Showing posts with label tech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tech. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hacker says to release full Norton Antivirus code on Tuesday

Norton Antivirus 2012
Symantec Security Operations Centre
(Reuters) - A hacker who goes by the name of 'Yama Tough' threatened Saturday to release next week the full source code for Symantec Corp's flagship Norton Antivirus software.

"This coming Tuesday behold the full Norton Antivirus 1,7Gb src, the rest will follow," Yama Tough posted via Twitter.

In the past week Yama Tough has released fragments of source code from Symantec products along with a cache of emails. The hacker says all the data was taken from Indian government servers.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Samsung confident of outselling Nokia in 2012

samsung mobile
Samsung Store
(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co is confident it will become the world's largest cellphone maker in 2012, ending Nokia's 14-year reign on the mobile handset market, its chief executive said.

Samsung, which became the world's No 1 smartphone maker in the third quarter of 2011, is quickly building on its supremacy with sleek designs and a rich product lineup, while the latest models from the likes of HTC, Nokia and Research In Motion struggle to interest consumers.

Samsung chief executive Choi Gee-sung told reporters in Las Vegas on Monday the company overtook Nokia in revenue terms in its latest reported quarter and was confident of topping the Finnish group in shipments this year.

That would mean another defeat for Nokia, which lost its decade-long dominance in smartphones to Apple in the second quarter of 2011.

Finland's Nokia rose to the top of cellphone industry in 1998 when it overtook Motorola in phone sales, and has since been the driver for the Nordic economy.

Samsung's bullish forecast is in line with some analysts, including Royal Bank of Scotland, betting Samsung would build on its momentum to overtake Nokia in 2012, but on average analysts have expected Nokia to keep its lead on the market.

According to the latest polls by Reuters, Nokia was expected to sell 418 million phones in 2011, versus Samsung's 320 million, the gap narrowing this year to 388 million versus 359 million.

The South Korean firm -- the world's biggest technology company by revenue -- said in early December its 2011 handset sales reached 300 million handsets for the first time, mainly led by a near four-fold jump in smartphone sales.

"Considering how strong Nokia still is in the emerging markets, Samsung's expectation seems to imply that Nokia will miserably fail in mature markets," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Analysts expect cellphone market growth to slow in 2012, with weak demand seen in Western Europe, but stronger demand for emerging markets, which have historically been Nokia's stronghold.

"I think it will be hard for Samsung to beat Nokia without more aggressively targeting emerging markets," Milanesi said.

Choi also said Samsung was likely to meet its 2015 sales target ahead of schedule and plans to increase investment this year.

"With the current sales growth rate, we are likely to... achieve the 2015 sales target of $200 billion earlier," Choi told reporters.

Samsung last week reported a 6.5 percent rise in 2011 revenue to 164.7 trillion won ($141.54 billion).

($1 = 1163.6500 Korean won)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ferrari which holds EIGHT people and plenty of Christmas presents

Long Ferrari
With Christmas days away and presents still to buy for all your family and friends, sometimes a regular estate is just not big enough for all the bags.

Which may explain why these last-minute shoppers arrived at Harrods driving something a little more spacious than the usual.

Shoppers in upmarket Knightsbridge, London, looked on in disbelief yesterday afternoon when two men pulled up at Harrods in this outrageous stretched Ferrari.

With no bay in the area suitable for a vehicle of such length, the car simply stopped on double yellow lines at the front of the store.

The limousine is a one-off, made by a developer in the UK by cutting a regular Ferrari 360 Modena in half and adding some seats in the middle.

It is the fastest limousine in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 166mph and is estimated to cost as much as £250,000.

It is likely the car was not owned by the male driver but hired specially for the occasion from an elite hire company.

The limo was designed by Dan Cawley, a Manchester-based businessman who owns hire company Style Limousines.

Mr Cawley, who has sold the car to another rental company, told the Mail: 'Every boy wants to get into a Ferrari, this was a way for people to be able to do that with seven mates. It's the biggest and craziest vehicle you can get. We made it because we wanted to create the ultimate Ferrari experience.'

He added: 'There's room for eight people – so you can get plenty of shopping bags in there.'

News by Dailymail

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How would you change Amazon's Kindle (2011)?

Kindle Dictionary
Amazon's Kindle is, broadly, the million-selling gold-standard that all other e-readers aspire to. This year's edition was slashed back to basics, with the hardware keyboard, touchscreen, expandable memory, 3G access and MP3 support sacrificed in favor of a $79 (with ads) price tag. Now you've had three months to get to grips with the changes, do you feel it was worth it? Do you miss the keyboard, are the adverts too intrusive, is it the right size for comfortable use? If you were in Jeff Bezos' shoes, let us know what you'd have done differently in the comments below.

News by Engadget

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HTC Android Phones Are Being Banned from the US Next Year

Apple VS HTC
Apple just won a big court victory against HTC that could force HTC to stop selling its Android phones in the United States. The United States International Trade Commission ruled that HTC was infringing on an Apple patent that effects HTC Android devices running Android 1.6 to 2.2.

The devices that may be banned from being sold in the U.S. is basically a who's who list of Android phones: Droid Incredible, Evo 4G, T-Mobile G2, Nexus One and a bunch of older Android devices. The patent that the courts ruled HTC was infringing on (#5,946,647) is potentially a big one. According to Fortune, who took a deep look at the specific patent, it works like this:

When an iPhone receives a message that contains a phone number or an address — e-mail, Web or street — those bits of data are automatically highlighted, underlined and turned into clickable links.

Click on the phone number, and the iPhone asks if you want to dial it. Click on the Web address, and it opens in Safari. Click on the street address, and Maps will display it.

That's huge, not only because it's an important feature in smartphones but because it could mean Apple could go on to attack other Android phone makers because it's the OS that's infringing the patent, not the hardware. However, if HTC Android phones removed that feature (unlikely) or implement it in a different way (which we expect HTC to do), they could keep on selling. And that's pretty much what HTC expects to do, HTC, which has responded to this decision with rainbow colored unicorn tears, reached out to us with this statement:

This decision is a win for HTC and we are gratified that the commission affirmed the judge's determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.

Yes, the patent in question is a fixable problem but I'd hardly categorize the court's decision as a win for HTC. If HTC doesn't fix this issue however, the ban on HTC Android phones in the US is set to take into effect on April 19, 2012. That's not winning.

There are still some real moves left for HTC to make to avoid the import ban (a Presidential veto is an option) but this is sure setting up for a major stateside war (thermonuclear, even) between Apple and Android phone makers much like with what's happening with Apple and Samsung Tablets in Europe and Australia.

News by Gizmodo

Friday, December 09, 2011

Motorola wins German patent case ruling vs Apple

(Reuters) - Motorola Mobility won a preliminary injunction against Apple Inc in Germany, which could bar the sales of iPhones and iPads in the country.

A regional German court in Mannheim ruled on Friday that Apple Sales International -- European sales subsidiary of Apple in Cork, Ireland -- must stop selling or distributing mobile devices that infringe certain Motorola patents.

The ruling, which relates to cellular communications patents, could bar the sales of all Apple products that use the patents such as iPhone 4 and iPad 3G, Germany-based patent expert Florian Mueller said.

"The ruling targets Apple's European sales organization but relates only to that entity's sale to German customers," Mueller added.

Motorola Mobility said it has been negotiating with Apple and offering the company "reasonable licensing terms and conditions since 2007."

Motorola Mobility "will continue our efforts to resolve our global patent dispute as soon as practicable," it said in a statement.

To enforce the injunction, Motorola Mobility has to pay about 100 million euros ($133.8 million) as bond.

Apple, which has other patent infringement cases pending in Germany, said it plans to appeal.

"We are going to appeal the court ruling right away," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "Holiday shoppers in Germany should have no problem finding the iPad and iPhone they want."

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Insight: Apple vs Samsung lawsuit full of secret combat

(Reuters) - The biggest legal battle for the technology industry is playing out in a federal court in Silicon Valley, where Apple is trying to stop Samsung from selling Galaxy phones and tablets in the United States.

In the lawsuit, filed in April, Apple accuses Samsung of "slavishly" ripping off its designs for the iPad and iPhone. Although there is worldwide interest in the case, the proceedings have largely been shrouded behind a veil of secrecy: most of the court papers are sealed, meaning they can't be viewed by the public.

Filing documents under seal has become almost standard procedure in many intellectual-property cases -- like Apple versus Samsung -- as companies claim their trade secrets and confidential information could come out during litigation. Judges have surprisingly wide latitude in deciding what should be kept under wraps and what shouldn't.

Some courts, like the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where the case is being heard, have rules requiring that judges specifically sign off on every request to seal a document -- but these rules set no deadline.

In the Apple/Samsung case, some secrecy requests have languished for months while investors, academics and tech bloggers struggled to piece together whatever bits of information were available.

In every instance that she did issue a ruling on a sealing motion, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose granted the request. Just this week she approved six more motions to seal. Samsung's most crucial legal brief became available after months of delay -- and then only in redacted form.

The stakes here are high: Samsung had 23.8 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, nine points higher than Apple. Yet Samsung's holiday sales could be jeopardized if Koh, who is expected to rule any day, grants Apple's motion to halt Samsung's sales of Galaxy.

Lack of transparency in the courts troubles many observers.

"For the judicial system as a whole, we want transparency so the public can have confidence in the judicial decision-making process," said Bernard Chao, a professor at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law. "When things aren't transparent, that view is undercut."

In an email on Thursday, Koh declined a Reuters request for an interview on her sealing decisions in the Apple/Samsung case, or about her general policies. However, shortly after the inquiry from Reuters, Koh issued new guidelines governing sealed documents in her courtroom.

Koh's guidelines, posted on her official website, mandated that parties file a redacted, publicly available version of every document that they seek to seal -- at the same time they make the sealing request.

Koh and U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, who oversees certain procedural motions in the case, are newcomers to the federal bench and were both previously intellectual property lawyers representing companies at large law firms. They have not only granted many of Apple and Samsung's sealing motions, in some cases, they've gone a step further.

During an October hearing on the proposed injunction, Koh, unprompted, asked Apple and Samsung if they wanted to seal the courtroom. When the lawyers said such a step wouldn't be necessary and that they would not mention confidential material during the hearing, Koh commented, "I guess if you all can be careful not to disclose anything that requires sealing, then we can still have that with the open public."

Representatives from Samsung did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday, and an Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Secrecy in the courts is an ongoing concern. The policy body of the federal courts recently reminded judges to limit broad sealing of cases, and interest groups such as Public Citizen and the American Civil Liberties Union frequently intervene in cases where major records are sealed.

For their part, investors look at briefs and filings to see what kind of effect a patent is having on the marketplace, professors study them for novel legal theories, and lawyers track them for developments in intellectual property law.

Like Koh, many federal judges routinely grant requests to seal documents. In the Eastern District of Texas, where the docket is always clogged with patent cases, lawyers don't even need permission from the judge to file documents under seal, said Michael Smith, an IP attorney who practices there.

"The court has made it as easy as they possibly can," Smith said.

Judges say it's a balancing act.

"It comes down to: 'how do you see the interplay between transparency and protecting the interests of the party,'" said U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, director of the Federal Judicial Center, in an interview. "Transparency sounds so noble, so apple pie, but the interests of the parties are important, too."

The release of Samsung's redacted brief this week demonstrates some of the inconsistencies in what gets sealed, and why.

Previously, Koh had sealed a separate document because, according to Samsung, it contained "unreleased product launch dates, and information relating to Samsung's total number of employees, and the number of employees involved in the design and marketing of the products at issue."

Samsung said references to other confidentially-filed motions in the case justified its sealing, and Apple did not object.

But in the key Samsung brief released this week, even the redacted version revealed not only numbers of Samsung employees (more than 8,500 engaged in telecommunications research and development projects), but also the dollar amount of its research and development costs (over $35 billion for electronics product lines from 2005 to 2010).

When there isn't pushback from one of the parties, judges typically grant sealing requests without much scrutiny, said Chao, the University of Denver professor.

"I think at times they are just overwhelmed," Chao said.

Even contemplating closing a courtroom, as Koh did, shows an unusual level of accommodation to the parties, said Richard Marcus, a professor at University of California Hastings College of the Law, and can also erode trust in the courts.

"Locking the courthouse doors in a trial-like situation is extremely rare and requires exceptional circumstances," he said.

In fact, 50 miles from the Samsung/Apple battle, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco has taken the opposite tack in the monster IP fight between Oracle and Google over the Android operating system.

Since Oracle brought suit in August 2010, Alsup has rejected more than a half-dozen requests from the companies to keep material secret and issued a number of harsh warnings.

Among other documents, Alsup unsealed an email drafted by a Google engineer saying Google needed to negotiate a license for Java -- the programming language Oracle has accused Google of infringing.

Google investigated alternatives to Java for Android and concluded "they all suck," the email said. Alsup even read the email aloud during a July hearing. (Google has asked an appeals court to overturn the unsealing).

"The United States district court is a public institution, and the workings of litigation must be open to public view," Alsup wrote in an October order. Alsup declined to comment, as did an Oracle spokeswoman. Google representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

For David Sunshine, a New York lawyer who tracks technology cases for hedge fund investors, judges like Alsup who challenge companies on sealing requests make the job much easier. "I love those guys," Sunshine said.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

NASA rover launched to seek out life clues on Mars

Video, Reuters

(Reuters) - An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Florida on Saturday, launching a $2.5 billion nuclear-powered NASA rover toward Mars to look for clues on what could sustain life on the Red Planet.

The 20-story-tall booster built by United Launch Alliance lifted off from its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:02 a.m. EST (3:02 p.m. GMT).

It soared through partly cloudy skies into space, carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory on a 354-million mile (556 million km), nearly nine-month journey to the planet.

"I think this mission is an important next step in NASA's overall goal to address the issue of life in the universe," lead scientist John Grotzinger, with the California Institute of Technology, told reporters shortly after the launch.

The car-sized rover, nicknamed Curiosity, is expected to touch down on August 6, 2012, to begin two years of detailed analysis of a 96-mile (154-km) wide impact basin near the Martian equator called Gale Crater.

The goal is to determine if Mars has or ever had environments to support life. It is the first astrobiology mission to Mars since the 1970s-era Viking probes.

Scientists chose the landing site because it has a three-mile-high (4.8-km high) mountain of what appears from orbital imagery and mineral analysis to be layers of rock piled up like the Grand Canyon, each layer testifying to a different period in Mars' history.

The rover has 17 cameras and 10 science instruments, including chemistry labs, to identify elements in soil and rock samples to be dug up by the probe's drill-tipped robotic arm.


The base of the crater's mountain has clays, evidence of a prolonged wet environment, and what appears to be minerals such as sulfates that likely were deposited as water evaporated.

Water is considered to be a key element for life, but not the only one.

Previous Mars probes, including the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, searched for signs of past surface water.

"We are not a life-detection mission," Grotzinger said. "We have no ability to detect life present on the surface of Mars. It's an intermediate mission between the search for water and future missions, which may undertake life detection."

With Curiosity, which is twice as long and three times heavier than its predecessors, NASA shifts its focus to look for other ingredients for life, including possibly organic carbon, the building block for life on Earth.

"It's a long shot, but we're going to try," Grotzinger said.

Launch is generally considered the riskiest part of a mission, but Curiosity's landing on Mars will not be without drama.

The 1,980-pound (898 kg) rover is too big for the airbag or thruster-rocket landings used on previous Mars probes, so engineers designed a rocket-powered "sky-crane" to gently lower Curiosity to the crater floor via a 43-foot (13-meter) cable.

"We call it the 'six-minutes of terror,'" said Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, referring to the landing. "It is pretty scary, but my confidence level is really high."

Curiosity is powered by heat from the radioactive decay of plutonium. It is designed to last one Martian year, or 687 Earth days.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Want to buy clothes online? New technology may help

Buy Clothes
(Reuters) - Asaf Moses is in the midst of displaying a new way to measure body dimensions.

A virtual instructor prompts him to turn 90 degrees to the left and adopt various poses such as "The Penguin," aimed at capturing over 20 different measurements using a device that many people have embedded in their laptops -- a simple webcam.

"It's capturing everything that's needed to tailor a shirt to your measurements", said Moses. And it's all online.

Shoppers generally flock to malls during the holidays beginning on Black Friday, although in recent years many have headed to the Internet. A recent survey by analytics firm comScore predicted online shopping would increase 15 percent this current holiday season.

Yet buying apparel from a website can cause problems finding the right size, look and fit for your body type and personal tastes. As a result, several technology companies have created new ways for people to size themselves up at home.

Moses, the co-founder of one such technology company from Germany, UPcload, said his system takes just three minutes and generates measurements as accurate as a tailor.

Once measured, shoppers will be able to access their measurements at supporting retailers' websites so they can see, for example, if a size small-sized t-shirt will fit around their chest or be long enough to drape down their torso. is taking the task of finding the perfect fit a step further by using robotic mannequins with dimensions similar to a shopper's in a sort of virtual fitting room.

"Robots are a fantastic tool to see how garments look on differently sized human bodies", said Heikki Haldre, co-founder and CEO of the Estonia-based company.

Each garment is photographed 2000 times, accounting for the permutations of body measurements that the robots morph into.

"When the customer goes online to see the garment on their body measurements, they are seeing one of those pre-recorded images," said Haldre.'s virtual fitting rooms are currently being used by retailers such as Thomas Pink and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Haldre said that users of the technology are almost 10 times more likely to make a purchase.


That boost is significant. Forrester Research forecasts that only 10.9 percent of apparel and accessories transactions will be conducted online by the end of 2011, far less than the 25 percent for books and 17 percent for consumer electronics.

"Books and electronics are the most penetrated categories because they're easy to purchase online -- you don't need to touch or feel them," said Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst of eBusiness for Forrester Research.

Mulpuru said the apparel shoppers' online hesitancy is complex, extending beyond finding the perfect fit.

"It's not just a science. A lot of it is personal preference," which is difficult for technology to address.

Moses of UPcload said accounting for people's varying tastes is something the company considered during development.

"When we started, we had this intention to tell you your size ... (but) people's preferences play an enormous role. Some people want their clothing tight, and some want it loose," he explained. Now UPcload just provides details on the fit.

Haldre of agrees. "The fitting room looks at size from the perspective that 'it's a matter of a style', he said.

"It's surprising how many people choose a size that is not recommended by the size chart. Almost half would go for a size smaller, or even a couple sizes larger."

Looking ahead, Haldre envisions an online shopping world where people will "see how clothing will look on them -- with their face and other apparel they might be wearing."

For instance, another company, Zugara, lets customers overlay garments on themselves using a webcam.

Haldre predicted the convergence of various technologies would create a big shift in shopping, eventually leading to online making up 30 percent of apparel purchases.

But Mulpuru was more skeptical.

"I don't know that we'll ever get to 30 percent, because ultimately it's a very personal decision," she said.

"So much of what happens in a store is not just about fit. It's also about someone saying 'that looks great on you' and getting social validation for a product -- and that's something that an algorithm definitely can't account for."

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

25 "Worst Passwords" of 2011 Revealed

worst password
Worst Pssword
If you see your password below, STOP!

Do not finish reading this post and immediately go change your password -- before you forget. You will probably make changes in several places since passwords tend to be reused for multiple accounts.

Here are two lists, the first compiled by SplashData:

1. password

2. 123456


4. qwerty

5. abc123

6. monkey

7. 1234567

8. letmein

9. trustno1

10. dragon

11. baseball

12. 111111

13. iloveyou

14. master

15. sunshine

16. ashley

17. bailey

18. passwOrd

19. shadow

20. 123123

21. 654321

22. superman

23. qazwsx

24. michael

25. football

Last year, Imperva looked at 32 million passwords stolen from RockYou, a hacked website, and released its own Top 10 "worst" list:

1. 123456

2. 12345

3. 123456789

4. Password

5. iloveyou

6. princess

7. rockyou

8. 1234567

9. 12345678

10. abc123

If you've gotten this far and don't see any of your passwords, that's good news. But, note that complex passwords combining letters and numbers, such as passw0rd (with the "o" replaced by a zero) are starting to get onto the 2011 list. abc123 is a mixed password that showed up on both lists.

Last year, Imperva provided a list of password best practices, created by NASA to help its users protect their rocket science, they include:

It should contain at least eight characters

It should contain a mix of four different types of characters - upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters such as !@#$%^&*,;" If there is only one letter or special character, it should not be either the first or last character in the password.

It should not be a name, a slang word, or any word in the dictionary. It should not include any part of your name or your e-mail address.

Following that advice, of course, means you'll create a password that will be impossible, unless you try a trick credited to security guru Bruce Schneir: Turn a sentence into a password.

For example, "Now I lay me down to sleep" might become nilmDOWN2s, a 10-character password that won't be found in any dictionary.

Can't remember that password? Schneir says it's OK to write it down and put it in your wallet, or better yet keep a hint in your wallet. Just don't also include a list of the sites and services that password works with. Try to use a different password on every service, but if you can't do that, at least develop a set of passwords that you use at different sites.

Someday, we will use authentication schemes, perhaps biometrics, that don't require so much jumping through hoops to protect our data. But, in the meantime, passwords are all most of us have, so they ought to be strong enough to do the job.

News by Yahoo

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Google launches music service

google music
Google Music
(Reuters) - Google Inc has turned on the music at its new online store, aiming to wrest the lead from Apple Inc and Inc in audio entertainment distribution despite the absence of a major record label.

Google Music, with more 13 million songs, will be integrated with Android Market, the company's online store for smartphone apps and videos as it plays catch-up with its rivals. Apple, Amazon and Facebook have to varying degrees integrated music into their core online and mobile products.

Google Music will allow the Web search leader to do the same by letting consumers access music from various Internet-connected devices and easily share tracks with friends.

But analysts said the lack of soundtracks from Warner Music - a major label whose artists include Led Zeppelin and Prince, among others - will limit the appeal of Google Music.

"They've got to get that catalog filled pretty quickly," said Mike McGuire, an analyst at industry research firm Gartner. "It's a launch, but it's kind of like a work-in-progress."

Google Music was unveiled at a splashy event at the Mr. Brainwash Studios in Hollywood, California on Wednesday.

Google has negotiated U.S. deals with three of the four major music companies: Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group; Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment; and EMI. It has also signed deals with the increasingly influential independent label group Merlin and London-based Beggar's Banquet label group, home to the year's biggest selling artist, Adele.

Analysts say selling online music is unlikely to provide much of a lift to Google's revenue. But they say Google needs to be in the market to ensure that its Android-based mobile efforts can match offerings from competitors.

Android is the world's No. 1 smartphone operating system, powering about 200 million devices worldwide. But without a music service, Android-based smartphones and tablets may not be as attractive to consumers seeking a product that offers a seamless media experience.

And with music storage increasingly moving to remote Internet servers in "the cloud" rather than on the device itself, companies like Google and Apple have a way to keep users locked in to their respective mobile services, said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis.

"Everyone is using music and media as a jail. Ultimately, this stuff is going to be stored in the cloud and it becomes harder and harder to switch systems," he said.

To help jump-start the new music store, Google said it will offer one free song for consumers to download every day.

Google will also allow consumers to share purchased songs with friends on the Google+ social network. The feature will give users of Google+ a "free, full-play" of songs purchased by their friends.

"Recommendations from friends are the single most important way that people discover music and we think that this feature has the potential to really transform purchasing behavior," said Zahavah Levine, Google's director of content partnerships for Android, at Wednesday's event.

Music executives said that even though sales have struggled in recent years, music usage has never been more popular on different types of formats like social networks and mobile devices.

Facebook, the world's largest social network, unveiled a tab in September through which music services like Spotify, Rdio and MOG enable Facebook users to share music. Amazon has also long been a major music retailer and has a music locker service

Earlier this year, Google unveiled the Google Music beta, which allowed users to upload their music to Google servers, and access the music from multiple devices.

Shares of Google, which finished Wednesday's regular session at $611.47, were up 72 cents in after-hours trading.

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Nokia exec: Windows 8 tablet due in June

nokia lumio 800
The Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone-powered device
Nokia will add a Windows 8 tablet to its product line in June 2012, a French newspaper reported in an interview with the head of Nokia in France.

"In June 2012, we will have a tablet running Windows 8," Paul Amsellem told Les Echos in a story published yesterday.

Such a move would make some sense. Where Android and iOS span phones and tablets, Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system doesn't. But ignoring the tablet market would shut Nokia out of a major growth industry, and Microsoft is the obvious partner, even if it means Nokia must wrestle with the complexities of having two major operating systems.

Reached for comment today, Nokia spokesman wouldn't confirm or deny Amsellem's statement, but did say, "We have not announced any plans relating to tablets."

Last month, Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop wouldn't comment on Windows 8 tablet plans, but he left the door wide open when discussing earnings results with analysts.

"From an ecosystem perspective, there are beneftis and synergies that exist between Windows and Windows Phone," Elop said. "We see that opportunity. We'll certainly consider those opportunities going forward."

And in a later interview with the Financial Times, he pointed more specifically to the similarities in user interface between Nokia's newly launched Lumia line of Windows Phone products and the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Nokia has services it could bring to a Windows tablet, of course. But the synergies aren't always easy: Programs written for one operating system don't run on the other, so spanning the two devices means a lot of work for app developers.

Amsellem likened the new Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone to a BMW, saying that higher-end and lower-end models will arrive soon. Nokia already showed off the lower-end Lumia 710, and at Nokia World said higher-end models would arrive as well, but it's not shared details so far.

News by CNET

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Apple, with eye on media, names Disney's Iger to board

steve jobs
Steve Jobs are seen on Apple's Display
(Reuters) - Apple Inc moved to shore up its board after the death of Silicon Valley legend Steve Jobs, appointing Walt Disney Co chief executive Bob Iger to its board to propel its media ambitions.

Iger brings sector expertise and Disney's clout as the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate to bear, as Apple prepares to step up a fight with the likes of Inc and Google Inc over content and its distribution.

Many on Wall Street also expect an attempt soon to shake up the fragmented television market, much as Apple did with iTunes and music years ago.

"Apple is going to get more into content distribution over time on the video side. That's where it makes sense for someone like Bob Iger from Disney to have that relationship with Apple," Morningstar analyst Michael Corty said.

Apple is taking the fight to Internet distribution and the so-called "cloud". It recently launched "iTunes Match", a service that for a fee of $24.99 scans the content of your music library and matches it with music available on its iTunes Store.

Google is expected to announce this week an online music service similar to iTunes.

In coming years, investors are betting that Apple will launch a full-fledged assault on TV, though skeptics say it will prove difficult to arrange distribution agreements with cable and content companies.

Jobs was himself a director at Disney, whose corporate empire encompasses TV network ABC, sports cable channel ESPN, movie studios and theme parks and resorts.

He and Iger forged a strong relationship after Disney bought Pixar -- which Jobs took over in 1986 -- for about $7.4 billion in 2006.


Genentech Inc Chairman Arthur Levinson will become chairman, replacing Jobs, who died in October after a years-long struggle with cancer. Levinson had been a co-lead Apple director since 2005, alongside Avon Products Inc's Andrea Jung.

Apple had lacked a chairman until Jobs in August took the role, relinquishing his CEO duties at the same time because he could no longer fulfill them due to his worsening health. The company argued that co-lead arrangement enhanced its independence.

But analysts have said Jobs' exercised enormous influence over the board. They said his absence would trigger major changes for the board, elevating them beyond being merely advisors to a visionary leader.

The board may have to take more control, be less deferential to new CEO Tim Cook than it was to Jobs and meet more often, they said.

The naming of an independent chairman was welcomed by corporate governance experts.

"The board knows it's going to be under the microscope and Tim Cook knows that as well," said Jim Post, a professor of corporate governance at Boston University School of Management who called for an independent chairman. "The board has to move out of Steve Jobs' shadow and they have to act to like an independent board."

"The steps they have taken today move them in a better direction," he added.

Previously, some experts have raised concerns about how Jobs managed to keep his board in the dark about his health, which was a topic of constant speculation in the years before his death.

In Walter Isaacson's best-selling biography of the Silicon Valley icon, it was revealed the charismatic Jobs had sometimes lied about his condition.

Questions about the board's oversight had also arisen since Apple became one of many Silicon Valley corporations embroiled in the options-backdating scandals in the middle of the last decade.

In a fierce battle to attract and retain talent, Apple and others had resorted to backdating options -- attaching a retroactive validity date -- to make them more valuable. Apple and Jobs were eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

Apple shares were broadly unchanged at $389.12 in after hours trading. They have slid around 4 percent since the start of the month.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Feds: Cyber Criminals Hijacked 4 Million Computers

cyber criminal
Cyber Criminal
An Eastern European pack of cyber thieves known as the Rove group hijacked at least four million computers in over 100 countries, including at least half a million computers in the U.S., to make off with $14 million in "illegitimate income" before they were caught, federal officials announced today.

The malware allegedly used in the "massive and sophisticated scheme" also managed to infect computers in U.S. government agencies including NASA and targeted the websites for major institutions like iTunes, Netflix and the IRS -- forcing users attempting to get to those sites to different websites entirely, according to a federal indictment unsealed in New York today.

The accused hackers, six Estonian nationals and a Russian national, rerouted the internet traffic illegally on the infected computers for the last four years in order to reap profits from internet advertisement deals, the indictment said. The FBI busted up the alleged international cyber ring after a two-year investigation called Operation Ghost Click.

"The global reach of these cyber thieves demonstrates that the criminal world is... flat," said Janice Fedarcyk, the FBI Assistant Director in charge of the New York field office. "The Internet is pervasive because it is such a useful tool, but it is a tool that can be exploited by those with bad intentions and a little know-how."

Though they operated out of their home countries, the alleged hackers used entities in the U.S. and all over the world -- including Estonia-based software company Rove Digital from which the group apparently gets its name -- to carry out the plot.

According to the indictment, the suspects entered into deals with various internet advertisers in which they would be paid for generating traffic to certain websites or advertisements. But instead of earning the money legitimately, the FBI said the defendants used malware to force infected computers to unwillingly visit the target sites or advertisements -- pumping up click results and, therefore, ill-gotten profits to the tune of $14 million.

The malware was also designed to prevent users from installing anti-virus software that may have been able to free the infected computers.

The six Estonian nationals have been arrested on cyber crime charges while the Russian national remains at large.

"Today, with the flip of a switch, the FBI and our partners dismantled the Rove criminal enterprise," Fedarcyk said. "Thanks to the collective effort across the U.S. and in Estonia, six leaders of the criminal enterprise have been arrested and numerous servers operated by the criminal organization have been disabled."

How the Fraud Worked, According to the FBI

The indictment describes several examples of alleged cyber fraud including two principle strategies: traffic redirection and ad replacement.

In the first case, if a user searched for the websites of major institutions like iTunes, Netflix or the IRS, the search results would return normally. However, if the user tried to click on the link to the websites, the malware on the computer would force a redirect to a different website where the criminals would profit in their advertisement deal.

In the second, when an infected computer visited a major website -- like -- the malware would be able to simply replace regular advertisements on that page with advertisements of their own making.

News by Yahoo

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