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Mozilla Plugs Dangerous Firefox Zero-Day Hole
August 10, 2015
Mozilla on Friday released security updates to fix a zero-day flaw in the Firefox browser. An exploit that searches for sensitive files and uploads them to a server -- possibly somewhere in Ukraine -- has surfaced in an ad on a Russian news site, Mozilla reported last week. The exploit impacts Windows and Linux users. Mac users could be hit by a modified version.
Report: Apple Is Kicking the MVNO Tires
August 5, 2015
Apple is in discussions to become a mobile virtual network operator in both Europe and the United States, where it's already running a trial of its service, according to a media report. The MVNO idea may not advance beyond the test phase -- and if it does, it likely won't happen for some time -- at least five years. However, Apple on Tuesday issued a denial that it has held MVNO discussions.
Routers Becoming Juicy Targets for Hackers
June 18, 2015
Most consumers pay as much attention to routers as they do to doorknobs. That's not the case with Net marauders. They're finding the devices ripe targets for mischief. "We've seen a big increase in malware designed for home routers," said Incapsula researcher Ofer Gayer. "Every week, we see a new vulnerability in a vendor's routers," he said. "They're low-hanging fruit if you're a hacker."
San Jose to Dabble With Smart City Tech
June 16, 2015
The city of San Jose, California, recently decided to undertake an Internet of Things pilot project. Under a deal finalized last month, anyCOMM, will deploy WiFi sensors on 166 streetlights, to collect data on traffic, sense movement on the streets, turn off streetlights when sidewalks and roads are empty, detect ground shifts and send earthquake warnings, and act as WiFi hotspots.
And the Dish Ran Away With T-Mobile?
June 4, 2015
T-Mobile, which has tried unsuccessfully several times to get acquired, is now in talks with Dish, according to press reports. The purchase price and possible cash-stock mix that could pay for the deal remain to be thrashed out. The two companies reportedly are planning a merger with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen to chair the new company and T-Mobile head John Legere (shown here) to be its CEO.
Oculus VR Promises a Rift for All in 2016
May 6, 2015
An exact date hasn't been set, but Facebook's Oculus VR has announced that the highly anticipated consumer version of its Rift headset will launch in the first quarter of 2016. Preordering will begin later this year. More details will emerge about the consumer version of the Rift in the coming weeks, the company said, including information about unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences.
T-Mobile Offers Free 2-Week Vacation From Verizon
May 5, 2015
T-Mobile on Tuesday launched "Never Settle for Verizon," an aggressive response to Verizon's "Never Settle" ad campaign that gives Verizon customers an opportunity to test T-Mobile's network for themselves. T-Mobile promises to pick up any fees incurred by customers who participate in the free trial, whether they ultimately decide to switch to T-Mobile or not.
Steer Clear of iOS 8's Infinite Loop
May 1, 2015
A flaw in iOS 8 allows hackers essentially to crash apps that perform SSL communications whenever they like. Skycure reported the bug at the RSA security conference held last week, advising owners of iOS devices to upgrade to iOS 8.3. Apple this week confirmed that iOS 8.3 addresses the vulnerability. An attack would involve specially crafting an SSL certificate to regenerate a bug.
Google's Low-Fee Fi: Ho-Hum
April 23, 2015
Google carrier partners Sprint and T-Mobile with more than 1 million free, open WiFi hotspots Google has verified as fast and reliable. Users' devices will move automatically to the fastest connection -- 4G LTE being the standard in the United States, accessing 3G or 2G if only those speeds are available. The program will work in more than 120 countries.
What Mobile World Congress Delivered Besides Same-Old Smartphones
March 10, 2015
The latest handsets and tablets received their share of headlines at this year's MWC, but their mindshare shrank considerably. Sony unveiled its Xperia Z4 tablet, possibly its last hurrah in the mobile space. Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone stole the spotlight. However, with more than 2,000 tech organizations promoting their wares and services, MWC 2015 offered a fresh set of promises.
Google's MVNO Approach May Show Up Carriers
March 2, 2015
Google on Monday confirmed that it plans to launch a mobile virtual network operation, or MVNO, later this year. Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who heads up operations for Android and Chrome, commented on the undertaking in a Q&A following his keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Google in essence will provide the same service as a wireless carrier.
Mobile World Congress 2015, or Why Your Smartphone Is Crap
March 2, 2015
Don't you just love big industry events like Mobile World Congress? I mean, you've had whole weeks to enjoy the new phone you got last quarter, and now you'll hear about a bunch of incredibly wonderful stuff that will make that new phone look like your grandmother's favorite car -- you know, the one she fell in love with in the 1960s. Unfortunately, I'm not going to make things better.
Report: Connected Vehicles Vulnerable to Hack Attacks
February 9, 2015
Motorists in the United States are increasingly at risk of cyberattacks and violations of privacy, as more and more technology is added to their cars. A report released on Sunday by the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) listed a number of key findings that are based on responses from 16 auto makers to a letter sent to them by Markey's office.
'Smart Spaces' Project Seeks to Light Up Networks
February 5, 2015
Dartmouth University researchers are shining a new light on using "smart spaces" in ambient room lighting to transmit both data and human gestures. This technology enables so-called smart spaces to separate shadows from light in real time. Thus, the light spectrum is able to carry high-speed data wirelessly without interruption between smart devices.
FCC Issues Tough Warning Against WiFi Blocking
January 29, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday issued a warning that intentional blockage of personal WiFi hotspots was illegal and would be subject to enforcement. The FCC has noticed a "disturbing trend" among hotels and other commercial establishments of blocking consumers' personal WiFi hotspots on their premises, it said. The agency last year conducted an investigation of Marriott International for WiFi blocking.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
Cablevision Freewheels Into WiFi-Only Phone Territory
January 27, 2015
Cablevision on Monday announced plans for Freewheel, an all-WiFi mobile phone service offering unlimited data, talk and text to residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The prepaid service will connect to Cablevision's Optimum Online WiFi network of 1.1 million hotspots. Optimum Online is Cablevision's high-speed Internet service.
Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection
January 23, 2015
Google reportedly is planning to set up shop as an MVNO, purchasing bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own wireless service. Details are sparse, but Sprint is said to be putting a volume trigger into its contract that would allow for renegotiation if Google's customer volume should exceed a predefined number. The project, led by Nick Fox reportedly bears the code-name "Nova."
FreedomPop's $5 WiFi Plan Whittles Wireless Bills
January 22, 2015
FreedomPop on Wednesday announced a new plan that provides Android smartphone users with access to 10 million WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for $5 a month. That sum will give any smartphone or tablet -- regardless of any carrier service it might have -- unlimited talk, text and data on FreedomPop's WiFi hotspot network. Users will have to download FreedomPop's Android app.
Misfortune Cookie Crumbles Millions of Security Systems
December 29, 2014
Check Point Software Technologies recently revealed a flaw in millions of routers that allows the devices to be controlled by hackers. The company detected 12 million Internet-connected devices that have the flaw. The vulnerability, which Check Point dubbed "Misfortune Cookie," can be found in the code of a commonly used embedded Web server, RomPager from AllegroSoft.
The Big Tech Stories of 2015
December 29, 2014
Last week, we looked back at the largely untold, or under told, stories of 2014. This week, let's look ahead to some of the stories that are coming in 2015. We'll have robots, self-driving cars, armed autonomous drones, the professional proliferation of head mounted cameras, some scandals, and some interesting political implications. I'll close with my product of the year, which even surprised me.
Flaws in Ancient Standard Enable Wireless Eavesdropping, Spying
December 23, 2014
Vulnerabilities in Signaling System 7, telephony signaling protocols used by carriers worldwide, allow third parties to listen to people's cellphone calls and intercept text messages despite encryption, The Washington Post reported last week. German cybersecurity researchers Tobias Engel of Sternraute and Karsten Nohl of Security Research Labs separately discovered these vulnerabilities.
Gadget Ogling: Wireless Lights, Sunny Wearables and Flashy Smartphones
December 13, 2014
Welcome, dear readers, to another installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the best and worst in just-announced gizmos. On the docket this time around are wireless Christmas lights, solar-charging jackets, a speed-reading wearable and much more. The Aura Wirelessly Powered Christmas Lights aren't attached to long power cords designed to snake along, around and through the tree branches.
FCC's Spectrum Cash Cow Produces Rich Milk
November 25, 2014
Bidding for wireless spectrum in the United States Federal Communications Commission's latest auction has gone through the roof, raising more than $36 billion as of Tuesday morning. A total of 70 qualified bidders are seeking 1,614 licenses in the 1695-1710 Mhz, 1755-1780 Mhz and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The auction almost certainly will raise even more money over the next few weeks.
Wristband Heads Off Password Headaches
November 25, 2014
Has software glut got you down? Do you reuse passwords because creating unique ones for all your online accounts would cause a memory overload? If so, you may be interested in a bit of jewelry called the "Everykey," by a startup with the same name. Everykey is a wristband that removes the need to remember the countless log-in credentials we use every day.
Starwood's Keyless Entry Streamlines Hotel Check-In
November 4, 2014
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide -- which owns and manages a number of high-end hotel brands including the St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element -- has announced the rollout of SPG Keyless, a tech offering that allows guests to use their smartphone as a room key. Hilton introduced similar technology earlier this year.
August Smart Lock Gets Key Exposure in Apple Stores
October 14, 2014
The August Smart Lock will become available for purchase at Apple retail stores in the U.S. starting this week, the company announced on Tuesday. Priced at $249.99, the smart device uses Bluetooth and a mobile app to create a virtual key. It has been shipping since late August in limited quantities to those who ordered it online, but it currently is backordered, with delivery expected in 90 days.
Samsung Plots Foray Into Speedy 60-GHz WiFi Market
October 14, 2014
Samsung on Sunday announced that it has resolved issues hindering the commercialization of 802.11ad standard 60-GHz WiFi technology. The company's solution maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference regardless of the number of devices on the network, using what it claims is the world's first method that allows multiple devices to connect simultaneously to a network.
Apple Redoubles Efforts to Fix iOS 8 Glitches
September 25, 2014
Apple on Thursday announced it's preparing iOS 8.0.2 -- which will include a fix for problems triggered by iOS 8.0.1 -- and plans to release it in the next few days. In a rare move, Apple on Wednesday suspended downloads of iOS 8.0.1, which aimed to fix problems uncovered after the launch of iOS 8. What's more, it recommended a downgrade for owners of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
FCC Chews on the Mobile Net Neutrality Question
September 17, 2014
The FCC on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion on the possibility of Net neutrality rules being applied to mobile networks. Participants in the talk included representatives from The Center for Media Justice, Consumers Union and CTIA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year suggested that the 2010 rules, which exempted mobile services from Net neutrality provisions, should be reconsidered.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.