Friday, October 29, 2010

Facebook's apps secretly sending out users' information to third parties.

It has been revealed this last week by the Wall Street Journal that many of the most popular apps on Facebook have been secretly transmitting users' identification information to several Internet tracking companies and advertising firms. The most troubling aspect of the revelation, is that it has happened to even users who have chosen Facebook's strictest privacy settings.
Among the information transmitted, are users' names, gender, age, income level, Online activities and information about their friends too. Most of these information transmitting apps belong to outside developers including some of the most popular game makers like Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille may have violated Faceboook's rules and the social network site has taken action and some of those offending apps have been temporary disabled while the social networking company is looking for a technical solution to turn the loophole.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Verizon Wireless to start selling Apple's iPad by month

Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., is to start selling Apple's runaway hit, the iPad tablet computer. Until now, Apple has made the iPad available only through its stores and at some Best Buy stores. But given the smashing success of iPad and the frenzy it has created among a wide array of devices makers to come up with a tablet of their own, Apple felt compeled to widen its lead in the category by making it available through more outlets. Working towards that goal, Apple has recently decided to have all Best Buy stores carry the iPad and concluded deals with Target, Wal-Mart and its parent company Sams Club to let them carry the prized tablet. But the the recently news that Verizon Wireless, the U.S. biggest wireless carrier will soon include the iPad in its line up, may be the biggest of them all. There seems to be two reasons for that: for the first time, Apple is breaking from its exclusive relationship with AT&T as network partner; second, by patterning with Verizon Wireless, Apple is hoping to ride the waves of the carrier' reputation of coverage quality among cell phones users. Another smart phones maker that has ripped the profits of associating with Verizon Wireless, is Google whose Android phones has recently taken the first spot from Apple in the last quarter as the best selling in the market.
Verizon Wireless will start offering the iPad October 28 the same day it will be offered at ATA&T own stores too for the first time.
Unlike AT&T,Verizon Wireless won't sell a 3G version of the iPad. Instead, users will have to buy a device called MiFi about the size of a business card and roughly 0.4 inches thick, that connects to cellular networks and creates a portable Wi-Fi hot spot that can support up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Verizon Wireless's iPad/MiFi bundle is priced the same as iPads with AT&T's 3G service, ranging from $630 to $830 depending on the size of the device's memory. AT&T offers a cellular data plan with a 250 megabyte limit for $15 a month, and a 2 gigabyte cap for $25 a month.
Actually, Verizon Wireless will offer customers the option of bundling their iPad with its "MiFi" gadget for about $130, less than half the current cost of the device.
Verizon Wireless is also cutting the price of its data plans for the iPad, offering users 1 gigabyte of data for $20 a month, compared with current options of $40 for 250 megabytes and $60 for 5 gigabytes. Users can pay more for bigger plans, including a $50 a month plan for 5 gigabytes according to the Wall Street Journal.

For more, see

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gmail Calling offers unlimited free calls to and from the U.S. and Canada.

Gmail, Google very popular free e-mail service, has been offering free Internet based calls to and from the U.S.and Canada regardless if they are made to a computer or to an actual phone with Gmail Calling. But Gmail Calling works best with a free Google Voice account, which assigns you a phone number that links to all your other lines – work, home or mobile. It acts like a personal switchboard operator, allowing you to decide which phone will ring when someone dials your Google number. Without Google Voice, you can only place outgoing calls through Gmail.
Gmail is hardly the first Internet phone service. Skype has offered VoIP calling to computers since 2003 and telephones since 2004. Skype's presence is greater with nearly any computer in the world able to call any phone or other computer. Gmail calling now works only for U.S.-based Gmail accounts and charges for calls to international numbers cost from 2 cents a minute to landlines in much of Europe and Asia, to 99 cents a minute to Cuba. But Gmail calling with Google voice is versatile, because it can handle calls to your other phones. For the moment, it's also cheaper for certain types of calls. On Skype, computer-to-computer calls are free. But calling a phone costs 2.3 cents a minute to the U.S. and many other countries, or 2.99 a month for unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada. On Gmail, all outgoing calls to U.S. and Canadian numbers and all incoming calls are free, through at least the end of the year according to the Wall Street Journal.

For more, see

Friday, October 22, 2010

Verizon Wireless is rumored to begin selling iPhone next year.

Earlier this month, some persistent rumors have surfaced pointing to Apple's move to make a version of the iPhone available in the Verizon Wireless' network. The move is mainly a response to the growing threat posed by Android, the Google smartphone heavily promoted by Verizon Wireless and which took over the iPhone in the last quarter, as the best selling phone in the market.
Apple plans to begin mass producing the new iPhone by the end of the year, and it would be released in the first quarter of 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. The phone would resemble the iPhone 4 currently sold by AT&T, but would be based on an alternative wireless technology used by Verizon, still according to the Journal.

For more, see

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Microsoft proposes a "collective defense" system against computers botnets.

Trying to tackle the ever growing problem of hackers taking over computers and using them to commit all kind of criminal activities as part of rings called botnets, Micrososft has decided to do something about it since PCs are the most susceptible of such crimes. Microsoft's plan calls for blocking computers part of such rings, from accessing the Internet all together.
Experts at the software company call the system "collective defense" modeled after public health measures like vaccinations and quarantines, PC world reports.
Under a new proposal, " PCs would be issued a "health certificate" that showed whether the system was fully patched, that it was running security software and a firewall, and that it was malware-free. Machines with deficiencies would require patching or an antivirus update, while bot-infected PCs might be barred from the Internet. "
The new proposal which could face resistance from privacy advocacy groups, already face criticisms from some Internet experts who foresee the impracticable nature of the proposal.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 20, 2010, a customer service rating service of employees, is soon to launch.

Have you experienced a bad customer service lately? Instead of going to the culprit company's Web site and vent your frustration with no way of knowing that it will be heard, there is a better way to go about it. It is offered by a new Online service called Tello which lets users rate specific employees and business based on the level of customer service provided. It just launched this week with a website and an iPhone app.
Tello founders set to make the service to look more like Tweeter in the sense that people can rate an employee in less than thirty seconds. But Tello goes a bit further by allowing users to identify good employees so that they can seek their service the next time they are doing business with the company in question. Also, Tello will provide customer reaction data to businesses whose employees are rated by users of the service in the hope that they will encourage employees to provide better service and reward employees that consistently get good reviews on Tello according to the New York Times.

For more, see

Monday, October 18, 2010

Google to discontinue GOOG- 411 directory-assistance.

After three years, Google is doing way with GOOG-411 its directory-assistance service who looked revolutionary and way ahead of its time when it debuted. But compared with today's more advanced voice-search tools including the one for smartphones from Google itself, GOOG-411 appears obsolete.
However, we should never forget that GOOG-411 paved the way for today's relatively refined speech-recognition tools used by Android phones, including voice search, which lets you search Google by speaking rather than typing. In addition, voice input lets you fill a text field by speaking. And you can call a business simply by saying its name (into the phone).
Despite their gain in the marketplace, not everyone uses a smartphone and the loss of GOOG-411 will have the greatest impact for those still using flip/phones. Those users are offered a somewhat archaic tool consisting of sending a text message with the name and location of the business that they are looking for to "GOOGLE" or 466453. In return, they will receive a text back with the desired information.
GOOG-411 will shut down November 12.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Google Goggles is now available in the Apple iTunes Store.

Earlier last week, Google made the announcement that Goggles, its popular Android app, is now available for iPhones and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store. The app which allows users to do searches by taking pictures of objects with their phone's camera. The result of those searches may varies depending on the object photographed; for instance, the pictures of a street sign or a landmark will reveal things such as a Google map of the area along with articles or Wikepedia entries related to the area.
To app can be had by downloading the Google Mobile app for iPhone which will give users much more features such as voice search, location recognition, contact search and others Google services.
Here a video to see how the feature works:

For more, see

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Facebook changes to allow users to get more conrol when sharing and to own their own data.

Last week, Facebook unveiled some changes to its site in the hope of making it more accommodating to its millions of users. In a nutshell, the changes are meant to give users more control over the personal information they share on the site with different categories of people. For that purpose, Facebook has come up with the idea of allowing its users to divide their "friends" into different groups that can be public or private and differenciated by the depht of what can be shared with them.
Another issue addressed by the changes, is one that has raised a lot of questions in the past:data control. Critics have long blasted the social network giant over who can access users' data and what they can do with it. Facebook has taken the steps toward satisfying those critics thanks to two new features.
The first "one is a dashboard feature that allows users to keep track of information-sharing settings from third-party apps, such as plug-ins to other websites" according to the Wall Street Journal. Also, the dashboard displays exactly what personal information the apps of users' friends are pulling from them.
The other criticism leveled towards Facebook has always been about its take on data ownership. With the new changes, Facebook appeared to adopt a new attitude towards the issue.
The other new feature allows people to export the information they have entered into Facebook into one compressed zip file. With the information download feature, users become owners of their own data files, and could take them to other services the Wall Street added.

For more, see

Monday, October 11, 2010

Skype Mobile is now available to all Android phones owners with any carrier.

Skype Mobile which until now was only available to Android phone owners using Verizon Wireless in the U.S., is now open to anyone owning an Android phone on any network. The only requirement is that the phone has Android 2.1. With Skype Mobile, users will be able to make calls using 3G networks and Wi-Fi worldwide and Wi-Fi only in the U.S. The new app also allows all Android users to send and receive IMs through Skype for free, and hold conference calls with other Skype users for free. Charges apply when you start to use the app to include or call numbers that aren't Skype users according to AppScout.
Still according to AppScout, "current Skype users will be able to pull down their existing contact lists, and place calls to other Skype numbers for free." If you want to call non Skype users, you'll have to sign up for a calling plan or pay as you go. You'll have to sign up for a calling plan or pay-as-you-go if you plan to call non-Skype numbers, like traditional land-line telephones and other mobile phones. You'll also pay to receive calls to your Skype number from people who aren't using Skype.
The new Skype app also allows you to synchronize names and numbers between your Android phone's native contacts list and your Skype Address Book, so you can place calls to your friends using the Skype app back at your computer as well and vice versa. Instead of managing two contacts list, Skype combines them.

Watch here a demonstration of the app:

For more, see

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Square mobile credit card processing solution makes taking credit card payments accessible to anyone.

Ever wondered why is it that only companies and business in general accept credit cards as a method of payment? Well a San Francisco company has been asking the same question and has come up with a solution designed to brake that monopoly. The service is called Square Up from a San Francisco company called Square .
One reason behind the statu quo until now may have been the number of red tape and countless fees associated with setting up a credit card merchant account. Now for a moment, forget about all that. According to the New York Times, the Square Up system practically get rid of almost all fees reducing them to a bare bone of a couple: a transaction fees representing 2.75 percent of the total, plus 15 cents.
Concerning the equipment, all you need is an iPhone, Android phone, iPod Touch or an iPad and a half-inch reader attachment if you own any of the Apple devices while Android phones owners whose devices is equipped with a card-swiping slot, do not need any other piece of equipment.
To set up the whole system, you would need to download the app which is free.
Beside the low transaction fees, another beauty of Square Up is the fact that you only pay as you use it; if you don't, you don't owe anything.
To "ring" a transaction, just swipe the customer's card into the slot and have him or her sign their names on the phone's touch screen with their fingers. In case the customer is not physically present, just like any merchant would do, just have them provide their cards' required information.
From that point on, your phone connects to Square's server, process the transaction authorizes the purchase, sends a receipt by e-mail to the buyer and logs the transaction on your personal Square Web page. There, a tidy table that you can download as a spreadsheet, reports your income for the day.
To sign up with Square Up, you will have to provide your bank routing and account number allowing Square Up to deposit your money according to the New York Times.
But there is a little hang concerning the transfer of the money to your account: only the first $1,000 of each week's transaction ends up in your account immediately. Any amount over that may take up to a month pending review by the company's auditors before reaching your account. If you expect to use the service to process amount exceeding that threshold, there is a way to get around that $1,000 limit by providing Square Up with more information about your business when you first sign up.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New improved Line2 app has added unlimited text messages at a lower price.

Line 2, an iPhone app that allows you to make phone calls with your iPhone using a Wi-Fi hot spot wherever there is a weak cellphone signal and to turn an iPod Touch or iPad into a full blown cellphone for as little as $15 a month, has gone through some enhancements and is now better than before.
At a cost of $10 a month, Line 2 gives you a second phone number for a second phone line complete with its own contact list, voicemail while turning the iPhone into a dual-mode phone which means it can make and receive unlimited calls for free Wi-Fi connection.
The new and enhanced Line 2 have features like the possibility to delete recent calls entries, transfer incoming calls to your Line 2 number to your iPhone's when Line 2 is not running. The new Line 2 app will also you to send and receive unlimited text messages when in a Wi-Fi hot spot even without an AT&T text plan according to the New York Times.

For more, see

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Clue is a free and easy to use Web site testing service.

Some Web sites owners may spend a lot of time and efforts building their portals and not see their labor bear the fruits that they would have expected. It can be that their sites do not get a lot of traffic or they can't transform the traffic that they get into more business. The fact that a Web site is not producing the desirable results can be linked to many causes, like the fact that visitors do not recall much of the site after a visit. If you own a Web site and suspect that may be the case with yours, you don't have to stay idle and hope for the best.
Fortunately, there are some tools available today that allow you for testing your site visitors' memory of your site. Some of them like are very comprehensive but come at a price. On the other hand, Clue is a free tool from Bay Area interaction design and design strategy firm ZURB, that lets you create a 5-second interactive memory test that you can use to test what people remember about your product according to the New York Times.
Here are how the test works:Go to Clue and enter the URL of the site that you want to test and Clue will take a screenshot of the site and return a link that you can give to your test subjects.
Once you got the results, you can then work on twisting your site look, feel or content to match what you actually want them to remember about you and your product.
The service is free and is mainly aimed at small business and retailers with little time or resources to devote to running a Web site.

For more, see

Monday, October 4, 2010

How to hide from some friends while chatting on Facebook.

Wanting to chat with your Facebook friends but stay invisible to some of them? There is a way to do just that. It is called Friend List feature which let you set who can see you while you are Online. You can set the feature by clicking the Chat tab inside the chat window and see which of your friends are also signed into that chat. From there, you just follow the step by step instructions leading to the creation of a Hide on Chat category or your ticket to some peace of mind from those you do not want to be bothered by

For more, see

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