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HTML5 is done, but two groups still wrestle over Web’s future

The following blog is an excerpt from the Cnet.com article ‘HTML5 is done, but two groups still wrestle over Web’s future’ by   

The World Wide Web Consortium finishes an update to this seminal Internet technology, but with two organizations in charge of the same Web standard, charting the Web’s future is a mess.

After a nearly 15-year gap, the World Wide Web Consortium said Tuesday it’s done standardizing the new version 5 of HTML, one of the two fundamental technologies that makes the Web work.

But while HTML5 is finished, a tug-of-war over how to set such standards — and therefore how to chart the future of the Web — is far from over. That’s because a second organization, the Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group, is also in charge of HTML, and a rift between the two appears to be widening instead of closing.

The tension between the W3C and the WHATWG has been present for years, but it’s got new consequences now: anything that slows the improvement of the Web means programmers are more likely to devote their energies to writing apps for smartphones and tablets running on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems instead of HTML5. When making their mobile operating systems, Google and Apple aren’t held back by the slower consensus-building processes used to make industry standards like HTML appeal to the broadest range of parties.

The Web isn’t dying, but slow development lets the world of mobile apps claim the initiative. The Web’s accomplishments — a computing system bigger than any one company working on it, and one with an impressive reach across the computing industry — diminish as its shortcomings rise to prominence.

In the meantime, the Web world must adjust to the differences between the two camps. The W3C, with a broader range of participants, uses a formally structured, deliberate, drawn-out process in which a series of drafts gradually become final standards released relatively infrequently. The WHATWG, born of browser makers’ cooperation when the W3C spurned their desire to improve HTML, produces a “living document” that’s continuously updated with the latest features and bug fixes. Where the W3C’s standard is fixed and stable, the WHATWG’s is fluid.

“It’s absolutely right that those different interest groups slug it out,” said Bruce Lawson, co-author of a book on HTML5 and an open standards advocate with browser maker Opera Software. “The Web is the biggest platform we’ve ever had. Therefore, it has more constituencies and competing interests than we’ve ever seen.”

W3C: The Web will win

W3C Chief Executive Jeff Jaffe acknowledges that the mobile app world is attracting a lot of developer interest. But in his view, the Web will prevail in the long run because it can span so many devices.

“There’s plenty of time for us to catch up,” Jaffe said. “The power and promise of interoperability across platforms is extraordinarily powerful. The mobile app was just the for the phone, but now it’s not. It’s going to be the e-book reader, the automobile, the TV. And all the sudden, the promise of interoperability is going to become even more important than when it was just the phone.”

To that end, Jaffe posted a blog earlier this month on application foundations. It calls for improvements in eight areas to make Web technologies more competitive with Android and iOS when it’s time for developers to write apps.

“What I’m trying to do is change the culture of the Web community to also think about what the developers need,” Jaffe said — not just nuts and bolts but functions like security, payments and tools that work even if a device isn’t connected to the Net.

Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady, who follows programmer issues, agrees that life is too hard for Web developers. “Native development” — writing apps for a specific operating system rather than for a Web browser on all operating systems — “is much more straightforward.”

Jaffe hopes to tackle these future standards issues this week in Santa Clara, Calif., at the W3C’s annual Technical Plenary Advisory Committee (TPAC) conference. Alex Russell — a Google employee who’s trying to improve the W3C through work on its Technical Architecture Group (TAG) — said TPAC also is a place to wrestle with the conflict around the best way to make standards.

“I think anyone trying to understand how screwed up this situation is really should come to W3C’s TPAC,” Russell said. “All of the agitators…will be there.”

HTML5 and W3C’s patent protections

For the W3C, the release of the final version of HTML5 — a step formally called a “recommendation” — is immensely significant. The nonprofit group was founded precisely to do such work, but the last version it released — HTML 4.01 — came in December 1999. The biggest change for average users of the Web, far and away, is video that becomes as ordinary as text and still images were before. That helps free the Web from browser plugins like Adobe Systems’ Flash Player that extend browser abilities but which also open them to new security and performance risks.

 

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iPhone 6 preorders estimated to have hit 100K in Samsung’s homeland

From the cnet.com article ‘iPhone 6 preorders estimated to have hit 100K in Samsung’s homeland’ by   

The iPhone numbers in South Korea top the preorders seen for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 over a similar period, says the New York Times.

The iPhone 6 is already proving hotter than the Galaxy Note 4 in Samsung’s home base of South Korea, according to preorder data cited by the New York Times.

Apple’s latest iPhones hit the preorder stage last Friday with all three of the country’s mobile carriers jumping in to take orders. Two of the carriers had reported preorder numbers in the tens of thousands in just under an hour, the Times reported Monday, surpassing the numbers for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 over a similar time frame in September.

The high preorder numbers in South Korea continue a trend seen in other countries. In the US and several other markets, initial iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus preorders reached a record 4 million in just 24 hours on September 12. In China, preorders for the new phones reportedly shot past 20 million over three days.

In mid-October, Apple announced that latestiPhone will sail to 36 more regions before month’s end to reach 69 markets altogether. The company plans to expand the phone to 115 countries by year’s end, which Apple said would be the fastest iPhone rollout yet.

In South Korea, the iPhone 6 officially will go on sale Friday. On the same day, sales will also launch in Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Guam, Hungary, Iceland, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macau, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Thailand.

Among the three South Korean carriers, KT Corp said that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models captured 10,000 preorders in just one minute, then surpassed 50,000 in 30 minutes, the Times reported. Fellow carrier LG Uplus, which is a newcomer to the iPhone, said it counted 20,000 preorders for the phone in 20 minutes.

SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest mobile provider, wouldn’t reveal specific numbers but told the Times that both the first and second batch of iPhone 6 presales have been fully booked. A third round was slated to start Monday morning.

Counting the specific numbers from KT Corp and LG Uplus and likely estimating the ones from SK Telecom, analysts believe that total presales for the new iPhones have hit around 100,000 in South Korea. That figure tops the estimated 30,000 preorders for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 seen last month over a similar period of time. A spokesman for LG Uplus confirmed to the Times that the pace of preorders for the Note 4 hasn’t matched that of the iPhone 6.

However, Samsung still is by far the dominant mobile phone player in South Korea with no immediate danger of being knocked off its throne. The company owns 63 percent of the market in its home country, said the Times, citing data from Counterpoint Research. In fourth place, Apple accounts for just 4 percent of the mobile phone market in South Korea.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.

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Apple dumps SSL 3.0 for push notifications due to Poodle flaw

From the Cnet.com Article by    

Apple will switch to the TLS encryption standard after disclosure of vulnerability that could expose encrypted data.

Apple said Wednesday it will stop supporting the encryption standard Secure Sockets Layer 3.0 for its push notifications service in response to a vulnerability identified earlier this month in the aging protocol.

Apple announced on its developer site that it will switch on October 29 from SSL 3.0 to Transport Layer Security (TLS), SSL’s more modern, less vulnerable younger sibling. Disclosed earlier this month, the vulnerability — called Poodle — allows encrypted information to be exposed by an attacker with network access.

“Providers using only SSL 3.0 will need to support TLS as soon as possible to ensure the Apple Push Notification service continues to perform as expected,” Apple said in its bulletin. “Providers that support both TLS and SSL 3.0 will not be affected and require no changes.”

To help developers test compatibility, Apple said it has already disabled SSL 3.0 in the development environment on its Provider Communication interface.

Poodle, which stands for Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption (PDF), is a problem because it’s used by both websites and Web browsers. Both must be reconfigured to prevent using SSL 3.0, and Poodle will remain a problem as long as SSL 3.0 is supported.

Once the most advanced form of Web encryption in use, the 15-year-old SSL 3.0 is used by few websites anymore, according to a study by the University of Michigan. However, Poodle still poses a threat because attackers can force browsers to downgrade to SSL 3.0.

Twitter already notified its users that it has disabled SSL 3.0 support, while Mozilla advised Firefox users to install a Mozilla security add-on that disables SSL 3.0. Along with Google and Mozilla, the University of Michigan researchers detailed how to disable SSL 3.0 for Internet Explorer.

Mozilla plans to disable SSL 3.0 in Firefox 34, the next version of the open-source browser. It’s currently in beta testing, with a release planned for the end of November. Mozilla has been testing the change in its Aurora version of Firefox, the precursor to the beta version, and so far, “There has been much less screaming about this than I anticipated,” said Mozilla’s Martin Thomson on Wednesday, discussing the change on Mozilla’s bug-tracker. Complaints would come from people who couldn’t use Web sites that required SSL 3.0.

CNET News staff writer Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.

 

 

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Microsoft reportedly ready to launch smartwatch in weeks

From the Cnet.com Article  ‘Microsoft reportedly ready to launch smartwatch in weeks’ by Seven Musil  ()

The device will sport a health-tracking features and work with multiple mobile platforms, Forbes reports.

Microsoft feels the time is right to enter the smartwatch sector, according to a Forbes report.

The tech giant is expected to launch a smartwatch in the next couple of weeks that will have health-tracking capabilities, including a heart-rate monitor, according to the report, which cited unidentified sources.

The device will reportedly be capable of syncing with devices running several mobile platforms, such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, and last more than two days with regular use. The gadget is expected to be available to consumers by the end of the year, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Microsoft has been linked to current smartwatch efforts as far back as April 2013, when the company was reportedly shopping around suppliers in Asia for components to build a potential touch-enabled watch device. Reports earlier this year indicated that the device would physically resemble Samsung’s Gear Fit with a full-color touch screen viewable on the inside of your wrist.

Microsoft has dabbled in the sector before, marketing devices running its once-hyped Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT). After pouring a lot of money into the effort and partnering with watchmakers such as Fossil, Suunto, and Swatch on high-end, touch-screen models that cost as much as $800, Microsoft pulled the stem out of the project in 2008.

Wearable devices such as smartwatches and smart glasses have commanded a great deal of consumers’ attention and manufacturers’ imagination in recent months. To differentiate their products from competitors, electronics makers have strived to create devices with varying options. While many smartwatches sport square faces reminiscent of digital watches of the 1970s, Motorola and LG have opted for traditional circular watch faces for greater fashion appeal.

But Microsoft seems to be focused on one of the key selling points that other players in the crowded smartwatch arena have already seized upon: health. Samsung’s Gear S — its sixth smartwatch launch in the past year — was unveiled in August and includes a heart rate monitor, pedometer, and sleep tracking.

Meanwhile, Samsung rival Apple unveiled the highly anticipated and much-speculated Watch last month. The new smartwatch taps into apps that can track heart rate, calories burned, activity level and certain fitness activities. It also works with other fitness apps, such as Nike+.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

 

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FBI director demands access to private cell phone data

From the cnet.com article ‘FBI director demands access to private cell phone data’ by  ()

To stop terrorists and other criminals, cell phones should have encryption backdoors to enable US government surveillance, argues FBI Director James Comey.

Cell phone encryption will prevent the federal government from stopping terrorists and child molesters unless the government is given special access, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told a Washington, DC, think tank on Thursday.

Comey, who noted that “both real-time communication and stored data are increasingly encrypted,” said that the trend by service providers to encrypt their customer data could prevent the government from lawfully pursuing criminals.

“Justice may be denied, because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive,” Comey said in his prepared remarks at the Brookings Institute. He explained that while Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) from 1994 mandated that telephone companies build wiretapping backdoors into their equipment, no such law forces new communication companies to do the same.

However, he didn’t mention that CALEA was expanded from its original mandate to include broadband Internet and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems like Skype in 2004.

Comey called out the default encryption in Apple’s iOS 8, and the optional Android encryption that will become the default for that operating system when Android 5.0 Lollipop is released next month, as blocking law enforcement from fully gathering evidence against suspects. He said that the solution was for tech firms to build “front-doors” on consumer cell phones and smartphones.

“We aren’t seeking a back-door approach,” Comey said, referring to a common term for encryption that has been intentionally weakened. “We want to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by law,” including court orders, he said.

The spying scandal that kicked off when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified surveillance documents has seen tech titans including Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook scramble to build tougher encryption into their products. Google’s Eric Schmidt warned that the spying will “break the Internet.”

The current fight over how to secure customer data isn’t the first time that tech firms and the US government have gone to war over encryption. In the 1990s, the “crypto wars” saw tech companies and industry advocates force the US government to repeal laws that deemed cryptography a weapon.

While evoking imagery of children at play and innocents exonerated of false accusations thanks to FBI investigations unencumbered by encryption, Comey derided concerns by the tech community that weakening encryption made devices more susceptible to cyber-criminal attacks.

He acknowledged that “adversaries will exploit any vulnerability they find,” but that those exploits introduced by a backdoor could be mitigated by “developing intercept solutions during the design phase,” he said.

Cryptography expert and University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze disagreed with that assumption. Comey’s speech, he said on Twitter, “didn’t merely dismiss or minimize the technical risks of back doors, it completely ignored them.”

Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist on its Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said that Comey’s insistence on weakening encryption opens the data to “foreign governments and criminals,” he said, “whether you call it a ‘front door’ or a ‘back door.'”

Soghoian noted in a blog post from 2010 that CALEA explicitly protects the right of a telecommunications company to build encryption to which only the customer possesses the cryptographic keys.

Comey’s speech appears to want to change that. The FBI didn’t return a request for comment.

Google declined to comment specifically on Comey’s statements, but reiterated its support for encryption. “People previously used safes and combination locks to keep their information secure — now they use encryption. It’s why we have worked hard to provide this added security for our users,” a Google spokesperson said.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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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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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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