Ubuntu for Tablet PCs Coming Soon

Ubuntu has already been successful on the desktop and netbook PC and is on a prospective roadmap. This growth continues as Ubuntu extends from beyond these conventional platforms and aims to capture the next big thing: tablets PCs.

The iPad drive has already shown us how much people love tablet PCs and Ubuntu sees this as the ripe time to jump into the all new Tablet PC market. With this, Ubuntu will compete with the likes of iOS, Android and Meego.

The only news currently known about this project is that it will have a touchscreen interface and will be based on the Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Ubuntu is the most successful Linux distro amongst regular users who are not too involved in the development front. A Tablet powered by Ubuntu will appeal to all kinds of people ranging from students to journalists.

It will definitely be no match for the business model of the iPad though, with an open source technology powering it, prices of any tablet based on this will automatically come down. This will be a big attraction and might just be the USP of such a tablet.

The tablet is expected to make an appearance sometime next year and will be powered by an ARM processor and a Pixel Qi display.


AT&T and Apple Security Lapse Exposes iPad Users and Their Data

The year so far has proven to be ruthless for Apple. It is suffering a series of setbacks. First it loses an iPhone, then it goes on to upset Adobe , next a Wi-Fi mishap at WWDC and has finally restored to what it does best, make false claims and boast of its #fail browser Safari. Recently, Apple added one to this list by exposing user data of all iPad users.

Well, in reality, Apple did not expose the data but it surely did not care enough to hide it properly. A hacking group which calls itself Goatse Security has claimed that it has access to a list of all iPad users and their data. This includes top figures from multiple industries like the armed forces, music and movie industry, politics and others.

The hacker group has claimed data access to over 114,000 accounts and has made this successful attempt on an AT&T network. This has given them exclusive access to a list of authentication ID and email addresses. This was achieved by simply changing the user agent to iPad and the hacker group has already a PHP script sucking user data out of the AT&T. This clearly is more of an AT&T fault than Apple’s.

This exposure is being taken in different perspectives. Although it cannot be of any potential harm instantly, these email addresses can be victims of phishing scams and fall prey to spammers. This is equally annoying and AT&T has a lot of top officials at various agencies to answer to. AT&T should act responsibly in this matter if it wants to evade the heat.


When People And Websites Failed, the RIAA Starts Picking on File Sharing Software

It seems like the RIAA is running out of options and is looking for some quick and easy win in its bid to catch file sharers. It has given up attempts to force ISP’s into giving up their list of users. According to new plans, it is going after the heart of file sharing.

The latest victim of LimeWire is not any file sharing website or any student from any university. It is a software product. The charge the RIAA is pressing against LimeWire is in the range of a billion dollars. As  wired.com says, it truly seems as if the RIAA is seeking to annihilate the company behind LimeWire with that hefty an amount.

The RIAA has already made the court believe that LimeWire is causing immense amount of file sharing and the company has not taken preventive measure against this.

Just a few weeks ago, Zeeshan Zaidi the COO of LimeWire wanted to cut a deal with the RIAA to help record labels sell music on their p2p network but the idea did not impress the RIAA enough.

If this is the case, we can clearly see the future of software like uTorrent and Bittorrent. It is only time before the RIAA gets to them with another accusation and a fresh extortion amount.


Norton Smartphone Security: Officially Released for Android

No matter how many features developers pack into an Operating System, users are always left panicking about viruses and malwares. Google’s flagship Android OS is no exception. However, for good or for bad, Norton comes to the rescue in this situation as well.

Norton has finally released the android security app it talked of last month and is calling it the Norton Smartphone Security. The app provides for three types of protection and is powered by an intuitive interface. Now, we all know how disappointing Norton is on the desktop. Though, it being the only security company jumping into the Android arena at present, we have nothing to compare this app with!


Norton Smartphone Security features a regular virus scan which can be scheduled for monthly, weekly or daily scans. It can also be improved by synchronizing with a user generated threat reporting and protection system called Norton Community Watch. This is the first and the most expected feature.

The second feature, though least expected is a Call Blocking. It can be used to blacklist numbers from both calls and SMS. This comes in handy and provides for a good method of prevention against stupid service alerts and bugging notification from service providers. An auto reply feature allows us to make an answering machine out of our phone.


The third and most interesting feature is remote lock and wipe. It can be used to setup a remote locking mechanism and a method to wipe out all the data on the memory card by sending an SMS. This feature reminds me of the hacker who created an overflow attack on the iPhone and hacked it by merely sending SMS. The feature can prove to be a lifesaver in case the phone gets stolen.

This app is still in a beta stage. More features like a secure DNS and Norton Live Update are expected to be seen soon as the first version rolls out of Symantec in a few months.


Twitter’s t.co: A Take on Other URL Shortener

We have already seen Twitter shorten links in Direct messages. Now, it is expanding the same technology into status updates. This is one feature users have missed and complained about for too long and finally, Twitter is rolling it out as a feature for regular use.

This service has existed for direct messages which were shortened with twt.tl to prevent phishing and other forms of scams. This was achieved by blacklisting links from user generated reports and feedback. Now, the newly bought t.co domain will serve the feature to status updates.

The inclusion of this feature was hinted at, at the Chirp developer conference this year. This link shortening aims at improving the generated short links by keeping them meaningful and short at the same time. This would also help Twitter analyze the popularity of a link and roll out features based on it.

Not only this, the feature once integrated into the Twitter API will allow developers integrate newer tools and features into their applications and this will enhance the Twitter ecosystem as a whole. The developers will also have a more flexible choice on generating the shortened links.

The service is available for testing to selected Twitter employees only though; Twitter aims at making it available to the public soon. Once this feature is made available, I wonder what bit.ly will do to keep its charm.


Internet Addiction Pays Off in China

Internet addiction is spreading like an epidemic in China and there are already 24 million people affected by it. The situation is so worse that treatment center have popped up in the country aiming to provide a care for this and people actually go to those training centers!

To help us have a better insight at what can possibly happen at these facilities, some officials at these facilities have gone on record to say,

We have to use military-style methods such as total immersion and physical training on these young people. We need to teach them some discipline and help them to establish a regular lifestyle.

They receive traditional Chinese calligraphy and philosophy classes with a military lifestyle.

Though, my best guess is that those attending this treatment did not know they signed up for this, so they finally decided to break free. The group of 14 patients, including a 15 year old boy, tied their supervisor to his bed and escaped from the facility. This escape from Azkaban turned back on them when the driver of the taxi they hired took them straight to a police station.

Finally, it was unsure as to what happened at the treatment center which was so grave that they had to run from it. The government needs to look into the matter as parents of these addicts are spending a sum of around 18,000 Yuan and apparently, it is doing them no good. (Source)

Canada to Legalize Bypassing of DRM in a New Bill

Canada has planned on releasing a revised copyright modernization bill for too long and finally, the suspense is over. The bill has been passed and should get overwhelming response from software pirates and anti-DRM activists all over the world.

The new bill has legalized bypassing of DRM and has created many loopholes which can be easily exploited to create legalized copies of protected material. CD copying is now legal given you own the original source. Infringement damages have been slashed to one third. This comes as a relief against the last bill which was blamed to have been created “in the image of the US DMCA” and enforced stricter rules.

We had covered the notice and takedown policy of DMCA in the US. However, in the Canadian version, we instead have a “notice and notice” system. This move protects the ISP from being harassed by the authority issuing the takedown and getting involved in the case. The ISP only needs to forward a copy of the notice to the website and the dispute stays between the two ends without involving the ISP.

Finally, this is just a bill and there is time before it is made into a law. It is sure to undergo heavy amendments under pressure from the tech industry and it will be interesting to see what form it takes finally.


Theft in Virtual World Triggers Investigation in Real World!

The Finnish police are investigation into a huge case of theft in the virtual world where furniture worth £840 is reported to have been stolen. The total number of cases amount to 400 and the thefts, all of them, have  occurred  at the Habbo Hotel. This is the second attack on the hotel, the first one being in 2007 when a Dutch teenager stole furniture from the hotel.

The thefts are occurring as a result of phishing scams where users are tempted to give in their usernames and passwords in the virtual world. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at internet security firm F-Secure says,

Habbo as a virtual world is targeted by thieves from all over the world.  We see malicious attacks and trojans stealing accounts for all the games you can imagine, including World of Warcraft, Farmville and so on.  Poker games for example are susceptible to trojans which share your cards with other players around the table.  When the TV stars play poker online, we’re talking potential losses of hundreds of thousands of euros.

It is funny as to how a theft in the virtual world is triggering investigations in the real world though on the other hand, it is good to see that the Finnish police are taking up these cases in display some immense online awareness.


Google Acquires Invite Media: an Advertising Platform

Google acquired an ad technology startup invite media on Wednesday this week. Invite media helps buyers purchase advertising from a dashboard displaying multiple ad exchanges in real time. This technology will run side by side with Google’s existing AdX.

The startup from the University of Pennsylvania was offered a deal to Omniture last year;  thought the deal fell apart when Adobe acquired Omniture.

However, it is surprising to see how Google did not integrate its last two acquisitions (Invite Media and AdMob) into existing technologies but kept them running separately. The Official DoubleClick blog made this announcement saying,

In recent months, many agencies and advertisers have been asking us to make a bidding platform available directly to them, as they want to take advantage of the opportunities that real time bidding presents. We’re going to continue to invest significantly in improving Invite Media’s technology and products as a separate platform and, in time, make it work seamlessly with our DoubleClick for Advertisers (DFA) ad serving product. DFA enables advertisers and agencies to effectively plan, target, serve and measure display ad campaigns across the web. Integrating Invite Media’s technology will help DFA’s clients to easily buy ad space across multiple ad exchanges, as part of managing their broader display ad campaigns. Invite Media’s platform will of course continue to be available to any agency or advertiser, whether they use DFA or not.

(Sources: Peter Kafka at  AllThingsDigital and the  DoubleClick Blog)

Look Who is on Facebook! George W. Bush

George W. Bush, the well-known 43rd president of the US has finally decided to check out what “the Face Book” is all about, given his earlier comment on the Internet was that he liked to “use the Google”.

He used Google maps to look at aerial maps of his ranch though now, he will probably plan on making some friends to invite to that ranch. Facebook, as he might have heard, is the best place for that.

The page in question is not an actual account. It is rather a fan page, but hey! That still puts him “on Facebook”. If you visit the Facebook fan page, you will see updates like,

Since leaving office, President Bush has remained active. He has visited 20 states and 8 countries; given over 65 speeches; launched the George W. Bush Presidential Center; participated in 4 policy conferences through The Bush Institute; finished the first draft of his memoir, Decision Points; and partnered with Pres…

The sidebar also shows links to a Clinton Bush Haiti Fund which has already raised $20 and another link to the pre-order Decision Points, the book George Bush has been working on.

At times when a small fraction of people are busy motivating others to leave Facebook, the ex-president appearing on Facebook will help Facebook gain some positive karma.