DigitalOutbox Episode 244

Chris and Ian discuss Microsoft Build, Twitter falls and Apple Watch

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DigitalOutbox Episode 239

We are back! Chris and Ian discuss the weeks news and catch up on Mobile World Congress, Game Developers Conference and the Apple Keynote. It’s a long one!

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Picks
Ian
Cities: Skylines
– £22.99
– Mac, PC, Linux
– Sim city builder
– Addictive and you need a bit of strategy especially around transport
– Some bits tedious – water and sewers done manually, demolition of abandoned buildings
– Overall awesome 🙂
– Mods
– Custom buildings, fixes etc
– Save Games
– GTA map, completed cities
– Maps
– Many towns from around the world
– Can make your own

DigitalOutbox Episode 183

DigitalOutbox Episode 183
DigitalOutbox Episode 183 – RIM retreats, Easyjet stumbles and a plethora of tablets.

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0:56 – BlackBerry to fire 4,500 employees as sales of new device plummet
2:59 – BBM’s Android And iOS Launch Weekend Going About As Badly As Possible
4:56 – BlackBerry Signs Letter Of Intent To Go Private For $9 Per Share In Deal Valued At $4.7 Billion
9:04 – iPhone 5s and 5c sales top 9m over Apples opening weekend
11:33 – The iPhones Fingerprint Sensor Has Already Been Hacked
13:42 – Argos and eBay join forces for click-and-collect service
16:28 – EasyJet under fire after claims it refused to let The Drum columnist Mark Leiser on board for sending critical tweet
19:13 – Rural superfast broadband chaos due BT’s ‘near monopoly’, say MPs
23:21 – Roku launches new TV streaming boxes and brings Roku 3 to the UK and Ireland
25:35 – Tesco enters the tablet fray with Hudl
28:15 – Surface Pro 2: hands-on with Microsoft’s new tablet powerhouse
31:31 – Amazons Kindle Fire HDX
35:28 – Amazon’s new $139 Kindle Fire HD is the cheap tablet to buy
37:02 – Valve announces SteamOS, a living room operating system for games
39:47 – Valve announces Steam Machines, the Steam Box hardware beta

Picks
Ian
Instacast
– Excellent Podcast player for iOS and Mac
– Mac – $19.99
– iOS – £2.99
– Excellent player, syncs really well between clients
– Supports downloading in the background
– iTunes update this week was the final push for me to try other clients – and this is great
– If you want to keep podcasts in sync over Android and iOS try Pocketcasts

DigitalOutbox Episode 133

DigitalOutbox Episode 133
DigitalOutbox Episode 133 – Nokia, Motorola and Amazon on Fire

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1:40 – Nokia Windows Phone 8 event
– Lumia 920 announced
– Nokia has officially unveiled its new flagship smartphone, the Lumia 920. As expected, Nokia’s new Lumia has received a bump in specs over the previous iteration, with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual core processor, a slightly larger 4.5-inch curved glass display with a 768 x 1280 resolution, a 2,000mAh battery, and the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. Nokia is calling its new display the “PureMotion HD+,” and says that it’s the “best smartphone display innovation” the company has ever made, with “better than HD resolution” and fast refresh rates — Nokia says it’s the “brightest smartphone HD display ever,” and also the “fastest LCD display ever shipped on a smartphone.” Nokia is also touting the PureMotion HD+’s daylight viewing capabilities, and says that the phone’s color tone and brightness automatically responds to sunlight.
– Nokia says the new Lumia will come in “vibrant colors” (the yellow, red, white, grey, and black pictured above), and features a one-piece polycarbonate body. As expected, Nokia is also pulling a couple of tricks out of its sleeve: it’s adding wireless charging for the Lumia 920, built on the Qi wireless power standard. Nokia is also incorporating its “PureView” camera technology, but just don’t get too excited: we’re looking at an 8.7 megapixel sensor in the 920, not the 41 megapixels in the PureView 808. Nokia says the 920 features a “floating lens” optical image stabilization system that allows for sharper photographs in low-light situations, a better app and camera interface, and 1080p video recording.
– The Lumia 920 and its budget companion the Lumia 820 have screens that respond to touch from gloves as well as bare fingers, internet connections that will work on European 4G networks, and can be recharged wirelessly on special charging plates.
– In a gimmick reminiscent of the Google glasses still in development, a City Lens app allows users to hold the viewfinder up to look at a city street. Software then recognises key places, showing the names of restaurants and shops in clickable boxes on the screen.
– CEO Stephen Elop declined to give specific pricing or release dates, but he did say that Nokia would be entering “select markets” with “intense focus” in Q4 of 2012.
– That lack of price and release date saw shares in Nokia drop 15% after the event
– Oh dear – http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/5/3294545/nokias-pureview-ads-are-fraudulent
– Adverts for the 920 already proven to be fraudulent
– The new PureView camera might be amazing, but a bizarre easter egg has revealed that the company’s advertisements don’t give an honest view of its technology. Amid Nokia’s flurry of press today — if you haven’t heard, they released a new flagship phone along with some other gear — one video advertisement in particular caught our eye. In the ad, Nokia shows off the PureView’s image stabilization technology. The opening segment (which, importantly, isn’t qualified by a “screen images simulated” notice), shows a young man and woman cheerily riding bikes along a scenic river. As he films her breezily laughing, the ad shows side-by-side video — obviously intended to represent the phone’s video capabilities. On the left, Nokia shows the non-stabilized version, which, predictably, looks terrible, and on the right the ad shows the perfectly smooth capture, purportedly enabled by Nokia’s optical image stabilization technology. The only problem is that the video is faked.
– As you can see in the video and photo above, there’s a curious reflection in the window of the trailer in the background. It’s not a young man riding his bicycle alongside the cheerful model, but instead a big white van with a lighting rig and a cameraman standing in the doorway — with what appears to be a large camera rig. Whatever he’s holding, we can reasonably agree it’s not a Lumia 920. (Update: Nokia has confirmed this video was not shot with a 920)
7:01 – Motorola Press Event
– Motorola has just announced the Droid RAZR HD, updating its old flagship with a larger 4.7-inch screen, HD display, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The RAZR HD comes with a 2,500mAh battery, a bit under the 3,300mAh RAZR Maxx but well above the 1,780mAh of the original RAZR. As with the first Droid RAZR, it will come with a higher-capacity Maxx variant. The company also touted the RAZR HD’s 1.5GHz dual-core processor and preinstalled Chrome browser, along with its LTE capacity. Outside the battery, screen, and processor, the specs aren’t too different from those of the original Droid RAZR. The phone comes with a Super AMOLED screen, albeit a higher-resolution one, and the same 8-megapixel rear camera. Like the RAZR, it includes 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, expandable by microSD.
– A Jelly Bean update should be available at some point, but for now, it’s starting with Ice Cream Sandwich. As a good-faith gesture, versions of the RAZR HD running Jelly Bean are being shown off at the event. Motorola will also be offering a developer edition with an unlockable bootloader. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but the device should be in stores “before the holidays.”
– No release date, no price. When will they learn.
9:25 – Amazon Kindle Update
– Kindle Paperwhite
– It uses the expected new “paperwhite” screen technology for a sharper (212 ppi) and higher-contrast display, and also features a frontlight that brings parity with Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. The interface has taken a page out of the Kindle Fire’s book by offering a “cover mode” homescreen that lets you swipe through your library. The device also uses the same X-Ray content analysis feature found on the Kindle Touch, has controls for the light, and lets you change the fonts.

– Amazon is touting its patented light guide technology which keeps the lighting even across the screen and allows you to leave it on all the time without detriment to battery life — it’ll apparently last for eight weeks between charges. The touch technology means it has a thinner bezel, and at 9.1mm thin and 7.5 ounces Jeff Bezos describes the device as “thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paperback.” The Kindle Paperwhite is available for order today and will start shipping on October 1st. The Wi-Fi model will cost $119, and the 3G-enabled variant will go for $179
– Not clear if those prices are ad supported
– Kindle
– http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/6/3298072/amazon-69-kindle-update-announcement
– the company is dropping the price of its least expensive ebook reader to $69. While it doesn’t have the front-lit display of its newer sibling, a 12 percent drop from last year’s $79 price is nothing to sneeze at. The ad-supported wi-fi device is identical to last year’s model, down to the 6 ounce weight and 6-inch e-ink screen, but the company says it will offer the new fonts and crisper text of the Paperwhite devices.
– Kindle Fire
– http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/6/3296637/amazon-new-kindle-fire-tablet-7inch-launch-event-price
– Along with an all-new Kindle e-reader with illuminated paperwhite display and a lower-price standard Kindle, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just announced the new Kindle Fire tablet during a press conference today. The new Fire features a 7-inch display, a 40-percent faster processor, twice as much RAM, and longer battery life than the original model.
– Despite the upgrades, Amazon is actually dropping the price of the new Kindle Fire by $40 compared to the original model, as it will now sell for $159 when it starts shipping on September 14th.
– Kindle Fire HD
– http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/6/3296477/amazon-kindle-fire-HD-10-inch
– new Kindle Fire HD features 8.9-inch 1920×1200, 254ppi display. It features a laminated touch sensor for better visuals and 25% less glare. It’s powered by an OMAP 4470 processor from Texas Instruments, which Amazon says outperforms the Tegra 3. The Kindle Fire HD also includes stereo speakers, an upgrade over the Kindle Fire’s mono driver. Amazon has improved Wi-Fi networking by adding a dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz receiver, two antennas, and its new MIMO radio technology. For storage, the Kindle Fire HD offers 16GB of local hard drive space.
– Whispersync for voice – Syncs your book with your audiobook, so you can listen and read in tandem.
– “X-Ray for movies. If you were watching a movie on your Kindle Fire HD, wouldn’t it be cool if you could tap the actor on the screen and see ‘who’s that guy?'” Infor from IMBD which Amazon own
– Whispersync for games syncs levels and progress, so you’ve never forced to restart
– Mail, custom Facebook and Skype apps
– Kindle freetime – multiple profiles for kids – set times for different content types – 30 mins for reading, hour for games etc
– Kindle Fire HD, 16GB (funny storage joke Bezos), 7 inches. $199. Ships September 14th
– The 8.9-inch model? $299. Ships November 20th
– Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE wireless – 8.9 inches, 32GB of storage — $499.
– New data plan, too. 250MB a month. 200GB of cloud storage, $10 Amazon credit. $49.99 a year. Pre-order today, ships Nov 20th
– Comparing to the iPad 3’s plan. Year 1 cost, $959 for iPad; $549 for Kindle Fire HD. But the data is tiny – 250MB a month???
– UK – The company will detail plans for the Uk shortly – BBC tonight
26:54 – BBC iPlayer launches mobile-download service
– Users of BBC catch-up service iPlayer can now download programmes to watch on phones, tablets and other mobile devices at a later date.
– They can save any programme for up to 30 days – but once they hit play, have to finish watching it within a week.
– Available on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, the feature will be coming to Android devices soon. Last month alone there were 30 million requests for iPlayer programmes via a mobile or tablet, according to the BBC.
28:13 – Raspberry Pi to be manufactured in the UK
– The Raspberry Pi computer is being made in the UK for the first time.
– Before now every one of the credit-card sized machines have rolled off production lines in Chinese factories.
– But a deal signed between Premier Farnell, which distributes the Pi, and manufacturer Sony will see 300,000 of the gadgets produced on home soil. Since its launch in April, the device has been hugely popular and its creators said more than a million could be sold before the end of 2012.
– The UK-made Raspberry Pis will be assembled at Sony UK Technology’s factory in Pencoed, South Wales. About 30 jobs will be created as a result of the deal which will mean most of the Pis being distributed by Premier Farnell will be made in Britain.
– In a blogpost, Raspberry Pi community director Liz Upton said it chose Chinese manufacturers at the start of the project because it could find not find a UK manufacturer that could make them cheaply enough or was willing to take a risk on the bare-bones computer.
34:26 – Valve recruiting hardware engineers
– Valve Software has started searching for hardware engineers. The game maker has posted an ad seeking applicants for the post of “industrial designer”.
– The job description on the ad said Valve was “frustrated” by the lack of innovation in computer hardware and wanted to change that state of affairs.
– It is not yet clear what gadgets successful applicants will be working on but the ad suggests it could involve replacements for mouse and keyboard.
– Before now Valve has let it be known that it wants to expand beyond games into hardware but has revealed few details about those plans.
37:10 – Bruce Willis to fight Apple over right to leave iTunes library in will
– Bruce Willis is eyeing a legal bid to ensure he can pass on his iTunes library to his children when he dies, according to the Daily Mail.
– The Die Hard star is concerned that his extensive music collection will revert to Apple ownership on his demise and is looking into ways that might allow his three daughters, Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, to legitimately inherit it. His lawyers are currently said to be looking at the possibility of setting up “family trusts” to act as legal holders of the downloaded music, but Willis is also prepared to consider taking Apple to court over the issue.
– “Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have bought over the years don’t actually belong to them,” solicitor Chris Walton told the Mail. “It’s only natural you would want to pass them on to a loved one. The law will catch up, but ideally Apple and the like will update their policies and work out the best solution for their customers.”
– Willis is also considering supporting legal action currently underway in five US states to give people more rights to share music they have purchased.
– It’s a great story – but total bullshit from the Daily Mail, but really the Times and the Mail just copied it….as did The Guardian. Who checks this stuff?

Picks

DigitalOutbox Episode 130

DigitalOutbox Episode 130
DigitalOutbox Episode 130 – Metro dropped, App.net and Mat Honan gets hacked hard.

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2:38 – T-mobile – tethering no longer available to new full monthly customers
– UK network T-Mobile has confirmed that new customers signing up to its Full Monty tariff will not be eligible for unlimited tethering on their device.
– Launched back in February, the Full Monty plan offered T-Mobile customers unlimited calls, texts and data – including tethering – for £36 per month.
– However anyone looking to take advantage of this offer now will notice the Full Monty tariff clearly states “excludes tethering” next to its “unlimited internet” claim.
– Unfortunately the spokesperson was unable to reveal why the network had decided to stop offering tethering as part of the terms of the Fully Monty contract, stating: “We don’t have anything more to share.”
– We can only assume T-Mobile has witnessed a dramatic drain on its bandwidth since launching the Full Monty plan, so has had to quickly back-track on its offer of truly unlimited internet to stop the network falling over.
5:14 – Microsoft drop the Metro brand
– Microsoft is killing off the use of its Metro design name to describe a tiled interface in Windows Phone and Windows 8. We brought you news of the change earlier today, but a tipster has provided an internal memo sent to Microsoft employees confirming the move. In it, Microsoft reveals that “discussions with an important European partner” led to the decision to “discontinue the use” of the Metro branding for Windows 8 and other Microsoft products — one that employees must adhere to immediately.
– The Windows team is “working on a replacement term” according to the memo, “and plans to land on that by the end of this week.” Until then, employees have been advised to refer to the Metro style user interface as the “Windows 8 style UI.” The memo was distributed to employees earlier this week, so we expect to hear official news about the Metro replacement by the weekend.
– Microsoft has used the Metro branding as a codename for its typography-based design language. The company has used a number of elements from the design language across its Windows 8 and Windows Phone products, as well as the recently released Office 2013 preview.
– 7 days later and it’s no longer Windows 8 style UI – it’s “Modern UI Style” to describe Windows 8 applications – it may even just be called….Windows 8
7:07 – Valve to sell non-gaming software on Steam starting September 5th
– Valve is opening up Steam to non-gaming software, the company announced today, bringing applications ranging from “creativity to productivity” to the digital distribution platform. The first software titles will be released on September 5th.
– Non-gaming software sold via Steam will take advantage of the platform’s Steamworks features, which include simplified installation, auto-updating, and the ability to save work to the Steam Cloud for cross-platform access from multiple computers.
– “The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games,” said Valve’s Mark Richardson in a press release. “They have told us they would like to have more of their software on Steam, so this expansion is in response to those customer requests.”
8:51 – Would you pay for a social network – App.net hopes so
– Dalton Caldwell wrote a blog post over a month ago lamenting Twitter and the route it was taking
– A few days later, launched his own Kickstarter like appeal for App.net – a paid for twitter clone
– No ad’s, focused on users and developers
– Open API
– Paid for – $50 a year min pricing, $100 for access to API for developers
– 3 days to go for fundraising – $150,000 short
– Will it work? Nope. Ouch.
15:51 – Google Free iPhone
– Latest iOS 6 beta drops the YouTube app
– Apple confirmed – Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
– Google response – We are working with Apple to make sure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.
– Could be good and bad for iOS users – Youtube app for me is best way of viewing youtube content but it hasn’t changed in years. Google could develop a very slick app for iOS. Who killed the app – Apple or Google? No ad’s in the iOS app at the moment.
– Good opportunity for third party dev’s
– Will google be dropped in search and siri? Surely not?
19:02 – Google brings knowledge graph to rest of the world (if you speak english)
– Now live in the UK
– Still feels like wikipedia on the RHS of your search results
– Also announced the start of a trial which will allow people to search their Gmail messages from the Google.com search box.
– Move was a “baby step towards pre-emptive search” and an example of search engines “getting to know people better”.
– “So if you’re planning a biking trip to Tahoe, you might see relevant emails from friends about the best bike trails, or great places to eat on the right hand side of the results page. If it looks relevant you can then expand the box to read the emails.”
Gmail results will appear on the right hand side of the search results page and will only be available to the single user whose email account is being included in the results.
23:03 – Mat Honan Hacked Hard
– In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.
– In many ways, this was all my fault. My accounts were daisy-chained together. Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my Apple ID account, which helped them get into Gmail, which gave them access to Twitter. Had I used two-factor authentication for my Google account, it’s possible that none of this would have happened, because their ultimate goal was always to take over my Twitter account and wreak havoc. Lulz.
– Had I been regularly backing up the data on my MacBook, I wouldn’t have had to worry about losing more than a year’s worth of photos, covering the entire lifespan of my daughter, or documents and e-mails that I had stored in no other location.
– Those security lapses are my fault, and I deeply, deeply regret them.
– How was he hacked – In short, the very four digits that Amazon considers unimportant enough to display in the clear on the web are precisely the same ones that Apple considers secure enough to perform identity verification. The disconnect exposes flaws in data management policies endemic to the entire technology industry, and points to a looming nightmare as we enter the era of cloud computing and connected devices.
– Timeline
– At 4:33 p.m., according to Apple’s tech support records, someone called AppleCare claiming to be me. Apple says the caller reported that he couldn’t get into his .Me e-mail — which, of course was my .Me e-mail.
– In response, Apple issued a temporary password. It did this despite the caller’s inability to answer security questions I had set up. And it did this after the hacker supplied only two pieces of information that anyone with an internet connection and a phone can discover.
– At 4:50 p.m., a password reset confirmation arrived in my inbox. I don’t really use my .Me e-mail, and rarely check it. But even if I did, I might not have noticed the message because the hackers immediately sent it to the trash. They then were able to follow the link in that e-mail to permanently reset my AppleID password.
– At 4:52 p.m., a Gmail password recovery e-mail arrived in my .Me mailbox. Two minutes later, another e-mail arrived notifying me that my Google account password had changed.
– At 5:02 p.m., they reset my Twitter password. At 5:00 they used iCloud’s “Find My” tool to remotely wipe my iPhone. At 5:01 they remotely wiped my iPad. At 5:05 they remotely wiped my MacBook. Around this same time, they deleted my Google account. At 5:10, I placed the call to AppleCare. At 5:12 the attackers posted a message to my account on Twitter taking credit for the hack.
– All the hackers wanted was access to mat’s twitter account – nothing else
– Apple tech support confirmed to me twice over the weekend that all you need to access someone’s AppleID is the associated e-mail address, a credit card number, the billing address, and the last four digits of a credit card on file. I was very clear about this. During my second tech support call to AppleCare, the representative confirmed this to me. “That’s really all you have to have to verify something with us,” he said.
– Getting a credit card number is tricker, but it also relies on taking advantage of a company’s back-end systems. Phobia says that a partner performed this part of the hack, but described the technique to us, which we were able to verify via our own tech support phone calls. It’s remarkably easy — so easy that Wired was able to duplicate the exploit twice in minutes.
– First you call Amazon and tell them you are the account holder, and want to add a credit card number to the account. All you need is the name on the account, an associated e-mail address, and the billing address. Amazon then allows you to input a new credit card. (Wired used a bogus credit card number from a website that generates fake card numbers that conform with the industry’s published self-check algorithm.) Then you hang up.
– Next you call back, and tell Amazon that you’ve lost access to your account. Upon providing a name, billing address, and the new credit card number you gave the company on the prior call, Amazon will allow you to add a new e-mail address to the account. From here, you go to the Amazon website, and send a password reset to the new e-mail account. This allows you to see all the credit cards on file for the account — not the complete numbers, just the last four digits. But, as we know, Apple only needs those last four digits. We asked Amazon to comment on its security policy, but didn’t have anything to share by press time.
– And it’s also worth noting that one wouldn’t have to call Amazon to pull this off. Your pizza guy could do the same thing, for example. If you have an AppleID, every time you call Pizza Hut, you’ve giving the 16-year-old on the other end of the line all he needs to take over your entire digital life.
– Lessons
– Backup!
– I shouldn’t have daisy-chained two such vital accounts — my Google and my iCloud account — together. I shouldn’t have used the same e-mail prefix across multiple accounts — mhonan@gmail.com, mhonan@me.com, and mhonan@wired.com. And I should have had a recovery address that’s only used for recovery without being tied to core services.
– But, mostly, I shouldn’t have used Find My Mac. Find My iPhone has been a brilliant Apple service. If you lose your iPhone, or have it stolen, the service lets you see where it is on a map. When you perform a remote hard drive wipe on Find my Mac, the system asks you to create a four-digit PIN so that the process can be reversed. But here’s the thing: If someone else performs that wipe — someone who gained access to your iCloud account through malicious means — there’s no way for you to enter that PIN. A better way to have this set up would be to require a second method of authentication when Find My Mac is initially set up. If this were the case, someone who was able to get into an iCloud account wouldn’t be able to remotely wipe devices with malicious intent. It would also mean that you could potentially have a way to stop a remote wipe in progress.
– 2 factor security on google accounts would have helped too – http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/google-two-step-authentication/
– Prey a more secure option than Find my Mac – http://preyproject.com/
– Don’t make your address public
– Use strong single use passwords – Lastpass or 1password will help
– Change passwords regularly
– Updates
– Amazon have changed their policies quietly – On Tuesday, Amazon handed down to its customer service department a policy change that no longer allows people to call in and change account settings, such as credit cards or email addresses associated with its user accounts.
– Apple on Tuesday ordered its support staff to immediately stop processing AppleID password changes requested over the phone, following the identity hacking of Wired reporter Mat Honan over the weekend, according to Apple employees.
– An Apple worker with knowledge of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Wired that the over-the-phone password freeze would last at least 24 hours. The employee speculated that the freeze was put in place to give Apple more time to determine what security policies needed to be changed, if any.

Picks
Ian
Pixelmator
– £10.49
– Great image editor for the Mac
– Now at version 2.1 and on sale, hence the recomendation
– Everything you probably need in an image editor and now comes with iCloud, retina and Mountain Lion support