Friday, April 30, 2010

iPhone finder "should have just immediately turned that phone in - lawyer

As comedians such as Jon Stewart are having a party over the fiasco that seems to be the treatment of the "case of the lost iPhone," it seems to be a news item that just won't die. Say hello to Brian J. Hogan, 21, a resident of Redwood City, CA, who is the bar patron who found the next-generation iPhone in Gourmet Haus Staudt, a German beer garden in Redwood City.

Wired received a statement from Hogan's attorney, Jeffrey Bornstein. While admitting he was paid $5,000 by Gizmodo, Hogan believed the payment was not for the phone itself, but for exclusive access tot the phone. Gizmodo emphasized to him "that there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press."

Apparently, Wired identified Hogan through social networking sites, and then confirmed his identity with a source involved in the event. Once again, this serves as another warning about just how much people should reveal on Facebook and other such sites.

Meanwhile, C|Net said that they have identified Sage Robert Wallower, a 27-year-old UC Berkeley student, as the go-between for "negotiations" between Hogan and technology sites. (We believe that some might call him a fence). While admitting he had some dealings in the matter, Wallower said he never touched the device, and that he may "need to talk to a lawyer."

Police are still investigating the matter. Although many believe in the old saying "Finders, Keepers," at least in California, don't believe it. A California law dating back to 1872 says:
One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.
Statements have been made that Hogan tried hard to return the device, but as San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe indicated:
The person who found the phone “is very definitely one of the people who is being looked at as a suspect in theft. Assuming there’s ultimately a crime here. That’s what we’re still gauging, is this a crime, is it a theft?
Echoing somewhat what Jon Stewart said earlier, Borstein said, “This thing has gotten completely, completely out of control. “He made a mistake. He should have just immediately turned that phone in.”



Daily Show rips the "Appholes" at Apple in "lost iPhone" case

Jon Stewart ripped into Apple on "The Daily Show" on Wednesday night, over the lost iPhone issue. While applauding Apple products (he has a MacBook, iPhone, and the bigger iPhone (iPad), which he says he uses to fool his kids into thinking he's shrinking), he had to admit that when it comes to what Apple's done in the "lost iPhone" case, he was on the opposite side of the fence.

(Bad Apple, Big Bad Apple).

As we know, the authorities broke into Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house last Friday night, and seized 4 PCs and two servers. Jon's response?
"The cops had to bashed in the guy's door? Don't they know there's an app for that?"
Apparently, the police don't. Stewart gets to the point: Apple has become what it once mocked in its first ad for the Macintosh: Big Brother.
“Apple you guys were the rebels man, the underdogs. People believed in you. But now, are you becoming The Man? Remember back in 1984, you had those awesome ads about overthrowing Big Brother? (cut to Macintosh ad)

"Look in the mirror, man! [...]

"It wasn't supposed to be this way. Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now, you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto while Commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes. What the f**k is going on?

“If you want to break down someone’s door, why don’t you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone! I mean seriously! How do you drop 4 calls in a one mile stretch of the West Side Highway? With no building around! What, does the open space confuse AT*T's signal? [...]

Come on, Steve. Just chill out with the paranoid corporate genius stuff. Don't go Howard Hughes on us. We don't want to picture you holed up in a tower somewhere peeing into mason jars while designing a giant wooden touchscreen that you'll use once. 'It's the new iSpruce.'

“I’m telling you this because it’s important, man. And believe me, I’m taking a big chance here. This is my audience. And this is way more explosive than putting Muhammad in a bikini to my audience.”
It will be interesting to see what will happen if Stephen Colbert decides to cover this. It will be still more interesting if any charges are filed over this.

While its true the raid on Chen's house was done by California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, it's also true that Apple sits on REACT's steering committee. It doesn't take much math to add two and two. C'mon, Apple. Be real. Drop it.

Watch the video:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Appholes
www.thedailyshow.com
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To save webOS, HP must interest developers

Hewlett-Packard has purchased Palm for $1.2 billion or $5.70 per share. As Palm desperately needed a suitor, a buyout is not a surprise. The question is: will HP be able to save Palm's webOS platform?

Earlier, some thought HTC would buy Palm for its patent portfolio, for protection against Apple's lawsuit. If that had happened, most expected webOS to die. HP, on the other hand, has no such intention.

Try Gevalia 3 for $3 with Scoop (FREE S/H @ INTROAccording to Brian Humphries, HP’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, HP's intent is to "double down on webOS."

HP's presence among smartphones has been pretty much non-existent. The last phone they did was the HP Glisten which was a Windows Mobile smartphone. They also do not have (yet) an Android phone, so there's no conflict there, unlike, for example, HTC.

Palm made many mistakes in rolling out webOS devices, including tying themselves to Sprint for too long, missing a window of opportunity with Verizon, and adding no new devices since the Palm Pixi (Plus models don't count). Contrast that with the multitude of Android devices that have been released.

HP's bank vault should help in these matters. In order to save webOS, however, HP also needs to get developers more interested in coding for webOS. Palm made big mistakes there are well, not releasing a native SDK at launch.

Smartphones are really more "app phones" nowadays. We played with the HTC HD2 on T-Mobile. The device is powerful, and HTC's Sense on top of Windows Mobile corrects a lot of the missing functionality of the OS. What it does not fix however, is the fact that there's no burgeoning App Store on that platform. That is an issue HP will need to face down, as well.



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steve Jobs writes open letter on Flash and iPhone OS

Possibly responding to much criticism over Apple's decisions around the iPhone OS and Flash, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has penned an open letter on the matter, titled "Thoughts on Flash." The letter lists six reasons that Apple believes support of Flash is unwarranted.

Here are the six issues that Jobs noted:
  • Openness: Flash is proprietary. Meanwhile, web standards such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript are not. "While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system." Of course, the iPhone OS and the App Store are pretty closed off as well, particularly what Apple will and will not allow in the App Store (like Flash). Jobs was "good enough" to admit that (though not the App Store part).
  • "Full Web": Lack of support for Flash means there are tons of those "grey boxes" sitting around on sites that have Flash content. In his letter, Jobs said much video content is available using the “more modern” H.264 format. He points to the YouTube app and other video apps on the iPhone OS. He sidesteps the issue that the iPhone cannot play Flash games by noting games in the App Store. Of course, this does nothing to quench the thirst of those wanting to play FarmVille without an app.
  • Reliability, security and performance: Jobs citing Symantec, noted Flash as having “one of the worst security records in 2009.” He added that Flash “has not performed well on mobile devices.”
  • Battery life: Jobs writes that Flash cuts mobile battery life in half. “The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.” It's hard to imagine anyone playing Flash video for 5 straight hours on a mobile device, but also, it's a lot easier to handle on a device with a user-replaceable battery, unlike the iPhone.
  • Touch format: Jobs asserts that, with rollovers (fro example), Flash is made for a mouse-driven experience, not touch-screens. While a valid argument, it's probably not something most end users care about.
  • Adobe's attempt to create Flash apps: It's interesting that Jobs is using this as an argument. If Flash was allowed on the iPhone OS, this would not exist as an issue. It's basically all about the decision Apple made to ban cross-compilers and other things like run-time engines from the iPhone OS. Jobs said, " It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. "
Therein, actually, lies the crux of the new restriction in the developer agreement, as we have said previously. It's not just about Flash. It's about prevent cross-compilation and other methods of developing cross-platform apps. In that way, since Apple has the major share of the market, by far, among the newest smartphone platforms, Apple will make developers think twice about developing for, say, Android, as well, as it will require a totally different set of code.

Truthfully, Apple can do what it wants to do. It has so much market share, developers are probably not going to abandon it for platforms, such as Android, that are both more open and less restrictive in their Marketplace policies.

In and of itself, the letter offers no new arguments or information. What's most interesting is that a CEO found it necessary to take the time out to write such a missive.


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Apple enters the search biz with Siri acquisition

Apple has acquired Siri, the company behind the Siri Assistant, an app which entered the App Store in early February. The Siri Assistant helps users with menial tasks, and does it all via voice recognition.

Here's how Siri describes itself:
Just like a real assistant, Siri understands what you say, accomplishes tasks for you and adapts to your preferences over time.

Today, Siri can help you find and plan things to do. You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, tell you what’s playing at a local jazz club or get tickets to a movie for Saturday night.
This is a significant acquisition for Apple. This also means that Siri will probably never make it to Android.

Match.com #1 Site for LoveInterestingly, Steve Jobs earlier ranted about Google and Android: “We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.”

Sorry, Steve, that's no longer true as you've just entered the search business. Siri doesn't index the web and deliver a bunch of links or pictures back, but instead it goes one better: it takes a query from an end user and returns results.

The Google - Apple war (or police action) has just heated up some more.





Microsoft, HTC sign patent licensing deal

Microsoft and HTC on Tuesday announced a licensing agreement on patents that Microsoft asserted HTC Android phones infringed upon. This surely ramps up the legal battle around Android and patents; Apple earlier sued HTC over patents in its devices, and though mentioning both Android and Windows Mobile, many analysts feel it was Android that was targeted.

Click here for the Best Buy HomepageIn a statement to C|Net, Microsoft stated that it was already in discussion with other device manufacturers. The exact details of the agreement are unknown, but Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.

It's unclear if this agreement will help HTC in its fight against Apple. Analysts such as Gartner's Ken Dulaney feel that Apple chose to sue HTC because it has a limited portfolio of patents. Motorola, on the other hand, would have numerous patents to fight Apple with. Apple also did not sue Palm over webOS, although it alluded to such a threat, possibly again because of the numerous patents that Palm implied were infringed upon by the iPhone.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Next-gen iPhone finder identified by police, Apple

The bar patron who found the next-generation iPhone left in a Redwood City bar by Apple developer Gray Powell has reportedly been traced. Apparently, contact has been attempted (and made) by both Apple and San Mateo County authorities.

Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, confirmed to C|Net that the person who sold the prototype to Gizmodo for $5,000 has been interviewed by authorities. He did not disclosed the identity of the finder. It is unclear how authorities tracked the person down; as they weigh the ramifications of California's Journalist Shield Law in the case, they stated they have not (yet) attempted to retrieve information from Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's computers, which they seized last Friday.

Meanwhile, Wired reported that representatives from Apple have attempted to contact the finder, as well. They managed to speak only with his roommate, however. According to the report, the source added that the finder tried to contact Apple, but was rebuffed, and in contacting media organizations, "The idea wasn’t to find out who was going to pay the most; it was, who’s going to confirm this?"

Additionally, the source added, the $5,000 was for exclusivity, not for the sale of the device. “It was made very explicit that Gizmodo was to help the finder return the phone to its rightful owner or give it back. Gizmodo said they could help restore the phone.” On the other hand, multiple organizations have indicated that when contacted about the lost iPhone, money was always brought up.

A lesson learned is that, at least in California, "Finders, Keepers" isn't valid. A California law dating back to 1872 says:
One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.
Given that, both the finder, as well as Gizmodo (for buying stolen property), could be charged in the matter.
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Aliph finally adds A2DP streaming to a Jawbone headset

Aliph has finally added A2DP support to one of their headsets. It's been the one feature that many said prevented the Jawbone Icon from being the best Bluetooth headset, hands down.

Aliph's Jawbone Bluetooth headsets have always been virtually unsurpassed in terms of noise cancellation, and the Icon was, naturally, very good in this regard as well. However, when introduced about four months ago, it was announced that the MyTalk service (still in beta) would allow updates to firmware. Though unconfirmed, users hoped this meant A2DP, as well.

While a Jawbone forum post on their site grew into pages and pages and pages of complaints, the company was noncommittal in its responses on the forum, although asking users to be patient.

A2DP support means that all audio can be streamed via Bluetooth to the headset. While obviously not stereo, many users want the simplicity of being able to carry one headset to listen to all audio on their phone.

To install A2DP support on their Icon, users simply need to go to the MyTalk site, login, and look in the left sidebar. Aliph has also made firmware available if for some reason someone tries A2DP, and wants to revert.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alas, poor floppy disk; we knew you well

Requiem for the floppy disk? Its days are now officially numbered.

Most consumers don't even add a floppy drive to a PC any longer. USB flash drives, bootable CDs and DVDs, and external hard drives have taken its place as transportable media. Last Friday, Sony announced that it would end Japanese sales of the storage medium in March 2011, according to a report in the Mainichi Daily newspaper.

FREE Shipping at AccessoryGeeks.com!Sony owns 70 percent of the Japanese market for floppy disks. However, it's seen its domestic shipments drop from a record 47 million disks in fiscal 2002 to 12 million in fiscal 2009.

Sony developed the 3 1/2" floppy disk in 1981, which eventually resulted in the demise of the (older still) 5 1/4" floppy disk. Sony has already halted shipments to most of its overseas markets.


Police raid Gizmodo editor's house

Last Friday night, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home while he was absent, and seized four PCs and two servers. While the authorities had a search warrant, Gawker Media believes the police violated the California Shield Law for journalists, that's not really clear.

At issue, of course, is the big scoop of last week, the next-generation iPhone prototype found in a Redwood City bar which eventually ended up in the hands of Gizmodo (via $5,000). While the device was returned to Apple, there was some discussion around the legality of the matter.

Interestingly, the raid on Chen's house was performed on Friday night. It was during the weekend that reports surfaced indicating that the D.A. was looking into charges in the matter.

Internet SecurityCalifornia's Shield Law protects a "publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed unpon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, or by a press association or wire service" and a "radio or television news reporter or other person connected with or employed by a radio or television station." In 2006, in the case of O'Grady v. Superior Court, a California appellate court held that the law applies to bloggers as well. Thus, it would seem Gizmodo is covered.

However, the California Shield Law covers contempt charges that might be levied against a journalist attempting to protect a source. If instead, the police are looking to charge Gizmodo with buying stolen property, that would not be protected by the law.

Therein lies the rub: how much did Gizmodo know, or not know?

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Verizon Nexus One appears dead as Vodafone pre-orders begin

Those who have been waiting for the Nexus One to hit Verizon can stop waiting. Those who to go Google's Nexus One site and click through to see their choices now see that the Verizon version of the Nexus One no longer appears as a future option.

Instead the blurb for Verizon now mentions the HTC Droid Incredible as an option. Previously, that section mentioned the Motorola Droid as an option, but also stated a Verizon Nexus One was coming.

AVG Internet Security - Tough on threats. While not explicitly indicating the Verizon Nexus One is dead, it seems pretty clear. Additionally, this may cast a large shadow over the Sprint Nexus One, which was announced by the carrier in mid-March, but never given a date.

At the same time, however, U.K. carrier Vodafone has begun taking pre-orders. The device will go on sale on April 30th, this Friday. Vodafone will offer the Nexus One free with a two-year contract at 35 pounds, or $54.15, per month. That plan includes 1 GB of mobile data usage per month, which compares to Vodafone's plan for the HTC Desire, at 500 MB per month.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lufthansa offers flight to Munich to engineer who lost iPhone prototype

Gray Powell, the Apple engineer who lost an iPhone HD prototype in a German beer garden, has been given the offer of a free flight by, what else, a German airline. Lufthansa has offered him free business class transportation to Munich.

F-Secure Internet Security 2010Nicola Lange, Director of Marketing and Customer Relations (Americas) at Lufthansa, uploaded the offer letter to TwitPic. Lange asked him to contact them via their Twitter stream. They added, "If you can help us get in touch with Gray Powell, we’d like to fly him to Munich."

While this is great marketing, I'd much rather have seen Southwest Airlines turn it into a "Wanna Get Away" commercial. It would have been perfect. At any rate, enjoy one of our favorites of that ad series.


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D.A. weighs charges in "lost iPhone prototype" case

Thought the story of the "lost iPhone HD" prototype was over? Don't bet on it. It's possible that charges may be filed in the case.

While many believe in the old adage of "Finders, Keepers," it seems that legally, it just isn't so. In fact, Gizmodo, which obtained the lost iPhone prototype after a payment of $5,000, explained the issue itself thusly:
(Our legal team told us that in California the law states, "If it is lost, the owner has three years to reclaim or title passes to the owner of the premises where the property was found. The person who found it had the duty to report it." Which, actually, the guys who found it tried to do, but were pretty much ignored by Apple. )
In addition, C|Net noted:
Under a California law dating back to 1872, any person who finds lost property and knows who the owner is likely to be but “appropriates such property to his own use” is guilty of theft. If the value of the property exceeds $400, more serious charges of grand theft can be filed. In addition, a second state law says that any person who knowingly receives property that has been obtained illegally can be imprisoned for up to one year.

Any prosecution would be complicated because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that confidential information leaked to a news organization could be legally broadcast, although that case did not deal with physical property and the radio station did not pay its source.
BITS reported that sources, speaking under condition of anonymity, told them that authorities in San Mateo County in California (the bar where the prototype was found was in Redwood City) are considering whether to file criminal charges. The D.A. could act by early this coming week, and could file felony charges, as according to California law, if the property doesn’t exceed $950, the case will be classified as a misdemeanor. Since Gizmodo paid $5,000 for the device, a felony charge could be possible.

According to the report, charges would most likely be filed against the person or people who sold the prototype iPhone. However, it is possible the buyer (Gizmodo) could be charged as well.

Stephen Wagstaffe, San Mateo County’s chief deputy district attorney, explained that in some instances of missing property, “we call it misappropriation of lost property; it’s a crime but it’s not theft [...] knowledge is a very important factor in a theft case.”

In other words, as some have said, the real question is did Gizmodo know the iPhone was Apple property. As we wrote earlier, since the device was clearly labeled with "DVT" on the back, a common term for an engineering test milestone, being "in the biz" as they are, they probably should have known it was a prototype.

At least, it's a good lesson for all of us. Ignore "Finders, Keepers" and hand over any property we might find.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blippy goes loopy and exposes some users' credit card info

Some people ask how much information they should give out on social networking sites. It appears the credit card you use when buying something, no matter what the site says about security, might be one thing you don't want to give out.

Get your TASER C2 Gold Package Today!Social networking site Blippy, which allows you to share what you buy with your friends, had a problem on Friday morning. Or at least, it had a problem that some enterprising user discovered. Using the query site:blippy.com +"from card" resulted in a list of results, many of which include full credit / debit card information.

This was first reported by Venture Beat.

However, if you try that query right now, you will get the response (from Google):
We're sorry...

... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.
which translates to "Blippy spoke to us and we're blocking that query."

Blippy's response to the security hole:
Here are the details:
  • Say you buy lunch at Quiznos. Your credit card statement shows a complex entry like "Quiznos Inc Store #1234 San Francisco." But Blippy cleans this up to only show "Quiznos." We refer to these as the "raw data" vs the "cleaned up data."
  • Raw data is typically harmless. But it turns out that some credit cards (4 out of thousands in this case) show the credit card number in the raw data. For example, "Quiznos Inc Store #1234 from card 4444...."
  • Many months ago when we were first building Blippy, some raw (not cleaned up, but typically harmless) data could be viewed in the HTML source of a Blippy web page. The average user would see nothing, but a determined person could see "raw" line items. Still, this was mostly harmless -- stuff like store numbers and such. And it was all removed and fixed quickly.
  • Enter Google's cache. Turns out Google indexed some of this HTML, even though it wasn't visible on the Blippy website. And exposed 4 credit card numbers (but a scary 196 search results).
  • We're working with Google now to remove Blippy from their cache, and they inform us it will be completed within a couple of hours.
While it's great that it was "only" four numbers, it's still not great that this happened. This type of incident should give any considering using Blippy at least some food for thought.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Husband finds wife on Google Street View 43 times

People wonder about Google Street View and how it relates to privacy (or lack of privacy). A woman was captured on Google Street View, in her neighborhood, 43 times. The reason: she happened to be walking the dog when the Street View car was "visiting."

Terry Southgate, 55, was curious about Google Street View (some in the U.K. and Europe have blocked Street View cars out of their neighborhoods. Imagine the reaction when Terry found his wife Wendy, 52, and their dog Trixie on Street View not just once, but 43 times.

Software FirewallHe said, "It was a surprise when I found Wendy and the dog. Then there she was, over and over again. I counted 43 different shots."

As you can see in this shot above, directly from Street View, the Street View car appears to have attracted the attention of a police car. Meanwhile, some of the shots of Wendy show her looking rather annoyingly at the Street View car.

It could be worse. Her husband could have caught her coming out of an illicit rendezvous. Meanwhile, it's unclear if this will qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Journalistic responsibility, human beings, and the "lost iPhone HD"

The big news over the past few days was the finding of an actual prototype fourth-generation iPhone (heretofore rumored to be called the iPhone HD). Since then, the focus has turned away fro the iPhone itself and more towards journalistic responsibility.

Textbooks Rent'em Buy'em BannerIt's now a question of "what should Gizmodo (who reportedly paid $5,000 for the prototype) have done?" Daring Fireball lays it all out on the line: the phone was stolen, one way or the other. At the same time, Gizmodo should have known better than to buy it.

Realistically, despite the citing of penal and civil by DF, many people believe the old adage "finders, keepers." Thinking that the iPhone was in fact a 3G/3GS model, how many would opt to keep it? More than a few, would be the common sense answer (which does not make it right, by the way).

As DF said, while penal and civil codes assert otherwise, the typical thing to do if you find a wallet or something in a bar is give it to to bartender, whereupon it's placed in the "Lost and Found." All true, but once again, thinking of humans, there are plenty who would not.

It's when it reaches Gizmodo's hands that things become more fuzzy. After all, as noted all around the Web, the unnamed finders of the device pried it open to discover it wasn't a regular iPhone 3GS, and then opted to try to sell it, succeeding with Gizmodo.

Those involved in any sort of engineering testing will also know, despite what DF thinks, that DVT (which the device was labeled) is a common engineering test milestone It is not Apple-specific. From past experience (and this likely differs from OEM to OEM), the milestones go EVT, DVT, CVT, PVT (where P = production). Given that, one might assume, teardown aside, that Gizmodo would know what it was from the start.

Gawker Media head Nick Denton said he'd do it again. Of course, these are the same folks that saw one of their own banned from CES over a childish prank.

What would you do?

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Bug causes McAfee AV to attack systems it was supposed to protect

It happens. It's happened before and it will happen again. It is, of course, more unusual when something like this happens to one of the bigger security firms, however, and hard to imagine a bigger mistake.

Unlimited Online Backup Only 4.95Wednesday morning, McAfee released an update to its antivirus definitions for corporate customers. Nothing unusual in that. What was unusual is that the update affected Windows XP SP3 (and unfortunately, a lot of companies are still on XP) and a vital file, svchost.exe. While consumers were not affected, since the update, DAT update 5958, deleted the svchost.exe file, resulting in multiple reboots and loss of networking, you can bet a lot of IT administrators are looking into a new security vendor today.

The SANS Internet Storm Center described the SNAFU as follows:
McAfee's "DAT" file version 5958 is causing widespread problems with Windows XP SP3. The affected systems will enter a reboot loop and loose all network access. We have individual reports of other versions of Windows being affected as well. However, only particular configurations of these versions appear affected. The bad DAT file may infect individual workstations as well as workstations connected to a domain. The use of "ePolicyOrchestrator", which is used to update virus definitions across a network, appears to have lead to a faster spread of the bad DAT file. The ePolicyOrchestrator is used to update "DAT" files throughout enterprises. It can not be used to undo this bad signature because affected system will lose network connectivity.
It is a source of great dismay for IT when they have to go around from system to system individually to fix things, and in this case, they had to. McAfee has since released an updated DAT file. Of course, if your networking is hosed, it will be difficult to get an updated DAT file.

Perhaps the only good news is that it was the corporate version of McAfee's security software that was most affected. As with most of these sorts of issues, one has to wonder why a little QA didn't find the issue before McAfee ended up attacking the PCs it was supposed to protect.

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Google tries incentives to attract Android developers

Google's Android platform has been growing by leaps and bounds, but Apple's iPhone is still the market share leader. As such, it looks like Google is extending the Welcome Mat to iPhone developers to try to get them to code for Android.

The New York Times' David Pogue writes on his blog about an email he received from an iPhone developer. Here's an excerpt:
“I’m the developer of the Texts From Last Night app for the iPhone. Anyway, I received an e-mail yesterday from someone at Google claiming to be in their Android Advocacy Group. He basically said that he wanted to open a line of communication with me in case I chose to port the app to Android, and he offered to ship me a free Nexus One to play around with.

“It shows that Google is actively recruiting developers to their platform, using the enticements of free hardware and open communication."
Indeed, the developer went on to describe the nearly adversarial relationship with Apple that many developers have noted: repated rejections, then approval. Even after peaking at #7 among paid apps, he still has no relationship with anyone at Apple.

Despite all this, developers are flexible with Apple. They will bend over backwards to develop for the iPhone. Giving a device and personal help to develop on Android is great, but it's unclear if help like that can overcome the market share advantage Apple has in terms of devices.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adobe to end development on Flash to iPhone app converter

It appears Adobe is not going to be suing Apple over the changes recently made to the iPhone OS 4 developer agreement, after all. Instead, the company has decided to focus its efforts on Android.

Acronis True Image Home 2010Adobe recently shipped CS5, which included a tool to convert Flash into iPhone / iPad applications. However, the changes Apple made the iPhone OS developer agreement "outlaws" that sort of tool.

According to a blog post by Mike Chambers, Flash platform product manager for Adobe:
We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5. However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature.
It wouldn't be an Adobe post vs. Apple without some commentary, however. Chambers went on to state that the CS5 development efforts proved that:
  1. There is no technical reason that Flash can’t run on the iPhone
  2. Developers can create well performing and compelling content for the device with Flash
Chambers added that:
The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms.
While Adobe and Flash are what people assume are the targets of Apple's moves, it's obvious that it is in Apple's vested interests to lock down development and make it harder for developers to program cross-platform.

Chambers said that Android will be a focus for Adobe, and that Apple's restrictive moves harm the consumer in the end. That is true, but only if the consumer knows what they are missing, which for many iPhone users, is not the case.

This now sort of pits Adobe and Google (who has just the pile of cash needed to combat Apple) against Apple. May the best platform win.