McAfee Social Protection Protects Your Facebook Photos

Facebook Photos was designed to make sharing of photos with the people that matter as easy as possible. Privacy was very much an afterthought, and that is still readily apparent. Although Facebook does provide reasonable amount of control over your photos, it is still very easy to slipup and unintentionally broadcast your private moments on the web. Even worse, your friends can share your photos to distribute your pics way beyond their intended social circle.

McAfee Social Protection solves all of this and more. Social Protection will be released as a browser plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome towards the end of this month. Support for Macs, iOS, and Android will arrive by the end of this year. Once you install the plugin, the photos you upload are encrypted and uploaded to a different server. The photos appear blurred by default, and only the intended recipients who have Social Protection installed will be able to view the original snap. This takes care of situations where your boss, who is not even in your friendliest, might accidently stumbling upon your drunken pics because your friend decided to share them with everyone in his network.

via Mashable

McAfee also goes a step further, and makes it impossible to download or screencap your Facebook photos. Other than taking a snap of the screen with a camera, McAfee is pretty much making redistribution of your photos impossible. It is also including facial recognition technology that will automatically alert you if anyone in your network uploads a photo of you without tagging you in it.

We are still a few weeks away from the official release of Social Protection; however, if it indeed works as advertised, it might turn out to be a hit among the more privacy concerned netizens. The fact that only friends who have the plugin installed will be able to view your photos will definitely act as a deterrent. However, that might be a cost people will be willing to pay for the additional privacy.

Facebook Rolling Out ‘Save for Later’ Feature

Over the years, Facebook has evolved from being just a place to share what you are doing and what is happening in your life to a destination for creating and sharing great content in addition to sharing snippets of your life. Every now and then, while browsing through the news feed, you will stumble upon a great link or an insightful note that you might want to read later. There are apps like Instapaper and Pocket that are meant for just this – saving pieces of content that you want to delve into at your leisure. They work fairly well when you are using Facebook on your desktop. However, having to constantly switch between Instapaper and Facebook apps on your smartphone can become annoying.

Facebook is now attempting to ease this pain point by introducing ‘save for later’ feature. The Verge has confirmed that Facebook will be adding a ‘Save’ button beneath every update. Clicking on the button will tuck away the update in a ‘Saved’ sub-folder under your favorites. This feature is also being rolled out to Facebook’s mobile apps, where it will perhaps be most appreciated.


Saved stories are private, and can be easily unsaved with the tap of a button. As always, the update is being gradually rolled out to users. Once it is rolled out to your account, you should see a notification informing you about the new feature.

Leaked Slides Reveal Sony Xperia Tablet

Several slides, purportedly from Sony, have surfaced online, which offer a sneak peak at Sony’s next Android tablet. In spite of inspired design, Sony’s (then Sony Ericsson) first shot at the tablet market turned out to be a major disappointment. However, the Japanese electronics giant is not giving up.


The new tablet is going to use the Xperia branding, which has so far only been used for smartphones. The new Xperia tablet will sport a slim, splash proof aluminum body with sandblasted, anodized finish that will be only 8.8mm thick. Sony will retain the wedge design, and 9.4-inch display (1280×800) that we saw in the Tablet S.

The Sony Xperia Tablet SGPT1211 will be powered by Tegra 3, and feature PlayStation certification, along with integration with Sony Entertainment Network. It will feature an 8-megapixel rear-cam, and a 1-megapixel front-cam.


Sony is also planning to release a bunch of accessories, including a charging cradle, dock speaker, dock stand, tablet stand, carrying case, and LCD screen protector.

According to the source, the Xperia tablet will launch in time for the holiday season. Although the slides suggest that the 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB variants are going to cost $450, $550, and $650 respectively, the tipster believes that all of the units will retail for $50 less than the earmarked price.

New Snapdragon Quad-Core S4 Pro Chipset Gets Benchmarked, Demolishes the Competition

Earlier in the year, we saw benchmarks where Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon dual-core S4 Pro chipsets comfortably outperformed quad-core mobile chipsets from the likes of NVidia. Now, Qualcomm is ready with its quad-core S4 Pro chips, and as you might expect, it literally demolishes its competitors.

Engadget has managed to get its hands on the Snapdragon APQ8064, which was announced at the Mobile World Congress 2012 held in Barcelona. The new Snapdragon S4 towers above its competitors, almost doubling its score in the CF-Bench CPU benchmark. The Galaxy SIII with its Exynos chipset is the APQ8064’s toughest competitor, but it is also handsomely defeated in all the tests.


S4 Pro MDP (APQ8064) Nexus 7 (Tegra 3) Galaxy S III (Exynos 4412) One X (Tegra 3) Galaxy S III (AT&T, MSM8960) One X (AT&T, MSM8960)
Quadrant 7,698 3,501 4,454 4,906 5,084 4,784
Vellamo 2,538 1,650 1,751 1,617 2,153 2,259
AnTuTu 13,826 8,995 11,960 11,030 6,713 6,956
SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms) 1,227 1,785 1,460 1,773 1,926 1,453
GLBenchmark Egypt Offscreen (fps) 132 63 99 63 54 56
CF-Bench 18,219 11,807 13,110 13,233 9,439 9,479
SunSpider: lower scores are better

The biggest question now is how power efficient is the new quad-core S4 Pro. Thanks to its impressive architecture and fabrication, I suspect that it will be at the very least as power efficient as NVidia’s Tegra 3, but we will have to wait to know for sure. So far none of the manufactures have announced any APQ8064 based devices; however, I would expect the quad-core S4 Pro to begin showing up in tablets and phones by this year’s holiday season. Given that all the big-name manufactures have already announced their flagships for this year, it is more likely that the APQ8064 will first begin appearing in tablets.

(Image via Engadget)

LG Optimus 4X HD: What Sets it Apart

Android handsets might be selling like hot cakes, but it is still rough to be an Android handset manufacturer. Android devices are a dime a dozen, with new ones being introduced almost every week. The competition is fierce, and the impact is being felt in the bottom line of Android OEMs. Apart from Samsung, pretty much every other Android manufacturer is struggling to make profits. The biggest challenge for any Android smartphone is to set itself apart from the crowd. Baring Sony and Motorola, all other big name manufacturers have jumped aboard the quad-core bandwagon (Motorola is likely to follow soon with the Atrix 3). All of the new flagships come with high definition displays having a stunning DPI. All of them have Ice Cream Sandwich. In such a situation, it is no longer sufficient to cram your flagship with the best-in-class hardware and ship with the newest edition of Android. Manufacturers are being forced to come up with innovative new features to attract consumers. While Samsung focused on augmenting its phone’s senses to help the Galaxy S3 stand out from the crowd, HTC banked on Beats Audio and ImageSense. LG also is trying to entice potential buyers by offering a few nifty enhancements to the stock experience.


The first feature worth noting in the Optimus 4X HD is QuickMemo. As the name suggests, QuickMemo is LG’s take on an instant note taking app. QuickMemo permeates throughout the interface, and is accessible pretty much everywhere. All you have to do is tap the QuickMemo button present in the notification area, and whatever you were doing will be frozen to allow you to scribble notes. Whether you are watching a video, reviewing a presentation, or surfing the web, QuickMemo can be used to annotate whatever is on the screen. Notes saved using QuickMemo are sharable over email, social networks, or MMS.

The second distinctive feature is Smart Mail, which offers a desktop-client like two-pane view in landscape mode that can come in handy when you want to go through a large number of mails quickly. In portrait mode, its UI is similar to traditional mobile apps, but it has a smart email sorting option with history view. You can dive into all past conversations with a contact with a single tap.

One app where LG is truly harnessing the power of its quad core processor is the video player. It not only supports playback of full HD (1080p) videos, but it also features pinch-to-zoom gesture for zooming into any portion of the video. On top of it, LG’s media app is also capable of slowing down or speeding up videos on the fly, and has a split-screen mode for quickly browsing through your video library. However, the handiest feature of LG’s video player is the fingertip seek feature, which displays YouTube like preview of the frame you are about to jump to.

LG has augmented the stock camera app also. Besides features like Panorama and HDR, which pretty much all of its competitors have, the Optimus 4X HD has something called Time Catch shot. When in this mode, you not only have access to the pic that you clicked, but also to 5 shots from 2-3 seconds before you snapped the picture. The idea is that you don’t have to miss out on the perfect moment just because you were a bit late to click the picture. LG is branding its unique multimedia enhancements as Media Plex.

LG is also taking a page out of Sony’s book and introducing NFC smart tags. They are calling this LG Tag+. The NFC tags can be used for changing profiles, launching apps, altering phone settings and more with a tap. The Optimus 4X will ship with two tags that can be used for switching between various profiles like Car mode and Office mode. Of course, the tags are customizable, so users can program them as they wish.


LG is also offering a host of connectivity options other than NFC. The Optimus 4x HD supports MHL (Mobile HD Link), DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth 4.0. However, the most distinctive feature is On-Screen Phone (OSP), which allows the user to access and control his phone from a PC. It works over USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, and enables the user to see his phone’s screen on the PC, and to also access its full functionality. So, if you want to play the latest TegraHD game on a bigger screen, you may easily do so. You can also use this to be notified of phone calls, alarms, and SMS, while you are working on your desktop.

Other potential draws of the LG Optimus 4X are its icon customizer (use any image from the gallery as an app icon), Dolby Sound, and Gesture Zooming.

All in all, LG has put in quite some effort to offer a package that has enough nifty tricks to allow the Optimus 4X to stand out from the crowd. In the end, everything will depend on how well everything is executed, and how smartly the 4X is priced. I will follow-up with a detailed review later, but from the first hands-on the Optimus 4X appeared to be a smartphone that is at the very least capable of competing with the likes of the Galaxy S3 and One X.

Firefox 15 Beta Adds Support for Opus Audio Codec

Opus-Audio-FormatOne of the most well-known features of HTML5 is its ability to play video and audio files natively. With HTML5’s <video> and <audio> tags, you do not need to have third-party software like Windows Media Player or Real Player to enjoy multimedia content. Your browser should be able to take care of audio and video files out of the box, independent of the system. Unfortunately, due to a lack of consensus, HTML5 specifications don’t actually specify the codecs in which the multimedia content must be encoded in. This is similar to how to image tag works – the image tag can be used to embed images in all popular image formats including BMP, JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Initially, Internet Explorer and Apple supported the proprietary H.264 technology for the video tag, and Opera and Mozilla backed Ogg Theora. While H.264 posed licensing challenges, Ogg Theora was widely believed to be an inferior solution. Google tried to solve the conundrum by stepping in and proposing WebM, which uses a superior VP8 video codec and Vorbis Ogg audio codec. For audio tag also something similar happened with some browsers throwing their weight behind Ogg and others supporting AAC.

Now, Mozilla is proposing a new audio format called Opus as an alternative to Ogg and AAC formats that have emerged as the de facto choices for the audio tag. Opus is a completely free audio format that was developed by collaboration between members of the IETF Internet Wideband Audio Codec working group, which includes Mozilla, Microsoft, Xiph.Org, Broadcom, and Octasic.
Mozilla is promising better quality to size ratio for Opus than its competitors. According to its tests, Opus is the best-in-class for live streaming and static file playback. In fact, it is being heralded as the first audio codec to be well-suited for both interactive and non-interactive applications. Mozilla’s listening tests show that at 64 kbps, Opus sounds better than both HE-AAC and Vorbis, and a 64 kbps Opus file sounds as good as a 96 kbps MP3 file.

Mozilla is adding support for Opus with Firefox 15 beta, and is hoping that other browser manufacturers will follow suit.

Apple Ordered to Run Newspaper Ads Stating Samsung Didn’t Copy the iPad

Samsung-Galaxy-TabLast week, the High Court of England & Wales ruled that Samsung Tabs were distinctive enough not to be confused with the iPad. The High Court dismissed Apple’s arguments by referring to approximately 50 examples of prior art, and identified distinctive differences between Samsung’s products and Apple’s iPad. In fact, somewhat embarrassingly for Samsung, Judge Colin Birss stated that the Tabs don’t infringe on Apple’s designs because they are “not as cool”. “They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design”, he noted in his ruling.

Now the same judge has struck another blow to Apple, which had stuck to its original stance even after the previous ruling. Birss has instructed Apple to publish a notice on its U.K. website and run advertisements in prominent British newspapers and magazines notifying consumers that Samsung didn’t plagiarize its designs. However, he declined to grant Samsung’s bid for an injunction blocking Apple from making public statements that the Galaxy infringed its design rights.

Essentially, Apple is being forced to advertise its competitor’s products out of its own pocket. The Cupertino based giant, which was initially looking to block the sale of the Galaxy Tab 7.7, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9, will undoubtedly be disappointed with the ruling. However, even though Samsung might have cause to celebrate now, it must ask itself how it is going to lure the gadget enthusiasts if even a judge finds its products unappealing. If I were Apple, I would certainly rub it in by highlighting the “not as cool” remark in the advertisements.

Samsung Accuses LG of Stealing and Leaking Its OLED Technology

Corporate-Espionage-Samsung-LG In a stunning development, Samsung has accused its rival LG of committing industrial espionage. Samsung Mobile Display, the wing of Samsung Electronics responsible for manufacturing displays, is blaming LG for the leak of its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen technology.

On Sunday, 11 individuals were arrested in connection with stealing and leaking key technologies related to OLED displays manufactured by Samsung. According to the indictment, six of them are current or former researchers at Samsung, one is a sub-contractor from LG Display, and other five are executives at LG Display.

Samsung is demanding an apology as well as corrective action from its South Korean competitor. It is claiming damages worth “trillions of won” (1 trillion won is slightly less than 0.9 billion USD). “Executives of LG Display, which lacks OLED technology and related human resources, took the lead in this criminal act in order to overcome their shortcomings as quickly as possible,” it said in a statement.

LG is not taking the allegations lying down. It is threatening to sue Samsung Display for defamation. “We do not need Samsung’s technology, which works under a totally different display system,” it added. Samsung currently claims to have a 97% market share in the OLED screen market. If its allegations are proven in court, LG will have to contend with steep fines besides having egg on its face.

Nokia’s Troubles Continue, AT&T Slashes Lumia 900 Prices to Boost Sales

Nokia’s flagship — Lumia 900 — was already selling for a fair bit less than the top end models from its competitors, and now AT&T has now gone ahead and slashed its price further. The Windows Phone 7.5 powered Lumia 900 is now available for only $49.99 on a two-year contract with AT&T. However, even the substantial price drop might be too little too late to save the Lumia.


Nokia’s biggest problem isn’t the device itself. Lumia 900 is a gorgeous phone with great build quality and a hardware that still feels pretty snappy. Nokia’s biggest concern is Lumia’s platform – Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has already announced that Windows Phone 7 devices will not be upgradable to Windows Phone 8. As a result, Nokia once again finds itself with a great smartphone that has been rendered pretty much dead on arrival. The same thing happened last year as Meego was killed even before N9 arrived in the market. To make matters worse, WP 8 apps won’t be compatible with WP 7. So, not only won’t current Lumia owners be able to upgrade to the latest OS from Microsoft, but they will also stop getting new apps by the time WP 8 hits the shelves.

No matter how Microsoft tries to spin it, there is simply no excuse for leaving Windows Phone 7 users stranded. Windows Phone 7 was supposed to be a new beginning. It was supposed to herald the future of Microsoft’s mobile efforts. Microsoft egged on developers to build for their platform. It sunk millions of dollars to develop the ecosystem. And now, it is simply turning around, and giving a big FU to the early adopters, to the Microsoft enthusiasts, to the people who actually believed in the Redmond giant.

A $50 price drop is unlikely to be enough to save a phone that doesn’t have any future. Windows Phone 7 ecosystem is already dead. Even if AT&T sells the phone for free with a 2 year contract, they might have a hard time selling it.

Formspring Hacked, 420000 Passwords Leaked

FormspringSocial question and answer website Formspring has been breached, and a dump of 420,000 passwords is spreading around the interwebs. Formspring, which was founded in 2009, has more than 20 million registered users. It recently gained notoriety due to incidents of bullying leading to death of teenagers.

Formspring has confirmed that an unknown attacker managed to break into one of its development server to extract account information from a production database. Fortunately, Formspring had significantly better security practices than most other recently hacked web services. All the passwords were hashed using SHA-256 with salting. Thus, if you have a reasonably secure password, you will most probably be safe. However, users with insecure passwords still stand the risk of being exposed. As a precautionary measure, Formspring is forcing all of its users to change their password. It has also updated its authentication system to use bcrypt hashing function that is practically impossible to brute force.

Formspring needs to be applauded for employing a fairly strong hashing mechanism, and being quick to react. However, the security breach once again reinforces the belief that no web service is truly safe. Hence, it’s always a good idea to have a unique password for every website. If you use your Formspring password on other services also, it is advised that you change your password on those services too. Going forward, you might want to use a password manager like LastPass.