Pigskin-Referee sends this excerpt from an article at ProPublica: "Jonathan Mayer had a hunch. A gifted computer scientist, Mayer suspected that online advertisers might be getting around browser settings that are designed to block tracking devices known as cookies. If his instinct was right, advertisers were following people as they moved from one website to another even though their browsers were configured to prevent this sort of digital shadowing. Working long hours at his office, Mayer ran a series of clever tests in which he purchased ads that acted as sniffers for the sort of unauthorized cookies he was looking for. He hit the jackpot, unearthing one of the biggest privacy scandals of the past year: Google was secretly planting cookies on a vast number of iPhone browsers. Mayer thinks millions of iPhones were targeted by Google."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
sweetpea86 writes with an update on color e-ink screens. From the article: "Plastic electronics company Plastic Logic has demonstrated color video animation on a flexible plastic display, which it claims is the first example of an organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) driving electronic paper at video rate. The demonstration proves that the potential uses of electronic paper extend far beyond monochrome text-based e-readers to more sophisticated tablet-style devices that can run color video, while still keeping power consumption low." SlashGear also took a look at it and has a short video of the animated e-ink display.
zacharye writes "Friday marks five years since the world first got its hands on a smartphone that would turn the industry on its head. In five short years, Apple went from the ground floor to being the most profitable company in the smartphone business by a staggering margin. Apple and Samsung — two companies that weren't even on the smartphone industry's map a few years ago — are now the only two major global vendors making money, and the split was estimated at 80/20 in Apple's favor last quarter. That's 80% of smartphone industry profits in less than five years with just five different smartphone models under its belt during that span."
New submitter Craefter writes "Adobe has finally seen the same light Steve Jobs did in 2010 and is now committed to putting mobile Flash player in the history books as soon as possible. Adobe will not develop and test Flash player for Android 4.1 and will now focus on a PC browsing and apps. In a blog post, they wrote, 'Devices that don’t have the Flash Player provided by the manufacturer typically are uncertified, meaning the manufacturer has not completed the certification testing requirements. In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1. Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.'"
zacharye writes "RIM was expected to deliver a nightmarish, -30% year-on-year revenue decline into the May quarter — the company issued its latest profit warning just four weeks ago. Yet it ended up missing the lowered consensus estimate by 10%, generating just $2.8 billion in sales. The reasons for RIM's decline are well-known and will be rehashed again over the next 24 hours. But the size of the F1Q13 sales miss raises another question: apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset industry drifting into serious trouble?"
coondoggie writes "A little over a month after the FBI warned travelers of an uptick in data being stolen via hotel Internet connections, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and three of its subsidiaries for alleged data security failures that led to three data breaches at Wyndham hotels in less than two years."
Twisted64 writes "Australia's largest telco, Telstra, has been frightening users of its mobile data services for the last week. Logging revealed that HTTP requests from a mobile device on Telstra's network were duplicated with a request from another server, located in Chicago. Eyebrows were raised on the Whirlpool forums, with fears that Telstra was giving up Australian browsing data to a U.S. company and therefore the U.S. government. Following a well-worded letter, Telstra revealed today that the reason for this behavior is that the company is preparing an opt-in web filter. Personally, while the idea of my browsing data being logged anywhere does not fill me with joy, the idea of the U.S. government having access to it (randomized or not) is probably going to be enough to make me switch to an inferior carrier once my current plan ends."
An anonymous reader writes "In a detailed interview on the future of education, Bill Gates was surprisingly down on tablets in education — considering that Microsoft just released Surface. He said low-cost PCs are the thing for students, and he dismissed the idea that simply giving gadgets to students will bring change. Quoting: 'Just giving people devices has a really horrible track record. You really have to change the curriculum and the teacher. And it's never going to work on a device where you don't have a keyboard-type input. Students aren't there just to read things. They're actually supposed to be able to write and communicate. And so it's going to be more in the PC realm—it's going to be a low-cost PC that lets them be highly interactive.'"
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Free software lawyer and activist Eben Moglen plans to give a talk at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York next month on the need to apply Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics to our personal devices like smartphones. Here's a preview: 'In [1960s] science fiction, visionaries perceived that in the middle of the first quarter of the 21st century, we'd be living contemporarily with robots. They were correct. We do. We carry them everywhere we go. They see everything, they're aware of our position, our relationship to other human beings and other robots, they mediate an information stream about us, which allows other people to predict and know our conduct and intentions and capabilities better than we can predict them ourselves. But we grew up imagining that these robots would have, incorporated in their design, a set of principles. We imagined that robots would be designed so that they could never hurt a human being. These robots have no such commitments. These robots hurt us every day. They work for other people. They're designed, built and managed to provide leverage and control to people other than their owners. Unless we retrofit the first law of robotics onto them immediately, we're cooked.'"
crookedvulture writes "The new iPad has received a lot of attention for its high-density display, but it's not the only tablet with extra pixels. Enter Asus' Transformer Prime Infinity, which has a 10.1" screen with a 1920x1200 resolution. The display doesn't look as good as the iPad's Retina panel, which has crisper text and better color reproduction. However, the Android-based Transformer has perks the iPad lacks, like an ultra-bright backlight, a Micro HDMI port, a microSD slot, and more internal storage. The Infinity is also compatible with an optional keyboard dock that adds six hours of battery life, a touchpad, a full-sized SD slot, and a standard USB port. The Transformer's tablet component is definitely no iPad-killer. When combined with the dock, though, the resulting hybrid offers a much more flexible computing platform."
zacharye writes "Apple's next-generation iPhone will feature an integrated NFC chip according to a new report, suggesting the Cupertino, California-based company may soon make its entrance into the mobile payment space. A report from 9to5Mac states that an analysis of code from Apple's latest iOS software includes references to an integrated NFC chip and antenna."
MrSeb writes "American and Israeli researchers have used twisted, vortex beams to transmit data at 2.5 terabits per second. As far as I can discern, this is the fastest wireless network ever created — by some margin. These twisted signals use orbital angular momentum (OAM) to cram much more data into a single stream, without using more spectrum. In current state-of-the-art transmission protocols (WiFi, LTE, COFDM), we only modulate the spin angular momentum (SAM) of radio waves, not the OAM. If you picture the Earth, SAM is our planet spinning on its axis, while OAM is our movement around the Sun. Basically, the breakthrough here is that researchers have created a wireless network protocol that uses both OAM and SAM. In this case, Alan Willner and fellow researchers from the University of Southern California, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Tel Aviv University, twisted together eight ~300Gbps visible light data streams using OAM. For the networking nerds, Willner's OAM link has a spectral efficiency of 95.7 bits per hertz; LTE maxes out at 16.32 bits/Hz; 802.11n is 2.4 bits/Hz. Digital TV (DVB-T) is just 0.55 bits/Hz. In short, this might just be exactly what our congested wireless spectrum needs."
MojoKid writes "Nintendo took the wraps off its new, super-sized 3DS XL handheld on Friday, but reactions have been anything but enthusiastic. The new DS offers a larger set of screens (4.88 inches top / 4.18" bottom), better battery life, and will ship with a copy of New Super Marios 2 but it's launching into a very different market than what the original DS XL faced in 2009. The 3DS XL's battery improvements aren't just icing on the cake — they're seen as remedying a critical problem with the current handheld. It also won't support the second circle pad added by the Circle Pad Pro, which implies Nintendo is ready to kill that peripheral altogether. The other major problem is that a larger screen isn't really what the 3DS needed in order to be more successful."
According to this Reuters report, RIM is considering separating its messaging network business from its manufacture of handsets, and either listing the resulting new company separately, or selling it to another firm. According to the article, "Potential buyers would include Amazon and Facebook, it reported, adding that RIM's messaging network could also be sold, or opened up to rivals such as Apple and Google to generate income. An alternative option would be to keep the company together but sell a stake to a larger technology firm such as Microsoft."
whisper_jeff writes "Judge Posner has dismissed the patent case between Apple and Motorola, with prejudice (meaning they can't refile), putting an end to this patent dispute between the two companies. Posner wrote, 'Both parties have deep pockets. And neither has acknowledged that damages for the infringement of its patents could not be estimated with tolerable certainty.' I know many on Slashdot will be happy to hear Apple's lawsuit failed; I am happier to hear that Motorola has been prevented from abusing FRAND patents, a situation I feel could set a very bad, very dangerous precedent for the entire industry."