One Java With An Added PUP Please

Critical security updates to applications are essential to maintain a patched system from the many exploits which attempt to infiltrate ones PC. Certain software companies need patching more than others and this is no less evident with both Adobe Flash and Oracle Java, the aforementioned needs fixing every five minutes and the latter, well, is probably better uninstalled altogether. On the subject of Java, many websites are using a trick which promises an update but also bundles are PUP for good measure.

So, what are the tricks, well, when a user attempts to view content which requires a Java plugin on certain websites, a pop up appears stating that they should update their version of Java. By following the prompt the user lands on various pages unconnected with Java, for example one page is coined “Media Downloader”. The user is then asked to both downloaded and install a “setup.exe” file which turns out to be a PUP.  Quick tangent here, a novice computer user once asked me if it would download a dog, I replied PUP not Puppy, not joking either.

There are other techniques too, one masquerades on a webpage as a standard Java pop up update notification, further examination shows this is in fact a background image and not a pop up. If you click on this you might receive among others a bundler which offers Java but also others including Norton 360 (terrible program) PC Mechanic and for some reason Stormfall Age of War. This though can be avoided by checking the UAC prompt which lists this .exe file as from Verified Publisher “Super IS Fried Cookie Ltd”, sounds about as authentic as a fast food burger, mentioning no names.

As standard, make sure any software applications are downloaded from authentic sources, if you visit a page that promises an update, be cautious, check the URL and as an extra precaution, always scan downloaded files with a reputable Anti-Virus and if possible a Malware scanner as well. Quick side note, these days viruses are becoming harder to detect by AV companies, therefore, while it’s essential to have these suites available, always download from authentic sources and be sceptical.

Of course, if you don’t use Java then it might be better to uninstall it considering the amount of security issues it has faced over the last few years.

Image courtesy of limewheel

Cyanogen’s Microsoft Deal Is Not as Bad as You May Think

Not a lot of typical android users like to see the words “Microsoft apps included” when it involves their devices. Power users such as people who use CyanogenMod and Cyanogen OS are even more likely to react badly to this.

This meant that news that Cyanogen and Microsoft announcing that they are partnering to include Bing services, Outlook and other Microsoft apps on Cyanogen OS has caused a fair bit of uproar in the Android market.

The biggest concern is that the Microsoft applications will ruin the bloat-free experience that they changed to Cyanogen OS for. As it turns out the Microsoft integration with the OS will be different to previous Microsoft and android integrations. The first difference being that any applications that Microsoft add into the OS will be removable. You’ll be able to uninstall the app the same as any other application you install.

Cyanogen have not said if they will be releasing the changes in the next release of their OS (12.1).

It’s clear that the team at Cyanogen want to keep one aspect of their OS. They want to keep their OS an OS of choice, and offering an alternative to the google core applications and services is one of the parts of that.

Thank you to Android Central for this information

Image courtesy of  Droid Life

Man Builds Own Remote Control for Google Chrome

Jeff Bower decided that Google’s Chromecast accessory needed an upgrade, so he decided to go ahead and make his own remote control for this streaming USB device.

His remote was designed through a Raspberry Pi model B architecture, connecting it to a case and buttons. According to our sources, the total costing of this unit was around $55 US. with the programming being completed through the help of Pychromecast, which is a development kit designed for the Chromecast and Raspberry Pi technology.

According to reports, this unit functioned well with Chromecast apps such as Google Play movie store – with Bower stating that unfortunately the remote didn’t function correctly with third-party apps.

Bower discussed his build and findings on his personal Google+ page, commenting on facets of development and Netflix compatibility:

“When I tested against Google Play and Plex content (the majority of my viewing) it worked great, but as I dug deeper into the implementation I realized that Plex only works because of a custom file describing the commands (Plex is nice like that). Netflix is another story entirely, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the clear that can be captured and they’ve got a habit of locking out third party controls.”

Image courtesy of BGR and ebower.

China Apple Store Randomly Dominated by 1 Yuan Applications

$0.16 US, £0.10 GBP, $0.19 AUD or 1 yuan isn’t rather large amount of money – but it seems to be just enough for these app developers.

As ITHome reported, one morning they woke up and all of a sudden a ton of applications we’re listed at the low price of 1 yuan. There has been no official release from Apple as to why this change has been put into place, but it is rumored that it is to draw more ‘genuine’ users – seeing many previously free apps adopt the 1 yuan strategy along some big name offerings.

Some reports claim that this 1 yuan (3 yuan for some applications, too) implementation may succeed in fostering more genuine users, with less bot downloads – but may also draw people toward jail-breaking their phones in order to install them for free either way. Only time will tell however as this is all a big guess.

Some large scale applications have also implemented the 1 yuan method, seeing games such as Plague Inc., Limbo, Fire of God Vegas: Prometheus Rising among many other well developed mobile platform games being listed for the almost-nothing price. This may mean mean that more ‘freemium’ models will be implemented – seeing users be able to purchase in game points, gold or experience for real life money, alongside seeing them sit through annoying ads unless they pay $5 US or so to have them removed permanently.

There have been no announced plans as to if this will be released to the Western world, nor an official release from Apple regarding the subject. We will continue to report as more information comes to light.

Images courtesy of ITHome and Mobiloud

December Sees 4G Mobile Vehicle Networking Products Released

Finally, we are one step closer to Knightrider’s sidekick car ‘KITT‘ becoming a real-life thing! Shenzhen’s mobile 4G network construction has doubled in recent times and will be reportedly being utilized in motor vehicles as soon as December, 2014.

According to a report on November the 16th, Tencent Technology claim that later this month China Mobile will launch a 4G network based within motor vehicles (cars), allowing for advanced development of car networking and various other tasks. This technology will allow the car to place internet, entertainment, navigation, security, rescue, diagnostics and other functions all into one package. It will also provide users the ability to monitor fault checking and real-time remote viewing through their mobile devices – alongside applications for anti-theft and location methods.

Some other useful features on offer include mobile electronic central locking, cargo monitoring, route planning, yaw management and pet monitoring services.

The first 4G licenses were issued by the Ministry of Industry Operations to China Mobile earlier this year in April under the titles of “4G Utility Vehicle Machine”, “Travel Guardian” and “Bus Steward”. All of these were debut at the 2014 Bejing International Automotive Exhibition.

Shenzen Mobile has reportedly opened the first 10,000 4G base stations, citing Shenzhen as the forefront of China’s 4G technology. Shenzhen has now been provided with 4G coverage density as seen similarly in many major western nation cities. Why the upgrade from the commonly offered 3G? 4G technology offers up to 218 M/second transfer speeds, allowing for advanced applications such as what you’ve been reading above.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

BlackBerry Shows its Answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana

Personal assistants have been around for some time now, having people demanding a more complex and interactive approach from their voice-enabled personal assistants. Apple’s Siri has been the first to arrive, followed by Android and Google Now, and Microsoft’s recent Cortana addition in the WP 8.1. All of the latter provide users with some great features, coming with their own pros and cons. However, it seems that BlackBerry is gaining some ground in the personal assistant sphere with its new BlackBerry Assistant.

“The BlackBerry Assistant is in lockstep with what I need to do on my Passport, without being distracting or costly (resource-wise)” said Donny Halliwell, BlackBerry’s social media marketing executive.

It is said that the company will release the new feature to its BlackBerry 10 devices this Wednesday in the BlackBerry 10.3 update. This is said to be a welcomed development for BlackBerry users, as well as developers, since a voice-enabled personal assistant will boost the BlackBerry handset brand. In addition, BlackBerry could also draw some developers into making some productivity applications featuring the personal assistant, thus helping users “manage simple tasks” on their devices.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BGR

Freemium Apps Said to Generate 98% of Google Play’s Revenue in May

A study performed by App Annie is said to have revealed in a report that Google Play’s revenue in May was not made from paid applications. With over 1.5 million apps from the store platform, it appears that 98% of the revenue was generated from freemium applications.

The freemium applications, which are ‘free’ to download and play, but also provide ‘premium’ content which users can buy with real money, have proven to be the ‘gold mine’ for Google’s store platform. However, the reports also show that the majority of downloads from the store registered in May also indicated a decrease in freemium apps and an increase in free (no strings attached) applications.

App Annie apparently did not state the revenue spike from freemium apps in the given months, however downloads from previous months followed by content purchase later on might explain it since 90% of the revenue during the first quarter reportedly came from games.

The use of premium content inside games has been criticised for some time now, having gamers with more money be given an advantage over gamers who do not wish to invest in such applications. Nevertheless, data gathered by App Annie shows that while the jury decides whether or not freemium apps are unethical or not, the apps are currently deemed as commercially successful.

The study shows that the average application downloaded from Google Play earns roughly $1,150, while Apple’s App Store brings a figure of $4,000, followed by Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store bringing in only $625. Though there is a considerable gap between Apple and Google’s earnings, it is said that Google is quickly gaining some ground in markets from Asia, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Mashable

Kickstarter Projects Aims To Make Voice-Controlled Houses a Reality

There are all sorts of smart devices on the market, giving users the ability to control just about anything in your house and even your car, at least to some extent. However, in most cases, the user experience is not as satisfying as it should be when using the latter devices.

A Kickstarter project is aiming to solve this barrier through a project called Homey. The device bearing the same name is nothing more than an orb measuring 4.3″ in diameter, but the developers hope that it could become the next big thing in terms of smart homes.

Homey is thought to be a device with multiple connectivity inputs, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, ZigBee and Z-Wave, as well as Infrared, which can control almost anything in the house with the help of voice commands. Homey is connected to a Raspberry Pi Computer Module, running on custom software, and also features a companion app for iOS and Android devices, which grants users the ability to easily customise Homey’s settings. The device is also designed to give visual feedbacks on commands with the help of its multi-coloured LED ring placed in the middle.

Emile Nijssen, the creator of Homey, has been inspired by the Star Trek series when designing the device at hand, having users relying ultimately on voice in order to control their home. In addition to the above, Homey gives developers the opportunity to build applications which are then published to the device’s Labs section.

The project is hoping to raise €100,000 through crowdfunding on Kickstarter in order to begin production. The current estimated amount raised is €95,000 and there is no doubt about the project being funded. The lowest amount which individuals can pledge for a Homey device is reported to be €229, having its estimated delivery set in June 2015.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

5 Innovations That Improve Business Efficiency

Advances in Technology have led to increased efficiency throughout all areas of our lives. No other area has seen more improvements than the workplace. From warehouses to the office, technology has greatly improved productivity. Here’s a look at 5 of the best innovations for business efficiency.

1. Grexit

Image via Grexit.com

Grexit is innovative software developed to integrate all areas of communication within a company. It collaborates with Gmail software and streamlines project management. An individual can share an email with others and monitor the progress of various assignments — all within a Gmail inbox.

Labels allow the project manager to delegate assignments, and tracking features help to keep the project going full steam ahead.

2. Job Scheduling

If you’re working for a company that wants to minimize over- or under-scheduling, maximize work efficiency, and utilize all your resources, then look into improving your job scheduling. ORSYP’s job scheduling software offers a scalable approach to managing employees.

It gives real-time updates to its users, while insuring auditing standards are met. Job-scheduling software is an innovative way to ensure maximum production from your most important assets, your employees.

3. Stock Market Apps

Image via Google Play 

To be successful and efficient, businesses need to be fully aware of their surroundings. This includes knowing the economic climate. It can be difficult staying on top of the varying situations, but luckily technology has solved this problem through the use of applications.

There are several apps that easily display the current stock market situation and many of which provide understandable explanations. This will help any business prepare for fluctuations in the economy and adjust accordingly.

4. Cloud Storage

There are several available cloud storage programs that greatly improve workflow efficiency. With applications like DropBox, Google Drive, Soonr, and their like, cloud storage is a perfect solution for the hectic work place. It allows people in the office to simultaneously work on documents and share them with anyone who’s connected to the storage network.

Employees can edit, share, ad save documents to the cloud storage and then access them anywhere on a tablet, computer, or smartphone. This capability is unprecedented, and companies are just beginning to recognize the benefits of using cloud storage.

5. Video Conferencing 

Image via Flickr by Video Conferencing Solutions

The days of company managers traveling to obscure lands for business meetings are now a thing of the past. Advances in video conferencing have revolutionized the way we hold meetings. Owners no longer have to waste funds traveling and staying in hotels, they can easily communicate with people from across the world in the comfort of their office.

This is streamlining productivity because it allows a manger to meet with multiple clients in a personal manner building strength in those relationships. It also allows them to devote more time to the company because they do not have to travel as much. Video Conferencing is an excellent innovation in business efficiency.

An inefficient company is likely to struggle, especially in today’s competitive market. Companies need to take any steps they can to ensure productive expenditures. From video conferencing and job scheduling to accessible storage, technology has developed many useful innovations.

What other business innovations do you know of that can improve efficiency?