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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Toyota Fun-Vii Concept Revealed Toyota Describes New Concept Car Fun-Vii As A 'Smartphone On Wheels'

TOYOTA

Under the theme “Fun to Drive, Again”, Toyota will unveil several new production vehicles and concept cars at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show.The Fun-Vii (Fun Vehicle interactive internet) concept heralds Toyota’s vision of a future where people, cars and society are linked


A Toyota Fun-Vii with its whole body can be used as a display space is shown in Tokyo Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to dem

A Toyota Fun-Vii with its whole body can be used as a display space is shown in Tokyo Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan's top automaker is trying to take the lead in technology at the upcoming Tokyo auto show. The car works like a personal computer and allows drivers to connect with dealers and others with a tap of a touch-panel door. (AP Photo/Koji.


A model presents concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo

A model presents Toyota's concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo November 28, 2011. The whole body of the concept car can be used as a display space, with the body color and display content changeable at will, and allows the vehicle to function as a terminal for displaying messages or other information, the company said. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: TRANSPORT)


A model presents concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo

A model presents Toyota's concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo November 28, 2011. The whole body of the concept car can be used as a display space, with the body color and display content changeable at will, and allows the vehicle to function as a terminal for displaying messages or other information, the company said. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: TRANSPORT)


A presenter explains about Toyota Fun-Vii in Tokyo Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan's top automaker

A presenter explains about Toyota Fun-Vii in Tokyo Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan's top automaker is trying to take the lead in technology at the upcoming Tokyo auto show, which opens to the public this weekend. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)


A model presents concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo

A model presents Toyota's concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo November 28, 2011. The whole body of the concept car can be used as a display space, with the body color and display content changeable at will, and allows the vehicle to function as a terminal for displaying messages or other information, the company said. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: TRANSPORT)


A model presents concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo

 model presents Toyota's concept vehicle Fun-Vii at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo November 28, 2011. The whole body of the concept car can be used as a display space, with the body color and display content changeable at will, and allows the vehicle to function as a terminal for displaying messages or other information, the company said. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: TRANSPORT)


Various contents are seen on the varied display space of Toyota's concept vehicle Fun-Vii during its unveiling at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo in this combination photo

Various contents are seen on the varied display space of Toyota's concept vehicle Fun-Vii during its unveiling at a pre-Tokyo Motor show reception in a showroom in Tokyo in this combination photo made on November 28, 2011. The whole body of the concept car can be used as a display space, with the body color and display content changeable at will, and allows the vehicle to function as a terminal for displaying messages or other information, the ...


TOYOTA


UK Will Order More ISPs To Block The Pirate Bay

The BPI (British Recorded Music Industry), the voice of the British recorded music bizz, is reported to make desperate efforts of extending its Internet-blocking policy about The Pirate Bay onto other largest broadband providers, including TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky, O2, and Orange.
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The British Recorded Music Industry outfit officially demanded BT to block access to the “rogue” website known as The Pirate Bay – the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker. This may invoke the MPA against BT case – a well-known and debatable lawsuit which managed to set a precedent in the fight against piracy thanks to the court’s decision to order BT to block access to Newzbin service.

As if it wasn’t enough, now the music industry, with the help of multiple industry trade outfits, wishes that BT would voluntarily restrict access to The Pirate Bay website without court injunction. Meanwhile, if the Internet service provider fails to comply with the requirement, it’s likely that the British Recorded Music Industry would seek justice in the court of law by obtaining the required injunction.

Taking into account the fact that the current censorship system should be extended onto other Internet service providers as well, the anti-piracy outfit has now extended its main objective, that of blacklisting The Pirate Bay BitTorrent tracker, to all of major broadband providers of the United Kingdom. The outfit issued a statement, saying that it is engaging in further dialogue with the Internet service provider BT on this issue. The organization also admitted that it has written to the UK’s other largest broadband providers – Virgin Media, O2, Orange, Sky, and TalkTalk – to ask them to block access to the BitTorrent tracker. Now the outfit is waiting for their responses.

“Stop Censorship” Movement Will Fight For Future Of The Web

New copyright law called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in October and has been lively debated. Today the bill has almost all the leading online technology providers up in arms, with the opposing movement’s logos appearing on all major sites and the matter being discussed because of the law’s far-reaching consequences.

The suggested law has been debated in the American Congress for a month already, backed by the largest corporations, mostly film studios, which all have polarized opinion. Industry observers call their fight against the legislation a fight for the future of the web. Despite the fact that the law will only apply to the United States, it could still have a ripple effect all over the world because of the amount of information residing physically in servers within the country.

Intermediaries, like payment services and content-hosting providers, are afraid that the suggested law will not just make them responsible of copyright infringements, but also make them potential victims of trolling. Within the past month, the movement called “Stop Censorship” has gained ground throughout the Internet. A number of websites have voluntarily placed the movement labels over their own logos and posted comments. For example, the website Mashable, which is tracking social media trends, compared the SOPA to other draconian legislation across the globe (like those in China and Syria), which could curb a free web.

Such online giants as Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have already issued huge advertisements in leading American dailies where they oppose the bill, while other companies have done things more dramatic. For instance, popular blogging service called Tumblr blacked out words from its feed in order to send out a message to the authorities.

However, industry observers point out that opposing this legislation may end badly. The SOPA, in its current form, may also choose the way the American government tackled Wikileaks – cut funding. Meanwhile, the first targets on the cross hairs of the bill could become the most popular online services, including Facebook, Twitter, and virtually every website thriving on user-generated content. To avoid this, some projects are already promoting Internet anonymity which can help activists share sensitive content.

Grooveshark Will Fight Against Record Labels

There’ve already been a couple media reports about Grooveshark, a popular media service, targeted by Universal Music. There was a 45-pages complaint form trying to justify the lawsuit against media website by implying that Grooveshark is just a pirate site. The paper in question also accused the company’s employees of uploading more than 113,700 tracks, including works of Guns N’Roses, Bob Marley, Eminem, and Jay-Z.
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Record label made a list of 1809 songs that had been allegedly taken from Grooveshark’s library to present it in a court. Universal Music is asking for $150,000 penalties for each song, which brings it to a total of $271,350,000 in damages. In reply, the service said that Universal’s claims were based almost entirely on some anonymous and false online blog comment posted on Digital Music News. The comment claimed that the company’s staff was provided quotas to upload copyrighted material, and was even rewarded for doing that.

The effectiveness of the system was emphasized by one of the dissatisfied employees, who said that Grooveshark’s users barely needed to upload any popular album or track – and the record label didn’t overlook this copyright infringement. In order to ensure that all the tracks are available, Escape’s senior officers have uploaded plenty of illegal sound recordings to the service and have told their employees to do the same.

Aside from this, the complaint in this lawsuit also included a number of e-mails from Escape Media director saying that Grooveshark’s business was bet on the fact that it was much easier to simply ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission from the very beginning. Another e-mail claimed that Grooveshark’s success was achieved without paying anything to the record labels.

Last week, the copy of the record label’s complaint was made available from official sources. The statement were made that the label decided to tip off the press (regarding the case) even before telling Grooveshark. While the label has deliberately engaged the media before serving a copy of the complaint on the online service, the latter is going to fight this battle before the court, but not in the press. Grooveshark is currently welcoming the opportunity to present all the facts to the court. The service is confident that it’ll prevail in the litigation.

UK Watchdog Wants ISPs Be Clearer

The telecoms watchdog of the United Kingdom named Ofcom has barked that Internet service providers should be clearer about how they manage traffic within their networks, as well as the speeds Internet users can expect to enjoy.
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It seems that the outfit Ofcom is very cross that some of the UK major broadband providers, including TalkTalk, BT, and Virgin Media, restrict the speed of some bandwidth heavy services like P2P file-sharing without explaining clearly what they are doing and why they are doing that.

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards said in the interview to the local media that the Internet service providers, when trying to voluntarily publish information on traffic management, don’t go far enough. That’s why Ofcom got tired of it and now wants ISPs to make them clearer. Today it seems that traffic speeds and throttling polices are written by unknown people and then kept in unknown places. The regulator claimed that if the Internet service providers don’t change this position, Ofcom will simply force them to do that, at least because the methods that broadband providers use to control access to the web affect everyone, according to Ofcom CEO.

Meanwhile, the outfit didn’t have much problem with traffic management until it was used by Internet service providers to target competing services without its users even knowing about this. Still, Ofcom believes that broadband providers should make traffic management information available at the very first point of sale. Indeed, punters have a right to know about the speed they can expect to enjoy, the impact of traffic management, and if there’s a chance that some specific services would be blocked. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

eBay Will Encourage Developing Mobile Broadband

Online retailer eBay keeps telling the UK authorities to stop dragging their heels on plans for future information connectivity in the country. 
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The company has figured out that in about 5 to 10 years time most people will be spending money on their mobile devices. The problem is the country’s comparatively poor data connectivity. eBay has published a paper titled “Seizing the Mobile Retail Opportunity”, telling about the change people are going to watch over the next 5-10 years. The above mentioned problem may delay the process. Meanwhile, the Silicon Valley company is recommending Ofcom to proceed with the 4G auction, hoping that the outfit needs to prioritize broadband coverage rollouts in rural areas and transport routes such as roads and railway.

eBay also warned against monopoly, asking the UK regulator to make it easier for smaller businesses to access spectrum and push white space technology. It argues that users keep purchasing things despite the recession. If the authorities help the industry to enable mobile devices to make shopping easier and more attractive, they can be rewarded by a substantial boost to the economy provided by consumers.

A lot of organizations at the forefront of mobile technology believe that we’ll soon see an always-connected environment, where there is no e-commerce or m-commerce, but there’s just commerce. Users having a decent connection always have an opportunity for consuming, and if the cost of data is relatively low, this will encourage consumers to shop more.

eBay revealed that there’s a paradox in the British economy: while the country is leading the way in lots of aspects of mobile adoption, it is still lagging behind in terms of infrastructure. Today’s problems with slow Internet speeds will only get worse with smartphone usage peaking and data demand increasing. The company explained that while the attempts of the companies to trial 4G mobile broadband in the capital of Great Britain are quite encouraging, they still need more wide-ranging action supported by the authorities.

eBay believes that Ofcom should be the one who takes the first and most important step, saying that the outfit’s number one priority is to proceed with the auction of the 4G spectrum as soon as possible in order to enable the rollout of fast broadband next year.

British Regulator Wrongfully Blocked File-Hosting Service

The IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) of the United Kingdom is a self-regulatory organization founded 15 years ago. The outfit is engaged in fighting child sexual abuse content in the web. Internet Watch Foundation has partnership with police, government and the entire Internet industry. In other words, it has the authority to impose specific measures against online services that facilitate the spreading of kids pornography. This is not hard to do because all largest Internet service providers in the United Kingdom are subscribed to it. Nevertheless, Internet Watch Foundation doesn’t always hit the nail on the head, and that’s what it did in the case of file-hosting service called Fileserve.

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Originally, the access to the file-hosting service was blocked by British Internet service providers. The reason was that a specific link was mistakenly believed to lead to child abuse images. The outfit explains on its site that it addresses potentially criminal activity, because the material can only be confirmed to be truly criminal by the court. The part of IWF’s function is to provide partners with an accurate and current URL list to make them able block child sexual abuse material. Fortunately, later Internet Watch Foundation has reconsidered its decision in this case.

According to media reports, after the outfit blocked the service, British Internet users could not either access their personal files or download other files. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t quite happy about the blocking of the service they used. At the same time, they had no idea who to blame for the problem, so they had nothing left except for complaining to their Internet service providers. In a few days, the file-hosting service posted a clarifying message which explained that the Internet Watch Foundation had recently introduced some changes that might affect users’ download ability on the service.

With the time passing and Internet piracy developing more rapidly, means and reasons for blocking access to online services have become very hot and debatable issues. Moreover, in the wake of the effort of the government of the United States to introduce the already infamous anti-piracy legislation known as the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), the word “censorship” seems to become flammable as always causing waves of protests on the Internet, and is likely to be seen in the streets, too.

Information Logging Company Tried To Silence Android Developer

One of the information logging firms was trying to silence a whistle-blower that blew the whistle on its application which is secretly installed on hundreds of thousands of mobile phones.

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Trevor Eckhart has published a report that was critical of the Carrier IQ’s application installed on lots of Android, BlackBerry and Nokia mobile phones. He revealed that the application secretly tracks people’s phone experience, from its software, battery life and text messages. A number of carriers have been stopping subscribers who actually find the application from monitoring what data is sent.

Trevor Eckhart called the application a “rootkit” and even found manuals on the company’s site that described its methods and purpose. Nevertheless, Carrier IQ was furious at Eckhart’s pronouncements and his publishing of the manuals in question. They issued a cease-and-desist notice, claiming that Eckhart had been in breach of copyright legislation and could face damages of up to $150,000, which is maximum allowed under American copyright legislation per infringement. The outfit removed the manuals from its own site and is currently demanding that Eckhart stop calling its software a rootkit.

Nevertheless, Trevor Eckhart’s case was taken up by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). They claim that Eckhart’s publishing of the files falls under fair use under the Copyright Act for sections like criticism, commentary, news reporting and research. In addition, EFF claim that all of Carrier IQ’s claims and requirements are “baseless”. In fact, the legal threat was a bullying technique to make Trevor Eckhard shut up. EFF representatives explained that the civil rights outfit has decided that Carrier IQ’s actual goal is to suppress this research and consequently prevent other people from verifying his findings.

In respond, Carrier IQ’s marketing manager said that it would be the company, not Eckhart, who controls the manuals. He pointed out that the company’s products are gathering data off the handset in order to study the mobile-user experience. They wanted to find out where signal quality is poor and calls are therefore dropped, and why software crashed. Carrier IQ kept insisting that the application in question didn’t look at text, but only counted how many messages were sent and how many failed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Apple's Plan To Launch iPhone 5 With 4-inch Screen Goes Against Steve Jobs' Vision


Apple is reportedly planning to launchiPhone 5 that would feature a four-inch screen, an idea that was turned down by the company's late visionary-co founder Steve Jobs.
According to Website iLounge, sources within Apple have revealed that Jobs' refusal to upgrade to a bigger screen is going to be the first thing to go in the new iPhone 5 that would be unveiled in 2012.
It is believed that Jobs was unhappy with the phone's bigger screen because it 'fragmented' iPhones, the Daily Mail reports.
ILounge, one of the most reliable source of early information onApple products, said that the next-generation iPhone will not look like the teardrop-shaped version that was widely rumored for release in 2011.
"The device will have a 4-inch display and will be 8mm longer than before, with a metal casing (probably aluminum). It is on track to be introduced in summer of 2012, and is still in the engineering phase, not early production," the report said.
According to an industry source, speaking to businessinsider.com, the iPhone 5 was real and was only scrapped months before the iPhone 4S was announced.
The source claims to have spent about two weeks with one prototype version of the new phone, which was much flatter than the current version.
Its screen was four inches diagonal, making it bigger than the current iPhone.
It is also believed that it was supposed to have a ten-mega pixel lens and, like the iPad2, and had nicer screen with better colors. 

Hacker Uncovers Secret iPhone Panorama Camera Trick


A hacker has discovered that iPhones running the iOS 5 operating systems have a hidden panoramic camera mode, which allows users to take continuous photos while panning the camera from left to right.
The Easter egg was found by Conrad Kramer, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as 'Programmer. iPhone hacker. Geek'.
"I found out how to enable Panorama is the iOS Camera app. Set the key 'EnableFirebreak' to YES in com.apple.mobileslideshow.plist," he tweeted.
The discovery of the new feature comes as great news for iPhone users, but Apple might not be so pleased because it's a function that is still not officially ready for use, the Daily Mail reports.
It is believed that the panorama camera mode is currently undergoing testing before being enabled for general use.
To turn it on your iPhone would have to be jailbroken or you will need to have developer access.
Apple does not recommend jailbreaking the phone, as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.

Motorola Razr XT910 vs Galaxy Nexus GT-i9250


Google and Motorola, despite being sister concerns, will compete in the Android smartphone market. Motorola has already made its top of the line Razr XT910 available in India for about Rs 34,000. While the Google-Samsung Galaxy Nexus is expected by mid December, there is no hint of the pricing as yet.

Here we've compared the specifications offered by both these handsets.

Design and looks

In terms of physical design and build Motorola Razr certainly steals the attention with its 7.1 mm slimness; while Galaxy Nexus is 8.8 mm thick. Not to forget that the back panel of the Motorola Razris made of Kevlar plastics, which makes it strong enough to survive blows. The Galaxy Nexus comes with a larger outlook, appearing to be a mash-up of Samsung Galaxy S II and Google Nexus S.

The slimmer profile of Motorola Razr certainly looks appealing while the bigger display with thin body makes Galaxy Nexus equally desirable.

Display

Both Motorola Razr and Galaxy Nexus come with a Super Amoled display with PenTile pixel arrangement scheme. Razr comes with a 4.3 inch Super Amoled display that bears a qHD (960 x 540 pixel) resolution. However, the Razr's display has a pixel arrangement density of 256 pixels per inch.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65 inch Super Amoled HD display with 1280 x 720 pixel native resolution, and pixel density of 316 pixels per inch. Apparently it's the Galaxy Nexus that bags eyeballs when it comes to actual display, compared to the Motorola Razr.

Software

With the Galaxy Nexus, Google debuts Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system update with a fresh interface and several new features. Motorola Razr comes with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and there's no information on when it'll get the Ice Cream Sandwich update.

Clearly, Galaxy Nexus wins even where software is concerned.

Processor and graphics

Both smartphones use dual core processors from Texas Instruments.

Galaxy Nexus comes with a dual-core 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 mobile processor with PowerVR SGX 540 graphics chip clocked at 384 MHz.

Motorola Razr houses a 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4430 mobile processor with PowerVR SGX 540 graphics chip and is likely to be clocked at 304 MHz. So, Galaxy Nexus might turn out to be a better graphics performer.


Camera

Google and Samsung have surprisingly packed only a 5 megapixel image sensor at the rear of the Galaxy Nexus, though it does record 1080p full HD video. The phone's front facing 1.3 megapixel camera is capable of recording 720p HD video. However, it's uncertain whether this is Galaxy Nexus' feature or Android 4.0's.

Motorola has added an 8 megapixel camera which too is capable of recording 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per second. If the 1080p full HD video recording quality is compared, then this handset might just turn out to be a clear winner.

There are no details whether Razr's front facing 1.3 megapixel camera can record 720p HD video or not.

Memory and storage

Though each smartphone carries 1 GB of RAM, there is a difference in the type of memory used. For instance, the Motorola Razr with 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4430 is most likely to have a 1 GB LPDDR2 RAM while the Galaxy Nexus with 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 will have 1GB LPDDR3 RAM.

The crucial difference lies in the higher memory bandwidth and faster performance promised by the LPDDR3 used in Galaxy Nexus, as opposed to the one used in Razr.

Motorola offers 16 GB on-board storage and a memory card slot to add up to 32 GB. Meanwhile Galaxy Nexus lags behind with 16 and 32 GB onboard storage options with no expandable memory slot.

Network and SIM

Galaxy Nexus will have an HSPA+">HSPA+ version for India, and might come with a 4G LTE chip. If that happens, then the Galaxy Nexus would offer maximum download speeds between 8 Mbps to 25 Mbps. However, the crucial difference between both handsets lies in the type of SIM used — yes, theMotorola Razr users a microSIM.

Near Field Communication, WiFi and Bluetooth

Galaxy Nexus comes with Near Field Communication support while Motorola Razr doesn't. Instead, Motorola promotes the handset along with its webtop app that allows hooking up the phone to a larger screen.

Galaxy Nexus will come with Bluetooth 3.0 while the Motorola Razr will feature Bluetooth 4.0, which as of now looks good but has no real-world advantage to it. Besides, Galaxy Nexus comes with dual-band WiFi support (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) compared to the Razr's slower single band.

Battery

Galaxy Nexus packs a 1750 mAh battery while Motorola Razr packs a 1780 mAh battery. It may appear to be a number game but Android 4.0 ICS is expected to bring better power management compared to Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, used in Motorola Razr.

Besides, the Motorola device comes with a non-removable battery which is why it is so thin whereas the Galaxy Nexus comes with the conventionally removable battery.

Conclusion

When compared head to head in several departments, the overall winner turns out to be Galaxy Nexus. It loses in the design, camera and storage expansion to Motorola Razr. Evidently, Galaxy Nexus would be the overall package which a keen technology enthusiast would love to possess.

Apple's iPhone 4S Makes India Debut


An iPhone 4S is shown on display at an Apple Store in Clarendon


 The iPhone 4S, the final gadget unveiled during Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' lifetime, hit store shelves inIndia on Friday with a starting price of 44,500 rupees.
At about four times the U.S. retail price where customers buy mandatory data-service plans, the phone may still find buyers among affluent young professionals in India who are snapping up iconic brands and luxury items.
Unlike their western peers, Indian mobile operators do not subsidise cost of phones.
Airtel and Aircel are selling the 16 GB model for 44,500 rupees, with the 32 GB version priced at 50,900 rupees and the 64 GB model available for 57,500 rupees.
Media reports last week said Indian fans were unhappy that the smartphone will be more expensive in India than anywhere else in the world.
Both mobile operators, which started selling the iPhone 4S from midnight on Friday, are offering discounted data plans.
The final gadget unveiled during Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' lifetime is more expensive that the iPad 2 in India, with the base model of the tablet selling for 27,900 rupees. Even its top-end model, with 64 GB of memory and WiFi & 3G, costs 46,900 rupees.
The new iPhone comes with a faster processor, a better light-sensitive camera, and voice-activated software "Siri".
On Friday, the Aircel website showed that the 64 GB version, both black and white, was sold out

Mobiles Don’t Need Antivirus

Google has attacked companies developing Android antivirus and claiming that this operating system can be vulnerable to malware. The company’s open source supremo Chris DiBona has accused the companies flogging antivirus software for their Android OS of claiming that it’s vulnerable at the first place, and called them “charlatans and scammers”.

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Chris DiBona apparently became incandescent with rage after noticing some media reports dedicated to “inherent” insecurity of open source applications that is used not only in Android, but also Apple’s iOS. He explained that operating systems like Android, iOS, and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS do not need antivirus software at the first place. In the interview he claimed that from time to time he runs into stories about open source that are literally making him nuts.

DiBona explained that virus companies were simply playing on fear in order to try to flog BS protection software for operating systems like Android, RIM, and even iOS. He called them “charlatans and scammers”, claiming that people who work for a company selling virus protection for these operating systems should be at least ashamed of themselves. Although he didn’t name the companies that should have been ashamed of themselves, we know that McAfee, Symantec, F-Secure, and Kaspersky Lab all offer mobile anti-virus software DiBona could have been talking about.

Google’s representative claimed that mobile devices, if not flawless, should be more secure than laptops and PCs. Thus far, he pointed out that no major mobile phone has a malware problem in the traditional sense which machines running operating systems like Windows and sometimes Mac have ever seen. He believes that this is due to the user sandboxing models.

Intel Introduced Doubtful Security Plan

After Chipzilla had bought the worldwide-known insecurity company McAfee, lots of industry experts wondered why, and recently Intel finally released the results of its collaboration.

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Intel has developed a security system called Deepsafe. According to the giant, this system will work outside the operating system at the chip level, watching the hardware for signs of malware being active. The system in question is expected to be quite good at tackling rootkit malware attacks, because they also happen outside the operating system. For example, McAfee’s own threat report quoted the statistics which mentioned the number of rootkit infections discovered in the 6 months of this year being up 32% year-on-year.

At the same time, media reports revealed that the industry observers aren’t quite sure that the new idea of the company will make much difference in this field. For instance, Wendy Nather, which works as a security analyst from the 451 Group and is also known as a former IT security director at UBS, explained that Intel has actually had the security modules the new system is based on in their chipset for a while now. The only problem is that venders could not be even bothered to use them, as this demands development where they thought there was not much market interest.

The security system updates would be a bit more disruptive than the current security software patches – in fact, it would be more about changing the foundations of a building from underneath it. As for the first McAfee product based on this security system, it is Deep Defender, and it’ll be out there in the stores in the beginning of 2012. Wendy Nather pointed out that Intel is simply doing the same things as McAfee has already been doing now and moving them into the chipset. As you can understand, this doesn’t sound too exciting.

Meanwhile, the real area in which chip-level security would be very interesting is embedded systems. This is because they are being used virtually everywhere – from smart meters to mobile devices, in which, as you know, a lot of money are being invested in order to secure them. In short words, Deepsafe is a system which softly hints that the technology isn’t actually being targeted at personal computers at all. Instead, it can mean Intel’s move into the mobile market.

Europe Opposed The US Anti-Piracy War

Measures of the United States to fight piracy have centered on the law called SOPA. This is already infamous act, which, after becoming legislation, will extend its power abroad and take over any domain that violates copyright, regardless of the local copyright legislation. Online services, including Google, Facebook, and Yahoo! have already discussed this “online monarchy”, and now the European Parliament joins the dispute and takes a stand against this gross breach of online freedom.

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The discussion started back in 2010, when the United States made domain name seizures part of their campaign aimed at stopping piracy. Finally, the United States introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act, a law bringing in new and dangerous meanings to copyright. The best example of their methods was Rojadirecta case, a Spanish website seized by American authorities regardless of numerous Spanish court decisions on the legality of the service.

Now the European Parliament joins the opposition to the new US law by criticizing domain name seizures. In November the EU-US Summit is going to hold a resolution destined to highlight the necessity to protect the integrity of the web and freedom of communication. The SOPA is backed by two outfits waiting for it to be enforced – they are the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America. Everyone knows that both of them care about foreign sites, like Russian social network InTouch (VKontakte) or Chinese media service Xunlei. This can refer to whichever website that comes into conflict with the industry’s interests. The interests mean money-makers like Hollywood’s studios or other big-shot corporations.

Over sixty press freedom and human rights advocate outfits have already signed a letter addressed to the representatives of the United States, saying that it is as unacceptable to the global community as it would be if any foreign country were to impose the same measures on the US. The industry experts keep discussing the details of SOPA legislation and effects it can have on the worldwide web as people know it. Meanwhile, they encourage everyone to get informed and spread the news about the tremendous danger SOPA poses, because it may help fighting the new copyright law.

Entertainment Industry Will Kill Copyright Law

According to the technology chief of the European Union, the industry’s ways of using copyright legislation as an instrument of punishment will lead to the breakdown of the whole system of copyright, because today artists already get nothing from it.
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Neelie Kroes, digital agenda commissioner of the European Union, claimed that creative industries really need to develop new technological methods of distributing copyrighted content instead of fighting against them. She has also pointed out that the existing copyright legislation wasn’t actually rewarding the vast majority of the content creators as it should have been.

During the interview to a local media, Neelie Kroes explained that today when people hear the word “copyright”, they automatically hate what is behind it. She said that although the system should aim at awarding creative people, it is somehow being used as an instrument to “punish and withhold”.

Kroes believes that both Internet distribution and cloud computing can represent a new way of buying, delivering and consuming copyrighted content. Meanwhile, the existing legitimate framework around copyright doesn’t seem to be flexible enough to let the rights owners benefit from it. The entertainment industry has been long moaning about the damage done to the content creators by Internet copyright infringement. At the same time, governments and courts in many countries have reacted by blocking access to online services helping users illegally share copyrighted content, including music, videos, games and software.

EU digital agenda commissioner announced that she is going to overcome the entertainment industry’s failure to agree on pan-EU licensing deals. Neelie Kroes highlighted that she doesn’t like the way countries like the United Kingdom tax e-books more highly than they do real books. At the same time, she said, while all this enforcement is continuing, 97.5% of content creators earn less than $1,300 a month from the existing copyright system.

Meanwhile, Kroes didn’t provide any definitive suggestions about what would replace the existing system. The only audible thing she said was that the industries which advocate new business models are supposed to get a fairer crack of the whip.

Adult Industry Angry With .xxx Domain

Pornographic industry seems furious at the Internet regulator ICANN and ICM Registry. The reason is the .xxx domain name. 

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Several outfits, including Manwin Licensing and Digital Playground, are currently taking the fight to ICM Registry. The latter is looking after the .xxx top level domain, and the companies in question believe that ICM Registry mishandled the process. Manwin Licensing and Digital Playground claim that there was no need for the domain name in the first place.

In fact, the adult industry was dead against it anyway, saying it would segregate the web, regardless of the fact that one cannot separate porn from the web. Here it doesn’t matter how many domain names one owns.

ICM Registry repeatedly begged at ICANN’s doorstep trying to approve the suffix. According to media reports, the outfit first applied for the .xxx domain eleven years ago, but back in 2000 Internet regulator ICANN replied that there was no point. However, ICM Registry didn’t give up and kept appealing again and again. Finally, after 11 years of attempts, the board agreed to let the outfit take the lead on the domain.

Manwin Licensing, which is engaged in publishing Playboy sites, claimed that ICM Registry had an unfair stranglehold on the pornographic industry on the Internet. The outfit complained that ICM was selling .xxx registrations for as much as $60 a pop. This is considered by the company quite a lot of money. Moreover, publishers argued that they needed to own a .xxx domain even if they didn’t want one. The matter is that they had to stop competitors or opportunists from making money on their registered brands through those domains.

Manwin Licensing has already issued a statement, where the managing partner of Manwin Fabian Thylmann claimed that the current situation uncovers a pernicious monopoly at the very heart of the web. The company demands to end such anticompetitive practices by both ICM and ICANN in order not only to protect their business, but also help other outfits that have to pay money for keeping their names and brands unassociated with a .xxx designation. Thus far, a number of colleges and other organizations have already registered their names within .xxx domain to protect themselves. However, ICM replied that the claims of the companies were without merit.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Windows 8 Vulnerable To Hack

One of the insecurity experts has already shown how easy one can hack your way past controversial boot-up security of the new Windows OS and gain root access.
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An independent developer and security analyst Peter Kleissner from Austria is planning to release the first known “bootkit” for Microsoft’s new OS. The bootkit is able to load from a hard drive’s master boot record and remain in computer’s memory all the time during the startup of the Windows 8, thus providing root access to the operating system.

Boot loader developed for Windows 8 is specifically designed to stop malware and security breaches. This includes measures demanding that any software loaded at boot time has to be authenticated with a valid digital signature. Microsoft developers believe that this would protect the PC from malware, as it would block any unsigned applications from loading into PC’s memory before startup. However, this feature angered open-saucers who believe that it was designed with the intention to kill Linux distributions like Red Hat and Ubuntu that don’t have a digital signature.

Peter Kleissner explained that his exploit defeats the security features of the new Boot Loader of the Microsoft’s OS, which has angered open-saucers because of the suspicion that it will prevent them from running dual booted systems. He has also pointed out that the exploit in question didn’t actually target the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, but rather went after legacy BIOS. Kleissner is going to share his findings with the Microsoft developers.

The Austrian insecurity expert is known for his Stoned bootkit which is recognized as a proof-of-concept exploit able to attack Windows XP, Vista, 7, and even Windows Server 2003. The bootkit could even install itself into the Windows kernel and thus get unrestricted access to the whole system. This also worked with systems having encrypted drives.

The expert explained that his bootkit Stoned Lite features an infector file of just 14kb, which could be started from a USB drive or CD. Peter Kleissner is also thinking about adding in some in-memory patching, which could allow him to change the password validation routine in Microsoft’s OS in order to accept any password as if they were valid for an account. So, Windows 8 has been hacked even before its release.

RIAA Opposed Second-Hand Music Store

There’s a new service out there, which watermark reads “The world’s first online marketplace for used digital music”. The service is named ReDigi and it has already captured attention of the music industry. The media reports about how the Recording Industry Association of America scoped the new service, sending it a cease and desist letter.
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This past October ReDigi had launched a beta version of its new service. Aside from the fact that it allows you to buy your favorite tracks over there, ReDigi has introduced a rather new feature – users are now able to sell songs that they are not interested anymore. By doing so, users receive credit points with which they are able to buy new tracks later. Many industry experts believe that is a great idea. Indeed, the service underlines at some point that everyone’s taste in music can change, and few could argue with that.

According to statistics, majority of people only listen to less than 1/5 of their music libraries. This means that the rest 4/5 represents a whole lot of music that takes up space on the users’ computers. Then why not sell the music people don’t listen to, like they do with old clothes, benefit from the credit the service offers and purchase new music?

The service issued a press release in October, explaining that music files eligible for resale will be removed from the user’s computer and all synced devices. After this, the files are stored in the site’s cloud, and offered for sale online. Once the music file is purchased, both the track and license are immediately transferred to the buyer. Although the music industry expressed its discontent about the very idea of the activity that doesn’t bring it profit, the new service isn’t going to give up. ReDigi replied to the RIAA’s letter by saying that the service is not afraid of something like this. In fact, the activity of the service falls under the “first sale” principles stating that a legitimately purchased CD can be sold without restrictions. The question is whether this can be applied to digital downloading.

Actually, the Recording Industry Association of America doesn’t fancy the fact that the new service is making copies of tracks that they are trying to sell without having the required licenses. In addition, the industry also blames the website for using copyrighted album art.

CBS And CNET Sued Over Piracy Again

A number of musicians, writers and producers had cooperated to file a lawsuit against CBS and CNET over piracy.

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Taking into account the fact that CBS and CNET are media giants, it may seem normal that they are covering stories over piracy, P2P and so on. Nevertheless, the Justice for Artists Coalition, which accounts for more than a hundred musicians, complained that these media groups had provided a decent collection of P2P programs and also raised a question over the “suitability” of such programs for violation. In addition, the media companies even offered tips on how to use the “evil” software.

The outfit claimed that both companies had been profiting for many years from copyright infringement by increasing their revenues with millions dollars. They said that CBS Interactive had quietly made money by inducing the Internet users to violate the law, by providing them P2P software coupled with step-by-step guides.

The coalition believes they have only scratched the surface, as more copyright owners would come forward to represent tens of thousands of more copyrighted works. The problem is that the verification process for identifying ownership is detailed and takes a lot of time, so the artists will keep on adding as they go.

The outfit complained that CBS Interactive and CNET have both non-infringing licensed content available on their sites, as well as the software encouraging copyright violation. Thus, the media giants did more to further this massive violation than even Napster or LimeWire had done by falsely legitimizing the applications and making them available to the masses. In addition, the artists emphasized that both companies have provided detailed instructions on how to use P2P software. They called CBS Interactive “the Pirate Bay of Corporate America”, who has literally distributed the illegal search and download instruments, which harmed content creators.

Meanwhile, this wasn’t the copyright owners’ first contact with both media giants. Indeed, the history with CBS Interactive and CNET started last December, when the coalition filed lawsuit against the outfits but failed in the court of law. Next month it started a class action lawsuit, and finally sued this past spring. However, the judge amended to only six copyrighted works, and after this the case was completely dropped.

Handset Review: Nokia 701


Nokia gave a pompous debut to the first trio of Symbian Belle software update loaded smartphones —Nokia 701, Nokia 700 and Nokia 600. Out of these three, we got lucky to receive the best of the three — Nokia 701. Loaded with the neat looking Symbian Belle operating system, the Nokia 701 comes with fancy set of features, functions and interesting bunch of pre-loaded applications.

Nokia has stepped in with couple of first with Nokia 701 — it's the first Symbian Belle device, first to have a 1 GHz processor among Nokia handsets and first with a 'functional' Near Field Communication chip. Most important is its 1000 nits brightness spreading display which measures 3.5-inch. Amongst the three Symbian Belle handsets, the Nokia 701 remains to be the high end.

Journey of Nokia Symbian Belle devices started off with a hiccup when Nokia 600 got cancelled even before it arrived. However, Nokia immediately has replaced it with 603 model.

The closest competitor of the Nokia 701 handset in terms or form-factor, feature set and pricing is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray. However, the focus is on the Symbian Belle laden Nokia 701.


Design and Display
In terms of physical appearance, the Nokia 701 comes in a metallic shell body and the curved as well as angular edges reminding of the Symbian Anna icons. Despite of the metallic body, the phone weighs 131 grams sans the SIM card and is actually feels almost like the metallic body bearing Nokia E75. At the first look, Nokia 701 does look similar to the Nokia C7 smartphone but the obvious differentiator lies in the home/menu button design.

Nokia 701 comes with a super-bright 3.5 inch ClearBlack display with the IPS panel LCD with Corning Gorilla Glass technology. That means it offers good viewing angles and also scratch resistant strong glass. The display is a 24-bit colour depth supporting IPS panel which offers 640x360 pixels native resolution. That promises you three things — crisper text, vibrant colours and high brightness. The screen indeed made the images and the text legible under the direct sunlight but bit of contrast settings would have been welcome there.

At the left are well laid volume buttons with Voice Command activator button in the center. There's a dedicated camera button on the left side of the bezel in the bottom and just above it is the spring lock button. It is high time Nokia should drop this spring lock button and integrated the sleep/wake function into the power button, just like several other smartphones mostly — Android and Apple iOS based devices.

The Audio port (3.5mm) rests between the power button and microUSB slot. Just to note over here that the Nokia 701 does support the USB-on-the-Go function which will let the users connect the compatible set of USB peripherals with the smartphone. The metallic back panel cover protects the 1300mAh battery. The speaker mesh is visible from the button that pops open the back-panel cover to expose battery and SIM card slot.

The bright display is the unique aspect of this Nokia 701 handset and makes it stand out amongst the competitors that usually offer a display with about 400 to 600 nits luminance.

User Interface

The feature set that arrive with Symbian Belle have been covered number of times earlier. Major ones include the new notification drawer that also brings toggle switches for mobile data, WiFi, Bluetooth, and turning the phone to silent mode. The multi-tasking feature offering task manager remains the same and is visible when the Menu key is pressed and held for couple of seconds. Apart from more home screens, free-form widgets and improved navigation, the native browser offers better scrolling but the number of tabs is still limited to six.

The touchscreen is quite responsive and responds well while working with the apps or while gaming. Major highlight of the Symbian Belle update is the new Notification tray system that offers combined list of notifications related to the respective apps. This tray is accessible by pull down gesture and resembles so much like the Notification tray in an Android handset. While the four Toggles Switches stand out, it would be great if those switches could be interchangeable or replaced with any other toggle function.

The ARM11 architecture based 1 GHz processor with 512 MB RAM does make lot of a difference in the user interface to make it appear slick and fluid between transitions.

However, one of the pitfalls of this interface would be lack of icon differentiations because many icons come with similar/same color. But you can group the icons together and form a folder with them. The keyboard appears pretty cramped up in the portrait mode and support for SWYPE would be heavily applauded.

Imaging and Multimedia

Nokia has added an 8 megapixel camera with a fixed focus which is capable enough to record 720p HD video at 30fps. The camera does lure to click amazing images with dual LED flash. However, the actually image quality does appear bit washed in case of too much brightness or sunlight. The lack of auto-focus even during video shooting mode is kind of a downer over here. But if you are more of a casual shutterbug, then you might just be happy with the image quality provided the settings are being used properly. However, Nokia has tried to compensate for that with a still image editor. There's also a front facing VGA camera that is usable for video calling.

The Nokia 701 has a Broadcom GPU chip with 128 MB RAM dedicated to it so forget playing the HD quality videos on it. Along with the regular set of video and audio file format supports, the 701 comes with FM Radio and FM transmitter. The sensitive mic located just between the aluminum bezel and the Menu key offers active noise cancellation feature. During voice calls, the voice was clear and quite audible to the other end. No network issues were visible during the usage.

NFC fun

Just for record, we thank Nokia for sending a C7 unit to test out the NFC Tippit app that comes preloaded in the Nokia 701 handset. Exchange of business card and other information by merely tapping the phones back to back was quite a smooth process.

Also the Nokia 701 was also used to get the exclusive content from the movie specific posters placed at the Nokia Priority Partners. Must say, that the NFC interface has been coded nicely to share and accept the data from equally supporting devices.

Power Management

Nokia had packed 1300 mAh battery with the 701 and given the high luminance display coupled with 3G Network support, we doubted the phone would last even 18 hours. Surprisingly, the phone lasted just a bit more than a day with brightness limit hit, email accounts set, social features active, music listening of an hour or two, number of phone calls and bit of texting. Nokia indeed has done a commendable job with power management with the Symbian Belle by using it with the low-power consuming ARM11 architecture based processor.

The handset also offers power saving mode that automatically configures the necessary settings to save battery juice for longer run time. Keeping the technical terms aside, the Nokia 701 is capable of offering you longer talk time on 2G networks but it drops drastically when it comes to 3G networks which eat up more battery. Considering the form factor, 1300mAh was the perfect size for this handset and Nokia certainly proves the 701 is one of its best high-end handset with good battery life and power management features.

Conclusion

Nokia 701 smartphone is meant for the multimedia frenzy folks who wish to make the best of their handset without having to wrap their heads around operating system or hackery. This smartphone is meant for serious travelers who wish for a mobile with promising battery life and compelling features. Packed with metallic finish, by looks the Nokia 701 does look chic and premium.

Typing on landscape mode is quite comfortable due to the rounded corners that provide a good grip and also it is much easy to use the virtual keyboard in that mode. The Automatic screen rotation is still not smooth as compared to the competing operating system.

As an overall package, Nokia 701 indeed is an amazing package with fresh looking Symbian Belle and long lasting battery support. Available in India at a price of Rs. 18,990 in retail stores, you can also buy the same handset for less online.