Twitter acquires security firm Dasient

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Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, 11:48
Category: News, security

It never hurts to be a bit more secure.

Per Macworld, Twitter has announced that the company acquired Internet security firm Dasient.

Dasient, which describes itself as a cloud-based Web antimalware technology company, introduced in 2010 a service to protect advertisement networks and publishers from malicious ads. The company announced the acquisition via its blog on Monday.

Before that in 2009, the company launched its web antimalware platform, capable of scanning URLs (uniform resource locators) and websites for the presence of harmful content.

The acquisition fits with Twitter’s plans to expand revenue from advertising including promoted Twitter messages and accounts.

By joining Twitter, Dasient will be able to apply its technology and team to the world’s largest real-time information network, Daswani said. The Dasient team is joining Twitter’s “revenue engineering” team, he said.

Twitter said in a message that “Dasient is joining the flock!”, and referred to Daswani’s blog post. Financial details were not disclosed. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for information on how it plans to use Dasient’s technology and services.

As part of the merger, Dasient is winding down its business and is no longer able to accept new customers. The company, which was founded in 2008, was funded by Google Ventures among others.

Twitter acquired earlier this month Summify, a startup that summarizes content in people’s Google, Facebook and Twitter feeds and delivers a daily digest through email, on a website or to a user’s iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T looks to transfer $1 billion of wireless spectrum to T-Mobile

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Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, 06:35
Category: iPhone, News

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If you’ve got a spare billion dollars of wireless spectrum just laying about, why WOULDN’T you transfer it to the wireless carrier that you’d made a bid to purchase?

Per the Wall Street Journal, AT&T has filed for FCC approval to transfer wireless spectrum worth US$1 billion to T-Mobile as a result of the failure of its US$39 billion effort to acquire the smaller mobile carrier.

Along with the spectrum, AT&T will give T-Mobile’s German owner Deutsche Telekom US$3 billion in cash as part of its pre-negotiated terms for backing out of the acquisition, which was quashed by the US Justice Department and the FCC as threatening competition in the wireless market.

T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs said “this additional spectrum will help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services.”

T-Mobile is the only carrier among the US’ top 4 to have not articulated any plans for rolling out LTE 4G service, and is also hampered by its use of non-standard UMTS 3G service. That prevents the carrier from selling Apple’s existing iPhone, which it has cited as a key reason for its poor performance.

T-Mobile has previously indicated that new chipsets could enable future iPhone models to support the company’s existing 3G service. Without building out LTE however, T-Mobile could likely be left behind as support for the new networking standard begins to trickle into the mainstream.

Both T-Mobile and AT&T have referred to their existing HSPA+ networks as 4G, because they can offer data speeds compatible to LTE. However, LTE has future potential well beyond HSPA+.

Apple is expected to release an iPhone model capable of supporting LTE later this year. It has not previously supported LTE until now because of technical issues involving battery life and size.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 16.0.912.77

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Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, 06:39
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 16.0.912.77 for the Mac. The new version, a 34.9 megabyte download, offers the following change:

– Bug fixes.

Google Chrome 16.0.912.77 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

RIM Co-CEOs step down, take lower positions on board

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 06:08
Category: News, wireless

Sometimes you just need to make a chance.

In a surprise step, RIM confirmed late Sunday that its two CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis would resign from their top positions. Per the Wall Street Journal, the two would stay on as board members and shareholders for the BlackBerry designer, but would hand over direct leadership to one person, current COO Thorsten Heins. Board member Barbara Stymiest would be promoted to an independent board chairman.

There would be “continuity” from the earlier strategy, Heins said, but it was “not going to be a standstill” that preserves the existing order. He was confident that BlackBerry 10 would lure customers and developers to RIM, but hinted that licensing the OS on a “case-by-case basis” might be an option if the software is successful.

A new board member, Fairfax Financial Holdings CEO Prem Watsa, was coming in to further shake up the board.

Balsillie and Lazaridis cast their partial exits as voluntary, but also in the wake of an imminent panel decision that suggested the board changes. Balsillie claimed that the jump would have good timing now that BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 and the first BlackBerry 10 phone were both on schedule.

While portrayed as voluntary, the shift would come after what many consider RIM’s worst relative year of performance on record. The company bled market share for the core BlackBerry smartphone line virtually every quarter, and its belief that the BlackBerry PlayBook would take on Apple quickly fizzled as it had to ship fewer and fewer tablets and cut the price of the PlayBook by as much as 60 percent just clear stock. The company repeatedly gave overly optimistic guidance for most of 2011 and was regularly confident in imminent turnarounds that didn’t materialize.

The co-CEO structure was widely criticized, both for being very unusual in the industry but also for a self-reinforcing structure that made it harder to challenge their opinions. Their joint leadership of the board of directors also made it doubtful that other board members would significantly challenge their authority. Many credit the late responses to the iPhone and Android to a disbelief they could be outdesigned and a reluctance to respond directly.

Heins, meanwhile, came to RIM in 2007 from the CTO role at Siemens. While some of RIM’s troubles came under his watch, he has shown signs of improvement by cutting down the lag between announcement and shipping for BlackBerry phones from months to weeks.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in on this via the comments.

Apple working to adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit WiFi standard in 2012

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 05:33
Category: News, wireless

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You know, 802.11n’s been speedy, but it’s also been around for a while.

It might be time to move on to something new.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is expected to rapidly deploy support for the new 802.11ac specification this year, adding so called “Gigabit WiFi” to new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices.

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple’s Macs currently use up to 3).

While not yet finalized as an official standard by the 802.11 Working Group, progress on the new 802.11.ac standard is occurring faster than previous efforts in wireless networking have.

Multiple suppliers have already issued chipsets supporting 802.11ac for consumer grade applications. Key Apple component maker Broadcom announced chips supporting the standard earlier this month at CES.

In addition to reaching networking speeds above 1 Gigabit (about three times as fast as 802.11n networks can manage), 802.11ac promises better networking range, improved reliability, and more power efficient chips, thanks to parallel advances in reducing chip size and enhancing power management.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone Dev Team announces working jailbreak for iPhone 4S, iPad 2

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Date: Friday, January 20th, 2012, 05:16
Category: Hack, News, Software

It’s not quite as much of a back-and-forth arms race between Apple and the hackers as it used to be, but it’s still interesting if you want to use an unlocked or jailbroken iOS device.

Per Electronista, the iPhone Dev Team have announced that they are close to releasing the Corona A5 jailbreak for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The team says that it has overcome the technical hurdles associated with the underlying technique and that all that remains is bug fixes before a general release is made available. The release will work on iPhone 4S’ running iOS 5.0 (9A334), 5.0.1 (9A405) and 5.0.1 (9A406), as well as the iPad 2 running iOS 5.01 (9A405).

The Dev Team have also promised that the GUI will remain streamlined and that they will give users access to command-line interface so that they can run their own scripts and further customize their devices. Ultimately, the Dev Team expects that the Corona jailbreak will be integrated into redsn0w, although there will be some changes to the way it has worked in the past.

The Dev Team have warned users ahead of installing the Corona release that if they are looking to achieve an eventual software-based carrier unlock, that they should stay at iOS 5.0. They also warn that as the Corona jailbreak has never been done before, that as such, users should back up all their content before attempting the install when it becomes available.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3 update, adds iBooks 2 textbook syncing support

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 10:42
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Apple released iTunes 10.5.3, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad. These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.

– iBooks textbooks are created with iBooks Author.

iTunes 10.5.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iTunes U app, allows college students to view course materials, sign up for classes, etc.

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:11
Category: iOS, News, Software

And now, you have even less of an excuse for not signing up for the courses you want.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released its iTunes U application for iPad on Thursday. The app will allow college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

In its presentation to the press, Apple showed off an online course from Duke for “Core Concepts in Chemistry.” In the iTunes U application, students can get an overview of the course, view teacher details, obtain the class syllabus, rate the course and even access information like the teacher’s office hours.

The iTunes U application for iPad has sections for “Info,” “Posts,” “Notes” and “Materials.” In the “Posts” section, teachers can provide updates to students, including assignments.

The assignments can even be context sensitive, allowing a student to tap on it and automatically be sent to the appropriate section of a textbook in iBooks. When an assignment is completed, it can be crossed off of the included task list.

In the “Notes” tab, users can access and modify their class notes, even highlighting certain text. And the “Materials” tab shows off all of the material for a course, including textbooks, videos, audio, and documents.

The iTunes U application itself is free and now available on the iPad App Store. Participating schools that have had early access to the software are Duke, Yale, Harrisburg Area Community College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Open University.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces interactive textbooks, releases iBooks 2.0 update

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iOS, News, Software

As Apple’s Guggenheim-based education event continues, the company kicked off its announcements with iBooks 2.0, which will bring a new textbook experience to the iPad. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, these textbooks will include standard text interspersed with interactive high-quality images, videos, animations and 3D models.

This content will allow for features such as being able to pinch to zoom on images, tap on a word and read the glossary entry to find out what they are looking at. It will also include “My Notes” which will let you easily create study cards from a section of the textbook.

The first textbooks made available will be biology and high school science titles from Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These publishers make up 90 percent of the textbook market. DK Publishing will also launch with several interactive titles for children. Pricing is amazingly competitive with high school textbooks costing US$14.99 or less.

The new iBooks 2.0 app just launched and is available for free over on the iTunes App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T announces data plan price increases

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 07:13
Category: iPhone, News

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You might not like this.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has introduced new data plans for smartphone and tablet users, adding additional cap space but also charging customers more. The new plans max out at 5GB with tethering for US$50 per month.

A press release on Wednesday stated that the new rates that will take effect on Sunday, Jan. 22, marking the first change to the company’s data plans since 2010.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

The new smartphone pricing is basically a US$5 surcharge for a 1 GB bump in data for DataPro users, while DataPlus subscribers will get an extra 100 MB for the same price.

Tablet owners will see a reshuffling of options as the previous 2 GB DataConnect plan is to be replaced a 3 GB per month flavor previously only available on a two-year contract. An additional 5 GB plan will also be added for US$50 per month and the lowest 250 MB plan remains unchanged.

Current subscribers can keep their existing plans or opt in to one of the new tiers when the program launches on Sunday.

Smartphone plans are as follows:
– AT&T DataPlus 300MB: US$20 for 300MB

– AT&T DataPro 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

– AT&T DataPro 5GB: US$50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Additional data pricing remains at US$10 per gigabyte for the DataPro plans and US$20 per additional 300 MB for DataPlus customers.

Tablet data tiers have changed to:
– AT&T DataConnect 250MB: US$14.99 for 250MB

– AT&T DataConnect 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

– AT&T DataConnect 5GB: US$50 for 5GB

Overage charges only apply to 30-day tablet prices and include US$14.99 for and extra 250MB with AT&T DataConnect 250 MB, and US$10 per additional gigabyte for DataConnect 3 GB and 5 GB.

The new plans reflect an upward trend in cellphone and tablet data pricing from U.S. carriers as their networks strain under the pressure of a growing customer base.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.