? Episode 301
 all tech radio show
  • Google is taking on Facebook with another new social networking product called Google +. This time they say it's for real. Many beta testers are talking about the product and how it differs from Facebook. Google + breaks down features into what they call Circles. Each type of circle does something different. You can put all your friends in one or more circles, there is an IM chat feature, and a way to upload photos and videos to a private album. You can then share your info to whomever you want. This could be a great innovation to many people who live by social networking, but Facebook does have a huge head start.
  • A QR code is a series of boxes that when you scan a smart phone or tablet over, will download or run a program. Recently a tattoo artist in Paris live streamed tattooing a man with a QR code onto his chest. When he finished his work he scanned the QR code with his iPhone and a video started to play on the phone. This could easily be used to track or scan a person to find their name, address, phone number, or any other information that the QR code is linked to. Right now it's all good fun, but in the future this could be used for scary purposes.
  • In preparation for its IPO, Groupon sent out e-mails to its users this weekend about changes it has made to its privacy statement and terms of use. Among the most notable changes is more information about the Chicago-based social buying start-up's collection and use of mobile location information. "In short, if you use a Groupon mobile app and you allow sharing through your device, Groupon may collect geo-location information from the device and use it for marketing deals to you (and for other purposes listed in the "How Groupon Uses Personal Information" section of the Updated Privacy Statement)." In other words, if you let them, in order to improve the experience and make the Groupon Now app more useful, you're being tracked.
  • A New York City "artist," who installed spyware onto public computers to snap photos of customers in Apple stores was visited by US Secret Service this week. Kyle McDonald used the built-in cameras on Macbooks and other Apple products to capture images of about 1,000 people as they examined new Apple computers. His computers, iPod and digital storage devices were confiscated as authorities conduct their investigation. Over the course of three days, McDonald installed his homegrown software, which captured photos every minute and sent them to his server. Reports said that McDonald did this across computers at nearly 100 stores. He said he had the permission of Apple security guards. So if you have been shopping for an Apple product, your face may be among those who were captured and put online.
  • Apple Inc. (AAPL) filed a patent- infringement complaint against HTC Corp. (2498) at the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks to block imports of the Taiwanese phonemaker's phones and its new tablet computers. Apple accuses HTC of infringing five patents related to software architecture and user interfaces in portable electronic devices, hardware for touch screens and movement sensors, according to the complaint filed July 8 in Washington. The patents cover "groundbreaking technologies developed by Apple in conjunction with the development of its innovative iPhone, iPad and iPod touch products," Apple said in the complaint, its second against Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC.
  • Google on Monday announced the iriver Story HD, the first e-reader to be integrated with its open Google eBookstore. The iriver Story HD will sell for $139.99. It goes on sale Sunday at Target stores and on Target.com, Google said in a blog post. The Story HD allows browsing, buying and reading of Google eBooks through the reader and over Wi-Fi instead of requiring downloading and transferring them from a computer to an e-reader with a cord, as Google already allows with more than 80 devices.
  • At least one country is embracing Google's surveillance technology. Google Street View-equipped vehicles have been spotted in earthquake- and tsunami-damaged parts of Japan, where they are recording and posting online in real time the effects of the March disaster. Google is earning brownie points in Yahoo-dominated Japan by using Google search and surveillance tools to help relief efforts, the New York Times reported. According to Adweek, Japan is one of the few markets where Google trails Yahoo, accounting for less than 40 percent of all search page views compared to Yahoo's 50 percent. But Yahoo has also taken heat for privacy violations in China, something on which Google can perhaps capitalize, the Times said. "I know we'd have nothing to worry about with these people," Shigeru Sugawara, the mayor of tsunami-damaged Kesennuma, said about Google. "I'd like them to record Kesennuma's streets now, [and] then I'd like them to come back, when the city is like new again, and show the world the new Kesennuma."
  • Soon you'll be able to feed your Facebook addiction without breaking the bank. The HTC Status, aka "the Facebook phone," will be available via Best Buy stores and online on July 17 for $49.99 with a two-year contract. Pre-orders are now being accepted. The HTC Status (known overseas as the "ChaCha") is a small Android 2.3.3-based smartphone with a dedicated Facebook logo button at the bottom of the keypad. Press this to immediately update your Facebook wall with words, photos, and URLs. The phone features a 5-megapixel, rear-facing camera and a front-facing camera which you can use for Facebook's new, Skype-enabled video chatting, though this will require a Wi-Fi connection (the bane of Apple FaceTime users). Facebook integration runs deep. When a friend calls, you'll immediately see their latest status updates. Facebook chat and email messages are pushed out alongside your regular email and text messages. The interface also features a Facebook chat widget that shows who's online; tap their name to initiate a Facebook chat.
  • A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official acknowledged the persistent threat of pre-existent malware on imported electronic and computer devices sold within the United States, sparking renewed interest in a problem the federal government has been trying to mitigate for some time. Calling the threat "one of the most complicated and difficult challenges we have," Greg Schaffer, acting deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate for the DHS, said that he is "aware that there are instances where that has happened," although he did not go into specifics about those instances. Indeed, the cybersecurity supply chain requires securing the multiple steps of the supply chain--product assembly and acquisition, data sharing among partners, governance, and more--to ensure components of devices such as laptops and smartphones aren't already infected by malware before they're sold. This makes it a difficult problem to manage, not that federal officials aren't trying, Schaffer said.
  • Smartphone adoption is growing in many demographics, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. The Pew poll estimates 35 percent of American adults own a smartphone device. The data is based from a survey conducted in May, which found that 83 percent of U.S. adults have a cell phone, and 42 percent of those people have a smartphone. The types of people adopting smartphones vary, but Pew found the highest concentration of individuals range from "financially well-off and well-educated; under the age of 45; and African American and Latinos."

email from listeners:

  • Henry from Seattle asks "Are all Android smart phones the same as far as the operating system and functions are concerned?"