? Episode 293
 all tech radio show
  • Sony is questioning the Bloomberg report's citing of a May 31 deadline. Company spokesperson Patrick Seybold says the date likely stemmed from comments made by Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai, who said they were aiming to fully restore services on PSN and Qriocity "within May 2011." Seybold also reiterated that the company is working to relaunch PSN and Qriocity "as soon as possible."
  • In the midst of the ongoing Sony PlayStation debacle, Microsoft experienced its own, minor issue with its Xbox Live service on Friday night. WinRumors reported that users of Windows Phone 7 could not access Xbox Live services, and that token-based Xbox Live services were unavailable. Microsoft also confirmed the issue via Twitter. "@XboxSupport It's a new issue that users are unable to access Xbox LIVE features at this time. ^EB," the @WinPhoneSupport account posted. Most Xbox Live services, including multiplayer gaming, were able to be accessed via the Xbox 360 console with no interruption, according to users. However, WinRumors reported that Microsoft posted a status message that has since been removed, as the problem has apparently been resolved:
  • The University of Texas have driven a computer to admit to a terrorist bombing. By infusing too much information with certain parts left out, researchers have been able to simulate a schizophrenic brain. By creating an over dopamine state, the researchers will be able to treat the computer to bring it back to health, and learn how to do the same in humans.
  • Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.Va) plans on introducing a bill next week that will require companies to give consumers the opportunity to opt out of online tracking, and will give the Federal Trade Commission the power to pursue enforcement actions against those that don't. "Consumers have a right to know when and how their personal and sensitive information is being used online -- and most importantly to be able to say 'no thanks' when companies seek to gather that information without their approval," Mr. Rockefeller said in a statement. "This bill will offer a simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their every move on the internet."
  • Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been rumored to possibly purchase Skype. This comes after a large exploit for Mac users was discovered last week. A group called PureHacking claims to have developed a proof-of-concept exploit that allows the attacker to take complete control of the vulnerable Mac system, and states that the flaw is easily wormable and extremely dangerous.
  • There is a new type of phone being tested. The e-paper prototype PaperPhone has a 3.75-inch thin-film display and developers call it the world's first flexible smartphone. It can do everything a smartphone can, such as make calls, display books, and play music. "This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years," Queen's Human Media Lab Director Roel Vertegaal was quoted as saying in a release. It is bendable and flexible. There are no buttons to push. You move around the interface by bending it in memorized bends and the computer can tell where you want to go with the phone based on them.
  • Amazon has silently added support for browser-based playback of music in its new cloud streaming service on iOS-powered devices. Also, after using iPads owned by Princes Wills and Harry, the Queen of the United Kingdom decided to buy her own. Amazon Cloud gets browser-based iOS support Amazon quietly added support for iOS devices through its built-in Safari browser, as noted by TechCrunch. Users can log into their account on Amazon and access the Cloud Player, which now allows streaming of audio files stored on its servers. Users who visit the site will still be prompted with a message warning them that their browser is not supported. However, music playback now works through the service, and audio is even paused when a push notification or call is received.
  • In China, it appears Apple fanboys are so eager to snap up the new Apple products that some of them will resort to violence. Multiple sources are reporting that the launch of the white iPhone 4 caused a skirmish outside the China's flagship store in the Sanlitun neighborhood of Beijing. According to a CNN report, after a man believed to be a scalper tried to jump the line to buy the white iPhone, three Apple security members tried to escort the man away, and a fight broke out. A "shoving match" between an Apple staffer and a relative of the alleged scalper resulted as he was removed from the line. The fight caused Apple security to close and lock the entrance of the store. Zealous customers rushed the glass door, and as they tried to shake it open, it shattered. Two men and two women reportedly suffered minor injuries in the scuffle. Apple closed the store for the rest of the afternoon.
  • iPad users will soon be able to subscribe to a number of Condé Nast magazines via Apple's in-app subscription system, starting with The New Yorker. Condé Nast-parent company to Ars Technica-announced Monday that it would bring eight magazines to the device by the end of May, with existing print subscribers getting access to the iPad versions for free. The New Yorker's iPad app has already been updated to reflect the new subscription system, with new users being able to subscribe to the iPad version for $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year. Previously, The New Yorker-a weekly magazine-was available on the iPad for $4.99 per issue and was not delivered automatically to the device, so the latest pricing model is a steep discount from what was available in the past. In addition to the $59.99 yearly subscription for iPad access, the company is also offering a $69.99 per year subscription that will give users access to print, iPad, and web-based versions of the magazine.
  • Foxconn, a Taiwanese company that produces components for Apple products, has come under fire for harsh working conditions at its China facilities. Recently it was reported that Foxconn even forced employees to sign a pledge promising that they wouldn't commit suicide. But just how bad is it? A watchdog group traveled to two of Foxconn's more remote factories to interview workers, and found that most were working long hours for little pay, battling exposure to dust and harmful chemicals, and undergoing "military style" training sessions. Foxconn denied any wrongdoing. China, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) is designating Saturday, May 7 as a Global Action Day in order to encourage more humane working conditions. In particular, SACOM is focusing its attention on Apple, which works with Foxconn on production of gadgets like the iPhone and iPad.

Email from listeners

  • Raul from Florida asks "I have been hearing about how USB thumb drives can cause people to get viruses. I would like to know how that happens."
  • Broadcast Sunday, May 15th, 2011
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