebooks: Yes

Apps: Apple App Store

Multitasking: No

Camera: No

Input/Output: 30 pin

Processor: 1GHz Apple A4

Storage: 16, 32, 64GB

RAM: 256 MB

Wireless: Wi-Fi, 3G

Battery life: 10 hours

Price: £429



Soothings Sounds Of Nature To Relax You Whilst Online

MoodTurn offers an excellent collection of calm and soothing nature sounds that can help you both relax as well as concentrate at work.

At Mood Turn, you can listen to highly-realistic recordings of birds chirping, falling rain drops, ocean waves hitting the beach and quite a few other extremely relaxing natural sounds. Just open this site in a background browser tab and run your favorite sound theme in a loop for as long as you like.



Feedlooks – An Alternative to Google Reader

Google Reader is the most popular service for consuming web content via RSS feeds but are there any good alternatives?

MyYahoo! and Netvibes are alive and functional but they aren’t meant for reading more than a couple of feeds. Bloglines is probably the only decent alternative to Google Reader but they are closing down as well in the coming weeks.

FeedLooks offers a plain-text style reader where you can add feeds either manually or import them in bulk from your existing feed reader. There are some nice features here. For example, all the stories have an “Interest meter” icon that how popular that story is among the other users of FeedLooks (see the next screenshot).

The service also make it easy for you to filter stories that have been published in the past ‘n’ days so you don’t feel overwhelmed with the volume of ‘unread’ stories if you are checking after a long gap.

interest meter - stories

FeedLooks is minimal and beautiful but is not a replacement for your Google Reader – there’s no mobile version, it doesn’t support keyboard shortcuts and you only get to see short snippets of the story inside the reader.

However, when all the big players have left this space, Artur’s efforts are worth appreciating. And you can give his service a try even without creating an account.



Twitter Unveils A New User Friendly Website

Twitter unveiled a new Web site on Tuesday that it hopes will be user friendly.

The redesigned site, which will be available to all users in the next few weeks, makes it simpler to see information about the authors of Twitter posts, conversation among Twitter users, and the photos and videos that posts link to.

Even though 78% of Twitter’s unique users gain access to the service through its Web site, the site has had some major flaws. Twitter has not been able to funnel resources into redesigning the site until now, Mr Williams said, because the company has had trouble keeping up with its growth, even struggling to keep its Web site from crashing.

If people want to learn more about the author of a post, for instance, they must go to a new page. It has been almost impossible to follow a conversation between two Twitter users. And while a quarter of the posts contain links, if people post a link to a photo, readers have not been able to see the picture without going to a new site.

On the new Twitter Web site, people see two panes instead of a single timeline of posts. The timeline stays in the left pane. In the right pane, they can see more information about posts — like biographies of authors, photos and videos to which posts link — and conversation that spring from a particular post. This eliminates the need to click back and forth.

Mr Williams said the new site was not designed for the sake of advertisers, but the experience of viewing ads would improve. For example, when a movie studio puts out a “sponsored tweet” for a film with a link to the trailer, users will be able to see the trailer without leaving the Twitter site.

Borrowing an idea from image searching on Google and Bing, Twitter now shows a continuous stream of posts so people do not need to click “more” to view additional posts.

Twitter, which was founded in 2006, has grown so quickly in part because it opened its technology to thousands of software developers outside the company who have built Twitter tools.

But as Twitter has matured, it has angered many of those developers by building similar tools itself or acquiring the start-ups that built the tools, limiting opportunities for competing app developers. Last spring, for example, it bought Atebits, which made a Twitter iPhone app called Tweetie, and turned it into the official Twitter for iPhone app.

Other start-ups worry that if Twitter builds its own tools, they will go out of business. Indeed, mobile Twitter users now reach Twitter through the company’s own iPhone and BlackBerry apps more than through any others, according to the company.



Google Engineer Fired For Spying On Teens Users

David Barksdale a 27-year-old former Google engineer, repeatedly took advantage of his position as a member of an elite technical group at the company to access users’ accounts, violating the privacy of at least four minors during his employment,we’ve learned.

Barksdale met the kids through a technology group in the Seattle area while working as a Site Reliability Engineer at Google’s Kirkland, Wash. office. He was fired in July 2010 after his actions were reported to the company.

It’s unclear how widespread Barksdale’s abuses were, but in at least four cases, Barksdale spied on minors’ Google accounts without their consent, according to a source close to the incidents. In an incident this spring involving a 15-year-old boy who he’d befriended, Barksdale tapped into call logs from Google Voice, Google’s Internet phone service, after the boy refused to tell him the name of his new girlfriend, according to our source. After accessing the kid’s account to retrieve her name and phone number, Barksdale then taunted the boy and threatened to call her.

In other cases involving teens of both sexes, Barksdale exhibited a similar pattern of aggressively violating others’ privacy, according to our source. He accessed contact lists and chat transcripts, and in one case quoted from an IM that he’d looked up behind the person’s back. (He later apologized to one for retrieving the information without her knowledge.) In another incident, Barksdale unblocked himself from a Gtalk buddy list even though the teen in question had taken steps to cut communications with the Google engineer.

Further reading


Google Instant Goes Physic – Search Results As You Type

Google today announced a new feature that will allow users to get search results as they type their queries.

Google Instant, which is expected to be rolled out later today (Sept 08), is designed to speed search results. It’s about searching as you type, according to Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of Search Products and User Experience, speaking at a launch event via webcast.

“We think it’s possible to enter a query and get search results as you type,” said Mayer. “It’s search before you type. We’re predicting what query you’re likely to type.”

The announcement comes just weeks after the Internet was abuzz with speculation that Google was testing this feature. Search-engine optimization consultant Rob Ousbey was among the first to notice that Google was testing an instant search feature and kicked off the online chatter when he made a blog post about it.

“As you can imagine, searching even before someone types isn’t easy, which is why we are so excited today to be unveiling Google Instant,” Mayer said. “Instant takes what you have typed already, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real time for those predictions, yielding a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful.”



Karib Cable Coming For Cable Starve Bajans

Barbadians starved for fresh television viewing options, could be getting a major alternative soon.

Just two weeks after LIME, announced they will be rolling out a new internet-based network in Barbados and Jamaica before the end of the year, Barbados Today was able to confirm Karib Cable had apply to the local Telecommunications Division for permission to operate a cable service here. An official of the company which operates in St. Lucia, St.Vincent and Antigua, confirmed yesterday their plan to establish a “locally, managed and operated” company that would be responsible for BDS $65million to $70 million system that would deliver a minimum of 120 channels.

Once permission is granted the official explained, they anticipate it would take no more than 24 months to roll out the service, which could be wired, wireless or a combination of the two to connect customers all over the island. It is anticipated that the Barbados Karib Cable operations would be closer in design to St.Lucia business. In St.Lucia the company offers cable television, broadband Internet connection and fixed line voice services which the customer can subscribe to individually or in package arrangements. St. Lucia customers can  get a package that includes telephone, broadband Internet and cable television for EC $169.00 compare to CBC  Muti-Choice television full package cost of $165.00 for approximately 74 channels.



7-inch iPad Expected By Christmas

Apple is readying another tablet similar to the iPad but with a 7-inch touchscreen for launch as early as the end of this year, according to a major Taiwanese newspaper.

This is the second report of an iPad 2 sighting in Taiwan, and it comes from the island’s Chinese-language Economic Daily News financial newspaper, which was among the first to correctly report that Apple was making a tablet when other news sources said it would be a netbook. The launch of the original iPad proved the paper correct.

Taiwan’s Digitimes newspaper last week reported that Taiwanese companies were starting to assemble a 7-inch iPad for Apple.

The Economic Daily reports that Taiwanese companies have won a number of component contracts for the iPad 2. Chimei Innolux will supply 7-inch LCD screens, which use the same IPS (in-plane switching) technology found in the original iPad, which improves viewing angles and color on LCD screens. Touchscreen technology for the screens will come from Cando Corporation, the report says.

Apple has also tapped Compal Electronics, one of the world’s largest contract laptop computer makers, to assemble the new iPad, the report says.

The companies named in the Economic Daily report declined to comment. Contract manufacturers and component makers normally do not reveal what products they’re working on because failure to maintain secrecy can cause them to miss out on future contracts.



RIM Introduces BlackBerry Torch 9800 Smartphone

RIM (Research In Motion) has introduced the BlackBerry Torch 9800, the company’s first smartphone with a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard and touchscreen.

The new BlackBerry Torch 9800 also features RIM’s BlackBerry 6 operating system with a brand new enhanced Webkit-based Web browser.

The new RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone features a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen (480×360 HVGA+ resolution). The BlackBerry Torch 9800 supports 4GB of built-in memory (expandable to 32GB through the phone’s MicroSD/SDHC card slot) and 512MB of flash memory. The phone also has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and a quad-band antenna support.

The phone features a 5MP camera with flash, autofocus and image stabilization support. The BlackBerry Torch 9800’s built-in GPS allows geotagging of photos snapped through the phone’s camera.

But apart from the BlackBerry Torch 9800’s main attraction of a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard paired with a full touchscreen, the phone’s new BlackBerry 6 operating system and its Webkit-based Web browser are also important highlights.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 sports a new improved user interface with built-in social-networking features, not to mention a universal search. Improved multimedia features includes music library displayed with album art. The new BlackBerry 6 operating system on the Torch 9800 smartphone offers new ways to view and organize photos.

The new BlackBerry 6 OS on the BlackBerry Torch 9800 will work with all previous BlackBerry applications. RIM’s also keen on allowing developers to build BlackBerry 6 OS features into their apps through APIs.

The new BlackBerry Torch 9800 goes on sale in the U.S. on August 12.



Facebook Loses Face Again As Details Of 100 Million Users Are Posted On Hacker’s Blog

A security consultant has published the personal details of 100 million Facebook users online, aiming to highlight privacy issues with the social networking website. Canadian Ron Bowes used code to scan Facebook profiles and amass data not concealed by the user’s privacy settings.

The list contained the URL, name and unique ID of each featured Facebook user, and it quickly found distribution via file-sharing websites including the Pirate Bay. It has been downloaded at least 2,400 times by file sharers.

Facebook told BBC News that the information on the list was already in the public domain, having been sourced from major search engines including Google and Bing. Facebook has since made the list available on their site, so that users can check if they have been included and find the answers to their security concerns.

Privacy groups including Privacy International have argued that the list is proof of the company’s ‘negligence’ and argued that the amount of data made available by the list indicated that users did not understand the privacy settings.

A spokesman for Facebook said: ‘If someone does not want to be found, we also offer a number of controls to enable people not to appear in search on Facebook, in search engines, or share any information with applications’.

One repercussion of the list’s publication is that anyone who has ‘hidden’ their Facebook profile from the search engines can now be viewed if they are friends with anyone on the list.



The Mouseless Mouse

It’s just an infrared laser beam and an infrared camera tracking your hand from the side of a laptop.

Mouseless—the actual name for this device—was  developed  by a Pranav Mistry, a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Fluid Interfaces Group, MIT Media Lab. Pranav is the same researcher who created the Sixth Sense computer interface..

Unlike Sixth Sense, his new Mouseless doesn’t need any special gloves or markings. The IR laser beam has a line cap, and it’s positioned in such a way that it creates a plane on the table in which the computer is positioned. The plane illuminates your fingers as they make contact with the table surface, and the IR camera tracks those contact points. When the user “clicks”, the camera also detects the move and registers it.


Google Gets Its License To Operate In China Renewed

Back in January 2010, Google declared that it was no longer willing to continue censoring search results on, and that it would possibly shut down the Chinese search page, and potentially even its offices in China.

In March, Google backed that talk up by redirecting to, a move that enabled it to keep providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese but from Hong-Kong.

At the end of last month, the Chinese government made it clear to the company that it wasn’t happy with the redirect, and that its Internet Content Provider license would not be renewed if they would keep up this “unacceptable” behavior.

Google flinched, and set up a landing page on the domain that took all visitors of that site who clicked anywhere on said page to the Hong Kong-based search page, enabling users to conduct Web search or continue to use services like music and text translation, which Google can provide locally without filtering.

Google submitted its ICP license renewal application around the same time, hoped for the best, and CEO Eric Schmidt just yesterday said he was confident the Chinese government would renew its license to operate a website. He was right.

Google told Reuters on Friday that Beijing had indeed renewed the license, thus averting a potential shutdown of its search page in the fast-growing Internet market, the world’s biggest with over 400 million estimated users.

The renewal of the license had been in doubt due to the tension between Google and Chinese authorities over alleged hacking of Gmail accounts and censorship of Google search results.


Barbados Own Satellite Atlas –  Thanks To SkyViews!

Skyviews Atlas Barbados is  a convenient book that shows Barbados’ roads, districts and villages in unprecedented detail, allowing the user to navigate easily and precisely to any street in the island.

Uniquely, the Atlas uses satellite imagery, allowing the user to see everything from buildings to beaches. It is believed to be the first such road atlas of its kind in the world.

Uniquely, the Atlas uses satellite imagery, allowing the user to see everything from buildings to beaches. It is believed to be the first such road atlas of its kind in the world.

The Atlas incorporates map pages, a business directory and an extensive street index, enabling the user to find a particular location in a variety of different ways. The map pages offer the ability to follow roads to their exact destination with photographic imagery. The business directory allows people to find a business by service type or business name – the listing tells you how to find it.

The street index lists over 2,000 street names, as well as all districts and beaches in Barbados – with corresponding page numbers and grid references enabling easy reference and navigation. It also includes a removable pocket visitor map showing major highways and popular places of interest.

Skyviews Atlas Barbados is the island’s first known attempt to document and make readily available a comprehensive street map showing roads, districts and bays with designated names,” said Jessica Bensley, Managing Director of Skyviews Caribbean Ltd.

The idea was borne to be of use for everyone using the roads in Barbados – private motorists, commercial vehicles, public service vehicles and visitors and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge on the geographical land mass known as Barbados. It is a convenient and effective solution to the challenge of precisely finding places when using Barbados’ extremely extensive road system“, the executive added.

Skyviews Atlas Barbados is now available island-wide in leading bookstores, gift shops and gas stations. Skyview Atlas Barbados can be found at most branches of Pages’ literature outlets, with the online version HERE. There are also plans eventually to have WAP and Smartphone editions of the Atlas as well as  in a PDF version.


Google Wave Now Open To All

Google has opened Wave to the general public after eight months of invitation-only beta testing.

Australia-based Google Wave team chief Lars Rasmussen announced the “opening” at the internet giant’s annual developers conference in San Francisco. The company has claimed the product developed by the same Sydney team responsible for Google Maps has potential to turn email into a powerful tool for collaborative exchanges and ramp up productivity. But early interest in the product’s beta launch quickly cooled off amidst uncertainty on how to use it to its full potential.

Wave merges email, online chat, social networking and “wiki” style group access to web pages or documents. It allows anyone in the exchange to edit documents, add digital content, or comment on others’ work at any time.

“You can have 12 people interacting in a Wave at the same time without people talking over each other or stepping on each others’ toes,” D’Alesandre said.

Google Wave product manager Gregory D’Alesandre made his case late last year that Wave would help “liberate” workers from constraints of old-fashioned ways at firms.

“We really believe this is a better way to communicate; [it’s] where technology is going.”


Google Trumps The Competition – Add Facebook To Real Time Search

The reports have emerged that Google has finally done a deal with Facebook which will see Facebook content emerging in Google’s real time search.

After securing a deal with Twitter in December last year (and MySpace also) which saw Google take the lead in the real time search space, this latest initiative will help cement its position forefront.

At this stage, reports suggest that Google will only be indexing status updates from Facebook pages and not users status updates. There are probably a few reasons for this – the noise, privacy etc etc.

What this does mean is that businesses can start looking at Facebook as an important search engine marketing strategy. Where in the past, many businesses resigned themselves to the fact that Facebook did reach the right audience, Google’s indexing of updates extends the reach.

There are already over 3 million active Facebook pages which have some where in excess of 5.3 billion fans. Most Facebook page are used by businesses to promote products and services, so setting up a Facebook page for your business is now more important than ever.

I’m interested to know how this fits into Google’s plans with its own real time life streaming tool – Google Buzz which it recently launched. Until Buzz reaches a critical mass – Google will continue to focus on where the content is.

With the indexing of Facebook content already underway, it’ll be interesting to hear what Microsoft plans to do given the existing relationship between the two companies.


Google Takes Another Step Towards Turning Into Microsoft

If, like millions of others, you use Gmail, Google’s webmail service, you will have been startled last week by the sudden appearance of a cuckoo in your email nest.

When you log in to collect your mail, an invitation to “try Buzz in Gmail?” — “no setup needed” — pops up. There’s no indication of what this “Buzz” is, but if you click “try” a window opens saying you’re now “following” a number of people and that a number of people are “following” you. Below this comes a stream of Twitter-like postings from your followees.

This will come as a surprise, because you have no recollection of making any decision to follow anyone, or of soliciting followers yourself. And this is in fact the case: Google has simply gone through your email inbox and designated some of those with whom you correspond frequently as followees. And you were at no stage consulted about any of this.

Google Buzz is a new social-networking tool developed by the search giant and designed to undermine Twitter and Facebook. It’s breathtakingly crass and intrusive and takes astonishing liberties with your privacy, of which more in a moment. But what’s even more significant is how it was introduced, and what that tells us about Google — which is that it is well on its way to becoming the next Microsoft. In earlier times, Google would have developed Buzz as a “beta” product and offered it as an option on the top of the Gmail menu for those who wished to try it, as they do with the calendar, docs, reader and other services. But with Buzz they simply inserted it into Gmail with only the most enigmatic of warnings, and suddenly users find that, somehow, they’ve been enrolled in Google’s own Twitter/Facebook competitor.

Privacy implications
If this doesn’t seem like a big deal, think about the privacy implications. By default the list of those you are following (by implication those with whom you are in regular contact) is publicly available in your Google profile to everyone who visits it. And this information itself comes with helpful “follow” links, which provides a way of harvesting the contact lists of other people. You can hide the list of unsolicited followers/followees from your profile page, but to do so you have to click “edit profile” and uncheck the box next to “display the list of people I’m following and people following me”. However, this option isn’t obvious in the Buzz window itself.

Now think of the implications. Of course it’s potentially embarrassing for people who conduct personal relationships or confidential business via email, but it could also be life-threatening. Suppose you’re a political activist living in an authoritarian country. You use Gmail because it’s slightly less risky than other systems. Many of your Gmail contacts are other activists, inside and outside your country. Under the Buzz defaults, they would suddenly be exposed to anyone who checked your Google profile.

In the real world, the devil is in the details. In cyberspace, it’s in the defaults. And the default settings in Buzz are so crass that one cannot imagine they are the product of corporate carelessness.

Bundling Buzz
The Google boys are smart and know exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been enviously watching the stupendous growth of Twitter and Facebook and wondering how Google can cut them off at the knees before they become really unstoppable — which brings us back to Microsoft.

In 1995, Bill Gates & Co became alar­med by the rise of Netscape, the start-up whose Navigator web browser was taking the world by storm. Microsoft’s own browser, Internet Explorer, was a feeble imitation, so the company decided to attack Netscape not by building a better product, but by integrating Explorer into the Windows operating system, thereby making it the default browser for most computer users. In other words, they “leveraged” their dominance in one market to wipe out Netscape in another.

All of which suggests an interpretation of what Google is up to with Buzz. It’s too late to tackle Twitter or Facebook on their own terms, so the only option is to “leverage” an area where Google is strong.

Gmail is that area, which is why Buzz was bundled into it with so little ceremony. Bill Gates once said that Google was the only company that reminded him of Microsoft in its early days. How right he was.


Google Buzzing To Get A Greater Grip

Determined to put the rest of the globe’s Internet companies out of business, Google is now stepping on the toes of social networking websites Facebook and Twitter by launching its own service, named Buzz.

The social-sharing service will offer Google e-mail (Gmail) users, an estimated 176 million people, new functionality to share content, pictures and video and to follow and be followed, in a close resemblance to the successful format found on Twitter micro-blogging.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, which allow content and link sharing-between online groups, are responsible for an increasing amount of web traffic between them. Google wants that traffic back and, like its rival Apple, wants everyone to live, breathe, work and play solely in its own digital ecosystem.

Like other social networks, Google Buzz allows users to postreal-time updates from the Google-sphere of Picassa, YouTube, Gmail and its mobile platform, Android. Also included is the ability to post to Buzz from competing social sites such as Twitter. In what seems to  be adding to the existing excess of social-sharing websites, Google hasn’t really introduced anything new or revolutionary. The company has simply reaffirmed its position on controlling everything on the Internet.

Co-founder Sergey Brin had this to say about Buzz, “Extracting signal from noise is one of our core competencies, it’s one of the key things we do in our web search product every day. And I think that now peoples’ personal communications are getting to be on a scale comparable to that of web search, so those technologies are becoming far more critical. We’re going to see which articles you like, which ones you comment on, which posts you read, things like that. And I think we’ll be able to try to tailor things to you that you’re likely to be interested in.”

In other words, Google wants to know what you are reading, what you are talking about, to whom, and when, so that it can put more relevant ads on your screen. This targeted relevancy will net them more dollars from companies that are seeking niche markets or specific user groups.

Facebook and AOL are collaborating further by developing their instant messaging systems and real-time chat. AOL plans to integrate Facebook chat into its AIM (instant message) service, which is used by 17 million people per month. Since Google has upped its effort in steamrollering everyone else, we’re likely to see more web companies joining forces.


You Don’t Own Your Computer Microsoft Does

Software monopolist Microsoft’s Windows 7 Activation Technologies (WAT) feature intended to combat unauthorised copies of the OS will contact Microsoft every 90 days to keep you in line.

According to this blog post, the Vole developed the WAT update to prevent what it calls “activation exploits” and “will detect more than 70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits. Activation exploits are sometimes called ‘hacks’, and attempt to bypass or compromise Windows’ activation technologies.”

To overcome those exploits, the Vole has engineered a periodic validation that enables Microsoft to inspect your computer. Microsoft says, “The Update will run periodic validations (initially every 90 days). During validation, Windows will download the latest ‘signatures’ that are used to identify new activation exploits – much like an anti-virus service. When tampering, disabling, or missing licensing files are discovered, the WAT Update runs a check and repair weekly to ensure that the licensing files are properly repaired.”

Most users will probably download this Volish spyware using Microsoft’s auto-update without realising it, but it is voluntary so you might want to make sure that you track exactly what you’re downloading through Windows Update and turn this one off.

If Microsoft does think you have a dodgy version of Windows 7 it will ping out irritating notifications by “displaying informational dialog boxes with options for the customer to either get more information, or acquire genuine Windows.”

The WAT validation doesn’t stop there. Even if you are running a legitimately purchased copy of Windows, your system will check-in to make sure there’s no funny stuff going on. If there is, you will be downgraded to non-genuine status, your background wallpaper will default to black and you will have to prove to Microsoft that your copy is genuine or buy another one.

While Microsoft intends to roll out this WAT update snooping program in most parts of the world by the end of February, it won’t be pushing it in China until summer. Quite why Microsoft is delaying the rollout of this update in the Middle Kingdom remains unclear given that China is the country with the highest rate of counterfeit and hacked versions of the Vole’s software.

It might be Microsoft’s idea of a diplomatic approach following China’s censorship problems with Google, to demonstrate that the company is willing to be flexible in its approach to its Asian customers.



Google Rolls Out Nexus One

After weeks of speculation, Google Inc. finally unveiled its Nexus One smart phone at a packed press conference on Tuesday, showing off features, applications and performance the company claims push the possibilities of mobile devices.

Among the most notable new features are voice control over functions like e-mail and texting, ultra high resolution, 3D graphics and souped-up processing speed.

“It’s the exemplification of what’s possible on mobile phones through Android,” said Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management. “The Nexus One belongs in an emerging category of devices, which we call ‘superphones.'”

The handset, designed by HTC, is thinner than a pencil and features a 3.7-inch display screen. It features a one gigahertz processor, a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and video, and a new version of Google’s Android operating system (2.1).

The buzz surrounding the Nexus One has been building since concrete details began to leak last month. Many have speculated it would represent the first real threat to the dominance of Apple Inc.’s iPhone or cannibalize sales from other Android-based devices, like Motorola’s recently introduced Droid.

Google sidestepped these questions on Tuesday, saying only that they’re providing more consumer choice.

The Nexus One represents Google’s boldest step into the mobile space to date, an effort to maintain its online dominance, as Internet use rapidly shifts from the desktop to the handset.

Google said it will sell the device directly online beginning today, at The phone runs $529 without a service agreement or $179 with a contract through T-Mobile. The company also announced on Tuesday that Verizon Wireless and Vodafone will being providing service for the phone in the U.S. and Europe, respectively, starting this spring.


Google Unveils Superphone Nexus One Today

Google’s first high-end mobile phone, dubbed the Nexus One, will be officially unveiled today at the company’s California headquartersFor the world’s gadget lovers, it looks like being a happy new year, with the two most innovative technology companies of the past decade set to launch eagerly awaited devices within weeks of each other.

Today marks the unveiling of the first of the pair, with Google due to reveal its first high-end mobile phone, dubbed the Nexus One, at its California headquarters. This launch is set to completely overshadow the Consumer Electronics Show, due to kick off in Las Vegas later this week.

Then, in two weeks’ time, Apple is expected to reveal its tablet computer. First, though, Apple will face questions over whether Nexus One threatens its iPhone, which has so far set the standard in the smartphone industry. The battle between the pair is well-timed for a UK audience, with Vodafone this month due to become the third operator to get the rights to sell the iPhone. One industry insider described Google’s device as “a welcome rival to the iPhone (that) will keep Apple on its toes”.

Speculation that Google was developing its own mobile phone re-emerged in December when the company handed devices to its employees to test. Rumours have reached fever pitch, with talk yesterday that it has signed a deal to include the music streaming service Spotify on the device, while others expect a more radical announcement. One blogger even suggested Google could launch a tablet computer to rival Apple.

One upgrade that is almost certain is another upgrade of its operating system Android. So far the development of the Android software has been the extent of Google’s public ambitions in mobile. Android was originally a California technology start-up that made software for mobiles.

Google bought the company in 2005 and used it as the base for its push into the sector. It was built as an open platform, for any operator to use and to allow developers to create applications that could call on any part of a phone’s functions from calling and texting to photographing.

Beyond the basic needs of a mobile phone, Android is designed to run the internet and other applications more quickly. If the expected system upgrade is announced it will be the fourth in a year, as it sought to make the host devices more powerful and iron out early glitches.


‘Huge Deal’ As Twitter Finally Turns Profit

Twitter has reached profitability after signing deals with Google and Microsoft to make the micro-blogging service searchable on the internet, BusinessWeek magazine reported.

BusinessWeek, which was bought in October by financial news agency Bloomberg, said Twitter had signed a $US15 million ($16.8 million) data-mining deal with Google and a $US10 million agreement with Microsoft.

“The deals were huge,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek quoted an unidentified person “familiar with the company’s finances” as saying.

“With two scoops of the pen, a lot of revenue came in.”

The magazine said the agreements to make Twitter messages known as “tweets” searchable by Google and Microsoft’s new search engine Bing “carry sufficient value to help Twitter achieve a small profit for 2009”.

It said Twitter also achieved profitability by renegotiating deals with telecommunications companies to bring down costs.

Twitter has been working on ways to make money from its globally popular service and revenue-producing ideas mentioned to date include selling premium accounts that businesses could use for marketing or image building.

The San Francisco-based startup has won millions of users since the service that allows people to pepper one another with 140-character-or-less messages launched in August 2006.


Is Your Cell Phone Spying On You?

Don’t talk: your cell phone may be eavesdropping. Thanks to recent developments in “spy phone” software, a do-it-yourself spook can now wirelessly transfer a wiretapping program to any mobile phone. The programs are inexpensive, and the transfer requires no special skill. The would-be spy needs to get his hands on your phone to press keys authorizing the download, but it takes just a few minutes—about the time needed to download a ringtone.

This new generation of -user-friendly spy-phone software has become widely available in the last year—and it confers stunning powers. The latest programs can silently turn on handset microphones even when no call is being made, allowing a spy to listen to voices in a room halfway around the world. Targets are none the wiser: neither call logs nor phone bills show records of the secretly transmitted data.

More than 200 companies sell spy-phone software online, at prices as low as $50 (a few programs cost more than $300). Vendors are loath to release sales figures. But some experts—private investigators and consultants in counter-wiretapping, computer-security software and telecommunications market research—claim that a surprising number of people carry a mobile that has been compromised, usually by a spouse, lover, parent or co-worker. Many employees, experts say, hope to discover a supervisor’s dishonest dealings and tip off the top boss anonymously.

Max Maiellaro, head of Agata Christie Investigation, a private-investigation firm in Milan, estimates that 3 percent of mobiles in France and Germany are tapped, and about 5 percent or so in Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain. James Atkinson, a spy-phone expert at Granite Island Group, a security consultancy in Gloucester, Massachusetts, puts the number of tapped phones in the U.S. at 3 percent. (These approximations do not take into account government wiretapping.) Even if these numbers are inflated, clearly many otherwise law-abiding citizens are willing to break wiretapping laws.

Spyware thrives on iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smart phones because they have ample processing power. In the United States, the spread of GSM networks, which are more vulnerable than older technologies, has also enlarged the pool of potential victims. Spyware being developed for law-enforcement agencies will accompany a text message and automatically install itself in the victim’s phone when the message is opened, according to an Italian developer who declined to be identified. One worry is that the software will find its way into the hands of criminals.

The current predicament is partly the result of decisions by Apple, Microsoft and Research In Motion (producer of the BlackBerry) to open their phones to outside application-software developers, which created the opening for spyware. Antivirus and security programs developed for computers require too much processing power, even for smart phones. Although security programs are available for phones, by and large users haven’t given the threat much thought. If the spying keeps spreading, that may change soon.

13th Nov 2009

Google And Yahoo Lobby FDA On Drug Advertising


In what sounds like a very unhealthy union, Internet giants like Google and Yahoo are teaming up with the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry in the US to lobby federal regulators into removing restrictions and making it that much easier to advertise and flog drugs online.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is hearing the cash-crazed pleas of scores of drug and advertising execs over two days of meetings, as it considers whether it will relax rules for online drug ads. Currently the firms are required to provide a detailed list of the product’s possible side effects, as is the case for TV advertising.

The Big Pharmas have complained they can’t fit the plethora of possible side-effects neatly into two line text ads, and want the government to help them do away with the bother involved in such pro consumer regulations.

Luckily, consumer advocates have stepped up to the plate by demanding that instead of succumbing to cynical efforts to restrict potential punters’ information about medical products, the FDA should respond by upping its level of current enforcement, and making the pharma industry pay for that extra effort.

After all, it’s not like the drug companies don’t have the cash. Last year alone pharmaceutical firms splashed out over $4.3 billion bombarding the American public with medical adverts, although only a paltry three per cent of that money went towards web ads.

But of course, with money like that floating about, web advertising firms like Google and Yahoo certainly don’t want to miss out on the miracle money pills, and so they too have started lobbying the FDA on behalf of the drug makers.

27th Oct 2009

Internet Change For Non-English Addresses


The Internet is set to undergo one of the biggest changes in its four-decade history with the expected approval this week of international domain names – or addresses – that can be written in languages other than English, an official said on Monday.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN – the non-profit group that oversees domain names – is holding a meeting this week in Seoul. Domain names are the monikers behind every Web site, e-mail address and Twitter post, such as “.com” and other suffixes.

One of the key issues to be taken up by ICANN’s board at this week’s gathering is whether to allow for the first time entire Internet addresses to be in scripts that are not based on Latin letters. That could potentially open up the Web to more people around the world as addresses could be in characters as diverse as Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Hindi and Cyrillic – in which Russian is written.

“This is the biggest change technically to the Internet since it was invented 40 years ago,” Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board, told reporters, calling it a “fantastically complicated technical feature.” He said he expects the board to grant approval on Friday, the conference’s final day.

The Internet’s roots are traced to experiments at a US university in 1969 but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that its use began expanding beyond academia and research institutions to the public.

Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s new president and CEO, said that if the change is approved, ICANN would begin accepting applications for non-English domain names and that the first entries into the system would likely come sometime in mid 2010.

Enabling the change, Thrush said, is the creation of a translation system that allows multiple scripts to be converted to the right address.

“We’re confident that it works because we’ve been testing it now for a couple of years,” he said. “And so we’re really ready to start rolling it out.” Of the 1.6 billion Internet users worldwide, Beckstrom – a former chief of U.S. cybersecurity – said that more than half use languages that have scripts based on alphabets other than Latin.

“So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world’s Internet users today, but more than half of probably the future users as the use of the Internet continues to spread,” he said. Beckstrom, in earlier remarks to conference participants, recalled that many people had said just three to five years ago that using non-Latin scripts for domain names would be impossible to achieve.

“But you the community and the policy groups and staff and board have worked through them, which is absolutely incredible,” he said.

26th Oct 2009

Internet Giants Joined Forces To Fight e-mail Scams

Millions of internet users have received messages offering them a huge financial reward if they help to release money trapped in a foreign bank account. And, although the majority of these e-mails are deleted, the fraudsters still find a sufficient number of gullible Britons to cost the country millions a year.

Nigeria’s anti-corruption police have now joined forces with the world’s leading technology companies, including Microsoft, to create a system that will warn e-mail users when they are the target of a scam.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says that the operation has already shut down 800 e-mail addresses used by the criminals to send messages and has uncovered 18 fraud gangs. Farida Waziri, head of the commission, said that it would have the capacity eventually to track down 5,000 e-mail addresses used by the criminals every month and be able to warn 250,000 potential victims at a time. Ms Waziri said the aim of Operation Eagle Claw was to take Nigeria out of the Top Ten list of countries with the highest incidence of fraudulent e-mails.

The so-called 419 advance-fee frauds, named after the relevant article in Nigeria’s penal code, involves fraudsters asking for money to pave the way for the release of a much greater sum.

Experts have estimated that the criminals receive just one reply from every 12.5 million e-mails they send. But the rewards can be massive.

Social networks such as Facebook have been hijacked recently by the fraudsters, who have taken over the accounts of users and then asked “friends” to send money to help them out of a crisis.

Microsoft said it was working with the EFCC on internet security and piracy and several Nigerian investigators have already had internet forensics training at the company’s headquarters in Washington State. The Nigerian Government is also working with Yahoo! and Google to monitor online traffic.The Nigerian Government is keen to counteract its image as the epicentre of 419 scams. Last month it banned the film District 9, which depicts Nigerians as gangsters and cannibals, and demanded an apology from Sony after a PlayStation advert implied they were fraudsters.

20th Oct 2009

RIM Lauching Blackberry Storm2

BUSINESS-US-RIM-BLACKBERRYSTORMBlackBerry maker Research In Motion is launching a new version of its touchscreen Storm smartphone, marking its latest move in the fight with Apple’s iPhone.

The Storm2, as the device is known, is “a biggie for us,” RIM co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said in an interview.

The smartphone retains the original Storm’s clickable touchscreen interface, but improves upon it with faster typing and “multitouch” capabilities, which allow users to type on more than just one part of the screen at a time.

The phone is enabled for next-generation networks and also has Wi-Fi capability like some of the other devices in the BlackBerry lineup.

Mobile communications giant Vodafone announced on Thursday that the Storm2 will be available in time for the Christmas gift buying season in seven European countries and South Africa.

RIM’s announcement was not a complete surprise: Balsillie first said in May that a new version of the Storm was in the works, given the “huge success” of the original smartphone.

UBS Investment Research analyst Phillip Huang said he thinks the Vodafone announcement is already largely embedded in expectations. He expects U.S. carrier Verizon to announce the Storm2 for the holiday season as well.

“We expect launches for Bold2 by U.S. and Canadian operators in late October,” in addition to the Storm2, Huang wrote in a note to clients. The BlackBerry Bold is a high-end handset aimed at RIM’s base of professional users.

The Storm2 news comes as Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM finds itself in increased competition with the iPhone.

Apple is expanding its smartphone’s availability by offering it to a bigger number of wireless carriers. This means RIM has found itself forced to fight for previously uncontested territory.

Balsillie said the Storm2 will be key to maintaining RIM’s growth in the retail consumer market, which it is increasingly emphasizing as it expands from its core base of business, government and other professional users.

“Obviously, we want to maintain and extend our leadership, there’s no question,” he said.

Late last month, RIM reported results and an outlook that disappointed investors and sent its shares tumbling more than 15 percent.

Analysts said increased competition in North America from the likes of Apple, Palm and Motorola Inc was a top concern for RIM’s future.

New BlackBerry models are crucial if RIM is to succeed and Balsillie said the company is well prepared.

“We have a really rich (product) road map … and we aren’t slowing down,” he said.

17 June 2009

Digicel Revenues Hit $1.7B Up 11% Growth

Digicel, the largest telecommunications operator in the Caribbean and recent entrant to the Central American market, today (June 8th) announced that revenues for its fiscal year ended 31 March 2009 were $1.73bn, up 11% on the previous year. Subscribers rose 9% to 7.1 million.

Digicel’s full year EBITDA margin rose to 40%, indicating the maturing of its successful rollouts in markets including El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago – and demonstrating Digicel’s track record of profitable expansion, combining strong revenue growth with tight control of costs.

These numbers relate to Digicel Group Limited which operates in 24 markets in the Caribbean and in El Salvador.

Successful launches in Central America
Recent launches in Honduras (November 2008) and Panama (December 2008) via its sister company, Digicel Holdings (Central America) Ltd., have achieved over 1.1 million subscribers in less than five months, bringing total subscribers across 26 markets in the Caribbean and Central America to 8.2 million.

Worldwide, Digicel operates in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the South Pacific. The subscriber base worldwide grew from 7.1 million to 9.2 million in total representing a growth rate of an impressive 34%.

Colm Delves, Digicel Group CEO, comments; “It’s been another great year for Digicel. We have again over delivered on our targets – and our brand is recognizable for providing best value, best service and the best network in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the South Pacific.

“Our focus continues to be on ensuring that our customers benefit from being with the Bigger, Better network and that – day in, day out – they can enjoy our innovative value offers and promotions, have access to the very best range of handsets available anywhere in the world and are supported by our award-winning customer service.”

Key achievements in the year include:

·    Successful market launches in British Virgin Islands (November 2008), Honduras (November 2008) and Panama (December 2008) with Honduras and Panama gaining 1.1 million subscribers in less than 5 months.

·    Achieving two million subscriber milestones in both Haiti and Jamaica. In the case of Haiti, this represents a market share of approximately 65% with mobile penetration in the country rocketing from 5% to over 30% largely due to the entrance of Digicel to the market. In Jamaica meanwhile, with its market share standing at approximately 75%, Digicel has continued to grow its customer base even in the face of increased competition.

·    Digicel is pioneering green technology through a number of initiatives including the introduction of the world’s first solar-powered mobile handsets, the provision of solar-powered chargers, the use of alternative energy to power base stations and the use of degradable retail bags across all markets.

·    Digicel raised US$350 million in a bond issue which provided funds to acquire a 38% stake in its sister company, Digicel Holdings (Central America) Ltd. This was the first corporate emerging market high yield offering successfully completed since July 2008 demonstrating investors’ continued faith in Digicel’s execution of its business plans.


June o9 2009

Apple Launches Faster 3G S iPhone

Apple Inc. introduced a faster model of the iPhone and cut the price of its current version, responding to competition from Research In Motion Ltd. and Palm Inc.’s Pre.

The new iPhone 3G S opens applications and Web pages up to twice as fast as the current version, Apple said yesterday at its developers’ conference in San Francisco.

A 16-gigabyte version of the new iPhone will cost $199, while the 32-gigabyte model costs $299. The device adds a compass and a 3-megapixel camera that can record video. It also provides controls for voice dialing.

The current 8-gigabyte model will now cost $99 – half its old price.The current 16-gigabyte model will now cost $149, down from $299, AT&T said. The iPhone 3G S will be available June 19.


Features/Improved Features

  • Improved performance
  • 3-megapixel autofocus camera
  • Video recording
  • Voice Control
  • Digital compass
  • Cut, Copy & Paste
  • MMS23
  • Spotlight Search
  • Landscape keyboard
  • Voice Memos
  • Source:


    Feb 6th 2009

    Windows 7 To Ship In Six Flavours

    Microsoft plans to release six versions of its new Windows 7 operating system, the company announced Tuesday.

    Windows 7 screen shot
    (click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

    The software maker said it will ship Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Ultimate for the consumer markets. An Enterprise edition will be tailored for large companies, while Windows 7 Professional will be available for general business use. Windows 7 Home Basic will be released only in emerging markets, and Windows Starter Edition will be available for limited types of hardware, according to Microsoft.

    “We have a customer base of over 1 billion along with many partners, so it’s important to make sure the right edition of Windows with the right features set is available for them,” said Mike Ybarra, Microsoft’s general manager for Windows, in a statement.

    Microsoft is expected to ship Windows 7 in late 2009 or early 2010. The company recommends Windows 7 Home Premium for most consumers, and Windows 7 Professional for home-office workers and small-business employees. Windows 7 Professional contains many of the advanced security features found in Windows 7 Enterprise, Ybarra said.

    “For those running Windows Vista Business, it will be a very logical move to Windows 7 Professional,” said Ybarra.

    Microsoft has designed Windows 7 to be lighter and more resource-efficient than Vista, with an eye to capturing the nascent market for so-called netbook PCs. The netbook category includes low-powered notebooks designed mostly for Web surfing and e-mail use. Vista’s inability to fit on netbooks has hurt Microsoft’s revenue, with Windows sales down 8% in the most recent quarter.

    “At beta we’ve had a lot of people running our most premium, full-featured offering on the small-notebook PCs with good experiences and good results,” said Ybarra.

    Microsoft has yet to release pricing details for Windows 7.

    Source: techweb

    Oct 16 2008

    Aussie Couple Taking On  Computer Giants

    A husband and wife team are preparing for all out war with the likes of Dell and HP in the burgeoning market for low-cost PCs.

    John Nicholls, 52, and his wife Jeanne, 47, have developed a line of computers – dubbed Hot-E – small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

    Built around the “cloud computing” mantra that has surged in popularity in recent years, the $US100 computers contain the bare minimum horse power, with most processing and data storage handled by a remote server accessed over the internet. Their target markets are cost- and power-conscious small and medium businesses, schools and developing countries where fully-fledged PCs are prohibitively expensive, impractical or draw too much power.

    In a telephone interview, Nicholls, a commercial pilot until the collapse of Ansett in 2001, said his company, ThinLinX, had just partnered with a “major, global company” that predominantly made software.

    He would not give further details or comment on whether the company in question was Microsoft, saying he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement. The company would be making its own announcement within the next month. Formed in 2003 with money from an angel investor and two Commonwealth Government grants, ThinLinX has spent the past five years undertaking research and development and “perfecting the design”.

    Nicholls released his first thin computers 2½ years ago and began selling them through the ThinLinX website for $250 each. He is now on the verge of launching a new, faster range, with the entry-level model selling for “just under $US100”.

    “We just reached the break-even point recently … It’s been a very long, bumpy road to say the least, and a lot of money,” said Nicholls, who has been involved with IT since the early 1980s when he developed a modem for his Atari computer.

    Cloud computing has become a hot topic this year as broadband connections improve and companies such as Google and Microsoft release software applications that live on the internet instead of locally on the user’s PC.



    Oct 8 2008

    Iphone Newest Competiton The Blackberry Storm

    Photo credit –

    Research In Motion has announced today their newest smart phone. The Blackberry Storm.

    The smartphones usually gear towards the corporate market has focus its target more so this time around on the consumer market as it gears up for direct competition against the iphone. With a touch screen display [first for its kind] a 3.2 megapixel camera and multimedia functions, the Storm fills in where the iphone fell down.


    • “Clickable” touch screen – responds like a physical keyboard
    • 3.25 display screen
    • 480 x 360 resolution
    • mobile streaming capabilities enhanced
    • 3.2 megapixel camera
    • Preloaded custom built social networking applications like Facebook
    • Microsoft Word, Excel & Microsoft Powerpoint editing
    • 1GB memory – up to 16GB with micro SD cards
    • 3G connectivity
    • Stereo Bluetooth support
    • Removable battery
    • Cut & Paste

    For specs click here

    June 27th 2008

    Bill Gates Exits Microsoft Today

    The Microsoft co-founder and driving force in the company, spends his last day at the office on Friday.

    However Gates, 52, remains chairman of the Microsoft board of directors and the company’s largest shareholder.

    After decades devoted to Microsoft, Gates turns his attention full time to the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he established with his wife.

    Paul Allen, who teamed with Gates to start Microsoft in a garage in 1975, will be among those “roasting” his childhood friend at a gala dinner affair Friday night.

    Gates leaves Microsoft to wrestle with a fast-changing computer era and growing challenges from Internetjuggernaut Google and longtime rival Apple, which makes Macintosh computers.

    Three people will essentially fill the void Gates leaves behind at Microsoft.

    Gate’s job as chief software architect is being handled by Ray Ozzie. Craig Mundie inherited Gate’s chief research and strategy officer duties, while former Harvard University classmate Steve Ballmer is chief executive officer at the software colossus based in Redmond, Washington.

    Microsoft is losing Gates at a time when “cloud computing” is shaking the packaged software foundation on which the company’s fortune is built.

    Cloud computing refers to a trend in which firms such as Google and let people use programs on the Internet instead of having to install and maintain software on their own machines.

    Microsoft competes in the “software as a service” arena, but tends to combine offerings with packaged products in a “software-plus” marketing model, according to analysts.

    Adapted from Times Of India

    June 13th

    Google, Yahoo Strike Ad Deal

    Just hours after saying it ended talks with Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc. announced that it will start running advertising from Google Inc. alongside Yahoo search results.

    The nonexclusive deal unites the online advertising businesses of Google and Yahoo and comes as a setback to Microsoft, which had been trying to acquire all or part of Yahoo to strengthen its own onlinebusiness and compete better with Google.

    Yahoo said it expects the deal to generate $250 million to $450 million in operating cash flow during the first 12 months, and that it represents an annual revenue opportunity for Yahoo of $800 million. The deal is for an initial period of four years, with an option for Yahoo to extend it for a further six years.

    The deal was announced after Yahoo said earlier Thursday that it had ended its talks with Microsoft over a possible investment by the software maker. Yahoo said it ended the talks because Microsoft was interested only in acquiring Yahoo’s search business, not the entire company.

    “Clearly it is time to move on,” Yahoo CEO and cofounderJerry Yang said during a conference call. “We believe this agreement with Google helps us to do so by strengthening our competitive position and generating attractive financial benefits.”

    Yang and Sue Decker, Yahoo’s president, said the deal will allow Yahoo to capitalize on growth in the online advertising market and “the convergence of search and display advertising.”

    They emphasized the flexible terms of the deal for Yahoo. Yahoo will be able to choose the search term queries for which Google’sadvertisements will appear, and also the pages on which they appear. The deal applies to the U.S. and Canada only and is nonexclusive, so Yahoo could cut deals with other companies and can also keep selling ads from its own Panama advertising platform.

    Advertisers will pay Google for its ads that appear by Yahoo searches, and Google will then pay a portion of the revenue to Yahoo, Decker said. “We improve our access to the paid search universe, but on terms that work for us,” she said.

    Source – Computer World

    June 9th 2008

    Apple Unveiled New 3G iPhone

    The next-generation iPhonewill be faster, sleeker, friendlier, larger, smaller, prettier, smoother, and shinier than anything we’ve come up withso far,” said Apple marketing specialist Kurt Chen. “Is it worth risking your life to own one? We think so.”

    For those who aren’t aware of what is happening in the tech world of smartphones, Apple has introduced its new 2.0/3G iphone at World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco today.

    So what does the new Apple media player-mobile phone have for us.

    Apple iPhone 3G

    Apple iphone 3G [Credit: Apple]

    Features/Improved Features

    • Glossy black plastic back, metal buttons at side
    • Screen – 3.5 inches
    • Camera 2.0 megapixels
    • Higher speed 3G connection
    • Satellite positing system – GPS
    • 8GB Storage
    • 300 hrs standby time
    • 5 hrs browsing – video 7 hrs – audio 24hrs
    • Improved audio
    • E-mail messages deleted  in bulk
    • E-mail photos save to photo library
    • Scientific calculator buttons added
    • News/ Business applications
    • ebay Auctions

    Retail price $US199 worldwide – 16GB $299 available in white

    Launch date July 11 2008

    For more check out – Here Comes The New iphone Apps

    Apple Store

    May 28th 2008

    Multi-Touch Screens For Next Microsoft Windows Version

    The next version of Windows will support multi-touch touch screens, Microsoft announced Tuesday night at the Wall Street Journal‘s All Things Digital Conference. The inclusion of multi-touch capabilities in Windows marks the surest sign yet that touch will join the mouse and keyboard as a common interface in computing.

    “Touch-enabled surfaces are popping up everywhere, including laptop touch pads, cell phones, remote controls, GPSdevices, and more,” Chris Flores, a director on Microsoft’s Windows client communications team, wrote in a blog post. “What becomes even more compelling is when this experience is delivered to the PC, on a wide variety of Windows notebooks, in all-in-one PC’s, as well as in external monitors.”

    Microsoft has a number of touch technologies in development at Microsoft Research. Earlier this month, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates demonstrated a multi-touch office whiteboard called TouchWall.

    Microsoft released an accompanying demonstration video that showed the capabilities being used on both a laptop and desktop PC.

    Gestures like pulling fingers apart or closer together and moving fingers across the screen enlarge, shrink, rotate, or move images in a photo gallery application, play a piano in a music application, and paint a picture in a version of Microsoft Paint. Users will apparently be able to open applications with a simple touch of on-screen icons.

    Another demonstration showed off a mapping application that used hand gestures to rotate a globe and zoom in and out on a map via touch gestures. That application has a ring-shaped taskbarthat allows the user to, for example, switch the map from a map view to a satellite view by touching an icon, rather than clicking on one with a mouse.

    The unveiling of multi-touch features in Windows 7 is part of an orchestrated effort this week to begin detailing the upcoming operating system, which is due in late 2009 or early 2010.

    Also on Tuesday, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 would support the same devices and applications supported by Windows Vista and run under the same hardware requirements.

    Source – TechWeb

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    May 27th 2008

    Solar-Powered iPhones & iPods A Possibility

    Owners of Apple devices such as iPods and iPhones may soon be able to charge them up by leaving them out in the sun.

    Applehas filed a patent for a technology which would enable a layer of solar cells to be inserted under a touch-sensitive screen of the sort used in the iPhone.

    The patent, should it be awarded, has the potential to make the iPhone a truly portable device, dispensing with the need for it to be connected to a power supply by wires.

    There is usually little room for solar panels on portable devices, once space taken up by the screen and keypad is taken into account – a fact which has plagued previous attempts to power MP3 players and mobile phones via the sun.

    Apple’s patent would get round the problem by stacking the solar cells underneath both the touch-sensitive screen and the LCD, according to The New York Times. That would potentially allow the full 2.4 by 4.5 inch glass face of the iPhone to operate as a solar panel.

    If the application, entitled ‘Solar cells on portable devices’, is successful, it has the potential to increase dramatically the battery life of iPhones and iPods. According to Apple, the existing iPhone battery gives about eight hours of talk time and seven hours of video, but once a faster, 3G version is released, the device will become even more power-hungry.

    May 6th 2008

    Yahoo Stock Plunges After Microsoft Withdraws Bid

    After Microsoft withdrew its $33-a-share offer for Yahoo on Saturday, the question was how far Yahoo’s stock would drop. On Monday, the markets gave an initial answer: plenty.

    Yahoo’s shares closed down 15 percent, or $4.30, at $24.37 after closing at $28.67 on Friday — a day when the companies were said to be escalating their talks on a merger. The shares recovered some ground after losing about 20 percent at the start of Monday’s trading.

    Microsoft’s own shares edged down 16 cents to close at $29.08, from their Friday close of $29.24. And shares of Google— a rival of both companies but now a potential partner of Yahoo — were up $13.61, or 2.3 percent, at $594.90.

    How long Yahoo’s stock will stay down will largely depend on the company’s next moves. And its successful resistance to Microsoft’s pursuit set up a clear challenge for Yahoo’s chief executive, Jerry Yang: prove to investors that the company is worth $37 a share, the price he was willing to sell it for.

    People close to Yahoo said that Yang and his team greeted Microsoft’s decision as a victory. High-fives were exchanged Saturday afternoon when they learned Microsoft was backing down.

    Yet some Yahoo shareholders, large and small, have indicated that they favoured a deal at around $34 to $35 a share. Even those who were holding out for a higher price said a merger with Microsoft made strategic sense.

    “I don’t believe that Jerry Yang as a founder, as someone who is emotionally attached to the company, was really looking out for my interest as a shareholder,” said Darren Chervitz, co-manager of the Jacob Internet Fund, which owns about 150,000 shares of Yahoo. “I don’t think anything Yahoo puts out there is going to be comparable with what Microsoft was offering.”

    The entire board backed Yang’s desire to reject Microsoft’s offer, said a person involved in the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. But unhappiness with Yang could spread through the company’s ranks.

    “If the stock drops as far as I think it will, a lot of employees are going to be angry and many key employees could leave,” said a Yahoo executive, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid upsetting his superiors.

    Source – International Herald Tribune

    May 4th 2008

    Microsoft Withdraws Bid For Yahoo

    Microsoft Corp.’s pursuit of Yahoo Inc. ended abruptly Saturday when the world’s largest software maker withdrew a sweetened $46 billion offer and said it would not make a hostile bid for the Internet company.

    Microsoft said the breakdown came despite having raised the bid to $33 a share, or $5 billion above what it said was the current value of the offer and a 70% premium compared to its original offer.

    The offer was valued at $31 a share when it was made in January. Yahoo stock closed Friday at $28.67 a share.

    “After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) do not make sense for us,” said Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) CEO Steve Ballmer.

    In a letter to Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang, Ballmer said that Yahoo wanted at least another $4 a share, or $5 billion in value, added to the deal, bringing it to at least $37 a share.

    Read Ballmer’s letter to Yang

    Ballmer also told Yang that taking the offer directly to shareholders would not be “sensible.”

    “This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer,” Ballmerwrote. “Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.”

    Ballmer said he was concerned that a further collaboration between Yahoo and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) – which he called “the dominant search provider” – would make an acquisition undesirable for several reasons.

    Yahoo officials indicated their pleasure with the end of the Microsoft bid.

    “Our independent board and our management have been steadfast in our belief that Microsoft’s offer undervalued the company and we are pleased that so many of our shareholders in expressing that view,” Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock said.

    Yang, in the same statement, called the Microsoft bid a “distraction” and said that Yahoo will now focus “on executing the most important transition in our history so that we can maximize our potential.”

    Source – Fortune

    April 28 2008

    Deadline Up – Mircosoft’s Move

    On April 6 we posted an article on Microsoft bid to acquire Yahoo. The software giant gave Yahoo a 3 week deadline to respond. Well the deadline expired at midnight Saturday and not a squeak from either side was heard.

    So can we then expect a hostile takeover from Microsoft for Yahoo, the Internet service company.

    Here’s what TechCrunch had to say on the issue.

    “Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney says in an April 25 report there is a 45% chance of a merger at a price somewhat higher than the initial bid, a 40% chance that Microsoft will go hostile, a 10% chance that Microsoft walks away, and a 5% chance for deal at the original bid to be accepted. That means he thinks a deal in some form is 90% likely.

    Marc Andreessen lays out the “go hostile” game plan in a blog post partially written by two merger and acquisition attorneys. If that’s the way this goes, Microsoft needs to announce their alternate board slate and finalize the lobbying of shareholders.

    It’s Microsoft’s move. Expect something by mid week.”

    April 6 2008

    Microsoft to Yahoo – Three Weeks Deadline Or Face Hostile TakeOver

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an April 5th letter addressed to Yahoo’s board of directors has given the internet search engine 3 weekes to accept its buyout bid. Failing that, “we will be compelled to take our case directly to your shareholders, including the initiation of a proxy contest to elect an alternative slate of directors for the Yahoo board.”

    The letter also states ‘that action will have which an undesirable impact on the value of your company from our perpective which will be reflected in the terms of our proposal.” In short if Yahoo fails to accomodate the 3 week deadline, Microsoft can and may reduce their take over offer.

    Microsoft’s offer of $31 a share {cash and stock} comes more than 2 months after the software giant made its unsolicited takeover offer for Yahoo.

    During that time Yahoo had been in talks with Google and AOL/Time Warner, looking for deals and partnerships in an effort to sidestep Microsoft’s unsolicited takeover attempt.

    As for now the offer value at $41b would make it the biggest ever takeover in the high tech industry.

    Microsoft’s deadline is 26th April.

    Yahoo shares fell from $26.90 to $28.36 after the close on Friday.

    {Taken from International Press Reports}

    March 21th 2008

    Mozilla Says Firefox 3 Ready for Prime Time

    A new version of Mozilla’s popular FirefoxWeb browser is ready for download with improved security and memory use as the tiny company takes a stab at Microsoft Corp’s dominant Internet Explorer.

    The program’s creators told Reuters on Thursday that the privately-held company’s trial version of Firefox 3 browser is ready for the masses to use after months of development. Until now, the company has discouraged average Internet users from moving on from Firefox 2, which was launched in October 2006.

    “In many ways it (Firefox 3) is much more stable than anything else out there,” Mozilla Corp Vice President of Engineering Mike Schroepfer said in an interview. Key rivals to Firefox are market leader Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple Inc’s Safari browser.

    Engineers at Mozilla are still putting the finishing touches on the software and hope to release the final version of Firefox 3 by the end of June, Schroepfer said. Mozillais in a battle with Microsoft, which unveiled an experimental version of its Internet Explorer 8 in LasVegas earlier this month and is looking to expand its presence on the Web through its bid to acquire Yahoo Inc.

    Additions boost security and allow users to run Web sites when they are not connected to the Internet. Mozilla also says Firefox 3 uses less computer memory than Firefox 2. Until now Mozilla has discouraged the typical computer user from exploring these new features. But its developers said on Thursday that the situation has changed and that they will be revising their Web site. As of Thursday afternoon, the Web site still stated: “We do not recommend that anyone other than developers and testers download the Firefox 3 beta 4 milestone release.

    It is intended for testing purposes only.” But they said that as they concluded their fourth round of tweaking their software, they determined it was ready for prime time.

    A fifth round of changes, due to begin within the next few weeks, will involve “tuning the visual look and feel of the program” and further improving its stability,” Schroepfer said.

    {Taken from Reuters News}.

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