Posts tagged could
Apple confirmed that it will be holding a special event on September 9th in its hometown of Cupertino.
The company’s coy teaser, “Wish we could say more,” leaves us asking, what can we expect there? If rumors hold true, we’ll see new iPhones (which may include NFC mobile payments), iOS updates and even the long-awaited and hotly-debated Apple wearable device. Who’s ready?
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After months of campaigning for smartphone anti-theft legislation, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon got what he wanted Monday: Governor Jerry Brown signed Bill SB 962 into California law, making “kill switches” mandatory on all new smartphones.
Starting next summer, all phones sold in the state must have a built-in feature that renders the device inoperable to strangers or thieves, and it must be activated by default. The idea is to discourage smartphone theft, a problem plaguing law enforcement across the country.
The issue may be particularly acute in San Francisco—where it accounts for nearly two-thirds of robberies; in Oakland, it’s three out of four—but according to Consumer Reports, a total of 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft in 2013, twice the number of the year prior.
With smartphone crime becoming epidemic everywhere, other states are likely watching California intently now, possibly to follow its cue. To get some perspective on what that means for the everyday consumer, let’s start with some fundamentals.
5 Things To Know About California’s New Kill Switch Law
Interpreting the law can be tough for any layperson. But in this case, it boils down to a handful of basics:
(1) Only California requires that kill switches are enabled in new smartphones by default, for now. (Kill switches are also mandated in Minnesota, but users must turn it on themselves.)
(2) The law only applies to smartphones, not tablets or any other devices.
(3) The law won’t take effect until next year. Phones sold after July 1, 2015 will be legally required to comply.
(4) Retailers or other companies could be penalized as much as $500 to $2,500 per gadget, if they don’t comply.
(5) Wireless association CTIA is opposed to this law. Its position: Kill switches give hackers another way to mess with people’s devices. But skeptics believe the group is just trying to protect its member companies—the smartphone makers and carriers who profit from replacement phones.
Jaime Hastings, the association’s vice president of external and state affairs, said in a prepared statement, “Today’s action was unnecessary given the breadth of action the industry has taken.” He’s talking about the group’s Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment, a promise that some tech companies and carriers have made to make free anti-theft tools available to users.
Smartphone titans Apple and Samsung both offer security features that block locked (read: lost or stolen) iPhones and Galaxy phones from being reactivated, unless the user enters the registered owner’s proper credentials.
These are essentially the same kill switches California state legislators want, with one major difference: They aren’t loaded and turned on by default. So if users don’t take action, the features do no good.
A Potential Can Of Worms For Everybody
Hastings also said something else worth pondering:
Uniformity in the wireless industry created tremendous benefits for wireless consumers, including lower costs and phenomenal innovation. State by state technology mandates, such as this one, stifle those benefits and are detrimental to wireless consumers.
He has a point. If some states adopt this law, but others don’t, maintaining compliance whenever devices cross state lines could be a nightmare of complication and expense for tech companies and carriers. The next logical question is who would cover those costs? Likely you and me, the consumers. Think extra fees, inflated retail prices or both.
In that light, Hastings comments could be taken as a veiled threat, though a lot would depend on the execution. A few extra cents might be fine, a small price to pay for peace of mind. As someone who experienced a snatch-and-grab recently, I’d gladly sacrifice a couple of dimes if it means I don’t have to walk in fear with a white-knuckled grip on my phone.
The big question is whether these companies can be trusted not to play fast and loose with fee-gouging shenanigans. After all, policing all those transactions would be difficult, to say the least. And cell phone bills are already indecipherable. (Do you know what Administrative Fees, County Gross Receipts Surcharges, Federal Universal Service Charges, MTA Telecom Surcharges and numerous other enigmatic fees are? Neither do most people.) If companies wanted to make up for some of their lost profits, who’d notice a few other charges hiding in there?
Some folks might save the lump sums that would’ve gone to replacement devices, but over time, everyone’s wallets could suffer a death by a thousand cuts. Hopefully things won’t go that far. Because it would mean, en masse, that people are just trading one type of victimization for another.
Lead image by zombieite.
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Does Your Website Support HTTPS? If Not, Your SEO Could Suffer.
Shall I go on? Web security, if you can't tell, is increasingly critical. And now Google says so, too. The search giant will begin factoring a site's security in its site-ranking algorithm. In other words, if your site doesn't utilize the HTTPS secure …
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Recode reports that Apple has scheduled a press event on September 9 to unveil the new version (or versions) of the iPhone.
For the last three years, Apple has introduced each new iPhone version in the fall, not counting a spring 2011 announcement in which Apple launched the device on Verizon. Prior to that, the Cupertino, California–based tech maker held its iPhone debuts in the June-July timeframe.
But if there’s an air of uncertainty around this exact September date, it’s because Apple usually invites a select group of journalists all at once. Thus news of an Apple event typically propagates immediately across Twitter accompanied by images of invitations confirming the details.
This time? Nada. Still, there’s no particular reason to doubt Recode, which has a solid track record with scoops like this. Its report also parallels earlier rumors that pegged a mid-September timeframe for the announcement.
I’ve contacted Apple and will update this post if the company responds.
The iPhone maker is expected to reveal larger smartphones this time around: a 4.7-inch display and a next-generation A8 processor, along with another 5.5-inch version launching later. If true, this would be the company’s first “phablet” (or smartphone with compact tablet proportions). The event may also deliver the long-awaited Apple wrist worn smart device—likely either a fitness band or smartwatch, if in fact it exists at all.
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Apple told developers Monday afternoon that many of their older Mac applications may not run in the next update to Mac OS X unless they “re-sign” them using a digital-signature tool in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the current version of the Mac operating system. Many developers aren’t happy about the abrupt change:
The change affects all Mac applications built on older versions of Mac OS X—specifically, any version that predates Mavericks, which officially launched last October. As of the next release of the desktop operating system—that’ll be OS X 10.9.5—those apps may simply no longer function until their digital signatures are updated using a tool in Mavericks. (These apps also may not function in future versions of OS X, including beta versions of OS X 10.10 Yosemite.)
Update, 6:56pm PT: Programs with older digital signatures may simply trigger a security warning for users. At least, that’s the gist of an explanation that Apple apparently sent to developers earlier on Wednesday, per this report in the The Unofficial Apple Weblog:
Signatures created with OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5 or earlier (v1 signatures) will be obsoleted and Gatekeeper will no longer recognize them. Users may receive a Gatekeeper warning and will need to exempt your app to continue using it. To ensure your apps will run without warning on updated versions of OS X, they must be signed on OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later (v2 signatures).
A large number of common apps could be affected by the change; see below for details.
Sign Me Up
Apple requires developers to digitally “sign” their applications, ostensibly for security reasons. Signing an app vouchsafes it as the creation of a given developer, and lets the Mac operating system detect any changes to its underlying code. (Apple explains the process in more detail in its official code-signing guide.)
Pre-Mavericks versions of OS X used an older code-signing technology that produced what Apple calls “version 1″ signatures. OS X 10.9.5 and future OS X versions will require “version 2″ signatures, which require the use of the “codesign” tool within Mavericks.
It’s not clear how much time developers have to re-sign their older applications. Apple hasn’t said when Mavericks 10.9.5 will launch; it just released the first 10.9.5 beta last Wednesday.
Caught In The Digital Dragnet
If developers don’t act quickly, large numbers of common apps could be affected. Developer John Bafford published a command-line script on GitHub Gist that identifies the signature version of all programs in a Mac’s applications folder. It looks like this, in case you’re curious:
I ran the command on my Mac and found almost 50 applications with version 1 signatures, including Apple’s iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, Numbers, Pages and Keynote. Other affected programs include Microsoft Office 2011, Adobe Reader, Dropbox, Google Chrome, Firefox and Evernote. (Oh, and Minecraft, too.)
I don’t have many apps from smaller developer teams on my machine, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find lots of them with version 1 signatures. What’s more, big companies have the resources to re-sign and update their apps well in advance of the release of OS X 10.9.5; smaller developers may be much harder pressed to do that in time.
I pinged Apple PR for further explanation of the announcement, and will update if I hear back.
Lead image by Flickr user ishmael daro, CC 2.0
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Google Mobile Search Tests Could Mean Changes to SEO
The Content Standard by Skyword
These changes to mobile search put an increasing amount of pressure on content marketers to step up their SEO game and get in front of on-the-go consumers. In a recent Adweek survey, 35 percent of marketers said they believe mobile marketing will …
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Before I tell you what it was like to go a week without my smartphone, I have a confession to make: I cheated.
Not much, mind you, but when ReadWrite editor-in-chief Owen Thomas asked one of his writers to take a week’s vacation from my mobile devices and write about the experience, I volunteered. I thought it would be much easier than it was.
It was painful.
No Phone, No Fun
I expected to go through withdrawal pangs from my obsessive addiction to my iPhone and Kindle Paperwhite.
But I wasn’t counting on how the world is increasingly designed for mobile. From mobile check-in at the airport to phone calls (remember those?) to taking selfies in exotic places (like, um, Atlanta), the world expects us to have a phone.
There are workarounds, of course, but most aren’t worth the bother.
My week without mobile was unpleasant, but oddly satisfying. It made me rethink when and why I used my devices.
Day 1 (Remember The Sabbath Day, To Keep It Less Mobile)
As a religious guy I take my Sundays seriously. “Thou shalt rest from thy mobile device” is not a harsh commandment. At least, it shouldn’t have been. But by 6:30 am, I was already having problems detoxing. I had forgotten to turn off notifications and my phone was already buzzing with inbound text messages.
Messages which—by the rules of my personal challenge—I was forced to pretend didn’t exist.
After muttering some very un-Christian words, I solved the problem by turning to Apple’s Messages app and Skype on my Mac.
I’m a self-identified iSlave, and Apple makes it easy for people like me to trade iMessages with other people using Macs, iPads, and iPhones. But for my Android friends—maybe some Windows Phone users, too—I had to use Skype to send texts. The downside to this option is that the texts are only one-way—even if you pay for a Skype number, you can’t receive texts. Anyone wanting to respond to me would only be able to reach me by SMS in a week.
Telegram might be faster.
After all, I can’t really call them because, well, I don’t have a phone. Not this week. While there used to be pay phones around, they’re quickly fading from the Western world. Complicating matters, we currently don’t have a home phone because, well, mobile phones. (Curse you, Owen Thomas!)
It turns out Google Voice would have been a better option here, as I could have sent and received texts using that service, but I didn’t want to set up a whole new phone number.
The day went from mobile bad to mobile worse. At church, I couldn’t fill in the dull moments with surreptitious checking of news about Arsenal, my favorite soccer team. At night I gave up on reading Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, which I was reading on my Kindle. Technically, I could have logged into Amazon’s Kindle for Mac application, but the reading experience on a laptop is too unpleasant.
I ended up going to bed early because, well, what else was I going to do without my phone?
Day 2 (Mobile-Free Days And Mondays Always Get Me Down)
I have no idea why I decided to accept Owen’s challenge this week. Living without mobile seems manageable if you aren’t very mobile. But I travel extensively for work and this week was no different.
First thing, I had to fly to New York and, sure enough, this created problems. I always check in using Delta’s mobile app, which lets me change seats, view my upgrade status and more. Not today. Today I had to print out a paper boarding pass.
Or I would have, had I not also realized that I couldn’t hail an Uber without my phone, and getting a taxi this morning was simply too complicated (for a variety of reasons). Uber adultery committed, I decided to transgress with Delta, too. (Sorry, Owen! The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.)
In the old days, I wouldn’t have had a choice about putting my phone away when the plane took off. Now that the FAA has lifted its restrictions on in-flight usage of mobile devices, I was forced to think for an unbearable stretch of 30 minutes until we got to 10,000 feet and I could inhale the Internet through a Gogo Wi-Fi connection.
At JFK, I saw the long taxi lines and I cheated again to use Uber to get to the MongoDB office in Midtown, with its glorious Internet connection. There, I felt capable of abandoning mobile forever …
… or at least, until it came time to find my way to dinner with my daughter down in the West Village. I looked up the fastest way to get to Barbuto on my laptop and hurried out the door with this knowledge in mind. Almost immediately it was rendered moot by the arrival of a third person. I had to resort to Google Maps for updated directions.
The score: Matt vs. mobile, 0–4.
Day 3 (Tuesdays With Mobile-Free)
My mobile-free nightmare started the moment I woke up: My phone is my alarm. Thanks to Owen Thomas, I had to relearn how to program an alarm clock last night and, worried that I messed up, I also asked the hotel to wake me. At 5:00 am both started blaring at me.
It was not pleasant.
Nor was exercising without my music. Or checking in for my flight from LaGuardia to Atlanta, or getting from ATL to my meeting in Buckhead. Or finding a way to notify my lunch appointment that I’d be late.
The only pleasant thing about the ordeal was not having a way to peep in on the fantastic vacations my friends were having on Instagram and Facebook. Both are technically available on my laptop, but without those icons and notifications nudging me, I found no urge to check them.
But disconnecting from friends also meant disconnecting from family. Reading to my youngest daughters is a beloved routine that makes my weeks on the road bearable. Owen Thomas and the crappy hotel Wi-Fi (for which I blame him, too) ruined that. I normally read to them off my Kindle over FaceTime. Instead, I tried Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader and Skype, but the sound quality was terrible. After enduring repeated Skype stutters, we gave up.
Days 4–7 (The Upside Of No Mobile)
The rest of the week got both worse and better as the week went on. Worse, because it became abundantly clear that the Western world is made for mobile.
Even simple pleasures like going for a run or riding my bike require a mobile device if I want to track my times and record my miles (and I do, notwithstanding the “run/ride naked” movement).
There are things that are both easier and better with my iPhone at my side.
But here’s the other thing I discovered in my week (mostly) without mobile: I got to think again. I don’t know if Google (or, in this case, mobile) is making us stupid, as Nick Carr famously argued, but I do know that my mobile devices have prompted me to be far more frenetic and less thoughtful than I used to be. A week without mobile helped me to rediscover a certain measure of serenity.
While the first flight without a mobile device to keep me company during taxi and takeoff was brutal, by my fourth flight of the week, I looked forward to the reprieve.
And it reset my habits, at least for a time. Driving my car back home in Utah, I no longer needed to check my phone at every red light or stop sign.
In fact, I liked the “silence” so much that I took some great advice and turned off all notifications on my mobile devices, set email to “manually fetch” (which dramatically extends my battery life, too), and went a few places (like the gym) without my phone.
Bizarre, but true.
I don’t expect to go another week without mobile. Maybe on a vacation, but not in the middle of a work week that involves heavy travel.
But even on vacation, there are practical reasons to turn to a mobile device: getting directions, keeping track of my kids, looking up information.
The goal, then, isn’t to completely eradicate mobile from my life, but to tame it. By understanding when I truly need my mobile devices, as opposed to just wanting them, I can return to a direct experience of the world around me. That’s a trip.
Images by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite
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Twitch, the world’s largest gaming website and community, lets gamers broadcast their live videoplay for viewers. It’s like the Netflix or Hulu for livestreamed games.
The report from VentureBeat on Thursday confirms an earlier report from Variety in May.
Google is hoping for lightning to strike twice with their affinity for online video. For what Google accomplished with online video gargantuan YouTube after its purchase in 2006 for $1.65 billion, we can expect the same from Twitch.
This reported purchase also signifies the mainstream growth of the online video gaming community and the legitimization of gaming as a sport that people actually want to watch. It’s a huge opportunity for gamers and the advertisers who can profit billions from the virality.
The livestreaming platform has already developed an enormous community, albeit a niche one within the gaming subculture. And according to Twitch’s numbers from last year, audience numbers are skyrocketing.
The gaming service saw 45 million unique visitors per month last year, and 12 billion minutes of gaming were consumed each month in 2013. With one million broadcasters, Twitch sees more peak traffic than Facebook and Hulu.
Google’s reported acquisition also shows that the search engine giant is paying attention to YouTube’s thriving gaming community. Gaming channels like Stampylonghead and The Diamond Minecart have amassed over 3 million subscribers apiece.
YouTube’s most subscribed channel of all time stars Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, whose gaming channel has now close to 29 million subscribers. Like many other gaming channels on YouTube, Kjellberg uploads videos of himself playing and reacting to games, popular draws being games like Happy Wheels and Flappy Bird.
With such a clear connection to the gaming community, YouTube and Google’s embrace of Twitch comes at the perfect time. We’ll just have to wait and see what Googly things might come from the gaming network in the future.
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Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, recently posted some big news. “I wanted to let folks know that I’m about to take a few months of leave. When I joined Google, my wife and I agreed that I would work for 4-5 years, and then she’d get to see more of me. I talked about this as recently as last month and as early as 2006. And now, almost fifteen years later I’d like to be there for my wife more.” Cutts says he’ll completely unplug, meaning that he won’t be checking his work email until October. (Side note: Anyone care […]
The post Who Could Fill In for Matt Cutts? by @albertcostill appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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