Technica

Verizon Wants to Watch and Listen to Your Life While You Watch TV

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5965843/verizon-wants-to-watch-and-listen-to-your-life-while-you-watch-tv

Verizon Wants to Watch and Listen to Your Life While You Watch TVLast week, Verizon filed a patent for a set-top box that detects what you’re doing while you watch TV, and serves you advertising accordingly. Ew, weird, companies watching what I do while I consume content. Big brother! Chill, son.

“Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User” describes a system by which a device captures information about what you’re doing while enjoying TV, movies, etc, and uses it to target advertising to you. Using a “a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor, and a thermal sensor” the system would be able to detect whether you’re fiddling with your phone, interacting with another person, as well as performing any of:

eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument.

Now, this might seem kind of creepy, but there’s a few important points to remember before you freak out and sound the privacy alarm. First, companies like Facebook, Google, etc, are capturing all sorts of information about what you’re consuming online and using it to serve you targeted advertising. Second, any system like this would almost certainly require you to opt-in before peeking into your life. Besides, how many of these patents actually turn into products, anyway? [USPTO via Ars Technica via Betabeat]

Image by Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 news No Comments

The Nexus 4 Does Have LTE, It

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5961716/the-nexus-4-does-have-lte-its-just-not-switched-on

The Nexus 4 Does Have LTE, It’s Just Not Switched OnFollowing that iFixit teardown of the Nexus 4, it looks like LG and Google did kit out their new flagship with LTE after all—at least, there’s a Qualcomm multi-band LTE chip in there—it’s just not active. But why whack in a 4G chip and not bother to use it?

There are a couple of theories. The first is network restriction: perhaps one or more mobile carriers have called dibs on an LTE-equipped version to be “released” at a later date. Another theory, as suggested by Ars Technica is that LG’s just left the chip in there as a throw over from the Optimus G, on which the Nexus 4 is based, to reduce manufacturing streams. That’s possible, but why put a chip in there that costs you extra cash if you weren’t going to use it?

On the bright side, perhaps now we’ll have a reason for people to actually root stock Android. Maybe, just maybe, someone will be able to activate that dormant LTE chip and gift the Nexus 4 with 4G. That really would make Google’s flagship absolutely killer. [iFixit via Ars Technica]


The Nexus 4 Does Have LTE, It’s Just Not Switched OnOur newest offspring Gizmodo UK is gobbling up the news in a different timezone, so check them out if you need another Giz fix.

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Monday, November 19th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/vip/~3/8wpGGRzhLC0/one-dmca-notice-took-down-145-million-education-blogs

One DMCA Notice Took Down 1.45 Million Education BlogsWe all know that DMCA notices are kinda dumb, but this is ridiculous: a single takedown request from Pearson, a textbook publisher, took down 1.45 million education blogs in one fell swoop.

Ars Technica reports that Pearson targeted a single page from 2007 that was using copyrighted material. Some form of miscommunication ensued, though, as EduBlogs, the host of the blog in question, found that all of its 1.45 million sites were taken down.

EduBlogs insists it was never given the chance to solve the problem itself—rather, the blogs were taken down by the overarching provider ServerBeach, to whom EduBlogs is a client. The whole problem was sorted in around 60 minutes, but that’s not really the point: rather, it highlights how dumb DMCA notices are and how badly they work. [Ars Technica]

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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5920983/how-winamp-disappeared-into-obscurity

How Winamp Disappeared Into ObscurityThis year marks the 15th birthday of Winamp. During that time it went from being a must-have piece of software to languishing in complete obscurity. But where did it all go wrong?

Ars Technica has a wonderful feature which explores exactly that question. From the piece:

Prior to Winamp, there wasn’t much available beyond Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. But none of those players could, in the mid-1990s, do something as basic as playlists, much less visualizations and custom skins, nor were they as tightly and efficiently programmed as Winamp. Even today, the Mac version of the Winamp installer is only 4.2MB; by comparison, the iTunes Mac installer comes in at a whopping 170MB.

The Windows Advanced Multimedia Products (WinAMP) player was released to the world on April 21, 1997. The next year, when its parent company Nullsoft formally incorporated, Winamp became $10 shareware. But no one pays for shareware, right? Wrong.

“Nothing ever was broken [if you didn’t pay], there was no feature that was unlocked,” Rob Lord told Ars. “In that year before we were acquired, we were bringing in $100,000 a month from $10 checks-paper checks in the mail!”

In fact, Winamp proved to be a huge success, and in many ways was the piece of software that naturalized the use of MP3s, by making it easy to rip, store and manage them, all from one piece of software. So successful was it, in fact, that eventually AOL acquired the company in June 1999 for somewhere in the region of $80-$100 million.

What followed, however, isn’t a pretty story. Through horrendous mismanagement, AOL throttled the creativity of the Winamp team:

“There’s no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition,” Rob Lord, the first general manager of Winamp, and its first-ever hire, told Ars.

Justin Frankel, Winamp’s primary developer, seems to concur in an interview he gave to BetaNews. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.) “I’m always hoping that they will come around and realize that they’re killing [Winamp] and find a better way, but AOL always seems too bogged down with all of their internal politics to get anything done,” he said.

Later, of course, came iTunes, at a time when Winamp was already beginning to struggle, to further compound the problem. Over time, Winamp’s success dwindled, and its development staff left. Nowadays, Winamp still exists—it just has an incredibly small, stagnated user base.

Of course, the story is complex, and can’t be done justice here with simply a few quotes, so you should head over to Ars Technica and take a read for yourself. [Ars Technica]

Image by uzi978 under Creative Commons license

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Monday, June 25th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5914674/how-hackers-nearly-took-down-googles-recaptcha-system

How Hackers Nearly Took Down Google's reCaptcha SystemLast weekend a group of hackers unveiled Stiltwalker, a hack that subverts the reCaptcha system Google uses to protect its services from bots with 99 percent accuracy. But just hours before the group was set to present their hack at the LayerOne conference Google patched it up so it wouldn’t work anymore.

Stiltwalker is an impressive piece of engineering by the hackers from Defcon Group. CAPTCHA hacks have existed before, but what makes this hack so neat is that when it was working it could nail Google’s coded system much more accurately than any other before it. Rather than attack a single vulnerability, the hackers attacked several shortcomings of the audio portion of the audio version of reCAPTCHA from multiple angles. Ars Technica reports:

What the hackers-identified only as C-P, Adam, and Jeffball-learned from analyzing the sound prints of each test was that the background noise, in sharp contrast to the six words, didn’t include sounds that registered at higher frequencies. By plotting the frequencies of each audio test on a spectogram, the hackers could easily isolate each word by locating the regions where high pitches were mapped. reCAPTCHA was also undermined by its use of just 58 unique words. Although the inflections, pronunciations, and sequences of spoken words varied significantly from test to test, the small corpus of words greatly reduced the work it took a computer to recognize each utterance.

The group has said they’re already working on a way to get past Google’s new system. [Defcon Group via Ars Technica]

Image by Dirtbag / Blackhatworld

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Thursday, May 31st, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5903321/googles-cloud-print-now-lets-you-send-documents-direct-to-fedex

Google's Cloud Print Now Lets You Send Documents Direct to FedExGoogle’s Cloud Print service might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it is damn useful. And it just got even more practical: it now lets you print documents to other Android devices as a PDF, or even print off documents at a local FedEx store.

The service allows you to print off documents at one of 1,800 FedEx locations in the US, and then go pick them up with a retrieval code at one of their Print & Go machines. Smart.

The update also means that a heap of Canon printers now work with Google’s Cloud Print service, too. [Ars Technica]

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Thursday, April 19th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882703/your-deleted-facebook-photos-still-arent-really-deleted

Your Deleted Facebook Photos Still Aren't Really DeletedThree years ago, Ars Technica discovered that when you “deleted” your photos, they were still kept on Facebook’s servers, and anyone with a static URL could still access it. Three years later, Ars Technica revisited the matter and found little has changed. But Facebook says that things will be different…eventually.

Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng got Facebook to comment on the matter, they’re developing a new one which will permanently wipe photo off their servers within 45 days of a user “deleting” the photo from the site.

“The systems we used for photo storage a few years ago did not always delete images from content delivery networks in a reasonable period of time even though they were immediately removed from the site,” Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens told Ars via e-mail.

Wolens explained that photos remaining online are stuck in a legacy system that was apparently never operating properly, but said the company is working on a new system that will delete the photos in a mere month and a half. For really real this time.

So if there’s some incriminating piece of imagery on Facebook you’re really dying to have removed once and for all, maybe all hope isn’t lost entirely. [Ars Technica]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now) [Sopa]

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5877993/sopa-and-pipa-have-been-pulled-for-now

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now)After Wednesday’s all-day protest of SOPA and PIPA, the bills that want to censor your internet, both bills have been shelved for further consideration, and will not be voted on as scheduled. Rep. Lamar Smith, the sponsor of SOPA, said he’s still committed to fighting piracy, but that this legislation isn’t the way to do it:

I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.

The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.

We’re hesitant to say the bill is “dead”, but after the events of this week it’s unlikely we’ll see SOPA and PIPA come to a vote in their current form. This probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of anti-piracy legislation, of course, and future bills could be just as dangerous. There are still things you can do to help, and while this is a victory, it isn’t a permanent one, so we wouldn’t get too comfortable just yet. Hit the link to read more.

Photo by Aspect3D (Shutterstock).

Statement from Chairman Smith on Senate Delay of Vote on PROTECT IP Act | US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary via Ars Technica


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Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

AT&T Is Going To Try To Blow Away Amazon’s Cloud (AMZN, T)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-has-got-yet-another-new-cloud-competitor-att-2012-1


mushroom cloud

There’s already no shortage of companies with their own “clouds” trying to blow up Amazon’s popular web services.

Now AT&T will too.

On Monday AT&T announced  AT&T Cloud Architect, which it describes as “a developer-centric cloud platform providing storage and infrastructure as-a-service.” Sound familiar? It should. That’s what Amazon’s Web Services does, as does Microsoft Azure, IBM’s SmartCloud, Red Hat’s OpenShift and countless others.

AT&T has promised that it’s new cloud will support multiple flavors of Linux (CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat) as well as Windows Server.

AT&T was vague as to when its cloud would be available, saying that it would be turned on sometime in the next few weeks, reports Ars Technica.

The news is significant for another reason. AT&T is choosing OpenStack to build its cloud, making it the first carrier to join the OpenStack consortium. OpenStack is an open-source cloud architecture project based on a collaboration between NASA and hosting company Rackspace. It’s not the only open source cloud architecture, but it is the one that seems to be winning the most support with the most important participants.

Having the cloud industry settle on one architecture is good for enterprise customers. It ensures they won’t get stuck with one cloud vendor. They can move their applications more easily between multiple clouds built with the same technology.

That’s the heart of the complaint thrown at Amazon by competitors like Rackspace. They say Amazon’s proprietary technology makes it hard for customers to move.

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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 news No Comments

How the iPhone Could End Up In Second Place

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5504622/how-the-iphone-could-end-up-in-second-place

How the iPhone Could End Up In Second PlaceHere are the US mobile web traffic figures for iPhone OS and Android, getting ready to collide: Android, on its way up; iPhone, on its way down. So when will Android overtake the iPhone? Try next month.

AdMob’s Mobile Metrics Report sees a predictable continuation of what we’d seen before from the ad tracking firm—specifically, that Android is on a serious tear, thanks in no small part to the massive success of the Droid. But before, the iPhone seemed unassailable. Now, it’s about to get trumped by Google’s OS, on terms it defined. In the US, that is. The rest of the world’s still warming to Android.
How the iPhone Could End Up In Second Place
Modern smartphones are as much browsing devices as they are phones, so while mobile traffic isn’t the best way to measure total sales for a device, it’s a solid way to measure a device’s success, both in terms of how many people are using it, and how it’s getting used. The iPhone is a browsing device. So is the Pre. So are all the Android phones. But Windows Phones? BlackBerrys? Symbian devices? As popular as some of these are, they’re obviously not being used as smartphones.

The other key piece here, and one that’s not obvious from looking at the chart, is total browsing: It’s up. Way up. 193% up, in just one year. So when I talk about the iPhone falling to second place, I’m not declaring a loser—just a platform that’s winning more slowly. (Note: AdMob was recently, and generously, acquired by Google, though their advertising solutions are still cross-platform.) [Ars Technica]

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Monday, March 29th, 2010 charts 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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