Sony’s Xperia Motion Snap App for Android Converts Videos into Live Wallpapers

One of the coolest things about Android is live wallpapers. Yes, they aren’t particularly utilitarian, but some of the live wallpapers are truly breathtaking. Now Sony has released an app to enable you to add a personal touch to your live wallpapers.


Xperia Motion Snap is a new app from Sony, which can record a short video and use it as a live wallpaper. After you record a video, the app will automatically convert into a looping live wallpaper. There are a few additional options, including miniature effect, which adds a nice looking blur effect to the video.


The bad news is that this app is only available for Xperia users in Japan. Fortunately for us, some enterprising users have already extracted the APK and shared it with the world. You can download and install the APK on any device. The other alternative is to use Video Live Wallpaper, which is a free app available in the Play store. Video Live Wallpaper has a few more options and can cycle through multiple videos. Xperia Snap, on the other hand, only works with videos recorded through the app, and is less configurable. However, Sony’s graphics engine is capable of recording pretty looking videos that work well as live wallpapers.

[ Download Xperia Motion Snap ]

Opera Software Q3 2012 Financial Results: Mobile Drives Growth as Desktop Stalls

Opera Software has released its financials for the third quarter of 2012, and they look pretty good. Revenue grew 40% year-on-year to 56.4 million USD. However, due to a significant increase in expenses, net income fell to 6.5 million USD from 9.9 million USD in Q3 2011.

Over the past several years, Opera’s real strength has been the mobile segment. Opera Mini has been the real growth driver for the Norwegian firm. This trend continued into the recently concluded quarter. Opera finished the quarter with more than 207 million users of their mobile products alone. Opera Mini’s astronomical growth has slowed down a bit over the past few quarters, but it is still expanding its user base at a fair click. Year-on-year, Opera Mini’s user base grew by 112%. The growth was primarily driven by partnerships with operators like Airtel, Etisalat, MTN and Vodafone. Opera’s revenue from mobile consumer and mobile publishers and advertisers grew by more than 400%. Perhaps most crucially, Opera exhibited strong growth in Android with 300% year-on-year increase in users. As more and more people move away from feature phones to smartphones, Opera will have to keep on innovating to grab a slice of the smartphone segment.


Opera for desktop on the other hand, remained to be an area of concern. Opera exhibited practically no growth with just 2% increase in user base year-on-year. Currently, Opera for desktop has 55 million active users. Opera admitted during its Q&A with the investors that it’s not happy with the desktop growth and the impact of Opera 12 was less than expected. Opera Software promised strong products at the beginning of 2013, which suggests that Opera 12.20 will be released within a few months. Although, Opera didn’t manage to expand its reach, revenue from desktop increased quite nicely from 13 million USD in Q3 2011 to 19 million USD in Q3 2012.


iPhone 5 Releasing in India on Nov 2, Prices Revealed

Redington, one of the official distributors of Apple products in India, has revealed the prices for the next generation iPhones. As always, you will have to pay a premium if you wish to own Apple’s latest and greatest offering. The base model — iPhone 5 with 16 gigs of storage — will retail for Rs. 45500, which is a good ten thousand bucks more than what high end Android devices are selling for. However, Apple stuff in India has never been cheap, and the outrageous pricing has never been a major deterrent for true Apple fans.


Apple is expected to launch both white and black versions in India; however, stock will probably limited considering global demands. Higher end models with more storage will also be available in India, beginning next week. The 32 GB version will cost Rs. 52500, while the 64 GB version will cost Rs. 59500. I have always stayed away from the iPhone, as at these kind of price points I can very well get a high end gaming PC or two high-end Android smartphones. However, if you believe that there is no substitute for Apple’s exquisite sense of design or premium craftmanship, you can pre-order your device at several retailers including Infibeam.

Top Passwords of 2012

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you don’t want to deal with a security nightmare, it might be prudent to take another look at your passwords. Earlier in the year, I had shared with you a list of 25 Passwords and ATM PINs You Should Never Use. Now, here is another similar list. This one comes courtesy of Splashdata and contains the most common passwords compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online by hackers.


Passwords like password, 123456, abc123, and qwerty once again top the list. There are some new entries into the list like welcome, jesus, ninja, mustang, and password1. However, most of the passwords in the top 25 are carried over from Splashdata’s previous year’s list. The infographic above shows the top ten passwords. You can find the full list of passwords that you should never use over here. As always, if you truly want to remain secure you should avoid using guessable passwords (like your birthday) and hints, and use distinct passwords. Remembering several dozens of unique passwords is not an easy feat; hence, you can rely on tools like LastPass to generate and remember passwords for you.

Facebook Apps Harvest and Sell Private Information in the Open Market

It’s often said that if you are not paying for something then you are the product. The reckless abuse of privacy information by millions of free apps available in various repositories regularly drives home this point.

Bogomil Shopov stumbled upon a deal selling more than a million Facebook profiles, each of which accompanied with the name and email address of the user, for only five bucks. Although he didn’t specify the source, it is probably the GigBucks listing pictured below. According to the offer description, the list consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Canada, UK and Europe. The data was harvested through Facebook apps.


An opt-in list with a million verified email addresses and names would have easily fetched hundreds of dollars in the decade gone by. However, now, it’s available for just five bucks. That in itself suggests that perhaps lists like these are not all that rare or difficult to find. Social media services like Twitter and Facebook have dramatically lowered the expectations of privacy among users. Most people will think twice before signing up for a dicey looking website, but will not hesitate to sign in through Facebook to play a quiz or take an IQ test. A little bit of carelessness and a little bit breach of trust is all it takes for your name to appear in a list like this.

LG Launches Optimus Vu in India

Samsung invented the ‘phablet’ segment, which consists of high-end smartphones with displays that are bigger than what you would expect in phones, but aren’t quite big enough to qualify as a tablet. I am not a big fan of phablets, which are invariable too huge to be used comfortably as a phone. However, as the popularity of the Galaxy Note has shown, millions across the world don’t have the same reservation. The strong performance of Note has prompted others to try their luck with phablets. LG was among the first movers with its Optimus Vu, which was announced towards the beginning of this year at the MWC. Now, after a prolonged wait, the Vu is finally here in India.


In an event held in New Delhi, LG launched the Optimus Vu. The Vu runs on a quad core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 processor, and sports a 5-inch display with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. Memory card slot is not present, but the 32 GB internal storage should be good enough for most users. The 8 megapixel rear cam is capable
of snapping 1080p videos at 30fps, while the 1.3 MP front cam is good enough for video calling. On the software front it is Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) running LG’s Optimus UI.

Vu is an interesting device, and a commendable effort from LG. On the hardware front, the P895 is extremely competitive. However, I wish that LG had introduced it earlier in the Indian market. LG International has already announced the Optimus Vu II for Korea. The Vu is launching with a price tag of Rs. 34,500, and will probably cost a thousand bucks less in the market. The Galaxy Note 2 is available for Rs. 37,000, while the original Note is available for Rs. 31,000. Vu’s biggest strength is its price. It will make everyone looking to buy the original Note think twice, and might also eat into Note 2’s sales. It’s about ten percent cheaper than the Note 2, and its Tegra 3 is in the same league as Samsung’s Exynos 4412. The Note 2 is easier to grip, runs Jelly Bean, supports microSD cards, and has a bigger battery. The Optimus Vu is prettier and cheaper, with Jelly Bean scheduled to come next year.

Megaupload Preparing to Return as Mega

Speaking to Wired, Kim Doctom – the dynamic founder of Megaupload, detailed his plans for a comeback. Earlier this year, in a controversial move, the United States Department of Justice seized and shut down the file-hosting site and moved criminal cases against its owners. However, Dotcom is already out on bail and working on his next venture – Mega.


Like Megaupload, Mega will be a cyber-locker that will be driven by a subscription model, allowing users to upload and share files with ease. However, there will be a few crucial differences. Having been burnt once, Dotcom is trying to work around the legal pitfalls that led to the Megaupload’s downfall. Mega will automatically encrypt all uploaded files with AES algorithm and provide a key to the user. Mega itself won’t have the key, and hence won’t have any idea about the content of the files uploaded to its servers. Dotcom hopes that this will allow Mega to avoid liability for the uploaded content. However, if a content owner discovers that his content is being illegally shared through Mega, he can file a complaint with Mega and get his content removed. Dotcom informed the Wired that according to his legal experts, the only way to stop such a service from existing is to make encryption itself illegal. “And according to the U.N. Charter for Human Rights, privacy is a basic human right,” he elaborated. The presence of encryption algorithms will also mean that de-duplication, which is a technique used by file lockers to identify duplicate files and store only a single instance on their server, is not going to be possible. So, copyright owners will have to remove infringing content one instance at a time. Fingerprinting content to automatically remove copyrighted material is also out of the equation. As with Megaupload, Mega will allow content owners special privileges to directly remove infringing material themselves. “But this time, if they want to use that tool, they’ll have to accept, prior to getting access, that they’re not going to sue us or hold us accountable for the actions of our users,” Dotcom added.

Dotcom believes that his new entity will be on the right side of the law. However, he is not taking any chances. He is also making sure that Mega cannot be brought down by a single raid as it happened with Megaupload. Mega will store all data on two sets of redundant servers, located in two different countries. Additionally, in the long run, Dotcom wants Mega to become a network hosted by thousands of different entities with thousands of different servers, in countries all over the world. “We’re creating a system where any host in the world — from the $2,000 garage operation to the largest online host — can connect their own servers to this network,” Dotcom says. “We can work with anybody, because the hosts themselves cannot see what’s on the servers.”

In the face of increased resistance from copyright holders and law enforcement agencies, the piracy ring has little choice but to grow up. Couple of days back, we saw The Pirate Bay switching to cloud hosting to protect themselves from server seizures. Now, Mega – which on paper is a legitimate service, but will undoubtedly be exploited for distributing warez, is preparing to launch one of the most sophisticated file lockers we have seen. The cat and mouse game between the law enforcers and the law breakers is about to get a lot more interesting.

Facebook Launches Mobile App Install Ads

With more than a billion active users, Facebook is the undisputed social media champion. However, if there is one weakness in Facebook’s armor, it will have to be mobile. As pundits have pointed out again and again over the past year or so, Facebook’s mobile usage has been growing in leaps and bounds. However, the social networking giant hasn’t managed to monetize mobile particularly well. Today, Facebook is hoping to change that.

A short while back, Facebook rolled out Mobile App Install Ads for iOS and Android. App developers can take advantage of these demographics and interest based targeted ads to increase adoption of their apps. These ads will be integrated with the Facebook mobile app, and when clicked, it will take the user to the iTunes App Store or Google Play store page for the advertised app.


Facebook has been testing these ads since August with select developers and Preferred Marketing Developers. TinyCo, one of the chosen partners for the beta testing program, witnessed 50% higher CTRs (Click-through Rates) and significantly higher conversion rates compared to their current mobile channels, as well as a significant increase in player engagement. Nanigans, a Facebook marketing developer, experienced 8-10x the reach compared with its other mobile ad buys.

Internet Explorer 10 Coming to Windows 7 Next Month

Internet-Explorer-10Microsoft has a horrible track record when it comes to supporting older operating systems. Now, don’t get me wrong – they continue publishing patches and hotfixes for a Windows release for several years. However, when it comes to supporting older operating systems in their software, Microsoft often plays it dirty. For example, Internet Explorer 9 introduced a host of new features, but was limited to only Windows 7 and Vista. Similarly, Windows Live dropped support for XP in 2009 with Wave 3. This stands in stark contrast with software from third parties like Opera Software, which continues to support even Windows 2000.

The story is no different with Internet Explorer 10. IE 10 will be baked into Windows 8, and will arrive for Windows 7 in November. However, there is a big caveat. Windows 7 users will only get a preview release next month, and will have to wait further for the final release. Not only is Microsoft ignoring older operating systems like Vista, but it is already treating Windows 7 users as second class citizens.

The Pirate Bay Looks to the Cloud to Stay Ahead of Law Enforcement Agencies

The Pirate Bay is known to have a penchant for theatrics. Staying true to their form, they have announced that they are getting rid of their “earthly form and ascending into the next stage”. In ordinary speak, what the infamous Swedish torrent website is trying to convey is that they are ditching the traditional web hosting model in favor of cloud hosting.


TorrentFreak explains that The Pirate Bay is currently hosted at cloud hosting companies in two countries where they run several Virtual Machine (VM) instances. Running on virtual machines reduces both cost and complexity, since no physical maintenance is required. The added benefit of this arrangement is that it makes bringing down The Pirate Bay even more difficult. If they are kicked off by a cloud hosting service, they can just hop onto the next cloud host and deploy their virtual machines over there in matter of hours if not minutes. Thus, the threat of a server seizure bringing down TPB is reduced drastically.

However, The Pirate Bay isn’t ditching all its servers. There are still two components it’s not placing in the cloud. The load balancer and transit-routers are still owned and operated by The Pirate Bay. This apparently helps in hiding the location of the cloud provider and protects the privacy of users.

“All communication with users goes through TPB’s load balancer, which is a disk-less server with all the configuration in RAM. The load balancer is not in the same country as the transit-router or the cloud servers,” The Pirate Bay informed TorrentFreak. “The communication between the load balancer and the virtual servers is encrypted. So even if a cloud provider found out they’re running TPB, they can’t look at the content of user traffic or user’s IP-addresses.”

The pirates seem to have put a quite a bit of effort into making it tough for the law enforcement agencies. “If the police decide to raid us again there are no servers to take, just a transit router. If they follow the trail to the next country and find the load balancer, there is just a disk-less server there. In case they find out where the cloud provider is, all they can get are encrypted disk-images,” The Pirate Bay explained. “They have to be quick about it too, if the servers have been out of communication with the load balancer for 8 hours they automatically shut down. When the servers are booted up, access is only granted to those who have the encryption password,” they add.