Making technology work for you...

Get Your Free Subscription By Email:


Wikipedia and Others Shuts Down for a Day to Protest Against SOPA

Lance Ulanoff, the editor in chief of Mashable, probably said it best when he said that implementing the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) would be like returning to the Dark Ages - back when the World Wide Web hasn't been launched yet and everything for most of us was, well, boring. A few days ago, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced that the popular resource site will shut down for 24 hours today, Wednesday, to protest against the SOPA.

Siri vs. Android Voice Actions

Siri has graced the iPhone 4S for almost a week now and reports on its witty banter, international limitations and working even when the phone is locked has bounced around the Internet. Some articles have also compared Siri in head to head contests with Android Voice Actions. There is really no comparison, as both Apple and Google took very different paths to the very different places that each application occupies in the mobile space.

While Android Natural Language Processing (NLP) applications like "Speaktoit Assistant" should be the considered similar to Apple iPhone 4S Siri - Android Voice Actions, as its name implies, will initiate a limited set of programs and features on your Android phone. You have to memorize the commands and speak them exactly. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), the latest Android rev that is due to drop sometime next month promises to up the ante to add the ability to look up a number from the internet and dial it. The current version of Siri, can only dial numbers in the users’ contact list. Further, Android 4.0 promises spoken turn by turn navigation. However, this is a US only feature, which mirror’s Siri’s US only location based services.

ICS is touting what Goggle calls the “open microphone” feature that allows the speaker to enter voice commands without opening the phone up and crowing that Apple does not have that feature. Google may be consuming some crow regarding its open microphone claims, as Siri does appear to in fact operate even when the phone is locked. However, American tech site CNET, recently pointed out that security company Soros learned that Apple ships the iPhone 4S with a default setting that allows any random chap to send emails, texts and make calls so long as the person is in the contact list. It only takes a moment to change the setting, but based on the negative response of iPhone users for this “feature”, Google may want to at the least change their default settings. If one happens to have an iPhone 4S and wants to change the setting see below;

Apple iPhone 4S Siri


Sony CMOS Sensor Found in the iPhone 4S

Since the iPhone 4S was officially launched, many were astounded by its mind-boggling features – particularly Siri, the revered “humble assistant” that can listen, understand, and execute tasks including sending text messages, setting up your schedule via the Calendar and Reminders app, checking the weather and even the stock market. But while others are still waiting in line to get the awesome device, the folks over at Chipworks, a technology company that specializes in reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis, were already studying the genius behind the iPhone 4S. Chipworks did a teardown on the iPhone 4S and took its 8 Megapixel camera under an infrared microscope. And guess what they found out – SONY.

The All New Powerful Windows 8 Task Manager

Apple has dominated the tech news of late and, as its fairly certain that Apple will continue to sell every iPhone the company can make, as Monty Python would say; Now for Something Completely Different. The Windows 8 development team is planning a major overhaul of the venerable Task Manager. The handy program has saved many a Windows user from a system reboot over the years and has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Windows 3.0 looking like this:

Windows 3 Task Manager

to the current version in Windows 7 here:

Windows 7 Task Manager

The Windows 8 team started their planning process by seeing how real world users make use of the tools provided in Task Manager, such as killing applications, determine what processes were taking up the most memory and CPU resources , starting up or terminating services, checking network issues, and general system-admin tasks. Shockingly enough, approximately eighty-five percent of users’ main feature of choice in the Task Manager was to terminate programs. Included in that number was monitoring processes as well, since in many cases a misbehaving program or process is eating up memory and processor cycles thereby causing the system to be sluggish or even freeze.

iPhone 4S Grills Android in Browser and GPU Performance Tests

While Apple is facing demand-and-supply capacity issues with iOS5 for the time-being. Apple do have another powerful ally in the battle for supremacy in the mobile space, we’re a bit curious how the game has changed and how Android’s line of devices will manage to retain its advantage over the iPhone. Many things have happened over at Cupertino County lately. Although Apple’s legendary co-founder passed away to everyone’s grief, the tech giant managed to release the iPhone 4S – an entirely revamped version of the iPhone 4 and is expected to alter the course of the game. The folks over at AnandTech managed to conduct a series of tests with the newly release iPhone 4S and compared it with the top of the line Android devices including Samsung’s Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Tab 8.9 – both of which are the leading contenders of the iOS. The said series of tests initiated by the popular benchmarking site was all about browser speed and GPU performance. And boy it sure looks interesting.

iPhone 4S benchmark

iOS 5 update rained on by iCloud?

Apple iCloud Logo

The Apple iOS 5 update dropped today and Apple was not ready for the demand. As of this writing, there have been no confirmed reports of any successful updates by the tech media or users based on reports and Apple discussion groups. Apple has admitted that the installation problems are on Apple's side, and the consensus is that the iCloud servers are simply unable to completely process and verify the installation process. This does not bode well for either the estimated three million iPhone 4S devices that will be seeking communion with iCloud to get activated (and in all likelihood need software updates) or the inauguration of the Apple iCloud music service at the end of the month.

Apple has put a lot of time, treasure and credibility into the iCloud initiative. Apple envisions iCloud as follows:
"This is the cloud the way it should be: automatic and effortless. iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, so you can access your content on all your devices." In order to fulfill this vision Apple has to be able to have the content accessible on demand and to accomplish that, they created a huge server farm in the state of North Carolina in the United States, spending over a billion dollars USD according to some estimates.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011 Rest In Peace

Just days ago Apple announced their new iPhone 4S and today the company's co-founder Steve Jobs died at the age of 56. Apple has officially announced to the world that Steve Jobs died October 5th, 2011 of complications of pancreatic cancer. Mr.Jobs was one of the founders of what is widely regarded as the modern personal computer industry. For many that would have been enough to rest on his laurels. Ironically, his greatest accomplishments came after he was fired in 1985 from the company he co-created in a corporate coup. From 1985 to his return to Apple in 1997, Jobs founded NeXT Computers whose operating system became the basis of Apple's iMac operating system. In addition Steve bought a small hardware subsidiary from LucasFilms that he turned into the world renowned Pixar, creator of blockbuster animated films such as Toy Story.

Steve Jobs

In 1997, Jobs returned to Apple as a consultant as part of the purchase of NeXT Computing. Shortly thereafter, Jobs returned to the CEO role of a much diminished Apple. The companies fortunes had shrunk so far that Michael Dell of Dell computing once famously said that the best thing that can be done for the Apple shareholders was to dissolve the company and return the shareholder funds. Over the next fourteen years, Jobs was the visionary behind the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, catapulting Apple to become of the greatest companies in the world today. Along the way, under Job's leadership, Apple completely changed the way that the world consumed music, movies, and used cell phones. The iPad seems poised to change the way that we consume media today.

Amazon’s Silk not so smooth

Kindle Fire Tablet From Amazon

One of the cornerstones of the new Amazon Fire tablet is its Silk browser. Silk promises a cloud-powered lighting fast browser experience that greatly enhances the web surfing experience and warms you to the Kindle Fire. While the Kindle Fire is only available in the United States at present, the way Amazon delivers on its promises bears a review for anyone concerned about privacy since it is probably only a matter of time before the legal and commercial issues that presently limits the Fire to the US will be overcome and the new Kindle tablet will go into wider distribution.

Amazon Silk Web Browser

Silk accomplishes its promise of a fast browsing experience by taking browser information requests and communicating it back to the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud 2 (Amazon EC2) which returns a cache of the desired web site optimized for Amazon Silk. In short, Amazon EC2 does all the heavy lifting in terms of processor cycles and shoots the result by to the Fire tablet. Amazon EC2 is part of the little known Amazon Web Services (AWS) arm of Amazon. AWS provides back end computing services, including storage, e-commerce and web hosting to a surprising number of businesses who don’t want to run extensive IT departments and/or server farms.

Browsing the web discloses a lot of information such as your interests, political, prurient and commercial. Amazon already knows a lot about what you buy, and Silk makes it even easier because it tracks where you go on the web when you are not on Amazon’s web site. The process that Silk uses has to communicate everything, including encrypted information through the Amazon EC2 servers. In many cases, the optimized web page is in fact a cached copy based on a prediction of what you are likely to ask for next. For example, if you are reading an article on line about the World Rugby Cup the service is likely to cache the entire article and perhaps rugby related content in the expectation that is what you will ask for next.

Microsoft Security Essentials hates Google Chrome

Google Chrome

In an development first reported by Ryan Naraine, the free antivirus and anti-malware program Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) has been deleting the popular Google Chrome browser claiming that it was a piece of malware from the Zeus family of trojans. The Chrome help forum logged over 289 comments in less than 2 hours on this issue. Affected users all reported that MSE advised them that they had a malware attack, and asked if they wanted MSE to remove it. If the user said yes, (and who would not?) then the “malware” was removed by MSE. As part of the removal process the user was asked to restart the affected machine. Once rebooted, Chrome was gone.

The Zeus Trojan has been responsible for over $70 million USD in losses to banks and businesses, according to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation. There are reports that the Zeus source code has been recently released into the public domain, making it a serious risk for businesses. Also, as business IT departments look for more ways to save deployment costs, Chrome and MSE are being seen on more and more desktops in businesses, not just home computers.

Linux Could be Kicked-Out of Windows 8 PCs

Being advanced has its own pros and cons. And for the next generation of Windows 8 PCs, it’s going to be something very different. Following the news that the next generation of Windows 8 PCs will be equipped with a completely new booting specification known as UEFI or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, we were able to receive a rather shocking update about the UEFI’s supposed desirable feature. It appears that Microsoft has gone a little cold, although the UEFI specification is somewhat captivating, we’ve also heard that the interface could most likely include a special secure boot protocol that will be required to all Windows 8 users. Yes, it is a security feature that can not only preserve your PC’s software sanity but can also ward off infectious rootkits from entering into the system as well. But there’s a problem.

Linux Anti Windows Boot
This is just one of the many helpful tips we have posted, You can find more stories here,
Do subscribe to updates using your favorite RSS feed reader or using the secure FeedBurner email update form on top of this post.