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Microsoft updates Bing image search to be Modern

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 12:37 am

Bing's image search has been updated today to make searching images more engaging, quick, and easy. Bing is promoting that you no longer have to load a new page or "dig through clutter." They say that the new design "loads quickly placing the image center stage." They offer a demonstration by searching for cute puppies:




We completely redesigned the image viewer, putting the spotlight on the picture and stripping out anything that got in the way. We "dimmed the lights" around the photo, adding a darker look that makes it easier on the eyes and lets the results shine in high definition. Simply click on the main image to navigate to the original source web page.


I'm still not sure who uses Bing--Google has over 60% of the market--but this is certainly a nice improvement for those who do use it. What do you think of the changes? Are you likely to choose Bing over Google because of them?

Google Music scan-and-match feature comes to the United States

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 11:46 pm

Google has brought its iTunes-like scan-and-match service for Google Music to the United States today after previously launching the service in Europe around a month ago. The service allows you to scan your music and find a match for it in the Google Cloud so that you aren't required to upload your tracks to the server.




Better yet is the price. While Apple and Amazon charge around $25 a year for this service, Google is offering it for free for up to 20,000 tracks. Google also has not put a size limit on these tracks, and they say they will allow you to stream at 320 kbps. You can, however, only download it at a similar bit-rate to that of the track you uploaded.


You can check it out and get uploading at Google Music. Now, I wonder if this will allow me to fix all of my messed up tags...

Instagram offers an update regarding its change in Terms of Service, says they aren't planning to sell your pictures

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 10:55 pm

Instagram has caught a bit of flak over the past couple of days after releasing updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy documents. The reason? Inside the new documents there seemed to be a bit of text that indicated Instagram was planning on selling users' pictures without any sort of compensation.




Instagram has now apologized for the text that was "confusing" and says they are working on updating it to be more clear. They say the bottom line is that "it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."

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It's official: an Android botnet has been found on all major US carriers

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 10:26 pm

Mobile security firm Lookout has found a botnet as of December 3, which it is calling SpamSoldier. The threat was detected with the help of one of Lookout's carrier partners, though which has not been said. The botnet spreads through text messages and has not been detected on any major app store.




Two, of many, spam campaigns are shown below:


You've just won a $1000 Target gift card but only the 1st 1000 people that enter code 7777 at hxxp:// can claim it!

Download Grand Theft Auto 3 & Need for Speed Most Wanted for Android phones for free at hxxp:// for next 24hrs only!


The link downloads an app which installs SpamSoldier and removes the icon from the launcher so you won't see it. Often it installs the free version of the game so that you won't notice that it has been installed. SpamSoldier, meanwhile, is sending out spam in the background through your SMS functions.


The malware attempts to remain hidden by deleting the outgoing texts and by attempting to intercept incoming replies to the texts it sent out. It gets a list of 100 US numbers and the message from a Command & Control server, spams those numbers, then connects back to the C&C for more numbers.


Of course, the main message here: never trust those unsolicited text messages, especially if they contain links.

Samsung takes top spot for cellphone brands away from Nokia in 2012

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 10:01 pm

Samsung is becoming a bigger and better brand every day. With each new release of a device, the brand name continues to spread, and it has now spread so far that it has overtaken the previous leader, Nokia, who had been positioned there for more than 10 years. Samsung had previously been in second place, for 2011.




This data is based upon worldwide shipments and iSuppli suggests that Samsung will account for 29 percent of the mobile phone market in 2012. Nokia will make up 24 percent, down from 30 percent in 2011. Nokia had been in the number one slot since 1998, the first year it occupied the top slot for the entire year.


"The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was 'live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone,'" said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. "Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market-and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012. Samsung's successes and Nokia's struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies' divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector."

Microsoft believes 88 percent of users like Windows Phone more than their current phones after being shown a device

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 9:33 pm

It looks like one of Microsoft's marketing campaigns may have paid off. Much like their "Smoked by Windows Phone" challenges, their new "Meet your Match" challenge has been designed to increase awareness about Microsoft's underdog mobile operating system. Apparently, it has worked as Microsoft is touting some impressive numbers.




According to Microsoft, 88 percent of more than 75,000 people who competed in the Meet Your Match campaign across the US, UK, France, and Germany felt that the Windows Phone was better than than their current phone. Microsoft says the challenge shows consumers why Windows Phone is "more fun, more useful and more personal than what they're currently using."


I've actually heard from many people that Windows Phone 8 is a pretty great operating system, and that the Live Tiles are really useful. Whether or not the operating system catches on, no matter how good it is, remains to be seen. Can it overtake the behemoth that is Android? Only time will tell.

ReportTT: Facebook to bring video ads to a News Feed near you

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 8:59 pm

Adage is reporting that Facebook is planning on putting video ads into a News Feed near you. This piece of information reportedly comes from TV advertising industry executives who have been briefed on the plans. It looks like Facebook would like to take some of the massive amounts of money spent on TV advertising.




All of the details haven't been worked out quite yet, but one thing is for sure, according to the report, and that is that it will be launched by April on both the mobile and desktop versions of Facebook. Advertisers will be able to target users with video ads that are said to be set to autoplay, something most people will hate.


"The assumption is that these would be widespread campaigns," one of the execs said. "They are looking to grab big chunks of money ... millions of dollars." The ad execs also are concerned about the autoplay: "There could be serious outrage," one of these people said.

Apple is refused a sales ban by Judge Koh on grounds the infringing aspects aren't what sell Samsung's devices

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 8:35 pm

Apple has been refused the sales ban they were seeking on 26 of Samsung's devices. Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Apple did not prove that consumer demand for Samsung's products was directly related to the technology owned by Apple. In other words, people weren't buying Samsung's devices because of the rubber-band effect or other patents it is said to be infringing upon.




"Samsung may have cut into Apple's customer base somewhat, but there is no suggestion that Samsung will wipe out Apple's customer base, or force Apple out of the business of making smartphones," Koh said. "The present case involves lost sales -- not a lost ability to be a viable market participant."


A sales ban wouldn't have even hurt Samsung very much, since only three of the devices, out of the 26, are still being sold. A new trial, which contains updated devices, such as the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III, is set to go in front of Judge Koh in a trial scheduled for 2014.


Another ruling handed down by Judge Koh yesterday was a denial for Samsung's motion for a new trial based upon the issues with the jury foreman. Apple has declined to comment on the rulings, and Samsung is reviewing the court orders before deciding what to do next.

Apple updates iPhone 5, iPad mini to iOS 6.0.2 to fix an annoying Wi-Fi bug

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 7:56 pm

My iPhone 5 is busy downloading the new update from Apple, which brings it up to iOS version 6.0.2. The new version only offers up one area of improvement in the download box: "Fixes a bug that could impact Wi-Fi" I had noticed that my Wi-Fi connection occasionally would drop out, so I'm hoping this fixes it.




Apple isn't very specific in saying what the update fixes, so I'm going to have to assume this is it. You can pick up the update OTA, or via iTunes. It's a 60+MB download, which doesn't take very long on a decent DSL connection.

YouTube: Here's how we just became your iPhone's video camera

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 7:43 pm

iPhone users: Youtube has launched Capture, an iPhone exclusive app that is aimed at replacing your stock video capture app. Analyst expect it to become as popular as its sister product: Google Maps.




Capture may not be on your radar yet but trust us, you will wind up downloading and using it. Capture does exactly what it's name says, it captures video and uploads it straight to Youtube.


Users can quickly share the video on Twitter and Facebook, and it meshes nicely with Apple's built in video library. "We think it serves a number of use cases a lot better [than the iPhone video camera]," said Andy Berkheimer, engineering manager. "Particularly spontaneity: when you see something going on, you want it."

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