Nest is essentially jailbroken, uses a custom tool to end reporting back to company
A group of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) discovered a way to root the Nest thermostat in the process of finding a way to hack the device to steal data and install malware. Led by engineering professor Yier Jin, the team used physical access to accomplish the hack even though it is built with security in mind. During the hacking discovery, the team came up with a way to stop the device from reporting data back to Google (or Nest).
Paid, sponsored cellular access for specific apps mulled by FreedomPop for Q3 launch
Sprint-based wireless provider FreedomPop could soon change the way it offers data allowances to its users, with an app-focused approach. A report claims the company is testing app-based data allowances, letting users pay for bandwidth for specific smartphone apps, on top of the current 500MB free cellular usage the carrier provides its customers each month.
Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center formed to help retailers pool information
A new organization has been formed to share information between retailers regarding cyber threats and breaches of company data. The Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC) was formed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), along with several large retailers including Target, Gap, Nike and Safeway. Formation of the group is seen as a step forward for retailers to protect against or lessen the the impact of customer data theft.
Updated DataMan Pro offers improved Smart Forecast, usage prediction
DataMan Pro, a data usage app for iOS, has released an updated version today. Version 8.3 of the app learns its user's usage trends, and can notify users how much they can use each day without surpassing a user-defined data cap. The new version also features an improved Smart Forecast, allowing users receive notifications on their usage based on trended information.
Channel information, file names on storage passed back to LG
Smart TVs from LG are collecting data on the owner's viewing habits and connected devices, and forwarding the information back to base, according to one customer. It is alleged that the data is also being fed back to LG, even if the customer selects an option in the television's software that supposedly prevents it from doing so.
Twitter profile image redownloads fault in Windows Phone
A feature in Windows Phone is causing device owners to unexpectedly use high amounts of data, which could be potentially expensive for some phone users. An issue in the operating system's Twitter integration has devices frequently redownloading profile images from the service, an issue that Microsoft has been quick to confirm exists.
Shared Data scheme from US Cellular similar to AT&T, Verizon offerings
US Cellular has decided to offer shared data plans to its customers, bringing it in line with AT&T and Verizon. At the same time as allowing customers and small businesses to buy allowances of data that can be used on multiple devices, the carrier is also bringing to an end the availability of its unlimited data plans.
Carrier's change to data plans entangles Apple through 3G iPad
Although it had no say in how AT&T managed its "unlimited" 3G data plans, Apple and the US carrier are both responsible for harm inflicted on consumers who bought 3G iPads on AT&T's network expected to be able to use an unlimited data plan. The proposed settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, comes as a result of customers who spent an extra $130 on the 3G-capable iPad in the expectation that they could use AT&T's unlimited data plan with it. AT&T later revoked the option after promising it would retain it for iPad 3G customers.
All plan tiers include unlimited calls, texts
MetroPCS has announced a set of wireless contracts for 4G LTE with a focus on simplicity, including one with unlimited data. The new mobile phone plans all include unlimited voice minutes and texts, and offer three different tiers of service, with the only differentiation being the amount of 4G data usage is permitted each month on the subscription.
Monitored list of 11 million hotspots to help mobile users
Microsoft is using a crowdsourced "curated" hotspot system in Windows Phone 8, in an effort to help its mobile users manage their mobile data costs. DeviceScape is providing the technology behind the Data Sense Wi-Fi map, including data for over 11 million hotspots that have been tested for speed and connection quality.
Data-only plans within two years, data across devices coming
Speaking at a Sanford Bernstein investor conference in New York, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has forecast that cell phone plans charging users only for data were virtually inevitable, and would likely start appearing on the market in the next two years. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Stephenson stopped short of saying that AT&T has any such plan in the works, but he did say that the communications giant is looking at a number of novel pricing models for wireless data.
Could open the door to additional court cases
A California man was awarded $850, or $85 for each month remaining on his contract, in damages against AT&T after he saw that his data was being throttled after he had reached up to 2GB of monthly data, less than the 3GB of data the company currently charges $30 per month for.
Plan targets voice users in mid-Atlantic region
Verizon has launched a regional promotion that tries to entice existing or prospective wireless customers to experiment with data. The program, available in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, lets current or new customers add 300MB of data monthly to their voice plan. The limited offer is priced at $20 monthly and automatically charges $20 more for each instance subscribers run over 300MB.
Sandisk no-erase SD cards
Sandisk on Tuesday introduced the "WORM," or "Write Once Read Many" SD card for professional uses such as storing evidence in police investigations, court testimony, medical records and electronic voting. Sandisk claims original data written to WORM cards are "effectively locked" and there is "no physical way to alter or delete the files." If stored properly, the company claims, WORM SD cards have an archive live of up to 100 years.
Least Squares graphing app
VVI has unveiled Least Squares, a math application that computes and displays linear regression. Users can input a variety of data points and the software will compute and draw a line on a graph to fit the data. The company says Least Squares uses a "concise and elegant” interface that can be used to teach linear regression, or as a professional tool for data exploration.
Telia reworks iPhone plans
After hitting a steep wall of customer resistance, Telia Sweden is buckling to pressure and is offering an unlimited data plan for the iPhone, as well as allowing customers to choose between its existing voice plans. iLounge reveals that the company received an overwhelming amount of complaints after initially offering customers 100, 250, and 1000 minutes, SMS, and data on plans that ranged as high as 859 SEK per month, in addition to handsets costing as much as 3295 SEK.
Google tops Web audience
Nielsen Online has reported May 2008 data for the Top Sites by Parent Company and Top Brands. Google tops the list with 127 million unique visitors. Microsoft is close behind with 123 million, while Yahoo! comes in third at 115 million. Time Warner pulled 107 million visitors, News Corp. Online 79 million, eBay 66 million and InterActiveCorp 64 million. Wikimedia Foundation, Amazon and New York Times round out the list with between 50 and 60 million unique visitors. The data indicate that, for example, that 51.1 million home and work Internet users visited at least one of the New York Times Company-owned sites or launched a New York Times Company-owned application during the month, and each person spent, on average, a total of 17 minutes and 27 seconds at one or more of their sites or applications.
Multipass erase for iPhone
As the 3G iPhone is set to be unveiled on Monday, many users will switch out their first edition models, and with concerns about recoverable user data, users should be prepared for how to ensure that their data is gone for good. CNET writes that it is possible to perform a rudimentary multiple-pass wipe of data during the restore process to ensure personal data is eliminated, even when it appears to be missing from the iPhone post-restore.
Fontainebleau resorts has announced that it is putting an iMac in every guest room "inspiring guests to share memories and encourages personal expression." Other resort features include Chef Alfred Portale at Gotham Bar and Grill, a Chinese restaurant featuring Michelin star-rated Cantonese cuisine a 5,000-square-foot "chocolate experience." Fontainebleau currently has locations in Miami Beach and Las Vegas. Room rates range from $200 to $900. Hotel chain City Inn previously announced that it was installing iMacs in every guest room, offering software that deletes any personal data from the machines before the guest leaves.
Sprint 5GB data limit
A Sprint employee has allegedly posted an internal memo on SprintUsers citing that the telecommunications giant is imposing a 5GB bandwidth limit on transfer, or 300MB per month in off-network roaming. According to the employee, the limits would see service on July 13th, and would apply to both PAM and data card plans. The note seems to indicate that Vision and PowerVision packages would still retain their respective limits, unsusceptible to the 5GB limit.
Apple's recent QuickTime 7.4.5 release includes exploit prevention mechanisms designed to block attacks from hackers, according to a recent report from eWeek. QuickTime for Windows Vista now features ASLR (address space layout randomization), technology that randomly arranges key data addresses to prevent developers of malware from predicting targets. ASLR is already used by Mac OS X Leopard to reduce the effectiveness of exploit attempts.
Chinese aware of iPhone
Despite a lack of the of a localized version or solid confirmation of plans to do make one, a recent study indicates that 68-percent of all Chinese surveyed showed knowledge of the iPhone, but also discovered that it might not sell very well with its $500 price point. According to The iPod Observer, the price tag was the most frequently mentioned restriction that would prevent people from buying one, but information regarding how many felt this was not readily available.
Survey: 6% iPod decline
Analysis of the first month of March quarter iPod NPD data points to iPod sales of between 9.5-10.3 million, according to research firm Piper Jaffray, which would signal a 6 percent year-over-year decline. "While it is way too early to make a definitive call on March quarter iPod units, we have analyzed the first month of NPD data (Jan.) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod units of 9.5m-10.3m," said Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. Wall Street consensus on iPod sales for Apple's March quarter currently stand at 10.8 million units, representing a 2 percent year-over-year increase.
NTI Dragon Suite
NewTech Infosystems today released NTI Dragon Suite, a collection of three Mac applications to handle disc burning as well as data compression and backup. NTI Dragon Burn features patented multi-burning technology that supports internal as well as external drives for simultaneously creating multiple copies of a CD or DVD. The software includes support for burning the leading video, audio, photo, and data formats onto the latest optical discs -- such as 16x DVD-R drives and 8.5GB DVD+R Double Layer (DL) media. NTI Dragon Suite is priced at $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
FileMaker ships Bento
FileMaker on Tuesday announced the immediate availability of Bento, its easy-to-use personal database application. Designed exclusively for Mac OS X Leopard, Bento leverages a single-window interface and FileMaker database technology to help users organize contacts, calendars, projects, events, and more. Users can easily create databases to manage information with dynamic 'smart' collections as well as expand around Apple's own Address Book and iCal storage engines. Bento is priced at $50, or $100 for a family pack of five licenses. The personal database requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
nova media has announced Fone2Phone for Mac OS X, which will be shipping at Macworld Expo 2008. Fone2Phone is a utility that will copy data from an ordinary cell phone to the Macintosh computer in one streamlined operation. Jan Fuellemann, for nova media, said, "This little jewel takes care of the complete communication process, from connecting the cell phone to saving the files in the appropriate locations on the Mac." The tool has a simple wizard interface for copying contacts, events, tasks, notes, bookmarks, photos, music and movies from the old cell phone to the Mac.