June 24, 2012

iPhone loses Google Maps, adds Facebook integration - USATODAY.com

SAN FRANCISCO — SAN FRANCISCO Apple is kicking an important Google application off its iPhone and buddying up with Facebook rather than Google's social network, as it distances itself from a bitter rival in the phone arena.

The Google Maps application has resided on the iPhone since Apple launched the first version of the phone in 2007. It's one of the core apps and can't be deleted by the user.

But, on Monday, Apple executives said Google Maps will be replaced by an Apple-developed app in iOS 6, the new operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. It's set to be released late this year.

Apple and Google are locked in a fight over the attention of hundreds of millions of phone users, as well as the advertising opportunities that come with owning a mapping application.

Smartphones from companies like Samsung and Google's own Motorola division are the chief alternatives to the iPhone, and Apple has been suing those manufacturers in court, accusing them of ripping off the iPhone's groundbreaking features.

Apple also said it's building Facebook into iOS 6, snubbing the Google Plus social network. Users will be able to update their Facebook status by talking to their phones and "like" movies and apps in Apple's iTunes store, Apple executive Scott Forstall said.

The announcements were part of the keynote presentation that kicked off Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Apple presented new features in both phone and Mac software, plus updated laptops. But investors were mildly disappointed, because they expected more substantive news, like a hint of Apple's ambition to get into making TVs. Analysts had speculated that Apple would at least update the software on the Apple TV, a small box that connects a TV set to iTunes for movie downloads, as a prelude to perhaps launching a fully integrated TV set.

Apple shares closed down $9.15, or 1.6 percent, at $571.17.

Apple updates its iOS software every year to coincide with the launch of a new iPhone.

Among other updates in iOS 6, Apple's voice-command application Siri will add a host of new languages, including Spanish, Korean and Mandarin Chinese, Forstall said.

"She" will also be able to launch applications and movies and will run on iPads for the first time.

Apple also said the new version of its Mac operating system, Mountain Lion, will go on sale next month for $20. The update brings to the Mac features from Apple's phone and tablet software, like the iMessage texting application.

Microsoft Corp., Apple's competitor when it comes to computer software, is also making Windows more like its phone software with the release of Windows 8 later this year. A key difference is that Microsoft is betting that PCs will have touch screens, while Apple is betting they won't.

Mountain Lion will also bring dictation to Macs. Users will be able to input text by talking to the computer, in any program. This is already a feature of Microsoft Corp.'s competing Windows software.

On the hardware side, Apple showed off a laptop with a superhigh-resolution "Retina" display, setting a new standard for screen sharpness.

The new MacBook Pro will have a 15-inch screen and four times the resolution of previous models, Apple executive Phil Schiller said.

Apple already uses Retina displays, with individual pixels too small to be distinguished by the naked eye, in its latest iPhones and iPads. On the phones and tablets, the Retina display is standard. On the MacBook, it's an expensive upgrade. The new MacBook will cost $2,199 and up, $400 more than the non-Retina MacBook with the same-size screen.

The new MacBook borrows features from the ultraslim MacBook Air. It's only slightly thicker and, like the Air, lacks a DVD drive. Instead of a spinning hard drive, it uses flash memory for storage. In the most radical departure from the past decades of PC design, it lacks an Ethernet port. Those who don't want to use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet will have to buy an adapter that goes into the MacBook's "Thunderbolt" port.

Apple's other MacBooks are being updated with the latest processors from Intel Corp. Apple will still sell a more traditional 15-inch MacBook Pro with a standard display.

By Peter Svensson, Associated PressPosted Jun 12, 2012

iPhone loses Google Maps, adds Facebook integration - USATODAY.com

Phoenix man goes against Facebook

A locally produced Web-browser extension that generated $250,000 in revenue in its first two weeks of beta testing has online security and legal experts fighting over whether the software is legitimate or illegal.

At the center of the controversy is Phoenix software developer Dru Mundorff, creator of the virally spread browser app that he calls LilyJade, after his two daughters.

The 29-year-old Mundorff said LilyJade is a legal way for Facebook users to assert some control over the ads they see on Facebook and eventually other social-networking sites, too.

Mundorff said he envisions the software being used to generate revenue for charity organizations to support causes such as cancer research.

It also helps protect Facebook users from malware attacks, Mundorff said.

Facebook and some online-security and legal experts call LilyJade an illegal malware application that uses obfuscation, deception and spam to hijack users' Facebook pages.

LilyJade funnels Facebook ad revenue to Mundorff's customers by replacing some of the ads normally seen on Facebook with their own ads.

In other words, the user sees different ads than the ones Facebook intended, and a customer of Mundorff's whose copy of LilyJade was installed by the user receives the ad revenue instead of Facebook.

Mundorff's customers purchase a copy of the LilyJade software for $1,000, which includes a control panel that allows the customer to grow and monitor his or her own network of LilyJade-installed "victim" computers.

Mundorff said the term "victim" is hacker lingo and does not mean the LilyJade-installed computer is being victimized.

LilyJade spreads by posting an ad for itself to the user's Facebook "wall" every 10 days, Mundorff said. The idea is that LilyJade users' friends will click on the ad and install the software.

Mundorff insists that LilyJade is not malware because each user must read and agree to a terms-of-service agreement.

Aside from swapping out some Facebook ads and turning the user's account into a vector for the spread of LilyJade, the software does nothing malicious and is not unlike other commonly used ad-blocker applications, he said.

Attorneys for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook Inc. disagree.

On May 15, Facebook attorneys issued a cease-and-desist letter to Mundorff and his partner, Joseph Woreth, of South Setauket, N.Y.

The letter describes LilyJade as "malicious browser software that violates Facebook's terms and abuses Facebook users for gain."

"Mr. Mundorff, Facebook also has documented your attempts to sell the credentials of 80,000 Facebook users who have been victimized by your software," the letter states.

The letter goes on to list several state and federal computer-fraud and online-security laws that Facebook attorneys say Mundorff "may have violated."

It also revokes Mundorff and Woreth's licenses to use Facebook and bars all "agents," "employees" and "anyone acting on (their) behalf" from using the social-networking site.

Mundorff said he has chosen to ignore the letter and that he does not believe Facebook has a legal right to stop him.

"There's nothing that the program is doing that is currently illegal," he said.

Mundorff said he has consulted with several attorneys who specialize in Internet-related law, and that all said LilyJade passed muster.

But Douglas Sylvester, dean of Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and an expert on Internet laws, said the software faces a number of potential legal problems.

Foremost, he said, is that companies such as Facebook have a legal right to dictate the way their products and services are used.

Creating software that replaces or changes Facebook's ad content could be regarded as a violation of that right and might not stand up to a legal challenge, Sylvester said.

Legally, it is not the same as simply blocking content, which is what ad-blocker software does, he said.

Another potential problem for Mundorff is that a judge could interpret his Facebook-wall-posting method of spreading the software as a violation of federal laws against mass e-mailing, also known as spam.

A law known as the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, which limits the legal use of mass e-mail marketing, does not specifically mention social-networking spam but could be interpreted by a judge as covering that type of activity, Sylvester said.

If so, Mundorff could be held liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and penalties, he said.

"The damages in these CAN-SPAM lawsuits can be huge," Sylvester said. "It is a very serious law that was designed to crush spammers, when you can find them."

At least one leading computer-security firm, Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, has categorized LilyJade as malware and instructed its anti-virus software to block the program.

Mundorff said it was only pressure from Facebook that led Kaspersky to label his software a malicious "worm," and that other makers of anti-virus software have evaluated LilyJade and do not consider it malware.

"Facebook is a bully," he said. "They literally have more pull than 99 percent of the companies in the world."

Mundorff said the only thing that can stop him is for Facebook attorneys to prove in court that what he is doing is wrong.

"They can go and arrest me and put me in jail," he said. "My system can run on auto-pilot."

Glossary of Internet terms

Web-browser extension: A computer program that extends the functionality of a Web browser in some way, such as by adding or changing certain features.

Spam: A mass e-mail message used to market products or services or to spread malware.

Malware: Computer software developed for malicious purposes, such as to alter or monitor the activity on a user's computer.

Worm: A malware program that replicates itself to spread to other computers.

11 comments by Craig Anderson - Jun. 9, 2012 03:16 PM The Republic | azcentral.com

Phoenix man goes against Facebook

5 Advanced Twitter Tips for Your Small Business

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

So you’re running a small business and you’ve got the basics of social networking mastered: You tweet often, you’ve created a venue on Foursquare and your Facebook Page is beautiful. How do you move to the next level of social marketing mastery?

Devin Desjarlais, social media manager at Max Borges Agency, has five can’t-miss tips for upping your Twitter game.

1. Don’t Schedule and Split

Scheduling tweets with a platform such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck can be a great way to spread out your business’ social sharing throughout the day. However, Desjarlais says that it’s important to pay attention to any responses your scheduled tweets may elicit — the follow-up conversation is just as important as the initial tweet, if not more.

“The key to attracting a following on Twitter is to engage with users,” Desjarlais says. “Hootsuite is a free platform that allows companies to schedule tweets for all accounts in one place. That means that you won’t have to spend all day planning the next 140 characters to publish. However, check back hourly to see who has tweeted back at you. Twitter users have a short attention span, so it’s important to respond as quickly as possible.”

2. Sit in the Stream

Get familiar with platforms that let you build streams around phrases or hashtags relevant to your company. That way, you’ve always got your ear to the social ground.

“Hashtags are an excellent way to track conversation about a specific topic,” Desjarlais says. “With Hootsuite, companies can create streams that track a specific hashtag, giving the account manager an easy way to find content and engage with other tweeters. For example, if your company makes custom guitars, you might want to follow a stream dedicated to the #music hashtag.”

3. Don’t Rely on Your Handle

It’s the mark of a successful social company to have plenty of customers tweeting at you or about you using your Twitter handle, but you can’t rely on all users to do that. If you’re only listening for tweets mentioning @BobsBurgerShack, for example, you’ll miss out on a tweet such as, “Man, I wish Bob’s Burger Shack had relish!”

The solution? Enhanced listening techniques.

“Topsy.com is a little-known website that lets users do real-time searches in the social web,” Desjarlais explains. “Do daily searches for your company’s name and narrow the search results to just tweets to see who is talking about your company but not @-mentioning you.” Or you can save searches for some key terms and common permutations of your company name, such as “Bobs burger” and “Bobs cheeseburger.”

4. Don’t Be a Social Egomaniac

While the majority of your tweets will probably be about your business, it’s important to develop a personality beyond tweeting out discounts or new menu options. It’s all about building a human personality.

“The last thing a company wants to do is spam their followers with tweets,” she says. “Twitter is about sharing ideas, information and occasionally inspirational quotes in order to build a community around what the business offers. Try to tweet at least five times per day and dedicate one or two of those tweets to sending users back to your company’s website. Schedule those posts between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. EST on the weekdays for the most engagement.”

5. Stay on Track

Determining the return on investment of social networking can be a real challenge, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to complex analytics. Desjarlais says free tools are available to make that task just a bit easier.

“The URL shortener Bitly lets users create shortened links for any URL available online,” says Desjarlais. “Sign up for a free Bitly account and create custom Bitly links or ‘bitmarks’ that can be used whenever you send users back to your company’s website. To see how many people have clicked the link, simply paste the URL with a ‘+’ at the end into your Internet browser to see up-to-date metrics.”

Keep on Being Social

by Alex Fitzpatrick Mashable Jun 23, 2012

5 Advanced Twitter Tips for Your Small Business

June 7, 2012

Facebook accounts for kids under 13 possible

A child looks at a laptop displaying Facebook logos in Hyderabad, India.
Associated Press A child looks at a laptop displaying Facebook logos in Hyderabad, India.

NEW YORK - Though Facebook bans children under 13, millions of them have created profiles on the site by lying about their age.

The company is now testing ways to allow those kids to participate without needing to lie. This would likely be under parental supervision, such as by connecting children's accounts to their parents' accounts.

Like many other online services, Facebook prohibits kids under 13 because federal law requires companies to obtain parental consent if they want to collect information about those children.

Such information collection is central to Facebook. Every photo or status update a kid posts on Facebook could count as information collection. Many companies consider the parental-consent requirement too burdensome, so they simply ban all children under 13 instead.

But that ban is difficult to enforce. In many cases, parents themselves help children skirt it by setting up profiles for them and lying about their ages. There are an estimated 7.5 million kids under 13 on Facebook, out of more than 900 million users worldwide.

In a statement, Facebook noted that many recent reports have highlighted "just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services."

"We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment," the company said.

Few details are available on the nature of Facebook's tests, which theWall Street Journal reported Monday. Relaxing the ban on younger children could be a long way off or never get implemented, as happens with many features that Facebook tests.

The report comes just weeks after Facebook began trading stock as a public company.

Its stock price has fallen in part because of concerns about its ability to keep increasing revenue and make money from its growing mobile audience.

To James Steyer, the CEO of the non-profit Common Sense Media, Facebook's discussions on permitting young kids to join is about expanding its audience -- and profits.

"With the growing concerns and pressure around Facebook's business model, the company appears to be doing whatever it takes to identify new revenue streams and short-term corporate profits to impress spooked shareholders," Steyer said in a statement.

But Stephen Balkan, the CEO of another kids-and-technology non-profit, the Family Online Safety Institute, disagrees.

Balkan, who sits on Facebook's Safety Advisory Board in an unpaid position, said the company has been discussing the issue for more than a year.

That's months before Facebook made regulatory filings in February for its initial public offering of stock, which took place in mid-May.

"It has nothing to do with the IPO," he said.

Balkan offered some ideas about what Facebook could look like for kids. For one, the default setting to their account could be set to "friends only" so that strangers can't see their posts. Teenagers who are 13 to 17 currently have their accounts set to "friends of friends" by default, so the under-13 restriction would be a step beyond that.

In addition, parents could have final say on whom their kids become friends with on Facebook.

And Facebook could even keep advertising off kids' accounts, he added.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we see some movement from Facebook on this before the end of the year," Balkan said.

by Barbara Ortutay - Jun. 4, 2012 06:38 PM Associated Press

Facebook accounts for kids under 13 possible

June 2, 2012

U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy

The Pentagon is turning to the private sector, universities and even computer gamers as part of an ambitious effort to develop technologies to improve its cyberwarfare capabilities, launch effective attacks and withstand the likely retaliation.

The previously unreported effort, which its authors have dubbed Plan X, marks a new phase in the nation's fledgling military operations in cyberspace, which have focused more on protecting the Defense Department's own computer systems than on disrupting or destroying those of enemies.

Plan X is a project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Pentagon agency that focuses on experimental efforts and has a key role in harnessing computing power to help the military wage war more effectively.

"If they can do it, it's a really big deal," said Herbert S. Lin, a cyberexpert with the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. "If they achieve it, they're talking about being able to dominate the digital battlefield just like they do the traditional battlefield."

Cyberwarfare conjures images of smoking servers, downed electrical systems and exploding industrial plants, but military officials say that cyberweapons are unlikely to be used on their own. Instead, they would support conventional attacks, by blinding an enemy to an impending airstrike, for example, or disabling a foe's communications system during battle.

The five-year, $110 million research program will begin seeking proposals this summer. Among the goals will be the creation of an advanced map that details the entirety of cyberspace -- a global domain that includes tens of billions of computers and other devices -- and updates itself continuously. Such a map would help commanders identify targets and disable them using computer code delivered through the Internet or other means.

Another goal is the creation of a new, robust operating system capable of both launching attacks and surviving counterattacks. Officials say this would be the cyberspace equivalent of an armored tank; they compare existing computer operating systems to SUVs -- well-suited to peaceful highways but too vulnerable to work on battlefields.

The architects of Plan X also hope to develop systems that could give commanders the ability to carry out speed-of-light attacks and counterattacks using preplanned scenarios that do not involve human operators manually typing in code -- a process considered much too slow.

Officials compare this to flying an airplane on autopilot along predetermined routes.

It makes sense "to take this on right now," said Richard M. George, a former NSA cyberdefense official. "Other countries are preparing for a cyberwar. If we're not pushing the envelope in cyber, somebody else will."

The shift in focus is significant, said officials from the Pentagon agency, known by its acronym DARPA. Cyberoperations are rooted in the shadowy world of intelligence-gathering and electronic-spying organizations such as the National Security Agency.

Unlike espionage, military cyberattacks would be aimed at achieving a physical effect -- disrupting or shutting down a computer, for example -- and probably would be carried out by U.S. Cyber Command, the organization that was launched in 2010 next to NSA in Fort Meade.

"Because the origins of cyberattack have been in the intelligence community, there's a tendency to believe that simply doing more of what they're doing will get us what we need," said Kaigham J. Gabriel, acting director of DARPA. "That's not the way we see it. There's a different speed, scale and range of capabilities that you need. No matter how much red you buy, it's not orange."

Plan X is part of a larger DARPA effort begun several years ago to create breakthrough offensive and defensive cybercapabilities. With a cyberbudget of $1.54 billion from 2013-17, the agency will focus increasingly on cyberoffense to meet military needs, officials say.

In addition to helping create the Internet, DARPA's work gave rise to stealth-jet technology and portable global-positioning devices.

Iran: 'Flame' Virus hit oil ministry site first

Iranian computer technicians battling to contain a complex virus last month resorted to the ultimate firewall measures -- cutting off Internet links to Iran's Oil Ministry, rigs and the hub for nearly all the country's crude exports. At the time, Iranian officials described it as a data-siphoning blitz on key oil networks.

On Wednesday, they gave it a name: A strike by the powerful "Flame" malware that experts this week have called a new and highly sophisticated program capable of hauling away computer files and even listening in on computer users. Its origins remain a mystery, but international suspicion quickly fell on Israel opening another front in its suspected covert wars with archenemy Tehran.

by Ellen Nakashima - May. 30, 2012 11:51 PM Washington Post

U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy


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