North Korea’s Twitter and Flickr Accounts Hacked by Anonymous

The official North Korean “Uriminzokkiri” Twitter and Flickr accounts have been hijacked and defaced by groups that claim to be a part of the online hacking activism collective Anonymous. Both of these accounts are managed by the Government of North Korea.

The reason behind these attacks seems to be the retaliation to North Korea’s most recent threat to attack the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons.

Here’s a screenshot of the hacked Twitter and Flickr account. At the time of writing this post, the Twitter account had 14,325 followers. The first tweet after the hack was sent at 22:45 PDT on Wednesday:

North Korea's Twitter Account Hacked

One of the photos uploaded to the Flickr account shows Kim’s face with a pig snout, ears and a tattoo of Mickey Mouse:

North Korea's Flickr Account Hacked

The hack follows last week’s attack on North Korean news site Uriminzokkiri.com, where the hackers, a part of the ‘hacktivist’ collective, have stolen nearly 15,000 passwords.

Although the hacks are far less entertaining, what’s surprising to me is that nearly eight hours after the accounts being hacked, the government has still not reacted to regain access and delete the tweets posted by the hacker. Having said that, I really doubt if the government will even try to get back its accounts from Anonymous. Even more surprising is that neither Yahoo nor Twitter has helped regain them the accounts back.

The hackers also claim to have hacked Uriminzokkiri.com. The site has currently gone offline, however, what we believe that it could be down to a DDoS attack rather than a hack.

Twitter Rolls out Android, iPhone and Mobile Web App Updates

Twitter has redesigned its official Twitter for Android app that reflects a native Android experience and closely follows the “holo” Android styling. The latest update comes after the release for the Android 4.0 version. iOS and mobile web apps have also been updated, however, the Android version has received the most significant changes.

In a blog post today, Twitter announced that the experience is “a native Android experience: wider and taller timelines that fill the screen, a flat navigation bar, tap and hold for quick actions, and more.”

With the Twitter for Android update, users will now be able quickly navigate between the four tabs — home, connect, discover, and me — by simply swiping their fingers across the screen. Users will also be automatically offers for user and hashtag suggestions as they compose tweets or do searches.

Twitter for Android Update

Other improvements to the app include:

  • Faster launch times and general performance upgrades
  • “Retweeted by” in Tweet detail is now tappable
  • Fix for reply-to-self in conversations
  • Fix for bug that prevented undoing retweets in some cases

For those on iOS devices and using mobile.twitter.com, you will now see photo galleries, apps, and product listings in expanded tweets. Also, the new version now supports links to other mobile apps right below the content from which it is shared. For instance, if a friend has checked-in to a place and has shared a photo via Foursquare, you’ll see a link below the tweet saying “Open in Foursquare app.” If you don’t yet have the app installed on your phone, you can tap to install it from within the Tweet.

Here’s What The New Facebook Phone Will Look Like [Leaked Photos]

All eyes are on tomorrow’s mysterious event in which Facebook is all set to launch a specialized Android phone at its headquarters. 9to5Google has posted photos of what we might see tomorrow at the launch event.

The Twitter account @evleaks tweeted with a new image of a phone that renders as the “HTC First,” supposedly the phone that Facebook will be launching tomorrow. The latest images showcase the basic Android UI that includes a bar with options to access to status updates, photo sharing and check-in feature. We have already reported the rumored specs of the HTC First earlier today.

HTC First Colors

Facebook HTC First

Speaking about the UI in the images, it surprising looks similar to the Android Vanilla.  The leaked images show the stock Gallery, Camera, Phone and Settings apps, along with Google apps like Search, Chrome and the Play Store.

The new Android phone is heavily customized to use Facebook Home as the home screen with default actions from taking pictures to texting friends. Facebook will formally announce Facebook Home and the First at a press event at its Menlo Park headquarters on April 4.

Besides the Facebook Home Android launcher, what else is Facebook planning to bring up? Well, for that we need to wait until tomorrow. Stay tuned!

[via]

Users Can Now Upload Full-Size Photos to Google+

Good news for photo fans on Google+ as the tech giant has now enabled users to upload full-size photos to Google+. That is, you’ll be able to upload your photos with highest resolutions and not lose any details. Tough time for Flickr and other popular photo sharing sites.

However, users are limited to 2048 pixel-wide photos, and any photo beyond this threshold (over 2048 x 2048 pixels) will take up space on your Google Drive (5GB free storage) included with your Google+ account.

In December last year, Google enabled full-size backups of Android photos, and today Google’s John Emerson announced in a post about the latest addition to the desktop site. “Today we’re making it possible upload full-size photos from your desktop — whether you’re updating your profile photo, creating a new album to share, or backing up pictures from a recent vacation,” Jon Emerson explained.

To enable full-size desktop uploads, all you need to do is visit your settings at www.google.com/settings/plus, and enable “Upload my photos at full size” by checking it. Please be aware that any photo that is larger than 2048px will count towards your Google Drive storage. However, photo storage at 2048px or smaller remains free and unlimited. Additionally, you can buy more Google storage capacity at $2.49 a month for 25GB or $4.99 a month for 100GB.

Enable Google Plus Full Size Photo Upload

The full-size photo uploading feature will now complement the pan and zoom feature that was launched in January this year. Users have to simply open a large photo in the lightbox and then, depending on how they want to view it, can either use their mouse wheel to zoom in or out and/or click and drag to pan right, left, up or down.

Google+ is getting better with very new feature added to it. With full-size photo uploads, Google+ will now compete with popular photo sharing sites Flickr and 500px.

Facebook Android Launcher to Be Announced Tomorrow [Leaked Details]

Last week, Facebook teased the tech community with a mysterious invite to “Come see our new home on Android” event, which is scheduled for tomorrow (no, it’s not an April fool prank) at its headquarters. There have been some clues and information about what the event is all about.

According to the folks over at Android Police, Facebook is all set to launch a Facebook Home app, which could be a customized launcher for Android devices. Previously, rumors indicated that the company would be launching the HTC-built Facebook Phone, and the leak by Android Police has further strengthened the notion.

Android Police has also obtained a system dump of the ROM from a mid-range HTC phone codenamed “Myst.” According to the system dump, the phone will come with a dual core MSM8960 processor with 1GB of RAM, a 4.3-inch display, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera, and powered by Android 4.1.2.

Here’s the complete build.prop specification obtained:

  • Manufacturer: HTC
  • Model: MYSTUL (Myst_UL)
  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Platform: MSM8960 (Dual Core)
  • Ram: 1GB
  • Display: 4.3 inch @ 720p resolution
  • Android Version: 4.1.2
  • Sense Version: 4.5
  • Rear Camera = 5M
  • Front Camera = 1.6M
  • No SD Card
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
  • It is specified that the device will launch on AT&T’s network.

Facebook Android Launcher

Overall, the smartphone is likely to provide Facebook’s new launcher, a home screen and app drawer setup for a smartphone. It is said that some of the home screens will function as feeds, for news, updates from friends, photos and so on.

The basic intention is to integrate Facebook into every aspect of the phone and make it always available. We’re eagerly waiting for the event to go live tomorrow. Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you updated with more information.

Also Read: Facebook Phone, Do You Really Need One?

Twitter Starts Charging $5 Per Month for Tweets with Vowels

In a bizarre move, Twitter announced in a blog post that users can use the micro-blogging service for free only by using consonants in their tweets. Yes, you read that right. You can no more use vowels — A, E, I, O, U — in your tweets and if you want to continue tweeting using vowels, then a fee of $5 per month will be charged.

The change is effective from April 1st onwards. Twitter has been struggling hard to generate revenue and has failed terribly to sell ad slots for advertisers. Hence, the company has come up with this amazing concept which it thinks is the best for not only increasing its revenue, but also to make interaction between Twitter users a meaningful one.

Twitter April Fool

Here’s what Twitter had to say about the disruptive approach to scl ntwrkng:

We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and “dense” form of communication. We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream.

In addition to that, Twitter has also announced that it is now offering “a single character extension, expanding the length of a Tweet to 141 characters, for those moments when you need just one more character to finish your thought.”

You can read more about the new service Twttr here. Hppy twttng

 

 

 

P.S. Happy April Fool’s Day ;)

Facebook Phone, Do You Really Need One?

Rumors about Facebook Phone are back again, however, this time they might be true. With Facebook holding an event on April 4 at its headquarters, inviting the media to “come see our new home on Android,” the question still remains: Does anyone need a Facebook phone and does it actually make any sense?

In the last one year, the Internet was in a state of confusion with rumors surfacing about the Facebook phone. It was said that the phone will be developed by HTC and running a customized version of Android. This, however, has continued to persist till today. On the other hand, Facebook has constantly been denying about building a phone and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself stated last year that building a whole phone “really wouldn’t make much sense.”

Facebook Phone - Concept Design

However, even if the company is working on a specialized Facebook phone powered by Android, how different would it be from the rest of the smartphones? Not much. According to 9to5Google’s sources, the phone will look a lot like the iPhone 5, and will feature all of Facebook’s services like photo uploading, messaging, contacts integration, and many more. This is pretty much the same what a non-specialized Facebook phone offers. It makes even less sense for users to buy it.

Why Facebook Needs a Phone?

Facebook is currently focusing more towards mobile, and revenue is the only reason I can think why the company will want to have a phone. The company hasn’t figured out a way to monetize the apps and offer mobile ad units to advertisers. With the new Facebook phone, there’s plenty of room for the company to think of generating revenue.

Business for both Facebook and HTC is pretty much clear with the Facebook phone. Facebook on one side wants to boost up its service usage on mobile, and perhaps it even wants its Messenger service to replace normal phone calls and text messages -more advertising opportunities here. HTC on the other side has completely lost its market share in smartphone.

Why Facebook Users Won’t Need a Facebook Phone?

The answer to that question is very obvious. As stated earlier in this article, the Facebook phone will pretty much offer the same services what a current smartphone offers except that it will be branded as a “Facebook phone.”

If a user has a smartphone, he/she probably has Facebook on it already. Facebook is one of the most-downloaded mobile apps in the entire app market. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can get access to it.Facebook Dislike

I feel that Facebook is making it hard and is pushing its users to use the social networking site on mobile rather than on a desktop browser. Facebook needs to realize that it is not Twitter where users will frequently put up status updates or post photos on the go.

Today the smartphone market has become saturated. More than 70 percent market share is taken over by Android, and Samsung’s Galaxy phones are selling like hot cakes. The major part of the rest of the market is taken by Apple leaving several other smartphone providers to fight for the third spot. What will HTC and Facebook do about this if they come up with a new phone? I have no idea.

What Must Facebook Do Instead?

What I feel is that Facebook should focus more towards its existing apps. Improvise and optimize them in a better and faster way, and also come up with an idea to monetize them. Alternatively, as many others suggest, a more sensible approach aside from building apps would be to release a custom Android launcher. This will enable users to change the device’s stock home screen and setup a customized home screen.

Facebook LikeFacebook could also think of an app store very much like what Amazon has. Not that they should a build a cloned version of Amazon’s app store or Google Play store, but could build something similar. This will enable mobile application developers to build apps on a deeper level that can interact with Facebook.

Nevertheless, if Facebook comes out with a customized Android phone, then they’re very late for the party. With a crowded mobile market, there’s absolutely no chance of survival unless it stands out from the others.

What do you think about Facebook phone? Do share your views with us in the comments below.

Facebook Testing New Compose Button on Navigation Bar

The social networking giant Facebook continues to experiment and add new features to the site. It appears that the company is testing a new compose button next to the user’s profile picture and name on the blue navigation bar on the top.

The new button enables users to post an update directly to their Timeline irrespective of what page they’re on. It is just similar to the notification buttons that remain intact throughout the site. Upon clicking the button, a prompt window opens up, which is similar to the one currently being used for posting a Facebook status. A screenshot of the same is shown below:

Facebook Compose Button

With the status update button that is being tested, users can post updates even when visiting another profile or Facebook Page, which is generally only allowed from the homepage or your own profile.

The button was first noticed by Mashable reporter Alex Fitzpatrick. He says that “the new feature was spotted on a page that has yet to be switched to the new Facebook news feed or be given access to Graph Search, its smarter search engine. We haven’t seen any other pages with the feature just yet.”

The button may also come to Pages giving managers the ability to update their Timelines regardless of where they are on the site. Additionally, if this becomes a permanent fixture, Facebook for Android and iOS apps might be updated with the same.

The button looks very similar to the button provided by Twitter on its top bar. The new button on Facebook could be an inspiration from Twitter’s button, and Facebook might have realized the importance of having a “compose” button on the top blue bar.

It isn’t surprising that Facebook was inspired from Twitter’s button because quite recently, Facebook renamed “subscribers” to “followers” on user profiles after it changed the name of its “Subscribe” button to “Follow.” This change, however, came after Facebook built their own button similar to Twitter’s Follow button.

Amazon Acquires Goodreads, a Social Reading Site With More Than 360 Million Books Catalogued

The Web’s giant retailer Amazon has said it will buy the popular book-recommendation and social networking site Goodreads for a undisclosed amount.

The San Francisco-based Goodreads was founded in 2007, and currently has 16 million members. It is one of the most prominent online communities for readers to review and rate books. It also enables users to follow friends and others with similar interests and have discussions about books with them. The 16 million members have contributed more than 23 million reviews and the site has catalogued nearly 360 million books.

The acquisition will provide Amazon with another way to get readers to buy books from it, both digitally and from its warehouses. It will not just revamp Amazon’s book reviews and recommendations, but will also boost up the sales.

Here’s a look at the spike in books added per month in a graph from last August as shared by TechCrunch:
Goodreads - Books Added by Month

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

Goodreads co-founder, Otis Chandler, said the deal would allow the company to move faster in bringing its user experience to more people around the world.

One of the most prominent features of Goodreads is the books recommendation technology. Although Amazon has its own recommendation engine, Goodreads’ technology adds a bit more value to the growing self-publishing industry.

The best part about it is that the service enables authors to create their own author pages. Readers and fans can follow this page and interact directly with the authors using the comments section. Authors can also run private blogs, send out giveaways, and publicize events using the service.

The acquisition in every possible way is certainly good for Amazon. The complete details of the acquisition including the financial terms were not disclosed, however, it looks like it is worth every penny. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the next quarter.

Facebook to Show off Its “New Home on Android” on April 4

Facebook has sent out invites to media and bloggers to an event on April 4 at its place in Menlo Park, California. It is unclear what the event is going to showcase, however, the email invite reveals that the company will be showing off its “new home on Android.”

The possible guesses at the moment would be that Facebook is either launching a new refreshed Android app or a Facebook-specialized Android operating system.

Facebook Invite - April 4, 2013

According to a report by TechCrunch, it is said that Facebook will unveil smartphone software based on Google’s Android operating system. The software will have “extra Facebook functionality built in.” Also, the reports indicate that the software will run on hardware made by HTC.

It is known that Facebook and HTC have been working on a marketing campaign for the phone. Back in 2011, HTC released a phone that had Facebook branding included with specialized Facebook software. However, the phone received poor reviews after it was released to consumers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company is more focused on mobile, however, he denied the existence of “Facebook Phone.” Back in 2012, Zuckerberg shot down rumors about a Facebook smartphone by stating, “There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really taking, that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.”

No matter what Facebook is going to announce, a Facebook smartphone or a refreshed Android app, we will have it all covered here for you. Stay tuned, and we’ll update you next week!