DigitalOutbox Episode 95
In this episode the team discuss Windows 8, Facebook and Google+ War and that man Hunt.
1:11 – Windows 8
– Windows 8, the next version of Microsoft’s operating system, will sport a dual interface aimed at both tablet and desktop computers, and the company will approve or reject third-party apps for the tablet version.
– Although Windows 8 will run on both Intel and ARM chip architectures, apps will have to be recompiled for the latter; there will be no virtualisation of Intel apps to run on ARM chips, which are already used in Apple’s iPad, Android tablets and HP’s discontinued TouchPad.
– Furthermore, applications for the ARM version of Windows 8 will only be available through the “Windows Store” – and only apps compiled to use its “Metro” touch interface will appear there.
– Windows 8 is expected to be released to the public in about a year’s time.
– Windows 8 is an OS with a dual personality: for tablets, and for desktops.
– The tablet side, called Metro, is a new user interface built from the ground up for touch control, and borrowing from the design used for Windows Phone 7. Instead of a Start menu with small icons, Windows 8 has chunky tiles, used both for launching applications and to display information. Run a Metro app and it fills the entire screen – a style Microsoft calls the immersive user interface.
– Internet Explorer 10 nicely demonstrates this immersive style. Browse the web, and all you see is the web page. If you need to see the address bar or other controls, you swipe the screen at top or bottom to display the application bar. Tap the page again and the controls disappear.
– There is one concession to PC-style multitasking, which is the ability to have two apps side by side. In this mode, one app occupies most of the screen, but another app runs alongside it.
– Another feature of Metro is “Charms”. Flick the screen on the right, and five icons appear, labelled Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings. These form a common user interface for performing standard tasks: searching, sharing content on social media such as Twitter or Facebook, interacting with devices like printers, or changing application settings.
– While Metro in Windows 8 looks similar to Windows Phone 7, it is quite different under the covers, and Sinofsky says that will continue to be the case. “We’ve shown how code can be shared, but running the same apps on both is still a ways away, primarily because of the form factor,” he said.
– 5000 Samsung tablets running WIndows 8 handed out at Build
– Developer preview available to download now – Ian has running in VMware on Lion
– 2 browsers in Windows 8 – Metro browser and IE 10
– Metro browser will be plugin free – no Silverlight, no Flash – HTML5 only
– Big statement on battery life, usability and where the industry is heading
– Considering tablets are going to be mostly Metro driven and run on ARM it’s going to be an interesting year for technologies like Flash
10:46 – Ballmer admits lacklustre Windows Phone 7 sales
– Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer expressed disappointment atWindows Phone 7 sales during Microsoft’s financial analyst meeting Wednesday.
– “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year. … I’m not saying I love where we are, but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” Ballmer said.
– The Windows Phone 7 platform was embraced by many of the world’s largest phone manufacturers, including Samsungand HTC, both of whom soon plan to launch devices based on the next version of WP7 or Mango. However, these mobile giants have the majority of their chips invested in Google‘s Android — and that’s where most of their smartphone sales come from.
– This leaves Microsoft with only one big and really dedicated WP7 partner — the stumbling Finnish giant Nokia. “With Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones. They are not doing something on Android,” Ballmer said.
13:32 – Intel and Google in Android chip-making partnership
– The move is aimed at giving Intel greater access to the fast-growing mobile devices sector.
– Intel is the world’s biggest chipmaker in the computer and server market.
– However, it has so far played second fiddle to Cambridge-based designer ARM Holdings in the market for low power consumption chips.
– End of Wintel?
16:19 – Google Wallet launches
– limited to just the Nexus S on Sprint so even the Nexus S for both T-Mobile and AT&T will have to wait until a deal is struck with those carriers. Users have access to a Google Wallet application that can quickly be set up using a Google sign-on. From there, you can choose to load up a MasterCard credit card from Citibank, which will directly pull from your accounts. Or you can do what I did, which is load up funds on to a Google Prepaid Card with funds from other credit and debit cards. You have to fill out all the address information to add funds from a card.
– Once your Prepaid Card is provisioned, you can choose to make that the default payment card with one click. You will need to set a PIN to unlock Google Wallet but you can set the time-out for 1, 5, 15, or 30 minutes. That’s helpful when you want to unlock Google Wallet in line so you pay quickly. You can attach location to your payment history but it doesn’t record the actual store you visited, just an approximate address.
– While you’re out and about, you just go to any PayPass enabled point of sale terminal and in lieu of a card, you can just tap your phone to pay and get a buzz on your phone to confirm the purchase. You will need to wake up the phone because of security reasons, the NFC chip won’t work until that happens. And if the time-out period has expired on the lock for Google Wallet, you will also need to enter your PIN before completing a transaction. From Google Wallet you can see an updated balance on your pre-paid card but again there is no detailed history about what you bought or where.
– Google Wallet is tied to both Google Offers and Google Shopper. Users can search for local deals on Google Shopper and save them to their Google Wallet. They can apply their deals automatically through retailers and businesses who have enabled single tap and pay; their discount is deducted from their purchase. Many other offers, however, just require a user to show their phone coupon to an employee for instant redemption. You can also add loyalty cards to Google Wallet. That’s helpful for customers who forget their loyalty cards and it’s good for businesses who have enabled single tap and pay, so one wave of Google Wallet can also be recorded in existing loyalty programs.
– When works a advertised, it’s great according to reviews
– Some glitches though – sometimes they couldn’t make payment. Payment options limited, no payment history but it’s early days. Tis the future
19:18 – Google + Updates
– Big news – nine new features
– Hangouts on your phone – Android now, iOS soon
– Hangouts on Air
– just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re “On Air,” up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast:
– Hangout extras
– Screensharing: for when you want to show off your vacation photos, your high score, your lesson plan or whatever else is on your screen
– Sketchpad: for when you want to draw, doodle, or just scribble together
– Google Docs: for when you want to write, plan or present something with others
– Named Hangouts: for when you want to join or create a public hangout about a certain topic (like fashion or music or sports…)
– Hangouts APIs
– Search in Google+
You’ve been asking for it, and we’ve been busy building it, so today we’re bringing Google’s search expertise to Google+. Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web.
– Anyone can sign up for Google+—no invitation required.
25:01 – Facebook Launches Subscriptions
– Facebook is rolling out another key new feature: a one-way follow model called Subscriptions. It’s sort of like Twitter, sort of like Google+, and it massages one of the service’s biggest pain points for users who have a lot of friends (or who want to share their status updates broadly).
– Here’s how it works. As you browse around the site, you’ll notice that some users have a button at the top of their profile that says ‘Subscribe’. Click it, and you’ll start seeing that user’s status updates in your News Feed, just as if you were their Facebook friend. But there’s a big difference: unlike normal Facebook friends, the people you subscribe to don’t have to approve your subscription request, and there’s no limit on how many people can subscribe to any given user.
– Facebook says the feature will appeal to anyone looking to reach a broader audience, like journalists, artists, and political figures. To start sharing your own posts publicly, head to the new tab beneath your profile photo that says Subscriptions. Click it, and you’ll have the option to broadcast your public updates to anyone who has subscribed to you. Note that you’ll only syndicate updates that are marked Public; updates shared with Friend Lists won’t be seen by your subscribers.
– Of course, Facebook has offered a similar feature called Pages for years now, which was meant for nearly the same thing (you’ll find that many journalists and politicians have already created Facebook Pages… because that’s what Facebook told them to do). The difference here, Facebook says, is that users no longer have to maintain two separate entities; they can just use the site’s sharing settings to decide which content they want to share very broadly, and what will only be shared with friends.
– Facebook adds that this isn’t the end of Pages by any means — they say that feature will still appeal to brands and major celebrities, because Pages can be managed by multiple admins and can be customized with applications. Pages also offer Insights (Facebook’s analytics tool), whereas Subscriptions don’t. Fortunately, Facebook is allowing users to merge their Pages with their profiles, so you don’t have to rebuild your audience if you want to use the Subscription feature.
– Maybe a coincidence but Google+ has started an arms race with Facebook…and Twitter hasn’t really changed much in the last 6 months
26:52 – Facebook Updates News Feed
– Alongside subscribe and smart lists, now comes updated news feed
– Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top. If you haven’t visited Facebook for a while, the first things you’ll see are top photos and statuses posted while you’ve been away. They’re marked with an easy-to-spot blue corner.
– News Feed often has a time lag. Usually when you’re on Facebook, a lot of your friends are too. Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to see and chat with your friends about photos, articles, and other things they’re posting in real-time. The new ticker helps you do just that.
– Ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously. Now when a friend comments, asks a question or shares something like a check in, you’ll be able to join the conversation right away. Click on anything in ticker to see the full story and chime in – without losing your place.
33:51 – Carol Bartz Fired
– Carol Bartz fired by Yahoo board
– She’s not happy as it was done via a phone call
– Is it any surprise – not innovating, can’t think of anything they’ve done in last 2 years that stands out
36:17 – Guardian App now on Android
– The app – which is free to download and is available from the AndroidMarket worldwide – includes the latest news, sport, comment, reviews, videos, podcasts and picture galleries from guardian.co.uk.
– A full list of features and further information is available from our FAQs, but there are two bits of functionality that we’re really excited about.
First, the homescreen is highly customisable – if you like football, you could do away with the usual mix of news and sport and instead see the top five stories from our Premier League page followed by the latest from your favourite team and then Barry Glendenning’s most recent posts. If you want in depth coverage of a particular story, you can add that topic to your homescreen – UK riots or phone hacking, for instance. This level of customisation has also influenced the offline reading options. Rather than manually selecting what you want to download, there is one button that allows you to download your homescreen and your favourites. Alternatively, you can schedule this download to take place at a certain time each day – for example via Wi-Fi before you leave the house and go offline.
– Ad-supported and free unlike iPhone which is subscription (but cheap)
– iPad app nearly ready!
38:29 – Adobe works around iOS Flash Limitations
– Ardent iOS supporters have been clamoring for true Flash support for years, and with the announcement of their new version of Flash Media Server, Adobe completely fails to deliver. Instead, they’ve managed to update their media server with a way to get streaming Flash video running on Apple’s myriad iOS devices.
– Alas, while you can’t start working through your backlog of artsy Flash games, Flash Media Server 4.5 allows content producers to easily to get their Flash content onto iOS devices without any additional headache.
– While older versions of the media server served up video streams in the F4F format, the update has added support for the HTTP Live Streaming format, which iPads and the like can handle just fine.
– The media server system, according to ZDNet, detects the device’s level of Flash-capability and will switch over to using the HLS format when it sees an iOS device. It’s actually pretty ironic: in order to make Flash video streaming work, the new version of Media Server actually has to un-Flash the content and wrap it in another, more iOS-friendly container.
39:35 – Lion passwords can be changed by any local user
– In Lion the permissions for the user’s shadow files are still restrictive and prevent tampering; however, the need for direct access can be bypassed in because the system holds the password hashes in the system’s directory services, which any user can look up. As a result, the hashes can be extracted without needing to supply admin privileges, and then be run through various hacking tools and scripts to recover the user’s password.
In addition to being able to extract the password hashes for a user, any user can also directly change another user’s password, including those of system admins, merely by supplying the following command in the Terminal (substituting USERNAME for the short name of the target account):
dscl localhost -passwd /Search/Users/USERNAME
When run, this command will appear to give an error, but if you enter the same new password at all prompts then the target account’s password will be changed. This is particularly notable, because once an admin’s password is changed, the hacker can log in as that the admin account and have full access to the system.
Overall this issue in Lion means that any user (even nonadmins) can extract or change the password of another user’s account, provided they have access to the directory, such as via the Terminal utility. However, this problem does have two limitations:
The first is that the hacker needs to have access to local accounts your system, which means that you will have had to set the hacker up with an account beforehand. This hack can be done remotely with SSH connectivity, but the hacker would need to already know a local account username and password to do this. Alternatively the hacker can approach a system that is already logged in and change the passwords of accounts on it, but in this case the hacker would still need local physical access to do this.
Directory service access
Besides local access, the hacker then needs to have access to the system’s directory services (such as via the Terminal). Even if a hacker can log into the system, without access to the directory setup then the hacker will not be able to modify account information.
44:04 – Waterstones enters ereader race
– The British company’s managing director, James Daunt, told Radio 4 that it planned to enter the market with both an electronic book store and an actual reader by spring of 2012. Mr. Daunt claimed he was inspired by the success of the Nook, and the challenge it posed to Amazon’s Kindle, to finally take a stab at ushering the UK chain into the 21st century.
46:16 – Hunts anti-piracy drive
– Jeremy Hunt, CUNTure Secretary, has delivered a hard-hitting speech, calling on net firms, advertisers and credit card companies to cut ties with websites that link to unlawful content.
– Many of the changes mooted by Mr Hunt are destined for the new Communications Act which is due to become law towards the end of the current Parliament in 2015.
Suggested measures include:
A cross-industry body, perhaps modelled on the Internet Watch Foundation, to be charged with identifying infringing websites against which action could be taken
A streamlined legal process to make it possible for the courts to act quickly
A responsibility on search engines and ISPs to take reasonable steps to make it harder to access sites that a court has deemed contain unlawful content or promote unlawful distribution of content
A responsibility on advertisers to take reasonable steps to remove their advertisements from these sites
A responsibility on credit card companies and banks to remove their services from these sites.
– The hope is that the tough new measures will sit alongside the already controversial anti-piracy legislation outlined in the Digital Economy Act (DEA).
– The DEA remains in a state of suspended animation as the government waits for the European Parliament to approve changes to it.
– For its part, Google said that it felt that its current anti-piracy policies were sufficient.
It operates a takedown process in which it removes links identified as infringing copyright. Last year it removed three million items from its search engine.
50:12 – Newzbin 2 fights upcoming block
– In July, BT was ordered to block access to Newzbin2 after legal action by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).
– The MPA said the member-only Newzbin2 site brings together pirated movies and music put on Usenet discussion boards.
– The block is to be enforced via BT’s Cleanfeed system which is more usually used to stop people visiting sites that peddle images of child sex abuse.
– Before the block goes into effect in mid-October, programmers who work for Newzbin2 have been working on software they claim will be able to defeat the blocking system.
– On 14 September, the first version of the Windows program Newzbin2 members will use to get at the site was released. Versions for Apple’s OSX and Linux are planned.
According to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, Newzbin2 is not willing to reveal how the code attempts to get around the Cleanfeed block.
– However, TorrentFreak ran some tests using network sniffing software and found that the program relies on encryption to hide communication between users and Newzbin2.
– Another technique it uses is to route all traffic through a well-established system known as TOR, which masks the identity of users and what they are trying to look at.
52:36 – Court bans man called Peter from calling himself Peter Because he is accused of being Anonymous
– A man called Peter has been banned from using the name “Peter” on the internet as a bail condition after being charged today with unauthorised use of a computer.
Peter David Gibson, 22, from Hartlepool, was among three men and one unnamed 17-year-old charged at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court this morning for offences in connection with the LulzSec and Anonymous hacks.
– The court records state that bail has been granted on the following conditions:
1) Not to be part of any internet relay and not to participate in any internet relay action.
2) Not to use the internet using the name “Peter”.
– The reason given was “to prevent reoffending”.
if this then that
– Put the internet to work for you by creating tasks that fit this simple structure:
– So I’ve created a task – e-mail me if it’s to Snow in Glasgow tomorrow
– If I post to Instapaper, copy the photo to Facebook as well
– Reminders based on events, calendar etc can be alerted via text message
– Popular recipes – http://ifttt.com/recipes?sort=most_popular