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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Latest Tablets on a Small Budget

Don't want to spend most of your savings on the 'new' Ipad or the latest Samsung Galaxy Note tab? Well, there are plenty of tablets on a small budget that do the job. Here are some of the latest options available in the market.


Karboon Smart Tab


Apple Seeks Quick Bans on Eight Samsung Phones


Apple Inc is seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to translate its resounding court victory over its rival into a tangible business benefit.
The world's most valuable company wasted no time in identifying its targets on Monday: eight older-model smartphones, including the Galaxy S2 and Droid Charge. While Apple's lawsuit encompassed 28 devices, many of those accused products are no longer widely available in the world's largest mobile market.
Although Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III phone was not included in the trial, the jury validated Apple's patents on features and design elements that the U.S. company could then try to wield against that device. Apple may not have to seek a new trial over the S III, but can include it in a "contempt proceeding" that moves much faster, according to legal experts.
Many on Wall Street believe Apple now has momentum behind it in the wake of its near-complete triumph over the South Korean company on Friday.
"The evidence and weight of the case are heavily in Apple's favor," said Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek. "We expect there's a two-thirds chance of an injunction against Samsung products."
An injunction hearing has been set for September 20. If U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh grants sales bans, Samsung will likely seek to put them on hold pending the outcome of its appeal.
Samsung said it will take all necessary measures to ensure the availability of its products in the U.S. market. A source familiar with the situation said Samsung has already started working with U.S. carriers about modifying infringing features to keep products on the market should injunctions be granted.
Apple's win on Friday strengthens its position ahead of the iPhone 5's expected September 12 launch and could cement its market dominance as companies using Google Inc's Android operating system - two-thirds of the global market - may be forced to consider design changes, analysts say.
Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages after a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad. The verdict could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products.
Apple's stock scored another record high on Monday.
While the victory does not cover new Samsung products including the Galaxy S III, Apple will push its case on these products in the near-term, Evercore Partners analyst Mark McKechnie said.
"While a ban would likely increase Apple's leading smartphone share in the U.S. market, we believe this verdict could lead to Samsung also delaying near-term product launches as it attempts to design around Apple's patents," Canaccord Genuity analysts said in a note.
TOOTH-AND-NAIL
Apple's shares gained 1.9 percent to close at $675.68, tacking on another $12 billion-plus to its already historically leading market value. Samsung lost about the same amount in market capitalization as its shares slid 7.5 percent in Seoul.
Samsung shares rebounded 1.8 percent on Tuesday.
"The ruling marks an important victory for Apple against Android. Competitors may now think twice about how they compete in smart mobility devices with the industry's clear innovator," Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes wrote on Monday. "If Apple forces competitors to innovate more, it could take longer for competitive products to come to market, and make it more expensive to develop them."
The victory for Apple - which upended the smartphone industry in 2007 with the iPhone - is a big blow to Google, whose Android software powers the Samsung products found to have infringed on patents. Google and its hardware partners, including the company's own Motorola unit, could now face legal hurdles in their effort to compete with the Apple juggernaut.
Google shares closed 1.4 percent lower at $669.22. Microsoft Corp , a potential beneficiary if smartphone makers begin to seek out Android alternatives, ended up 0.4 percent. Nokia , which has staked its future on Windows phones, gained 7.7 percent.
Even Research in Motion - which has hemorrhaged market share to Apple and Google - climbed more than 5 percent, before ending 2 percent higher.
"The mobile industry is moving fast and all players, including newcomers, are building upon ideas that have been around for decades," Google responded in a Sunday statement. "We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don't want anything to limit that."
The verdict came as competition in the device industry is intensifying, with Google jumping into hardware for the first time with the Nexus 7 and Microsoft's touchscreen-friendly Windows 8 coming in October, led by its "Surface" tablet.
Samsung, which sold around 50 million phones between April and June - almost twice the number of iPhones - will have to pay damages equivalent to just 1.5 percent of the annual revenue from its telecoms business.
"The verdict does not come as a surprise," wrote William Blair & Co analysts. "From Apple's perspective, Samsung's market position and its leadership in the handset world was something the company could no longer overlook, and viewing this as another 'imitation is a form of flattery' was not possible."
"Companies such as Samsung, who we categorize as fast followers, have been viewed by the industry for their ability to quickly adopt the latest handset trends ... rather than their ability to introduce fundamental innovation."

Germany Will Take Over Private Wi-Fi in Case of Emergency

A team of wireless researchers from Germany has recently worked out a way to enhance the communications abilities of different emergency services by the means of taking over private Wi-Fi connections within the area.

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This suggestion was worked out by a team of researchers led by PhD student Kamill Panitzek from Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt in Germany. The proposal requires the creation of a so-called “emergency switch” which would allow the government staff to turn off the security mechanisms in the Wi-Fi routers from private homes.

In other words, the first responders will be able to use all the routers within range to increase the capabilities of the mesh networks which let them communicate with each other. The suggestion was laid out in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Mobile Network Design and Innovation, and is currently getting some attention, predominantly thanks to a press release titled “Your Wi-Fi Router Could Save Lives in an Emergency”.

The document acknowledges both privacy and security concerns, while not suggesting ways to avoid them. The press release just claims that this emergency network should be isolated from the people’s home network in order to protect privacy of the citizens.

Kamill Panitzek explained that this could be easily accomplished, because it’s already possible to install a home network along with a guest network in order to grant online access to visitors. The network of this type could be set up by sending firmware updates to routers instead of requiring new hardware.

Such Wi-Fi mesh network would find itself on top of the privately owned routers like “backbone in case of a disaster”. The emergency network could also make use of mobile phone networks.

Another insecurity expert Bruce Schneier told in the interview that the suggestion was quite similar to the so-called online kill switch that would let the authorities close down the Internet in the event of a major cyber attack. According to Schneier, once such a system is built, the security should also be built in order to make sure only the right people use it. However, that isn’t very easy and the reality is that it is much more secure not to have those capabilities. 

UK Businesses Suffer from Cyber Crime

According to the British Retail Consortium, cyber crime is currently the biggest threat to online shops, indicating a need for a clearer analysis of e-crime.

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British Retail Consortium has conducted a study, which showed that the effects of cyber crime on businesses are quite significant in direct cost and prevention, amounting at £205.4 million within 2011-2012. In the meantime, the most expensive form of cyber crime for businesses was personal identification related frauds, which incurred £20 million of losses, while card fraud caused £15 million losses and refund frauds were responsible for £1.2 million of losses.

In addition, the British Retail Consortium points at £111.6 million worth of business being rejected because of crime prevention measures. This may include honest customers who were deterred from Internet purchases because of extra security measures. This means that cyber crime is a very serious problem, especially for businesses which are not aware of the existing dangers.

The press release says that the government has its work cut out in the attempts to stem the wave of e-crime as online sales keep growing at double digit rates on a monthly basis, with criminals modernizing fraud techniques.

According to Cabinet Office statistics, the total cost of e-crime for the United Kingdom is £27 billion. However, this figure is vague, because it is usually very difficult to arrive at an exact figure when collating information on the issue.

Kaspersky Labs agrees that more is needed to be done in order to provide an accurate representation of the threat landscape. First of all, cyber crime is very hard to measure. That’s why it’s the task of the government to make sure that it’s measuring, and that there’s a reporting mechanism. In addition, figures like these sometimes get used to exaggerate the impact of something, so the businesses can get lost in the huge numbers.

Although £27 billion or £205.4 million is an easy number, unless someone brings it down to what the impact is to them, it starts to lose a bit of meaning. Another important thing is to raise the awareness of the businesses and how they are being affected by e-crime, because whatever the figure is for a particular business, that’s what is really meaningful.

Android Virus Hit China

Security experts have pointed out at a nasty Android virus sweeping across the country. The Android Zombie is believed to have dusted the banisters of lots of mobile users.

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Mobile insecurity company TrustGo revealed that over half a million devices, predominantly in China, have already been hit by “SMSZombie”. The worst part about all this is that the malware in question is quite hard to remove. While the European Union is being laid low by the other malware to come out of China, SMSZombie exploits vulnerability in the mobile payment system used by China Mobile, which makes it useless to the fraudsters outside of the country.

The security experts admitted that the virus was being spread through Internet forums and has been detected in a few packages on the country’s largest mobile app marketplace – GFan. The malware has also been embedded in a few wallpaper applications, many of which contained provocative titles and nude photos to attract users into downloading and installing them.

When an Android user downloads the application and sets it as the wallpaper for their mobile device, the malware will then ask to install additional files. In case the user agrees, the malware payload is delivered within a file titled “Android System Service”.

The virus tries to get administrator privileges on the mobile device and this step, according to the experts, can’t be cancelled. SMSZombie will then generate unauthorized payments to premium service providers and steal bank card numbers and money transfer receipt information. In the attempt to remain unnoticed, the malware will even delete all payment confirmation SMS receipts from the device.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Here's a First Look at Facebook's Amazing New Campus By Frank Gehry

Facebook (FB) already has 2,000 employees at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. But it's preparing for a major expansion. Eventually, its current location—the East Campus—will hold 6,600 employees. Another 2,800 will occupy a second site, the West Campus, across the Bayfront Expressway.

Facebook has hired Frank Gehry's architecture firm, Gehry Partners, to design a new, sprawling office building which will house those engineers in a big, open space, with walls cleverly angled so the insides don't feel oppressive.

Here are some models and drawings which give an idea of Facebook's new home.

Here's the site. Right now it's undeveloped former industrial land. Environmental remediation starts in two weeks.
(Google Maps)

Mark Zuckerberg and Frank Gehry inspect a scale model of the insides.

(Everett Katigbak, Facebook)

Zuckerberg wanted the space to be one big, open building. 

(Everett Katigbak, Facebook)

But a long, rectangular space would feel oppressive. So Gehry proposed angling the walls to create a more human sense of scale. 

(Everett Katigbak, Facebook)

Here's the results: rows of desks and meeting rooms clustered throughout the building. You'll be able to walk from one end to the other without passing through a door. Note the looping ramp in the upper left—that gets you from the basement to the first floor to the roof.
(Frank Gehry/Gehry Partners)

The roof will be planted with grass, trees, and a vegetable garden. It's not just pretty—green roofs cut heating and cooling. 

(Frank Gehry/Gehry Partners)

Mobile Operators against Ofcom’s 4G Decision

The communications watchdog seems to have drawn the ire of Vodafone and O2 after the allocation of existing broadband spectrum for 4G use Ofcom allowed Everything Everywhere to push ahead with 4G services under a 1800 MHz license, ahead of a scheduled auction of spectrum across 800 MHz to 2.6 GHz bands in December 2012.

According to the outfit’s announcement, 4G services will be employed sooner than the experts expected – maybe in the second half of 2012. Ofcom said that the decision in question has been taken after weighing up all the benefits to the users of early access against the potentially unfair competitive advantage it can give to Everything Everywhere.

Good news for consumers, at least for EE’s customers: Ofcom has decided to approve the operator’s application to use its existing 4G spectrum, in spite of acknowledging that Everything Everywhere would enjoy a competitive advantage till December when other providers are able to launch their own LTE services. However, the communications watchdog claims that any advantages will be temporary.

Everything Everywhere announced that it will provide all its users access 4G speeds later in 2012, because the lengthy process of 4G roll out draws nearer to completion. Unsurprisingly, the rival operators weren’t happy with the announcement and are believed to be contemplating joining forces to become Nothing, Nowhere. For instance, Vodafone was shocked with the Ofcom’s decision and claimed that it would skew the balance of the forthcoming auction. The company believes that the ruling had shown a “careless disregard” for the best interests of users, businesses and the wider economy by simply distorting competition.

The representatives of O2 also hit out at the watchdog’s decision, saying that they were hugely disappointed with the news, because it means the majority of consumers would be excluded from the first wave of digital services. In the meantime, the United Kingdom is already lagging behind other countries like the United States in upgrading services from 3G in order to support the huge rise in popularity of connected smartphones.

In other words, spectrum allocation process has caused arguments by operators, while the authorities remained reluctant to step in. In fact, the UK government itself has come under attack during spectrum allocation process, as the shadow cabinet slammed the “costly” delays.

RapidShare Calls to Kill Linking Websites

RapidShare believes that instead of creating new laws which may come into conflict with innovation, the American government should better focus on killing websites offering links towards pirated material. At least, that’s what the cyberlocker offers.
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In order to ensure that the US authorities take this recommendation seriously, the RapidShare’s Chief Legal Officer Daniel Raimer arranged a meeting with technology leaders and law enforcement at the Technology Policy Institute.

RapidShare is known worldwide as an already established file-hosting service, but there’s one problem. The company believes that a lot of sites are using links directing users towards this type of illegal services. Regarding this as a serious problem, Daniel Raimer appeared at the Technology Policy Institute forum in Aspen and also made a decision to join a panel on Copyright and Piracy in order to inform that file-hosting services couldn’t be blamed for today’s issues with copyright infringement, but only the means through which users host their content.

According to RapidShare, instead of developing legislation which could stifle innovation in the cloud, the American government should concentrate on this critical part of the Internet piracy network. The cyberlocker points out that these very sophisticated services, usually featuring advertising, do facilitate the mass indiscriminate distribution of copyrighted material online and should be the focus of American IP enforcement efforts.

In addition, RapidShare believes that the US authorities should encourage voluntary industry agreements to address piracy in a manner which is beneficial for everybody. Agreements of this type already exist in the advertising business, so neither payment providers nor file-hosting services should be disregarded.

RapidShare claims that the United States should continue its work to secure voluntary industry agreements in order to address repeated Internet piracy and counterfeiting, as well as include cloud storage and file-hosting businesses in these efforts. In 2012, the company published a “responsible practices” document for file-hosting businesses – RapidShare believes that this should be the starting point for an industry agreement.

Finally, Daniel Raimer thinks that when cyberlockers take responsibility and linking sites are killed, copyright owners could have much less to worry about.

UK Culture Secretary Will Push Broadband Need for Speed

Jeremy Hunt has promised that the United Kingdom will have the fastest broadband network across Europe in three years. The commitment in question was announced in east London where Culture Secretary told broadband industry representatives that in order to be the best, they will need to be the fastest. Jeremy Hunt said the announcement wasn’t only about being the best overall, but about being the best in fast broadband of any European country, although the UK “may already be there”.

In response, Labour claimed that the statement was one-sided, focusing on speed instead of access. Actually, this announcement was met with mixed reactions from the local broadband observers. For instance, Julia Stent from uSwitch.com welcomed the Secretary’s enthusiasm but warned there was still a great way to go before the United Kingdom is where it should be. According to the statistics, 30% postcodes have broadband download speeds below 3 Mbps. 20% of British postcodes still suffer from broadband speeds below 2 Mbps.

The problem is that Hunt’s tunnel-vision emphasis on average speed only addresses levels of demand from users for faster connections, but not on rural areas. In fact, many areas still lack good coverage, and although existing in the age of fibre optics, they remain “pitifully slow”.

In the meantime, it was announced that the town of Chipping Norton in West Oxfordshire would get fast broadband access via Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, courtesy of Cotsolds Broadband – the likes of which are able to provide the Internet to communities outside of urban centers.

Earlier in 2012, the UK government was slammed for scrapping the Communications Green Paper, which tried to address maximizing value of broadband spectrum. Thus far, Shadow Minister Helen Goodman admitted that scrapping the consultation revealed the Coalition’s lack of direction in communications policy.

However, the Lords communications committee report said that the Coalition’s plans were misguided. It said that the delivery of certain speeds shouldn’t be the main principle. Instead, the important part is the long term assurance that when new online applications emerge, everybody will be able to benefit – from inhabitants of inner cities to the remotest areas of the country.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Hidden Winner From The Apple vs Samsung Decision

Microsoft

Apple walks away with a ruling that Samsung copied the iPhone. Samsung will appeal and look to have the decision mitigated as much as possible. And over in the corner, Microsoft and Nokia look at each other, nod their heads, and smile. This was a good court verdict for Windows Phone.

Round one of the Apple/Samsung patent dispute is over, with Apple in the ascendancy. The public perception is not going to be over certain models of older Samsung handsets, the exact patents and software methods used, or the differences between Samsung’s UI layer TouchWiz and Google’s default Android UI layer.

It’s going to be ‘Android copied the iPhone’.

For the last year, every review of Windows Phone powered handsets has noted the radically different UI formerly known as Metro. It does take a little getting used to, but like any new toy once you get the basics Windows Phone is as fast and capable for the majority of smartphone users. There’s no chance that Windows Phone will be mistaken for iOS (and if it was, part of Apple’s evidence was the licensing of certain patents to Microsoft for use in their smartphone OS).

Everyone is expecting Nokia to announce the first Windows Phone 8 smartphone next month on September 5th. It’s an event that’s sure to get coverage (even if it is in a rather busy period of announcements from companies that are trying to get in before Apple’s September 12th event). Nokia and Microsoft have been handed a competitive advantage.

In a world where Android has copied iOS, they are going to waltz up to the press and go ‘look at our phone, you can think differently!’ Another subtle dig at Android, a strong selling point to consumers, and a key differentiator in the smartphone ecosystem. Samsung is handed the lemons, but it’s Nokia that will get to make the first batch of lemonade.

What happens now to Android as a whole is going to be very interesting. While the appeals process for this case may go on for some time, there will be a chilling effect on other manufacturers, who will be watching the cost of licensing the patents on the ‘free’ Android OS with trepidation. Expect Apple to be drafting invoices in the very near future. But will the manufacturers who just want a modern smartphone OS turn away from the uncertainty in Android? Will they want a solution that is fully licensed, covers all the patents, and will let them stand out in the marketplace? If so, Microsoft are going to welcome them with open arms.

And when Windows Phone 8 get the traction that many expect it will, what will Samsung do?

They are on top of the heap at the moment with the Galaxy range of devices, but they also have something interesting on the back burner. The Focus range… essentially the Galaxy hardware but running Windows Phone rather than Android OS. They’ve already said Windows Phone 8 devices will be arriving before the end of 2012, could they now put a little more emphasis on the Windows Phone line?

The last thing Samsung will want to do is be left stranded in the courts holding their Android football while everyone else runs ahead to score with Windows Phone handsets. Nokia are all-in on the new platform, HTC could see it as a way to bypass Samsung’s dominance in Android, and both Huawei and ZTE are ready to leverage Microsoft’s OS.

Samsung was probably planning to do just enough to stay involved in Windows Phone at the start of this year, but I expect them to take a bit more interest in the platform, do a little bit more marketing of their new Windows Phone handsets, and to put more skin in the game to make sure they’re not left without a chair when the music stops.

Apple took the victory, Samsung lost in court, but the true winner looks to be Microsoft.

The Romanians Hacked Australian Credit Cards

The local police have confirmed that the Romanian hackers have somehow managed to steal over $25,000,000 from 500,000 Australian credit cards. This is quite a sum for just four people, and they must be carefully hiding from the police to not get caught after all.

The country’s Federal Police had to confirm that they were working with law enforcement agencies all over the world in the attempt to tackle the organized hackers. The intrusion seems to have come after the attackers took out a number of merchants whose individual computer systems appeared to be compromised.

Media reports say that there’s evidence that the same hacker group has been responsible for a hack of the American chain of Subway restaurants.

Four citizens of Romania have been charged over millions of dollars in credit card fraud that affected around 80,000 bank customers. The so-called “syndicate” used to find its victims by simply scanning the web for vulnerable point of sale terminals. The police of Australia claimed that the borderless nature of this crime would cause much of the new headaches for the law enforcement authorities. The matter is that not only do the police need to co-operate with other police forces, but also require international and private sector co-operation in order to track and to take down the criminals.

However, this is obviously not very easy to do. The police can’t take down the hackers because they are finding even softer targets with local chippies with insecure point of sale machines than the attackers do with either banks or supermarket chains. So, the bank customers are still under threat, and the police can’t promise the safety for their money.

New Zealand Against Trans-Pacific Partnership

Although countries like Canada regard the Trans-Pacific Partnership as nothing of great interest, the Green Party of New Zealand is calling everyone to pay attention to how dangerous its provisions really are. That’s why the Party didn’t stop to fight the treaty locally and even decided to move their fight at international levels.

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A week ago, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel visited Canada. The visit itself was seen by the media as a sign that Canada still has some power in the world, while mentioning the TPP agreement only indicated that the country has no quarrel with it – actually, it believes it’s a beneficial factor. The media called Canada’s inability to review their IP laws “mystifying”.

In the meantime, Green Party of New Zealand is taking the fight even further by telling people across the globe what really the Trans-Pacific Partnership is. The Greens issued a joint statement to express their serious concern at the “undemocratic and non-transparent” nature of the TPP.

After the draft investment chapter of the TPP leaked, the Green Party became very concerned that the treaty has the potential to undermine the ability of the governments to perform efficiently. Moreover, the provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership could also hinder access to safe and affordable medicines, as well as weaken country’s content rules for media and stifle high-tech innovation. Finally, the agreement could restrict the ability of governments to legislate for the good of both public health and the environment.

The Green Party believes that this process should be transparent. However, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated behind closed doors with a level of secrecy which is entirely unacceptable in a democratic society. The article they published explains why the agreement is considered a great threat to any democratic society. Unsurprisingly, the article caught the attention of local MSN, News Talk ZB, and even made an appearance at the Sky News Australia.

Although it is unclear what kind of impact all of these efforts will have in the future, the most important part is that the precedent exists and the Green Party is confident that people will be smart enough to rise up and fight against any threat to their democratic way of thinking.

EFF Calls for Internet Protection

In their efforts to keep web users safe from harm, the EFF made a decision to send a letter to Victoria Espinel, the Obama Administration’s IP Enforcement Coordinator.

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The position of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator was created by the Pro-IP Act of 2008, and the EFF sent Victoria Espinel a letter in order to help with how US tax dollars are invested on enforcing copyright, patented legislation and trademark in the nearest future.

The outfit also emphasized a number of issues, amongst which there’s the U.S. government allowing and encouraging private companies to implement private “voluntary” agreements to fight piracy. A great example would be the Copyright Alerts agreement for which the President Administration was praised by the public. The document contains a “partnership” between ISPs and the content industry, but lacks public input.

In addition, the EFF wrote to Victoria Espinel that it isn’t good for the authorities to “throw their weight behind private agreements”. Espinel replied to the EFF, saying that when Internet advertising companies decided to stop doing business with the “rogue” websites, her office told them it was very important that such efforts were consistent with the broader online policy principles.

However, the rights group wasn’t convinced, and was driven to suggest how to handle these problems. For example, the EFF’s official site contains an article titled “Collateral damage caused by domain name seizures in cases like Dajaz1 and Puerto 80 (Rojadirecta)”. The outfit also insists that innovation and competition are the best way to reduce violations, while international agreements on copyright legislation should be negotiated in the open, with public participation and accountability. When approved, the agreements should allow members to define their own patent, copyright, and trademark laws, while making exceptions like fair use.

Finally, the EFF believes that IP laws and rules should be based on accurate information and sound conclusions instead of vague reports about why IP is good for the economy. That’s why the outfit is planning to continue talking to White House officials about the future of enforcement. The EFF hopes it will help to counter the message the government hears from the content industry that more enforcement is better, no matter what damage is done to people’s rights.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Launched In India At Rs 39,990


The much awaited Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has been launched in India at a price of Rs 39,990. Also known as the Galaxy Note 800, the device features a quad-core processor with 1.4 GHz clock speed, a 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera, which also detects the user's eye movements to prevent the device from going into standby mode.


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Armed with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM for enhanced performance, Galaxy Note 10.1 is designed to simplify idea capture, information access, and multi-tasking, making each easier and faster.

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The Galaxy Note 10.1 - powered by Google's Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) features a touchscreen which is 10.1-inches measured diagonally, considerably wider than the 5.3-inch screen of the previous Note.

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Like Galaxy Note, it comes with a stylus called the 'S pen' to write notes or draw on the screen. The new version allows users to split the screen in half to view two programs at once.

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The Galaxy Note 10.1 is equipped with a quad-core processor that allows users to run multiple applications faster than the previous version, which had a dual-core processor.

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The device also includes a 5-megapixel main camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera

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The Galaxy Note 10.1 comes equipped with the S Note, which is a unique tool that gives users the ability to combine notes and sketches with other digital content in ready-to-use templates.

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Featuring its advanced 6.5mm 'S' Pen, Galaxy Note 10.1 is optimized for the creation of personalized and expressive content. The S Pen’s feel and functionality are specifically designed for an optimal experience on the 10.1-inch screen

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Several other features have been added to Galaxy Note 10.1 including Smart Stay, which tracks the user’s eyes to ensure that the screen is always on while being looked at, and Pop Up Play, which allows the user to watch a video anywhere on their screen while simultaneously running other tasks

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The AllShare Play feature enables users to share content with a large group in real-time by connecting GALAXY Note 10.1 to Samsung HD TVs, mobile tablets, laptops, and other consumer electronic devices on the same network. With AllShare Group Cast, users can also share and collaborate on documents, presentations, or images without loading the files separately.

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The Galaxy Note 10.1 comes in three connectivity options: a WiFi-only version, a WiFi-and-3G HSPA-Plus connectivity version at launch, and a WiFi-and-LTE version later this year.


Apple Triumphs Over Samsung In Landmark Patent Case


An employee poses as he holds Apple's iPhone 4s and Samsung's Galaxy S III at a store in Seoul

Apple Inc (NSQ:AAPL - News) scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung <005930.KS> on Friday as a U.S. jury found the Korean company had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded the U.S. company $1.05 billion in damages.
The verdict -- which came after less than three days of jury deliberations -- could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products and will likely solidify Apple's dominance of the exploding mobile computing market.
Apple's victory is a big blow to Google, whose Android software powers the Samsung products that were found to infringe on Apple patents. Google and its hardware partners, including the company's own Motorola unit, could now face further legal hurdles in their effort to compete with the Apple juggernaut.
Samsung lawyers were grimfaced in the quiet but crowded San Jose courtroom as the verdict was read, and the company later put out a statement calling the outcome "a loss for the American consumer."
The jury deliberated for less than three days before delivering the verdict on seven Apple patent claims and five Samsung patent claims -- suggesting that the nine-person panel had little difficulty in concluding that Samsung had copied the iPhone and the iPad.
Because the panel found "willful" infringement, Apple could seek triple damages.
Apple upended the mobile phone business when it introduced the iPhone in 2007, and shook the industry again in 2010 when it rolled out the iPad.
It has been able to charge premium prices for the iPhone -- with profit margins of as much as 58 percent per phone -- for a product consumers regarded as a huge advance in design and usability.
The company's late founder, Steve Jobs, vowed to "go to thermonuclear war" when Google launched Android, according to his biographer, and the company has filed lawsuits around the world in an effort to block what it considers brazen copying of its inventions.
The legal win on Friday came one year after CEO Tim Cook assumed the helm of the company. Shares in Apple, which just this week became the biggest company by market value in history, climbed almost 2 percent to a record high of $675 in after-hours trade.
Brian Love, a Santa Clara law school professor, described the verdict as a crushing victory for Apple: "This is the best-case scenario Apple could have hoped for."
CHALLENGE FOR COMPETITORS
The verdict comes as competition in the mobile device industry intensifies, with Google jumping into hardware for the first time with its Nexus 7 tablet, and Microsoft's new touchscreen friendly Windows 8 coming in October, led by its "Surface" tablet.
Apple's victory could present immediate issues for companies that sell Android-based smartphones and tablets, including Google's own Motorola subsidiary, which it acquired last year for $12.5 billion, and HTC (TAI:2498.TW - News) of Taiwan.
Amazon (NSQ:AMZN - News) -- which has made major inroads into the tablet market with its cheaper Kindle Fire -- uses a modified version of Android for its Kindle products but has not yet been subject to legal challenge by Apple.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said the entire Android universe may now have to consider "doing something different."
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at it and figure it out," he said. "Prior to the iPhone, none of the phones were like that. Android, if you look at it, is very similar."
Some in the industry say Apple's legal offensive is bad for consumers.
"Thx Apple it's now mandatory for tech companies to sue each other. Prices go up, competition & innovation suffer," Mark Cuban, an Internet entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, said in a Twitter message.
But the legal battles are far from over. In a separate but related case, Apple has won a pre-trial injunction against the Google Nexus tablet. Another lawsuit, against Motorola, was thrown out recently by a federal judge in Chicago, but litigation between the two at the International Trade Commission continues.
Earlier on Friday, a South Korean court found that both companies shared blame for patent infringement, ordering Samsung to stop selling 10 products including its Galaxy S II phone and banning Apple from selling four different products, including its iPhone 4.
Still, the trial on Apple's home turf -- the world's largest and most influential technology market -- was considered the most important test of whether Apple would be able to gain substantial patent protection for the iPhone and the iPad.
FAST-PACED, HIGH-STRESS TRIAL
The legal fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in multiple countries, and Samsung countersued. The U.S. jury spent most of August in a packed federal courtroom in San Jose -- just miles from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino -- listening to testimony, examining evidence and watching lawyers from both sides joust about patents and damage claims.
Jurors received over 100 pages of legal instructions from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on August 21, prior to hearing the closing arguments from attorneys.
Lawyers from both tech giants used their 25 hours each of trial time to present internal emails, draw testimony from designers and experts, and put on product demonstrations and mockups to convince the jury.
At times, their questions drew testimony that offered glimpses behind the corporate facade, such as the margins on the iPhone and Samsung's sales figures in the United States.
From the beginning, Apple's tactic was to present what it thought was chronological evidence of Samsung copying its phone.
Juxtaposing pictures of phones from both companies and internal Samsung emails that specifically analyzed the features of the iPhone, Apple's attorneys accused Samsung of taking shortcuts after realizing it could not keep up.
Samsung's attorneys, on the other hand, maintained Apple had no sole right to geometric designs such as rectangles with rounded corners. They called Apple's damage claim "ridiculous" and urged the jury to consider that a verdict in favor of Apple could stifle competition and reduce choices for consumers.
Samsung's trial team appeared to suffer from strategic difficulties throughout the case. Judge Koh gave each side 25 hours to present evidence, but Samsung had used more time than Apple before Samsung even began calling its own witnesses.
By the end of the trial, Samsung attorneys had to forgo cross-examination of some Apple witnesses due to time constraints. During closing arguments, Samsung lead attorney Charles Verhoeven played mostly defense, spending relatively little time discussing Samsung's patent claims against Apple.
The jury had not been expected to return a decision so rapidly. Even on Friday, Samsung's lead lawyer was spotted casually clad in a polo T-shirt and jeans.
But late Friday afternoon, a court officer announced a verdict had been reached. After the verdict was read, Koh found some inconsistencies in the complex jury form and asked the jury to revisit it, ultimately resulting in a reduction of about $2 million in the damages award.
The jury decided Samsung infringed six out of seven Apple patents in the case, and that Apple had not infringed any of Samsung's patents. Apple's protected technology includes the ability for a mobile device to distinguish one finger on the screen or two, the design of screen icons, and the front surface of the phone.
The jury also upheld the validity of Apple's patents, and said Samsung acted willfully when it violated several of Apple's patents. That could form a basis for Koh to triple the damages tab owed by Samsung.
"This is a vindication of Apple's effort to create significant airspace around their design, and that's relevant not just for Samsung, but for firms coming over the horizon," said Nick Rodelli, a lawyer and adviser to institutional investors for CFRA Research in Maryland.
Apple's lawyers said they planned to file for an injunction against Samsung products within seven days. Koh set a hearing for September 20.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, No. 11-1846.

Why Is RIAA Losing Revenues?

According to the RIAA’s tax report, the music trade group’s revenues dramatically dropped in the past couple years. Now the experts can disclose the reason for this downfall. The Recording Industry Association of America, the outfit that represents the US recording industry, has recently presented the tax filing to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The report covered the fiscal year ending with March 2011.

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The massive downfall was noticed within the past 2 years with RIAA’s revenues being cut almost in half. The report revealed that the total revenue of the group was of $29 million, while two years ago it was $51 million. The huge drop was caused by the ever-diminishing membership dues paid by music recording companies – from $50 million to $28 million in the same period. The experts point out that the effects were also highlighted by the outfit’s cuts in personnel. At the moment, the RIAA is having 72 people on their payroll (compared with 117 two years ago), which totals in $13 million in pay checks, ¼ of which goes to executives’ pockets.

So, where does this money go? The tax filing revealed that Mitch Bainwol (Chief Executive Officer) gets $1.75 million annually, while Cary Sherman (the current CEO and former president of the outfit) earn only $1.37 million. Now you can understand why these guys are always crying about piracy. Aside from these two, Neil Turkewitz (EVP International), Steve Marks (General Counsel) and Mitch Glazier (Public Policy & Industry Relations) got $0.7 million, $0.67 million and $0.6 million respectively.

In the meantime, the tax filing indicated that the anti-piracy outfit spent $2.3 million on lobbying – this figure looks like the one that remains balanced over the years, while the group’s legal fees have dropped from $16.5 million to $2.34 million.

Cyberlocker’s Admin Accused of Money Laundering

The Oron case takes a new turn of events: the company has been sued by the porn studio Liberty Media, and now its administrator is accused, aside from copyright violation, of money laundering through Hong Kong and converting about $3,000,000 into gold bullion.
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Two months ago, a lawsuit was filed against Oron’s admins for around $35,000,000 in copyright violation. However, a judge ruled that the service must pay the adult studio the least amount of $550,000.

Although many thought this was the end of the case, recent events proved different. A few days ago Oron asked the court to unfreeze its assets ($750,000, including the attorney’s fees), explaining that they are able to pay via a US PayPal account, so there’s no sense to freeze more of their money.

Moreover, the lawyers of the website asked the court to let them access $200,000 more to pay for post-judgment motions and an appeal. Of course, the studio’s lawyers were against this, saying that a thorough breakdown is mandatory and claiming out that the company failed to provide a detailed account of its overall funds. The studio claimed that the defendant has almost $3,000,000 in gold stashed away, so in case of need it could liquidate or sell a portion of this bullion. However, in this case it would be spending money that weren’t traceable and weren’t likely to be seized. That’s presumably why the money was laundered like this.

The studio’s lawyers explained that first the money were collected via PayPal, then wired to Hong Kong, then converted to gold stashed away. The plaintiffs even presented the court a copy of an e-mail containing details about Oron’s presumed owner. In addition, they claimed that the cyberlocker’s staff closed down their service on purpose to have a trump when in court.

There is information that the website’s servers with information are still in LeaseWeb data center. Moreover, the Oron’s owner is claimed to have yet another website, called Novafile.com. The adult studios insist that Oron has 9 known accounts and a stash of gold bars. However, the cyberlocker believes that the court should only order disbursements from the one American account – the one where the court’s jurisdiction can have immediate effect. So, if the company needs $200,000, it should use, or borrow against, the $3,000,000 worth of gold bars it has stashed away.

Faulty MegaUpload Search Warrant

The FBI finally shared important information about the police of New Zealand: it turned out that the former obtained a faulty search warrant. 

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A document released by the local courts of justice revealed that MegaUpload hosted copies of Love Birds flicks with Rhys Darby and Temuera Morrison. In addition, the document revealed details about NZ-based users having accounts with the cyberlocker and making money out of Kim Dotcom’s business. After discovering that the search warrant was invalid, the judge decided that this information was of great public interest.

It turned out that the application for the search warrant was filed by detective sergeant Nigel McMorran of the local Organized and Financial Crime Agency. According to the warrant, the Federal Bureau of Investigations offered details of the films hosted on MegaUpload’s servers while also including information about the number of people profiting from the uploading of the content. The FBI named four people, but the Crown managed to keep them anonymous, mentioning only that one of them allegedly made over $5,000 from uploading films within 14 months.

Actually, the indictment stated that MegaUpload’s founder and his fellows encouraged users to upload copyrighted content by offering money. Nevertheless, this reward system was cancelled years before the raid.

The federals claimed that through copyright violation, Kim Dotcom had been able to earn millions of dollars. This illegal money was claimed to be used to fund “the extravagant lifestyle” of Kim Dotcom and his colleagues. Allegedly, this money was spent on “luxury world trips on private yachts and jets, luxury cars and expensive household items and gifts”.

The operation in question lasted for 6 months. Within that time, a federal agent downloaded about $2.500 worth of films, games and TV shows. In addition, the application said that MegaUpload used “high-powered” servers in New Zealand.

The rest of the story remains the same: the North Shore District Court of the country will decide in March 2013 if Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues will be extradited to the United States or not. The entertainment industry is undoubtedly looking forward to this day. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

uTorrent Will Make Its Advertising Plans Optional

Recently, BitTorrent Inc. announced that uTorrent – the number one file-sharing application on the web – would support ads. Of course, uTorrent enthusiasts couldn’t take the news lightly and their reaction was exactly the one experts expected.
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BitTorrent Inc., when making the announcement of an ad-supported file-sharing, also encouraged the public to express their opinion. What they received was lots of comments.

Many users called it an absolute disgrace and pointed out that uTorrent used to be an excellent lightweight application with great features, which would be spoiled by adware. Users fear that the client will turn into a “bloated mess” like the rest of the applications.

Although the majority may not think the same, BitTorrent Inc. did pay attention to all opinions and announced the other day that they decided to offer users the chance to choose whether they want an ad-supported file-sharing client or not. Eric Klinker, the company’s CEO, said that they had long contemplated an opt-out mechanism for advertisements they would be experimenting with. That’s why BitTorrent decided to release the initial edition with an opt-out mechanism, because this is what their users deserve.

The intentions of the BitTorrent Inc. were to use the money from advertisements to improve and invest in the future of file-sharing technology. It means that this experiment might help prove that there’s a legitimate 3rd way in digital distribution.

This reaction of the uTorrent users hasn’t come as a surprise to a company, however, because it wasn’t the first time groups of uTorrent users lashed out against the changes. So, BitTorrent is probably confident that most of their users will support the experiment.

A separate forum post was published by BitTorrent Inc. in response to the accusations of its client becoming bloatware. The company explained that they would be removing Apps in a near-future release since they haven’t been a success among their users across the globe. At the same time, the company is going to evaluate other existing features in order to ship a slim base client with only those features that users like and use.

Besides, many users call for a smaller and meaner client than the current uTorrent. The company admits that over the past year, it has considered different ways to getting there and is taking this request seriously.

Virgin Media Also Blocked Newzbin2

Virgin Media followed the example of BT, Sky, and TalkTalk – all major UK ISPs – and blocked access to Newzbin2, a popular file-sharing portal in the British Usenet networks.
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The Internet service providers didn’t do this voluntarily: the move followed the victory of 6 film studios over a copyright infringement case. The court handling the case handed down a decision saying that all of the aforementioned broadband providers must block access to Newzbin2.

So, Virgin Media launched the filter a week ago to prevent all its users to access the website due to concerns over its pirated material. In the meantime, also of interest is that the film studios (Universal, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures and Disney) are all members of the Motion Picture Association of America – better known as the MPAA.

Media reports revealed that Virgin Media received the order only a week after it was issued (in the end of July), but decided to postpone the blockage until the London 2012 Olympic Games were over.

Other British ISPs – BT and Sky – started their filters last year, in October and December, while the provider TalkTalk was forced to block access only this past February. However, all of these largest Internet service providers followed the court order which was issued a year ago. Newzbin2, if you don’t know yet, is the successor of Newzbin, the blocked file-sharing portal, and seems to share the same faith, since the former was closed down in 2010 following legal actions taken against the service.

Mark Wilkin, a forum manager for Virgin Media, announced that as a responsible ISP, they would complies with court orders while strongly believing that changing consumer behaviour also needs compelling legitimate alternatives to provide consumers access to content.

Malaysia Might Reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership

After the limitations and exceptions of Trans-Pacific Partnership were leaked, the Australian government was criticized by the opposition parties. Moreover, Malaysia is already considering saying “no” to the treaty.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an agreement that would allow entertainment industry to be above any country’s legislation, as long as their headquarters is situated abroad; monopolize the web through “three-strikes” graduated response system; also impose further restrictions to the consumer. This is not the complete list.

In the meantime, the media reports revealed that Malaysia was against this agreement, which seeks to extend the patent periods of medicines by foreign companies. According to the country’s Health Minister, the treaty, negotiated among 11 countries including the United States and Malaysia, would appear detrimental to the local medical industry.

Malaysia claimed it was against the patent extension: the Trans-Pacific Partnership demanded that if a medicine is launched in the United States, and then 3 years later in Malaysia, the patent would start from when the medicine was launched in Malaysia, which is unfair. In other words, the treaty in effect would make healthcare less affordable to the citizens of Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Malaysia isn’t the first to raise a voice against this agreement. Australia’s Green Party has already been pressing its country’s government on the problems raised by the TPP. Greens Senator insists that the treaty, if the US gets its way, will led to big problems for the country.

In response, the Australian government is not just making attempts to justify the treaty, but is also planning a cost-benefit analysis in order to find proof that it would be in everyone’s benefit. On the contrary, local Pirate Party argued back in May that the agreement has no economic benefits at all.

The list of countries that have problems with the Trans-Pacific Partnership also includes Japan. The local press said that amid prolonged political turmoil, it had become almost impossible for the country to join talks on the TPP free trade accord before the end of 2012.

Hopefully, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will soon share the fate of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and, once again, bring the dreams of the entertainment industry back in the dirt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

UK Noted Broadband Boost

The UK’s regulatory body Ofcom has recently released the figures for average fixed-line residential broadband speeds, indicating a slight improvement as ISPs tout superfast speeds.

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The average of 9.0 Mbps reveals that connection speeds have now more than doubled if compared to those seen at the start of the broadband research four years ago. In November 2008, the average was only 3.6 Mbps. Now the telecoms watchdog claims that the speeds have also some improvement from the average this time in 2011, which was 6.8 Mbps. What is the reason for the increase?

First of all, there were more subscribers signing up to “superfast” packages from the likes of Virgin Media that promised up to 60 Mbps. Nevertheless, the average speeds for such packages grew insignificantly, from 35.5 Mbps last November to 35.8 Mbps in May 2012.

Anyway, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions increased to 8%, up from 5% in November and 2% in May 2011. In the meantime, the number of broadband packages that offered up to 10Mbps saw an increase from 48% in 2011 up to 68% this May.

In addition, Ofcom believes that the increases can be explained with many users receiving network upgrades from their ISPs, which are generally free for subscribers. For instance, BT upgraded its ASDL network, and Virgin started working on doubling speeds for its top end broadband package. But Thinkbroadband co-founder admitted that despite the fact that the speed increases would be welcomed by users, they aren’t a massive leap forward. He explained that the increases of speed in Ofcom’s report are attributable to the inclusion of superfast broadband services in the average, while the actual increase isn’t as impressive.

Meanwhile, upgrades by Openreach on older generation ADSL services do help to increase the speeds, with the average speeds more closely reflecting the real world. Thinkbroadband also pointed out that the results don’t necessarily consider users in rural areas unable to get fast (not even superfast) broadband speed, “struggling at the margins of online society”. It means that such users will surely need to see considerable improvements in the next 3 years if the government’s promise to provide the best broadband in Europe is ever going to be met.