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An anonymous reader sends this quote from TechDirt:
As a string of whistle blowers like former AT&T employee Mark Klein have made clear abundantly clear, the line purportedly separating intelligence operations from the nation's incumbent phone companies was all-but obliterated long ago. As such, it's relatively amusing to see Verizon announce this week that the company is offering up a new encrypted wireless voice service named Voice Cypher. Voice Cypher, Verizon states, offers "end-to-end" encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app made by Cellcrypt.
Verizon says it's initially pitching the $45 per phone service to government agencies and corporations, but would ultimately love to offer it to consumers as a line item on your bill. Of course by "end-to-end encryption," Verizon means that the new $45 per phone service includes an embedded NSA backdoor free of charge. Apparently, in Verizon-land, "end-to-end encryption" means something entirely different than it does in the real world.
166 comments | 4 days ago
qubezz writes For those who just can't wait in line, Starbucks announced today that the caffeinated city of Portland will be the first stop in the roll-out of an app for ordering drinks from your mobile device (iPhone only, Android anticipated in 2015). Not a delivery service — it appears your pre-paid drink will be waiting at the end of the bar for the asking. The cost? The app won't operate unless you allow it access to GPS location services, potentially turning every coffee consumer's device into a tracking beacon. For the rest, there's still the independent site mapping which Starbucks are currently open.
40 comments | about two weeks ago
snydeq writes Angry support queries citing problems with mystery iOS apps has led InfoWorld's Simon Phipps to discover the existence of several scamware apps in Apple's App Store. "If you're a scammer looking to make a fast buck, it appears that [Apple's App Store] process can be defeated," Phipps reports. "The questions originated from a support link for a $2.99 app in Apple's iTunes Store," which pointed angry customers to the Apache OpenOffice community, which doesn't even have an iOS app. The app in question, Quickoffice Pro, "simply displays a gray screen with the word Tap. When you tap the screen, the app exits." Further investigation has uncovered two other scam apps thus far.
89 comments | about two weeks ago
RegularDave writes: I'm a recent grad from a master's program in a potentially worthless social science field, and I've considered getting into iOS development. Several of my friends who were in similar situations after grad school have done so and are making a healthy living getting contract work. Although they had CS and Physics degrees going into iOS, neither had worked in objective C and both essentially went through a crash courses (either self-taught or through intensive classes) in order to get their first gigs. I have two questions. First, am I an idiot for thinking I can teach myself either objective C or Swift on my own without any academic CS background (I've tinkered in HTML, CSS, and C classes online with some success)? Second, if I'm not an idiot for attempting to learn either language, which should I concentrate on?
211 comments | about three weeks ago
New submitter lazarus (2879) writes Apple is falling in line with the European Commission's request that app sellers do more to stop inadvertent in-app purchases. Following Google's lead, Cupertino has removed all instances of the word "free" within its iOS and Mac app stores (with the exception of its own apps, like iMovie), and replaced them with the term "Get." The new label clarifies what users can expect when downloading an app. Apps previously labeled as "Free" will now have a "Get" label. If those apps include in-app purchases, a small gray "In-App Purchase" label will appear below the "Get" button.
103 comments | about 1 month ago
L-One-L-One (173461) writes In a surprise move, nine months after being bought by Facebook, WhatsApp has begun rolling out end-to-end encryption for its users. With true end-to-end encryption data becomes unaccessible to admins of WhatsApp or law enforcement authorities. This new feature first proposed on Android only has been developed in cooperation with Open Whisper Systems, based on TextSecure. With hundreds of million users, WhatsApp becomes by far the largest secure messaging application. FBI Director James Comey might not be pleased. Do you have a current favorite for encrypted online chat?
93 comments | about 1 month ago
Billly Gates (198444) writes "What would be unthinkable a decade ago is Visual Studio supporting W3C HTML and CSS and now apps on other platforms. Visual Studio 2015 preview is available for download which includes support for LLVM/Clang, Android development, and even Linux development with Mono using Xamarin. A little more detail is here. A tester also found support for Java, ANT, SQL LITE, and WebSocket4web. We see IE improving in terms of more standards and Visual Studio Online even supports IOS and MacOSX development. Is this a new Microsoft emerging? In any case it is nice to have an alternative to Google tools for Android development."
192 comments | about a month ago
alphadogg writes Three days after security company FireEye warned of an iPhone/iPad threat dubbed "Masque Attack", the U.S. government has issued a warning of its own about this new risk by malicious third-party apps to Apple iOS devices. US-CERT warned: "This attack works by luring users to install an app from a source other than the iOS App Store or their organizations' provisioning system. In order for the attack to succeed, a user must install an untrusted app, such as one delivered through a phishing link." Revelations of Masque came on the heels of a related exploit (that also threatens Macs) called WireLurker.
98 comments | about a month ago
Nerval's Lobster writes With the debut of Android 5.0 (also known as Lollipop, in keeping with Google's habit of naming each major OS upgrade after a dessert), it's worth taking a moment to break down how the latest version of Google's mobile operating system matches up against Apple's iOS 8. After years of battle, the two are remarkably similar. So while nobody would ever confuse Android and iOS, both Google and Apple seem determined to go "flatter" (and more brightly colored) than ever. Whether or not you agree with their choices, they're the cutting edge of mobile UX design. The perpetual tit-for-tat over features has reached a climax of sorts with Lollipop and iOS 8: both offer their own version of an NFC-powered e-wallet (Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet), a health app (Apple's Health app vs. Google Fit), car-dashboard control (Android Auto vs. CarPlay), and home automation. That's not to say that the operating systems are mirror images of one another, but in terms of aesthetics and functionality, they'll be at near-parity for most users, albeit not for those users who enjoy customizing Android and hate Apple's "walled garden." (Related: Lots of reviews are popping up for Google's new Nexus 6, one of the first phones to come with the newest Android; TechCrunch's is typical, in that reviewer Greg Kumparak has high praise for the Lollipop UI, but found himself nearly dropping the device because of its size and texture.)
178 comments | about a month ago
tlhIngan writes When moving from an iPhone to something else, if you were an avid user of iMessage, you may find your messages missing, especially from iOS-using friends. Indeed, it has been such a problem that there are even lawsuits about it. While Apple has maintained that users can always switch off iMessage, that only works if you still have your iOS device. Unless one also has other iOS devices or a Mac, they may not even realize their friends have been sending messages that are queued up on Apple's services via iMessage. Well, that problem has been resolved with Apple creating a deregistration utility to remove your phone number from the iMessage servers so friends will no longer send you texts via iMessage that you can no longer receive. It's a two-step process involving proof of number ownership (via regular SMS) before deregistration takes place.
136 comments | about a month ago
HughPickens.com writes "Mozilla announced that they are excited to unveil Firefox Developer Edition, the first browser created specifically for developers that integrates two powerful new features, Valence and WebIDE that improve workflow and help you debug other browsers and apps directly from within Firefox Developer Edition. Valence (previously called Firefox Tools Adapter) lets you develop and debug your app across multiple browsers and devices by connecting the Firefox dev tools to other major browser engines. WebIDE allows you to develop, deploy and debug Web apps directly in your browser, or on a Firefox OS device. "It lets you create a new Firefox OS app (which is just a web app) from a template, or open up the code of an existing app. From there you can edit the app's files. It's one click to run the app in a simulator and one more to debug it with the developer tools."
74 comments | about a month ago
MojoKid writes When Phonebloks visionary Dave Hakkens began evangelizing the idea of a modular phone with interchangeable components, many scoffed at the idea saying it couldn't be done or wasn't commercially feasible, that is until Google stepped up and backed a team of engineers for Project Ara. Ultimately, Project Ara's proof of concept efforts bore fruit and the vision is quickly becoming reality, now with apparently new competitors entering the fray. A start-up company by the name of Vsenn has come out of cover to disclose its intention to start a "smartphone evolution" and it also turns out that company has been co-founded by a former Nokia Android X Program Manager. The company also makes some lofty promises and has set big goals, noting not only modular hardware design but "guaranteed updates, maximum security and customizable looks." From encryption to secure VPN cloud services and back covers that are easily changed out, Vsenn seems to be targeting not only "Phonebloks-style" modularity and customizations like Project Ara but also some of the secure device and communication hot buttons that both Apple and Google have been acting on as of late with iOS and Android Lollipop.
30 comments | about a month and a half ago
An anonymous reader writes Microsoft today announced a significant change to its Office strategy for mobile devices: creating and editing is now free. The company also released standalone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for the iPhone, as well a new preview of these apps for Android tablets. Starting today, whether you're using an Office app on Android or iOS, you can create and edit content without an Office 365 subscription. The company is pitching this move as "More of Office for everyone."
98 comments | about a month and a half ago
msm1267 writes WireLurker is no more. After causing an overnight sensation, the newly disclosed family of Apple Mac OS X malware capable of also infecting iOS devices has been put to rest. Researchers at Palo Alto Networks confirmed this morning that the command and control infrastructure supporting WireLurker has been shut down and Apple has revoked a legitimate digital certificate used to sign WireLurker code and allow it to infect non-jailbroken iOS devices.
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks discovered and dubbed the threat WireLurker because it spreads from infected OS X computers to iOS once the mobile device is connected to a Mac via USB. The malware analyzes the connected iOS device looking for a number of popular applications in China, namely the Meitu photo app, the Taobao online auction app, or the AliPay payment application. If any of those are found on the iOS device, WireLurker extracts its and replaces it with a Trojanized version of the same app repackaged with malware.
Patient zero is a Chinese third-party app store called Maiyadi known for hosting pirated apps for both platforms. To date, Palo Alto researchers said, 467 infected OS X apps have been found on Maiyadi and those apps have been downloaded more than 350,000 times as of Oct. 16 by more than 100,000 users.
59 comments | about a month and a half ago
An anonymous reader writes: Google today introduced a new tool for testing network traffic security called Nogotofail. The company has released it as an open source project available on GitHub, meaning anyone can use it, contribute new features, provide support for more platforms, and do anything else with the end goal of helping to improve the security of the Internet. The tool's main purpose is to test whether the devices or applications you are using are safe against known TLS/SSL vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Nogotofail works on Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Chrome OS, OSX, and "in fact any device you use to connect to the Internet."
36 comments | about a month and a half ago
Microsoft has announced the availability of "Microsoft Band," a wearable device that goes on the wrist. It's designed to do health- and fitness-related tasks, like monitoring heart rate and how well a wearer sleeps, and its on-board GPS lets users map their run/bike routes. The company says Band plays nicely with iOS and Android devices in addition to Windows phones. It also has full support for viewing phone notifications and calendar alerts, and a built-in microphone enables queries through the Cortana personal assistant software. The display is rectangular, 11mm x 33mm (0.43" x 1.3"), and has a resolution of 320x106. They claim a battery life of 48 hours, with a charge time of 1.5 hours or less. The device costs $200.
135 comments | about 1 month ago
Nerval's Lobster writes Everybody knows that Apple runs a tight ship when it comes to approving iOS apps for its App Store, rejecting software because it features porn, allows gambling, installs types of executable code, etc. But Apple also denies apps for some pretty esoteric reasons, many of which are only just coming to light. Want to have an App that uses GPS to automatically control a real-world aircraft or automobile? Sorry, that's not allowed, presumably because Apple doesn't want iOS to serve as a drone controller. (Imagine the liability issues.) Also, apps that report your location to emergency services are forbidden, as well as any that misspell Apple product names ("iTunz" will never make it through, no matter how much you beg). Even if Apple's not sharing the exact reason why it just rejected your app from its store (what the heck does "Not enough lasting value" mean?), you can check out Apple's own page on the top reasons for iOS app rejections."
145 comments | about 2 months ago
An anonymous reader writes Microsoft today launched a new section on its website: The Microsoft Garage is designed to give the public early access to various projects the company is testing right now. The team is kicking off with a total of 16 free consumer-facing apps, spanning Android, Android Wear, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows, and even the Xbox One. Microsoft Garage is still going to be everything it has been so far, but Microsoft has simply decided it's time for the public to get involved too: You can now test the wild projects the company's employees dream up.
72 comments | about 2 months ago
SmartAboutThings writes The smartwatch market is still in its nascent form, but with Apple releasing its AppleWatch in early 2015, things are going to change. And Microsoft wants to make sure it's not late to the party, as it has been so many times in the past. That's why it plans on releasing its own smartwatch, which would be the first new category under CEO Nadella. The device could get launched with two specific features that could make it stand apart from other similar devices — much better battery life and cross-platform support for iOS and Android users. A release before this year's holiday season is in the cards, with no details on the pricing nor availability. (Also at Reuters and The Inquirer.)
172 comments | about 2 months ago
An anonymous reader writes: With the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Ars Technica has posted one of their extremely thorough reviews of the OS's new features and design changes. John Siracusa writes that Yosemite is particularly notable because it's the biggest step yet in Apple's efforts to bring OS X and iOS together — new technologies are now being added to Apple's two operating systems simultaneously. "The political and technical battles inherent in the former two-track development strategy for OS X and iOS left both products with uncomfortable feature disparities. Apple now correctly views this as damage and has set forth to repair it." Yosemite's look and feel has undergone significant changes as well, generally moving toward the flat and compact design present in iOS 7 & 8. Spotlight and the Notifications Center have gotten some needed improvements, as did many tab and toolbar interfaces.
Siracusa also takes a look a Swift, Apple's new programming language: "Swift is an attempt to create a low-level language with high-level syntax and semantics. It tackles the myth of the Sufficiently Smart Compiler by signing up to create that compiler as part of the language design process." He concludes: "Viewed in isolation, Yosemite provides a graphical refresh accompanied by a few interesting features and several new technologies whose benefits are mostly speculative, depending heavily on how eagerly they're adopted by third-party developers. But Apple no longer views the Mac in isolation, and neither should you. OS X is finally a full-fledged peer to iOS; all aspects of sibling rivalry have been banished."
305 comments | about 2 months ago