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Facebook Tinkers With M-Commerce Tools
October 13, 2015
Facebook has added several new features designed to encourage m-commerce. One of them, Canvas, aims to improve mobile ad delivery. It isn't that people flat-out dislike ads on Facebook. However, Facebook's ad delivery service has suffered from the redirect. Canvas is designed to plug the conversion leak. With Canvas, a click quickly produces an assortment of a merchant's products in a native ad.
Apple's App Yanking Switches On Data Monitoring Red Light
October 12, 2015
Apple last week revealed that it had removed from its App Store several apps with root certificates that could allow data monitoring. The monitoring could compromise SSL and TLS protocols, the company said. It suggested users delete the apps and their associated configuration profiles. However, it did not name the apps users should delete.
Upvoted Tells the Story Behind Reddit's Best Stories
October 10, 2015
Reddit earlier this week announced the launch of Upvoted, a new publication featuring original content from a team of staff editors and writers. Reddit has more than 202 million monthly users. Its podcast have been downloaded more than 1.6 million times since January, and its newsletter has hundreds of thousands of subscribers, according to product manager Heath Black.
User Info Safe After LoopPay Attack, Says Samsung
October 9, 2015
Samsung has assured users that their information is safe following a computer intrusion of a key company linked to its mobile payment system. The intrusion may have occurred as early as March. Samsung purchased LoopPay for $250 million in February. Its technology allows mobile phones to perform payment card transactions with older POS terminals that recognize only cards with magnetic strips.
Facebook Tests New Button-Pushing Plan
October 8, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a pilot test of "Reactions," a way to respond to posts on the network in a more nuanced way than its Like button allows. The new feature is live in Spain and Ireland. CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously alluded to the eventual landing of a Like alternative, although he said it would not be a much-requested Dislike button. Facebook had good reasons to resist a Dislike button.
Verizon Supercookie to Let Advertisers Gorge on Customer Data
October 8, 2015
Verizon has announced it will begin sharing customer data with its AOL Advertising Network, triggering concerns about privacy and customer tracking. AOL will use Verizon's supercookie -- which is difficult to get rid of -- to track users. "This is a huge privacy problem, but carriers have never really cared that much about customer satisfaction," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Google Spearheads Effort to Hook Mobile Web on Speed
October 8, 2015
Google has announced Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, an open source initiative to speed up mobile Web page loading. The aim is to have Web pages with rich content -- such as video, animations and graphics -- work alongside smart ads and load instantly, with one code working across multiple platforms and devices. The project will use AMP HTML, an open framework based on existing Web technologies.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
Many Product Searchers Skip Google, Go Directly to Amazon
October 7, 2015
Amazon has become the first stop for nearly half of online shoppers researching potential purchases, according to a report BloomReach released Tuesday. Nearly half -- 44 percent -- of some 2,000 survey participants said they go directly to Amazon to search for products. That's a substantial increase from a similar survey Forrester Research conducted in 2012.
Microsoft Throws the Book at Apple
October 6, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday held an event in New York City where it unveiled a laptop, a tablet, three Lumia smartphones and a fitness band -- all running Windows 10 -- along with a slew of other products. It also announced new apps for Windows 10, including Box, Facebook, Instagram, Flipagram, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Uber. All of the apps will be available on the new devices.
Adobe Lays Out a Feast at Its MAX Picnic
October 6, 2015
Adobe raised the curtain on two mobile apps and a basket of product upgrades at its MAX conference in Los Angeles. Both new apps -- Photoshop Fix and Capture CC -- are free, but they initially will be available only to users of Apple's mobile devices. Photoshop Fix includes some commonly used Photoshop features -- exposure, contrast and saturation control, as well as object and blemish removal.
Another Day, Another Billion Android Users at Risk
October 5, 2015
Google on Monday released an over-the-air update for Nexus devices, which includes patches for the latest Stagefright vulnerabilities and other flaws. Android's Stagefright media processing feature, which recently imperiled 1 billion devices around the world, was once again putting them at risk, Zimperium revealed last week. Zimperium found two new vulnerabilities.
So What's Really the Best Smartphone?
October 5, 2015
The best smartphone on the market is the iPhone, right? That is the conventional wisdom. However, if I were to ask about the best shoes, shirt, car, boat or TV, the answers likely would be all over the map. When it comes to cars, for instance, I personally favor convertibles because they remind me of my youth when I could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and they are just more fun.
Microsoft and Google End Hostilities, Partner Up
October 2, 2015
There's strong, scientifically verifiable evidence indicating Microsoft's move to join the rest of the tech world in open source and collaboration was propelled by a compelling force: the Nadella effect. Since taking the company's helm, CEO Satya Nadella's message has been one of collaboration, and meeting consumers on their terms. For example, Microsoft pushed Office 365 to all major platforms.
Warning: Think Twice Before Updating to iOS 9
October 1, 2015
Apple, you insensitive scoundrel, you made my bride cry. It wasn't tears of joy over your great technology, either. It was because you caused the loss of countless personal photos and memories, and all sorts of other personal information that we can never get back again. It's all because you simply didn't warn users not to upgrade to iOS 9 until the bugs were worked out.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
Flights of Fancy: The Multibillion-Dollar World of Fantasy Sports
September 30, 2015
Americans are expected to spend $4.6 billion on fantasy sports this year, while vying for a payout of around $107 -- the average prize for winning the biggest fantasy league games, according to American Express. Driving that spending and risk taking are a passion for sports, the promise of purses, the push of new platforms, and the pull of camaraderie.
Sprint Bets Its Spectrum Will Suffice
September 29, 2015
Instead of bidding for the low-band spectrum that will be on offer, Sprint -- which is running neck-and-neck with T-Mobile, the self-styled "Un-Carrier" -- will focus on improving its network. It could be the last low-band auction the industry sees for decades, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said this summer. Up for grabs at the next auction are 600-MHz bands.
BlackBerry Sees the Android Light
September 28, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday announced that it would introduce an Android smartphone later this year. The announcement came during the company's Q2 earnings call. The device will be known as the "Priv" and will be built around user privacy, said CEO John Chen. BlackBerry didn't offer any specifics about the Priv beyond the name -- nothing about pricing, U.S. carrier partners or any handset specs.
Lockscreen Bug Fix Conspicuously Absent in iOS 9 Update
September 25, 2015
Apple has released the first update to its new iOS 9 operating system to clean up some bugs in the original version of the software. Bugs addressed in the update, iOS 9.0.1, include a system freeze on the slide to update screen, alarms and timers that would fail to go off, and frame distortion in paused videos. One bug Apple didn't address allows an intruder to bypass a device's lockscreen.
The Rich Get Internet-Richer While the Poor Get None
September 24, 2015
Efforts to increase Internet access worldwide are falling short of targeted goals, according to a United Nations Broadband Commission report released earlier this week. More than half the world's population is still offline, according to the report, and growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing. The digital divide has become a chasm.
When Will Siri, Cortana and Google Now Get Smart?
September 24, 2015
Microsoft's Cortana and Google Now seems very cool -- talking to a computer and having it talk back. It should be like talking to the computer on Star Trek's starship Enterprise. If the technology worked well, these digital assistants could be game-changing. Unfortunately, it doesn't -- not yet, anyway. In the wonderful world of technology, we often get way ahead of ourselves.
Review Roundup: iPhone 6s Joy Depends on Where You're Coming From
September 23, 2015
Notices for the new iPhones have started appearing, and Apple's hardware once again is being bathed in critical acclaim, with just a few cries of discontent. The new capabilities in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus may appear underwhelming to some observers, but not to Walt Mossberg. "These are things that improve the quality of the phone while generally making a fluid, powerful product even better."
Malware Jumps Apple's Garden Wall
September 22, 2015
Developers who unknowingly used a malicious tool to code their programs uploaded hundreds of malware-infected apps to the iTunes App Store, China-based iOS developers reportedly discovered last week. Security researchers around the world have analyzed it. Called "XcodeGhost," the malware is hidden in an unauthorized version of a program Apple distributes to create iOS apps.
Amazon Fans Fire's Flames
September 21, 2015
Amazon last week confirmed and detailed the bare-bones Fire tablet, which will sell for just $49 -- and it announced five other Fire family additions while it was at it. Flanking the Fire tablet are the refreshed Fire HD, the Fire TV with 4K, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote and the updated Fire Kids Edition. Amazon announced two flavors of the revisited Fire HD.
Apple Dresses iOS to the Nines
September 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday released iOS 9, the latest version of its mobile operating system. Although more evolutionary than revolutionary, it has some useful additions. The good news is that iOS 9 works on much of Apple's existing hardware. If your device can run iOS 8, it should be able to run iOS 9. However, some of the software's features are available only on the newest iOS devices -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the iPad Pro.
Unassuming iPhone 6s Could Knock Some Socks Off
September 15, 2015
Muffled by the rumors Apple TV had gone Hollywood and the giggles the Apple Pencil provoked, the latest additions to Apple's core product line -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- had to settle for a smaller share of the headlines coming out of last week's Hey Siri event. Although the iPhones received less media attention this year, it was not due lack of forward-facing features.
New iPhones Poised to Do Land Office Business
September 14, 2015
Apple is trumpeting the figures for its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus preorders, saying that it's on track to beat last year's first-weekend iPhone sales record of 10 million units. Last year's models included Apple's first large-screen smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus. Getting off to a good start is very important for a product, said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
Apple Figures Out Where Steve Jobs Got It Wrong
September 14, 2015
My big takeaway last week, when Apple launched the iPad Pro, was this: Apple just admitted Bill Gates was right and Steve Jobs was wrong. You see, years ago Steve Jobs went on about how the early Windows tablet, which was designed for work and had a stylus, was stupid. Steve was not a fan and pretty much dissed the entire tablet idea and then later dissed the whole idea of a stylus.
There's a New Google Wallet in Town
September 11, 2015
Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of Google Wallet to keep the app alive following its imminent transformation into Android Pay. Google Wallet (New) also has a few capabilities that aren't available in the about-to-be-promoted version. Google began rolling out Android Pay on Thursday. The original Google Wallet has been around since 2011.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.