All posts by Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

Samsung Galaxy S Tablet Coming Soon

Let the “iPad Killer” hype begin. According to multiple unconfirmed reports, Samsung is all set to unveil the Galaxy S tablet, whose existence was confirmed back in June.

Samsung-Galaxy-S-Tablet

Very little concrete information is available about the Samsung Tab, other than that it will run on Android 2.2 and will feature a 7 inch screen. PCWorld expects it to be powered by a 1.2 GHz A8 processor, with a Super AMOLED screen, 16 GB of internal storage and 32 GB MicroSD expansion.

There is a good possibility that the tablet will be officially announced on August 11. Samsung has already invited members of the tech press to celebrate “a new dimension of Wonder with new products and announcements” in an event scheduled to be held on August 11.

In related news, the other highly anticipated tablet – Notion Ink’s Adam, is also making steady progress. The Adam, which is expected to arrive by October, has already passed the HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Test) test and Notion Ink is preparing to revamp its brand identity.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro Rooted

Xperia X10 Mini and Mini Pro – the diminutive beauties from Sony Ericsson, have finally been rooted. The root procedure is fairly simple, but not automated. The Xperia X10 Mini root utilizes the Exploid method, which was also used to root the Droid X. An alternate procedure to root the X10 Mini is also available. However, this method doesn’t appear to be as universal as the aforementioned Exploid technique.

Xperia-X10-Mini-Mini-Pro

Now that all of the X10s have been rooted to gain superuser privilege, the next step is to unlock the boot loader (full root). Developers are already very close to cracking open the Xperia X10 and porting Cyanogen. Hopefully, its smaller siblings will also get the same treatment. Head over to xda-developers for the root instructions and guidance. Although the entire process is straight forward, you can theoretically end up with a bricked phone if you are not cautious. Also keep in mind that this might (and probably will) void your warranty.

Security Researchers Reveal Android Vulnerability That Allows Hackers to Read Your Email and SMS

AndroidJust days after a wallpaper app was called out for harvesting private data, security researchers have revealed another potential pitfall in Google’s popular mobile operating system. At Defcon hackers conference, Las Vegas, researchers from Spider Labs distributed a rootkit that exploits a bug present in the Android operating system.

“It wasn’t difficult to build,” said Nicholas Percoco, head of Spider Labs, who worked with his partner to develop the malware in just two weeks. The rootkit in question is able to silently gain full system access and can collect and transmit sensitive user information like e-mail and text messages. Spider Labs hopes that the public disclosure will prompt manufacturers to fix the bug present in current Android systems.

Percoco used HTC Legend and Desire handsets for the demonstration; however, he believes that other Android phones are also vulnerable. While Android’s openness is one of its biggest strengths, it can also turn out to be its biggest weakness. The open Market definitely makes it an easier target than the iPhone.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Activation Technologies Already Cracked

Windows-7 You have probably heard by now that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 includes the anti-piracy update (KB971033) that was released earlier this year. However, it appears that Windows 7 is still as crackable as before.

The original WAT update killed more than 70 cracks available for Microsoft’s newest desktop operating system and promised to kill any new cracks that cropped up through signature updates. Although Microsoft succeeded in nixing several loaders that misused OEM SLP keys, many others managed to find a work around.

The Windows 7 SP1 beta has just been released, and crackers have already updated their loaders to bypass the new security measures. In the perennial cat and mouse game between Microsoft and the crackers, crackers have once again outsmarted Microsoft. However, the first service pack for Windows 7 is scheduled for the first half of next year. The Redmond based PC giant still has plenty of time to update the WAT tool’s signature and bounce back.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Firmware Update – R2BA026

Xperia X10 users around the world are reporting that they have begun receiving the R2BA026 firmware. As always, this update can be downloaded through Sony Ericsson Update Service (SEUS). Regions which have been confirmed to have already received the firmware update include UK, India, Canada and Australia.

Sony-Ericsson-Xperia-X10

Since, Sony Ericsson doesn’t provide change logs, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has changed. However, several users are reporting significant performance improvements. In particular, Timescape and Mediascape apps appear to be a lot more responsive.

Éclair for the X10 is still several weeks away. In the meantime, the barrage of minor firmware updates are likely to continue. According to PTCRB, R1EA029 firmware has already been certified.

Hat tip: @dreamcatchertdf

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Android 2.1 Update: First Look at HD Video Recording

While HTC has already begun rolling out Froyo, Sony Ericsson is still trying to get Android 2.1 out of the door. Android 2.1 is expected to arrive on Sony Ericsson handsets in Q3, which essentially means within the next couple of months. However, an xda forum member has already managed to get his hands on an X10 running an internal Éclair build.

Sony-Ericsson-Xperia-X10-Android-2-1

The Android 2.1 update will introduce live wallpapers, 16M colors, improved application support and hopefully improved performance. Besides the standard Éclair improvements, the new ROM will also feature HD video recording. The aforementioned xda forum member was kind enough to record a sample video for our viewing pleasure. To be honest, the video quality is nothing spectacular. It’s not bad by any means, but the frame rate could have definitely been better. Let’s hope that finished ROM will fix the current deficiencies.


Xperia X10 HD Video Recording Sample: Click here to download the uncompressed video.

PayPal Re-enables Electronic Withdrawal Service in India

PayPal India has built quite a reputation for pulling nasty surprises out of the blue. Three days back, they suspended indefinitely electronic withdrawal services or direct deposits in India. The good news is that something changed, and PayPal has re-enabled the crucial electronic withdrawal services.

Paypal-Withdrawal

As always, PayPal’s official announcement offers little explanation and simply apologizes for any inconvenience. “We want you to know that our customers are our #1 priority and we are working non-stop to improve our service to you”, wrote Dickson Seow from PayPal’s Corporate Communications team. The previously announced $5 refund for cheque withdrawals will also be continued for Indian users.

Needless to say, these out of the blue jolts have seriously damaged PayPal’s reputation. It’s hard to imagine PayPal being happy with the current situation either. Although we don’t know what caused the latest flip-flop, I will be surprised if the Indian government and regulatory bodies didn’t have a hand to play.

Confirmed: Android 2.2 Coming To HTC Desire and Evo in a Week

AndroidHTC Desire owners, rejoice! Android 2.2 (Froyo) is set to arrive this weekend with all its Sense goodness. There’s a slight catch though. This timeline is applicable only to folks who purchased unlocked handsets. Carriers, who are notorious for taking their own sweet time, will determine the fate of locked (branded) handsets.

This update will also introduce some tweaks to HTC’s proprietary Sense UI. “As well as including the complete set of Android 2.2 features, the update will contain a few special additions of our own through the latest iteration of HTC Sense,” said an HTC spokesperson to CNET.

While Desire owners across Europe will begin receiving Froyo tomorrow, HTC Evo owners in the US will have to wait slightly longer. Don’t worry though, Sprint phones will still be the first to get Froyo in the US. Sprint has announced that it will begin rolling out the update on Tuesday. However, not all users will be getting it immediately. Thanks to the phased deployment, you might have to wait til mid-August to feast in the Froyo goodness.

Hacker Turns ATM Machines into Magical Money Tree

Black-Hat-ConferenceWhen I was a kid, I used to wish that everyone had a magical money spewing tree. In the mind of a dreamy little kid that would have been the perfect solution to poverty. Even better, kids could then be kids, instead of having to understand why diamond is hard and graphite is soft. On Wednesday, Barnaby Jack, a security researcher, demonstrated how anyone could get their own magical money spewing machine. And frankly, it’s downright scary.

In a session titled “Jackpotting Automated Teller Machines Redux”, Jack demonstrated to attendees at the Black Hat security conference, how easy it is to hack modern day ATM machines to make them do your bidding. Although ATM Machines are secure physically, their digital underbelly has simply not managed to keep up with the times. Most of them are powered by ancient software that have primitive security measures.

In one instance, Jack simply used a master key available online, while on the other instance he remotely hacked into the system. Although, his demonstration was focused on machines manufactured by Triton and Tranax, Jack believes that he can manipulate practically any ATM installation.

Rumor: YouTube to Increase Video Duration to 15 Minutes

YouTubeAlthough, select partners have long been able to upload lengthy videos on YouTube, most uploaders have had to contend with 10 minute clips. BoingBoing is now reporting that YouTube is preparing to increase the maximum duration of uploaded content to 15 minutes.

Earlier, Google had revealed that although YouTube was serving 2 billion views per day, an average user spent only 15 minutes per day on YouTube. One of the biggest challenges for YouTube is to increase its engagement factor. It’s a great venue for some quick-fire entertainment, but it lacks the compelling programming offered by traditional television channels. The increased video duration will offer more leeway to content creators to come up with content that will hopefully be more attractive to folks looking for something more substantial than David After Dentist.

Update: It’s official. Google has just confirmed the news through the official YouTube blog.