ReclaimPrivacy BookMarklet Scans Your Facebook Settings To Spot Potential Privacy Issues

Over the past few weeks Facebook, as well as its founder Mark Zuckerberg, has come under fire from all corners for lax privacy policies. Although, Facebook provides extensive privacy controls, making sense of it is not very simple. Worse still, some aspects like Instant Personalization are by default opt-in. As a result, many users might be caught unawares.

ReclaimPrivacy is a simple cross-browser bookmarklet, which enables you to assess your privacy settings. It scans your Facebook settings and displays a brief report (screenshot below) covering six major areas of concern including instant personalization and visibility level of personal information.

ReclaimPrivacy-Facebook-Bookmarklet

ReclaimPrivacy is a donation driven project started by Matt Pizzimenti. He hit upon the idea while on his flight back from Michigan to the Bay. The scanner doesn’t require Facebook username or password to work and operates entirely within the user’s browser. The source code for the project is available here.

Techie Buzz Verdict

ReclaimPrivacy-Highly-Recommended In some ways, it is sad that the world’s largest social network needs a utility like ReclaimPrivacy. It also underscores the amount of distrust spreading among a section of Facebook users. While some pundits believe that most of the people are over reacting, there is no harm in being cautious.

ReclaimPrivacy is ideal for not-so-tech-savvy users as it enables them to make sense of the complicated and confusing Facebook privacy settings. Even better, it can instantly fix potentially troublesome settings. However, ReclaimPrivacy needs better documentation. In some cases it isn’t exactly clear what settings ReclaimPrivacy is changing.

Overall, ReclaimPrivacy is a really well executed idea. Spread the word and make your friends and family members aware of the potential privacy pitfalls of Facebook.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

via LifeHacker

Justin Bieber Returns To Twitter’s Trending List As Fans Fight Back Against Algorithm Change

Twieber-Justin-Bieber-Twitter-TrendsJust a couple of days ago, we reported that Twitter has changed its trending topics algorithm to weed out perennial hot topics like Justin Bieber.

Twitter’s new algorithm filters out topics that are consistently popular and instead showcases only new topics that are really trending. Because of this change, Justin Bieber – a popular Canadian singer and a teen heartthrob, disappeared from Twitter’s ‘Trending’ topics list for nearly two days.

Evidently, this change didn’t go down well with fans of the 16 year old sensation. Obsessed Bieber fans have worked around the algorithmic change by making variants of the word Justin Bieber trend. Some of the topics, which have been trending in the past 24 hours, are #biebertrend, twieber and jieber.

Whether you love him or hate him, one thing is becoming clear. If you are on Twitter, you just can’t ignore him. It almost appears as if his super obsessed fans have made it their motto to keep him trending.

Update: As pointed out by one of our commenters, Twieber is actually a Twitter close for Justin Bieber fans!

OpenBook Lets You Search Public Facebook Updates

With Facebook still trying to deny the privacy risk these new settings expose users to, OpenBook is a strong evidence of how screwed up Facebook’s privacy policies are. It is a simple search engine that lets you search Facebook updates that have been made public. These updates are from people who are either not smart enough to understand these new privacy settings or brave enough to share their status updates with the world.

OpenBook is to Facebook what PleaseRobme was to FourSquare. The only difference is that FourSquare hardly has a million users while Facebook has close to 500 Million. A simple search on “going out” tells you how many Facebook users will leave their houses unattended tonight and where they will be. The website even lists some latest searches to show you what people have been looking for. If you are worried about your privacy, and you should be, you can search OpenBook to make sure none of your status updates are showing up publicly. If they are, you can change your privacy settings.

OpenBook is yet another example that proves how messed up Facebook’s privacy settings are. As some people may argue, users have the choice to opt-out of these settings but is that so easy for a 50 year old non-English speaker to tweak around these now-complicated settings? Specially when they are changing almost every week!

[Via Ghacks]

Did You See The New YouTube Hashtags?

We have already wished YouTube on its fifth birthday. There were major changes made to YouTube over the last few months and now, some people are  complaining about hash tags on YouTube.

Well, I call it complaining because those who saw it are either too unhappy about it or, they are ignoring it already.

Hashed comment words like #LOL and #FAIL are showing up in an odd shade of orange. Not only that, you can also search by hash tags.

So, a search for #LOL gives you  this page with #LOL highlighted and separate from lol or #lol. Currently, the system identifies only a few words like #LOL, #FTW, #OMG and #FAIL. All these words are shown as links to the search for that particular hash-tag.

YouTube is either aiming at something similar to Twitter’s “Trending Topics” feature or, it is trying to create a new user generated section. Both of these will drive in huge traffic from social media activists, now that YouTube has seen five summers.

It is too soon to give this feature thumbs up or down. We should wait and watch. Google will come up with something innovative. It always does.

HTC Mondrian To Run On a 1.3Ghz Snapdragon Processor?

The folks over at xda-developers have been ripping apart a leaked ROM of an upcoming Windows Phone 7 device the HTC Mondrian. What the guys found from the leaked ROM is pretty interesting. In the leaked WP7 ROM, the Qualcomm QSD8650A or B processor is listed, which is basically a Snapdragon processor running at a whooping 1.3 GHz. It was not long ago that mobile CPUs reached the speed of 1 GHz, and now 1.3 GHz!  clip_image001

According to the information available from the ROM, the Mondrian will support both 3G and HSDPA, along with EV-DO. The screen of the HTC Mondrian will measure 4.3inch with a resolution of WVGA (480×800). The device will also have a Qualcomm Wi-Fi adapter, along with an FM radio and a digital compass.

The picture on the right was extracted from the oemavatar.cabfile in the ROM. We are not sure whether it is the picture of the HTC Mondrian itself or a generic WP7 based phone. Hopefully, we will find this out soon enough.

(Source)

The Pirate Bay: Finally Silenced by Hollywood, But For How Long?

The Pirate Bay is suffering a temporary downtime from some time now.

the-pirate-bay-down

The Pirate Bay as we all know is the world’s largest BitTorrent  search engine. It has been the target of Hollywood studios from ages and now finally, they have found out where to hit so that it hits hard.

An injunction against The Pirate Bay Traffic provider, CyberBunker operator CB3ROB Ltd. & Co. KG from the Regional Court of Hamburg has forced the routing provider of The Pirate Bay to stop routing traffic to their website servers.

The injunction was filed by Disney Enterprises and Paramount Pictures in association with Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Though, this is not the end of The Pirate Bay and they have already claimed that they will be back sooner than we think. The Original news source on this, Torrentfreak, writes saying,

A Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak that they are not planning to wait for a decision from the Cyberbunker team, and that they’ve already set the backup process in motion which will bring the site back online. The Pirate Bay’s servers are untouched and getting the site up and running only requires the routing (IP-tunnel) to go through another provider.

The actual location of The Pirate Bay servers is still a mystery and is expected to remain so for a good long time.
(Image Via: Santuario)

Linux Kernel 2.6.34 Released

Linus Torvalds has announced the release of the Linux Kernel version 2.6.34 on Sunday this week. This new kernel has come after months of development and Linus made the release announcement at the unofficial Linux Kernel Mailing List  lkml.org. He wrote,

Nothing very interesting here, which is just how I like it. Various random
fixes all over, nothing really stands out. Pretty much all of it is one-
or few-liners, I think the biggest patch in the last week was fixing some
semantics for the new SR-IOV VF netlink interface. And even that wasn't
a _big_ patch by any means.

So 2.6.34 is out, and the merge window is thus officially open.

The new Linux Kernel, version 2.6.34 has a new LogFS file-system file system, a faster networking support on KVM virtualization, updates on Btrfs file-system and many other GPU driver updates.

A complete list of changes can be found here.

Now that Kernel 2.6.34 is out,  developers  are focusing on bug fixes and the next kernel 2.6.35. Plans for the next kernel include improved support for ATI graphics and Intel H.264 video acceleration.

Linus Torvalds has decided to take some rest for a day or two now that a new milestone is reached. Though, it is not long before he gets back to work in full form. A list of bugs has already appeared on the release post which will surely give him the Monday morning blues.

(Via: Phoronix)

Ubuntu Is NOT replacing Firefox with Google Chrome. Its Chromium!

Word have been spreading around that Ubuntu is replacing Firefox with Google Chrome for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. This “news” seem to have started out with a post at ubergizmo, which TechCrunch picked up and then posted (refering to Ubuntu Netbook Edition with the no-longer-in-use name Ubuntu Netbook Remix). With Neowin too joining in with a post today, it is spreading like wildfire.

However the truth is that it is not Google Chrome which may replace Firefox; it is Chromium. (We wrote about it four days ago.)While Google has released most of the Chrome code to the Chromium Project, Chrome still has some closed-source codes and come packaged with proprietary software (Flash). Anyone with even a slight understanding of the Ubuntu Philosophy (and Licensing) would understand that Ubuntu can never have Google Chrome as a default application.

Two days ago, when this misinformation has just started spreading, Ubuntu Developer Jorge Castro wrote a blog post clarifying that it is not Chrome but Chromium that they are considering as a replacement for Firefox in UNE 10.10. Unfortunately his message did not go through. This is what he wrote:

I’d like to clarify some things about our session on default applications and Chromium.

  • Chrome and Chromium are not the same thing. Chrome is a non-free build of the Chromium project.
  • It is impossible for us to ship Google Chrome as a default web browser without compromising  our beliefs. You can read more about our licensing and how that relates  here.

I hope that clears things up, you’ll be hearing more updates in the usual development channels from the Desktop team as the cycle progresses.

Hopefully, this post in clears things up. :)

Groupon Acquires CityDeal, Expands To 18 European Countries

Groupon, the much talked about daily deal website has acquired its European clone called CityDeal. This acquisition will expand Groupon from US and Canada to 18 more countries including UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This truly reflects the strong funding base Groupon has and reiterates its valuation of being a $ 1 Billion company.

Mashable reports that CityDeal was founded by the same people who earlier formed Alando, a clone of eBay which was later acquired by eBay. CityDeal has 600 employees and will continue to operate as usual until the transition completes. There is no word yet on how much Groupon paid to CityDeal and what were the terms of the payment, but with a recent funding round of $135 Million, we definitely know that Groupon has deep enough pockets to pay a good price.

Groupon uses power of the group to bring a great deal every day to major cities across the US. It is a win-win situation for both the businesses selling their products at a discount as well as the hundreds of people who buy the product at a much lower than regular price. Groupon has been growing pretty rapidly and with this step towards global expansion, they are bound to have an effect on how online retailing works.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Hands-On Review

Finally, the Xperia X10 gets reviewed on Techie Buzz. It took quite a while to explore X10 but, now here is the hands-on review of the X10.

Introduction

The Xperia X10 is the first Android device from Sony Ericsson. The Xperia X10 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor and 384MB RAM. It also has an 8MP camera with a LED light and records video in   WVGA resolution at 28fps (720P HD recording will be available with the firmware update in Q4). The 4 inch wide TFT screen is a masterpiece; I will talk about it later. It has a 3.5mm slot, micro USB port and a microSD card support which is expandable up to 16GB. It runs on Android 1.6 OS, which is outdated but the Sony Ericsson customization is worth it. Now, that is enough of the introduction, let us move straight to the review.

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Build Quality and Screen

The size of the Xperia X10 is huge (considering its dimensions) 119 x 63 x 13 mm, but at the same time it is slim and feels excellent at your palm. Surprisingly, a huge phone like X10 weighs only 135gm thanks to the plastic body. The plastic body doesn’t make the X10 look cheap at all. The X10 does look beautiful and is definitely an eye catcher.

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The TFT display of Xperia X10 deserves five out of five. It couldn’t have been better. The brightness is excellent with outstanding color display. The limited 65k color spoils the party due to the Android 1.6 OS limitation. The 16 million color hardware support is useless until Q4, when the update to Android 2.1 starts making full use of the hardware. The sunlight legibility is excellent; you won’t have any problem viewing under direct sunlight. The response of the screen is also good, though it is not as good as the Apple devices. Sony Ericsson has confirmed that X10 won’t get multi-touch in the future because of the hardware limitation. This was very disappointing from Sony Ericsson. However, multi-touch is required only during game play, because hardly anyone uses pinch zooming to zoom.

User Interface (UI)

Sony Ericsson took a very long time launching the Xperia X10 and the excuse given by them was that they are working hard to make the UXP top notch and user friendly. So, we expected the UI of X10 to be one of the best, and as expected, it definitely is one of the best. Sony Ericsson has completely customized the Android OS and given us a completely different UI. The blue colored theme looks excellent. Animations are there while opening and closing the proprietary Timescape UI and Mediascape application. Overall the UI is smooth in operation and it has few bugs.

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Timescape

The Timescape UI is an application but, you can set it as the default homescreen, hence we call it UI. If you set it as default home screen then you have to sacrifice the widgets inhabited three home screens. The Timescape is the perfect integration for your social networking, regular calls and messaging. All your Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Email, Call alerts are at one place. Each of them can be viewed in single tab sorted by time or individually under their respective tab. You don’t need to open the messaging or Facebook application separately to see the updates when you are using Timescape.

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Still there is a limitation in it because you can’t reply to any updates from Timescape; it opens the respective application if you click on them. For example if you want to reply to a SMS, it will open the Messaging to reply. Sony Ericsson said that they will make the Timescape and Mediascape even smarter and richer with the update of Q4. Hopefully, these missing features will be added by then.

Mediascape

Mediascape is an application where all your media contents are present. All your Music, Videos and Pictures are sorted in their respective tabs. Under the Music tab all your music files are sorted in recently played, recently added and favorites. You can also activate the online music store if it is present at your region. The online music store will display the latest music under the music tab only. One problem is there in the Music tab; you can’t create a playlist on the phone. You have to create one in a PC using the MediaGo application and then upload it to the phone. I don’t miss it much because I use the Favorite tab to mark my favorite songs. The Pictures and Video tabs are both sorted by recently taken and viewed while you can always see the detailed view. Online web albums like Picasa and Facebook can be added, and your uploaded pictures will also be displayed.

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Camera and Audio Quality

The 8 MP camera on the X10 is the best amongst all the Android devices. It has excellent sharpness and colors in the pictures with features like Face detection, Touch capture and multiple auto focus which make it perfect. The LED light is not very bright, but it is not bad and something is always better than nothing. The video recording is very good and the maximum resolution is currently WVGA which will be upgraded to HD later.

The audio quality on the X10 is great, and it is easily one of the best. The loudness is just right, and you won’t need it any louder unless you are deaf. The bass is good. Again, there is no equalizer, but you will hardly miss it because of the balanced audio quality.

Web Browser, GPS, Android Market and Keyboard

The web browser on the X10 lacks flash for now. The HTML browser works pretty well. Unfortunately there is no double tap zooming, you have to use the on-screen zoom buttons to zoom. The text re-flows to fit the screen when zoomed. Multiple windows can be opened by pressing the windows button. Overall, the web browser, just like any other Android browser is flawless. For watching videos, the YouTube application does the trick for now.

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The GPS receiver works pretty well, it locks in the location within 3 minutes inside a building (the floor below the terrace) and you can always turn on the aGPS for quick locking. The only Navigation application which comes pre-installed is Wisepilot, which is limited to a 30 day trail. The Google Maps application has voice search and features like Street View; if Street Views is available in your area then it is a must to use it. The Street View shows the real images of a particular location. Google is working on free voice guided navigation, which is available in USA and UK. It will hopefully be available worldwide sooner than later.

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The Android Market is growing day by day. We already know that the number of applications on Android has crossed the 50000 mark and it is likely to go even further. The Market has three options in the homepage; Applications, Games and Just In. You will get further sub options under the Applications and Games options. Everything is well organized. The 500MB allocated memory for installing applications seems to be just enough as I installed around 80 applications including few heavy games and still have 260MB free.

The standard keyboard worked pretty well but it took quite a long time to get used to it. I had many typing errors earlier, I think Sony Ericsson will have to work a bit on it. But, if you don’t like the standard keyboard, then you can always switch to the other keyboards available in the Android market.

Connectivity and Battery

Xperia X10 has quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, three localized versions – each with tri-band 3G, 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 2Mbps HSUPA. The Wi-Fi b/g works pretty well. There has been news regarding a problem with the Wi-Fi connectivity, the Wi-Fi gets disconnected when the GSM network completely goes down. I tested this and it turned out to be true but that is not a big problem because no one is going to live with his X10 inside a cave. Bluetooth 2.1 is present with A2DP and file transfer. The file transfer speed is excellent (around 190KBps with phones like E72, W995 and Satio).

The battery is an interesting topic in the X10. The 1500mAh Li-Po BST 41 is a beast. But the users reported for quick discharge of the battery in the early stages. During the first week of usage, I noticed that the battery went down from 100% to 60% during a period of 10 hrs when it was lying idle at night. The solution was better management and full discharging and then recharging the battery 4-5 times. Now, the battery gives good backup, it handles one full day after heavy usage.

Conclusion

Xperia X10 is the first Android phone from Sony Ericsson and it is a very good attempt. Top notch UI with excellent screen display, great camera and audio quality makes it a complete all rounder. However, the lack of multi touch is a negative, as some users would like to have it on their device. The outdated Android 1.6 is also a drawback because many Android 2.1 handsets are available in the market, and you also have to wait till Q4 for the Android 2.1 update. The X10 gets a tough competition from HTC Desire which has three advantages over X10, multi touch, Android 2.1 and 576MB RAM. Xperia X10 does have a unique integration of social networking and call logs by Timescape and the UI which is completely different from the rest of the Android family and is perfect. Sony Ericsson also has promised for future updates for the X10, which means it is assured to get updated to the latest Android versions. So, it is not something which will disappear in the crowd and it is worth buying.

Know your technology head on