Posted by _MD_ on Apr 11, 2014 in Web News | 0 comments
Finally, there’s a dashboard that confirms your wildest suspicions: WhatsApp knows your name, your location, your interests, and even your political leaning. They can know things about you that you may not, like they if certain people respect your opinion (or don’t for that matter) and what preoccupies your thoughts–whether it’s sex, food, shopping or something a bit more kinky.
WhatsApp has become an omniscient gatekeeper, holding data about you, the personal information you write and receive, and can open the floodgates to the world at their own free will. About a month ago it would have been just 450 million people using WhatsApp, but since Facebook acquired it for a whopping $19 billion, WhatsApp could merge its data with the social media titan very soon—putting your most intimate details at the mercy of the world’s biggest social media platform with 1.3 billion users and counting.
Considering Facebook has over 2 billion connections between local businesses and people, it seems safe to point a finger at advertising as the long-term, overarching objective for acquiring WhatsApp. Plus, the billion-user club may just get a new member: WhatsApp gains millions of users every day, and Mark Zuckerberg himself predicts that number will reach 1 billion in 2015-—allowing Facebook to capitalize on being the global leader in data-driven messaging. If that’s not a jackpot for Facebook, what is?
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 31, 2014 in Web News | 0 comments
Android may have quickly reached the top of the smartphone world, but there are signs that this red-hot growth is cooling off… if only just. Strategy Analytics estimates that the platform claimed nearly 79 percent of smartphone market share in 2013. While that’s both a record high and a big step up from almost 69 percent in 2012, it also represents Android’s slowest annual growth rate since its birth. As the analysts note, Google is facing an increasingly saturated market; there are only so many more customers it can reach.
Not that things were rosy for other mobile operating systems last year. Apple shipped more phones in 2013, but not enough to avoid a dip to 15.5 percent market share. Windows Phone grew to 3.6 percent share, although its one-point improvement over 2012 wasn’t going to make Apple or Google nervous. And for smaller platforms, 2013 was downright ugly. BlackBerry, Symbian and others fell from a collective 9.1 percent in 2012 to just 2 percent. The smartphone market in 2014 is effectively a three-horse race, and it’s doubtful that the rankings will change any time soon.
Posted by _MD_ on Jun 18, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
What do the majority of web developers and an Australian-based online retailer have in common?
They hate Internet Explorer.
In fact, a company by the name of Kogan hates IE so much, it’s imposed a sales tax on any of its clients who use the beleaguered browser.
“Anyone who visits the website using IE 7 will be charged an additional 6.8% tax (IE tax) on purchases,” explains Newslaunches.com. “Interestingly that figure is derived as 0.1% for each month since the browser was released.”
Posted by _MD_ on Mar 26, 2012 in Web News | 1 comment
These original CVs show off some mad designer’s skills when applying for a job
Posted by _MD_ on Feb 29, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Technology’s holy grail is the development of a “perfect” Quantum Computer. Traditional computers recognize information as bits: binary information representing “On” or “Off” states. A quantum computer uses qubits: operating in superposition, a qubit exists in all states simultaneously — not just “On” or “Off,” but every possible state in-between. It would theoretically be able to instantly access every piece of information at the same time, meaning that a 250 qubit computer would contain more data than there are particles in the universe. IBM thinks it’s closer than ever to realizing this dream and if you want to know more, click ‘read more’.
Posted by _MD_ on Feb 22, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
TechForum is a Microsoft-sponsored shindig where the company can get together, party, and then show off its latest and greatest research projects. First up we’ve got a transparent interactive 3D display which builds on technology from Cambridge University’s HoloDesk project. Next is Holoflector, a “magic mirror” that overlays LCD projections onto your reflection. Both of these two projects rely heavily upon Kinect as more projects find the potential in the little sensor. Finally there’s Illumishare, a pair of overhead projectors / cameras that share a desktop space with a colleague when you need to look at the same thing.
Posted by _MD_ on Feb 17, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
There’s no power outlet, land-based internet connection or even a decent cell signal in sight, yet we’re posting this live, at fast broadband speeds. We’re miles deep into Camp Pendleton, connected to ViaSat’s SurfBeam 2 Pro Portable mobile satellite transceiver and sending data to and from ViaSat-1 located more than 20,000 miles above our heads. SurfBeam 2 wasn’t designed for us to kick back and surf the web in the middle of nowhere at speeds that we could barely achieve while tethered to a cable connection just a few years ago, but we’re doing just that, with ViaSat’s roughly $20,000 go-anywhere satellite broadband rig. We first heard about Pro Portable last month at CES, which the company is marketing towards military, emergency management personnel and even broadcasters — that’s right, the sat truck of the future fits inside a hand-carry suitcase, and sends HD video from the world’s most remote locations right back to broadcast centers at record speed, nearly eliminating that lag that makes certain CNN reports painful to watch.
Posted by _MD_ on Feb 15, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Photo tech firm Scalado has revealed its latest smartphone camera app, Remove, capable of automatically identifying and removing objects in-frame, and perfect for deleting an unwanted uncle from your family gathering. Remove, billed as the world’s first optical removal software for smartphones, builds a composite shot from multiple frames captured in swift succession, picking out possible flaws – such as passing cars or people – and letting you delete them with a tap of the screen.
In fact, Remove can be set to automatically delete any problems it identifies, though you can switch over to manual mode if you decide you’d like to keep something in-frame instead. Obviously the problems themselves have to be moving, since Scalado is cutting out transient objects based on a stationary background.
Posted by _MD_ on Feb 13, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
A start-up called Chamtech Enteprises has an answer to the problems of poor cellphone reception and other shortcomings of traditional antennas. The company has developed a spray-on antenna that it says is more lightweight, energy-efficient and effective than the old-school version.
The Sandy, Utah-based start-up’s nanotechnology, unveiled last week at Google’s inaugural Solve For X gathering, can be painted onto a tree, a wall, the ground or even the back of a soldier, enabling a more portable, lightweight way to get reception for a variety of uses.
The company has already patented critical aspects of its technology and begun to sell to government customers, whom it can’t identify due to the sensitive nature of the technology’s applications.
In 2012 the company plans to expand its focus from government customers to mobile phone and medical device makers. CEO and co-founder Anthony Sutera believes the technology could be used by weather and oceanographic researchers, underwater welders, rescue workers, military special operatives in the field, airlines, and by manufacturers of cars, phones, TVs, radios and other consumer electronics.
Posted by _MD_ on Feb 1, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
If you fear the rise of intelligent, collaborative robots swarming together and gathering human prey for the battery tanks, look away now: the Nano Quadrotors have taken to the skies and they’re terrifyingly adept. The handiwork of researchers in the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, the latest-gen Quadrotors can not only handle being tossed, inverted or generally batted around without crashing, but fly in formation.
That means you can throw a Quadrotor into the air and have it automatically re-orient itself and hover, useful for deployment in less than stable conditions. However, the real magic – or horror, depending on your willingness to subjugate yourself to our airborne masters – comes when several of the ‘bots work together.
The so-called swarms can fly in formation, maintaining perfect distance from each other, but they can also hold transition between orientations in 3D, as well as shift their positions so as to navigate around obsticles. The figure-of-eight pattern in the video below is particularly mesmerizing.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 30, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Even more embarrassing than a student discovering your GPS tracking device on his car, as the FBI found out last year, is having to ask him to give the expensive piece of equipment back.
So security researcher Brendan O’Connor is trying a different approach to spy hardware: building a sensor-equipped surveillance-capable computer that’s so cheap it can be sacrificed after one use, with off-the-shelf parts that anyone can buy and assemble for less than fifty dollars.
At the Shmoocon security conference Friday in Washington D.C., O’Connor plans to present the F-BOMB, or Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors. Built from just the hardware in a commercially-available PogoPlug mini-computer, a few tiny antennae, eight gigabytes of flash memory and some 3D-printed plastic casing, the F-BOMB serves as 3.5 by 4 by 1 inch spy computer. And O’Connor has designed the cheap gadgets to dropped from a drone, plugged inconspicuously into a wall socket, thrown over a barrier, or otherwise put into irretrievable positions to quietly collect data and send it back to the owner over any available Wifi network. With PogoPlugs currently on sale at Amazon for $25, O’Connor built his prototypes with gear that added up to just $46 each.
“If some target is surrounded by bad men with guns, you don’t want to have to retrieve this, but you also don’t want to have to pay four or five hundred dollars for every use,” says O’Connor. “The idea is that it’s as close to free as possible. So you can throw a bunch of these sensors at a target and get away with losing a couple nodes in the process.”
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 20, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Details are still somewhat light at the moment, but reports are now coming out that the popular Megaupload file-sharing site has been shut down by Federal prosecutors in the US, and that the site’s founders and other individuals have been charged with violating piracy laws. According to The New York Times, the indictment says that the company has cost copyright holders some $500 million in lost revenue, and that the site was at one time the 13th most popular on the internet. As the Times also notes, this news comes a day after Megaupload voluntarily blacked out its website to protest the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy legislation now being considered by Congress.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 19, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
When Vint Cerf and his friends at DARPA concocted a system that allowed for 4.3 billion IP addresses, it was never conceived that everyone’s computer would be able to access the internet — before the age when your telephone, fridge and air conditioning unit would too. The IPv4 system officially ran out of addresses last year, but fortunately the moment was prepared for: June 8th 2011 was “World IPv6 Day” where a host of sites including Google, Bing and Facebook quietly tried out the new system for 24 hours to make sure it wouldn’t cause the internet to explode. June 6th this year will see the final activation of the new network provision that has a capacity of around 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 unique addresses, which we figure will keep us going until Black Friday, at least.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 18, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Web sites from Wikipedia, Google and Facebook to Mozilla, Major League Gaming and Reddit are dark today in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), but bill supporters insist the effort is nothing but a publicity stunt and an abuse of power. In a Tuesday statement, Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)—and a former Connecticut senator—said Web sites participating in the blackout are “resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.”
The MPAA and its musical counterpart, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have been big supporters of SOPA and PIPA, prompting opponents to accuse bill sponsors of bowing to lobbying dollars. Both bills target overseas “rogue” Web sites that traffic in fake goods, from purses and prescription drugs to pirated DVDs and MP3s. But the power that SOPA and PIPA provide to the Justice Department to go after these bills is worrisome to opponents, who fear the legislation will put legitimate Web sites at risk. As a result, Jan. 18 has been dubbed SOPA/PIPA blackout day, with many high-profile Web sites shutting down service or adding anti-SOPA/PIPA signage to their sites.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 17, 2012 in Web News | 2 comments