U.K. 'to announce' real-time phone, e-mail, and Web traffic monitoring, the Queencould announce it in early-May
The U.K. has always been a strange place in terms of security policy and the amount of CCTV cameras per citizen, but this is just going a step too far. If you aren't already aware, the U.S. and various security agencies (namely the NSA) already monitor online chatter in real-time, but they just don't admit it freely. The U.K. government is at least putting the news out there.
Under new U.K. legislation, Internet service and broadband providers will be obligated to pass personal browsing, e-mail and call data to the intelligence services for real-time processing. Shocking, isn't it? These new "Internet firms" could also include things outside the basic three options listed above, such as social networks and search engines. This would mean everything you type into Google, Facebook, Twitter and more would be accessed, in real-time.
Access to ISP logs will be opened up to the government on-demand. Scared yet? Currently, the 'third' U.K. intelligence service, GCHQ, which is a signals and electronics station based in Cheltenham, process call, web and e-mail data, but not the contents of the data itself. ISPs, on the other hand, do process this data within their facilities and datacenters. The new legislation would force ISPs to 'mirror' all traffic through GCHQ allowing for more detailed inspection on a law enforcement level to quickly process information as it happens.
A recent security breach within Global Payments is getting bad, with up to 1.5 million VISA and Mastercard accounts being compromised. While credit card numbers may have been compromised, no customer names, addresses or Social Security numbers were accessed, according to a statement from Global Payments. The company believes the breach was isolated to just North America.
At the moment, the company doesn't know whether there have been any fraudulent charges made on the stolen card details. The company process payments from credit, debit, and gift cards between merchants and banks. Global Payments believe that the incident may have been contained, but are still working with third parties to investigate the incident, and to hopefully minimize the impact to customers.
CEO Paul Garcia said:
We are making rapid progress toward bringing this issue to a close.
Both VISA and Mastercard have sent out notices to their affected customers, and as a result of the breach, VISA removed Global Payments from their list of approved service providers.
We only reported a few weeks ago that GAME had gone into administration, with share prices tanking and job losses on the chopping board. But, in a reverse April Fools Day joke, OpCapita scooped up 333 GAME stores across the UK.
This new agreement secures nearly 3,200 jobs, which is a great thing in this shaky economy. There were also a few employees from head office who were made redundant, that may be re-employed. OpCapita is a private investment firm specializing in retail, they have set up a company called Baker Acquisitions to buy the GAME stores.
Financial terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, but it's being reported that OpCapita will not have to pay much up-front for the business, but will have to absorb a considerable amount of their debt. BBS business editor Robert Peston said on Saturday that the deal had been approved by six banks, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed £85m between them.
Managing partner of OpCapita, Henry Jackson, has said:
We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and Game is the leading brand in a £2.8bn market in the UK. We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement the programme of operational change that is needed.
Apple vs. Motorola, is has been going on in the U.S. for a while now, but Judge Richard Posner has upheld the majority of a patent central to the case this week. Judge Posner mostly agreed with Apple's interpretation of its touchscreen heuristics patent, limiting complaints mostly to the lack of specificity for certain gestures.
Motorola countered with arguments to invalidate the patent, but were unpersuasive, including an odd insistence that a patent construction claim was only valid at a 27-degree angle of touch that had only been used as an example. Judge Posner wrote:
I reject Motorola's argument (this is the third time they've made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle used as an example by the specification.
This decision will most likely see Motorola violating the patent. Motorola will most likely be found infringing and face the threats of damages and product bans for some of its Android-based devices. Apple hold the patent until 2028, which could mean more problems down the road for other touchscreen-based smart devices.
Remember the speculation that we posted saying that the Samsung Galaxy SIII would be launching today due to that cryptic message? Turns out, we were wrong. But that's OK because Samsung launched something else that is pretty cool. Samsung has teamed up with the UK's Phone 4U to provide a store-within-a-store dedicated retail location for all things Samsung Mobile.
There are several tables that are dedicated to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II. They are devoid of carrier and pricing information to offer just a pure Samsung experience. The rest of the family is distributed around the perimeter of the room. Samsung claimed that entire top floor for their display and they say that the shop is training dedicated Samsung employees to answer questions.
I would have rather seen the Galaxy SIII launch today...I'm in need of a new phone!
Apple and Foxconn are making changes after one of the largest investigations ever conducted of a U.S. company's operations outside of America turned up some major labor law violations. Apple was almost forced into allowing the Fair Labor Association in to conduct a probe by the mounting complaints of Americans who wanted to see better working conditions.
Some of the issues included extreme overtime and unpaid overtime. Foxconn is cutting the maximum working hours from 60 to 49 a week and hiring thousands of new employees to cover the demand. "If Foxconn's labor cost goes up ... that will be an industry-wide phenomenon and then we have to decide how much do we pass on to our customers versus how much cost do we absorb," HP Chief Executive Meg Whitman told Reuters in February.
The cutting of the hours without any sort of pay increase is not something that the workers themselves want, because they need the hours in order to subsist on the low wages. "Until Apple shares a larger proportion of its profits with its supplier factories, workers will receive the same pittance for a salary while working around the clock," Li Qiang, the director of China Labor Watch, said in an emailed statement.
Dell has formally quit pushing smartphones in the United States, a move that is just temporary for the company. Dell confirmed in a statement that they have quit the smartphone market in the US, with Android-based Venue and Windows Phone-based Venue Pro had "run their course".
Dell will have more mobile devices in late-2012, but they would most likely be tablets, and rock Windows 8. Dell still pushes their Venue line in other countries, and also unveiled the Streak Pro 101DL for Japan, Dell's first real high-end smartphone. This isn't the first time Dell have tried, and pulled out of the market.
The company tried to combat Apple's iPod with its DJ line of MP3 players, the Streak 5 was developed to concurrently with Apple's iPad, and the short-lived Streak 7 was intended as a full tablet, and found strong competition with ASUS, Samsung and other Android-based tablets. Dell are hoping Windows 8 can let them unleash a product onto the market, and I have confidence Dell will have a better shot with Windows 8 than they did with Android.
Dick Smith holding $7 million gaming clearance on April 2, offering some unbelievably cheap games and accessories!
Dick Smith is having a gigantic $7 million gaming clearance on April 2, where they have an unbelievable amount of games, consoles, and accessories for various gaming hardware, consoles and more. Some of the highlights include:
- Nintendo DSi Hardware Pink, Blue $20 Black, White $40 (The Fu..)
- Nintendo Wii Console $129
- Professor Layton and Pandora's Box $5
- Nintendogs+Cats (all versions) $10
- Super smash Bros Brawl $15
- Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver $10
- Metroid Other M $5
- Wii Classic Controller $5
There's also cheap Xbox 360's ($100), PSP's ($40) and many many more bargains.
This was thought to be some form of a joke, or not real, but Dick Smith have come out on their Facebook page to 100-percent confirm the sale, which begins next Monday.
Facebook is currently stuck in a lawsuit with Paul Ceglia regarding whether or not he is entitled to half of the company. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has released a cache of personal emails which refute those claims. Many of these date back to his years back at Harvard where the social network was first created.
Facebook and Zuckerberg are hoping that the emails will be enough to refute Ceglia's claim to Facebook and have the case dismissed. The emails paint Zuckerberg in somewhat of an unflattering light, but should refute any claims to the company. Ceglia has previously released his own emails. Well, at least the content portion of the email.
This is an important point. Ceglia didn't have the entire email to release, but instead released Word documents in which he had copied and pasted into. Forensic investigators have since proven the documents to be forgeries. Ceglia's legal team hasn't quite given up yet:
We have made a preliminary review of Facebook's Motion, which attempts to have this matter ended before Facebook has to provide any discovery and before going to a jury. The Federal Rules of Evidence say a jury should weigh the evidence in this case, including experts' declarations in Mr. Ceglia's favor about the authenticity of his contract with Mr. Zuckerberg. Mr. Ceglia deserves his day in court, where the jury will resolve this dispute over the ownership of Facebook.
I think I'm getting screwed. I have an Epic 4G which I think uses WiMax for its 4G technology. Now, Sprint's senior networks VP Bob Azzi has said in a presentation that WiMax is coming to an end on the Sprint network. Sprint will no longer be launching any WiMax devices but instead will be rolling the effort in to the LTE rollout.
"The technology works and delivers more benefits than we expected," he said. Some of these benefits would most likely involve lower cost. The project is consolidating the voice, 3G, and 4G access sites into a single site. This is expected to cut prices in half for voice and data. The switch in device types should occur quickly. 15 are expected by the end of the year, with the first about next week in the form of the HTC Evo One.
We've all seen those ads that focus on Apple's personal assistant Siri. But does it really perform that seamlessly? Well according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, it doesn't. This isn't the first time that someone has accused Apple of falsely advertising Siri either.
"Through its nationwide multimedia marketing campaign, Apple disseminates false and deceptive representations regarding the functionality of the Siri feature," Jones charges, according to the LA Times, which obtained a copy of the suit. "For example, in many of Apple's television commercials, consumers are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants, and even to learn the guitar chords to classic rock songs. In its advertisements, Apple depicts these tasks as easily accomplished 'just by asking' Siri."
Often times, according to Jones, Siri misunderstood what he was asking or when Siri did understand what he was asking, she returned the wrong answer. In Apple's defense, they have publicly said that Siri is in beta and acknowledged that it is a work in progress. Whether or not this will help if the case gets to trial, only time will tell.
It would appear, if the figures released as part of a settlement offer with Oracle are to be believed, that Android is not very profitable for the search giant Google. Additionally, the figures show that the iPhone is four times greater for revenue than Google's own Android. The figure suggests that Android handsets only make Google around $10.
Part of the reason the iPhone is so much more profitable is because of its use of Google Maps, YouTube, and other Google services. PC advertising makes up the majority of the massive $38bn total revenue from 2011. This equates to around $30 per PC, but not all PCs are connected to the internet, so this figure is a bit higher.
Google has never released any sort of numbers regarding the revenue from Android. It provides Android free to handset makers, and only profits off of adverts and App sales. Once again, these numbers are calculated off of court documents, so their accuracy is likely to vary depending on who calculates them.
Apple grabbing more patents, Siri-like system for controlling cameras, PMPs through a computer or smartphone
Everyone and their uncle loves messing around with Siri by trying to get her to swear, both successfully and unsuccessfully, but it really is a cool piece of technology. The art of voice recognition is a pretty tough field, yet Siri works surprisingly well. It would appear that Apple is patenting a Siri-esque system that would be used to control cameras or portable music players through a computer or smartphone.
"Siri, turn on the flash and take two pictures with my camera after waiting three seconds." This is a representative of what could be possible with this new patent. Apple filed the patent way back in 2010, but it was just now posted online. An excerpt reads:
One embodiment may include a first electronic device communicatively coupled to a server and to a second electronic device. The second electronic device may be a portable electronic device, such as a digital media player, that includes a voice user interface. The second electronic device may be capable of accurate speech recognition, but may not include additional computation hardware and/or software for training the speech recognition engine. As such, the bulk, weigh, and cost for manufacturing the second electronic device may be reduced, resulting in a more portable and affordable product.
EVGA are set to update their warranty policy with a new global-based policy, which will be announced in a week or so. EVGA's "New and Improved Global Warranty" will soon be publicly announced through their website, but between now and then we can look at the basic overview of the biggest changes to their system:
- Warranties are now transferable - they follow the product, and not the owner.
- All products purchased on or after July 1st, 2011 have a minimum of a 3-Year warranty, regardless of registration. (except Recertified 90-day, and 1-Year Warranty products)
- Incentives and bonuses are given out to those who do register within 30 days of purchase - such as eligibility towards EVGA's Step-Up Program and Extended Warranty options.
- Registration is no longer required for RMAs.
- If a customer moves to another region, and their product fails, they can now send it to a local warranty center regardless of product origin.
On top of this, EVGA will offer a Standard Cross-Shipping RMA service, free of charge. EVGA will cross-ship a replacement product to the customer, as long as the customer provides a valid credit card as collateral, and the customer will pay for the return shipping of their malfunctioning part. At the moment, the Advanced RMA Program covers shipping both ways.
We can feel it now: a massive undercurrent shift of the way we use technology. 10 years ago, if you wanted to use the Internet, you required a desktop, and failing that, a notebook. Notebooks were just too thick, and large, and their battery lives were crap. Desktops were the only route, really.
Now, you can use the Internet on your TV, fridge, smartphone, tablet, iPod, and countless other Internet-connected devices. The IDC has put out a long-term estimate, where they've put mobile and desktop platforms in a single smart device category, where they've estimated that Windows will slip from 35.9-percent market share in 2011, to just 25.1-percent in 2016.
Android would move from 29.4-percent to 31.1-percent in the same 2011-2016 time frame. iOS is the smaller puppy here, with just 14.6-percent from 2011, and with an estimated 2016 market share of just 17.3-percent. The total number of smart devices? This goes from a 1.1 billion predicted for this year, to 1.8 billion in 2016.
MegaUpload would like to gain access to its seized servers in order to collect evidence to prove the innocence of the accused MegaUpload employees. However, officials will not release the $1 million dollars required to do so, hence the claim that the feds are impeding the defense of MegaUpload. "It's hard to reconcile the chain of events in this matter with any other conclusion," Rothken said. "MegaUpload is frustrated and wants to preserve the data for litigation and to defend itself and ultimately -- with the approval of the court -- to provide consumers access to their data."
According to MegaUpload's lawyers, there is no criminal copyright infringement statute in the United States, so if the US get the extradition they are requesting, MegaUpload will be successful in its defense. MegaUpload's lawyers are trying to prepare for the extradition defense, but are unable to because they don't have access to the e-mails, documents, and files on the servers which they claim will refute the charges.
The word on the street is that Facebook, in all of its glory, doesn't want me to use its name... That's right, in Facebook's updated version of its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," its trying to assert a trademark on the word "book." This is pretty ridiculous. It's like someone trying to trademark the work "car."
An excerpt from the revision details the change:
You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book and Wall)
By this, I can no longer "poke" someone, have a "wall," or read a "book" because I have agreed to these terms when I logged into Facebook. I see the need for someone to protect their brand, but at a point, it becomes pretty ridiculous. And in this case, I believe we have hit that point of ridiculousness.
It's about time for me to gather up what little privacy I have left and deactivate my Facebook account, and protect myself from being sued for using common words the next time I make a post somewhere. Just remember, don't sign our guestbook, because it contains the word "book," it's now trademark infringement.
In the words of Nelson from The Simpsons - "HA HA". What a great start to this news, as much as I love Apple (I'm rocking along with the new iPad and I've been loving it so far, there are issues, but it's overall a nice product) the 4G iPad is a huge misleading mess in Australia. When I went down to grab mine, you could see 4G signs and talk of it around the store, and it's just simply pathetic.
Apple are now finding themselves in a pickle in Australia, where Australian consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accused Apple of misleadingly calling its new iPad as 4G-capable. The ACCC have said they will be applying to the Federal Court of Melbourne for an order against the company and is moving for the court to impose fines and injunctions against sales.
The ACCC is saying that labelling the new iPad as 4G-capable is misleading to customers in Australia. Yes, 4G LTE networks are available here in Australia, but they run on an entirely different band to what the iPad is compatible with. 4G services in Australia provided by Telstra run on the 1800MHz frequency band, which makes them completely unusable on the new iPad. The new iPad only works on the 700MHz or 2100MHz frequency bands for its 4G LTE connectivity.
Samsung's 5.3-inch GALAXY Note smartphone has been doing surprisingly well for the South Korean-based company, having shipped over 5 million units in just five months. This is quite the achievement considering its one of the larger screened smartphones on the market today.
5 million units shipped, and the 5.3-incher doesn't even include Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, this is quite the achievement for Samsung. We should expect Samsung to released their Premium Suite of apps, as well as Android 4.0 in the near future.
Until then, the GALAXY Note is still an amazing looking phone. I personally wouldn't mind checking it out, but I'm waiting for some Ice Cream Sandwich lovin' before I get into that gorgeous 5.3-inch display. I really should stop dilly dallying and just get one, shouldn't I?
People are spending up big on Apple's Newsstand app, where a study of Apple's App Store for iPad during just the month of February from market research firm Distimo shows that the top 100 publications raked in more than $70,000 a day. This is just absolutely huge, considering that the revenue is from the United States alone, and is led by News Corp.'s The Daily, followed by The New York Times, and The New Yorker magazine.
Apple don't disclose what individual app makers and content providers earn on ints store, but Apple provide 70-percent of each sale to the content creators, holding back 30-percent for themselves. Publishers can also let existing subscribers view digital editions of content, to which they've already subscribed to. But, they're not allowed to link to outside Web sites where subscriptions can be struck outside of Apple's App Store, that's a naughty no-no.
Transformers, robots in disguise. Well, in the case of Hasbro, it's "tablets in disguise." Remember how Hasbro sued Asus over its Transformer Prime tablet because of the name "Transformer?" Well, the judgement came in today in that case. The court decided that Asus can continue selling its Transformer Prime series because it does not infringe on Hasbro's trademark.
The court found that Hasbro's trademark did not cover the Transformer Prime. One reason is because the tablet is not similar in use to any of the products manufactured by Hasbro and the likelihood of them getting confused is slim. Additionally, because the tablet does indeed transform (by way of its detachable keyboard), it was a suitable name for the device to have.