DigitalOutbox Episode 136
DigitalOutbox Episode 136 – Nook HD, Samsung Security worries and Maps, Maps, Maps
3:15 – Apple had a year left on Google maps contract
– As rumors and leaks of Apple’s decision to announce the new iOS 6 maps at WWDC in June filtered out, Google decided to respond with a display of strength — the search giant hastily announced its own mapping event just days before Apple’s event. Dubbed “the next dimension of Google Maps,” the event was designed to showcase new technologies like low-level aerial 3D photography and Street View backpacks — a chest-thumping exercise meant to highlight Google’s significant head start in collecting mapping information, but which offered very little in the way of consumer-facing features.
– For its part, Apple apparently felt that the older Google Maps-powered Maps in iOS were falling behind Android — particularly since they didn’t have access to turn-by-turn navigation, which Google has shipped on Android phones for several years. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Google also wanted more prominent branding and the ability to add features like Latitude, and executives at the search giant were unhappy with Apple’s renewal terms. But the existing deal between the two companies was still valid and didn’t have any additional requirements, according to our sources — Apple decided to simply end it and ship the new maps with turn-by-turn.
– The reports were validated earlier today by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who was quoted by Reuters saying “what were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.” Schmidt also said that Google had “not done anything yet” with an iOS Google Maps app, and that Apple would ultimately have to decide whether to approve any such app anyway. “It’s their choice,” he told Bloomberg. Google Maps VP Brian McClendon has also repeatedly said he’s committed to offering Google Maps on all platforms, indicating that an iOS app will eventually appear.
– Apple made just one public statement on Maps: “Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller. “We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”
8:23 – Meanwhile Google is mapping the Ocean
– Today we’re adding the very first underwater panoramic images to Google Maps, the next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world. With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver—or even know how to swim—to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs. Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii.
– Starting today, you can use Google Maps to find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray and experience the reef at sunset—just as I did on my first dive in the Great Barrier Reef last year. You can also find out much more about this reef via the World Wonders Project, a website that brings modern and ancient world heritage sites online.
– Thump that chest Google – you deserve it 🙂
12:05 – Facebook shutting down face detection in EU
– Earlier this year, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, a body whose decisions impact Facebook’s policies in Europe at large, made several recommendations to bring the website in line with regional privacy laws, calling for greater transparency on how users’ data is handled and more user control over settings, among other things. The DPC just officially announced that Zuckerberg et al. have for the most part adjusted its policies accordingly. The biggest change involves the facial recognition feature, which attempts to identify Facebook friends in photos and suggest their names for tagging. The social network turned off this functionality for new users in the EU — and it will be shutting it down entirely by October 15th.
15:20 – Twitter forces IFTTT to remove support
– The internet service glue product IFTTT has been forced to remove its Twitter triggers after recent changes to Twitter’s API policies. The change was confirmed in an email sent out to /IFTTT users today (Thanks to Federico Viticci for the contents of the email.)
– Apparently triggers that allow the syndication of tweets out to other services or locations will be removed, while actions that post new tweets to Twitter will remain. You won’t be able to suck down your tweets for archiving or cross-posting any more. So actions remain that post to Twitter, but triggers are gone.
– IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets: In recent weeks, Twitter announced policy changes* that will affect how applications and users like yourself can interact with Twitter’s data. As a result of these changes, on September 27th we will be removing all Twitter Triggers, disabling your ability to push tweets to places like email, Evernote and Facebook. All Personal and Shared Recipes using a Twitter Trigger will also be removed. Recipes using Twitter Actions and your ability to post new tweets via IFTTT will continue to work just fine.
– The email mentions Section 4A (which isn’t new, but is newly enforced) of Twitter’s new API terms and the new Developer Display Requirements (previously recommendations) as reasons for the removal of the triggers, which will be gone as of September 27th.
– Tibbets continues, saying that the tool wants to “empower anyone to create connections between literally anything,” adding diplomatically, “we’ve still got a long way to go, and to get there we need to make sure that the types of connections that IFTTT enables are aligned with how the original creators want their tools and services to be used.”
20:19 – Barnes & Noble bring Nook HD tablets to the UK
– US book chain Barnes & Noble plans to launch new Nook tablets alongside its e-readers in the UK later this year. They will compete against products from Amazon, Kobo, Sony and others.
– B&N boasts that its smaller tablet – which features a 7in (17.8cm) screen – is the lightest such device to offer a “high definition” experience.
– While B&N and Amazon have decided to enter the UK’s tablet market at the same time, they are pursuing different strategies: the former has decided to offer its full line-up from the start, while the latter is selling a more limited range.
– So, while B&N will offer a 9in (22.9cm) tablet called the Nook HD+ in the UK from mid-November, Amazon has opted to limit sales of its 8.9in Kindle Fire HD to the US for the time being. – This may help B&N make inroads into the larger-screened tablet market – the Nook HD+ at £229 is £100 cheaper than Apple’s 9.7in iPad 2, and £70 below Samsung’s 10.1in Galaxy Tab2.
– The Nook tablets run on an adapted version of Android 4.0, giving them access to an existing wide range of third-party software. B&N is also offering its own curated magazine, newspaper, book and app stores – and plans to add a video service offering movies and television shows by early 2013.
– The decision to restrict which apps can be sold provides the firm with an opportunity to limit malware. However, some owners might be frustrated by the fact they are not offered an opportunity to install material from either the Google Play or Amazon Appstore marketplaces unless they hack the machines.
– The Nook tablets do not display adverts, unlike the Kindle Fire which shows “special offers” when put into lock mode.
– While B&N does not operate its own stores in the UK, it will sell its products through Sainsbury’s and the bookstore Blackwell’s. Kobo’s partners include WH Smith and Asda, while Amazon has teamed up with Waterstones, Comet, Ryman, Carphone Warehouse and Tesco.
– John Lewis, Currys, PC World and Argos will sell all three devices as well as other similar products made by Sony, Archos, Delium and others.
23:20 – Link found that will reset Samsung Android devices
– A security hole has been discovered that allows some Samsung Galaxy phones running TouchWiz to be automatically factory reset without warning. This includes the Samsung Galaxy S2.
– Found by ex-Gadget Geeks presenter Tom Scott, among others, all unsuspecting users have to do is go to a webpage via a specific link and their phone will be wiped back to how it came in the box.
– “The USSD code to factory data reset a Galaxy S3 is *2767*3855# and can be triggered from browser like this,” wrote Scott. Developer Tom Hutchinson, who has helped Pocket-lint work out the incredibly damaging bug, says that the security blunder affects the Samsung Galaxy S3 too. The Ace, the SGS2 and S Advance have also been found to be affected so far. “Most, if not all Gingerbread phones or newer running TouchWiz will be vulnerable,” he claims.
– The fear is that those looking to wipe out Samsung phones would be able to easily embed the code on a website without Galaxy owners even realising what is about to happen. It could easily be used in a QR code too, and unwittingly scanned by a user.
– In testing on the Pocket-lint SGS3, we’ve been unable to get the command to work. However, Arnoud Wokke, a journalist at Tweakers.net, claimed on Twitter to have the bug affecting the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Galaxy S Advance. He too was unable to get it working on the Galaxy Note or the Galaxy S III.
– Looks like it affects the S3 in the US but not the UK
– Samsung respond quickly urging customers to update their phones using the latest over the air updates – http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/26/3410484/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-reset-fix
– Looks like it also affects HTC Desire running Android 2.2 – linked to Android dialer – http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/26/3412432/samsung-touchwiz-remote-wipe-vulnerability-android-dialer
– Old version of Android but so many people are running old Android!
25:37 – The Guardian proposes a broadband levy to fund journalism
– Has David Leigh cracked it? We have been puzzling for years about how to subsidise journalism once it makes the final transition from print to net (see here and here and here). One obvious model is the funding of the BBC through its licence fee.
– Objectors to such an idea – including current commercial proprietors – have argued, unsurprisingly, on press freedom lines. Any connection to the state is to be avoided.
– But Leigh, The Guardian’s investigations executive editor, has come up with a very clever quasi alternative: charge a levy of, say, £2 a month on the bills of subscribers to UK broadband providers. Then distribute the money to news providers in proportion to their UK online readership.
– He concludes: “On the most recent figures, this system would provide transformative chunks of money to the most popular news websites.”
– It’s an ingenious thought and it should be given serious consideration. Could this be the magic bullet we’ve been seeking? I certainly think so (because paywalls are never going to work).
– Of course there are problems to overcome, such as persuading the various service providers – BT, Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk et al – to become “tax collectors” for news outfits. But a case can be made that they benefit from news production.
– The other concern is about big media getting benefits unavailable to start-ups. But I imagine there could be a mechanism to distribute a portion to them as well.
– And immediately I mention “big media”, I realise that there will be strong objections to handing out funds to failing media companies. How will they be made accountable for what they do with the money? For the moment, however, we should explore Leigh’s idea further. There is much to recommend it.
– So I’d be taxed to pay for the Daily Mail. The Sun.
– Levy is just a nice name for it. Journalism is also a nice name for it. Makes it sound like we are investing in the countries future in some shape or form
– Really it’s a once profitable industry struggling to cope in the new digital age
– Music industry wanted to do this and it was shot down, now this!
29:11 – News Corp. Backs Down On Anti-Google Stance
– Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is planning once again to let stories from its paywalled UK newspaper The Times get indexed by the search giant Google. This reverses a two-year-old policy in which News Corp.’s UK newspaper division, News International, dramatically yanked stories from Google as it prepared a paywall to better monetize that content and do away with low-value single-story visitors from sites like Google. This effectively means that News Corp. (and Murdoch) have conceded partial defeat, accepting that it needs the search engine traffic to keep growth on the sites from stalling.
– A well-placed source tells TechCrunch that the first couple of sentences of articles from The Times will “soon be retrievable” on search engines like Google so that readers can find the stories more easily — effectively unblocking the robots.txt command on the site that disallowed Google from crawling and indexing its articles. Currently the only results one gets when searching for Times articles are section pages and a restricted selection of articles
– In line with articles appearing on searches, users will also be able to see “truncated” versions of those stories, to be marketed as “free limited previews”. Currently clicking through to an article, when it does appear in search results as above, takes a user straight to a subscription window — not the most warm of welcomes. Putting in an article preview puts The Times and Sunday Times more closely in line with what the WSJ, another News Corp.-owned news site with a paywall, does to draw in readers.
– But make no mistake: that paywall will remain intact. To get anything more beyond the preview, visitors will still need to purchase a subscription, TechCrunch understands. These are currently available in three tiers (£2 per week web-only; £4 per week including iPad; £6 per week including the print editions), and it’s not clear yet whether introducing the search features will also mean à la carte pricing as well.
31:32 – Nintendo confirm the Wii U is region locked
– Nintendo has now confirmed to CVG that its upcoming system will be region locked, meaning that Wii U games will only work on hardware sold in the same region.
– This isn’t exactly a new policy for Nintendo—every one of the company’s home consoles since the original Nintendo Entertainment System has featured a similar region lock, though various hardware and software workarounds exist for many of those systems. Nintendo’s portable systems have historically been able to play games from all regions, but the company implemented a region lock on the Nintendo 3DS when it launched last year.
– Both Microsoft and Sony allow publishers to decide whether to implement a region lock on specific game discs for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Almost every PS3 game is sold without such a lock, but international compatibility for Xbox 360 titles varies widely.
– Different world now – Apple dominates mobile gaming for example
– Nintendo need to do things differently or this will be their last console
Jasmine on iTunes
– Free Youtube client for iOS
– Clean interface, no ad’s, comments or clutter
– Can sign in and get you liked and favourited videos
– Easy to browse whats popular on youtube
– Excellent replacement for the now removed Youtube app from Apple and better than the official Youtube app from Google