Posts Tagged ‘Google’
Be careful what links you click: A single line of HTML code can wipe the data on certain Samsung smartphones running Google’s Android software. The issue is specific to Samsung phones that also use the company’s TouchWiz software, says SlashGear, which actually means most of the current Samsung smartphones. Google’s Galaxy Nexus, also made by Samsung, is not affected by the exploit, which was demonstrated by Ravi Borganokar at the Ekoparty security conference…
The short line of HTML code, Borganokar says, can also be executed through an embedded QR code or NFC wireless transfer. Even worse than an unintended factory restore or data wipe, this exploit can render the phone’s SIM card useless.
Some will surely condemn Android as a whole for this issue, but since it’s specific to Samsung’s TouchWiz software — likely as a feature to quickly dial phone numbers by way of links, QR codes or NFC data — the problem is limited to Samsung devices. I’d expect that Samsung releases a patch to disable the automatic phone dialing soon.
Samsung has a patch for the S3 available via OTA update.
As a long-time Android user, however, these security — or insecurity issues, rather — are getting old in general. I mainly use Android devices because they fit my mantra of “use the best tool for the task at hand.” As someone embedded deeply in Google’s world of apps and data, Android simply works better. Even my limits are getting tested though: An open platform that can be endlessly tweaked is great until the wrong folks are tweaking it.
So says Kevin Tofel at GigaOm.
Here’s a nice bit of multi-faceted irony for you: On Thursday, Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper ran a print ad for Google’s (directly competitive) search advertising business.
“You know who needs a haircut? People searching for a haircut,” the ad reads. “Maybe that’s why ads on Google work.”
The ad was tweeted by media reporter Steve Ladurantaye with the caption, “An ad for Google ads in today’s Globe demonstrates the value of print ads, yes?”
Google’s ad ran in both the Globe‘s print and digital editions, as well as in the National Post, the Globe‘s main competitor, Ladurantaye tells us.
Impolite, funny, probably overdue.
Harry Truman said – “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”
If you are wondering how to improve morale, encourage collaboration and limit stress in your workplace — without spending too much money — maybe you should consider getting an office dog…
According to a preliminary investigation published in March…employees who bring their dog to the office can cap the amount of stress experienced during the day, and improve job satisfaction for all.
Randolph Barker, a dog-loving management professor, monitored the stress levels of employees at a retailing and manufacturing business with a 14-year history of allowing dogs in the workplace…[Randolph Barker!?]
The study found that while everyone started the day with low baseline levels of the stress hormone cortisol, those who didn’t bring their dogs to work reported drastically higher levels of stress by the end of the working day.
Those who had their dogs with them had low levels of stress throughout the day, and about half of that group felt that dogs were important to their productivity. Of the two groups without dogs, 80% felt that the dogs in the workplace had no negative effect on productivity…
Barker also noted that the dogs appeared to be “communication energizers,” sparking conversations amongst employees, and increasing engagement.
“We think dogs’ presence in the workplace may reduce stress for their owners, increase job satisfaction even for those without pets, and it may increase perceptions of organizational support,” says Barker. “It’s a low-cost wellness intervention, or benefit, that’s available readily to any organization.”
But Barker suggests that dogs may be preferable meeting participants than some colleagues. “They don’t judge us,” he says, “and when no one else will listen to you, your dog will listen to you.”
RTFA. Anecdotes both useful and humorous. Tech companies seem to lead the way in adoption of the policy – which is no surprise.
Working from home, an easy interlude going for a walk with Rally is an immediate break to any writer’s block that might be afflicting me. And she couldn’t care less what I talk about while we’re walking – as long as there’s a cookie waiting at the end of the walk.
Word cloud describing which countries are most infected
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning that more than 252,000 computers worldwide still carry a virus spread by a fraud ring that was dismantled last year.
As a result, users of infected computers who don’t scrub their systems might lose Internet access next week…
The virus had redirected users to the thieves’ servers, said Tom Grasso, a supervisory special agent…After the ring was broken up by authorities, the agency temporarily set up “clean” servers in November to prevent that from happening, a service that’s set to end on July 9.
Google…has displayed warnings at the top of its search results for users with an affected computer since May, said Jay Nancarrow, a spokesman for the Mountain View, California-based company.
Does that give you a clear picture of how dense some internet users can be? Google is telling people at specific IP addresses that their computers are infected with this virus, linking to a remedy – and over 45,000 have done nothing.
The virus interferes with a computer’s ability to resolve domain names, making it appear that users are no longer on the Internet. Users who don’t fix the problem in advance will have to call their Internet-service providers for help reconnecting, Grasso said.
If they can figure out how to use the telephone.
Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011, the company said on Monday, denouncing what it said was an alarming trend.
In its twice-yearly Transparency Report, the world’s largest web search engine said the requests were aimed at having some 12,000 items overall removed, about a quarter more than during the first half of last year.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different,” Dorothy Chou, the search engine’s senior policy analyst, said in a blogpost. “We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not.”
Many of those requests targeted political speech, keeping up a trend Google said it has noticed since it started releasing its Transparency Report in 2010.
“It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — Western democracies not typically associated with censorship,” said Chou…
Not publicly associated with censorship in the obedient press, that is.
In one case, Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 links to blogs and newspaper articles criticizing public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors.
So far Google has not complied…
Chou said that in Thailand videos featuring the monarch with a seat over his head have been removed for insulting the monarchy. The country has some of the world’s toughest “lese- majeste” laws.
In Canada, Google was asked by officials to get rid of a YouTube video showing a citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet…The company refused.
Google and many other online providers maintain that they cannot lawfully remove any content for which they are merely the host and not the producer, a principle enshrined in EU law on eCommerce since 2000.
BTW, Google complies most often with requests from the United States government.
Just in case you wondered.
This just in from Geneva: The United Nations has no plans to seize control of the Internet. The Web-snatching black helicopters have not left the hangar.
Internet conspiracy theorists will be disappointed. The latest one, fueled by “open Internet” groups, Internet companies like Google and some U.S. lawmakers, was that mouse-clicking bureaucrats at U.N. headquarters in Geneva, supported by governments suspicious of the United States, were scheming to take over the Internet itself.
The plot went something like this: At a meeting in December of an obscure U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union, Russia, China and their ilk would try to wrest oversight of the Internet away from the loose collection of public and private organizations that do the job now…
By last month these fears had grown so fevered that U.S. lawmakers introduced a resolution calling on the government to block proposals that “would justify under international law increased government control over the Internet and would reject the current multistakeholder model that has enabled the Internet to flourish…”
Of course, all of that translates as “it’s OUR internet and Johnny Furriner better stay hands off!”
Time for a reality check. Documents prepared for the December meeting, which leaked out last week — yes, on the Internet — show that there are no proposals to hand governance of the Net to the I.T.U…
The draft being prepared for the meeting, set to take place in Dubai, includes several Internet-related provisions, including measures to counter spam and bolster cybersecurity…But the draft includes no proposals to change the Internet’s core governance functions, which are handled by groups like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium. ICANN, for example, oversees the domain name system while the later groups develop and maintain technical standards.
“It’s unfortunate that the Congress is spending so much valuable time on something that isn’t even on the table,” said Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the I.T.U. “There is no single reference to Internet governance in the preparation document…”
The real conflict is not over governance of the Internet, some analysts say, but over the division of the spoils, with international telecommunications operators trying to use the I.T.U. to extract revenue from American Internet companies.
Golly. You don’t really think that honorable and open companies like Google or AT&T might try to stir up geek paranoia just to aid their bottom line – do you?
Would Congress actually participate in stupid phrase-mongering, the ringing of alarums in the middle of the night, wasting taxpayer money on unnecessary scares over foreign intervention over a God-given American property?
Bite your tongue!
We need more judges like U.S. Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner.
Yesterday, Posner scrapped a trial between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility slated to start in Chicago next week after he rejected the arguments for damages because neither side was able to prove it was harmed.
The move is a welcome breath of practicality in this increasingly muddled and litigious world of technology patent warfare. Beyond competing in the market, technology players have moved to the courtroom as a second front, using patents to distract competitors and even ban products from coming into the country.
While these companies see some strategic or monetary gain to be had by this, virtually everyone else loses…So it’s refreshing that more judges are taking action to throw out cases, streamline the lawsuits, and even order both sides to hash out their differences. I applaud the move and can only hope this is the beginning of a trend.
“Judge Posner has repeatedly urged the parties to ‘winnow’ the case and did most of the winnowing himself by throwing out claim and claim, argument after argument,” said Florian Mueller, who runs legal blog Foss Patents and is a consultant who has done work for companies such as Microsoft and Oracle.
He’s not the only one. In Germany, Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court has thrown out two lawsuits between Apple and Samsung Electronics. Samsung said it would appeal the decision.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, based in California, ordered the CEOs of Apple and Samsung to meet face to face and work out a deal. Even if it was ultimately fruitless, you have to respect her attempt to settle such a complicated mess. She also ordered the companies to reduce the size of the case to make it more manageable for a jury to decide. Apple and Samsung each dropped a number of patent complaints as a result of the order…
While Posner’s decision scrapped the planned jury trial, the lawsuit will continue to move forward as the companies seek to obtain an injunction on the other’s products…That’s why it’s important that judges remain aggressive in their willingness to throw out extraneous complaints.
I understand the tactic. Especially in light of the US Patent Office and their peers around the world. They have become useless carbon copy grantors of anything that rolls in the door – regardless of duplication or value.
But, the lawsuits are becoming as frivolous as people who sue because they can’t figure out how to use their smartphone.