application

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5885321/how-iphone-apps-steal-your-contact-data-and-why-you-cant-stop-it

How iPhone Apps Steal Your Contact Data and Why You Can't Stop ItThe internet is starting to realize something unsettling: our iPhones send information about the people we know to private servers, often without our permission. Some offending apps are fixing themselves. Some aren’t. But the underlying problem is much bigger.

Apple allows any app to access your address book at any time—it’s built into the iPhone’s core software. The idea is to make using these apps more seamless and magical, in that you won’t have dialog boxes popping up in your face all the time, the way Apple zealously guards your location permissions at an OS level—because fewer clicks mean a more graceful experience, right? Maybe, but the consequence is privacy shivved and consent nullified. Your phone makes decisions about what’s okay to share with a company, whose motivation is, ultimately, making money, without consulting you first.

Once you peel back that pretty skin of your phone and observe the software at work—we used a proxy application called Charles—watching the data that jumps between your phone and a remote server is plain. A little too plain. What can we see?

As Paul Haddad, the developer behind the popular Twitter client TapBot pointed out to me, some of App Store’s shiniest celebrities are among those that beam away your contact list in order to make hooking up with other friends who use the app smoother. From Haddad’s own findings:

Foursquare (Email, Phone Numbers no warning)
Path (Pretty much everything after warning)
Instagram (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Facebook (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Twitter for iOS (Email, Phone Numbers, warning)
Voxer (Email, First, Last, Phone numbers, warning)

Foursquare and Instagram have both recently updated to provide a much clearer warning of what you’re about to share. Which every single app should follow, providing clear warnings before they touch your contacts. But plenty of apps aren’t so generous. “A lot of other popular social networking apps send some data,” says Haddad, “mostly names, emails, phone numbers.” Instapaper, for example, transmits your address book’s email listings when you ask it to “search contacts” to connect with other friends using the app. The app never makes it clear that my data (shown up top) is leaving the phone—and once it’s out of your hands and in Instagram’s, all you can do is trust that it’ll be handled responsibly. You know, like not be stored permanently without your knowledge.

Trust is all we’ve got, and that’s not good. “Once the data is out of your device there’s no way to tell what happens to it,” explains Haddad. Companies might do the decent thing and delete your data immediately. Like Foursquare, which says it doesn’t store your data at all after matching your friends, and never has. Twitter keeps your address book data for 18 months “to make it easy for you and your contacts to discover each other on Twitter after you’ve signed up,” but can delete the data at any time with a link at the bottom of this page. Or a company might do the Path thing, storing that information indefinitely until they’re publicly shamed into doing otherwise. Or worse.

We need a solution, and goodwill on the part of app devs is going to cut it. All the ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS? dialog boxes in the world won’t absolve Apple’s decision to hand out our address books on a pearly platter. iOS is the biggest threat to iOS—and nothing short of a major revision to the way Apple allows apps to run through your contacts should be acceptable. But is that even enough? Maybe not.

Jay Freeman, developer behind the massively popular jailbroken-iPhone program Cydia, doesn’t think Apple’s hand is enough to definitively state who gets your address book, and when:

“Neither Apple nor the application developer is in a good position to decide that ahead of time, and due to this neither Apple’s model of ‘any app can access the address book, no app can access your recent calls’, nor Google’s method of ‘developer claims they need X, take it or leave it’ is sufficient.”

Freeman’s solution? Cydia’s “one-off modifications to the underlying operating system” that we deal in, nicely transfers this control back to the user.” In other words, we can’t trust Apple or the people that make apps—so let’s just trust ourselves to control how iOS works.

Freeman left us with one, final, disquieting note. Shrewd devs and others with the knowhow have been able to dig through app traffic to find out of they’re shoveling around your address book. But there’s no easy way to do this—and if a dev really wants to sneak your data through the door, there’s technically nothing we can do to stop him: “There are tons of complex tricks that can be used to smuggle both information in network traffic and computation itself.” It’s a problem fundamental to computer science—once the data’s in a dev’s hands, he can conjure it away, too small to be noticed by App Store oversight in churning sea of other apps.

Unless Apple keeps him from getting that information in the first place by letting us all make informed decisions with our phone and the private life poured into it. Your move, iOS.

Photo: Motorolka/Shutterstock

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

A Leak From The USA TODAY Shows How The Kindle Fire Is Blowing Away Other Android Tablets (AMZN, APPL)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-leak-from-the-usa-today-shows-how-the-kindle-fire-is-blowing-away-other-android-tablets-2012-2


Here’s an interesting look at how the platform wars are playing out across smartphones and tablets.

GeekWire landed an internal slide from USA Today that lists how many times its application has been downloaded. USA Today has a wider, more geographically diverse readership than most other newspapers, giving us insights into the ecosystem that we might not get from the typical measurement companies.

If USA Today’s internal statistics are any indication, the Kindle Fire is blowing other Android tablets out of the water. The slide shows 260,000 downloads of its app for Kindle Fire compared with only 130,000 for other Android tablets. That’s a two-to-one ratio.

The Kindle Fire still trails the iPad by some ~2.6 million downloads, but that’s unsurprising. What’s more impressive is how much headway the Kindle Fire has made in the short time since its release.

Further, you can see that the iPhone app is still beating the Android app in downloads. And Windows Phone has a lot of work to do.

usa-today-kindle-fire

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Friday, February 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882173/the-dominos-super-bowl-pizza-war-room-oozes-pepperoni-cheese-and-sadness

The Domino's Super Bowl Pizza War Room Oozes Pepperoni, Cheese, and SadnessOn Super Bowl Sunday, 55 IT specialists will huddle together in a dark room to keep their company’s website afloat on the biggest day of its entire year, since it’s going to be bombarded by millions of ravenous fans. But the company they work for isn’t the NFL.

It’s freaking Domino’s.

Here’s how Domino’s social media specialist explained the roles of who’s in the room to The Atlantic:

* Application owners check the initial code of our applications, making up our defensive line.
* Those watching our operating systems are our second line of defense, or “line backers”… who react to every situation on the “field.”
* Those observing the network will jump in and “cover” if anything looks dicey on a larger scale, serving as our “cornerbacks.”
* In case someone tries a “Hail Mary” play to hack into part of our system, we have our Security team there as our “safeties” – our last line of defense!

Which is about the caliber of sports metaphor you’d expect from a social media specialist. But it doesn’t make it any less cool that Dominos stuffs bunch of nerds into a room during the super bowl to make sure you get your pizza. [Dominos via The Atlantic]

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Sunday, February 5th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Sell Your Book in the iBookstore and Apple Won’t Let You Sell It Anywhere Else [IBooks]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5877736/sell-youre-book-in-the-ibookstore-and-apple-wont-let-you-sell-it-anywhere-else

Sell Your Book in the iBookstore and Apple Won't Let You Sell It Anywhere ElseSelling a book with Apple’s iBook Author program is now a one-way ticket to Apple being the only place you can sell the book. Maybe selling your book on iBooks isn’t such a great deal after all.

Dan Wineman of Venomous Porridge went to publish his first book from within the iBooks Author application when he was met with a curious notice. Once a book is made available for sale in the iBookstore, it can only be sold through that venue.

A quick look at the iBooks Author EULA reconfirms the dialog box’s diabolical message:

(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

Ugh, the worst part is that you never agree to anything when you install the application. The EULA never appears when you install. Apparently, you implicitly agree to the EULA simply by using the software. If you’ve worked for weeks on a book only to discover you can’t sell it anywhere else once you publish it to the iBookstore, you’re gonna be pissed.

Apple is jumping into the world of publishing here. If you had a deal with Random House to sell your book, you wouldn’t be able to have Penguin Publishing also sell it. These deals, however, are transparent. The restrictions don’t just appear as you prepare to submit your manuscript. Apple is assuming rights over your content in the worst possible way. [Venomous Porridge]


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Thursday, January 19th, 2012 news No Comments

The Facebook App Is More Popular Than Google’s Apps On Android (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-android-apps2011-12

Facebook is the most popular application for Android, passing the Google search, Maps, and Gmail apps, as measured by usage of the app, according to data from Nielsen.

Nielsen gathered the data using its “proprietary device meters on the smartphones” of thousands of users. It saw what apps were being used and what were being left behind.

chart of the day, mobile application reach by age

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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 news No Comments

A Really Scary Chart For Yahoo (YHOO)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-2011-11

This chart shows why Yahoo quickly needs to figure out a new path for itself.

For all of its success, at its core, Yahoo is still an email business. People use Yahoo email and then from there land on its other properties.

The rise of smartphones and iPads is a problem for Yahoo. On those devices, email is a native application that doesn’t encourage people to checkout Yahoo’s pages.

As you can see in this chart, web-based email usage is cratering for people aged 12-34. Unless Yahoo figures out a way to wean itself from email dependence, it’s going to be in trouble.

What is the future of Yahoo? Our own Nicholas Carlson has a bold idea

chart of the day, web-based email use by age year over year, nov. 18, 2011

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Saturday, November 19th, 2011 news No Comments

iPhone OS is still king of the mobile web space, but Android is nipping at its heels

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/29/stats-iphone-os-is-still-king-of-the-mobile-web-space-but-andr/

AdMob serves north of 10 billion ads per month to more than 15,000 mobile websites and applications. Thus, although its data is about ad rather than page impressions, it can be taken as a pretty robust indicator of how web usage habits are developing and changing over time. Android is the big standout of its most recent figures, with Google loyalists now constituting a cool 42 percent of AdMob’s smartphone audience in the US. With the EVO 4G and Galaxy S rapidly approaching, we wouldn’t be surprised by the little green droid stealing away the US share crown, at least until Apple counters with its next slice of magical machinery. Looking at the global stage, Android has also recently skipped ahead of Symbian, with a 24 percent share versus 18 percent for the smartphone leader. Together with BlackBerry OS, Symbian is still the predominant operating system in terms of smartphone sales, but it’s interesting to see both falling behind in the field of web or application usage, which is what this metric seeks to measure. Figures from Net Applications (to be found at the TheAppleBlog link) and ArsTechnica‘s own mobile user numbers corroborate these findings.

Stats: iPhone OS is still king of the mobile web space, but Android is nipping at its heels originally appeared on Engadget on Mon! , 29 Mar 2010 10:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, March 29th, 2010 charts No Comments

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/lifehacker/full/~3/VXZVXiFgV6Y/tableau-public-brings-your-boring-data-to-life

Windows only: Free application Tableau Public creates beautiful visualizations from your data and lets you publish them to the web, where users can interact with your charts and graphs with live updates.

The video above provides a great overview of how the tool works. Essentially, you import your data into the desktop Windows application, then play around with different charts, graphs, or other options until you find the visualization or visualizations that best fit your data. When you’re happy with what you’ve put together, you can save the outcome to the web, which uploads the charts to the Tableau Public servers. From there you can embed it on any web page YouTube-style), and users can drill down into the data to their heart’s content.

Here’s an example of Tableau Public in action from a post on the Wall Street Journal:

Dashboard at 570
Dashboard at 570

Tableau Public is a free download for Windows, and looks like a great tool to try out next time you’re looking to make your otherwise boring data come to life. Update: Somehow I managed to miss the fact that Tableau Public is only free on a trial basis; its actual price tag is extremely hefty. (Though if you’re a student you can get it for as little as $69.)

Double Update: Actually, looks like Tableau Public is free after all! Straight from the horse’s mouth:

“People can download the free tool and publish their visualizations of their data for free. Tableau Public includes a free desktop product that you can download and use to publish interactive data visualizations to the web. The Tableau Public desktop saves work to the Tableau Public web servers – nothing is saved locally on your computer. All data saved to Tableau Public will be accessible by everyone on the internet, so be sure to work only with [publicly] available (and appropriate) data.

When people want to analyze their private or confidential data (particularly data in data warehouses and other large databases), then they may want to consider our commercial products.”

Tableau Public [via MakeUseOf]

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Monday, March 8th, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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