Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Apple: Bent iPhones Must Pass Visual Inspection to Be Replaced

Apple: Bent iPhones Must Pass Visual Inspection to Be Replaced
In the wake of #Bendgate — the so-called controversy that the iPhone 6 Plus may bend in your pocket — it's possible that Apple will replace your warped device, if it's under warranty.
That's also if it passes a visual inspection by an in-store Apple Genius, The Next Web reports. Chatting with an Apple support representative, a reporter asked if, during normal use, a bent iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus would qualify for replacement under warranty.
The representative responded by iMessage: "That is 100% up to the Genius you speak with at the store. There is a test called a Visual Mechanical Inspection that the device will have to pass. If it is within the guidelines, they will be able to cover it. If not, the replacement would be a paid one."
Keep in mind that Apple released a statement on Thursday purporting that just nine customers have contacted the company about their bent iPhone 6 models, calling it an "extremely rare" occurrence. So it's unclear how stringent replacement guidelines may be.
Apple has fielded a string of tough publicity in recent days, receiving backlash for the disastrous iOS 8.0.1 update that caused numerous problems for iPhone users for which the company publicly apologized.
Posted by : Gizmeon

iPhone 6 Now Available in More Than 20 Countries

iPhone 6 Now Available in More Than 20 Countries
Apple has expanded sales of the iPhone 6 and its larger twin sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, to more than 20 additional countries on Friday.
The iPhone 6 is now available in these countries:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
Apple told Mashable stores are seeing record queues in these countries. The new iPhone's initial launch last week drew massive crowds to Apple stores where the phone was available.
It's been a hectic time for Apple, coming off a record-breaking opening weekend — when sales topped 10 million phones — and a duo of controversies: #Bendgate and the botched launch of iOS 8's first software update.
Apple first launched the iPhone 6 in eight countries and hopes that number will grow to 115 countries by the end of the year.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Say Goodbye to the Original Yahoo Directory

Say Goodbye to the Original Yahoo Directory
Yahoo has announced it will finally, officially shut down the Yahoo Directory on December 31, 2014.
No, we didn't know the Yahoo Directory was still a thing either. For those of you not familiar with the world before Google, the Yahoo Directory is the product that made Yahoo a big deal in the first place. In the early days of the web, it was also one of the most important search and discovery engines.
The Yahoo Directory (which ironically, seems to be down because of the wave of interest surrounding the product) was a human-edited directory of websites, organized into various tiers. If you wanted to look for sites about video games, you would go to the Yahoo Directory, click on "Computers and Internet," then "Games", then "Video Games."
This all seems quaint now — but in the early days of the web, this personally-curated process was a big deal. It stood out among the randomness of early, inferior crawler-based search engines. Getting your website into the directory was equally huge.
In fact, until 2002, the Directory was still front-and-center on Yahoo's homepage. Crawler-based search eventually overtook it — with a lot of help from Google's algorithm — but there was something magical about the curation and discoverability baked into the Yahoo Directory.
Now, nearly 20 years after went live with the Yahoo Directory as the centerpiece of its web portal, this last vestige of old Yahoo is going away.
It may make sense for Yahoo to shutter Yahoo Directory — but the way it was done, in a brief mention on a blog post buried on a Friday afternoon, seems unbecoming of a product that helped shape what is now a multi-billion dollar corporation.
Over at Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan does a tremendous job giving Yahoo Directory the tribute that Yahoo itself should have provided. Sullivan also offers historical context for the importance of the directory — which as he aptly says, was "once the Internet's most important search engine."
As someone who built her first website in 1996, and was ecstatic when that website entered the Yahoo Directory, this news is more than a little bittersweet.
So while you're surfing the web, or discovering links on Twitter or Facebook this weekend, pour one out for the Yahoo Directory.
Posted by : Gizmeon

BlackBerry Wants to Launch One Unconventional Product Every Year

BlackBerry Wants to Launch One Unconventional Product Every Year
BlackBerry might not be one of the cool kids among smartphones anymore, but it apparently doesn't mind being quirky and is willing to take some risks along the way.
The company wants to release at least one unconventional device every year and already has one in the works, a BlackBerry executive told Reuters.
“When it comes to design and being a little bit disruptive, we want that ‘wow’ factor,” said Ron Louks, the president of BlackBerry's Devices division. "Not all of the products will have it, but we definitely have opportunities."
He added that BlackBerry is working on a device that is easier to use with just one hand.
After fading into the background of the smartphone market, BlackBerry has already turned up the weird in the form of the Passport, which was designed to be the exact size of — that's right — a passport. It has a 4.5-inch-wide screen.
With its square shape and physical keyboard, many seemed perplexed by the new mobile device. In a review, Mashable called the Passport a "very strange phone, and an unwieldy one at that."
Despite the iffy reception, BlackBerry considered the Passport a success, heralding its sale of 200,000 units over about a week.
Compare that to Apple's 10 million iPhone 6 sales in one weekend, and it seems unimpressive. But being the David to Apple's Goliath might afford BlackBerry more room to experiment (as well as some opportunities to poke fun at the iPhone 6).
It's certainly a way to get people talking.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Apple Updates OS X to Protect Against Shellshock

Apple Updates OS X to Protect Against Shellshock
Apple has issued an update for the Shellshock Bash vulnerability for OS X Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks.
The update, which is available directly from Apple and not delivered through the Mac App Store, patches the version of Bash included in OS X. Lion users can download the update here, Mountain Lion users, here.
Shellshock became public last week and although its main target is web servers, the inclusion of Bash in OS X gave plenty of Mac users a reason to feel uncomfortable. Apple released a statement saying that although the vast majority of Mac users would not be affected by the vulnerability, it would be issuing a patch for "experienced UNIX users."
According to Apple's security release notes for this patch, it protects against the first two common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) associated with Shellshock. Six CVEs related to Shellshock have cropped up in the last few days.
If you use your Mac for a web server — even as a localhost — we'd recommend installing this update. Please note that at this time, Apple hasn't released an update for the OS X Yosemite beta. We imagine that the update will probably be rolled into the next Yosemite beta version, which is expected for release on Tuesday.
Posted by : Gizmeon

This Smartwatch Tells You When You're Spending Too Much Money

This Smartwatch Tells You When You're Spending Too Much Money
Smartwatches are known for not only telling time, but tracking your daily activities — steps taken, calories burned, hours slept. Now, a new device called the Cash smartwatch monitors another thing you might not always think about: your budget. It tells you when to cool it with the latte spending or hold off on buying new shoes for the fall.
The $139 gadget — which will be available online for purchase or via HSN, starting next week — comes from financialista Nicole Lapin, a former correspondent for networks such as MSNBC and Today, and was one of the youngest CNN and CNBC anchors to have her own show. She's known for making finances approachable, and using easy-to-understand language for budget tips. Although the Cash smartwatch is aimed toward young women from ages 18 to 34, the model also comes with various strap options for men.
The Cash smartwatch doesn't want to be the Apple Watch, and it's not smart in the traditional category way (it doesn't let you check email or take phone calls).
Its main focus is to get you thinking about how you're impulse buying, without needing to use boring spreadsheets. Every time you make a purchase, you tap the price into the interface and place it into a category (e.g. clothes, food and so on). On the back end, you'll set up your monthly allowance, and Lapin recommends how much free spending money you're allowed during that period.
When you go over-budget or are nearing that line, you'll know right away on the smartwatch's home screen. You can see what you're spending in each category via a green line (how much you have left for the month), too; and the more you spend, a red line grows.
While there's no shortage of budgeting apps on the market, what sets the watch and its corresponding app apart is style and tone. Instead of drab financial terms, Lapin breaks it down in a way everyone can get. When you start spending too much, you'll get a message like "Take the damn bus." Encouraging feedback is in the same spirit: "Hell yeah, who's a budgeting superstar?"
The design of the watch itself is also fashionable — one of the biggest complaints about smartwatches in general is that they're often large and the bands are made out of cheap material. They typically aren't something you'd want to put on for a fancy dinner.
But the Cash smartwatch is beautiful. It comes with three band options (a crocodile-style white, black silicone and a patterned silver), so you can dress it up or down. It also features a stylus, if that's your thing. And unlike Fitbit or Jawbone, where it's obvious you're tracking your movement, the Cash is inconspicuous.
No one will ever know you're using it to watch your dollars.
The watch face itself is a bit heavy, mostly because it holds all the tech. The web app brings together a bigger picture of your spending, but Cash also works autonomously. For those who want an app or online program without the watch, you can access Lapin's tips and platform directly.
"When I graduated college and while I was growing up, I was too scared to talk about money," Lapin said. "It wasn't until I started working in TV that I had to teach myself everything about finance quickly. Learning about it is intimidating, but I wanted to be the Rosetta Stone for that — you don't have to know any of the jargon in order to budget and save."
Posted by : Gizmeon

Report: Samsung May Launch Galaxy Note 4 Early After Success of iPhone 6

Report: Samsung May Launch Galaxy Note 4 Early After Success of iPhone 6
The massive response to Apple's bigger iPhone 6 models has inspired Samsung to push up the launch of the new Galaxy Note 4 phablet, according to a news report.
A Samsung employee said the "positive reaction from consumers to those two Apple devices prompted us to launch the Note 4 earlier than previously scheduled," according to The Korea Times
Apple set a new record for opening sales with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, doling out some 10 million units in the first 72 hours of retail, the company said. In a statement, Tim Cook said Apple "could have sold many more" with a greater supply.
The Galaxy Note 4 was originally slated for release in October, but its Korean launch is planned to be pushed up to Sept. 26 in response to the Apple sales surge, The Korea Times reported. No word on how this would impact the U.S. market, but the Note 4 is available for preorder in the states, with shipping penned to begin Oct. 14.
Samsung is known for its larger-display phablets, a fact it recently used to poke fun at Apple in an ad mocking the heftier-than-usual iPhone 6 Plus.
If bigger is better, the Note 4 — with a display of 5.7 inches — edges out the iPhone 6 Plus' 5.5.
On top of that, the Note 4 has a Quad HD resolution and a fast-charging battery, the company says. It also runs on KitKat, Android's latest operating system, and a 2.7GHz quad-core processor.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Adobe Photoshop Is Coming to Chromebooks

Adobe Photoshop Is Coming to Chromebooks
Google just made Chromebooks an even more appealing option to schools and students.
The company announced plans to partner with Adobe to offer a special cloud-based version of Photoshop to students and teachers who use Chromebooks in their classrooms.
The program, Project Photoshop Streaming, is still in beta and will be available to select Creative Cloud subscribers to start. Both companies promise the "streaming version" of Photoshop will have most of the same functionality of the desktop version of the image-editing software, but will be entirely cloud-based. The streaming version of Photoshop will also be accessible from within the Chrome browser on Windows devices.
This streaming version of Photoshop is designed to run straight from the cloud to your Chromebook," Google wrote in a blog post. "It’s always up-to-date and fully integrated with Google Drive, so there’s no need to download and re-upload files—just save your art directly from Photoshop to the cloud."
Chromebooks — Google's small, low-cost, laptops that run Chrome OS — have been increasingly in demand in schools due to their inexpensiveness and reliance on Google's cloud-based offerings like Drive, which require little maintenance and upkeep from school IT departments.
The program will initially only be available to a limited number of Adobe Education members with existing Creative Cloud subscriptions in North America. Qualified students or educators can apply on behalf of themselves of their institution on Adobe's website.
Google has recently been stepping up its efforts at increasing the variety of apps available for Chromebooks, which is a frequent area of criticism for the platform. The company revealed the first wave of Chromebook-compatible Android apps earlier this year, which included two educational apps (Duolingo and Sight Words.) The move — first announced during Google I/O — is part of Google's broader effort to create a more unified experience between Android and Chrome OS.
Posted by : Gizmeon

What Microsoft Needs to Accomplish With Its 'Windows 9' Event

What Microsoft Needs to Accomplish With Its 'Windows 9' Event
The world might get its first official taste of Windows 9 on Tuesday, at least if the rumors are true. Microsoft has scheduled an event in San Francisco to talk about "what's next for Windows and the Enterprise." The timing lines up with rumors about when Microsoft will supposedly be ready to start talking about the next major upgrade to Windows.
There's lots of speculation about the name of the release. "Windows 9" has just been a convenient and obvious placeholder. It's known that "Threshold" is the codename, and this is backed up by an early website leak the Verge spotted over the weekend.
But there's a chance the name could just be "Windows" — which might be somewhat confusing, but would be in keeping with CEO Satya Nadella's vision of "One Windows" going forward. After all, Windows Phone recently dropped the "Phone" part of its name, and Windows RT (the version that runs on the Surface and some other tablets) has been on the chopping block for a while.
It's fun to wonder about names — and make fun of them when they're stupid — but in this case it's the last thing Microsoft should be worrying about. Whether Microsoft calls it "Windows 9" or "Ralph," the next version of Windows needs to be a hit with its enterprise customers, which is what this event will really be all about.
Microsoft needs business
We'll probably get a very early look at Windows 9 on Tuesday, but the focus of the discussion will be about what large enterprise deployments can get out it. Those cool virtual desktops and the revamped Start Menu — the International Business Times has a leaked preview — might make an appearance, but mainly in the context of what businesses can do with them.
As Microsoft no doubt intends, that's some dry pickings, especially compared to the pomp and circumstance that accompanied the Windows 8 launch.
With Windows 8, Microsoft veered heavily toward the consumer market, and soon seemed hell-bent on out-Appleing Apple. The original unveiling of the Surface tablet had all the trappings of an Apple event: secrecy, spectacle and sexiness.
That unveiling, though, also caught Microsoft's manufacturing partners flat-footed, with all of them wary that the company would now be competing directly with them. On top of that, there was virtually no communication about Windows RT, the version of Windows running on the Surface, leaving PC makers and enterprise customers unsure of what to do with it.
For Windows 8/8.1 proper, though, enterprise knew just what to do: Ignore it. Even putting aside the typical skittishness enterprise customers have about new releases, Windows 8 was all about putting tablets and the consumer market first, and it took a long time for Microsoft to make it usable for a traditional workstation.
In fairness, subsequent Windows upgrades have addressed many key enterprise concerns. Since the Windows 8.1 update, mouse-and-keyboard Windows machines have become a lot more usable. With Internet Explorer 11, in particular, Microsoft addressed a big enterprise pain point for customers who previously needed to keep old machines around to run custom web software. IE11 can now run many of those custom apps within the new browser.
More show, less tell
But that clearly wasn't enough for enterprise customers, and now Microsoft is extending a large olive branch toward them. Whatever is actually shown on Tuesday (given the small-scale nature of the event, it likely won't be the formal "here it is, world!" Windows 9 unveiling), the message will be clear: The next Windows will be designed to win back the enterprise.
And frankly, it needs to — now more than ever. Although the enterprise has hardly abandoned Windows, Microsoft has good reason to worry. Apple and IBM announced a significant partnership to provide mobile technology to enterprise customers, and the ever-growing threat from Google has been getting some help from the likes of Samsung. Even BlackBerry is still throwing respectable punches in the mobile enterprise market.
With its touch-friendly interface, Windows 8 was supposed to help Microsoft capture more of the mobile market, but it hasn't gotten the job done — Windows is only running on 2.5% of the world's smartphones, according to IDC.
With the mobile enterprise world still to be won, Microsoft knows it can't count on indefinite enterprise support. Surely, Microsoft's enterprise footprint includes much more than Windows, but it's the centerpiece as well as the public-facing brand. It's the software most enterprise workers use day-to-day, and those workers have been stuck in 2009 with Windows 7 (or worse, 2001 with Windows XP), while encountering the cloud-first world Nadella keeps talking about on their iPhones.
The next Windows needs to involve enterprise from the start, and that's exactly what this event is all about. So it doesn't really matter if the name is Windows 9, Windows Threshold, UberWindows or even just Windows. Whatever Microsoft chooses, for its enterprise customers, just call it a do-over.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung Says It's Developing Wi-Fi That's Five Times Faster

Samsung Says It's Developing Wi-Fi That's Five Times Faster

Samsung said it is developing Wi-Fi that is five times faster than the maximum possible speed of what's available today.
Samsung is building 60GHz Wi-Fi technology, which would speed up data transmissions to 4.6 gigabits per second — the equivalent of 575MB per second. That would be a five-fold improvement from today's maximum of 866 megabits per second, or 108MB per second, the company said Monday in a press release.
In other words, a 1GB file wouldn't even take three seconds to transfer from device to device.
Samsung said it plans to commercialize the technology as early as next year. It said the faster Wi-Fi would be particularly useful when applied to smart home and Internet of Things devices.
Samsung said 60GHz Wi-Fi had been merely theoretical until now because such signals had trouble penetrating walls.
But now developers are making it a reality, according to the company, by building new antennas and new methods to optimize communications devices.
“Samsung has successfully overcome the barriers to the commercialization of 60 GHz millimeter-wave band Wi-Fi technology, and looks forward to commercializing this breakthrough technology,” said Kim Chang Yong, head of Samsung's research-and-development center, in the announcement.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Skype Launches Standalone App for Disappearing Video Messages

Skype Launches Standalone App for Disappearing Video Messages

Skype is capitalizing on the increasing popularity of photo and video-centric messaging apps with a new standalone app for disappearing video messages.
The Skype Qik app is ideal for short, impromptu video conversations between friends. While the company says the app is meant to run alongside Skype, it's a standalone smartphone app that doesn't require a Skype account to use.
"Skype started with desktop, it was really our heritage but we've seen users adapting and shifting to more mobile scenarios," said Dan Chastney, principal program manager lead at Skype. "We really wanted to find a way of helping users stay connected in between their Skype calls."
To get started with the app, users only need to verify their phone number, which creates their account. They can then start one on one or group chats — which can potentially have hundreds of participants — by recording short videos and sending them to friends or groups of friends.
Videos, which can be up to 42 seconds long — a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy — are automatically deleted from message threads after two weeks. But users can also go back and delete their own videos before they expire and the videos will also be removed from the other participants' conversations.
On the iOS and Android app, you can also pre-record 5-second videos called Qik Fliks to function as quick canned responses to messages. Though Qik is also launching on Windows Phone, Qik Fliks will be added in a later update, Chastney said.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Google Warns of Design Vulnerability in SSL 3.0

Google Warns of Design Vulnerability in SSL 3.0

Google on Tuesday announced that it has discovered a "vulnerability in the design of SSL version 3.0"
The vulnerability, which Google announced on its security blog and detailed in a security advisory [PDF link], "allows the plaintext of secure connections to be calculated by a network attacker."
Google's Bodo Möller discovered the issue, along with Googlers Thai Duong and Krzysztof Kotowicz.
This isn't the first time SSL — the security protocol that the Internet uses for encryption and security — has had issues. Earlier this year, a years-old bug in OpenSSL known as Heartbleed was publicly revealed.
This particular bug effects SSL version 3.0, which Google notes is nearly 15 years old. It has been replaced by TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2, but the discovery is still a concern because most modern TLS implementations are still backward compatible with Open SSL 3.0
Most web browsers still support SSL 3.0 and can even drop-down to support the old protocol if something else isn't working or if use of the protocol is triggered by a network attacker.
Google says that disabling SSL 3.0 support is enough to mitigate the issue, but that could cause compatibility issues. Therefore, the company has announced support for TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV, which will prevent SSL 3.0 from being used when a client attempts to retry a failed connection.
Google says that Chrome has supported TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV since February and that it is testing changes Tuesday that will disable fallback to SSL 3.0. In the coming months, Google hopes to remove support for SSL 3.0 from all of its products.
Silver lining
Although the problem Google has discovered looks severe, the good news is that it can be mitigated by upgrading to a newer version of a web browser. In the case of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera, the rolling, automatic-updating nature of the browser means that users can get fixes quickly.
We expect Mozilla (Firefox), Microsoft (Internet Explorer) and Apple (Safari) to issue updates to its browsers to support the TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV and to follow Google's lead in dropping support for SSL 3.0.
For websites that may break if SSL 3.0 support is dropped, the onus will be on those site maintainers to update their code to modern standards immediately.
This story is still developing
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Posted by : Gizmeon