PolygamousRanchKid writes with this quote from CNN: "A Kenyan chief in a town far from the bustling capital foiled a predawn robbery recently using Twitter, highlighting the far-reaching effects of social media in areas that don't have access to the Internet. Chief Francis Kariuki said he got a call in the dead of the night that thieves had broken into a neighbor's house. Local residents, who subscribe to his tweets through a free text messaging service, jumped into action. They surrounded the house, sending the thugs fleeing into the night. In the town 100 miles from Nairobi, a majority of residents don't have access to computers, the Internet or smart phones. The sporadic cyber cafes strewn across the landscape charge for Internet access. However, almost every household has a cell phone and text messages are a major form of communication in the nation."
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary settlement has been reached in the class-action lawsuit brought against Apple in June 2010 over the 'Antennagate' fiasco. Ira Rothken, co-lead counsel for the case, says there are 21 million people entitled to either $15 or a free bumper. 'The settlement comes from 18 separate lawsuits that were consolidated into one. All share the claim that Apple was "misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software." The settlement has its own Web site, www.iPhone4Settlement.com, which will be up in the coming weeks (the site doesn't go anywhere right now). There, customers will be able to get information about the settlement and how to make a claim. As part of the arrangement, e-mails will also be sent alerting original buyers to the settlement before April 30, 2012. The claims period is then open for 120 days.'"
bonch writes "After months of reporting on photos of iPad 3 screen parts, MacRumors finally obtained one for themselves and examined it under a microscope, confirming that the new screens will have twice the linear resolution of the iPad 2, with a whopping 2048x1536 pixel density. Hints of the new display's resolution were found in iBooks 2, which contains hi-DPI versions of its artwork. The iPad 3 is rumored to be launching in early March."
MrSeb writes "Two doctors at Penn State University have developed Caffeine Zone, a free iOS app that tells you the perfect time to take a coffee break to maintain an optimal amount of caffeine in your blood — and, perhaps more importantly, it also tells you when to stop drinking tea and coffee, so that caffeine doesn't interrupt your sleep. By reading through lots of peer-reviewed studies, doctors Frank E. Ritter and Kuo-Chuan Yeh found that a caffeine level of between 200 and 400mg in your bloodstream provides optimal mental alertness, and that you should be below 100mg when you try to sleep. Caffeine Zone plots your caffeination level after you consume caffeine, and warns you if that big afternoon coffee will keep you up at night. It also lets you change the 'optimal' and 'sleep' values if you're particularly resistant or weak to caffeine."
Despite Apple's protestation that the iBooks Author EULA was misinterpreted, the idea of a book publishing system that could be used to grab copyright of the prepared text is annoying — like the sort of EULAs that seem to give photo-sharing sites unlimited re-use rights of hosted personal photos. New submitter rohangarg points out a publishing system which shouldn't have such problems, and is nicely cross-platform besides: "A new open-source digital writing and publishing platform has been launched by non-profit group Sourcefabric. Booktype allows for collaborative editing and writing of books that can be easily outputted to on-demand print services and eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle, Nook, iPad, and more with a few simple clicks. Booktype source can be found here." The online demo also leads to some downloadable examples (as PDFs).
asto21 writes with this excerpt from The Indian Express: "As per amendments made to operators' licences, beginning May 31, operators would have to provide the Department of Telecommunications real-time details of users' locations in latitudes and longitudes. Documents obtained by The Indian Express show that details shall initially be provided for mobile numbers specified by the government. Within three years, service providers will have to provide information on locations of all users. The information will have some margin of error at first. But by 2013, at least 60 per cent of the calls in urban areas would have to be accurately tracked when made 100 metres away from the nearest cell tower. By 2014, the government will seek to increase the proportion to 75 per cent in cities and 50 per cent in suburban and rural areas."
swandives writes "WebOS could be an important player in the long run as an open-source mobile OS, because Android could become closed source with Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said during a speech at the HP Global Partner conference in Las Vegas. It may take up to four years for the complete impact of webOS to be felt, Whitman said. HP has said it would release WebOS — originally developed by Palm for phones and tablets — to the open-source community. The company bought Palm in 2010 but late last year announced it will not make devices that use the software."
zacharye writes in with a story about Senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations John Donovan's blog post detailing why customers with unlimited smartphone plans are getting throttled. "In an effort to justify its policies surrounding data service throttling for subscribers with unlimited smartphone data plans, AT&T on Tuesday issued a brief report regarding data usage on its nationwide wireless network. Senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations John Donovan wrote on a company blog that data traffic on AT&T's network has grown a staggering 20,000% over the past five years. Usage has doubled between 2010 and 2011 according to the executive, due in large part to the proliferation of smartphones. AT&T sold more smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2011 than in any other quarter in its history. And because its smartphone subscribers use so much data, AT&T seems to suggest it has no choice but to put measures such as data throttling in place."
New submitter mc6809e writes with news that Lightsquared might have just been killed. From the article: "A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday. The news appears to squash the near-term hopes for the network pushed by LightSquared, a Virginia company that is majority-owned by Philip Falcone, a New York hedge fund manager." LightSquared, naturally, continues to deny that the interference is real.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In the wake of news that the iPhone app Path uploads users' entire contact lists without permission, Forbes dug up a study from a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the International Security Systems Lab that aimed to analyze how and where iPhone apps transmit users' private data. Not only did the researchers find that one in five of the free apps in Apple's app store upload private data back to the apps' creators that could potentially identify users and allow profiles to be built of their activities; they also discovered that programs in Cydia, the most popular platform for unauthorized apps that run only on 'jailbroken' iPhones, tend to leak private data far less frequently than Apple's approved apps. The researchers ran their analysis on 1,407 free apps (PDF) on the two platforms. Of those tested apps, 21 percent of official App Store apps uploaded the user's Unique Device Identifier, for instance, compared with only four percent of unauthorized apps."
AZA43 writes "Amazon.com has blocked its Instant Video streaming service on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, in an apparent effort to make its Kindle Fire device more attractive to tablet buyers. And it says Apple is the reason why it blocked the service. But the company hasn't blocked comparable Android tablets from streaming Instant Video, and Android tablets hold a much larger portion of the overall tablet market than PlayBooks. Amazon will likely succeed only in alienating customer with PlayBooks who have already purchased lots of streaming video content."
itwbennett writes "In its 2012 roadmap, the Mozilla Foundation highlights plans to create its own soup-to-nuts mobile platform, known as Boot to Gecko. With this move, the Mozilla Foundation 'is finally shaking off its dependence on browser revenues and treading where Google, with ChromeOS; Canonical, with Unity on Ubuntu; and (most recently) the Plasma community's Spark tablet have already started: the creation of standards-based platforms that rely on robust web applications (in varying degrees) more than native-run apps to provide the user experience,' writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'I very much think that we are heading for a time when Linux flavors will be identified by environments, not distributions.'"
New submitter KJE writes "The CBC is reporting that an Ontario teachers' union is calling for an end to new Wi-Fi setups in the province's 1,400-plus Catholic schools. The Ontario English Catholic Teacher's Association (OECTA) says computers in all new schools should be hardwired instead of setting up wireless networks. The OECTA, in its paper (PDF), said the 'safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced.'"
New submitter davidstites writes "I am a masters computer science student at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and in November I performed a security audit of 230+ popular iOS applications because I wanted to know how secure apps on smartphones and tablets really are. I made a shocking discovery. The largest single potential security breach was with the Southwest Airlines application. Southwest Airlines' iPhone app leaves a user's information vulnerable to hackers. When you login to the application on your phone using your Rapid Rewards account, the app submits your username and password information as plain-text (unencrypted) to a Southwest remote server (mobile.southwest.com). A potential attacker can simply sniff for the data on the network and steal it. This situation is a hackers dream! If a victims credentials were captured, a hacker could use those credentials to login to that particular account and they would have access to anything the victim would have access to, such as addresses, birthdays, e-mail, phone and credit cards. They could even book a flight in the victims name." (Read on below for more details.)
Hugh Pickens writes "Daniel Berniger writes that one of the unexpected consequences of AT&T's transition to HD voice and all-IP networks is that the footprint of required network equipment will shrink by as much as 90 percent, translating into a $100 billion windfall as the global telecom giant starts emptying buildings and selling off the resulting real estate surplus. Since IP connections utilize logical address assignments, a single fiber can support an almost arbitrary number of end-user connections — so half a rack of VoIP network equipment replaces a room full of Class 4 and Class 5 circuit switching equipment, and equipment sheds replace the contents of entire buildings. AT&T's portfolio goes back more than 100 years, even as commercial real estate appreciated five fold since the 1970s, so growth of telephone service during the 20th century leaves the company with 250 million sq ft of floor space real estate in prime locations across America. 'The scale of the real estate divestiture challenge may justify creating a separate business unit to deal with the all-IP network transition,' writes Berniger, who adds that ATT isn't the only one who will benefit. 'The transition to all-IP networks allows carriers to sell-off a vast majority of the 100,000 or so central offices (PDF) currently occupying prime real estate around the globe.'"