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Zero-Day Flaw Puts Millions of Linux Machines, Android Devices at Risk
January 21, 2016
Tens of millions of Linux PCs and servers, as well as 66 percent of all Android mobile devices, are vulnerable to a zero-day flaw that could allow users with lower-level privileges to gain root access, according to Perception Point, which announced its discovery last week. The local privilege escalation vulnerability, which affects Linux Kernel v3.8 and higher, has existed since 2012, the firm said.
Walmart Jumps Into Mobile Pay Fray
December 11, 2015
Walmart on Thursday introduced its own mobile payments solution to let customers make in-store purchases with an Android or iOS smartphone. The move will make it the only retailer to compete with third-party mobile payment systems. Walmart currently is rolling out the feature through its Walmart mobile app in select stores in the northwest Arkansas area.
Mozilla Gives Up Firefox Phone Ambitions
December 10, 2015
Mozilla on Wednesday confirmed that it has hung up on the Firefox OS mobile phone and will try using the operating system to dial into other connected device uses instead. The company spent several years developing a browser-based smartphone OS. It ended its sales program of the Firefox mobile operating system to carriers and will no longer develop the OS for smartphones, Mozilla said.
Mozilla Launches Free Ad Blocker for iOS 9
December 9, 2015
Mozilla on Monday launched Focus by Firefox, a free ad blocker for Safari users on iOS 9. It lets users block the same trackers blocked by Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms. The protection is based on Disconnect's open source block list. Focus by Firefox doesn't work with Firefox.
Steve Ballmer's Excellent Android Adventure
December 7, 2015
Steve Ballmer last week presented an interesting plan to kill Android -- or at least compete with it. What's ironic is that Ballmer's tenure at Microsoft wasn't short of good ideas -- it was short on execution. In contrast, Satya Nadella has shown strength in execution but -- so far -- hasn't come up with anything that represents the kind of risks that Ballmer was willing to take.
Ballmer Points Out Error of Microsoft's Ways
December 4, 2015
Former CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday called out Microsoft on finance reporting and its app strategy for Windows Phone. CEO Satya Nadella this summer laid out his vision for the company in a letter to employees. It included a Windows 10 strategy founded on universal apps, software that could be scaled to Xbox One, Window Phones, tablets and desktops. That's the wrong way to go, Ballmer asserted.
Top 10 Open Source Developments of 2015
December 2, 2015
Open source is driving an ever-expanding market. The notion of community-driven development is a growing disruption to proprietary software controlled by commercial vendors, and the free open source software concept has become a major disruption in industry and technology. Open source is so pervasive that people overlook how it's the glue of modern communication and enterprise business models.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
Google's Nexus 6P and 5X Win Some Love
October 19, 2015
The reviews are out for Google's Nexus 6P and 5X, unveiled late last month, and they can be summed up in two words: Love them! They're described as "the best Nexus devices ever produced" and "Google's answer to Apple's iPhones," but those tired phrases are rolled out with every new Nexus or flagship Android smartphone, so what else is new? The camera, for one.
Another Day, Another Billion Android Users at Risk
October 5, 2015
Google on Monday released an over-the-air update for Nexus devices, which includes patches for the latest Stagefright vulnerabilities and other flaws. Android's Stagefright media processing feature, which recently imperiled 1 billion devices around the world, was once again putting them at risk, Zimperium revealed last week. Zimperium found two new vulnerabilities.
So What's Really the Best Smartphone?
October 5, 2015
The best smartphone on the market is the iPhone, right? That is the conventional wisdom. However, if I were to ask about the best shoes, shirt, car, boat or TV, the answers likely would be all over the map. When it comes to cars, for instance, I personally favor convertibles because they remind me of my youth when I could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and they are just more fun.
Linux Foundation's Open Source R&D Worth $5B
September 30, 2015
The Linux Foundation has released a white paper that puts the estimated value of development R&D costs of its Collaborative Projects at $5 billion. The foundation has provided independent funding for the collaborative software projects since 2008 to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. Open source is changing the world in which we live, according to the report.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
BlackBerry Sees the Android Light
September 28, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday announced that it would introduce an Android smartphone later this year. The announcement came during the company's Q2 earnings call. The device will be known as the "Priv" and will be built around user privacy, said CEO John Chen. BlackBerry didn't offer any specifics about the Priv beyond the name -- nothing about pricing, U.S. carrier partners or any handset specs.
Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat
September 21, 2015
Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability.
There's a New Google Wallet in Town
September 11, 2015
Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of Google Wallet to keep the app alive following its imminent transformation into Android Pay. Google Wallet (New) also has a few capabilities that aren't available in the about-to-be-promoted version. Google began rolling out Android Pay on Thursday. The original Google Wallet has been around since 2011.
Android Stomps Onto Mobile Pay Battlefield
September 11, 2015
Google is rolling out Android Pay, its answer to Apple Pay. Android Pay allows shoppers to make purchases at more than a million retail locations across the U.S. It also stores gift cards and loyalty cards, and provides special offers directly to a user's mobile device. Android Pay is compatible with all NFC-enabled Android devices, and it works across all carriers.
Raspberry Pi Gets a Touchscreen to Call Its Own
September 10, 2015
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Tuesday announced the availability of a touchscreen that brings the low-cost tiny computer one step closer to becoming a standalone mobile device. The touchscreen was in development for nearly two years. The first round of screens will require some assembly of parts that arrive in a small kit, noted Gordon Hollingworth, director of software at Raspberry Pi.
Samsung Gear S2 Scores Points for Looking Like a Watch
September 10, 2015
Samsung last week announced the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The product specs of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are the same. The main difference between the two is in the design of their faces -- the Gear S2 Classic looks more like a regular watch, while it's obvious the Gear S2 is a smartwatch with apps.
Microsoft Spiffs Up Skype Mobile Apps
September 8, 2015
Microsoft last week rolled out versions of Skype 6.0 for iOS and Android. The company redesigned the applications to be more natural and intuitive, and it added new features. Skype 6.0 for Android now has a floating action button, which makes it easy to start a new conversation. The new iOS version incorporates swipe gestures and makes it easier to share photos, Web links, emoticons and locations.
Qualcomm Sics Fire-Breathing Snapdragon on Android Hackers
September 1, 2015
Qualcomm on Monday announced Snapdragon Smart Protect, a hardware-software product that could make the world a safer place for Android smartphone users. Snapdragon Smart Protect, which will become available with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 processor, will provide real-time, on-device machine learning designed to support accurate and effective detection of zero-day malware threats.
New Android-x86 Release Peppered With Problems
August 31, 2015
The latest Android-x86 Project release takes us one step closer to using the Android OS on a desktop or laptop computer -- but the project suffers from stability and reliability issues. If you want one Linux-based OS to run on all of your devices, Android-x86 could become a viable alternative. The major advantage would be keeping all of your settings, apps and Google services on an equal footing.
Cortana Cozies Up to Android Users
August 26, 2015
Microsoft has released a public beta of its Cortana personal assistant for Android. The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on Windows: set and get reminders; search the Web on the go; track information such as flight details; and begin and complete tasks across all a user's devices. Cortana will find answers on the Web in response to spoken or typed requests.
Devs Get to Poke Around With Marshmallow
August 20, 2015
Google on Monday announced the official SDK for Android 6.0, aka "Marshmallow." It also opened Google Play for devs to publish apps that target the new API Level 23 in Marshmallow. Google further updated the Android Support Library to v23, giving devs an easier way to make new platform APIs, such as permissions and fingerprint support, backward compatible.
Xiaomi Unveils Redmi Note 2 as US Twinkles in Its Eye
August 13, 2015
Xiaomi has announced its new Redmi Note 2, getting a jump on Samsung's announcement of two new smartphone entries. Xiaomi's Redmi Note 2 comes with a 2-GHz octacore Mediatek Helio X10 CPU and 16 GB of flash memory. The Redmi Note 2 Prime edition comes with a 2.2-GHz octacore MTK Helio X10 CPU and 32 GB of flash memory. The phones will sell in China at price points equivalent to about $125 to $140.
BQ's Ubuntu Bows on World Stage
August 13, 2015
BQ last week opened an Ubuntu global store accessible to anyone who wants to buy an Aquaris Ubuntu Edition handset. BQ recently launched the BQ Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD Ubuntu Edition smartphones in Europe. Both BQ and Canonical, which provides commercial support for Ubuntu Linux, have acknowledged network frequency and mobile operator compatibility issues in some countries, including the U.S.
Android on BlackBerry Is Looking More Real
August 10, 2015
BlackBerry's upcoming slider handset, aka "Venice," will run on Android and will be available in the coming months for AT&T as well as T-Mobile, according to rumors that picked up steam over the weekend. This is not the first time rumors of a BlackBerry device running on Android have made the rounds. The company earlier this year hinted at the possibility at the Mobile World Congress.
Motorola Promises Its Smartphones Will Love You Back
July 29, 2015
Motorola, on Tuesday launched three new handsets -- Moto X Style, Moto X Play and a refreshed Moto G -- designed to end the "one-sided relationships" between smartphones and consumers. People have been living with phones that nag during drives, make outbursts during meetings, and run out of juice just when they're most needed, the company said. Motorola promised its new suitors will change that.
Super-Scary Android Flaw Found
July 28, 2015
Zimperium on Monday revealed a stunning discovery by researcher Joshua Drake -- a flaw in Android's Stagefright media playback engine that could expose millions of mobile device users to attack without their having done anything. Stagefright, which processes several popular media formats, is implemented in native code -- C++ -- which is more prone to memory corruption than some other languages.
Commodore's Ghost Lives in New Machine
July 22, 2015
Yet another Android smartphone has hit the market -- but what's surprising is that it comes from Commodore. The Commodore PET smartphone is from Commodore Business Machines, a UK-based firm that has acquired the brand and trademark. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, and has a 5.5-inch full HD 1920 x 1080 display. Two preinstalled emulators let owners play games written for old-school Commodore PCs.
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About Russia's possible involvement in Democratic Party hack attacks:
It's highly unlikely that Russia orchestrated the attacks.
Russia is behind them, and they're a threat to U.S. democracy.
Blaming Russia is just a distraction from damaging leaks.
Russia's meddling won't have much effect.
If they can expose Clinton, more power to the Russians.
Trump's encouragement of Russian cyberspying was irresponsible.