Stop Bending the Apple Store’s iPhones

From the Gizmodo.com Article by Ashley Feinberg

In the wake of the uproar that followed last week’s purported iPhone 6 Plus pliability problem, some people have apparently taken it upon themselves to go into Apple Stores and bend iPhones. And while it pains us that this even needs to be said, guys, please: Breaking private property doesn’t prove anything. Except that you’re an asshole.

The most notable case of bandit benders so far comes in the form of a couple of British teens, who tried to stick it to the man by breaking wildly expensive smartphones that they did not pay for. As the Daily Dot notes, in the five-minute video the pair posted online, the kids not only recorded themselves breaking thousands of dollars worth of hardware for all the internet to see, but they round it all off with a solid “I don’t even care to be honest, because it’s Apple’s fault.” Except that no, it’s not.

Apple itself acknowledges that there are confirmed issues with new iPhones bending under some circumstances. But intentionally seeking to destroy an iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t mean it was poorly built, any more than walking into Best Buy with a baseball bat and smashing TVs doesn’t mean that the TVs should be more shatter-proof. It just means that you’re an idiot.

But they’re kids, you might say. Kids make mistakes. They sure do! And hopefully these particular teens have been publicly shamed enough that they’ll at least make their criminal activity less absurdly indictable in the future. But it’s not just kids that are doing this. Full-grown, literate, presumably mentally sound adults are walking into Apple Stores, bending iPhone 6 Plus floor models, and sharing their abuse of private property under the pretext that this somehow validates people’s complaints.

Why are you doing this? What is there to prove? Apple has received at least 9 official complaints. Some users have bent their iPhones through typical use. And physicists haveacknowledged that, yes, this phone does have some weak points. All of this is already established. When you go breaking private property on purpose, you’re not proving anything. You’re just creating noise. You’re distracting from the real conversation that needs to be had, which is just how common is this bending under normal circumstances, not under the circumstance where you intentionally act like a half-wit.

So please, stop going into Apple Stores to break the iPhones. And for god’s sake, don’t put it on the internet if you do.

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This Is What Happens When a Bootleg Website Falls

From the Gizmodo.com Article by Darren Orf

Bootleg websites, usually tucked away in some shady digital corner filled with pornographic pop up ads and potentially malignant viruses, are a permanent fixture on the internet. Offering up tons of illegally free content, these sites’ creators are the reason why publishing execs toss and turn in their sleep.

Some become internet celebrities and millionaires, much like Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom, most others aren’t so fortunate. The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham documented the life of Hana Beshara, known as Queen Phara and founder of the infamous NinjaVideo. The website’s short, two-year lifespan between 2008 and 2010 allowed users to download almost any TV show or movie you could imagine—all free of charge.

NinjaVideo, as well as a glutton of other online piracy sites, represented the untamed lawlessness of digital copyright infringement. But in 2008, legal streaming options became available to the masses, and these illegal sites suddenly became even bigger targets than before, as the article describes:

Unknown to Ms. Beshara and her collaborators, NinjaVideo had been targeted by the Motion Picture Association of America, which says the site aided in the infringement of millions of dollars’ worth of copyrighted movies, television programs and software products. NinjaVideo went live the same year as Hulu and Netflix Instant, Netflix’s video streaming service, and the M.P.A.A. was trying to reroute Internet users to legitimate online streaming outlets like them. The M.P.A.A. identified what it saw as other offending sites, too, like NinjaThis.com and TVShack.net, and funneled the names to the government. Eventually, those sites went offline as well.

Wortham describes Beshara as a kind of scapegoat who the federal government wanted to “make an example of” to prove that they meant business. After spending 16 months in prison, Beshara was released in April 2013, marked by an exuberant proclamation posted online: “I’m back, bitches.” However, her parole keeps from contacting any of her old NinjaVideo compatriots until 2015, but even if she has no plans to return to the piracy game, she still has no regrets.

Bootleg or piracy websites are an interesting cog in the digital streaming machine. Don’t get me wrong, they’re illegal…extremely illegal. Beshara says she made near $210,000 in only two years, according to NYT. But if it wasn’t for these sites’ existence, it’s hard to picture what online streaming would look like today. Bootleg websites fulfilled (and still fulfill…don’t lie) that basic Veruca Salt desire of “I want it now” and the publishing industry may need to adjust to those desires.

Content providers, Mr. Swanston says, will eventually have to consider new delivery models that are more closely aligned with how people behave. He imagines collaborations with streaming services to release content or simultaneously scheduling theater and digital streaming releases — ideas he hopes his company can help bring about. Some companies, like BitTorrent, which makes file-sharing technology, are already experimenting in this arena.

Just this Friday, BitTorrent teamed up with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to release a full length solo album, a first glimpse of BitTorrent’s future role in digital distribution, so in some ways, they way we purchase creative content online might already be changing. NinjaVideo, and other sites like it, are no doubt criminal operations, but those illegal outside pressures needed to exist in order to form the paid streaming structure we have today. That’s why sites like NinjaVideo will always be around.

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Protesters Are Using FireChat’s Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong

From the Gizmodo.com Article by Kate Knibbs

Protesters in Hong Kong have started communicating via FireChat, an app that lets people send messages without cell reception.

Tens of thousands of protestors are gathering in Hong Kong’s financial district to protest changes to election policy that would let a mainland Chinese committee vet the city’s political candidates, and many use their phones to organize. There’s a live feed of the protest you can watch on YouTube:
(This is a live feed stream from Hong Kong so CMOKC can’t be responsible for content of the live video feed, Viewers Discretion Advised.)

College students spearheaded the initial meetup, and this protest is appropriately tech-savvy. In addition to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Hong Kong’s activists are using iOS and Android app FireChat.

Activist Joshua Wong advised his fellow student protestors to download the app, which helped spread the word.

FireChat’s parent company Open Garden reports 100,000 new users from Hong Kong within 22 hours, and 33,000 users on the app at once. While that’s nothing for big networks like Twitter, FireChat is still a small, new, underused app. This surge in use highlights its value as a tool for political organizers.

FireChat helps people create what are known as “mesh networks.” These connections go between devices, using a phone’s hardware to link people in a daisy chain. Right now, FireChat can connect devices up to 200 feet apart. The geographic limit means the app is really only useful in crowds… but that’s exactly what the Occupy Central protests have drawn. Since the crowd is so dense, many people are able to create a large mesh network to spread updates.

Mesh networks are an especially resilient tool because there’s no easy way for a government to shut them down. They can’t just block cell reception or a site address. Mesh networks are like Voldemort after he split his soul into horcruxes (only not evil). Destroying one part won’t kill it unless you destroy each point of access; someone would have to turn off Bluetooth on every phone using FireChat to completely break the connection. This hard-to-break connection isn’t super important for casual chats, but during tense political showdowns, it could be a lifeline.

FireChat is not encrypted, which means anyone with the app can see all the public messages (it also doesn’t have a private chat function). So it’s a limited political tool. But with Instagram apparently blocked in mainland China as a result of this protest, the value of having an app that can resist government-imposed shutdowns is more obvious than ever.

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A Wearable Drone That Launches Off Your Wrist To Take Your Selfie

From the Techcrunch.com article by Greg Kumparak ( @grg)

Oh man, this would make a great picture. I wish there was someone else here to take our picture for us so we didn’t have to take a selfie!”

Has this ever happened to you?

Of course it has. You’re a human being in the 21st century who reads tech blogs.

The Nixie aims to solve that. It’s, as crazy as it feels to type this, a wearable selfie drone. A flying wristband, with a camera built in. When you’re ready for your close-up, it launches off your wrist, reorients to frame you in the shot, and then hovers back over for you to catch it.

The bad news? It’s… still pretty conceptual. It looks like they’ve got a prototype that can launch off your wrist and float away — but it’s still early days. They have a long way to go (this thing looks about as fragile as can be right now) — but even as a concept, it’s damned cool.

The good news? It’s a finalist in Intel’s Make It Wearable competition — meaning they’ve just scored themselves $50,000 and all of the mentorship, design help, and technical support a company like Intel can throw at them in order to make it real.

The project is the brainchild of Christoph Kohstall (a physics researcher at Stanford), and is built in collaboration with team members Jelena Jovanovic and Michael Niedermayr.

 

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Free Windows 9 For Some Isn’t Too Crazy

From the TechCrunch.com’s article by Alex Wilhelm(@alex)

At some point, speculating about what will become quickly obvious is difficult. Still, on the cusp as we are of the release of the first preview of what may be called Windows 9, it’s reasonable to take a few notes of the latest rumor cycle: Will Windows 9 be free?

Current gossip indicates that for Windows 8 and Windows XP users, the new code could be in the case of the former, free, and in the case of the latter, cheap.

Both are reasonable ideas: Windows 8 users have already paid for a recent copy of Windows — either through their OEM, or directly — and thus to provide them with a cheap or free copy of the operating system that may greatly improve their computing experience is sensible, and not forward-revenue expensive; those users are not really in the market for a new, full-priced operating system.

In the case of Windows XP, Microsoft remains hellbent to get users of that OS, now vulnerable due the end of formal support for the software, onto something more stable. And since it won’t be Windows 8, as we have learned over these past few years, then, well, what comes next will have to do.

Microsoft has made recent efforts to make Windows free for some. If you buy a small device, with a screen size of 9 inches or less, either phone or tablet, Windows is free. That’s a change. And so to see Microsoft potentially make part of its soul zero-cost to a certain subset of its current user base that are not, as it were, near-term sources of new Windows incomes, is not, as potential goes, too surprising.

Microsoft cannot afford to make Windows free to all, at once. Incomes from OneDrive, the Windows Store, and the like must mature first, granting the company revenue flexibility to be more drastic in a business model sense when it comes to its operating system.

Whatever the case, we’ll have a good first look at Windows in short order. And if Microsoft fails to show enough, it will be to its own detriment.

Steps are good, but when you need a leap, no iterative hop will make it across the chasm.

 

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Apple mops up iOS mess with new update

t’s iOS 8.0.2 to the rescue, Apple hopes, after a software upgrade the day before had a rough landing on thousands of iPhones. By   of CNET.com’s FULL ARTICLE

One day after a bungled iOS update disrupted key features on thousands of iPhones, Apple on Thursday issued a follow-on version of the software to set things right.

The newest update, iOS 8.0.2, is available immediately. The bruise to Apple’s public image — also dinged in the last few days by the discovery that its iPhone 6 Plus can be bent — may take longer to heal.

“iOS 8.0.2 … fixes an issue that affected iPhone 6and iPhone 6 Plus users who downloaded iOS 8.0.1, and includes improvements and bug fixes originally in iOS 8.0.1,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “We apologize for inconveniencing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users who were impacted by the bug in iOS 8.0.1.”

The impact of the bug was startling. Immediately after downloading iOS 8.0.1 on Wednesday, users began reporting that their iPhones could no longer connect to a cellular network to make calls. In addition, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on some devices ceased working, meaning people could not unlock their phones.

Apple reacted quickly, putting a stop to the 8.0.1 update after just a little over an hour, saying that it was investigating the reports of problems and promising that 8.0.2 would come “as soon as it’s ready in the next few days.” It also issued a workaround for those who’d lost cell service or the use of the Touch ID feature.

The company said that the problems affected fewer than 40,000 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices. Those latest-model phones had only just started arriving in consumers’ hands last Friday, and Apple had said that in the first weekend of sales, consumers had scarfed up 10 million of the devices.

And iOS 8 itself was hot off the presses. It had become available two days earlier, bringing with it a number of fixes and new features…

MORE AT CNET.COM IN THE LINK AT THE TOP.

 

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The iPhone 6 Plus Really Does Have A Bending Problem

Apparently metal may not be all its cracked up to be when it comes to the iPhone 6 Plus which, according to multiple complaints on the web and blogosphere, is becoming bent in peoples pockets. Check out the article and video links provided by Business Insider’s Sam Colt below:

On Tuesday the iPhone 6 Plus was forced to confront a question near the hearts of many new owners: will it bend?

In a word: Yes.

After photos of slightly bent iPhones began cropping up on social media, the folks at Unbox Therapy took to YouTube to decide once and for all whether the iPhone 6 Plus really had a bending problem.

The video shows a man take out his iPhone 6 Plus, which he apparently purchased last Friday, and try to break it in half.

At one point the iPhone looked as if it would snap in half, but after exerting ample force on the phone, the tester was able to do no more than bend the aluminum shell.

Still, it’s unclear how or why iPhones are bending in people’s pockets. It seems you need to apply a lot of force. Other tech journalists have said iPhone 6 Plus users should wear looser jeans, but you can chalk this up as a victory for the smaller, more practical 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-iphone-6-plus-bends-easily-2014-9#ixzz3ELPsMn2e

 

**Side note from the CMOKC Blogger, if you watch a linked video from Unbox Therapy, you will see he did the same test to the Galaxy Note as well with different results. Maybe there is something to be said about plastic.**

 

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6 of 30 tips (from CNET.com) every new iOS 8 user should know

Yesterday we brought you a CNET article that showed you how to hide photos on your iOS 8 equipped I-device, today we bring a handful of tips from their 30 tips every new iOS 8 user should know by James Martin, if you’d like to learn more please click the underlined link.

  1. Get notified when your boss emails: Tone down the number of email alerts you receive by using the new Notify Me feature in iOS 8. With it, you can set alerts for any email thread.To enable thread notifications, swipe left from the message list > More > Notify Me.
  2. Cut the clutter: Double-tapping the home button in iOS 8 not only shows you the app switcher, but also displays your “Favorite” and recent contacts.
  3. Find out what’s killing your battery: Finally — finally! — there’s a tool that shows you how much power your apps use. The tool organizes them in a list starting with the app (or setting) that demands the most.
  4. Use the camera’s built-in tools: Apple knows how much its users like taking photos, so it included some really useful camera tools in iOS 8. You can now control exposure without affecting the focus, and even shoot timelapses. Get to know all of iOS 8’s camera features.
  5. Find My iPhone — even when your battery is dying : If you lose your phone as the battery is dying, Apple can now automatically save its location data, increasing the chances of finding your phone. In order to use it, you’ll have to enable the option in your iCloud settings.
  6. Hand-free Siri commands Want to prompt Siri without holding the home button? There’s a setting for that. With the setting enabled, you can say “Hey Siri” and the personal assistant will start listening. There’s just one catch — your phone needs to be plugged in.
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How to hide (but not delete) a photo in iOS 8

From the CNET.com article by Matt Elliott

Now that you where to find your photos in iOS 8, let us discuss a new feature of iOS 8 that lets you hide photos.

In the Photos app, you now have the option of deleting or hiding photos. Neither choice, in fact, removes a photo immediately from your iPhone. When you delete a photo, it gets sent to the new Recently Deleted album, where it’ll stay for 30 days before being permanently deleted.

Each thumbnail in the Recently Deleted album shows you how many days it has left before it’ll get tossed for good, and you can take immediate action by selecting photos from this album and deleting them a second time, which removes them from your iPhone on the spot.

In addition to changing the photo deletion process, Apple has added a new feature that lets you hide photos from the Years, Collections, and Moments views but not from Albums, including the Recently Added album.

To hide a photo, tap and hold on a photo or its thumbnail till a small dialogue pops up with two options: Copy and Hide. Tap Hide and you’ll be given a large Hide Photo button along with a reminder that the photo will still be visible in Albums.

You can find all of your hidden photos in the new Hidden album. And from this album you can tap and hold to unhide a photo.

 

 

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Internet’s security bug tracker faces its ‘Y2K’ moment

From Cnet.com’s Seth Rosenblatt (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus)
Unless you spent the first part of the year under a rock or offline, you’ve probably heard of Heartbleed. But chances are you don’t know the devastating vulnerability by its proper name: CVE-2014-0160.

The three letters stand for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, 2014 refers to the year, and the last four digits tick up each time a new bug is reported.

That number is inching ever closer to 9,999 — and the alphanumeric combo is about to face a Y2K moment.

There’s a good chance the bug number will skate perilously close to the uncharted waters of five digits this year for the first time in the nearly 15-year history of the system. And as with many 15-year-old computer systems forced to suddenly upgrade, the situation could get messy.

The CVE is both more than and less than another vulnerability database. Created in 1999 by the federal government and now under the Department of Homeland Security to help security sleuths, the database provides a way to share information about bugs and the tools used to fix them. But it lacks specifics like the risks posed by a vulnerability, or detailed technical information.

Although part of the government, the CVE is maintained by Mitre, a not-for-profit group that runs numerous federally-funded research and development centers.

Steve Christey Coley, a principal information security engineer at Mitre, said that even Mitre doesn’t know “all the different products” that use CVEs.

“In 1999, we assigned four digits [to the CVE] because we couldn’t imagine a situation where [the CVE database] would have to cover 10,000 vulnerabilities in a single year,” Coley said.

A bit ruefully, he added: “Famous last words.”

The CVE is governed by a 24-member editorial board that Coley moderates, and voted in May 2013 to expand the CVE syntax from four to five digits dynamically, so that when six or seven digits become required, the number could grow as necessary. It was the board’s first formal vote in 12 years.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, the collection of brainiacs tasked with guiding the CVE initially couldn’t agree on a solution. Three finalist options were voted on, with a tie between the top two, necessitating a run-off and resulting in what Coley called “passionate” language between some board members.

“I felt like I was watching a cage match,” he said. “For a dry, technical issue, things sure got personal sometimes.”

But once the board made its decision on a 15-to-3 vote — with five voting members not participating and Coley not eligible to vote — the hard work and the nature of the CVE’s Y2K moment suddenly lay ahead.

Companies, nonprofits, and government organizations from around the world have relied on a four-digit CVE, and it isn’t clear how their systems will handle five digits.

Coley explained some of the potential bad outcomes — buffer overflows, major bug identifiers getting overwritten by minor ones — as leading to security risks.

“A major flaw could be replaced by a minor open-source bug if these tools are not updated,” Coley said, making it difficult — if not impossible — to track serious bugs.

Much like Y2K’s shift on the eve of the new century from using two digits to four digits to track years in computer programs, the CVE switchover to longer identifiers is happening regardless of whether CVE’s users have adapted to the new paradigm. Mitre has promised that by January 13, 2015, it will have tested at least one five-digit CVE — and that might actually happen before the end of the year.

The problem that Coley is wrestling with is that some organizations that use CVE’s still don’t know about the potentially impending doom and so haven’t checked for compatibility between their software and the new identifier system.

“People are still surprised to hear about this syntax change,” he said.

Some are onboard, though, such as Oracle, Red Hat, IBM, Microsoft, Symantec, NIST, China’s NSFocus, Security Tracker and CERT in the US, Japan and France.

“The big thing is,” Coley said, that “time is running out, and we know stuff will break. I hope that things will break quietly.”

Heartbleed may have been turned into a successful educational and warning campaign because of its ubiquity — a fact that earned its CVE more than 30 times the traffic of the next top 10 CVEs combined. But without a universal, functional tracking system behind it, the people who fight security bugs may suddenly have a much harder time getting their job done.

 

 

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