Huffington Post’s 1.5 million twitter followers were baffled for a minute to see a bunch of racist and homophobic tweets being posted today afternoon, until they realized that the publication’s account was compromised.
Apparently, the hacking was done by a person who calls himself ‘cloverfdch’. The offensive tweets have been taken down and things are back to normal now. Officials at Huffington Post haven’t yet reacted on the hacking incident.
UPDATE: Huffington Post has now posted a tweet acknowledging the hacking.
Coincidentally, the twitter and foursquare accounts of the actor Ashton Kutcher was also hacked at around the same time. His account has also been restored now. In Ashton’s case, it appears that the hacker accidentally revealed his own location by using his Foursquare account. Ashton has even posted a picture of the foursquare map with the hacker’s location on twitter.
It is not immediately clear whether their accounts were hacked by the same person.
Given that the operating system and the marketplace are open and without any gate-keepers, it is not surprising at all. What is a benefit to developers (no obstacles to their creativity), comes with a huge price because it is also extremely open for abuse by the bad guys. Now that Android has a huge installed base, it is an easy target for malware infestation.
Today, it was reported that Google has removed 22 apps from the Android market in the past several days because they were bundled with malware. San Francisco security firm Lookout Software claimed that the malware in these apps is called RuFraud, and it essentially send dummy SMS messages to create financial benefit for the malware makers.
Not to waste the opportunity, Microsoft’s Windows Phone evangelist Ben Rudolph immediately jumped on twitter and created an instant promotion. The tweets read as follows:
Windows Phone (especially after Windows Phone 7.5 Mango released) has been universally praised for its elegance, simplicity and beauty. The problem for Microsoft is that iOS first, and Android now, have created a certain impression of a smartphone in the minds of consumers. While Android in some ways is a clone of iOS with grids and pages of app icons, Windows Phone is very unique in its approach of Live Tiles and Hubs. It has proven difficult for Microsoft to get this message across easily, and as a result the sales have been dismal.
Promotions like this help in not only getting these devices in the hands of folks using competing platforms, but also creating a buzz around the promotion itself. Note that Ben had earlier run a similar promotion for users of Blackberry affected by a long downtime of Blackberry services. At the time, he had said he received over 1,500 responses!
This is a very good and opportunistic move by Ben. It assures him the attention of disgruntled users who will be more open to switching, and in return they get a free phone too! That makes it an absolute win-win situation!
Late last night, Google released its Flipboard like competitor for Android and iOS devices, known as Currents. The Currents app from the big G will allow users to discover new content in a new magazine like UI, all at the swipe of a finger.
Websites, media houses and magazines need to make sure that they optimize their site for Google Currents. Like all other recent Google services, Google Currents in also integrated with the Google+. Sadly, the app is only available for Android users in the United States.
Below is a video of Google Currents in action-:
In other Android related news, the official Twitter app for Android also got a major update. The whole UI has been totally redesigned in this new update, and looks much better. Probably the best looking Twitter client in the Android Market right now. However, the blue bar at the top of the app does not really have any use, and is simply wasting some previous screen estate.
The whole UI is mainly white and blue in color, which may not please all the Android owners with an AMOLED screen. The Twitter app for iOS and the web version has also been redesigned with a similar UI. The new update is already live on the Android Market, and can be downloaded from here.
Now you can permanently remove Adobe AIR from your system and still use TweetDeck on Windows and MAC computers. Twitter, after unveiling a completely re-designed interface has pushed major upgrades on TweetDeck’s arsenal. A native TweetDeck client for Windows and MAC is available for free download, while you can use TweetDeck’s web interface at web.tweetdeck.com
Tweetdeck’s web UI (which was earlier available as a Chrome extension) now has a permanent web address, so in case you want to catch up on updates from your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare accounts on a web browser, TweetDeck’s web UI is for you.
No need to install anything, simply sign in with your TweetDeck account and that will be all.
The native desktop client of TweetDeck for Windows is a complete mirror copy of TweetDeck’s web interface, just see it to believe it:
The idea here is to provide an exactly same interface everywhere, whether you’re using the Adobe AIR application, the native desktop client or the web version of TweetDeck. However, the native client has a couple of shortcomings, which makes it less attractive that its Adobe Air counterpart:
No single column view is supported on the native TweetDeck client for Windows and MAC and neither the single column view is accessible from the web interface. You have to remove all the columns one by one and then resize the client window. Bad, real bad!
Very few settings and controls, no way to position notification windows and neither you can turn off the notification sound. Desktop alerts of mentions and direct messages might be distracting, if they arrive too frequently.
No ability to choose advanced options for specific columns. All the columns get the same notification settings, so I will not be using Twitter lists on the web version of TweetDeck and overwhelm myself with a storm of updates every nanosecond.
Both the clients run well without Adobe AIR but memory consumption is fairly high in the Windows desktop client of TweetDeck. This just doesn’t make any sense, the Adobe AIR client consumes around 62 K while the Non Adobe Air one consumes 52 K of memory alone?
Comparatively, the web UI of TweetDeck consumes a lot less memory
Is This A Downgrade?
The new clients removed features which are useful, I use them every single day. On one hand Twitter is removing TweetDeck’s core features, while on the other; they have nothing new to offer in their so called desktop clientsand web user interface. TweetDeck was acquired by Twitter on May 2011 for $40 Billion and the Adobe AIR app has not been updated ever since.
Google Buzz has closed shop but the Adobe AIR app is crying for an update.
Both apps hog down system memory like anything but at the end of the day, I will be sticking to the Adobe AIR app. Unless they kill it already.
The Spartan form of Twitter’s old web UI was killed back in June 2011 and now, Twitter is all set to push another major redesign in coming weeks. Twitter’s new design is coherent with the re-design of their official Android app, the new web UI of TweetDeck and the native TweetDeck installer for Windows and MAC that runs without Adobe AIR.
Something is up!
The new version of Twitter’s web UI is not available to everyone yet, but here are a few screenshots for you to enjoy.
Direct Messages in the revised version of Twitter are a lot simpler, follows a top to bottom nested flow but Twitter is shying to show the inbox folder in its main navigation. Notifications for new messages has finally arrived but I am really disappointed to see the DM link being hidden under a drop down menu.
Nevertheless, direct messages in the new Twitter continue to work like before, no group DM’s though.
The timeline is where all the fun begins.
Photos, videos and other media elements will now be embedded right within the timeline, unlike now, where you have to click the slide to right link, in order to view the embedded media. This is in some ways better than the current design but in case you are following a large number of tweeples, you will have to practice faster scrolling.
I like the retweet count and favorite count feature added right in the bottom of a tweet, which is a quick way to find out popular retweets within your timeline, without having to visit the link in a new tab. Twitter has swapped left and right columns, the compose window is not The center of attractionanymore.
The new Connectsection is where you get in on the conversation. It is a new dedicated page where you can find out who has followed or mentioned you, retweeted or favorited one of your Tweets. So that explains why Twitter was busy experimenting with an activity feed for the last couple of months.
Search is being taken very seriously in the newer version of Twitter, which is yet to be enabled for my profile. I haven’t used the new Twitter search yet, so can’t comment on how precise and accurate the results are. But from the screenshots below, it appears that Twitter wants to be more like a meme with its #Discover page, organizing all the hottest links, retweets, favorites and relevant tweets right into your doorsteps. Hashtags, that match closely with your search query is embedded within the timeline while relevant photos and videos are showcased as and when they become available. In real time!
Importing contacts from your email account is still available under the Find Friendssection. Not to forget the Who to Followfeature which scans your Twitter following and suggests profiles you should follow or may want to engage with.
Once Upon A Time, Twitter Was Simple.
So damn simple that when I created my account three years back, I confused it with a big chat room where people can send an IM message to anyone. Twitter has been following the KISS philosophyfor years. No mumbo jumbo features, no friend requests, no chats, nothing. Plain broadcasting!
I loved it then, still do and I am sure I will be loving the new Twitter even more. But the bigger concern is Is Twitter drifting towards complexity? Is this the first step towards Lets make it attractive so that more users hop over it right away?
I guess so, and there is no harm in making the cover attractive. Well played Twitter, well played.
After having successfully launched the iPhone 4S in India and boasting of over 230 million subscribers worldwide, India’s major mobile service provider Airtel has announced that its customers can now enjoy free access to Twitter till March 1, 2012.
N Rajaram, Chief Marketing Officer – Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel said, “With this, 170 million+ (in India) Airtel mobile customers will now potentially be able to enjoy Twitter’s rich interface on their mobile web browsers or access updates posted by specific users through SMS notifications free of charge. This initiative will introduce new users to an exciting world of possibilities that mobile internet enables, thus providing an impetus to data services market.
This will allow its subscribers to share and read Tweets of up to 140 characters, which can also include photos, videos or links to websites and news stories.
Users can visit http://mobile.twitter.com for free, including those who have not subscribed for a data connection – That is, users can send SMS short code 53000 to sign up for Twitter and even Tweet or receive Tweets from specified users.
For instance, to follow Techie Buzz on Twitter via SMS, all you need to do is send the following text message to 53000 –
At the AsiaD Conference, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey had announced that Twitter is teaming up with India’s largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel to offer free access to Airtel customers.
Earlier in July 2010, Facebook had teamed up with Airtel to allow its users to access the social networking site for free by visiting the link m.facebook.com for a limited amount of time. Vodafone also announced the Facebook Phonecalled Vodafone 555 Blue. The phone comes with a price tag of just Rs.4,950 (approx. $110). You will also get free unlimited access to Facebook for a year, with the purchase of this handset.
Twitter has recently acquired Whisper Systems, a mobile security and privacy company that specializes in Android security and is still in its beta stage.
Whisper Systems provides security and management solutions that transform consumer phones and tablets into enterprise-ready devices.
The driving factor for Whisper Systems’ work with security, was their dissatisfaction with the state of mobile security. This led them to modify the entire Android stack and include security features at different layers. After rigorous fine-tuning, they came up with a modified Android kernel and called it the Whisper Core. Whisper Core was the same Android kernel, but with an enterprise-level security. Some of the enterprise security features in Whisper Core were:
Full disk encryption, SD card encryption and smudge resistant unlock patterns
Network security though a firewall
Encrypted backup to the cloud
Selective app permissions
An SDK for developers
This was enough to impress Twitter. Now, Whisper Systems will undergo a transition, during which their systems will go offline. Whisper Systems announced their acquisition, saying,
We started Whisper Systems with the goal of improving security and privacy for mobile devices. We were attracted to this not only because we saw it as an opportunity to reinvent the security solutions that never really worked in the PC environment to begin with, but also because the stakes are much higher â€” due to the nature of mobile devices themselves â€” and we didn’t like the way that things were looking.
We ended up tackling the full stack â€” all the way from application-level solutions at the top of the stack, down through a hardened version of Android, to kernel modifications at the bottom of the stack. Along the way, we learned a lot, and developed products that we are proud of.
Now that we have been acquired by Twitter, we are looking forward to integrating our technology and our expertise into Twitter’s products and services.
With the acquisition of Whisper Systems, Twitter has also acquired security related IP on Android. This will help Twitter create a secure system for its users by integrating security in the Android system itself and minimizing intervention from the user. The Whisper Systems team will start working with Twitter soon.
Microsoft is apparently working on its own social network – Socl.com. It was first revealed earlier this year, when a teaser page appeared at the site, revealing Tulalip, Microsoft’s latest attempt at social.
We hadn’t heard about it since, but the guys at The Verge seem to have gotten an early look at the site, which is still in private beta.
It looks similar to Facebook, in terms of the interface and has some of the same features as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
With Socl, Microsoft may be trying to integrate the search and social experience for its users. It allows users to post two kinds of updates – a search update and the traditional status update.
When you do a search update, it also adds Bing results to your feed, which you and your friends can then interact with.
It also comes with a “Video Party” feature, which allows users to watch videos online with their friends.
It may be launched soon, but there is a chance that it may not even see the light of the day. In any case, It’s going to have a hard time siphoning users away from Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It is very likely that it may end up with the same fate as Apple’s Ping.
Socl may be another drain on Microsoft’s coffers, and a public launch may mean that Microsoft’s Online Services division, which is losing billions of dollars every year, may not become profitable for another couple of years.
Rumors suggest that Microsoft may launch it publicly soon with an invite-based system. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated.
Android is winning in terms of market share, but that doesn’t mean anything. In fact, iOS is beating Android front, left, right, and center in many other areas. For example, iPhone is bringing in 52% of mobile profits even though iPhone only has a 4% market share. I can go on and on, but that’s not what this article about. Haha, just kidding this is another article about iOS dominating in another area over Android. Today, a new report from Skylines reveals that at 2 out of 5 tweeted photos for Twitter’s own image service come from Apple products.
In fact, Apple’s Photo and Camera apps in iOS 5 already for 5 percent of all photo uploads to Twitter, making it the seventh largest client on the network. Skylines analyzed over 24 million Twitter photos posted during the week of Oct. 22, finding that iOS’s 39% share contained of a combination of Twitter’s iPhone app, Instagram, and iOS 5’s built-in Photo and Camera apps. The percentage can be much higher, but the blog posts suggest that photos could have also come from apps like TweetDeck and Echofon on iOS.
The report also reveals some more interesting facts. Twitter’s official iPhone app is ranked as having the highest share of photos, with 21 percent, followed by 17 percent coming from Web posts. Instagram on iOS takes the third spot and is followed by Twitter’s BlackBerry app (ummm…people still use them?), with 13 percent and 12 percent respectively. Twitter for Android took 10 percent of the share. Skylines also discovered that users of various clients and mobile platforms seem to prefer specific services.
Last month, Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, revealed that the daily signups for Twitter had tripled since the release of iOS 5. He also called Apple as a “corporate mentor” for the startup.
After Google, which redesigned most of its services, the next on the list is the micro-blogging site Twitter, which has been quietly testing some new changes to its timeline. The new timeline brings contextual information right into your stream. This allows users to see in-line tweets, expand other tweets in conversation and view embedded media.
Currently, a slider opens on the right when you click on a tweet, which shows conversation (or replies) or photos and videos. However, looks like Twitter wants to eliminate the slider, and is looking forward to load tweets and media in-line.
Patrick Bisch, founder of Pinglio.com, was the first to report about the changes when he was on the micro-blogging site earlier today. In a video, Bisch showed that when hovering over a tweet, a “Open” link appears on the top-right corner of the tweet, which can be used to expand it. The “Open” link is replaced with a “Close” link when the tweet is opened.
Whenever you click on a tweet containing a link to a photo, video or other media, the media will open up within the timeline rather than displaying it on the slider.
Apart from that, Bisch found out that his re-tweet, reply and favourite buttons were moved to the top of his tweets, which currently are at the bottom of the tweet. Also, clicking an individual’s Twitter handle will show their profile along with their latest tweets in a pop up box (in a single frame above your Timeline).
Now, looking at these features, it seems like Twitter wants to remove the slider feature, and integrate something more interactive. The features surely look good enough, however there isn’t any confirmation from Twitter yet, and it is not yet clear whether it plans to roll out the new timeline design to all of its users.
Here’s a video that shows how the new-look version of the timeline works:
Have you seen the new Timeline changes? What do you think of these changes? Let us know by adding your comments below.