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SmartPhone News for May 27, 2015

Hello everyone, here are some current news stories events involving smartphones today.
As always enjoy.

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iOS Bug Crashing iPhones Simply by Receiving a Text Message

Apple says today it has a fix in the works for an odd software bug that has been able to crash users’ iPhones when they receive a text message with a specific string of characters. The bug, which involves having users send a string of symbols and Arabic characters to a victim’s iPhone (show below).

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Sending this text string to a user’s iPhone causes the device to crash and then quickly reboot. Afterwards, if the Messages app was opened in list view, it will continue to crash when you try to open it going forward. If it was opened to the conversation view, however, the app will open. But when you try to enter in another conversation, the Messages app will crash again.

Apple bug

Tracking Metro Riders Using Accelerometers on Smartphones

We know that we can be tracked using GPS data from mobile phones, which can triangulate location from nearby cell towers.

The reason that metros are so prone to this type of attack is that they run on fixed rails, for fixed distances, unlike the more complex combinations of multilane highways and roads across which cars or buses zigzag.

Given the fact that each metro system has a finite set of twists and turns and distances that culminate in a unique “fingerprint,” accelerometer data could be used to trace us, the researchers say.3-e7d1d45ce4

From the paper:

The cause is that metro trains run on tracks, making their motion patterns distinguishable from cars or buses running on ordinary roads. Moreover, due to the fact that there are no two pairs of neighboring stations whose connecting tracks are exactly the same in the real world, the motion patterns of the train within different intervals are distinguishable as well.

As far as surveillance goes, accelerometers beat GPS or cell service, which both drop out in tunnels.

The research paper, titled We Can Track You If You Take the Metro, comes from three researchers at Nanjing University’s Computer Science and Technology department.

They point out that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that accelerometers can be used for purposes other than their intended use.

 

Office Lens Android now available at Google Play Store

Office Lens turns your Android, iPhone or Windows Phone into a pocket scanner that works “flawlessly,” delivers “crystal clear images” and does an “excellent job of transcribing a printed page.  The handy scanner app recognizes the corners of a document, whiteboard, electronic screen or any rectangular media and automatically crops, straightens, enhances and cleans up the image, then enables saving to OneNote or OneDrive for easy retrieval from any device. Apple users can also get the full version of Office Lens in the App store for free.

Office-Lens-Android-now-available-at-Google-Play-Store-2

It offers the following capabilities and features across all three phone platforms:

  • Converts images of paper documents, electronic screens and whiteboard notes into Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and searchable PDF files for easy storage, editing and reformatting.
  • Enables images to be sent via email, making it easy to share whiteboard notes with work colleagues, submit scanned business expense receipts or ensure family and friends have copies of important paper documents.
  • Captures business cards and generates contacts, which can be sent to OneNote and added to your phone.
  • Recognizes the corners of a document and automatically crops, enhances and cleans up the image.
  • Identifies printed text with optical character recognition (OCR) so that you can search by keyword for the image in OneNote or OneDrive.
  • Inserts images to OneNote or as DOCX, PPTX or PDF files in OneDrive, providing options to save, export and share the image. (It’s easy to decide where to save images and keep them organized.)

Office-Lens-Android-now-available-at-Google-Play-Store-3For feedback or suggestions for Microsoft Office Lens go here. https://officelens.uservoice.com/

 
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2014 Year end review

We accomplished so many things in 2014 and made some great leaps forward in technology.
I am very happy to see the curve finally start to rise on the tech chart. Since I’ve bee thinking about it since 1980 in Mr. Sadler’s Basic programming class at Loara High School for the day to happen and its is here now and yes it’s happening.  The tech revolution is expanding at an ginormous rate. Competition is driving better quality products and a cheaper price.

Tech Gadgets are plentiful !  Let’s face it, the iPod was fun in its day, but with fast moving technology and online funding like Kickstarter and indiegogo we are making awesome tech products fall from the sky like rain.
The market is flooded with hundreds of choices of excellently designed products to make your life wonderful and there is certainly no reason to be forced into a some expensive locked down ecosystem with DRM, proprietary cables and connectors…..etc., so I won’t be listing any of those in this post.

  • Wireless Gadgets (speakers, keyboards, fitness bands, smart watches, smart phones, home automation, etc).
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    fb kwik
    gears moto360 

    sontz1 noteedge

  • Display tech (Gaming monitors, 4K TVs, Dongles, Tablets).
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But it’s been a tough road with some painful learning experience for some.

Security was high on the list.

  • Heartbleed – An OpenSSL flaw-that could be exploited to view secure data transmitted over HTTPS.
  • iCloud Hack – Apple’s private cloud storage platform was breached and hundreds of explicit nude photos of Hollywood celebs were leaked all over the web and eventually posted on sharing sites worldwide.
  • JPMorgan – With sophisticated tools, the intruders reached deep into the bank and extracted the data slowly, over days and months, evading security alarms designed to catch stolen data leaving the network.
  • POS malware breaches – Staples, Target, Home Depot, the list is larger these are just the bigger outlets.

Sony for example has had some bad luck in that arena. It’s PlayStation Network got hacked and hammered a year ago ansonyd now Sony Pictures Studios.

North Korea has been blamed by U.S. government officials for the cyberattack that took down much of Sony’s network. The film studio produced a movie, called “The Interview”.

the-interview-2014-movie-poster

Popular file sharing site Pirate Bay was taken offline by a raid by Swedish police. But for how long?  The movie industry claimed that in 2006 alone, piracy cost it some $6.1 billion. Naturally, it went after the biggest target to exact its revenge: the Sweden-based site known as The Pirate Bay. Given Sweden’s lax laws regarding copyrighted materials, Hollywood had to enlist the United States government for help cracking down on the site.

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The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard is a documentary chronicling the 2009 court case against The Pirate Bay’s founders

“We have however taken this opportunity to give ourselves a break. How long are we supposed to keep going? To what end? We were a bit curious to see how the public would react. Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang.”

Well that’s about a rap for 2014, it;s about time to for me to go home crack open a cold 550ML bottle of winter craft brew and bring in the New Year, a Happy 2015 to all and have a great ride down the information super highway.

– Vince.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Android L “Lollipop” will take Smartphones to Defense Level Security

Android_Lion_800The Android L is an upcoming release of the mobile operating system created by Google. Officially called Lollipop.  The key features of Android L will include faster app performance, improved power efficiency, better camera controls, and a new look for notifications and Fort Knox level security.

Every animation on screen will be allowed to connect to one another – so there’s no ‘teleportation between apps’. Check out the Google video below.

The home, back and multi-tasking window buttons on Android have been refined too, and overall, this is a massive step forward for a cleaner, more intuitive-looking version of Google’s mobile platform.

The lock screen is getting smarter too – if you’ve got a specific location set up, or are wearing a Bluetooth device, the phone will recognize you and unlock without a PIN. Move away or take your watch off and you’ll need to tap or swipe in a code when you unlock – or you can even use your voice

 

Android L builds on Samsung’s Knox fortifications

Knox is Samsung’s set of mobile security tools for businesses and governments. Not all of it is getting ported to the Android operating system, but enough, Google hopes, to reassure IT managers that Android-powered devices — whether employees’ own, or company-issued — will meet their tougher standards for what’s allowed on corporate networks.

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Among other things, Android L will keep personal and corporate data and apps separate by building on the existing multiuser profile support in Android in a setup similar to the Knox Workspace.
“Personal and corporate applications will run as two separate Android users,” Android product manager director Srikanth Rajagopalan wrote  “Data is kept safe by using block-level disk encryption as well as verified boot technology.”

Also derived from Knox, new Android development kit APIs will let administrators create policies that include system setting configuration and authentication certificate management to restrict app usage. New back-end APIs will help with corporate app management and deployment.

However, Samsung detailed in a blog post of its own that it’s not giving Google access to all of its Knox gold. Many hardware-based Knox features will remain exclusive to Samsung.

These include TrustZone-based Integrity Measurement Architecture, trusted boot, biometric authentication, and Knox Smart Card Support. Knox components approved for governmental use such as Common Criteria, and the FIPS-certified cryptographic library and virtual private network that are part of Security Technical Implementation Guide standards, will remain under Samsung’s purview.

Lollipop arrives as Google tries to take more control of Android, the most widely used operating system in the world for smartphones and tablets, with 80 percent market share, according to IDC. By comparison, Apple’s iOS, which powers iPhones and iPads, has around 17 percent of the market.

 
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Samsung basically hocked up a loogie and then, ptooie, spit it in Apples face

First let’s see how this iPhone trend is going…

2011 (iPhone 4) – 18.3% of overall smartphone market share
2012 (iPhone 4S) – 16.6% of overall smartphone market share
2013 (iPhone 5) – 13.0% of overall smartphone market share
2014 (iPhone 5S & 5C) – 11.7% of overall smartphone market share
2015 (iPhone 6) – will have less than 10% of overall smartphone market share
We must accept and move on folks…………

Now lets look at what Samsung is bringing us today…

Samsung’s New Phlagship Phablet

The new Galaxy Note 4 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and has a 5.7-inch AMOLED display with a 2,560 x 1,440 (Quad HD) resolution; that adds up to an incredibly sharp and colorful 518 ppi screen. Its cameras also get significant upgrades. Optical image stabilization bolsters its 16-megapixel main camera, and there’s an 8X digital zoom on that shooter. To reduce pixelation on those digitally-zoomed images, Samsung says the camera uses its own special blend of HDR-like image compositing. The front-facing camera also gets a bump, with a higher-resolution 3.7-megapixel sensor and an F1.9 aperture that helps it perform well in low light. According to Samsung, it also has a 120-degree field of view, which is a much wider-angle lens than most selfie cams. The Note 4′s removable battery is an ample 3,220mAh unit, and the company touts its “Rapid Charge” feature, which can juice the battery 50 percent in 30 minutes. Similar to the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Tab S, the phablet also has an “Ultra Power Saver” mode that the company claims can last 24 hours with just 10 percent battery life. Yes the battery is removable, unlike the iPhone battery. Did I mention the Note 4 can shoot 4K video, and yes its looks awesome.
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and this…

And if that is not enough to shrivel the balls of Apple executives and fanboys, how about an Oculus Rift-style headset that works only with the Note 4. You insert the Note 4 into the facemask, and the phone automatically enters VR mode when you dock it into the headset.  For content, Samsung has inked a partnership with Oculus that will make games and movies downloadable for the Gear VR setup through the Oculus Store. When docked, the Gear VR uses the Note 4 display and its processing power for full-immersion games and movies, while the headset has its own magnetometer and accelerometer to calculate movement, as well as a proximity sensor to know when it’s on your face. Built-in lenses with a 96-degree field of view sit between your eyes and the screen, and there’s a touchpad on the headset’s right temple for navigating on-face menus. The sides of the mask also host volume controls and a menu-back button, and there’s a focus-adjust wheel on top. The whole thing clings to your face with Velcro straps.R320_White_Dynamic2_008-660x443

 plus this…

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: A Note 4 With an Extra Side Screen its unique 5.6-inch AMOLED screen, which wraps around the right edge of the phone to provide a slim, slanted side display. The edge of the screen is sloped at about a 45-degree angle, so the bulk of the screen can be turned off while the edge displays the time and alarm settings. You can also set it up to scroll sports scores or Tweets like a ticker, display weather information, or scroll through stocks. It basically acts as a custom notifications panel, moving that information to the side of the device so that it doesn’t hog any valuable screen real estate.

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The Scary Story Behind DDoS Attacks and Botnets

As the pace of business grows, so too does the sophistication of digital crime. The connected world is not without its challenges, and among them, the ability for coordinated criminals to take down business networks and digital infrastructure poses particular concern.

As a business, your up-time is your lifeblood, and stemming the flow of intrusion is vital to keeping your staff and your customers working at full capacity. Here’s a look at how organized networks of “zombie computers” can damage your IT infrastructure, and how to select the right web host to keep your network safe.

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Bliss time for Windows XP

On April 8, 2014 Windows XP reaches what Microsoft calls “end of support.” There are two types of XP for so-called embedded systems, ATM’s, POS devices, etc which will receive support until January 2016.  XP made its debut in 2001 and retired from retail stores as boxed software in 2008. PC makers were allowed to sell computers with Windows XP for another two years. Microsoft Corp. is pushing remaining XP owners to upgrade to a newer operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.  It will still be possible to use existing Windows XP computers, but that comes with risks. XP

  • This Microsoft site will check: http://amirunningxp.com. If you have XP, the site will go through your options.
  • A big reason is security. Hackers know Microsoft will no longer fix security flaws, so evil-doers have extra incentive to look for them.
  • There are also performance issues. If you buy a new printer,  scanner or mobile device it might not work on XP. Same goes for new software, particularly if it needs faster processors and more memory beyond what was standard in XP’s heyday.

As Windows XP gets sunset by Microsoft, we’ll always remember forever the iconic wallpaper known as ‘bliss’ that depicted the rolling hills and great blue sky that has since become one of the most recognizable images in technology history.   The medium format camera used to take the photo, the Mamiya RZ67 medium format camera. The camera, which began production in 1982, now in the third version is a modular system meaning that lenses, viewfinders, glass, and film backs are all interchangeable.

Bliss XP

While many people thought the image of a sky interspersed with gentle clouds set against a tranquil, green pasture was created by digital means, the image was actually taken by American photographer Charles O’Rear in 1996. O’Rear composed the image “Bliss” during a trip through California’s flourishing wine country while on his way to visit his girlfriend and future wife Daphne.

In the video below, we learn about why he chose this particular shot and how it was selected to be the most viewed photo of all times.
The-microsoft-xp-wallpaper-bliss-video

With Windows XP moving to its own greener pasture, the aptly titled “Bliss” will remain etched into the minds of millions for years to come.

 
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