Posted by _MD_ on Feb 15, 2012 in Web News | 1 comment
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 Jan 23, 2012 in Guides, Reviews | 4 comments
What is HTML5?
We’re sure by now you’ve heard the term “HTML5″ thrown around by the likes of Apple and Google. This is the next evolution of HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, which forms the backbone of almost every site on the Internet. HTML4, the last major iteration of the language, debuted in 1997 and has been subsequently poked and prodded so that it can handle the demands of the modern Web.
HTML4 has been tweaked, stretched and augmented beyond its initial scope to bring high levels of interactivity and multimedia to Web sites. Plugins like Flash, Silverlight and Java have added media integration to the Web, but not without some cost. In search of a “better user experience” and battery life, Apple has simply dropped support for some of these plugins entirely on mobile devices, leaving much of the media-heavy Internet inaccessible on iPads and iPhones. HTML5 adds many new features, and streamlines functionality in order to render these processor-intensive add-ons unnecessary for many common functions.
Assuming content providers sign on (and many are), this means you won’t have to worry about installing yet another plugin just to listen to a song embedded in a blog or watch a video on YouTube. Similarly, this is a big deal for platforms that either don’t support Flash (e.g., iPhone and iPad), or have well documented problems with it (e.g., Linux). It will be a particular boon to those smartphones for which supporting Flash has proven problematic.
Rough Timeline of Web Technologies
2002 Tableless Web Design
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 | 4 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 14, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
This month, DeviceFidelity and Spring Card Systems announced moneto, a new independent NFC payment solution. The service delivers NFC capabilities to any Android device with a microSD card. The card contains an NFC radio and antenna that are encrypted together to deliver MasterCard PayPass technology to any Android smartphone. Additionally, moneto has created a unique iPhone case to deliver the service to iOS users as well. The moneto case is currently available for $80, which includes $10.00 of pre-loaded funds. The Android microSD card is expected to be available within two to three weeks, and will sell for $30. All you have to do to use it, is insert the card, attach a small NFC sticker to the inside of your battery case — it helps with the NFC signal — and you’re on your way to credit card-less mobile payments.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 12, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Over at Showstoppers, ESI offered up an Android-based desktop phones hoping to bring the world of Google’s OS kicking and screaming onto a business desk near you. The ESI 250 runs on Android Froyo (2.2), with a color display capable of running a limited bunch of (ESI-vetted) third-party Android apps like Evernote, text messaging and visible voicemail and reminders. Looks-wise, aside from the touchscreen, it’s business as usual. The Android interface is a little sluggish, although our major issue is that we want to be handling Gingerbread by now, if not Ice Cream Sandwich. The enterprise phone is pegged for a Q2 launch, with prices pegged at a suitably business-like price of $300 per unit.
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 7, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Texas Instruments may forever have an iron grip on the K-12 graphing industry, but Google just rolled out its own little graphing tool in case you’ve lost your TI-83 — you can now graph mathematical functions by entering them directly into the Google search box. Users can type in a range of trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic single variable functions, see them plotted out on the search result page, and zoom and pan to examine them more closely. It’s a simple yet elegant addition to Google’s core product, and one that you should definitely check out — if you haven’t plotted anything since your high school days, it’s sure to conjure up some memories.
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 6, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Imagine yourself at a party or a bar or perhaps at a meeting, now imagine you meet someone new there and become real-life friends with them. The next obvious logical step would be to add them over on Facebook to become friends in the online world, right? Well, if you and your new friend have an NFC-equipped smartphone and have a certain app installed, you can just tap the two together to become Facebook friends! No more of that awkward waiting period between you sending them a request and waiting for confirmation!
This “certain app” is called Add Friend (Facebook). The concept behind Add Friend is based on how, in the modern world, people (apparently) don’t exchange numbers, they exchange Facebook names. It is based on Near-Field Communication technology (used in services like Google Wallet) which allows two devices to exchange data when they are near each other.
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 5, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Carrier IQ has recently found itself swimming in controversy. The analytics company and its eponymous software have come under fire from security researchers, privacy advocates and legal critics not only for the data it gathers, but also for its lack of transparency regarding the use of said information. Carrier IQ claims its software is installed on over 140 million devices with partners including Sprint, HTC and allegedly, Apple and Samsung. Nokia, RIM and Verizon Wireless have been alleged as partners, too, although each company denies such claims. Ostensibly, the software’s meant to improve the customer experience, though in nearly every case, Carrier IQ users are unaware of the software’s existence, as it runs hidden in the background and doesn’t require authorized consent to function. From a permissions standpoint — with respect to Android — the software is capable of logging user keystrokes, recording telephone calls, storing text messages, tracking location and more. It is often difficult or impossible to disable.
How Carrier IQ uses your behaviour data remains unclear, and its lack of transparency brings us to where we are today. Like you, we want to know more. We’ll certainly continue to pursue this story, but until further developments are uncovered, here’s what you need to know.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 30, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Even a company with Microsoft’s financial muscle has failed to make a major dent in Google’s position as the world’s search engine of choice. But a group of European online activists are apparently trying to create a D.I.Y. alternative. Or at least that was what was being reported. The Free Software Foundation Europe, the group behind the move, started things off with their announcement:
The YaCy project is releasing version 1.0 of its peer-to-peer Free Software search engine. The software takes a radically new approach to search. YaCy does not use a central server. Instead, its search results come from a network of currently over 600 independent peers. In such a distributed network, no single entity decides what gets listed, or in which order results appear.
The YaCy search engine runs on each user’s own computer. Search terms are encrypted before they leave the user and the user’s computer. Different from conventional search engines, YaCy is designed to protect users’ privacy. A user’s computer creates its individual search indexes and rankings, so that results better match what the user is looking for over time. YaCy also makes it easy to create a customised search portal with a few clicks.
So, instead of Google’s millions of servers, users provide a little bit of their own computer’s processing power to run the system. Although the underlying technology might be different, this suggests YaCy is intended to be a competitor for Google search, albeit one without advertising and secret algorithms.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 18, 2011 in Web News | 1 comment
About one in five young workers in the U.S. picked Google Inc. as a most desirable place to work according to a survey by Universum, an employment data and consulting firm. Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., the U.S. State Department and Walt Disney Co. round out the top five.
Universum queried about 6,700 early-career professionals, defined as college graduates under the age of 40 with one to eight years of work experience, and asked them to pick as many as five ideal employers out of a list of about 200. This is the second year that Universum has conducted the survey. Google topped the earlier survey as well.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 16, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Google has refused to rule out extending controversial facial recognition technology, despite being hit by a storm of complaints over privacy. The internet search giant already offers one facial recognition feature through its Picasa photo software, which scans your pictures and suggests matches with other pictures that may include the same people. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt would not rule out a further roll-out, saying: ‘It is important that we continue to innovate.’
However, he said the decision to introduce facial recognition on a wider basis would not be taken lightly. ‘Facial recognition is a good example… anything we did in that area would be highly, highly planned, discussed and reviewed,’ he told the Financial Times.
With facial recognition a face is detected and tagged by the user. It is then rotated so that the eyes are level and scaled to a uniform size and compared with all the other pictures on the user’s database. The system then displays any close matches. There are fears this technology could be added to the Google Goggles tool, which was launched last year. This currently allows people to search for inanimate objects, like the Eiffel Tower, on the internet by taking a picture of it on a mobile phone. However, if combined with facial recognition software, customers could use it to identify strangers on the street. In theory this could make it very easy to track someone’s private information down just by taking a picture of them.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 2, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Be jealous no more Android fans! (OK, maybe a little bit longer.) FL Studio is coming to your mobile OS of choice. No longer will it just be iDevice owners who get to channel their inner 9th Wonder on the go. Soon enough the company will release a version of its loop-based music-creation suite designed to work on both phones and tablets running Google’s portable platform. We don’t have a price or release date yet but, as a consolation prize, there’s a video of the progress being made on the port inside.
Posted by _MD_ on Oct 21, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
The Googleplex, Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View California, is legendary for its perks. Employees have access to unlimited free meals, haircuts, dry cleaning, massages, and even onsite medical care. Yet earlier this year, when Google interviewed its employees about what they valued most at work, none of these extravagant benefits made the top of the list. Neither did salary. Instead, employees cited access to “even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.”
Posted by _MD_ on Aug 20, 2011 in Reviews | 5 comments
This is the full list of Android Malware in a very dangerous year, since August, the 9th 2011 up-to-today. One year ago (9 August 2010) Kaspersky discovered the first SMS Trojan for Android in the Wild dubbed SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a. This is considered a special date for the Google Mobile OS because before then, Android Malware was a little bit more than an exercise of Style, essentially focused on Spyware. After that, everything changed and mobile malware targeting the Android OS become more and more sophisticated.
This compilation shows the long malware trail which characterized the hard days for information security. Looking at the graph, the climax was Android.Geinimi (end of 2010), featuring the characteristics of a primordial Botnet, but also Android.DroidDream (AKA RootCager) is worthwhile mentioning because of its capability to root the phone and potentially install applications remotely without direct user intervention.