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AT&T: We Told Our Customers 'Unlimited' Doesn't Mean 'Unlimited'
October 29, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday filed a complaint in a California federal court against AT&T, seeking compensation for customers who were told they had unlimited data plans but in reality did not. The legal action stemmed from a practice AT&T began in 2011 of throttling data delivery to customers with unlimited data plans when their data usage reached a specified amount during a billing period.
Facebook Aims to Deliver Real News to Mobile News Feeds
October 29, 2014
Facebook reportedly has been meeting with publishers to discuss better ways of collaborating. It apparently wants to implement a more seamless way for mobile users to access news and magazine articles, as well as other content developed for digital sites, directly from their News Feed. Facebook is considering inviting publishers to post their content inside its mobile app.
With Ampy, You'll Get a Charge Out of Exercising
October 29, 2014
While some people are vaguely aware that movement can be converted into electrical energy -- think wrist watches or emergency crank flashlights -- a new Kickstarter project has created Ampy, a small, wearable battery pack that can harness the kinetic motion of common humans and release it back into smartphones, smartwatches and other USB-powered electronic gadgets.
Mobile Database Management's Coming of Age
October 28, 2014
The push is on for mobile database management tools built from the ground up to run directly inside phones, tablets and wearables. These mobile database solutions are being designed to do what heavyweight open source solutions like SQLite, Cord Data, MySQL and PostgreSQL were not designed to do. Some 4.55 billion people worldwide are using mobile phones this year.
Mobile Malware Takes Victims by Surprise
October 28, 2014
Malware writers behind Koler, a bad app that attacks Android devices, have upped their game with a new variant of the pernicious program. In its original version, Koler hijacked phones it landed on and wouldn't set them free until a ransom was paid. This latest strain of the malapp also does the ransomware thing, but it takes its malignancy a step further.
CVS, Rite Aid Kick Apple Pay to the Curb
October 27, 2014
Consumers who had been using Apple Pay at CVS and Rite Aid received a rude shock over the weekend when the chains turned off the technology at their stores. Apple Pay enables mobile payments using the latest iPhone models or Apple Watch. The technology underlying it -- near field communications -- allows transactions to be performed on a point-of-sale terminal with a tap or wave of a phone.
Fitbit Tosses 3 More Bands Into the Activity-Tracking Melee
October 27, 2014
Fitbit on Monday announced three new fitness and activity-tracking wearables: the Fitbit Charge, Charge HR and Surge. The Charge HR and Surge will be available early next year. The Charge is available now on Fitbit's site and is coming soon to retailers nationwide. Prices are high -- $130 for the Charge, $150 for the Charge HR, and $250 for the Surge, a fitness super watch with eight sensors.
Gadget Ogling: Up In The Air, Big Reads and Ghastly Wearables
October 25, 2014
This week in Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a peek at newly announced gadgets that caught my eye, we're going back to the future. Yes, there's an actual hoverboard on the agenda, alongside a larger Nook tablet, a high-end Kindle, smart luggage, and the tipping point for wearable tech. As always, there are ratings for each item, which are based on how interested I am in using them.
Android Wear Gets Its First Big Update
October 24, 2014
Google's Android Wear on Thursday got its first major update, bringing GPS support and offline music capabilities to the wearables platform. "Android Wear is great for tracking things like route, distance and speed," wrote Kenny Stoltz, Android Wear product manager. "Before today, you had to keep your phone close at hand. Starting today, Wear supports watches with GPS sensors."
Amazon's Cold Fire Phone Inflames Investors
October 24, 2014
Amazon on Thursday posted a net loss of $437 million for the third quarter. For the same period in 2013, it posted a net loss of $41 million. Amazon had warned shareholders when it reported its bleak second quarter performance in July that the next quarter would be equally grim. However, that did not keep investors from reacting in surprise and dismay when the Q3 report arrived.
Google's Inbox: Beginning of the End of Email as We Know It?
October 24, 2014
Google on Wednesday introduced Inbox, a free mobile app that aims to separate the email wheat from the chaff. It's currently available to Android and iPhone users on an invitation-only basis. The software is aimed at managing email on small screens, although once set up and running on a phone, it can be accessed through Google's Chrome browser on a desktop.
Apple Is Confusing Tablet Leadership With Awesomeness
October 23, 2014
The new super thin iPad Air 2 is starting to get tepid reviews, most of which begrudgingly call it the "best tablet" in the market, while admitting it's boring. Instead of talking up all the great things about how it makes their lives better or fun, the focus is starting to turn to the glaringly obvious annoyances about what it doesn't do well at all.
Reading and Writing and Open Source
October 22, 2014
Digital textbooks with open-licensed content -- and sometimes even complete open source textbooks -- are starting to change the way students and teachers interact with subject material. The budget-busting prices of traditional printed textbooks and the ubiquity of mobile devices have provided textbook authors and educators with convincing reasons to give students an alternative.
Some Apple Pay Users Get Double-Billing and Double-Talk
October 22, 2014
Shortly after Apple Pay's Monday launch, some eager early users were unsettled to see duplicate charges on their accounts. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus users store credit card information on their devices and then pay for products using tap-to-pay terminals in stores, or via apps when shopping online. However, in some cases, it appears to be dinging consumers' accounts twice.
Smart Nightlight Calls Your iPhone When Smoke, CO Alarms Start Wailing
October 22, 2014
Leeo on Tuesday introduced the Smart Alert Nightlight, a $99 gadget that can detect when the alarm sounds from a smoke or carbon monoxide detector and send alerts to an iPhone. About the size and shape of a coaster, the Smart Alert Nightlight plugs into a wall outlet where it does double duty as illuminator and monitor. When it hears an alarm, it uses its WiFi connection to send a push notification.
Google Takes a Flyer on Magic Leap
October 21, 2014
Magic Leap on Tuesday announced that Google was the lead investor in a $542 million round of funding for its secret endeavors. Also participating were Qualcomm, Legendary Entertainment, KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz and Obvious Ventures. Details are scarce about Magic Leap's forthcoming products, but they are likely proprietary wearable technology.
Chinese Officials Kick In Apple, MS Cloud Doors
October 21, 2014
Chinese authorities have launched man-in-the-middle attacks on Apple's iCloud.com and Microsoft's Login.live.co that are ongoing, according to Greatfire.org. Qihoo 360 browser users' local connections to iCloud.com are being rerouted to a dummy site that's identical to Apple's login page. Users of Firefox or Chrome land on a warning page instead. The attack on iCloud reportedly is nationwide.
Black Box Keeps Cybersnoops in Dark
October 21, 2014
Following Edward Snowden's revelations about indiscriminate government snooping on U.S. citizens, many Net surfers would like to find a way to lower their visibility on the Internet. There are a number of tools in cyberspace that can help a soul do that, but they can take time and savvy to set up. That's why Kerry Cox launched the Sierra Project, which he hopes to fund through Kickstarter.
Apple Pay Aims to Make Plastic Passť
October 20, 2014
Apple on Monday launched its Apple Pay mobile payment system in the U.S., for use with Apple's latest iPhones and to a limited extent its new iPads, as well. Apple Pay allows purchasing transactions to be performed with a phone swipe -- as long as a retailer has the right hardware. Purchases within apps can be completed using only the Touch ID fingerprint reader.
Whisper Shouts Denials of Tracking Allegations
October 20, 2014
Whisper, an app that purports to send messages anonymously, reportedly has been tracking the location of its users, including those who have turned off their geolocation feature. Even more incendiary than the location-tracking accusation is the allegation that Whisper has identified smartphones used at military bases and has shared information gleaned from them with the Defense Department.
FBI's Comey Argues Against Encryption: Trust Us
October 20, 2014
FBI director James Comey, in a speech last week at the Brookings Institute, reiterated his concerns about encryption built into iOS 8 and Android stymieing law enforcement. "I'm a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country should be beyond the law," he said. However, the law has not kept pace with technology, Comey pointed out.
Tablet Wars: The iPad Drifts Toward Mediocrity
October 20, 2014
There have been a lot of interesting tablets launched over the last month, but Apple -- the primary driver in this market -- didn't launch one of them. Remember when the first and second iPads came out? They were magical, amazing devices. Fifty percent of the installed base is still generation 1 and 2 iPads, according to studies. Tim Cook can't get people to give them up to buy new ones.
Top 5 Ways to Make Money With Software
October 20, 2014
While app developers generally aim to make money off their creations, this goal is often relegated to second-tier status by programmers who but the product first and foremost, as they should. Therefore, in order to minimize the time needed to devote to a monetization strategy, developers generally choose one of the following tried-and-true methods.
Gadget Ogling: Apple vs. Google, a Bossy Activity Tracker, and Feeling Your Path
October 18, 2014
There was plenty of focus on the cameras at Apple's presentation, as it tries to promote the tablet as an ideal viewfinder for taking high-quality images, while adding iPhone features like time-lapse and burst mode. However, the new push of iPad photography is just encouraging even more people to look foolish by taking photos with their tablet in public. This is a plague.

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