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Samsung ATIV S listing obstacle was swept away, and got the network license

Recently, the Windows Phone 8 has become the new darling of the mobile operating system, the topic heat has even cought up with Android and iOS mobile operating system. The major mobile phone manufacturers have hurried to launch their own phones equipped with Windows Phone 8.

Samsung is no exception. According to the latest news, Samsung first Windows Phone 8 mobile phone ATIV S has obtained the network license, which means Samsung ATIV S last obstacle to release in the domestic market has been swept away.

Samsung ATIV S is equipped with 4.8-inch 720P Super AMOLED display which is the largest size among the WP8 phones, 1.9 million front camera and 8.0 million rear camera, the built-in storage space has 16GB and 32GB versions, and it supports microSD card expansion, NFC , Bluetooth 3.0 and some other functions. It is expected to be listed at the end of this year or January next year.

It is reported that the date when Samsung ATIV S gained the certification is December 13 this year, and the network license is WCDMA version. This phone also supports WCDMA, GSM (GPRS) signal systems.

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Laura Schlessinger more stories

Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

Victoria Beckham Ali Landry

Mark Zuckerberg Donates Half A Billion Dollars’ Worth Of Stock To Charity

Almost two years to the day since Mark Zuckerberg promised to give half of his wealth away to charitable causes, the Facebook founder has announced (on his Facebook page, natch) a donation that amounts to around half a billion dollars. The recipient is a Silicon Valley-based charity, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which will receive 18 million shares in his social network, which floated earlier this year. Its value? A shade under $500 million.

Two years ago he kickstarted his philanthropy and gave $100 million to schools in Newark. Zuckerberg is a signatory of the Giving Pledge, which counts luminaries such as George Lucas, Michael Bloomberg and, of course, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Shirly Jones Angie Hart

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Facebook's Menlo Park HQ

Facebook’s IPO filing on Wednesday offers investors, bankers, analysts, journalists and anyone willing to read the massive S-1 document a deeper look at the business and financial side of the world’s largest social network than we’ve ever had before.

Our team of tech and business reporters has been digging into the filing, reporting on the Menlo Park, Calif., company’s $3.7-billion revenue, rivalries with Twitter and Google+, perspective on China, social mission and hacker ethos, Zynga accounting for 12% of Facebook’s revenue, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s pay cut from $600,000 in 2012 to $1 in 2013 and even what the IPO could mean for the Winklevoss twins.

But that wasn’t all the S-1 had to say. Here are some other highlights from Facebook’s IPO filing before the company actually goes public in May:

Users: Facebook has an average of 845 million monthly active users, 483 million of whom log into the social network daily.

Workforce: At the end of 2011, Facebook had 3,200 full-time employees, up 50% from 2,127 employees 2010. In 2009, the company had 1,218 employees.

Worldwide: Facebook’s plan, unsurprisingly, is to continue to grow by gaining more users in countries around the world. But the company also said in its S-1 that it plans to grow its workforce worldwide as well. “We plan to continue the international expansion of our business operations and the translation of our products,” Facebook said. Currently, Facebook is offered in more than 70 different languages, and the company has data centers in more than 20 different countries.

Popularity: Facebook said that about 60% of the online population in the U.S. and U.K. is registered on the social network. But Facebook is more popular in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela, where the company has “penetration rates of greater than 80% of Internet users.”

There are more than 2 billion Internet users worldwide and Facebook said its goal is to connect all of them through its social network.

“In countries such as Brazil, Germany, and India we estimate that we have penetration rates of approximately 20-30%; in countries such as Japan, Russia, and South Korea we estimate that we have penetration rates of less than 15%; and in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near 0% penetration,” the filing said.

Money in the bank: Facebook said that it had $1.5 billion at its disposal in a mix of “cash and cash equivalents” as of Dec. 31, as well as $2.3 billion in “marketable securities.” In 2010, Facebook had $1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and no marketable securities. Total assets on hand amounted to $6.6 billion in 2011, while Facebook had a total of $1.4 billion in liabilities.

R&D: Facebook’s research and development efforts have seen massive growth over the last few years. In 2011, the company spent $388 million, or about 10.5% of its revenue, on R&D. In 2010, Facebook spent less than half that amount, with $144 million going toward R&D. In 2009, the company spend $87 million on R&D, up from $47 million in 2008 and $81 million in 2007.

Patents: Faceook said a major factor in whether or not the company will be able to maintain the huge success it’s had thus far will ride on its ability to “protect our core technology and intellectual property.”

To do that, Facebook will “rely on a combination of patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, including know-how, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements with third parties, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other contractual rights.” The social media giant ended 2011 with 56 patents and 503 patent applications filed in the U.S., along with 33 corresponding patents and 149 patent applications filed in foreign countries.

RELATED:

Facebook’s S-1 already has a (fake) Twitter account

Facebook IPO: Winklevoss twins could reap big payday

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg’s salary falling to $1 in 2013

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Visitors pose in front of a sign at the entrance of Facebook’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Wednesday. Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP/Getty Images

Marisol Thomas Catherine Bach

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Nathalie Oberman Diamond

Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Carla Bonner Claudia Schiffer

Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

Elena Anaya Zooey Deschanel

For New Lamps, An Unlikely Energy Source: Gravity

As long as you reset a weight every 30 minutes, you can have a continuous, battery-free light source.

GravityLight: lighting for the developing countries from T4 on Vimeo.

Kerosene lamps used in off-grid, rural areas are a major problem. They’re bad for people’s health and the environment’s. One startup’s solution is to tap another, greener resource, something we all have in abundance: gravity.

The invention, GravityLight, does exactly what the name suggests: It keeps a light going through the power of gravity. As an attached weight falls, it pulls a cord through the center of the light, powering a dynamo. That dynamo converts the energy from the falling weight into power for the light. (It’s the same idea as a hand-cranked device, just more vertical.) The weight can be set in a few seconds, and as it slowly reaches Earth, enough energy is generated to keep a light working for 30 minutes. As long as it’s set every 30 minutes, it makes for a green, battery-free, continuous stream of light. Other, similar devices like battery chargers could be used through the same process, too.

The inventors say the gadgets can be sold now for less than $10, which would make a return on investment for owners three months after dumping kerosene lighting. And speaking of investments, the group has already shattered the goal for its Indiegogo campaign, meaning we’ll hopefully see these in action soon.

[Treehugger]

more stories Drake

Thank You, Apple Maps. Now Go Away Forever

iPhone owners: let’s raise our glasses to Apple Maps, which has, indirectly, given us a better iPhone. And then let’s get rid of it.

The New Google Maps for iPhone

The New Google Maps for iPhone Google

The terrifying few months of what will be forever known as Apple Mapgate (no it won’t) are over. Google just released Google Maps for the iPhone, so we can all stick Apple Maps in our “Utilities” folder on our homescreens where it can sit comfortably next to other useless apps like Compass and Stocks. But here’s the weird thing: Google didn’t just package up the old Google Maps for iOS app and re-release it. They spent the past few months actually making a better app, with features the iOS version of Google Maps never had before.

In other words, thank you, Apple Maps, for giving iOS users a better phone.

It’s easy to forget that Google Maps for iOS was never particularly great; it was pretty, but increasingly limited, especially compared to Maps on Android. It never had turn-by-turn navigation, which Android has had since October of 2009 (!), it never had bike directions or offline caching, and it used clumsy bitmaps instead of vectors. That last one is why Google Maps for Android (and, to be fair, Apple Maps) loads faster and never looks blurry while zooming or panning.

The underlying data in Google Maps for iPhone was always great, of course; Google spends lots of time and money and effort getting the best data for its maps. But during all the panic over Apple Maps, we lionized the old Google Maps, and we shouldn’t have, really.

That’s why it’s interesting that the new Google Maps is such a marked improvement. It actually looks modern now–no stupid folded-over corner, a skeumorphic relic from 2008. Instead it looks like Google circa 2012, which is very nice indeed. Clean white bars, clear symbols, a hidden sidebar with more options. It has turn-by-turn navigation now, and vector graphics, and listings from Zagat (which Google acquired a few months back). It works even with older iPhones, which Apple Maps does not.

Google responded to Apple Maps as if Apple Maps was a threat, as if any app named “Google Maps” wouldn’t get about a billion downloads as soon as it was released. Google decided to compete with Apple. And that’s great for us, because Google finally (mostly) stopped handicapping the iOS version of it’s map app. It still doesn’t have everything the Android version has, but the weird thing about this whole mess is that iPhone users have come out on the other side with something they should have been demanding all along: a modern, full-featured maps app.

Kim Cooper Nicole Richie

Deep space fly-by: Incredible pictures taken by Chinese probe passing asteroid show giant rock 4.5 million miles from Earth

By Leon Watson

|

A Chinese spacecraft has carried out a deep space fly-by on an asteroid four and a half million miles away from the Earth.

The Chang’e-2 probe successfully conducted the mission to scan the surface of the asteroid Toutatis.

It happened on December 13 at 16.30om Beijing Time, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced today.

Scroll down for video

The Chinese space probe flew got around two miles away from the asteroid Toutatis, officials said

The Chinese space probe flew got around two miles away from the asteroid Toutatis, officials said

At 2.7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, astronomers say it is considered a potentially hazardous asteroid because it makes repeated passes by the Earth, about every four years.

In comparison, the asteroid that is thought to have destroyed the dinosaurs was approximately 10 km (6 miles) wide.

The flyby was the first time an unmanned spacecraft launched from Earth has taken such a close viewing of the asteroid, named after a Celtic god.

China followed in the footsteps of the U.S., the European Union and Japan by using an spacecraft to examine an asteroid.

Chang’e-2 came as close as miles from Toutatis and took pictures of the asteroid at a relative velocity of 10.73km per second, the SASTIND said in a statement.

Sources with the administration told the Xinhua news agency that Chang’e-2 is continuing its deep space travel and will reach a distance of more than six million miles away from Earth in January next year.

Chang’e-2 was launched on October 1, 2010, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center and later orbited the moon in a more ambitious mission than its predecessor Chang’e-1.

Chang’e-2 left its lunar orbit for an extended mission to the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrangian point on June 9, 2011, after finishing its lunar objectives, which collected data for a complete lunar map.

Here is a graphic showing the moment the spacecraft passed within two miles of the asteroid Toutatis

Here is a graphic showing the moment the spacecraft passed within two miles of the asteroid Toutatis

Chang'e-2 was launched on October 1, 2010, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Here is mission control

Chang’e-2 was launched on October 1, 2010, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Here is mission control

China claims it was the first to closely observe the asteroid Toutatis, although other space missions have pictured it

China claims it was the first to closely observe the asteroid Toutatis, although other space missions have pictured it

The probe departed from L2 this year and began its mission to Toutatis.

Since its blast-off, Chang’e 2 has become the first to capture full coverage map of the moon with a resolution of seven meters.

China claims it was also the first object ever to reach the L2 point directly from lunar orbit; and being the first to closely observe the asteroid Toutatis.

China early this year published a full coverage map of the moon, as well as several high-resolution images of the celestial body, captured by Chang’e-2. The resolution of the images is 17 times greater than those taken by Chang’e-1.

‘The success of the extended missions also embodies that China now possesses spacecraft capable of interplanetary flight,’ said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar probe program.

Chang’e-2′s extended missions, which were conducted millions of miles away from Earth, have tested China’s spacecraft tracking and control network, including two newly built measuring and control stations in the northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and northeast Heilongjiang province, according to the SASTIND.

However, China still belongs to the second tier in lunar probe internationally, said Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist for China’s lunar orbiter project, adding that the U.S. and Russia are still leading nations in this field.

Wu Weiren stressed the need for international cooperation in lunar probe mission, saying it is a shared responsibility of world scientists to work together in lunar and deep space exploration for the common good of the human race.

 

 

Nicole Richie Tyler Faith

Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

read more Becky Delos Santos

Electric Grid Hum Used to Time-Stamp Digital Recordings, Verify Evidence



UK police are putting tactic to use to fight crime

Romanian audio specialist Dr. Catalan Grigoras, now director of the National Center for Media Forensics at the University of Colorado, Denver, made an intriguing discovery about a decade ago. The ubiquitous hum of modern society follows a unique pattern that allows many recordings to be validated.  Now police in the United Kingdom have begun to use the tactic to verify evidence in important court cases.

I. Industry’s Silent Song

Recordings traditionally have been a highly unreliable form of evidence, given that they could easily be cleverly staged or tampered with.

That’s where the hum comes in.  Electrical sources such as light poles and power outlets emit a near imperceptible hum.  While centered around the frequency of the alternating current (50 Hz in the UK), the hum dips and rises by a few thousandths of a hertz over time.  The frequency drops when demand outpaces supply, and rises when supply outpaces demand.

Given a long enough window, this pattern of rising and falling frequencies is virtually unique, as Dr. Grigoras found.


But by using a technique called Electric Network Frequency (ENF) analysis, law enforcement can store the pattern of the hum for a particular grid in a database.  The Metropolitan Police lab has been compiling such a database in recent years, as has JP French Associates — another UK forensics lab.

Comments JP French’s Dr. Phillip Harrison to BBC News, “We can extract [the hum from a recording] and compare it with the database – if it is a continuous recording, it will all match up nicely.  If we’ve got some breaks in the recording, if it’s been stopped and started, the profiles won’t match or there will be a section missing. Or if it has come from two different recordings looking as if it is one, we’ll have two different profiles within that one recording.”

II. A New Time Stamp, but Could it be Gamed?

A trio of London gangsters – Hume Bent, Carlos Moncrieffe and Christopher McKenzie — recently saw their defense against London Metropolitan Police charges of gun dealing fall apart thanks to ENF.  Dr. Alan Cooper, a Met Police ENF expert, validated police recordings of weapons deals using the grid buzz, scientifically damaging the defense’s claim that the recordings were tampered with.


The trio was founded guilty and sentenced to prison for a total of 33 years.

It seems appropriate the novel forensics method has been pioneered in the birthplace of fiction’s Sherlock Holmes.  But in years ahead, some questions about ENF remain unanswered.  For example, while individuals would be unlikely to be able fake the ENF hum, it might be feasible, albeit extremely difficult, for a police force to filter out the hum in a recording and dub in a hum at the time they wish to make the recording appear from, given that they have access to the entire database of recordings.

It might be even possible for a citizen skilled in audio recording to carry out such a feat.  Thus the technique may lay to rest questions of cruder tampering, but may still have flaws of its own.  For that reason, in time it will probably be used as a piece of a richer evidence puzzle, also composed of other circumstantial clues like cell phone tower records or surveillance footage.

Source: BBC

Gina Hiraizumi Paula Jai Parker

User added wireless charging for the Google Nexus tablet

The user mentioned today is not an ordinary one, he has done a lot of functional improvements for smartphone before, this time this user adds wireless charging for the Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC, his name is -Rod Whitby, and I think he is not a stranger to some people. Currently that Rod Whitby adds wireless charging technology for Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC has reached the final step, his uses a Touchstone charging dock and an old circuit on an old Palm smartphone to complete this experiment, just like some software hackers have done.

Rod Whitby for Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC to add wireless charging technology has reached the final step, his old circuit to complete this experiment on the use of a Touchstone charging dock and an old Palm smartphone, just like some software hackers done.

However, in this process Whitby had to overcome some difficulties. First, he needs to find a large enough space to install something in the real cover of the Tablet PC. Then, he found a single charging coil can not meet the Nexus 7 Tablet PC charging voltage demand. How to solve these difficulties? He used two parallel wires to provide more stable power supply. He is currently testing another method, which is to remove the larger coil from the HP TouchPad to provide large enough voltage.

Although these tests have not yet completed, but we are very confident on Rod to add wireless charging technology for Google Nexus Tablet PC. As to the success, then please pay attention to his dynamic on Google to obtain the latest information about the message.

Related Posts:

David Beckham Ann-Maree Biggar

U.S. and UK refuse to sign treaty ‘that could lead to greater government control of cyberspace’

  • U.S. led group of 20 nations which walked away from the treaty
  • Rival countries had sought to break the Western grip on the Internet
  • U.S. and allies claimed new rules would harm free-form nature of the net

By Damien Gayle

|

The UK and the U.S. today refused to sign the first UN telecommunications treaty of the Internet age, claiming it would lead to greater government control of cyberspace.

They were among a group of 20 nations which walked away from negotiations in Dubai after an ideological split over the nature of the Internet and who is responsible for its growth and governance.

Rival countries – including Iran, China and African states – insisted governments should have a greater sway over Internet affairs and sought to break the Western grip on information technology.

Summit: Delegates at the ITUtalks in Dubai listen to Hamadoun Toure, the group's secretary-general. The UK and U.S. today led a bloc of 20 nations which refused to sign the accords

Summit: Delegates at the ITUtalks in Dubai listen to Hamadoun Toure, the group’s secretary-general. The UK and U.S. today led a bloc of 20 nations which refused to sign the accords

They also favoured greater international help to bring reliable online links to the world’s least developed regions.

In a testament to the contentious atmosphere at the negotiations of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, the pages of reservations and comments by various countries involved were longer than the treaty itself.

In the end, it was supported by 89 countries in the 193-member union. Fifty-five did not sign, including the U.S.-led bloc of more than 20 nations, and others needing home country approval.

The remainder did not have high-ranking envoys in Dubai.

The ITU – which dates to the age of the telegraph in the mid-19th century – has no technical powers to change how the Internet operates or force countries to follow its non-binding accords, which also dealt with issues such as mobile phone roaming rates and international emergency numbers.

But the U.S. and its backers nevertheless worried that the new treaty could alter the tone of debates about the Internet.

Instead of viewing it as a free-form network, they claim, it could increasingly been seen as a commodity that needs clear lines of oversight.

Hamadoun Toure, the group’s secretary-general, said he was ‘very much surprised’ by the U.S.-led snub after days of difficult negotiations that dropped or softened wording that troubled the West.

Yet it fell short of American-led demands that all references to the Internet – even indirect or couched in general language – be omitted.

Breakdown in communications: Mr Toure, left, said said he was very much surprised by the snub after days of difficult negotiations had softened or dropped wording that had troubled U.S. delegate Terry Kramer, right

Even apparently clear-cut issues such as unsolicited email ‘spam’ brought division.

Efforts to try to address blanket electronic message barrages was seen by American envoys and others as something governments could use as possible U.N. cover for increased surveillance on email traffic.

‘Fundamental divides were exposed,’ said Lynn St. Amour, CEO and president of the Internet Society, an industry group.

STATES THAT BLOCK THE NET

Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries and regions around the world:

NORTH KOREA

Internet use is extremely restricted with many of North Korea’s 24million people unable to get online. Some North Koreans can access an internal Intranet that connects to state media. Members of the elite, resident foreigners and visitors in certain hotels are allowed full access. 

IRAN

Most Western social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, as well as political opposition and sexually explicit websites. But proxy server sites and other methods are widely used to get around the official restrictions.

CHINA

There are more than 500 million Chinese online but they contend with an extensive Internet filtering and censorship system popularly known as the ‘Great Fire Wall.’ Censors police blogs and domestic social media for content deemed pornographic or politically subversive and delete it.

CUBA

Tight control, slow connections and high costs mean only around 5 percent of Cubans have access to the global Internet, with another 23 percent relying instead on a government intranet with very limited content. Web access is mainly via public facilities where people must first register with identification.

GULF ARAB STATES

Internet censorship is prevalent across former Soviet Central Asian republics, but the strongest restrictions have been recorded in Iran’s authoritarian neighbours to the north, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

ERITREA

The government restricts access to the Internet and closely monitors online communications. The U.S. State Department’s latest human rights report said the government monitored email without obtaining warrants as required by law, and that all Internet users were required to use one of three service providers owned directly by the government or controlled by members of the country’s sole party.

Mr Toure framed it as clash of ‘two societies’; a so-called digital divide with citizens of wealthy countries able to access the Net on one side, and 4.5 billion others in poor nations on the other.

‘We are defending here the right to communicate as a basic human right. That’s something very important in the ITU. We so remind our members constantly of that obligation,’ he told reporters.

He also said there was no specific endorsement of ‘Internet control or Internet governance.’

Still the dissident nations said the general acknowledgement of a government stake in 21st century telecommunications was just as troubling as any specific wording.

‘Internet policy should not be determined by member states, but by citizens, communities and broader society … the private sector and civil society,’ Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation, told the gathering late last night. ‘That has not happened here.’

Mr Toure today said it was impossible and illogical to ignore the Net.

‘If the word Internet was used frequently here in Dubai, it is simply a reflection of the reality of the modern world,’ said Mr Toure, a Russian-trained engineer from Mali.

‘Telecommunication networks are not just used for making voice calls, so our two worlds are linked.’

Overshadowed by the Internet showdowns were other details in the pact. They include agreements that could lower mobile phone roaming charges, pledges to invest more communications infrastructure in poorer countries, efforts for greater communication technology for the disabled and a move to create a common emergency number for mobile phones and other devices.

Either the 911 or 112 number will be picked in later talks.

It’s unclear whether countries that rejected the pact could benefit from possible changes such as lower roaming rates when the accord takes effect in 2015.

‘Some really good stuff’ in the accord, said a Twitter post by .nxt, a website following Internet policy. But it said the disputes over possible Internet controls forced the U.S and others ‘to bail’ out on the deal.

Christine Anu Rachael Leigh Cook

U.S. and UK refuse to sign treaty ‘that could lead to greater government control of cyberspace’

  • U.S. led group of 20 nations which walked away from the treaty
  • Rival countries had sought to break the Western grip on the Internet
  • U.S. and allies claimed new rules would harm free-form nature of the net

By Damien Gayle

|

The UK and the U.S. today refused to sign the first UN telecommunications treaty of the Internet age, claiming it would lead to greater government control of cyberspace.

They were among a group of 20 nations which walked away from negotiations in Dubai after an ideological split over the nature of the Internet and who is responsible for its growth and governance.

Rival countries – including Iran, China and African states – insisted governments should have a greater sway over Internet affairs and sought to break the Western grip on information technology.

Summit: Delegates at the ITUtalks in Dubai listen to Hamadoun Toure, the group's secretary-general. The UK and U.S. today led a bloc of 20 nations which refused to sign the accords

Summit: Delegates at the ITUtalks in Dubai listen to Hamadoun Toure, the group’s secretary-general. The UK and U.S. today led a bloc of 20 nations which refused to sign the accords

They also favoured greater international help to bring reliable online links to the world’s least developed regions.

In a testament to the contentious atmosphere at the negotiations of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, the pages of reservations and comments by various countries involved were longer than the treaty itself.

In the end, it was supported by 89 countries in the 193-member union. Fifty-five did not sign, including the U.S.-led bloc of more than 20 nations, and others needing home country approval.

The remainder did not have high-ranking envoys in Dubai.

The ITU – which dates to the age of the telegraph in the mid-19th century – has no technical powers to change how the Internet operates or force countries to follow its non-binding accords, which also dealt with issues such as mobile phone roaming rates and international emergency numbers.

But the U.S. and its backers nevertheless worried that the new treaty could alter the tone of debates about the Internet.

Instead of viewing it as a free-form network, they claim, it could increasingly been seen as a commodity that needs clear lines of oversight.

Hamadoun Toure, the group’s secretary-general, said he was ‘very much surprised’ by the U.S.-led snub after days of difficult negotiations that dropped or softened wording that troubled the West.

Yet it fell short of American-led demands that all references to the Internet – even indirect or couched in general language – be omitted.

Breakdown in communications: Mr Toure, left, said said he was very much surprised by the snub after days of difficult negotiations had softened or dropped wording that had troubled U.S. delegate Terry Kramer, right

Even apparently clear-cut issues such as unsolicited email ‘spam’ brought division.

Efforts to try to address blanket electronic message barrages was seen by American envoys and others as something governments could use as possible U.N. cover for increased surveillance on email traffic.

‘Fundamental divides were exposed,’ said Lynn St. Amour, CEO and president of the Internet Society, an industry group.

STATES THAT BLOCK THE NET

Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries and regions around the world:

NORTH KOREA

Internet use is extremely restricted with many of North Korea’s 24million people unable to get online. Some North Koreans can access an internal Intranet that connects to state media. Members of the elite, resident foreigners and visitors in certain hotels are allowed full access. 

IRAN

Most Western social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, as well as political opposition and sexually explicit websites. But proxy server sites and other methods are widely used to get around the official restrictions.

CHINA

There are more than 500 million Chinese online but they contend with an extensive Internet filtering and censorship system popularly known as the ‘Great Fire Wall.’ Censors police blogs and domestic social media for content deemed pornographic or politically subversive and delete it.

CUBA

Tight control, slow connections and high costs mean only around 5 percent of Cubans have access to the global Internet, with another 23 percent relying instead on a government intranet with very limited content. Web access is mainly via public facilities where people must first register with identification.

GULF ARAB STATES

Internet censorship is prevalent across former Soviet Central Asian republics, but the strongest restrictions have been recorded in Iran’s authoritarian neighbours to the north, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

ERITREA

The government restricts access to the Internet and closely monitors online communications. The U.S. State Department’s latest human rights report said the government monitored email without obtaining warrants as required by law, and that all Internet users were required to use one of three service providers owned directly by the government or controlled by members of the country’s sole party.

Mr Toure framed it as clash of ‘two societies’; a so-called digital divide with citizens of wealthy countries able to access the Net on one side, and 4.5 billion others in poor nations on the other.

‘We are defending here the right to communicate as a basic human right. That’s something very important in the ITU. We so remind our members constantly of that obligation,’ he told reporters.

He also said there was no specific endorsement of ‘Internet control or Internet governance.’

Still the dissident nations said the general acknowledgement of a government stake in 21st century telecommunications was just as troubling as any specific wording.

‘Internet policy should not be determined by member states, but by citizens, communities and broader society … the private sector and civil society,’ Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation, told the gathering late last night. ‘That has not happened here.’

Mr Toure today said it was impossible and illogical to ignore the Net.

‘If the word Internet was used frequently here in Dubai, it is simply a reflection of the reality of the modern world,’ said Mr Toure, a Russian-trained engineer from Mali.

‘Telecommunication networks are not just used for making voice calls, so our two worlds are linked.’

Overshadowed by the Internet showdowns were other details in the pact. They include agreements that could lower mobile phone roaming charges, pledges to invest more communications infrastructure in poorer countries, efforts for greater communication technology for the disabled and a move to create a common emergency number for mobile phones and other devices.

Either the 911 or 112 number will be picked in later talks.

It’s unclear whether countries that rejected the pact could benefit from possible changes such as lower roaming rates when the accord takes effect in 2015.

‘Some really good stuff’ in the accord, said a Twitter post by .nxt, a website following Internet policy. But it said the disputes over possible Internet controls forced the U.S and others ‘to bail’ out on the deal.

Christine Anu Rachael Leigh Cook

12/14/2012 Daily Hardware Reviews




Spire CoolGate @ XSReviews

DailyTech’s roundup of hardware reviews from around the web for Friday

Laptops
MSI GT70 Dragon Edition Gaming Laptop @ HardwareHeaven.com
Samsung 9-Series NP900X4C-A02 15.1-inch Ultrabook @ PCSTATS

Motherboards
Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 @ Guru3D

Graphics
Asus Radeon HD 7770 DirectCU TOP 1GB Graphics Card @ eTeknix

Memory
GSKill TridentX 2660Mhz CL11 Dual Channel Memory @ Ninjalane
Crucial Ballistix Sport VLP DDR3-1600 CL9 @ XSReviews
Acer Chromebook @ TechSpot

Storage
Samsung SSD 840 Series (250GB) @ Hexus
SMART Optimus 400GB Enterprise SSD @ TweakTown

Enclosures
BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX PC Case @ nikktech
Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact Mid-Tower Chassis @ TweakTown
Corsair Carbide 200R Case @ Hardware Canucks
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene ‘Snow Edition’ @ OCC
Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Quiet PC Tower @ Pro-Clockers

Cooling
Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile Heatsink @ OCmodshop
Spire CoolGate @ XSReviews
Koolance CPU-380 CPU Waterblock @ PureOverclock
NZXT Respire T40 CPU Cooler @ eTeknix

Power Supplies
Rosewill Fortress 750W Power Supply @ Pro-Clockers
Rosewill Tachyon 750 W Power Supply @ Hardware Secrets
Seasonic X-Series KM3 650 W Power Supply @ Hardware Secrets
Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 650W PSU @ Legit Reviews

Networking
Patriot Gauntlet Node @ Hexus

Gaming
Assassin’s Creed 3 Performance and IQ Review @ [H]

Smartphones
Apple iPhone 5 @ t-break

Rebecca Romijn Olivia Thirlby

EU Reportedly in Favor of Amazon in Apple E-Book Investigation




  (Source: businessweek.com)

The European Commission is expected to accept an offer from Apple and four major book publishers in the ongoing e-books investigation

This year (and last) has been littered with Apple-related lawsuits with several tech companies, but it looks like Amazon will come out on top in the EU e-book probe.

According to Reuters, the European Commission is expected to accept an offer from Apple and four major book publishers in the ongoing e-books investigation. The offer was to allow Amazon and other e-tailers to sell e-books at a discount for two years, and to temporarily suspend the “most-favored nation” contract for five years. The latter means that the four book publishers involved cannot allow Apple’s rival retailers sell the same books at a lower price.

Last December, Apple and book publishers Penguin, Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany) were under the microscope when the EU found out about their selling practices. The EU saw this as anti-competitive against the likes of Amazon, and launched an investigation.

Back in August of this year, Apple and four of the publishers (all but Penguin) submitted the proposal to the EU that the publishers will not restrict or limit an e-book sellers’ ability to set, change or reduce e-book prices for two years. They also won’t interfere with an e-book retailer’s choice to offer discounts, and added the five-year suspension of the “most-favored nation” contract.

While the investigation is technically still ongoing, rumor has it that the EU will accept the offer, which will be a nice win for Amazon. This means Amazon will be able to sell books at more competitive prices than Apple once again.

After the EU launched its investigation in December 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and the same five book publishers involved in the EU case over anticompetitive practices concerning e-book sales in April of this year. More specifically, The book publishers were accused of partaking in an agency sales model with Apple, which meant that publishers were allowed to set the price of a book and Apple would take a 30 percent cut. In addition, the publishers could not let rivals sell the same book at a lower price.

Recently, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Livre decided to settle the case with the U.S. DOJ. However, Apple, Penguin and Macmillan have decided to fight the antitrust case.

The U.S. bench trial in the Apple e-book case will start June 3, 2012.

Source: Reuters

Ann-Maree Biggar Josie Maran

Google Maps for iOS Released




“iOS Maps, you’re fired!”

To say that Apple Maps for iOS 6 has been a blunder is quite the understatement. Ever since iOS 6 was released to the public a few months ago, complaints began rolling out about the mapping services. Everything from misplaced roads, to wonky directions, to horrible rendering of terrain became fodder for the online media and even mainstream media — not to mention Apple’s customers and Apple’s competitors.
 
Things got so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook even apologized to Apple customers
 
However, even as Apple is looking to improve its native Maps application on a continuing basis, Google is looking to offers users a seasoned alternative — Google Maps. The refreshed Google Maps app for iOS has all the goodies (and more) that users loved before Apple decided to give the application the boot for its own homegrown solution.
 
Street View, transit directions, walking directions, traffic data, and restaurant reviews (provided by Zagat) are all included. And in case you were wondering, yes, turn-by-turn navigation is front in center in the new Google Maps iOS app.
 
For users of Android smartphones, none of this stuff is really news to you — you’ve been enjoying such functionality for years. However, for Apple customers that have complained about Apple’s native Maps app, you now can install an alternative that appears to be better in nearly every way.

 

Sources: Google, iTunes






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Barbara Streisand Rebekah

7 Gifts For The Geeky Kid In Your Life

This kit from littleBits includes 10 tiny, color-coded circuit boards that connect to each other via magnets. Each one does something different, and kids can see what happens when they add and subtract modules. Children (age 8 and up!) can invent their own interactive objects, or they can follow the included project plans. 9v battery comes with, and everything stores neatly inside the magnetic case.

$89, littleBits

Kristy Hinze Julia Brendler

Facebook Gives a Little, Gets a Little With New Privacy Settings

Facebook has changed its privacy controls after conducting a vote on the matter that was doomed from the start to be irrelevant. Facebook claims the tweaks to its system will make it easier for users to access and understand their privacy settings, and that may be true. However, it also appears that users’ timelines will be more searchable, which may be a key reason underlying Facebook’s move.

Facebook has introduced a number of changes to its privacy controls, positioning them as easier for users to manage.

For example, a new icon on the toolbar will allow users to ask three questions: Who can see my stuff? Who can contact me? and How do I stop someone from bothering me? For further information, users go to the Privacy Settings page, which will be repositioned below the Security option under Account Settings.

Facebook will also explain where a user’s post will appear — such as in search, news feeds and other places on Facebook.

A request-and-remove tool will let users select photos and untag them on their page, as well as send removal requests to those who tagged them.

Facebook will also divide its third-party app question into two questions. Currently it asks users whether a third-party app can access their personal information and whether they want to give it permission to publish activities to their friends.

New Search Tool?

Not all of the changes are welcomed by privacy advocates. Users will not be able to keep their timelines out of the search tool, for instance. Facebook maintains this is a little-used tool and that the timeline is accessible in other parts of Facebook anyway. However, it’s possible that the change has more to do with the search tool Facebook is expected to release.

Facebook’s decision to eliminate user choice to hide from searches is a clear signal that a search tool is coming, Luis Salazar, cofounder of Salazar Jackson, told TechNewsWorld.

“It’s inevitable that as a public company Faceook has got to push the privacy envelope to monetize its incredibly rich data base of personal information,” he said. “These changes set the stage for its strong push in that direction.”

A Fine Line

The latest set of changes is an example of Facebook straddling a fine line between transparency and decreased control, Guido Lang, assistant professor of computer information systems at Quinnipiac University, told TechNewsWorld.

“On the one hand, Facebook will offer its users greater transparency over who sees what and where by providing additional features such as an updated activity log and in-context notices,” he observed. “On the other hand, Facebook will remove the ability to control if one appears in Facebook’s search results.”

No More Voting

The elimination of voting for privacy changes is what really irks privacy advocates. Facebook will scrap its user voting system and replace it with a system that emphasizes “high-quality” feedback instead.

Facebook has argued that it wants to prevent votes from being triggered by comments that are copy-and-pasted by activists. Here’s the way the system worked before the vote: If a proposed change received 7,000 comments, Facebook users could vote on it. If 30 percent of all Facebook users should vote, the decision would have been binding.

However, getting 300 million of Facebook’s 1 billion users to vote on a privacy change was highly unlikely. The overwhelming majority of Facebook users who did cast a ballot voted to reject the changes and keep the system intact. However, since the 300 million threshold was not reached, Facebook decided to disregard their preference and move ahead with its changes.

Just Stay Off Facebook

The fact is, the only way for Facebook users to keep their information private is to stay off Facebook, Paul Levinson, professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University, told TechNewsWorld.

“I think it is inherently impossible to make a system like Facebook private in any meaningful way. Even if someone keeps information just within a strict circle of family or friends, those people can still publish the information,” he pointed out.

“If Facebook were completely honest,” said Levinson, “it would say ‘don’t put anything on Facebook or any online system if you want it to be private.’”

Holly Combs Kim Cooper

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