Chinese Agencies Demands Result in iBooks and iTunes Shut Down

Apple is one of the few companies that has managed to stay active in China where regulation of digital services is strictly controlled by the countries many agencies. That was until last week when several of Apple’s services were shut down in China.

Apple’s iBooks store and iTunes movies were shut down last week, following the demands of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Apple has since responded saying that they hope to “make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible”, something that implies there is a condition to the services.

Apple managed to launch Apple pay in the country just two months ago, and with it counting China’s as its second biggest market, any services that are stopped would have a huge impact on the company. China is known for the censorship of its technology, with the country hidden behind “the great firewall” while it’s suspected that several groups within the country are behind large-scale hacks in other countries.

Recently Apple denied ever handing over its source code to China, a move that may or may not have contributed to the states less favorable look for the California-based company.

UK Company Gives Employees Time Off To Watch Game Of Thrones

So that new TV series has come out, be it the latest season of a show or an entirely new show and you end up at work or school just counting down the minutes hoping that no one spoils the episode for you. Well if you work for +rehabstudios, a UK-based company, you might get to avoid this trouble by giving employees time off to watch the Game of Thrones when it comes out.

Posting to Facebook to share the news, the document which appears to be screenshotted in the post seems to be a contract, with a little extra added in. The exact paragraph reads:

“All +rehabstudio UK staff (London and Belfast offices) will also receive an additional half day (morning) holiday following the first episode for each new season of Game Of Thrones when simulaunched with the US. US staff are reminded not to share spoilers on the intranet until after the show has aired in the UK 24 hours later.”

According to founding partner, Tim Rodgers, the perk’s been very well received, with hundreds of people supporting it while others have gone so far as to ask if it can be transferred to other shows like The Walking Dead, something he replied to with “that’s fine with us too”. Explaining that the company wanted to add an “extra perk” to the handbook, they decided that given the companies link to the show, having started in Belfast where the show is filmed, the company are always welcome to new suggestions for the little extra perk next year.

The Company Deleted by One Line of Code Was a Hoax!

Yesterday we reported that a man had mistakenly deleted his entire company using just one line of faulty code. Now it turns out that the entire thing appears to have been made up by the poster as a publicity stunt.

Marco Marsala posted on the Server Fault forums asking for help earlier this week, explaining that his careless use of the “rm -rf” command in Unix had caused him to accidentally delete the contents of all of his servers, including the backups. The story became incredibly popular online and was reported by a number of major news sources as well as garnering a large number of responses to his original post, with a variety of sympathy, pity, and derision.

On Friday, the post was deleted by Stack Overflow, the parent forum of Server Fault and later a post made by a moderator, Sven, brought to light that the story was, in fact, a hoax. The poster, Sven, a Server Fault moderator, pointed to an Italian news report that detailed that the story was part of a marketing stunt by Marsala in order to promote his company and gain visibility. Marsala told the paper that the whole thing was “just a joke”. A statement by Stack Overflow revealed they did not find it quite as funny, saying “The moderators on Server Fault have been in contact with the author about this, and as you can imagine, they’re not particularly amused by it.”

In many ways, it could be surprising how many people believed the story, especially on a forum populated almost entirely by those knowledgeable in technology. It is yet to be decided how Server Fault will deal with the hoax topic, with Sven currently allowing the community in question to decide its fate.

One Line of Code Accidentally Deletes Entire Company

As far as code mistakes go, few can claim that their careless coding practices caused the deletion of their entire company. Marco Marsala ran a small web hosting company that carried the websites of a number of clients until he unwittingly instructed the servers to delete their entire contents, effectively wiping out his business and the websites of his clients.

In response to the tragedy that befell his servers, Marsala took to the Server Fault forum to explain his plight and perhaps hope that some of the forum’s denizens would be able to help him with his predicament. Instead of help, most of the advice he received simply informed him that the chance he had forever deleted his company was high and his code had completely destroyed both his own data and that of his clients.

I run a small hosting provider with more or less 1535 customers and I use Ansible to automate some operations to be run on all servers. Last night I accidentally ran, on all servers, a Bash script with a rm -rf {foo}/{bar} with those variables undefined due to a bug in the code above this line.

The reason why Marsala lost all of his data stems from his use of the “rm -rf” command, which can be broken down to “rm”, removing files, “-r” meaning it will delete recursively into every subfolder and “-f” for force, meaning no warning will be given. Due to the two variables surrounding the / being empty, this caused the system to delete from the root directory, essentially wiping out everything on the machine. To make matters worse, while he had taken backups, the backup devices had been mounted just before the erroneous script ran, causing them to also be wiped.

Responses to Marsala’s post ranged from pity to insulting, however, all agreed that the data on the servers was almost certainly gone for good with no recovery. Most focused on pointing out the mistakes he had made, instead of being able to offer him any help, “This is not bad luck: it’s astonishingly bad design reinforced by complete carelessness” wrote user Massimo.

For Marsala, there doesn’t look to be a good end to this story. There are very few options open to him that would allow the data to be recovered and even those, such as contacting professional data recovery experts, are expensive, time-consuming and have no guarantee of success. This should serve as a cautionary tale for those wishing to start their own online businesses to be very careful over what you run on your servers and the care you take of your backups.

Facebook Acquiring The Masquerade App In Hopes Of Rivaling Snapchat

When it comes to socialising with technology, few haven’t heard of Snapchat. The popular mobile app has over five and a half million reviews average at 4 stars for the popular app. It looks like another social giant will be stepping into the ring though with Facebook acquiring the Masquerade app in hopes of stealing some of Snapchats thunder.

Masquerade (MSQRD) provides similar features to Snapchat, but like its name has a very particular focus. While Snapchat lets you “face swap”, taking your friends face and switching its place with your own, Masquerade can do that with a list of prepared “masks”. From a tiger or a monkey to your favourite celebrities, if you are a looking at swapping faces the App has what you need.

This is only Facebook’s first step, with plans being reported to integrate this technology into the Facebook toolset. Don’t worry if you are a user of Masquerade because the App will remain a free standalone app, it just means that you could soon swap out your friends faces for a monkey or Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars.

In a post on their website Eugene Nevgen, CEO of Masquerade, stated that even with they’re partnering with Facebook they will “keep adding fun features”.

Image courtesy of MaximOnline.Ru

France to Punish Companies for Refusing to Decrypt Devices

France has been keen on getting ahead of technology when it comes to their laws. From their environmental stances of requiring solar panels on their roofs to making sure that large companies like Facebook protect people’s data sufficiently. In light of recent security concerns though they have moved to punish companies for refusing to decrypt devices.

France recently looked into banning the anonymous network Tor and blocking Wifi during special situations. The latest step in security was to accept an amendment to a bill that would make companies like Apple, who are activly fighting the FBI on modifying their software to break into an iPhone, either pay a fine or face five years in jail if they refused  to hand over encrypted data.

While this is only the bills first reading, if the amendment went ahead companies may feel uneasy doing business in France for fear of either giving out personal information or face a fine. It should be noted though that while Amendment 90 is being considered, it could be worse with amendment 221 going so far as to increase the fine by over 5 times and requesting “all relevant” information, that means more than just the message they are looking for.

Amendment 51 went so far as to state that companies who refused to help authorities would be considered “accomplices to terrorism”, a far stretch from the truth by any imagination. With public support seeming to increase for Apple’s case in the US and companies and figures alike coming out in support of them, accepting such a controversial bill couldn’t help the French government when trying to enlist technology companies help.

China’s Not Happy About US Sanctions On ZTE

ZTE is a well-known manufacturer of telecom equipment, and while they have seen success in the past they are more than worried about the future with the US looking to impose sanctions on the company. As you can imagine, China’s not happy about this turn of events and are looking to hopefully stop this action before it goes too far.

Hong Lei, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, stated that “China is opposed to the US citing domestic laws to place sanctions on Chinese enterprises”. The restrictions were only announced yesterday and were made on the back of allegations that the company planned have sold US-made equipment to Iran in 2012. This is in violation of the US export restrictions with Iran, but this move may have an impact on other companies just as much.

Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft all supply parts and equipment to ZTE, something which will now require paperwork which will “generally be denied”. ZTE are obviously worried that, since they cooperated with the US since the trading with Iran first surfaced in 2012, they are going to be hit badly by the restrictions, ultimately causing “significant supply problems to ZTE”. The company has already taken a hit with the trading of company shares being halted.

Blackberry to Launch Cyber-Security Consulting Service

BlackBerry used to be a major name in the mobile phone industry. They used to be one of the go to companies if you were a business looking for smartphones but with recent reports that BlackBerry is looking to exit the smartphone industry and reports of layoffs looking to confirm this it has come as a surprise that the company has now made a move in a new direction, cybersecurity consulting.

BlackBerry’s were known as secure phones, offering business security and peace of mind when it came to their employees communications and John Chen, the executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry saying in a statement that:

“We recognize that security vulnerabilities are a top risk concern for public and private sector organizations alike. The creation of our Professional Cybersecurity Services practice and acquisition of Encription reinforces our commitment to providing customers the industry’s most secure mobility solutions and helping them to assess and mitigate risks”

To start the process, which will go by the name of Professional Cybersecurity Services (PCS), the U.K. based cyber security consulting firm Encryption Limited is currently being acquired by the company.

With cyber security being raised by everyone from the agencies and companies like FBI and Apple to children tracking software uKnowKids, the market is screaming out for security specialists and with their history in the industry, this could be the move that puts BlackBerry back into the public eye.

Philips V800 Flip Phone Is in the Pipeline

Remember when the flip mobile phone design was all the rage? For some of you, this may seem an impossibility owing to the now ubiquitous smartphone look. Well, it looks as if Dutch Electronics Company Philips is set to release a new product by the name of the V800 flip phone to consumers.

Below is a summary of the key features along with a selection of images to convey this product.

  • The Phone Weighs 206g
  • The casing size is 8x60x19.1mm
  • It utilizes a Quad-core 1.5GHz processor
  • The Phone has two identical screens and a IPS LCD touch screen with a resolution of 1280×720
  • It is equipped with 13 Mega Pixel rear camera and 5 Mega Pixel front camera
  • The Phone runs on Android 5.1 system.

Below are images of this phone, as you can see, it looks noteworthy, the colours are atmospheric dark gray for the outer casing while the keyboard has a gold colour design which gives the phone a more luxurious feel.

There is no word as yet as to the pricing or release date, but it could be on the horizon when you consider it has passed through the TENAA (China’s wireless regulator). The phone may also have a limited appeal when you consider the flip phone design is now predominately sold within the Far Eastern market.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

Yahoo Lost One-Third of Its Staff in 2015

Ailing multinational company Yahoo has lost over a third of its workforce over the last twelve months, in a shocking show of no-confidence in current CEO Marissa Mayer, according to a report in the New York Times.

“Basically, it shows employees losing faith in Marissa Mayer and Yahoo,” Scott Dobroski, spokesman for employment rating site Glassdoor, said.

While Mayer has fought hard to retain staff members that have been offered positions at competing companies with lucrative retention packages, the move has had the knock-on effect of causing resentment amongst colleagues who otherwise remained loyal when offered jobs elsewhere. Her strategy having backfired, Mayer is now pursuing mass layoffs, to be announced at the end of this month. Yahoo shareholders are desperate for Mayer to be fired before she can enact this plan.

“Only 34 percent of employees believe that Yahoo’s prospects are improving, according to surveys conducted by Glassdoor, a firm that collects data on jobs and employers,” the New York Times report reads. “That compares with 61 percent who are optimistic at Twitter, another troubled tech company, and 77 percent who see a bright future at Google, Ms. Mayer’s former employer.”

“One Yahoo employee who was interviewed said she was praying to be laid off so she could collect a severance payment and move on with her life,” the report continues. “Others said they were actively looking for their next jobs — a task made more difficult because of the taint of failure that potential employers sometimes associate with anyone at the struggling company.”

“We’re still hiring, and our application numbers are strong,” Yahoo said in a statement. The company refused to comment on staff morale.

Companies Face Criminal Charges for Notifying You of Spying

The government is at the heart of a major debate regarding your information and their attempts to gain access to them. With everything from encryption to the latest in a long stream of bad ideas, making companies who inform you when people are attempting to read your information pay criminal charges.

The Snoopers Charter, or by its proper name the Investigatory Powers Bill, would not only require sites to keep up to twelve months worth of your details, including your visited sites, but would also give government agencies access to this information, all while government officials have been requesting backdoor access to encrypted data that could be easily accessed by the authorities (not to mention any hacker who finds the backdoor).

A small side note on the bill states that the bill “will ensure that a communications service provider does not notify the subject of an investigation that a request has been made for their data unless expressly permitted to do so”. This means that companies would have to be told they can tell you, rather than being told to keep it a secret.

With companies like Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook and Google already alerting you when they believe your account is being spied upon, making it illegal for companies to warn you that people are delving into your personal life could quickly come back and cause issues, both legally and morally.

Image courtesy of Beta news

iYogi Accused of Using Scam Tactics

Indian firm iYogi are well-known for their technical support, but recent claims could see their reputation quickly becoming something they wish to hide. A lawsuit could see iYogi paying out thousands if not millions in compensation for what is being described as scam and scare tactics.

Microsoft estimates that nearly 3.3 million Americans lose around $1.5 billion each year due to tech support scams. With these figures it’s no surprise that Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer has applauded Washington state’s hard approach on the claims.

While iYogi, who operate over 5,000 employees in call centres based in India, deny the claims the Attorneys General Office has made several large allegations against iYogi. iYogi are said to claim association with Microsoft, Apple and HP, offering support for those companies while also gaining remote access to users systems before asking them to download diagnostic software and flagging up false reports about files, finally offering users the chance to buy everything from yearly support plans and anti-virus software. The claims even state that the company offer to update PC’s to Windows 10 for $80, a service that Microsoft is currently offering for free to Windows 7 and 8 users.

Seeking $2000 in civil penalties per violation of Consumer Protection act and a further $100,000 per violation of the Computer Spyware Act, the bill could quickly shoot up for iYogi.

While it is hard to go off so little information, the claims sound very similar to something I have suffered through many times. A phone call saying that your computer is sending error messages to Microsoft (or Apple) and saying they can walk you through the support process. If this sounds familiar, please read our advice below.

  1. Companies can not track down your personal details from your system, any company attempting to call you claiming to be from Microsoft or Apple is almost certainly not who they claim to me.
  2. Never download software someone tells you to unless you are certain that the person in question only means good for you and only if you know the person, not someone from an email or on the other side of the phone.
  3.  If you do suspect your system is compromised, either by a virus or someone asking you for access, seek help from someone with technical experience such as at a local PC store.
  4. If you feel like a laugh and want to confirm that the person on the other end of the phone is lying to you. When they state they are from Microsoft, tell them that you only own Apple products in that house. If they quickly say that’s what they are there to help fix, you know they are being deceitful.

Do you have any tips for dealing with fake support calls? Tell us your stories in the comments and let’s see if we can’t help someone avoid the pain of paying for “support”.

Is There a Connection Between ISIS and UK Government IP addresses?

Information has been both circulating and updating over the last 48 hours concerning a possible link “that a number of Islamic State supporters’ social media accounts are being run from internet addresses linked to IP addresses from the Department of Work and Pensions” This possible connection has been traced and subsequently exposed by well-known hacking group VandaSec.

Reports have also stated that, as is the norm in the digital age, been unearthed by four teenage computer hackers who claim to have traced “IP addresses from their supposed Saudi Arabia location back to the United Kingdom’s Department of Work and Pensions after using a set of specialized tools to track the IP addresses”. These accounts are at first glance noteworthy due to being utilised to recruit new ISIS members online.

It’s a conspiracy! Probably not, after further analyses by an external source, it has so far been concluded that these IP addresses were part of an unpublicized set of transactions between Britain and Saudi Arabia. It has been discovered that the British government sold a large number of IP addresses to two Saudi Arabian firms (Saudi Telecom and the Saudi-based Mobile Telecommunications Company). After the sale had been finalised around October of this year (2015) extremists piggybacked onto these and utilized the protocol to spread the standard message synonymous with the group.

Jamie Turner, an expert from a firm by the name of PCA Predict, confirmed the trace back to the UK government was more obvious than first thought owning to the fact that records for the IPs had not as yet been fully updated.

At the very least it’s certainly embarrassing for Whitehall, yes, as the government has stated it had no control over what happened to the IP addresses after they had sold them, but, perhaps further vetting of potential clients needs to take place in order to mitigate against unlawful use at the extreme end. I wonder where other sold IP addresses will end up in the future?

Image courtesy of wired

Hack Reveals Recordings of 70 Million Calls From Prison Phones

With companies that provide phone services to prisons being scrutinised for the prices they demand and the leaks and hacks that have recently revealed the lack of security at some major companies, including the likes of TalkTalk, it was only a matter of time before the two stories became connected in some way. Some recently obtained records, which led to a surprising realisation of just how unsafe we are in this digital world.

Over 70 million records of phone calls were placed in SecureDrop, an online service designed to allow users to share files anonymously, and reveals that Securus, a company that is considered one of the leading providers of phone services inside US prisons and jails, has not only recorded all the phone calls but has stored them in a way that someone was able to download them (and in this case, also share them). The 70 million calls cover 37 states and as far as the records start in December 2011 and end only in Spring 2014.

While usual to record calls, the more worrying fact regarding this exposure was that at least 14,000 of those records were between inmates and attorneys. Designed originally to help protect people by blanket observing any communications between inmates and the outside, there are obvious flaws in the system given that all conversations between inmates and attorneys are protected by law and are designed to be confidential, as such they are not allowed to be recorded, and any breach of this attorney-client confidentiality is a breach of their constitutional rights.

Is Apple Planning An iCar?

Tech companies used to be very much specialized to their own field, from the standard PCs and Software to advanced medical equipment. Over the last few years, these same companies are now beginning to challenge the established status quo of many other industries, such as the automotive industry. The rumours of Apple designing a vehicle have become stronger after hiring a senior engineer from electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc

Apple have been looking to build a team of automotive design experts with the aim of producing a car for market and now James Carlson has been appointed after leaving Tesla. How do we know of these secret plans? He placed his new job on his LinkedIn or course, this is along with at least 6 others which have experience developing self-driving technology and systems which have also advertised their new position in the same way.

Sources for Reuters have also stated that Apple are actively developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it is yet unclear if the iPhone maker is designing a vehicle that could drive itself.

When you view the hirings which Apple have made, it is clear the plans are very much in motion, below is a list of recent appointments along with each individual’s previous jobs.

  • Megan McClain – A former Volkswagen AG Engineer
  • Vinay Palakkode – Graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University specializing in automated driving research
  • Xianqiao Tong – Engineer who developed computer vision software for driver assistance systems at microchip maker Nvidia Corp
  • Paul Furgale – Former deputy director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Other Apple appointments since September 2014 with similar experience have worked at automakers BMW, Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co, automotive suppliers Delphi Automotive and Robert Bosch GmbH.

One thing is clear, Apple looks almost certain to be developing an automotive vehicle in some capacity with the aim of competing with similar manufacturers. The tech giant would have an excellent chance of succeeding considering the wealth and investment which has underpinned its performance in the last decade.

Thank you reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of digitaltrends

Japanese Company Wants to Build a Stunning 3D Holographic Display

We’ve been talking about holograms like something out of sci-fi movies, but with today’s technology, it really is possible to make a holographic display. We’ve previously seen this as a DIY project, where a guy showed you how to build your own pyramid-shaped display and use it with your smarphone. Now a Japanese company named ‘SSS’ seems to take it even further and started a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo for a 3D holographic display, dubbed ‘Holo case’.

As with the DYI project, the display is shaped as a pyramid for a full 360 degree holographic effect. The company already has a lot of useful real-world applications for it, from meeting your favourite characters in the ‘real-world’, to displaying expensive jewelery and minimize the risk of it being stolen from the showcase.

“Our mission is realize that thinking about how to interact with the characters. VR is the way we go through the world of character. However, there isn’t the only one answer for it. One of these is studying how to ” invite character into this world ” and we’ve realized it.”

“Here’s the example of exhibiting “authentic” ring in “Holo case”. Although the ring itself is just $10, you can display it just like expensive one by giving effect to the ring. Here’s the mini figure set in Holo case. We can display snowing scene.”

The company says that making an app for the Holo case is easy too. It just takes some animations to display on all sides of the pyramid, and you’re all set! They even say that using a game engine such as Unity3D or Unreal Engine 4 will make life even easier for you. You can find more information about the project over on Indiegogo.

Bit Defender Admits To Being Hacked

Oh the irony never fails to amuse, an Anti Virus company who boast on keeping customers safe from online threats, have themselves falling victim to a hack. Kaspersky discovered a bot within their system and now so has Bit Defender, who have admitted to being hacked.

Bit Defenders security policy will be under heavy criticism after the hacker going by the name of DetoxRansome, claims to have access to the Bit Defender customer information which allegedly includes passwords. The hacker also claims this information has been stored in an unencrypted format by the antivirus giant.

Bit Defender have responded and stated that a “potential security issue with a server and determined a single application was targeted within a component of its public cloud offering”  The company have also responded to the amount of data which might have been leaked by stating that, “exposure of a few user accounts and passwords is very limited and it represents less than one percent of our SMB customers”

There are reports that the hacker has demanded Bit Defender pay a ransom of $15,000, or see all the information dumped online. As noted by news sources, the hacker looks as if they have dumped around 250 customers usernames and passwords onto the web. Among the names were extensions belonging to .gov, which indicates government customers might have been affected.

The Hackers version is the following “We had taken control of two BitDefender cloud servers and got all logins. Yes, they were unencrypted, I can prove it… they were using Amazon Elastic Web cloud which is notorious for SSL [a form of web encryption] problems.”

The level of severity depends on which version you believe, either Bit Defender have only comprised a reported 1% of data or the whole lot. One thing looks apparent, for the love of god, why oh why did they not encrypt sensitive information, if a company offers cloud storage then this has to be secure, or as near as.

In a corporate world as consumers you receive corporate promises, looks excellent on the outside, dig deeper and your logins might be on the open web. Only time will tell to the extent with which Bit Defender have been compromised, let’s hope this is an alarm call to change practises when storing sensitive information online, or not as the case all too often is.

Original Bit Defender logo courtesy of dev0blog

Thank You Forbes for providing us with this information

Nokia Finally Found Someone to Buy Their HERE Maps!

It has been a long search for the best buyer, but it seems that Nokia finally found somebody to buy and further develop their HERE Maps technology. As reported previously, it was thought that Microsoft will buy the HERE Maps technology, seeing that it wanted its mobile phone business. However, the recent change in the company led to believe that Microsoft may move away form the smartphone market.

Uber was interested in Nokia’s technology too, offering an outstanding $3 billion for it. But it looks like Nokia did not agree with what Uber had in mind for their technology, so they declined the deal after all. However, recently, there have been some rumours that some German vehicle maunufacturers were interested in the technology too.

Nokia declined to make any comments on the matter, but a new report surfaced and we finally know that the company is close to signing the deal with Audi, BMW and Daimler for $2.71 billion. This is less than what Uber offered, but Nokia did state that it would sell the HERE technology to someone who really has the means of improving it, didn’t they? Besides, the deal seems to be the best offer Nokia is going to get.

Besides, the German manufacturers want to use the high-definition real-time digital maps to help develop self-driving cars and automotive safety systems. On top of that, they also want other vehicle manufacturers to pitch in and help them with their plans. So as far as the details show, Nokia really hit their target on selling the technology for a lot of money and to a company, well companies, who have the means on improving it, don’t you think?

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Not Everyone Will Get Windows 10 on the 29th of July

If you were eagerly waiting to get your hands on Windows 10 on the 29th of July, you might be a bit disappointed. Microsoft just ruled out some updates on the upcoming Windows distribution timings, so bear with us on this.

The company said that Windows Insider program members will be the first to get Windows 10 when it launches, with other users who have reserved their copies being notified by email. Once you get notified, you will be able to get on downloading the Windows build. However, the company will be rolling it out in waves, which will increase in size gradually. This means there won’t be a lot of users who reserved Windows 10 getting it when the clock hits zero.

For regular home users, Microsoft will release the notification once it gets enough information from your system and considers it “ready” for Windows 10. Users who do not have a PC fitting Microsoft’s requirement will be notified by the Microsoft team and be given details as well as contact information on what they should do to get the build.

Business users have something else to deal with. Windows 10 Pro businesses will be able to download the build alongside Windows Insider users on the 29th of July, but larger companies have to wait. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education will be available through the company’s Volume Licensing Service Center starting on the 1st of August.

In addition to the above, all Windows 8.1 versions sold from retail stores will be given out with additional information on how to upgrade to Windows 10. More information about what Microsoft has planned for the Windows 10 rollout can be found over at their blog here.

Facebook-Less Messenger Is a Thing

First there was MySpace and Bebo, then came along Facebook. Now everything from your computer to your phone can have Facebook on it, be it the social website or just the messaging aspect of the social site. Now it would seem that users are able to use the messaging platform, without having a Facebook account.

Starting next week users in the US, Canada, Venezuela and Peru will be given the option to sign up to Facebook messenger by just providing their full name and phone number. While it can still be used with a Facebook account, this allows users who don’t want to sign up and create an account have access to and use their messaging services.

Signing up to Facebook is still encouraged so users can take “advantage of multi-device messaging across mobile devices, the web and tablets”. This would appear that while your name and number lets you log in and use the messaging app on your phone, you still won’t be able to access or use chat on PC based versions of Facebook, maybe even to the point where the conversations aren’t shared amongst the devices associated with that number.

Previously announced plans outlined messenger being enabled to allow businesses to have a platform on the messenger app, to not only communicate but also to receive information such as order confirmations and status updates.

With the app being expanded to businesses and non-Facebook users, it’s clear that they want to include as many people and companies in communicating through their products. Can you see yourself asking for details from your online retailers through Facebook?

Thank you Facebook for providing us with this information.

Software Companies Leaving UK Because of Government’s Surveillance Plans

The company that runs the open-source blog platform called Ghost is moving out its premium service from within the UK’s bounds because of Governmental plans to weaken protection for privacy and freedom of expression.

The founder of Ghost, John O’Nolan released online that the company is changing the default location from the UK to DigitalOcean’s Amsterdam datacenter.

He wrote that he was particularly worried by the UK government’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, which he said enshrines key rights such as “respect for your private and family life” and “freedom of expression.” The Netherlands, by contrast, has “some of the strongest privacy laws in the world, with real precedents of hosting companies successfully rejecting government requests for data without full and legal paperwork”

A few weeks after hearing this news another company, this time Eris Industries decided they were going to react to the new UK plans. The company’s move was prompted by the threat that new laws could require backdoors in its encryption technology, of which the software heavily relies on.

The Ceo of Eris explained in a post:

“With immediate effect, we have temporarily moved our corporate headquarters to New York City, where open-source cryptography is firmly established as protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” with further news to state that the move will be become permanent if the Snooper’s Charter is enacted with rules that require back doors to be in crypto software.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Telegraph

This Is Why New Software Comes With Old Flaws

You are probably wondering why we hear that legacy flaws are still present in new software. Well, the answer is simple. Developers have a habit of reusing old code for most of their projects and the code is not reviewed for all potential flaws, but rather the approach tends to be similar to the slang ‘if it works, then don’t try to fix it’.

This does not mean that developers are lazy. The approach is favourable even by top-notch programmers because of the tight deadlines they have to meet, so time will always be above everything else when shipping new software.

However, this comes at a hefty price. While we hear of many hacking incidents, only a few of them are complex enough to break even the most impenetrable systems. Most of them were done by exploiting the already ‘implanted’ flaws in all software products. Everything except the operating systems can be deemed ‘hackable’ by most people with some knowledge of hacking.

The flaws go so deep that even some government departments are at high risk. Security analyst found out that some software in government departments is still based on older programming languages. But is this the future of programming? Of course not.

Security analysts in the field say that the problems with legacy flaws may likely increase, but they don’t have to. The real problem is that, by focusing exclusively on shoving new software on the market, companies forget about security completely. A better approach here is to split project development into two major components, development and testing, which could work in parallel. This way, a lot of bugs could be fixed and major security bugs flagged before the software hits the market.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of nikopik

Snoop Dog Wants to Be Twitter’s Next CEO

Snoop Dog for Twitter’s next CEO? That’s the latest story that got our attention roaming around Twitter. We’ve seen a lot of supporters for his campaign using the hashtag ‘#ifSnoopWasTwitterCEO’ and it even got the attention of actor Orlando Jones, who also supports Snoop’s campaign.

It has been reported that the actual CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, is stepping down as CEO. Jack Dorsey is going to be appointed Interim CEO as of the 1st of July and the company is now looking for a suitable CEO. But why Snoop Dog as the next Twitter CEO? Well, TechCrunch has a good idea here.

Costolo helped Twitter go from a net value of $3 billion to $26 billion and from 30 million active users to 250 million. He basically shaped the company in the social media giant it is today. Compare that to Snoop’s success and you get the same pattern.

Snoop Dog has always followed the same business strategy found in big tech companies today. He defied what others were saying (like companies defy Wall Street), he knew who his real friends were and most importantly, he knows that winning is not the most important thing for success. This is why the old saying ‘if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it’ does not apply to both Snoop and tech companies.

The same success as Twitter had can be seen in Snoop’s personal life too. His 20 years of success in music, movies and business add a lot of potential and credibility, so we won’t really rule out the actual possibility of him ending up on the CEO chair. But what are your opinions on this story? Would you like to see Snoop Dog as the next Twitter CEO? Give us your opinion in the comments below.

Thank you Examiner, Inquisitr and TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of 4Music

Facebook Wants to Give You More Information on Contacts with New Caller ID Feature

Social media giant, Facebook, has been busy as of late, providing users with more and more features to help them in their daily activities, as well as make them stay and enjoy their social media platform for longer.

We’ve seen that one of their biggest achievements as of late was to make the Messenger app web-based, so they provided users with access to the Messenger platform on both desktop and mobile, provided you don’t already have the app installed.

One of their latest achievements was to bring news articles directly in your feed, so you will have access to your friend’s activities as well as know what’s going on in the world too. I know it’s a bit of multitasking to do and you might even end up mixing your friend’s selfie with a volcano eruption, then you ask yourself what he was doing there in the first place, before realising you were reading two things at once. But hey, we all get used to it in the end.

Facebook’s latest addition is the CallerID feature, which brings some more details about contacts and who wants to connect with you. This is done by having the app display an even bigger photo of the contact, more details about how related you are with him or her and “much more”, as Vice President of Messaging Products, David Marcus, stated. The feature is said to already be available for Android and iOS users in the US, UK, France and India. So will this be of more help than just asking your friends about who is trying to connect with you? We will see.

Thank you Sci-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of FrAndroid

YouTube Live Streaming Now Available With HTML5 and 60FPS Support

It looks like the old Flash Player is going to be scrapped sooner than expected. After enabling support for HTML5 video playback, YouTube is now extending that support to live streaming sessions. This means that users can now watch live streaming videos on HTML5-enabled browsers and at 60FPS!

The slow process looks to have started late last year, when every video uploaded on the streaming service could keep its 60FPS ratio. Up until October last year, all videos were automatically converted to 30FPS once uploaded. In addition to the latter, YouTube quietly made HTML5 its default player early this year, so it would make sense for the company to continue towards fully integrating the HTML5 player.

The technology is now widely supported in all major browsers like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari and even Internet Explorer. However, YouTube stated that the HTML5 playback for live streaming is still undergoing development, so don’t expect it to do miracles just yet. Still, the technology now is able to deliver 720p or 1080p at 60FPS and users can even skip backwards in a live stream or even play around with its play speed.

Let’s not forget about the hardware here. I mean as good as HTML5 player sounds, it still needs some hardware specs to have it run at 60FPS. This is why YouTube comes with an option to change playback to 30FPS, should 60FPS be too much for your device. Nevertheless, we are moving towards a 4K video playback era, so it’s likely everyone will upgrade their hardware sooner or later.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information

Bowser the New VP of Sales for Nintendo?

Ironically, it’s true! Mario creators actually hired someone who bears the name of the Mushroom Kingdom’s villain. However, don’t expect him to be a turtle with spikes on his back!

Nintendo hired Doug Bowser to be the Vice President leading the United States sales organisation in charge with Sales, In-store Merchandising, Retail Strategy and Retail Marketing. In addition, Bowser (can’t stop thinking about him now and I’m sure you can agree with me) will manage Nintendo’s retail customer relationships and oversea retail marketing for Nintendo World store in new York.

Ok we now know what Bowser will do for the company, as described above, but why Nintendo, why? Bowser, really? I mean, who on this earth who actually played Mario won’t associate the name with the real Bowser character? I bet he will get more than he asked for at work too.

This may seem strange, but it could boost Nintendo’s popularity by having the company hiring people who bear the name of characters found in their titles. Now all they are missing is an Italian janitor by the name of Mario to clean their offices, and they are set! So how do you feel after knowing Bowser is now Nintendo’s VP of sales?

Thank you Business Wire for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Fantendo