Sunday, 23 March 2014

Twitter website 'blocked' in Turkey

Twitter website 'blocked' in Turkey

This is a bit shocking , Twitter users in Turkey report that the social media site has been blocked in the country. Some users trying to open the website are apparently being redirected to a statement by Turkey's telecommunications regulator.

It cites a court order to apply "protection measures" on the website.

This comes after PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to "wipe out Twitter" following damaging allegations of corruption in his inner circle.

The BBC's James Reynolds in Istanbul reports that he is unable to access Twitter.

"I don't care what the international community says at all. Everyone will see the power of the Turkish Republic," Mr Erdogan said earlier on Thursday.

He spoke after some users had posted documents reportedly showing evidence of corruption relating to the prime minister - a claim he denies.

His office said that Twitter had not responded to Turkey's court rulings to remove some links, forcing Ankara to act.

Twitter has so far made no public comment on the issue.

There are about 10m Twitter users across Turkey.

In 2010, the country lifted its ban on YouTube - two years after it blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the country's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Apple releases iOS 7.0.2, fixes lock screen security bug

Apple releases iOS 7.0.2, fixes lock screen security bug

Apple has released an update for iOS 7 – iOS 7.0.2. The update fixes a bug that let users bypass the passcode security lock screen. The issue was discovered in a matter of hours after iOS 7 was released to the public.

The OS update reads, “Fixes the bug that could allow someone to bypass the lock screen passcode. Reintroduces a Greek keyboard option for passcode entry.”

Passcode on the lock screen gives you a basic level of security. When the passcode is active, no one can access the content on your phone, unless they know the passcode. Bypassing the passcode on iOS 7 was a bit tricky. Users needed to access the control center by swiping up from the bottom of the display and accessing the alarm clock. After that, hold the power button for a while which will give you the option to switch off the phone. Cancel that option. After than you can double tap the home button to bring up the multitasking menu, which will give you access to the camera and stored photos along with any logged-in email and social networking accounts.

If you haven’t updated your iOS device to 7.0.2, you can do so by going into the settings option, then “General,” and selecting “Software Update.”

Thursday, 13 March 2014



Almost exactly one year ago, Facebook laid out its vision for the future of News Feed. Facebook spent months refining its new design, which touted huge photos, a dynamic navigation bar, and Tumblr-esque profile photos. The company rolled out its new design to a fraction of its billion users, and then called the whole thing off. Users hated the new design. So for its next News Feed, Facebook went back to square one.

Today the social network is unveiling its latest design for News Feed, which takes learnings from its failed trial and applies them to a familiar but fresh design that it plans to roll out globally over the next few weeks. The new News Feed looks almost exactly like Facebook's mobile News Feed, bearing new iconography, bigger photos, new fonts (Helvetica and Arial), and story cards. The design ditches the prominent drop-down menu of feeds Facebook championed in its designs last March, and sticks them back in the left sidebar. In other words, Facebook's dreams about turning your News Feed into a newspaper of RSS-like feeds are officially over. News feeds like "All Friends," "Groups," and "Photos" have been removed entirely.

A comparison of Facebook's old (above) and new (below) News Feeds reveals the move to a cleaner look.
"People don't like us moving their furniture around, because you break muscle memory," says News Feed product manager Greg Marra. Facebook's dark-themed sidebar, which collapsed into a strip of icons depending on your screen size, was just too confusing for most users, he says. "That's a particular design idea that looked cool but didn't help you get around the site," Marra says. "You don't need to relearn anything that was one of our big themes." Facebook has also redesigned and simplified what were previously considered complex post types. If a friend commented on a post about a link that two friends shared, indentations while accurate in terms of attribution — made things look really messy, Marra says. Profile photos have also notably been moved back inside story cards, like in the old News Feed, to limit clutter.

please comment of what you think of the new design. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

What is the Deep Web?

What is the Deep Web?

When you use most search engines, you're just scraping the surface of the World Wide Web. There's much more.

Academic journals
Tor network
Illegal porn
Political dissidents
Black markets
Pirated media

Facebook's WhatsApp purchase challenged

Facebook on an iPhone

Facebook's purchase of mobile messaging service WhatsApp has been opposed by privacy groups.

Mark Zuckerberg's firm is planning to buy the company for around £11bn.

Opponents want US regulators to stop the deal until Facebook provides more information on what it plans to do with the personal data of WhatsApp's users.

But Facebook said it will operate as a separate company and honour existing privacy arrangements, which include not collecting user data for advertising.

"WhatsApp built a user-base based on its commitment not to collect user data for advertising revenue," read a complaint filed with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It was drawn up by two non-profit groups, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy.

They added: "Users provided detailed personal information to the company including private text to close friends. Facebook routinely makes use of user information for advertising purposes and has made clear that it intends to incorporate the data of WhatsApp users into the user profiling business model. "The proposed acquisition will therefore violate WhatsApp users' understanding of their exposure to online advertising and constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice, subject to investigation by the Federal Trade Commission." And the groups, which work on research and consumer protection online, asked the regulators to investigate the deal "specifically with regard to the ability of Facebook to access WhatsApp's store of user mobile phone numbers and metadata".

Facebook, the world's top social network with 1.2 billion users, generates the majority of its revenue by showing ads that target users by age, gender and other traits.

"As we have said repeatedly, WhatsApp will operate as a separate company and will honour its commitments to privacy and security," Facebook said in a statement seen by Reuters. Facebook announced its intention to buy WhatsApp, which has 450 million users who are able to send instant messages and other media over mobile, with cash and stock.

There is no charge for individual messages, which are sent using wi-fi or data connections, making it cheaper than SMS messaging in many cases. Other users pay around £0.60 per year subscription. Referring to the business model, Jan Koum wrote on the WhatsApp website: "When people ask us why we charge for WhatsApp, we say, 'Have you considered the alternative?'"

Despite assurances by WhatsApp and Facebook that the privacy policies will not change, the groups noted that Mark Zuckerberg's social networking company has in the past amended an acquired-company's privacy policies. Notably, it did so with the Instagram photo-sharing service that it bought in 2012. Regulators must require that Facebook "insulate" WhatsApp user information from access by Facebook's data collection practices, read the complaint, which was dated 6 March 2014.

"WhatsApp users could not reasonably have anticipated that by selecting a pro-privacy messaging service, they would subject their data to Facebook's data collection practices," read the filing.

The FTC will decide whether the acquisition can go ahead and, if so, whether or not conditions should be imposed.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Pssssssssst.....Have you heard?

Opera browser for Android updated with video chats via Web RTC, and more.

Opera Software has launched the 20th iteration of Opera browser for Android (the company is also calling it Opera 20 for Android), with a number of tweaks along with a major update for WebRTC, a real-time communication API definition.

With the WebRTC support, the updated Opera browser for Android gives users the option of video chatting directly from the browser app, eliminating the need to download other apps for the same. The WebRTC-enabled browser can also take up to eight users at a time in a video conference.

"You can visit a website to start a video call with anyone using a WebRTC-compatible browser such as Opera 20. All you need to do is visit a site such as, get an address for your video conference and share it with those you'd like to join," states Opera's official blog post.

Additionally, the updated Opera browser for Android will keep the user updated "on the camera and microphone usage", with the help of on-screen requests like seen previously in its desktop version.

In addition to WebRTC, the Opera browser for Android includes a number of features. The blog post lists them as:

-A fresh look for the Speed Dial reflects a flat design.

-Users of Opera for Android can now choose how to set up the browser navigation bars to suit their mobile phone or tablet.

-The Chromium core got a kick up to version 33, and multiple bugs in text-wrap and text selection are squashed.

-Improvements to search sees the combined search and address bar upgraded, allowing easier search by maintaining the words you search for in the bar.

Vine today announced an updated set of rules and regulations


Vine today announced an updated set of rules and regulations that is aimed at putting a stop to pornography on the video sharing service. These changes, according to Twitter, are likely to affect only about one percent of its user base. “For more than 99 percent of our users, this doesn’t really change anything. For the rest: we don’t have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet – we just prefer not to be the source of it,” the company said in a statement.

These new rules but a ban on acts on sex (alone or with another person), use of sex toys, provocative nudity, close-up of aroused genitals and sexual act or animation — often called Hentai. While pornographic content has been banned, Vine still allows users to post some forms of nudity as long as it is featured in a documentary, art and not sexually provocative.

First time offenders will have their account temporarily suspended until the offensive content is removed. Repeated offenders, on the other hand, will see their accounts permanently discontinued.

Since its launch last year, Vine has been struggling to contain the rise in adult content. Even if the videos were limited to sex seconds, Vine soon became known for short porn clips, sometimes posted by porn stars themselves. TechCrunch’s John Biggs too wrote about Vine’s Porn Problems days after the service’s launch. According to CNN, the timing of the pornography ban is not a coincidence, and the move may in fact be triggered by the incident which saw a pornographic video accidentally put up on the Editor’s Picks’ section and shared widely on the service.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Facebook tightens rules on gun posts

Facebook tightens rules on gun posts

A lobby group of American mothers has spoofed Facebook's "Look Back" video to campaign against the site's policy on guns.

The world's biggest social networking site Facebook has tightened its rules on posts relating to guns.

The site said it will remove posts from users who "indicate a willingness" to break the law - like requiring no background check - to sell firearms.

Access to posts related to sale of guns and other regulated items will be restricted to users over the age of 18.

Facebook has been under pressure from lobbying groups to alter its policy on such posts.

While the website is not an e-commerce platform, people use it to promote their goods and solicit buyers.

"People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial," the firm said in a blog post.

It said that people had expressed concerns about the offers "for the private sales of firearms" on the site.

"It is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals' desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere."

The firm said that it had worked with various stakeholders, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, to develop the new rules.

Under the guidelines, private sellers of firearms in the US will not be permitted to specify "no background check required", nor can they offer to transact across state lines "without a licensed firearms dealer".

The new regulations, which will be enforced in the coming weeks, will also apply to its photo sharing site Instagram.

(AT LAST) XP - the operating system that will not die

On 8 April Microsoft will end support for the venerable Windows XP operating system. That means no more security patches, software updates or bug fixes for the software.

Screengrab of XP splash page

It's an event that Microsoft has been warning people and businesses about for months. And it is one that hi-tech thieves have been looking forward to as those digital protections start to diminish.

In a bid to get users shifting over to a more modern version of windows, Microsoft has created a website that tells people if they are, or are not, running the software and on 8 March will make a pop-up warning appear on the screens of those who are still using it. Microsoft is also working with some other software firms to help people work out how to update and upgrade and has made tools that transfer data and settings over to a new version of Windows so the switch is as painless as possible.

Long life

Windows XP (for "eXPerience") went on sale in October 2001 and has proved remarkably resilient. Figures from market research firm Net Applications suggest that it was the most widely used Microsoft operating system until August 2012 when it was overtaken by Windows 7.
"We estimate that on 9 April we will see 20-25% of all enterprise PCs running XP," said Michael Silver, a research vice-president at consultancy Gartner.

The software is still popular in many government departments and some studies suggest the majority of the world's cash machines still run it.

"The longevity is not because of anything special that has to do with XP," said Mr Silver, "it's actually as outlined in the support life cycle Microsoft laid out in 2004."

Under that life cycle Microsoft commits to providing different levels of support for software products depending on their age and that of the products that succeed them. Delays in the versions of Windows that came after XP extended the support life for the operating system. Add to this the hard work it takes for companies to get applications running on new versions of Windows and its no surprise that companies have stuck with it.

However, said Mr Silver, people and businesses should be getting on with shifting to something newer.

"If you are only acting now you are pretty late," he said.

Many of the world's cash machines are believed to be still running Windows XP

Secure session

One of the reasons that Microsoft is keen to stop people using XP is because it is feared that once the security updates stop, anyone still using XP will be a tempting target for hi-tech thieves. This was especially true given the work that Microsoft had done to harden more recent versions of Windows against attack, said James Lyne, director of technology strategy at security firm Sophos.

"It's got harder for the bad guys to come up with working exploits for more modern Windows platforms," he said. Windows 7 and 8 now employ several different techniques that hide the internal workings of the operating system from attackers. Cybercriminals keen to steal data or compromise machines often get a foothold by exploiting a problem in an application such as a web browser. Then they piggyback on the access that application has to a PC's memory to burrow their way in deeper.

Exploits had far less chance to work on those more up-to-date versions of Windows because of the very different way they moved data in and out of different places in memory, he said. As a result, anyone sticking with XP could be at risk as it will be easier to crack than Windows 7 or 8. Unfortunately, said Jason Steer from security firm Fire Eye, the biggest security threats to XP may be outside Microsoft's control. "About 90% of the vulnerabilities for Windows XP are found in third-party programs," he said.

This meant that cybercriminals used bugs in programs from Adobe and Oracle's Java to get at Windows users rather than look for a specific operating system vulnerability, he said. Doubtless the end of security support will mean bugs in those other programs will have more success at catching people out.

Windows XP is still very popular in China and many people use pirated copies of the software

The good news is that many anti-virus companies are planning to keep on updating their products to spot malware aimed at XP. Most are keeping an eye on XP for at least a year and some will keep providing updates for much longer, suggests a list drawn up by independent security monitoring organisation AV Test.

"Every one of our customers brings up the problem of XP," said Mr Steer, from Fire Eye, adding that companies that had not upgraded by now were not going to able to manage the swap in the next 30 days. "Those upgrade and update projects can take 12-18 months to roll out," said Mr Steer. "They are going to have to mitigate that risk in other ways."

Delaying had other problems too, said Mr Silver from Gartner. Some software firms that make programs that ran on XP no longer test on the operating system. Some had ditched XP versions a couple of years ago, he said, so keeping on with that older application could end up being costly. And then there is the problem of China. Windows XP is still hugely popular in mainland China but Microsoft has much less control over these machines because so many of them are running pirated versions of the software.

Those pirates are unlikely to want to pay for a new operating system when they did not pay for the last one they got.

The Chinese authorities are known to have had meetings with Microsoft asking it to extend support so XP users are not left at risk. Microsoft reportedly refused to make a special case for the country. Now some of China's native security firms are banding together to help provide updates and security fixes on their own.

Microsoft, it seems, is going to be haunted by XP for a long time to come.

Car no longer the star with in-vehicle technology

The reality appears to be that the connected vehicle is no longer such a far-off aspiration.

Apple makes its next move in hands-free smartphone technology for car drivers when it unveils a new, integrated iPhone voice-control system at the Geneva Motor Show this week

The race to dominate the in-car technology market took a new turn this week whenApple unveiled its long-awaited in-car system, CarPlay. Originally discussed at last year’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, the new system will be available as an update to iOS7 and provides access to calls, messages, maps and music through a mixture of voice control with Apple’s “digital assistant” Siri and the car’s built-in system.

First to get it are Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, with other manufacturers expected to follow. “The car effectively becomes the second screen for the iPhone,” said Forrester analyst Frank Gillett. “This will make things extremely easy for consumers to use, because we already know how to use our Apple devices.”
Apple made the announcement ahead of this year’s motor show in Geneva. Emerging market It’s another step indicating that mobile makers are looking more seriously at cars as a new market. The days when in-car technology was limited to your music system – the iPod has supported integration with some cars for a decade or more – and possibly GPS if your budget stretched to it are long since gone.

These days, it’s common to find Bluetooth built into your vehicle, with more expensive options including a built-in mobile connections to download everything from updated maps to the latest news headlines.

For the car firms it’s an admission that their proprietary systems didn’t meet the needs or tastes of younger tech-savy customers who were more excited by the latest apps than the latest Audi. There’s a cohort of urban middle-class twentysomethings that are apathetic to the motoring world but fixated on gadgets. Rather than trying to compete with the tech firms for in-car infotainment, auto firms are now resigned to letting their dashboards be conduits for software applications from dedicated tech giants.

A study by Accenture last year indicated that almost 40 per cent of car buyers rate in-vehicle technology as a main selling point when it came to buying a vehicle. That compares with 14 per cent who said performance of power and speed would be their first point of interest.

At major technology shows such as consumer electronics show CES, it’s no longer unusual to see carmakers unveiling their wares alongside laptop makers and mobile firms. This year’s CES had a record number of car firms exhibit at the event, while Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has also played host to firms such as Ford.

Innovate to prosper
At the Geneva Motor Show this week, Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche laid out the reality as he sees it, telling attendees that carmakers would need to make sure vehicles could connect to mobile devices and the internet to ensure survive.

“Virtually no product, including the automobile, is purchased or used in a vacuum,” he said. “We all know that the iPod, for example, was not just a game changer based solely on design or technology. It is also about the convenient connection to iTunes.”

Mercedes-Benz is hedging its bets – while signed up with Apple, it said it will also ensure that its cars will work with Android technology, which has a larger share of the smartphone market than Apple.

Mercedes used the Geneva show to unveil its new service brand “Mercedes me”, which allows car owners to access service bookings or access the company’s car-sharing business car2go.

In addition to allowing car owners to customise their own entertainment and communications packages, BMW’s in-car technology also provides a revenue stream for the company, through ConnectedDrive. It also means that consumers can upgrade at the touch of a button, adding new services such as concierge and real-time traffic data subscriptions without having to set foot in a garage.

While the high-end vehicles have had the advanced technology for some time, it seems more keenly-priced vehicles are also getting the smart treatment as car firms try to tap into an increasingly tech savvy younger audience.

“What used to be a feature seen in premium cars is now coming into the low and medium end of the market,” said Dinesh Paliwal, chief executive of Harman International, which makes “infotainment“ systems. “It‘s driven by a change in lifestyle where people no longer want to stop being connected just because they are in a car.“

Sync system
In-car technology an area that Microsoft has been active in for some time. The company’s Windows Embedded Automotive technology has been used in Ford cars for its Sync system since 2007, allowing users to make calls and play music handsfree, as well as navigate and perform vehicle health checks. More than seven million Ford cars on the road have the Sync system and, as car buyers look for more high-tech extras, that looks set to rise.

However, technology moves fast, as Microsoft has found to its cost. Ford is dropping its Microsoft link from 2016. Reasons for the move have been the source of much speculation, from flaws in in-car technology to the desire for something speedier and more flexible.

Microsoft’s loss could be BlackBerry’s gain if reports are true. The troubled smartphone maker may have been struggling in its once dominant market, but it seems that it may have struck gold in car technology, with Ford said to be eyeing its QNX platform as a replacement. QNX, considered one of the jewels in BlackBerry’s crown, is also used by Audi, Porsche, BMW, Chrysler, Porsche and Saab vehicles.

The QNX technology also has the added advantage of being less expensive, a weighty consideration for companies facing increased competition.

However, it’s not all about infotainment. While some technology has been developed for entertainment and communication, there are other developments focused on safety and reducing accidents.

That is where the “self-driving” car technology has come into play, with everything from self-parking cars to cars that will identify potential hazards on the road already on the market. It’s set to go a step further in the future, although there are some issues still to resolve – such as who bears responsibility in the case of an accident.

Google’s self-driving cars, kitted out with a array of sensors, are being trialled on the streets of Nevada. Daimler said last year it plans to have a self-driving car on the market before 2020, while BMW has also been testing cars that can change lanes automatically, adjust speed according to surrounding traffic and generally take over the more tedious parts of the commute.

However, the important element of the equation is that the driver can take over at any moment should something unexpected happen. Daimler’s system is similar, allowing drivers to take back control when conditions are more challenging, such as traffic lights or cyclists in urban locations.

The reality appears to be that the connected vehicle is no longer a far-off aspiration.

Call it a Software Update

Software Update. Get the latest updates. Automatically.Software Update
Call it a Software Update
In addition to releasing new versions of the system software at regular intervals, Apple also releases a stream of free software updates to enrich your computing experience. Mac OS X automatically checks weekly for software updates provided you have an internet connection.
You can choose a different schedule, or check manually if you don’t have a continuous Internet connection. If Software Update finds an item to download, it appears in a list. Click on an item to get a description before downloading it. If you see updates that you will never use, such as a language you don’t speak or drivers for a printer you don’t own, choose Make Inactive from the Update menu.
To get updates immediately, follow these steps:
  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple Menu.
  2. Choose Software Update from the View menu.
  3. Click Update Now.
  4. Select the items you want to install, then click Install.
  5. Enter an Admin user name and password.
  6. After the update is complete, restart the computer if necessary.

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