DigitalOutbox Episode 114
In this episode the team discuss Project Glass, Privacy and Apple woes
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0:58 – Girls Around Me
– When you load it up, the first thing Girls Around Me does is figure out where you are and load up a Google Map centered around your location.
– It’s when you push the radar button that Girls Around Me does what it says on the tin. I pressed the button for my friends. Immediately, Girls Around Me went into radar mode, and after just a few seconds, the map around us was filled with pictures of girls who were in the neighborhood. Since I was showing off the app on a Saturday night, there were dozens of girls out on the town in our local area.
– These are all girls with publicly visible Facebook profiles who have checked into these locations recently using Foursquare. Girls Around Me then shows you a map where all the girls in your area trackable by Foursquare area. If there’s more than one girl at a location, you see the number of girls there in a red bubble. Click on that, and you can see pictures of all the girls who are at that location at any given time. The pictures you are seeing are their social network profile pictures.”
– Tap on a girl – Girls Around Me quickly loaded up a fullscreen render of her Facebook profile picture. The app then told me where Zoe had last been seen (The Independent) and when (15 minutes ago). A big green button at the bottom reading “Photos & Messaging” just begged to be tapped, and when I did, I was whisked away to Zoe’s Facebook profile.
“Okay, so here’s Zoe. Most of her information is visible, so I now know her full name. I can see at a glance that she’s single, that she is 24, that she went to Stoneham High School and Bunker Hill Community College, that she likes to travel, that her favorite book is Gone With The Wind and her favorite musician is Tori Amos, and that she’s a liberal. I can see the names of her family and friends. I can see her birthday.”
– While the app is bad, this is a wake up call for privacy on social sites
– Data was publicly shared by these girls – du to Foursquare and Facebook allowing friends to sign them in, they might not realise that their friends are sharing their location
– Lot’s of fallout – Foursquare suspended the app’s API access
– Apple then withdrew the app from the app store – actually the app developers did, not because of the -ve publicity but due to the API restrictions. The app no longer worked.
– Developer defends app – it was about venue discovery, not girl discovery – http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/03/31/girls-around-me-developer-defends-app-after-foursquare-dismissal/
4:02 – Govt plans increased email and social media surveillance
– Ministers are to introduce a new law allowing police and security services to extend their monitoring of the public’s email and social media communications, the Home Office has confirmed.
– It is expected that the new system will allow security officials to scrutinise who is talking to whom and exactly when the conversations are taking plac, but not the content of messages.
– Labour tried to introduce a similar system using a central database tracking all phone, text, email and internet use but that was ditched in 2009. It followed concerns raised by internet service providers and mobile phone operators over the project’s feasibility, and anxieties over who would foot the bill.
– The coalition’s proposals are likely to be introduced in the Queen’s speech on 9 May and will centre on internet service providers gathering the information and allowing government intelligence operatives to scrutinise it.
– “It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” said a Home Office spokesman, who said the plans would be brought forward “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.
– Internet service providers are obliged to keep details of users’ web access, email and internet phone calls for 12 months, under an EU directive from 2009.
– Although the content of the calls is not kept, the sender, recipient, time of communication and geographical location does have to be recorded.
– The proposed new law – which the Home Office says will be brought in “as soon as parliamentary time allows” – would extend those requirements to social networking sites and internet phone services such as Skype.
– It would also reportedly allow intelligence officers to access emails, calls and texts as they happen, without a warrant, rather than retrospectively.
– Overzealous civil servants driving policy?
– Lib dem briefing doc – https://docs.google.com/file/d/1_wMtlFHrktpyOEFSkRSmBnOBPYDkPF6y-gL7Es_h0tu58aPVeHq9p45ulRcX/view?sle=true&pli=1
– Also, Gove fought to keep his e-mails private in early March
– *** How would this work in practice? What about data that is held on servers overseas? Surely that can’t be part of this?
10:02 – Twitter suing spammers
– Twitter is officially putting its foot down and enlisting the help of the federal courts, filing a suit in San Francisco today against its five most aggressive spammers. In pursuing legal action, Twittersaid in a statement on its blog, it believes it’s going “straight to the source”.
– By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter … While this is an important step, our efforts to combat spam don’t stop here. Our engineering team continues to implement robust technical solutions that help us proactively reduce spam.
– Finally doing something about spam?
– Annoying thing is a spammer is so obvious – why is it down to users to report?
13:29 – Game rescued
– The administrators of Game Group have announced that the 333 of its UK shops that are still open have been sold to OpCapita.
– The agreement will safeguard the jobs of nearly 3,200 Game Group employees. A small number from head office who were previously made redundant may also be re-employed.
– OpCapita is a private investment firm specialising in retail. It has set up a company called Baker Acquisitions to buy the shops.
– Former Halfords Group chief executive David Hamid, now a partner at OpCapita, has been appointed chairman of Game. A chief executive is expected to be named shortly. Ian Shepherd held the role until last week, when he resigned with immediate effect after a two-year battle to turn the company around.
– OpCapita acquired electrical retailer Comet from its owner Kesa Electricals last year for a nominal sum of £2. The financial terms of its Game acquisition have not been disclosed, but it is thought to have paid a nominal sum and taken on the company’s debts.
15:07 – Foxconn audit
– A report into working conditions at Chinese factories operated by anApple supplier has revealed “serious” labour violations, including excessive hours, unpaid wages and major health and safety risks.
– The Fair Labor Association (FLA) said employees at Foxconn, which produces products including iPhones and iPads, typically worked more than 60 hours a week during peak periods but were paid unfair compensation for overtime.
– Around two-thirds of workers told investigators that their take-home pay was insufficient to meet basic needs.
– In addition, 43% said they had witnessed an accident at work, leading to fears of poor safety provisions at the plants.
– The (FLA) was asked by Apple to investigate working conditions at Foxconn after reports of long hours and poor safety.
– The FLA says it has now secured agreements to reduce hours, protect pay, and improve staff representation.
– Apple said it “fully accepted” the report’s recommendations. “We share the FLA’s goal of improving lives and raising the bar for manufacturing companies everywhere,” it said in a statement.
– Of course, some employees aren’t happy with the reduction in money:
-“We are here to work and not to play, so our income is very important,” said Chen Yamei, 25, a Foxconn worker from Hunan who said she had worked at the factory for four years.
“We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime. I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this. We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little,” she added. Chen said she now earned a bit over 4,000 yuan a month ($634).
17:58 – iPad Wifi Issues
– Besides the supposed third-generation iPad charging and overheating issues, the iPad WiFi issues were noted by the media during the past couple of weeks. Apple has taken notice and has admitted internally to some new iPad models having the WiFi issues described in numerous reports and on forum threads. The company says “symptoms can include, but are not limited to: intermittent connectivity, slow WiFi speeds, and WiFi network not seen.”
– Apple tells AppleCare employees to ensure that devices they test are not facing these issues due to normal software bugs, but instead because of the actual hardware components.
WiFi-only third-generation iPads are the only devices affected by these issues, according to Apple. The 4G LTE models are presumably safe from these issues due to the extra network power allowed by the black rubber cut on the top of the unit.
19:44 – Mac trojan affects 600000
– Apple released a Java 1.6.0_31 update for OS X on Tuesday that claims to deliver “improved compatibility, security, and reliability.” The patch closes multiple vulnerabilities found in Java 1.6.0_29, the most serious of which allows malicious code to be executed just by visiting a compromised website. The update is available from Software Update on any Mac running Mac OS X v10.6.8, Mac OS X Server v10.6.8, OS X Lion v10.7.3, or Lion Server v10.7.3.
– Russian security firm Doctor Web claims that attackers began to exploit the Java vulnerability on March 16th which Apple closed with the release of the Java update on April 3rd. Dr. Web now estimates that about 600,000 Macs, most of which reside in the US (55 percent) and Canada (19.8 percent), are now infected members of the Flashbackbotnet. The company also notes that some four million compromised web-pages could be found in Google search results at the end of March with some users claiming infection by visiting sites as mainstream as dlink.com.
– Security company F-Secure has instructions for detecting and deleting the Flashback botnet on infected computers.
22:47 – Project Glass
– Glasses not for sale but Google has begun public testing of it’s augmented reality glasses
– The prototype version Google showed off on Wednesday looked like a very polished and well-designed pair of wrap-around glasses with a clear display that sits above the eye. The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.
– This is the future…or is it?
– On sale this year – Google says unlikely
28:06 – HTC One X and S Launched
– O2, Vodafone, Three, Orange, and T-Mobile are all taking orders for the brand new One X and One S Android 4.0 smartphones from HTC. As usual, Three will give you the most for your money, though O2’s new On & On tariff — which the company describes as its best ever — is also worth a look, costing you £36 per month over a two-year contract, but also giving you unlimited minutes and the One X for no upfront cost. Should you be more inclined to buy the handset by itself, Amazon will sell you an unlocked and SIM-free One X for £489.99
– The One X got some great reviews – best phone you can buy today – http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/2/2919202/htc-one-x-review
29:35 – Instagram launches for Android
– The app adds creative, nostalgic filters to your pictures and makes sharing them easy (almost addictive).
– You can add effects to a picture you take with your front or back camera or choose a picture from your gallery. There are a number of custom filters and borders to choose from, including several ’70s effects and a black and white effect. Instantly upload the photo to your Instagram account and share it if you please to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare; Flickr is in the works.
– 1 million downloads in a day
– Hated the snobs on twitter – oh no – now I need to see android users photos on instagram
– Now I need to see photos from poor people
31:13 – Olympics Overload
– The BBC will make 24-HD quality live Olympic streams available to cable and satellite providers for the duration of the Olympics Games
– Viewers will be able to watch every Olympic sport, live from every venue, via tools such as Sky EPG and BBC Red Button. Virgin Media and Freesat customers will also have access. This complements previously confirmed plans for 24 simultaneous streams live online on the BBC Sport website.
– 48 new channels will be added to the Sports section of Sky’s EPG from July 24. The channels are free-to-air and available to any Sky home. The HD channels are available on any Sky+HD box and do not require a subscription, but do require an HD ready TV.
– Freesat viewers and Freesat standard definition viewers will also have access to the streams.
33:39 – Virgin throttles all users
– Virgin Media has introduced new throttling “trigger levels” for customers who make heavy use of its network.
– The telco updated its subscriber traffic management (STM) policy yesterday to “ensure the vast majority of customers get the high quality of service they expect from Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband without being negatively affected by extremely heavy users” at peak times.
– It classified a so-called “bandwidth hog” as a 60Mbit/s customer, for example, who can download 5,000MB of data between 4pm and 9pm on a weekday before having their broadband connection throttled.
– A company spokesman told The Register that around 5 per cent of users would be affected by the STM policy. Those punters can expect to see their speed usage of the network temporarily throttled by 50 per cent.
36:03 – 0x10c
– Next game from Minecraft creator Notch
– Space game
– RPG’ish battle between friends
– Like mini chess
– Seems simple but has real depth due to different factions, characters, powers and upgrades
– Multiplayer – play quickly or over a few days like words with friends
– Now universal – lovely lovely graphics
– Free, but in app purchases to unlock other classes