We still get a pitch about a new Facebook app now and again, but truth is, that ship sailed long ago. Most Facebook apps just don't have the wow factor they once did when the platform was new. With the company's latest iPhone app update, however, the wow could be coming back on a smaller scale.
In case you missed Thursday's news, Apple finally got around to approving the third version of Facebook's iPhone app. It's a big step up from previous iterations, bringing in a number of features for which users had been clamoring. … Read more
Robots may be the eventual downfall of the human race, but for now, most are either cute or useful. One that exists in both categories has spent the last week lurking quietly in a darkened corner of my house, watching my every move. Did I mention I'm happy about this?
The robot in question is the Rovio, which made its debut at last year's Consumer Electronics Show. From an Internet-connected computer, you can drive the $250 robot around your house, watch it from the built-in camera, and talk to people in your house through the mic and speaker. For all intents and purposes it's a toy, but it's also got the makings of a very capable telepresence machine.
Unlike traditional Web cams, or mounted security cameras, the Rovio is mobile. It has a built-in Wi-Fi antenna and three wheels that have little wheels of their own. This design means it cannot handle stairs, but it does let it move in any direction without a lot of back and forth cornering like you'd get with a vacuum. All the while you can watch everything it's seeing in streaming VGA-quality video.
The Rovio's control system is managed entirely in a Web browser. You control all of its movements with a cockpit of controls that lets you perform a number of tasks without any special training. In other words, you don't need to read the manual.
Included is a control grid that lets you rotate the robot a predetermined number of degrees in one direction or the other. Or you can hit one of the four-way directional buttons to get it moving forward, backward, or side to side. Its big trick though is that it also lets you drag your mouse as if you were using an analog control stick, which controls how fast it moves in any one direction. This provides a very fluid-like feeling when maneuvering it around your house.
The control panel also gives you three choices for how you want its camera angled. The default has it sitting flat, but you can also have it move up a few inches (while still staying level), or going up in a 45 degree angle that lets you sneak a peak at the ceiling. Out of the three I found the middle to be the sweet spot, but I often found myself wanting… Read more
People eager to get a copy of the latest version of the Mac operating system, Snow Leopard, should be wary of sites offering free copies because they are likely to get some nasty malware instead, according to antivirus company Trend Micro.
Trend Micro said in a blog posting on Wednesday that it had discovered several fake Snow Leopard download sites that serve up a DNS (domain name system) changer Trojan dubbed OSX_JAHLAV.K instead.
The Trojan alters the DNS configuration and includes two additional IP addresses in its DSN server, the blog states. Users can then be redirected to phishing … Read more
It was summer 2005. Dino Dai Zovi walked into a Manhattan Starbucks, ordered a coffee, sat down, and opened up his laptop.
Before his coffee was cold he had found a local privilege escalation vulnerability in Mac OS X Tiger, which could allow people to elevate from normal user to full super user, and had written code that could exploit the hole.
"I just think that I got lucky, but that's what I always think when I find a bug that quickly," he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Dai Zovi has been exploiting Macs for a … Read more
Friday's release of the new version of the Mac OS, dubbed Snow Leopard, could include some security features that would make it secure, or at least push it closer to the level of security that Vista and Windows 7 have, experts said this week.
Contrary to popular Mac fanboy belief, Macintosh is not more secure from a software standpoint than modern Windows; it's merely safer to use because malware writers prefer to target the platform with the biggest install base, according to Charlie Miller and Dino Dai Zovi, co-authors of The Mac Hacker's Handbook, which came out this spring.… Read more
Chris Stephenson, general manager of marketing for Microsoft's Zune music player, is leaving to join Universal Music Group.
Stephenson was one of the people Microsoft tasked in 2006 with trying to cut into Apple's massive lead in music. Despite some early favorable reviews, Zune has so far failed to mount much of a challenge.
Whatever flaws or limitations the Zune did or didn't have, when comparing the music player to the iPod, Microsoft just didn't present enough compelling reasons for owners to switch.
In January, Microsoft reported that Zune sales plunged 54 percent from $185 million … Read more
While confirming that the Zune HD now sports an Apps menu, Microsoft is being circumspect on just how extensive the collection of programs it plans to offer for the media player will be.
An eagle-eye user this weekend spotted an Apps menu on some of the devices being demonstrated at Best Buy outlets as part of a preview weekend. Microsoft suggested on Monday that the Apps menu and Zune Marketplace will be home to the types of games found on past Zunes but hedged on whether and when it might offer a broader selection of software.
"Games came pre-loaded … Read more
Microsoft on Monday announced plans for mobile software that aims to allow people in emerging markets to access various Internet programs using lower-end feature phones.
The software, known as OneApp, is due out later this year and should allow people in emerging markets to access services like Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger using the kinds of inexpensive phones most often sold for $20 or $30. Microsoft said Blue Label Telecoms in South Africa will be the first to use OneApp and will use it to offer phones that ship with a dozen mobile applications, including a mobile … Read more
Spammers are hoping to rouse Obama critics to launch a cyber protest and to download malware onto their PCs in the process.
New spam is circulating that supposedly offers a way for people to use their computers to launch a denial-of-service attack on the Web site of President Obama, researchers said on Tuesday.
The e-mail message says: "If You dont like Obama come here, you can help to ddos his site with your installs."
The e-mail then provides a link to a Web site where visitors are offered money for installing the supposed denial-of-service (DoS) software, according to … Read more