DigitalOutbox Episode 67
In this episode the team discuss Firesheep, Adobe, Samsung Tab and Cloud Backups.
3:22 – FireSheep
– Firesheep takes almost everything required for stealing people’s Facebook and Twitter sessions – along with those from many other sites – and puts it into one attractively designed Firefox extension.
– Password stealing from open networks is nothing new, and the flaws that Firesheep exploits have been known for more than a decade
– However it required some knowledge and skill – this makes it easy
– Firesheep, though, has an easy-to-use interface and, perhaps most importantly, a cute name. To use it, you simply install it into Firefox and click a few buttons. One minor additional step, installing WinPcap, is required for Windows users.
– Cookies passed in the clear…cookie stores password – tada!
– 104,000 downloads in 24 hours
– Solution – https or turn on wpa for open access point and make password known to customers – cookie then encrypted
– Force major players like facebook and twitter to move to https
– Just remember – this is illegal!
7:04 – Google creating stringer privacy controls
– Appointing director of privacy across engineering and product management
– All employees to receive training on Googles privacy principles and are required to sign Googles Code of Conduct
– Every project now requires a privacy design document
– Finally, the street view cars and wifi capturing – a number of external regulators have inspected the data as part of their investigations (seven of which have now been concluded). It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords. We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place. We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users.
– Information Comissioners Office to re-investigate – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11614970
9:10 – Android hits 100000 Apps
– Rampaging app store
– Not much more to say
10:03 – Blekko
– Search is dead – everyone uses Google…or Bing
– Blekko’s alternative search engine — a $24 million venture-backed project that’s been three years in the making — is today launching its public beta.
– Blekko is designed to eliminate spam search results, allowing users to search just a subset of the web through its proprietary slashtag technology.
– The most significant upgrade to Blekko’s search engine is the addition of slashtags that auto-fire for queries that fall into one of seven categories: health, colleges, autos, personal finance, lyrics, recipes and hotels. Every time a Blekko user’s query is determined to be in one of these categories, Blekko will automatically append the associated slashtag to the query and limit results to just the subset of URLs that fall under that slashtag.
– Basically slash tags tell Blekko to limit your search to a human-curated category of websites — a custom search. So say you want to find good resources for learning about arrays in PHP? Type “arrays /php.” Need a good pumpkin pie recipe. Yup, you guessed it — append the /recipes slash tag.
– Well, according to CEO and co-founder Rick Skrenta, it’s because the web is filling up with spam and low-rent webpages from content farms like Demand Media, saying the web now has 100 billion urls, most created by bots.
– “You need to bring large-scale human curation and combine it with algorithmic techniques to bring the quality back,” Skrenta said. “If you have the set of the top 150 health sites, you know what, you really can answer nearly any health question, and you know what, you really don’t want to be searching outside of that set.”
– More people use it and curate, the better the results?
15:56 – Microsoft in the money
– Microsoft Corp. today announced record first-quarter revenue of $16.20 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, a 25% increase from the same period of the prior year.
– Worth noting, also, that Microsoft’s fallen behind Apple in the revenue race. Although Microsoft’s still winning where it counts, posting $5.41 billion in net income to Apple’s $4.3 billion.
– net income by division:
– Windows and Windows Live: $3.32 billion
– Business: $3.39 billion
– Entertainment and Devices: $382 million
– the Online Division. Last quarter, the division lost $560 million for Microsoft. That’s better than the previous quarter when it lost a staggering $696 million, but it’s much worse than a year ago, when it lost $477 million. In the past year, Microsoft has lost well over $2 billion from the division.
– Major shift with silverlight – Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone – Bob Muglia – Microsoft’s SVP of the Server and Tools Business
– the technology has some “sweet spots” for media applications (presumably like Netflix, which uses Silverlight on the web), its role as a vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime appears to be over. “Our strategy has shifted,” is how Muglia put it.
– Instead, as they made clear during PDC, Microsoft is putting their weight behind HTML5 going forward. Hallelujah. But what if you’ve invested in Silverlight – like Netflix?
– More info…in a few months
– Also, every microsoft employee is to get a windows phone 7 device – 89,000 employee’s
– Another 1000 free WP7 handsets were handed out to Professional Developer Conference attendee’s
– Cost – $20 million but will generate a whole load of chatter
20:49 – Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
– The Digital Publishing Suite will let publishers create, produce, distribute and monetize their digital magazines and content across different devices and marketplaces.
– The Digital Publishing Suite is an add-on that will let publishers assemble editorial and advertising pages and then preview and test complete issues, including interactive elements.
– Issues can be previewed both in InDesign, an iPhone or iPad simulator, or on testing hardware units.
– Great publishing options, sending to multiple targets and devices
– Supports subscription options and brings a lot of analytics
– Price – $700 a month (per publisher not app) with a per issue cost on top
– Massive potential
24:32 – Adobe Air 2.5
– New version of Air for computers, smartphones and tablets and TV’s
– Big push for Adobe
– From engadget – Air will also come standard in RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, but it’s not just for fun, productivity and games there — Adobe told us that the PlayBook’s entire UI is built on Air.
– Wow. Great for Adobe, really poor for RIM?
– Confirmed on RIM’s tablet OS dev page – The initial release of the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK allows developers to create Adobe AIR applications. Leveraging Adobe design and development tools, the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR allows you to create rich, powerful applications like never before.
27:42 – iPhone Daylight Savings Bug Hits Europe
– Europeans’ recurring alarms are going off an hour later following the switch to Standard Time.
– Same bug that affected New Zealand and Oz
– alarms set never to repeat, or set to repeat every day, are unaffected; just the selective repeat alarms (only weekends, only weekdays) are getting munged
– In less than a week, Apple’s largest customer base, its US iPhone users, will likely have their recurring alarms go off an hour later, too, unless Apple can address the problem before November 7
29:23 – Coming Soon for Kindle
– we are making Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on our free Kindle apps, so you can always read Kindle periodicals even if you don’t have your Kindle with you or don’t yet own a Kindle. In the coming weeks, many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and then we’ll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road. Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we’re excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks.
– later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.
36:52 – Samsung Galaxy Tab Launched
– Launches on O2 on Mon 1st Nov
– £599 on a range of pay an go tariffs
– All prices compared – £499 – £599 for hardware depending on tarrif
– Average reviews too – http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/laptops-portable-pcs/laptops-and-netbooks/samsung-galaxy-tab-903545/review?artc_pg=3
– Pros – good multitasking, flash support, camera
– Cons – juddery scrolling, lag, over sensitive accelerometer, battery life 4 hrs against claims of 7, gets hot when playing video, Android 2.2 not optimised for tablets (admitted by Google), worse screen outdoors than iPad (ouch), 7 inches a little too small for tablet, poor camera
– or great reviews – http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/01/samsung-galaxy-tab-review/
– Perhaps the best part about the Tab is that you don’t have to worry about the sluggish performance we’ve seen on other Android and Windows tablets. The entire experience is very snappy, and it kept up with us even when we had four or five applications open.
– On our taxing video rundown test, which loops a standard definition video at about 65 percent brightness and 3G off, but WiFi on, the Tab’s 4000mAh battery lasted for 6 hours and 9 minutes.
– After spending the last couple of days with the Galaxy Tab, we can confidently say it’s the best Android tablet on the market. Now, that’s not saying much given the state of the Android competition, but we can also assuredly say that the Tab is the first true competitor to Apple’s iPad.
42:11 – Virgin launches 100Mb Broadband
– Virgin Media today said it will begin increasing the maximum downstream broadband speed available via its network to 100Mbit/s, and maximum upload speed to 10Mbit/s.
– The gradual programme will take more than 18 months to cover the country, it said, and is due for completion in mid-2012. The first areas scheduled for upgrade, in December, are in London, the South-East and Yorkshire.
– The 100Mbit/s service will come with a new Virgin Media-branded combined cable modem and 802.11n router. It will launch at £45 per month as a standalone package, or £35 with an £11.99 per month phone line. The current top package costs £38 per month on its own.
– 10,000 sign up on first day (for interest)
45:38 – Nintendo makes a loss
– The Japanese computer games firm posted a net loss of 2bn yen ($24.7m; £15.6m) for the six months to 30 September. This compares with a net profit of 69.5bn yen for the same period in 2009.
– Nintendo’s sales for the first half of its financial year were down 34% to 363.16bn yen, partly due to lower demand for its Wii console.
– Need to innovate – 3DS a gimmick?
50:04 – Playstation Phone Leaks
– Familiar bumpers, slide out controls
– Android 3, usual tech specs
– No memory stick – microSD card
51:36 – Xbox 360 New Dashboard
– Restyled dash is out in time for Kinect
– Biggest features aren’t in UK – ESPN, Zune, Netflix
– However we get
– Improved voice chat quality
– Some minor stuff around re-orged content to make navigation easier i.e. for Kinect
– thats it but here’s a nice post on Xbox Live and NAT (Network Address Translation) – http://www.xbox.com/en-US/Live/EngineeringBlog/NATs-and-xbox-live
Amazon Web Services
– Free tier from 1st Nov for a year – http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2010/11/servers-for-nothing-and-bits-for-free.html
– 5gb/month of S3 storage, 15gb of internet data transfer (out and in), 25 SimpleDB machine hours, 750 hours of free time on an Amazon EC2 micro instance running Linux + a whole load more – setup a web app for free for a year
– Also reduced Amazon S3 storage prices – http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2010/11/what-can-i-say-another-amazon-s3-price-reduction.html
– Using Arq for backups
– Keep multiple versions of a file (think dropbox)
– No limits on file size or number of files
– Flexible scheduling and bandwidth options