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5 ways Facebook changed us, for better and worse


By Doug Gross


(CNN) - Ten years and 1.2 billion users into its existence, there's no question that Facebook has changed our lives.


Whether it was an inspired vision, deft execution, a bit of dumb luck or a combination of all three, Mark Zuckerberg's social juggernaut has ingrained itself into the daily lives of digital-age users in a way that forebears like MySpace and contemporaries like Twitter could only imagine.


Which is not to say it's all 'likes' and 'shares' and happy kid pics. As with any new (or newly discovered) technology, the impact of the end product is largely in the hands of the user. We are, after all, only human - with all the joy and sadness, decency and ugliness that that entails.


So here, as Facebook turns 10 on Tuesday, is a look back at five ways the social network has changed us - for better and for worse.


Share! Share! Share!

The good: Wedding announcements? Thing of the past. Birth announcement? Just slap an Instagram shot of that bouncing baby boy or girl on your timeline.


Dating? Graduated? Bought a house? Got a puppy? Same deal.


We take it for granted now, but the ability to share major events with all the people closest to you with a single click of the mouse is unprecedented.


There were the Myspaces of the world before Facebook. But mom, your second cousin and Aunt Jenny weren't on them.


And it's not just the good stuff, either. Changing that relationship status to 'single' can save you from those awkward 'How's Joey doing? You two are so cute together!' conversations.


The bad: Overshare! Overshare! Overshare!


Seriously. Ten years in, some folks haven't figured out what everyone on their friends list wants, or needs, to know.


OK, sometimes those pictures of your dinner look delicious. Sometimes.


But the detailed updates on your mundane day are mind-numbing and the play-by-play of your 3-year-old's potty training is just - too much.


We all want to know you got a wedding ring. The fact that you just polished the one you've had for 14 years? Not so much.


The past is not really past

The good: When a site has 1.2 billion users (OK, we all know some of those are multiple or abandoned accounts, so let's say at least a cool billion) it's a pretty amazing database of the world's Web-enabled population.


That means your odds of finding just about anybody are a heck of a lot better than they were 10 years ago.


There have been the remarkable tales, like the woman who - after years of failed efforts - reunited after 44 years with her birth mother. How long did it take on Facebook? Two days.


For most of us, it's less dramatic than that. Childhood friends who moved long ago, college roommates who drifted away, even former teachers who served as inspirations are now but a quick search away. There's no doubt we have friends because of Facebook that we wouldn't have otherwise.


The bad: Sometimes, drifting apart isn't a bad thing.


Yes, your old high-school classmates got annoying and your cousin's politics disgust you. But we're not talking about that.


We're talking about exes. And past flirtations. And cheating.


Nostalgia is part of life. But, with Facebook, getting nostalgic about an old crush or flame could lead to a late-night Facebook message. Or, you know, a poke.


'I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,' Gary Traystman, a divorce attorney in New London, Connecticut, told the Wall Street Journal.


More than 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they've seen an increase in cases involving social media, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and one-third of all divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a survey by Divorce Online.


Temptation is always out there. But with Facebook, it can be a little too convenient.


It makes you happy

The good: In 2009, a survey of 2,600 college students by researchers at the University of Texas showed that those who were the heaviest users of Facebook were the most satisfied with their lives. They also were more likely to be engaged socially and politically.


More recently, a University of Wisconsin study showed that, after five minutes of looking at their own shiny Facebook profiles, users experienced a significant boost in self-esteem. A 2011 Cornell University study delivered similar results.


'For many people, there's an automatic assumption that the Internet is bad,' associate professor Jeffrey Hancock said at the time. 'This is one of the first studies to show that there's a psychological benefit of Facebook.'


The bad: Or maybe it makes you unhappy.


Other studies have looked at aspects of Facebook use and the results have been less encouraging.


Last year, a University of Michigan researcher found that looking at posts by Facebook friends - you know, the photos of smiling kids on vacation in the Caribbean or announcements about promotions, engagements and awesome nights on the town - can make us feel sadder about our own humdrum lives.


'On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,' the study reads. 'Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.'


As with many things, your mileage may very. But what's clear is that Facebook has become such a part of our lives that it tweaks our emotions, for better or worse.


Every day is a reunion

The good: Reuniting with classmates from high school or college has never been easier. Pre-Facebook, a class reunion committee looking to celebrate five, 10 or 20 years post-diploma faced a thankless task.


'Where does Jennifer live these days?' 'Who has Steven's phone number?' 'Do you know Wanda's married name?'


Now? One Facebook event invitation and you can focus on booking the best '80s cover band available.


The bad: If every day is a reunion, why have a reunion?


Actually reuniting with old classmates is losing some of its appeal when we know the names of the former theater club president's three kids and which character from 'The Hunger Games' she'd be.


Timothy Davis, co-founder of reunion website Classreport.com, told the Baltimore Sun that he has noticed a drop-off in the number of reunions in recent years, particularly among folks in their mid- to late 20s.


'People I haven't talked to in years will see my wedding pictures on Facebook, then I'll see them in person and we won't say one word to each other ...,' Rebecca Miller, a 23-year-old whose five-year reunion fizzled to a small party at the class president's house, told the paper. 'Why go to a high school reunion when you're going to stand around and go, 'So, how did that doctor's appointment go yesterday?''


Privacy

The good: For those willing to find and use them, Facebook provides tools that let you select who sees what.


So, while grandma is welcome to look at those pics of the kids playing in the snow, she might not need to be privy to your strongly worded rant about the cable guy who is two days late. You can direct that one instead to buddies with a proper appreciation for your expansive vocabulary.


Rival Twitter is designed by default to be a public forum, where you broadcast your 140-character pearls of wisdom to the world. Facebook allows that, too, but is more geared toward limiting your thoughts to certain family and friends.


The bad: Well, you know.


Security breaches have been a reality of many websites' growth. But as its user base grew dramatically, Facebook's problems (like the time CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg got his own page hacked) played out in front of a massive, and nervous, audience.


While Facebook has privacy settings that let users protect information, some privacy advocates say the network doesn't make them easy enough to find and use. (Facebook has worked to ease those concerns, especially for younger users).


At the end of the day, Facebook benefits when you decide to share more openly. The details about your life that you share on Facebook are rounded up and compiled into a profile of you that helps advertisers target you with things they think you'll like.


So, when you announced your pregnancy and were, soon after, bombarded with Facebook ads for a bunch of baby stuff? That was no coincidence.


To be clear, Facebook is not handing advertisers information about you personally. But, somewhere, there exists a nameless profile of a user with your hometown, gender, age and likes and dislikes, just waiting to be used for marketing purposes.


That, in a nutshell, is the entry fee to use this remarkable social tool. Yes, Facebook has changed the way we communicate. Whether it is truly cost-free remains another question.


™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Take it from Facebook and Microsoft: The future of hardware is open


Service Desk Comparative Report


Gartner's recent magic quadrant for IT Service Support Management included no vendors as leaders or innovators. Learn why and how ITinvolve is delivering an innovative service desk solution that empowers IT staff through social collaboration and visualization to improve incident analysis and triage to speed incident resolution time.


Microsoft offering store credit bounty on PS3s


An ad encouraging customers to ditch their PS3s has been released to some mailing lists.


Microsoft is offering $100 of credit to its store when trading in Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.


The promotion is an effort to further promote the Xbox One and encourage gamers to trade up on their current console. The fact that they are also encouraging trade ins of Sony's devices has raised a few eyebrows.


An ad has been emailed out to several customers encouraging them to 'ditch' their PS3 in exchange for store credit towards the Xbox One. The terms and conditions require for the consoles to be in working order and without any broken or missing parts, with original chargers and accessories and can't be locked by a password.


Whilst Microsoft is likely to re-sell the Xbox 360s, it is unclear what Microsoft intends to do with the Playstation 3s that it receives.


The offer is only available for residents of the US, Canada and Puerto Rico and is only valid in physical Microsoft retail stores as opposed to online. The deal will run from now until the beginning of March.


The Xbox One and Playstation 4 have both been locked in a close-run race since their launch with both units breaking the 1 million units mark very quickly after their respective launches. At the end of last year, Sony sold approximately 4.2m Playstation 4s and Microsoft sold approximately 3.2m Xbox Ones.


Current figures released by Sony suggest that in the UK, its console is outpacing its Microsoft rival by 1.5 Playstation 4s sold for every single Xbox One.


Dell Wyse Cloud Connect Officially Launched, Priced At $129

A year ago Dell announced that it was working on a new product which was then called as Project Ophelia. This device which was shown by the company at CES 2013 is the size of a thumb drive which turns any compatible TV or monitor into a PC, gaming machine or even a set-top box.



The company has finally launched this product which is now called Dell Wyse Cloud Connect and costs $129, a little bit over the $100 estimated price a year ago. It has a size slightly larger than a USB stick and can turn any display into a PC. While it is aimed at enterprises and educational institutions it will also appeal to individuals who want a portable solution in carrying a PC without bringing with them a laptop.


Technical Specifications Operating System: Android 4.1, Jelly Bean Display: HDMI/MHL equipped video interface, 1080p Full-HD resolution support Processor: Multi-core Cortex-A9 ARM System-on-Chip (SoC) Networking: 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band wireless Ports: MHL/HDMI video interface, DisplayPort video interface, 1x USB mini for peripherals, 1x Micro USB host port / External power input, 1x Micro SD card slot (expandable up to 72GB flash storage) Connectivity: Bluetooth paring button, Citrix Receiver, VMware Horizon View client, MSFT RDP Memory: 8GB flash, 1 GB RAM, 1x Micro SD card slot (expandable up to 72GB flash storage) Miscellaneous: LED power indicator, Android applications, music, magazines etc. , Enterprise level security ,Device security, Operating system & application level security, Desktop & content security, Management, Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager, Enterprise level security enforcement, System management, Application and content management, User Self-Service Portal, Real-time reporting, alerts & analytics, Chrome

Wyse Cloud Connect connects to a monitor or TV using an HDMI port. You will be able to install Android apps on its 8GB internal storage. While it is definitely very portable in order for consumers to use it an input device must be connected to it such as a keyboard and a mouse. This means that if you plan on bringing this device with you just make sure to have a keyboard and mouse present.


Some of its key features include


Enterprise-class security: Allows the secure access and sharing of work and personal files, presentations, applications and other content from the business to the home. Mobile computing: Slightly larger than a USB stick. Just add a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Zero-battery technology: Does not need batteries to function since power is supplied through the MHL interface or a separate USB port Ultrathin client: Works with many existing Dell Wyse thin clients as well as Citrix, Microsoft or VMware environments.

Google could be looking to Nest to build exciting new products outside of smart ...


When Google first purchased Motorola to the tune of $12 billion back in 2011, some analysts predicted Google was in it only for the patents and to some extent, they were. But other than simply bolstering their patent portfolio to help defend Android her hardware partners, some saw it as an undercover move by Google to get into the hardware business.


But now that Google is ready to call it quits with Motorola, who will the search giant turn to for building new hardware? The answer could lay in Nest. According to sources from TechCrunch, Google has big plans for Nest - whom they recently purchased for $3.2 billion - outside of building smart thermostats and smoke detectors. Does this mean we could see a Nest built smartphone or tablet in the future? Not so fast...


It's being said Google didn't buy Nest solely for their popular thermostat, but to get a hold of their amazing product team. Have you guys ever seen a Nest up close? It really is a thing of beauty. Tony Fadell, Nest's CEO, originally worked with Apple on both the iPod and iPhone, and when he left to found Nest, he managed to bring many ex-Apple engineers along with him.


With Fadell more than capable of building shiny new gadgets for Google, it's possible we'll soon see Google Glass and the Chromecast joined by other innovative new products. Nest-built Android game console, anyone?



Foursquare Now Lets You Order In Directly From US Restaurants


Foursquare is teaming up with GrubHub Seamless, the company announced Thursday, meaning users are now able to order delivery from thousands of restaurants directly through Foursquare.


A new GrubHub or Seamless icon will appear at the bottom of the Foursquare app when a user is viewing a participating restaurant. You'll be able to place your orders directly through the app; Foursquare announced that more than 20,000 restaurants from across the United States will now have that function within Foursquare.


You can look specifically for GrubHub Seamless restaurants by searching for their cuisine type and adding the word 'delivery' to the end of the search. For example, searching 'pizza delivery' would return restaurants from the GrubHub Seamless network. Foursquare matched its own restaurant database with the GrubHub Seamless database to identify participating restaurants, according to a company spokesperson.



GrubHub and Seamless finalized a merger in August after announcing that the two delivery companies would join forces in May 2013. The company takes a small percentage of order sales and is free for consumers to place orders.


The financial details of the agreement are unknown. A Foursquare spokesperson declined to comment on any financial aspect of the arrangement.


The new feature is available starting Thursday on Foursquare.com, as well as on both the iOS and Android versions of the app, according to the company's blog.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Google Maps' open

A A

The Berlin startup scene has its first big exit of 2014, and indeed one of its largest yet: navigation veteran Telenav has picked up local OpenStreetMap specialist Skobbler for $23.8 million.


It's not just good news for Berlin, either. For those involved in OpenStreetMap (OSM), a global, crowdsourced, open-source mapping project, it represents a potentially healthy consolidation. OSM founder Steve Coast recently joined Telenav, and Skobbler is the leader in OSM integration and commercial use. The team's all together now, and all those 1.5 million OSM contributors will now see their work put to greater use - with a good deal more investment, too.


The nice thing about OSM is that, even when the data finds its way into commercial maps, anyone can still download it and find their own use for it. This is a markedly different model from Google's, in which contributors can improve Google Maps but can't then get data out of it.


As far as apps go, the big beneficiary here is Telenav's Google Maps-rivaling Scout app, which is currently heavily U.S.-focused but which will now go global. As Telenav is also working to put Scout into cars, there's scope here for an OSM automotive boost, too. However, by the sounds of it Skobbler's current apps will continue as normal for now - after all, they are big in the likes of Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, as opposed to the current North American user base of Scout.


Unlike Google Maps, Skobbler's ForeverMap (iOS) and GPS Navigation & Maps are paid-for, but they have a couple of big selling points: they're tailored for offline use and they use the OSM system which, by its crowdsourced nature, is particularly good for offroad and pedestrian routes - in fact, in countries such as England and Germany, OSM is more detailed than Google Maps and other rivals.


Skobbler also provides a tool called GeOS to help other developers integrate OSM into their services. Foursquare and Wikipedia are notable services that use OSM data.


Telenav has been contributing to the OSM project for the last 3 years, and is already using OSM data in the HTML5 version of its U.S.-focused Scout app.


'By joining our efforts with Skobbler, we will build on our combined successes to bring the best mapping and navigation services to our customers around the world,' Telenav chief HP Jin said in a statement. 'The benefits of an open source model will provide an enormous opportunity to change the economic models of navigation and other location-based services.'


Related research

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Microsoft Enhances Windows Intune, Outlines MDM Vision


Microsoft VP Brad Anderson: 'Microsoft's vision is to enable people to be productive on all the devices they love while helping IT ensure that corporate assets are secure and protected.'


Don't count Microsoft (MSFT) out of the race to win mobile device management (MDM) market share. This week Microsoft is offering a top level view of its mobile device management approach and announcing enhancements to Windows Intune, its cloud-based device management tool.


First, a run down of the new Windows Intune features, which include the following:


Support for e-mail profiles that can configure a device with the correct e-mail server information and related policies -- and it can also remove that profile and related e-mail via a remote wipe. In addition to the unified deployment mode and integration with System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Intune be able to stand alone as a cloud-only MDM solution. There is also support for new data protection settings in iOS 7 -- including the 'managed open in' capability that protects corporate data by controlling the apps and accounts that can open documents and attachments. This update also enables broader protection capabilities like remotely locking a lost device, or resetting a device's PIN if forgotten.

Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson announced these and other plans yesterday in a Microsoft Server & Management blog post, aiming to connect the industry's vision of consumerization and Microsoft's.


'Microsoft's vision is to enable people to be productive on all the devices they love while helping IT ensure that corporate assets are secure and protected,' he said.


Anderson said he's a 'big believer' in managing modern devices from a cloud service, mainly due to the 'rapid pace at which new devices and updates to the devices are released.'


Microsoft's approach to solving complex MDM issues for IT administrators combines Windows Intune and Windows Azure Active Directory, he said. Together, Intune and Azure Active Directory enable organizations to 'define and manage user identities and access, operate a single administrative console to manage devices, deliverapps, and help protect data,' Anderson said.


Microsoft's approach going forward also includes the integration of cloud-based management with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. The company said its strategy differs from competitors because it offers unified PC and device management.


New features for Windows Intune help 'organizations proactively manage this new generation of IT,' he said.


And Microsoft has more enhancements on the roadmap.


'Looking ahead to later this year, we will continue to launch additional updates to the service including the ability to allow/deny apps from running (or accessing certain sites), conditional access to e-mail depending upon the status of the device, app-specific restrictions regarding how apps interact and use data, and bulk enrollment of devices,' he said.


As the MDM market heats up between megavendors and independent vendors, channel partners will be stuck in the middle, searching for the right partner. Microsoft's announcement follows on last week's big MDM news: VMware's (VMW) acquisition of AirWatch. Can Microsoft lead channel partners toward the exit sign in a smoke-filled room? Will the company qualify this year in Gartner's (IT) MDM Magic Quadrant?


Follow CJ Arlotta on Twitter @cjarlotta for further updates on the story above.

Microsoft Enhances Windows Intune, Outlines MDM Vision


Microsoft VP Brad Anderson: 'Microsoft's vision is to enable people to be productive on all the devices they love while helping IT ensure that corporate assets are secure and protected.'


Don't count Microsoft (MSFT) out of the race to win mobile device management (MDM) market share. This week Microsoft is offering a top level view of its mobile device management approach and announcing enhancements to Windows Intune, its cloud-based device management tool.


First, a run down of the new Windows Intune features, which include the following:


Support for e-mail profiles that can configure a device with the correct e-mail server information and related policies -- and it can also remove that profile and related e-mail via a remote wipe. In addition to the unified deployment mode and integration with System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Intune be able to stand alone as a cloud-only MDM solution. There is also support for new data protection settings in iOS 7 -- including the 'managed open in' capability that protects corporate data by controlling the apps and accounts that can open documents and attachments. This update also enables broader protection capabilities like remotely locking a lost device, or resetting a device's PIN if forgotten.

Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson announced these and other plans yesterday in a Microsoft Server & Management blog post, aiming to connect the industry's vision of consumerization and Microsoft's.


'Microsoft's vision is to enable people to be productive on all the devices they love while helping IT ensure that corporate assets are secure and protected,' he said.


Anderson said he's a 'big believer' in managing modern devices from a cloud service, mainly due to the 'rapid pace at which new devices and updates to the devices are released.'


Microsoft's approach to solving complex MDM issues for IT administrators combines Windows Intune and Windows Azure Active Directory, he said. Together, Intune and Azure Active Directory enable organizations to 'define and manage user identities and access, operate a single administrative console to manage devices, deliverapps, and help protect data,' Anderson said.


Microsoft's approach going forward also includes the integration of cloud-based management with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. The company said its strategy differs from competitors because it offers unified PC and device management.


New features for Windows Intune help 'organizations proactively manage this new generation of IT,' he said.


And Microsoft has more enhancements on the roadmap.


'Looking ahead to later this year, we will continue to launch additional updates to the service including the ability to allow/deny apps from running (or accessing certain sites), conditional access to e-mail depending upon the status of the device, app-specific restrictions regarding how apps interact and use data, and bulk enrollment of devices,' he said.


As the MDM market heats up between megavendors and independent vendors, channel partners will be stuck in the middle, searching for the right partner. Microsoft's announcement follows on last week's big MDM news: VMware's (VMW) acquisition of AirWatch. Can Microsoft lead channel partners toward the exit sign in a smoke-filled room? Will the company qualify this year in Gartner's (IT) MDM Magic Quadrant?


Follow CJ Arlotta on Twitter @cjarlotta for further updates on the story above.

Google Rides Ads, Apps to $17 Billion Revenue Quarter

By Chris Preimesberger | Posted 2014-01-30 Email Print



Most of this success is based on continued good news in terms of its bread-and-butter business -- attracting eyeballs for advertising purposes.


Google, with all of its acquisition moves, robot R&D, moonshot ideas and edgy Earthbound projects, above all knows how to run a successful business. This is a company that went public in August 2004 at $85 per share and plainly knows how to make money in the new economy. The stock closed Jan. 30 up $28 on the day at $1,139, and then kept moving north to $1,182 in after-hours trading, up another $43. The Mountain View, Calif.-based search and web services giant revealed another stellar quarterly earnings report Jan. 30, totaling $16.9 billion -- or $9.90 per share -- in revenue versus $14.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Profit was $3.4 billion compared with $2.9 billion in Q4 2012. About $10.55 billion of revenue emanated from Google's sites and $3.52 billion from partner sites, Google said.


Most of this financial success is based on continued good news in terms of its bread-and-butter business -- attracting eyeballs for advertising purposes. Paid clicks, which measure volume in Google's advertising businesses, were improved 31 percent over 2012, while the cost per click -- a clear measure of the margin on its core business -- fell 11 percent year over year.


CEO and co-founder Larry Page described the report as representing 'great progress across a wide range of product improvements and business goals.' Application sales, mostly for games on mobile devices, and sales of devices were also important drivers. The pre-holiday release of the Nexus 5 tablet and strong demand for the Chromecast television dongle also made an impact. 'Revenue growth was driven by content and app sales in the Google Play store,' Google CFO Patrick Pichette, said on the conference call to analysts and journalists. 'Play hardware sales drove a big chunk of quarter-over-quarter growth. Nexus 5 was very strong for us, and the Chromecast was a best seller all quarter.'


Chromebook laptop sales were strong, but they did not contribute much to Google's bottom line. 'Most Chromebooks are sold through third parties, so we don't book revenue on them,' Pichette said. The sales of much of Motorola's mobile properties to China's Lenovo, the $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, a patent-license deal with Samsung, the acquisitions of artificial intelligence provider DeepMind all did not have a material effect on the Q4 2013 report but will figure prominently in the next one.


Dell announces availability of Dell Wyse Cloud Connect

Dell has announced the availability of Dell Wyse Cloud Connect, an ultra-compact and highly mobile cloud-access device designed to deliver desktop virtualisation and personal cloud services to any HDMI- or MHL-enabled display.


The pocket-size device delivers a full-HD experience with enterprise-level security, manageability and reliability.



Organisations of any size can now deliver streaming cloud services and IT solutions in a cost-effective, mobile offering for work, home and on the go.


'Cloud Connect is among the most cutting-edge mobile thin client solutions that we have tested at our labs,' says Joseph Korah, Senior Director and Head of Kochi Operations, Cognizant.


'With its ability to work seamlessly with Citrix, Microsoft and VMware environments, the solution holds great potential for the futuristic enterprise that is looking for ways to improve productivity at work and on the go for its enterprise workforce.'


According to Dell, Cloud Connect represents a new end-user device category that bridges thin clients and mobile devices as part of Dell Cloud Client-Computing's end-to-end desktop virtualisation solutions portfolio.


The extremely compact, secure, cloud-managed device with a low total cost of ownership (TCO) supports multiple use cases including mobile workers, students, digital signage, kiosks and other space-constrained environments.


According to IDC, the smart connected-device market grew 30.4 percent in 2012 and global shipments are expected to surpass 1.7 billion by 2014.


By 2017, IDC expects that shipments will surpass 2.3 billion units and revenue will reach $748.6 billion.


These numbers illustrate a powerful and ongoing disruption in how users communicate and interact with their professional and personal content, driven by trends such as BYOD, mobile app development, social media and cloud computing.


Cloud Connect represents a new category of smart connected device and is the only device of its kind that is seamlessly integrated into a secure, controlled, end-to-end desktop virtualisation portfolio that includes:


· Software for mobile device and application management and control with Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager


· Flexible desktop virtualisation solutions from Dell partners Citrix, Microsoft and VMware


· Personal cloud access to files and apps through Dell Wyse PocketCloud


· Global customer support expertise through Dell ProSupport for Cloud


'Small, smart and secure; Cloud Connect is a disruptive device,' adds Steve Lalla, vice president and general manager for Dell Cloud Client-Computing.


'We unlock new options for our customers to access their data and applications by combining mobility, manageability and security with a powerful user experience at an affordable price-point.'


Dell finally ships Android


Dell has started shipping the Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect, a US$129 device that is slightly larger than a USB stick and can be used by consumers to watch movies in HD or by enterprises as a virtual desktop client.


The product has been a long time coming; under the code-name 'Project Ophelia' the device was demonstrated over a year ago at the International CES trade show in Las Vegas. The concept is simple, just connect it to a computer display or a TV via MHL or HDMI, attach a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you're up and running.


Cloud Connect runs Android 4.1 and is powered by a 'multi-core' ARM Cortex-A9 processor. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of integrated storage that can be expanded using a Micro SD card slot.


The maximum resolution is 1080p, and it communicates using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The device is powered either via the MHL interface or separately through the integrated USB port.


Consumers can use the device to do the same things they use their Android-based devices for: play games, watch streaming movies and TV programs or just surf the Web, but on a bigger screen.


Enterprises can use the device as a client with virtual desktop platforms from Citrix Systems, Microsoft and VMware. In this role, Cloud Connect could for example work as a cost-effective desktop for the education market, extending application and data access in classrooms, libraries, labs or at home, according to Dell.


Cloud Connect can be managed using the hosted Wyse Cloud Client Manager, through which IT managers can grant access to apps and content based on role, department and location, Dell said.


The device is available in North America and Europe as well as Australia, China, India, Japan and Brazil. Dell also offers compatible accessories including displays, Bluetooth keyboards and mice.


Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Man claims hacker took PayPal, GoDaddy accounts hostage in exchange for his ...

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Naoki Hiroshima says he was extorted into giving up his valuable single-letter Twitter name after a hacker staged an elaborate online attack that infiltrated his PayPal and GoDaddy accounts.


A California man claims his online accounts were held hostage by a hacker in exchange for the rights to his $50,000 Twitter handle.


'I had a rare Twitter username,' Naoki Hiroshima wrote in an online post Tuesday addressing the step-by-step takeover of his one-letter handle: @N.


'I've been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox,' he claimed. 'As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up.'


According to the unknown villain, whose emails to Hiroshima were documented in his post, all that the attacks required was some 'very simple engineering tactics.'


In an email detailing his steps - after the Twitter handle was acquired - the hacker claims to have simply called up websites PayPal and GoDaddy to gain access to Hiroshima's accounts.


RELATED: MICHAELS INVESTIGATING CREDIT CARD BREACH

In order to convince the companies that he was the rightful owner of the accounts, they allegedly asked him to provide the number of a credit card belonging to Hiroshima that they had on file.


With Paypal, the attacker claimed, 'I called paypal and used some very simple engineering tactics to obtain the last four of your card.'


With GoDaddy: 'I called godaddy and told them I had lost the card but I remembered the last four, the agent then allowed me to try a range of numbers,' or 'guess,' as he so claimed.



Incredibly, he apparently guessed right.


On Jan. 20, just before 3 p.m., Hiroshima received a threatening email from the man, declaring his ransom request.


RELATED: 'REVENGE PORN KING' HUNTER MOORE CHARGED IN NUDE-PHOTO HACKING

'I would also like to inform you that your GoDaddy domains are in my possession, one fake purchase and they can be repossessed by GoDaddy and never seen again,' he wrote.


'I see you run quite a few nice websites so I have left those alone for now, all data on the sites has remained intact. Would you be willing to compromise? access to @N for about 5 minutes while I swap the handle in exchange for your godaddy, and help securing your data?' the message continued.


Less than two hours later, Hiroshima received an email from GoDaddy confirming the attacker's success.


'You are not the current registrant of the domain name,' the email, sent to him in response to his request for help changing his account information, allegedly read.


Hiroshima received one last warning email from the hacker before he relinquished his coveted Twitter handle to the online villain by changing it to: @N_is_stolen.


RELATED: N.Y. MERCHANTS AMONG THOSE TARGETED BY CREDIT CARD DATA HACKERS: CYBERCRIME FIRM

Minutes later he received a reply from the hacker containing his new GoDaddy password and a seemingly friendly step-by-step guide on how to pull off his theft.


On Wednesday, PayPal publicly addressed what they called a 'difficult situation' for one of their customers but one they claim they did not have a part in.


'We have carefully reviewed our records and can confirm that there was a failed attempt made to gain this customer's information by contacting PayPal,' they stated.


Aside from this they insist that no credit card details related to Hiroshima's account were released and his PayPal account was not compromised.


GoDaddy also released a statement.


RELATED: SECRET GOVERNMENT BULLETIN DESCRIBES TARGET CYBER ATTACK

'Our review of the situation reveals that the hacker was already in possession of a large portion of the customer information needed to access the account at the time he contacted GoDaddy,' it read in part.


The company admitted that an employee was 'socially engineered' by the hacker but they said they are making 'necessary changes to employee training to ensure we continue to provide industry-leading security to our customers and stay ahead of evolving hacker techniques.'


The Twitter handle @N appeared to be removed by Wednesday night. Hiroshima tweeted that the guy who stole it apparently deleted it - though it's unable to be acquired.


In advice to others, Hiroshima recommended that Internet users not allow websites like PayPal and GoDaddy save credit card information on file.


'I just removed mine. I'll also be leaving GoDaddy and PayPal as soon as possible,' he wrote.


ngolgowski@nydailynews.com


This Dongle Is Dell's Idea Of A New Kind Of Corporate PC That Should Make ...

DellDell this week released a new dongle device that puts a corporate PC in the palm of your hand: the $129 Dell Wyse Cloud Connect.

This device is interesting for a couple of reasons.


It offers a clue to the enterprise 'post-PC' world. It runs on Android.

The dongle plugs into any monitor or TV with an HDMI or MHL port and turns that into a PC running your corporate apps. There is a caveat, however: To gain access to your corporate network, your IT department would have to buy this device and other IT equipment, configure it and control it. The whole setup is known in the enterprise world as 'desktop virtualization.'


Desktop virtualization isn't new, but Dell and other enterprise tech companies (Citrix, VMware) think it's going to be an increasingly popular way that enterprises let employees access corporate software on their personal PCs, smartphones and tablets. It's a trend known as 'bring your own device' (BYOD).


A consumer could also buy the dongle and use it to access his own home PC or Mac, or files stored on Dell's cloud service, using a Dell app called PocketCloud. PocketCloud comes preloaded.


The tech industry talks a lot about the 'post-PC' world, and that usually means that people are now using tablets and smartphones for a lot of tasks that they once used PCs to do, like email, games, shopping, and search.


This is clearly Dell's way of experimenting with new forms of delivering the PC experience.


Equally interesting, however, is that the dongle delivers an Android PC. It doesn't use Windows, even though it could have. Microsoft makes a version of Windows called Windows embedded, that's designed to run things other than traditional PCs.


So add this to the growing list of Android PC alternatives from Microsoft's biggest PC competitors. Earlier this month, HP introduced a $400 Android PC that it's aiming at enterprises, too.


Plus, Lenovo also introduced an Android PC for consumers at CES, built for playing games.


SEE ALSO: Tim Cook: Apple's sales in the huge enterprise market are 'unbelievable'


SEE ALSO: Google will pay a year's salary to hackers who find one really bad security flaw in Chrome OS


Why You Don't Want to Be Microsoft CEO

Technology



Photo illustration by 731; Mug photograph by Don Nichols/Getty Images


The job hasn't been posted-at least not yet. But the opening has been public knowledge since Aug. 23, and for some reason no candidate has stepped up to grab what would appear to be a dream gig: chief executive officer of . In fact, much of the news around the position so far is the long list of people who've decided they'd rather fulfill their dreams elsewhere.


Steve Mollenkopf, No. 2 executive, was a serious candidate until he opted to take a promotion to CEO at the semiconductor company. CEO John Donahoe and former CEO Paul Maritz both took a pass on the Microsoft job, say five people with knowledge of the talks who aren't authorized to speak on the record. And there was so much chatter about CEO Alan Mulally being on the list that he publicly announced he was staying at the carmaker. Through spokesmen, the others declined to comment. For its part, Microsoft says things are proceeding as expected. 'It is not uncommon for CEO searches of this magnitude to require four to six months,' says spokesman Pete Wootton. The company is expected to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks, according to a person familiar with the board's schedule.


Fixing Microsoft will take a lot of strategic imagination. When Steve Ballmer took over from founder Bill Gates in 2000, 93 percent of consumer computing devices ran on the company's Windows operating system; in 2012 it was 19 percent, according to . As Microsoft stares down middle age, some investors want it to focus on business and cloud software and jettison lower-margin consumer hardware. Others are concerned that those markets have become too intertwined for the company to do that.


Most CEO-caliber executives relish these kinds of challenges, especially when the prize is going down in history as the savior of a great American company. But Microsoft may not be offering the kind of freedom required to play hero. Gates, still chairman, may take a more active role in the company depending on who fills the big chair, say three people familiar with his thinking. Mulally decided to end his candidacy partly because he was worried he wouldn't be able to shift away from what predecessors have done, according to a person close to him. Matt McIlwain, a managing director at venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group, says a candidate who's nervous about appealing to Gates shouldn't be the next chief executive of Microsoft. Gates is 'going to be more involved,' McIlwain says. 'If somebody's not comfortable with that, they should figure that out now.'



Then there's the Ballmer factor. He was elected to a new one-year term on Microsoft's board in November. When he became CEO in 2000, he had some trouble exerting his influence with his former Harvard hallmate Gates around, so he well understands what it's like to have a former chief executive in the room. Two people familiar with Ballmer's thinking say he'll consider his successor's wishes when deciding whether to remain on the board. That leaves the incoming CEO with two unenviable options: asking Ballmer to please take a hike, or trying to carve out a fresh path, possibly unwinding part of Ballmer's legacy-with him there to see it.


Should an outside leader arrive in Redmond, Wash., the welcoming committee will include several internal candidates who have been interviewed for the top job: business development, strategy, and evangelism Executive Vice President Tony Bates; Chief Operating Officer B. Kevin Turner; and Satya Nadella, who oversees the company's cloud and enterprise business. Also in the running has been former CEO Stephen Elop, a longtime Microsoft executive who recently returned to the company after Nokia agreed to sell Microsoft its handset business.


Winning over the rivals and other Ballmer loyalists could be tough, though Nadella says he'll stick around. So could losing them, especially given the exodus of top talent from Microsoft since July, when Ballmer tried to break down long-running fiefdoms by reorganizing around hardware and cloud services. Three senior executives of Xbox, Office, and Windows departed the company as a result. 'Fiefdoms don't seem to be tolerated that much anymore,' says Wes Miller, an analyst at independent IT planning service Directions on Microsoft. 'But the key thing is, can they get to the point where the organization doesn't prevent them from succeeding? We're not quite there yet.'


It will be up to Ballmer's successor to see that reorganization through-no easy task in a company with roughly 100,000 employees. 'For a big company like Microsoft, that's like trying to turn a battleship on a lake,' says Joel Koblentz, senior partner at executive recruiter Koblentz Group, which isn't involved in the search. And Ballmer's purchase of Nokia's mobile phone business in September committed the company to hardware and consumer products, two areas many investors and even some CEO candidates don't favor.


There was a time when a Microsoft CEO could ignore investor demands to look at options such as spinning off its Xbox video game console. But that may be harder after March, when activist shareholder ValueAct Holdings is set to take a newly created 10th seat on the board. ValueAct is sour on Microsoft's consumer and hardware businesses and wants more focus on business and software products, say two people familiar with the company's thinking. 'Dealing with the various shareholder issues is going to require a different set of optics than looking inside,' says Koblentz. 'It's going to take an exceptional person, and there's only really a handful of people who could do it.'


Despite the challenges, Microsoft still has its lures. In what will most likely be Ballmer's final quarter in charge, the company posted record revenue. Its shares rose 40 percent in 2013, partly in reaction to the announcement of his retirement. For an incoming CEO, even that good news could seem like yet another negative. Ballmer will be a hard act to follow.


This Dongle Is Dell's Idea Of A New Kind Of Corporate PC That Should Make ...


Dell this week released a new dongle device that puts a corporate PC in the palm of your hand: the $129 Dell Wyse Cloud Connect.


This device is interesting for a couple of reasons.


It offers a clue to the enterprise 'post-PC' world. It runs on Android.

The dongle plugs into any monitor or TV with an HDMI or MHL port and turns that into a PC running your corporate apps. There is a caveat, however: To gain access to your corporate network, your IT department would have to buy this device and other IT equipment, configure it and control it. The whole setup is known in the enterprise world as 'desktop virtualization.'


Desktop virtualization isn't new, but Dell and other enterprise tech companies (Citrix, VMware) think it's going to be an increasingly popular way that enterprises let employees access corporate software on their personal PCs, smartphones and tablets. It's a trend known as 'bring your own device' (BYOD).


A consumer could also buy the dongle and use it to access his own home PC or Mac, or files stored on Dell's cloud service, using a Dell app called PocketCloud. PocketCloud comes preloaded.


The tech industry talks a lot about the 'post-PC' world, and that usually means that people are now using tablets and smartphones for a lot of tasks that they once used PCs to do, like email, games, shopping, and search.


This is clearly Dell's way of experimenting with new forms of delivering the PC experience.


Equally interesting, however, is that the dongle delivers an Android PC. It doesn't use Windows, even though it could have. Microsoft makes a version of Windows called Windows embedded, that's designed to run things other than traditional PCs.


So add this to the growing list of Android PC alternatives from Microsoft's biggest PC competitors. Earlier this month, HP introduced a $400 Android PC that it's aiming at enterprises, too.


Plus, Lenovo also introduced an Android PC for consumers at CES, built for playing games.


Join the conversation about this story ' See Also: SEE ALSO: Tim Cook: Apple's sales in the huge enterprise market are 'unbelievable' SEE ALSO: Google will pay a year's salary to hackers who find one really bad security flaw in Chrome OS

Dell finally ships Android


Dell has started shipping the Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect, a US$129 device that is slightly larger than a USB stick and can be used by consumers to watch movies in HD or by enterprises as a virtual desktop client.


The product has been a long time coming; under the code-name 'Project Ophelia' the device was demonstrated over a year ago at the International CES trade show in Las Vegas. The concept is simple, just connect it to a computer display or a TV via MHL or HDMI, attach a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you're up and running.


Cloud Connect runs Android 4.1 and is powered by a 'multi-core' ARM Cortex-A9 processor. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of integrated storage that can be expanded using a Micro SD card slot.


The maximum resolution is 1080p, and it communicates using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The device is powered either via the MHL interface or separately through the integrated USB port.


Consumers can use the device to do the same things they use their Android-based devices for: play games, watch streaming movies and TV programs or just surf the Web, but on a bigger screen.


Enterprises can use the device as a client with virtual desktop platforms from Citrix Systems, Microsoft and VMware. In this role, Cloud Connect could for example work as a cost-effective desktop for the education market, extending application and data access in classrooms, libraries, labs or at home, according to Dell.


Cloud Connect can be managed using the hosted Wyse Cloud Client Manager, through which IT managers can grant access to apps and content based on role, department and location, Dell said.


The device is available in North America and Europe as well as Australia, China, India, Japan and Brazil. Dell also offers compatible accessories including displays, Bluetooth keyboards and mice.


Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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SwiftKey Note is a free note-taking app for iOS that marries digital organization app Evernote with SwiftKey's predictive keyboard to make taking notes on your phone or tablet faster and more accurate. The app is one of the first steps for SwiftKey to grow its presence on Apple's mobile operating system.


Unless you jailbreak your iDevice, you can't customize it in the same way you can with an Android phone or tablet. The stock Apple keyboard is the one you get, but this is SwiftKey's way around that.


SwiftKey is not the first to bring a new keyboard to iOS, as several apps such as Flesky and TouchPal X have come before it, but its predictive typing and seamless integration with Evernote make Note a cut above the rest.


SwiftKey's visionLet's get one thing out of the way first: Though this is a note-taking app, SwiftKey isn't in the business of organizing your notes. The company's goal is to change the way you type on mobile devices, hopefully making the process easier, faster, and more accurate when you're trying to hammer out an e-mail on a five-inch screen.


SwiftKey had no trouble executing that vision on Android devices, where you can change of the default apps, including switching the system keyboard to something other than what came with your phone. On iOS, it's not as easy, as Apple puts restrictions on its operating system. That means SwiftKey had to build its own dedicated app that could show off its predictive typing prowess.


Though SwiftKey hasn't given away any details about its future plans on iOS, it's not a stretch to think that the company would work with more iOS app developers to get them to integrate its keyboard into their apps in the future. Eventually, many of your favorite apps could have SwiftKey built in. But for now, you can only use the company's impressive keyboard inside Note. That said, nothing is stopping you from copying and pasting that text into other apps on your iPhone.


Faster typingThere are two parts to SwiftKey Note, the predictive keyboard and the note-taking experience. I'll focus on the keyboard first.


At first glance, you won't notice any major changes to keyboard's layout or design -- it looks just like the stock iOS 7 model. But once you starting typing, you'll see the difference.


What sets SwiftKey's keyboard apart is that it pays attention to your typing patterns and styles so it can learn how you type. That means it's looking at how you form sentences and which keys you often tap when you're typing out a word. That makes it scary-good at predicting not only the next letter you need to type, but also the next word, sometimes even before you begin typing it.


(Credit: Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET)


A unique feature of Note is that if you connect your Evernote account to SwiftKey Note, the app learns your writing style from existing Evernote notes and uses that data to improve its predictions. This is just like SwiftKey for Android, which, if you allow it to, learns your typing behavior from e-mails, SMS, Twitter, Facebook and more.


Compared to SwiftKey on my Android phone, Note did just as good a job of completing my words and offering predictions for my next work as I typed. True to my personal typing style, I was able to hammer away at the keys quickly and make plenty of mistakes, and SwiftKey would fix my misspellings as I went. That means even when I purposely misspelled 'smarhephnew,' it corrected it to 'smartphone.' I could even type two words together and it would add the correct space between each word. It felt so effortless to type that I even drafted most of this review from the app.


Titanfall Was Exclusive To Xbox Because EA Thought Xbox One Would Dominate


Console exclusivity is a funny thing. Sometimes exclusivity is due to hardware limitations for the developer; maybe they couldn't get a certain thing working right with a specific console, so they limited the outing to the console that provides them the most leeway in their design scope. Sometimes exclusivity is based on budget; some developers or studios or publishers don't have the funds to port the game to every console. And sometimes, a game is exclusive to a brand because the publisher thinks it will sell more.


In the case of Titanfall, Electronic Arts thought that the game should be exclusive to the Xbox consoles (and PC) based on their forecasts of where they thought the Xbox One would be come March.


Gamezone managed to get in a word with EA's Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen, who stated that...


'I think you should assume that we made that decision when it was back a few years ago when we decided to go exclusive,' 'We had some forecast at that time from where we thought both Xbox and PlayStation would be and that's what we based our decision on. I think we're still feeling very comfortable with that,'

Jorgensen is talking about how the Xbox 360 appeared to have more momentum than the PS3 throughout the seventh gen, and it seemed like the Xbox One would follow suit. He's also talking about EA's forecast that put cumulative sales at 10 million between the Xbox One and PS4 sales... a measure that they think can be reached by March of this year.


The thing is, EA was heavily in bed with Microsoft for the Xbox One... not just cuddling and spooning, but they were getting it on thick like Kim Kardashian and Ray-J that nasty sex tape... just the way EA likes it.


It was EA who first announced cancellation of the Online Pass program, after they announced exclusive deals with Microsoft during the Xbox One's May 21st reveal. The reason for the cancellation of the Online Pass was because – at the time, before all the Fast & Furious 180s – Microsoft had a used game fee in place for publishers to utilize.


In theory, this would have given Electronic Arts some massive leverage in terms of revenue from a game like Titanfall because any copy being put back into the wild would still net EA a small chunk of change from the used game fee(s). Designing the game around that kind of culture for the Xbox One probably looked like a gold mine for EA and Titanfall would have been the testbed for mining the gold.


Things didn't quite work out like that.


Jorgensen talks a bit about the trade-offs of expenses, R&D and excluding the PlayStation brands from Titanfall's launch plate. It all basically amounts to: We're in damage control mode and Titanfall better sell big.


By the time March gets here I'm willing to bet that the PlayStation 4 will be around 5.2 or 5.4 million SKUs installed in homes. I'm thinking the Xbox One may trail behind at 4.4 or 4.7, given that Microsoft is still dealing with stock issues, as a bunch of big green boxes are knitting sweaters on store shelves out of the dust they're collecting.


Windows Intune: The Next Wave Releasing the First Week of February 2014


Last week, in Upcoming Windows Intune Release Installs Endpoint Protection By Default, I noted that next version of Windows Intune would release in the first quarter of 2014. That sometime now happens to be next week, the first full week of February 2014.


In a post on the Microsoft Server & Management blogs, Brad Anderson lays out the company's continued efforts to provide robust and secure solutions for BYO and Consumerization. Brad also says he'll be expanding on these topics and talking about them more in the coming months. Obviously, we'll hear a LOT about these at TechEd 2014 where they are, this year, merging the Microsoft Management Summit with Microsoft's larger event.


Tip: Want to know what hot topics will be on display at TechEd each year? Just follow Microsoft's blogs and Download Center to get a very good idea.


Here's what Brad says is coming in the Windows Intune update next week:


Support for e-mail profiles that can configure a device with the correct e-mail server information and related policies - and it can also remove that profile and related e-mail via a remote wipe. In addition to our unified deployment mode and integration with System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Intune can now stand alone as a cloud-only MDM solution. This is a big win for organizations that want a cloud-only management solutions to manage both their mobile devices and PC's. There is also support for new data protection settings in iOS 7 - including the 'managed open in' capability that protects corporate data by controlling the apps and accounts that can open documents and attachments. This update also enables broader protection capabilities like remotely locking a lost device, or resetting a device's PIN if forgotten.

To get a refresher on Microsoft's commitment to the MDM industry, read through Brad's post:


A People-centric Approach to Mobile Device Management

P.S. From recent discussions with various insiders, it's my understanding that Microsoft is so invested in solving the MDM problem that other products managed by the same product groups are suffering a bit because of it. Product updates and feature requests are being sidelined due to redirected resources and excessive work on beefing up pieces like Windows Intune. Understandably, Microsoft has stated clearly that 'Cloud First' is the settled development guideline, but how long before the company gets into a similar situation as they've experienced with negative customer feedback for Windows 8? The Commercial-side of the business (Server and Tools) is still the one area of the company that continues to grow at a fantastic rate, and is the primary reason for a stellar Q4 earnings report. Even in Brad's post he states that System Center Configuration Manager is the undisputed market leader, but that product kind of cuts against the 'Cloud First' grain since it's purely an on-premise product. Windows Intune is not the market leader - far from it. Let's hope Microsoft doesn't lose ground and lose customers because they are so focused and start ignoring what customers really want. If you don't know what I mean, read through the recent: 2014 is the Year of the Customer-Driven Cloud.


New Domain Names Could Boost Your Online Presence

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If you've been in search of a new, more industry-specific domain name for your company's website, you're in luck: Seven new extensions, including .guru, .bike, and .ventures, became available Wednesday. Hundreds of additional domains are to follow starting next month, with a few new ones offered each week.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit in charge of domain names, green-lighted new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) in 2011. The first seven to become available were purchased by Bellevue, Washington-based Donuts, a registry that will sell addresses to businesses and individuals via registrars such as GoDaddy.com starting this week.


According to TechCrunch, Donuts applied for 304 gTLDs and currently has contracts for more than 100. Next week will bring the .camera, .photography, .lighting, .equipment, .gallery, .graphics, and .estate domains.


It will take time to measure the extent of the benefits from more specific names. Although newer domains such as .fm, .ly, and .co have been catching on slowly, could a glut of additional extensions confuse would-be visitors and bury a company's website? Let us know in the comments section below.


IMAGE: The Shifted Librarian/Flickr


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WILL YAKOWICZ is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.@WillYakowicz


Facebook serves up Paper, a Flipboard

The social networking giant continues to push the mobile strategy with yet another app.




(Credit: Facebook)


Facebook on Thursday unveiled Paper, a Flipboard-like reader app, as it continues to broaden its mobile offerings.


Paper is made up of stories and themed section, tying together your News Feed with other themes and topics ranging from sports to food, with stories from publication. It will be available in the US on Feb. 3.


Paper is just the latest step in Facebook's strategy to push more into the mobile world. Beyond its core Facebook app and Instagram, it has steadily launched mobile products such as its Messenger app. During its earnings conference call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was working on more standalone mobile apps.


It marks a reversal of its ill-fated Facebook Home strategy, which essentially took over an Android phone with its own custom user interface. As it turns out, people like Facebook, but not that much.


Still, Facebook's mobile push seem to be paying off, with the company generating more than half of its advertising revenue from that area.


Paper, meanwhile, like Flipboard, can be navigated by thumbing through the stories. You can tilt your phone to pan through panoramic photos from corner to corner, and see important details like faces. For better or worse, there are full-screen auto-play videos. Stories, meanwhile, get attractive full-screen covers.


Facebook users can also create their own stories, and preview how their post will look before sharing it.


The company said Paper is the first product from its Facebook Creative Labs, formed to create new apps on your phone.



Facebook Announces News Reader App 'Paper'


Well that didn't take long.


Just 24 hours after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised more standalone apps in 2014, the company announced Paper on Thursday, a standalone news reader mobile app that has reportedly been in the works for years.


The new app will surface content from 19 different 'sections,' including sports, tech, pop culture, and 'LOL.' The app also has a 'Newsfeed' section, which is the same News Feed users are accustomed to on the native apps, but with a new design.


Each section will have a rotating carousel of images across the top, and individual cards and stories below that image. The new app was specifically designed to look different than the native apps, and has larger images and content cards without the typical blue trim present on Facebook's native apps.


Users will be able to select which sections they wish to subscribe to, and all content will be curated through a process that includes an algorithm and a human selection. For now, sections will not be personalized. For example, a user in San Francisco will see the same items in his sports section as a user in Chicago, although personalization could be added in the future.


The app also has a preview feature for users to see what their posts will look like before they are shared on Paper. Anything shared on Paper will also appear on that user's Facebook News Feed in the native apps and on desktop.


Despite Facebook's mobile ad success - 53% of the company revenue came from mobile ads last quarter - Paper will launch without any ads on the service. This includes sponsored stories. It's likely that ads will be added once the company examines how users engage with the product, but for now, the app will be ad-free.



The new app was announced after Wednesday's earnings call, where Zuckerberg talked openly about the company's upcoming product plans. 'While the core business growth is going to come from the main app that exists,' CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, 'you should also expect us to start building a few of these other things that we will focus on over time and develop into meaningful things like Messenger and Instagram are today.'


The app was created by a 15-person team known as Facebook Creative Labs, located at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (This is not an actual lab, but simply a group focusing on these types of standalone apps.) The news reader app has long been rumored, and was reportedly the pet project of Facebook's Head of Product, Chris Cox, for years.


The initial look of the app is reminiscent of Flipboard, with large photos and card tiles. LinkedIn's news reader app, Pulse, also has a tile look. LinkedIn recently updated Pulse in order to integrate the content more closely with what was available on the platform's web service.


Paper is schedule to hit the App Store on Monday February 3, but will only be available to iPhone users at launch. There is no Android or iPad versions of Paper, and there is no timeline for when they may be available, according to a company spokesperson.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

GoDaddy Admits Hacker's Social Engineering Led It To Divulge Info In @N ...


An update in the @N account hacking case has just come through from GoDaddy, one of the companies involved in the somewhat convoluted social engineering case. The company admits that one of its employees was 'socially engineered' into giving out additional information which allowed a hacker to gain access to Naoki Hiroshima's GoDaddy account.


The hack, which we detailed in a post earlier today, was performed by calling up PayPal and GoDaddy to gain access to Hiroshima's personal email, which was then used to extort the @N Twitter user handle from him.


Hiroshima outlined the hack in a post on Medium, which garnered a lot of attention. We received responses from Twitter that the matter was being looked into and PayPal was spurred to issue a denial that it had provided credit card information, and to note that its employees were trained to avoid social engineering attacks.


Social engineering is a method of hacking in which attackers utilize personal or not-so-personal information to impersonate the rightful owner of an account. They call up the company in question and engineer a 'reset' of the account permissions that allow them to take over.


In Hiroshima's case, the target was simply his Twitter handle, but it could easily be things like bank accounts or websites.


GoDaddy Chief Information Security Office Todd Redfoot issued TechCrunch the following statement about the hack:


Our review of the situation reveals that the hacker was already in possession of a large portion of the customer information needed to access the account at the time he contacted GoDaddy. The hacker then socially engineered an employee to provide the remaining information needed to access the customer account. The customer has since regained full access to his GoDaddy account, and we are working with industry partners to help restore services from other providers.


Redfoot also says that GoDaddy is 'making necessary changes to employee training to ensure we continue to provide industry-leading security to our customers and stay ahead of evolving hacker techniques.'


The sour note here is that these techniques really are nothing new. As we noted in our piece earlier today, some very high-profile hacks have been accomplished over the last couple of years using them. Not the least of which was a widely read case in which Wired writer Mat Honan's accounts were nearly decimated by hackers employing social engineering techniques.


If anything, cases like Honan's and this one about Josh Bryant (@jb)'s hack shared via Daring Fireball should have thrown up red flags for any Internet company dealing in identity. These are not new tactics and they should be guarded against as a very basic precaution.


More to follow...


Image Credit: Hans J E


Sony announces PS Vita Slim for UK launch


Sony has confirmed that the slim version of the PlayStation Vita will be released in the UK next Friday, February 7th.


The new model of the company's handheld is 20 percent thinner than the original device as well as 15 percent lighter. It trades the OLED screen for an energy-efficient LCD one. There's also 1GB of built-in storage.


Sony has set an estimated price of £180 for the new device. There's no word on if the new model will also be making its way to the US and other parts of Europe.


Tags PlayStation Vita


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Want 4K content? Don't bother looking to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One

4K on PS4 and Xbox One? Forget it...

4K gaming and movie streaming via next gen games consoles is rapidly shaping up to be a pipe dream.


When the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One first broke cover there was a roiling cauldron of speculation that the new consoles might (at some point) usher in a new era of Ultra HD game graphics or at the very least act as a conduit for 4K movies.


Executives from rival camps didn't exactly go out of their way to downplay their potential. Months later, official references to 4K remain cautiously worded. The cauldron has cooled.


I reckon both the PS4 and Xbox One landed too early for 4K to be a realistic proposition. Sony began conceptualising the new PlayStation back in 2008, the Xbox One would have had a similar gestation period. Dollars to donuts neither were conceived with 4K in mind.


For 4K gaming you'll need a high-end gaming PC4K on consoles? Forget it

'The Xbox One can't even deliver on its promise of an integrated set top box EPG experience outside of the US'


The Xbox One's 4K aspirations are particularly difficult to swallow. The console can't even deliver on its promise of an integrated set top box EPG experience outside of the US, and is troubled by 50Hz telly. And let's not mention the fact Call of Duty: Ghosts runs at a modest HD Ready 720p.


In its current PS4 FAQ, Sony says only this about possible 4K gaming and movie content: 'Support for high-resolution 4K output for still images and movie content is in consideration, but there are no further details to share at this time. PS4 does not currently support 4K output for games.'


'In consideration'? I asked Sony for something rather more definitive, but received a brusque 'No comment.' The PS3 may have been a Trojan Horse for the Blu-ray disc format, but its successor isn't even going to be a Shetland Pony for 4K.


Early talk about a 4K expansion of the brand's Video Unlimited streaming service has so far come to naught, and Netflix 4K is certainly not heading to either console.


The streaming VoD service, which will debut on 2014 4K UHD screens from Samsung, LG, Sony and Visio, requires a hardware HEVC h.265 decoder to work, something missing from both consoles.


4K will be coming direct to 4K TVs in 20144K could be hacked in

'Both consoles sport HDMI 1.4 outputs, which limits 4K to 30HZ/frames per second. For a UHD gaming experience, this just isn't good enough.'


One possible workaround could be a bolt-on accessory that offers HEVC decoding and HDMI 2.0 connectivity. It's not beyond the realm of possibility, although Sony Worldwide Studios' Shuhei Yoshida certainly doesn't seem particularly interested in positioning the PS4 as an AV gadget, so I doubt such a peripheral will be fast-tracked any time soon. The PS4 isn't even 3D Blu-ray compatible.


Both consoles sport HDMI 1.4 outputs, which limits 4K to 30HZ/frames per second. For a UHD gaming experience, this just isn't good enough.


Such a hardware limitation isn't quite the insurmountable problem it might first appear, though. Sony has already issued a firmware update for its 2013 X9 4K TVs which also use HDMI 1.4, enabling them to support 60HZ high frame rate content. The processing overhead required for 4K gaming is likely to prove a more challenging conundrum.


The simple solution, of course, is to just let your 4K TV upscale the PS4 and Xbox One as is, something it will do spectacularly well.


Is there a use for curved TVs after all?Curved TVs to the rescue?

Curved TVs?Why curved TVs are a bad ideaSo is there really any point in buying a TV that bends it like Beckham? If you're a normal punter, absolutely none at all


Interestingly, the new trend for curved 4K UHD TVs strikes me as particularly suitable for gaming. At Samsung's European Forum this week, the brand tub-thumped curved screens relentlessly, claiming them to be more immersive than a witch's ducking stool.


When it comes to movies, this may be errant nonsense, but the screens do deliver fairground dizziness with fast moving content when you sit centrally - a POV sequence of a verdant valley fly-through left me and others feeling positively nauseous. This could work well with Forza Motorsport 5 and its ilk.


Ultimately, if you want 4K gaming consider the PC. Nvidia showed just how gobsmacking this tech can be when it demo'd a 4K gaming rig at the recent International CES.


The showcase utilised three synced Panasonic WT600 55-inch 4K TVs, driven by four GeForce Titan graphics cards connected via DisplayPort, housed in a monster desktop built by Origin PC.


As for consoles, I'm betting 4K gaming won't really take off until the Xbox Two (that monicker's going to need a little work) and PlayStation 5. And by then we'll probably all be speculating about 8K, or too immersed in our Oculus Rift VR headsets, to care.



Why 2014 will be an amazing year of 4K contentIf 2013 was the year of the 4K Ultra HD TV, then 2014 (or as I now like to call it 2014K) is fast shaping up to be the year of 4K content. Whether you want to create your own or kick-back and watch something rather more professional, it's all going down this year.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Release Date Coming: First Image Sample Leaks As ...


More evidence in favor of the Samsung Galaxy S5 has surfaced as a recently leaked photo -- supposedly taken by the upcoming device. Tech informant @evleaks shared on Tuesday a blurry photo of nothing in particular; however, its accompanying EXIF data indicates that the photo was captured by a device with the model name SAMSUNG-SM-G900V, which could be a variant of the Galaxy S5.


Brace yourself for flood of new domain names

Move over .com. Looks like .book, .google and .apple are on the way

Computerworld - Brace yourself. The Internet is about to get a lot busier and more cluttered.


The Internet addresses that we are accustomed to using -- .com, .net and .edu - will be getting a lot of company next week. On Feb. 4, more top-level domains, which connotes everything to the right of the dot in an online address will be made available. They will be the first of what will probably be hundreds of new top-level domains, according to James Cole, spokesman for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ( ICANN), the organization that oversees registries and Internet domain names.


The new domains, such as .bike, .wed and .book are on the way, according to Cole. They'll be joined by new domains for major companies, including .google, .ford and .apple.


Cole said there have been 1,930 applications for new domains. Hundreds are expected to hit the Internet, and the flood will begin next week.


'It's a process that will take over a year or over two years possibly,' said Cole said. 'We approach this in a very methodical or cautious way. We don't want to do anything to upset the structure of the Internet.'


Regardless of how methodically the new domains are introduced, some analysts say this could cause a lot of confusion.


'I think it's a good option for some companies but .com will still live on,' said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. 'Even if a company got something like zeus.books, I would still buy something like zeus-books.com.'


While Kerravala acknowledged that the new domains would make it easier for users to remember an address -- think trucks.ford, instead of ford.com/trucks -- he doesn't see many benefits, at least not enough to outweigh the issues it may cause.


Google, for example, already has well-established Internet addresses, such as maps.google.com and plus.google.com. Would getting a .google domain mean that the company would change all of its addresses?


In a 2012 blog post, Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, said there were still questions about the diversity of the domains available.


'In 2016, it's estimated that almost half of the world's population will be online, yet nearly 50% of the websites we visit are found in the .com top-level domain, which was among the first created in 1984,' Cerf wrote. 'Given this expansion process, we decided to submit applications for new TLDs.'


Google applied for nearly 100 domains, including .google, .docs, .youtube and even .lol.


Would a bevy of new addresses make it easier for people to find what they're looking for online? Or would it cause confusion for those accustomed to searching for .com and .net addresses?


Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Current Analysis, said he's expecting more confusion than benefits. 'I think users don't pay any attention to [top-level domains], so anything without a .com is in a back alley, hidden from view,' he said. 'If you want people to remember your site, you better use .com. By using a new domain, you're asking people to remember twice as much -- the name plus the new domain.


'The ostensible benefit is you can get a simple url, like www.boston.bikes, but I think you're much better off sticking with .com, even if it means betterbikesofboston.com,' he added. 'The .com is the way to attract traffic and make it easier for your audience to find you.'


This article, Brace yourself for flood of new domain names, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.


See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about Internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.


GoDaddy Admits Hacker's Social Engineering Led It To Divulge Info In @N ...


An update in the '@N' account hacking case has just come through from GoDaddy, one of the companies involved in the somewhat convoluted social engineering case. The company admits that one of its employees was 'socially engineered' into giving out additional information which allowed a hacker to gain access to Naoki Hiroshima's GoDaddy account.


The hack, which we detailed in a post earlier today, was performed by calling up PayPal and GoDaddy to gain access to Hiroshima's personal email, which was then used to extort the @N Twitter user handle from him.


Hiroshima outlined the hack in a post on Medium, which garnered a lot of attention. We received responses from Twitter that the matter was being looked into and PayPal was spurred to issue a denial that it had provided credit card information, and to note that its employees were trained to avoid social engineering attacks.


Social engineering is a method of 'hacking' in which attackers utilize personal or not-so-personal information to impersonate the rightful owner of an account. They call up the company in question and engineer a 'reset' of the account permissions that allow them to take over.


In Hiroshima's case, the target was simply his Twitter handle, but it could easily be things like bank accounts or websites.


GoDaddy Chief Information Security Office Todd Redfoot issued TechCrunch the following a statement about the hack:


Our review of the situation reveals that the hacker was already in possession of a large portion of the customer information needed to access the account at the time he contacted GoDaddy. The hacker then socially engineered an employee to provide the remaining information needed to access the customer account. The customer has since regained full access to his GoDaddy account, and we are working with industry partners to help restore services from other providers.


Redfoot also says that GoDaddy is 'making necessary changes to employee training to ensure we continue to provide industry-leading security to our customers and stay ahead of evolving hacker techniques.'


The sour note here is that these techniques really are nothing new. As we noted in our piece earlier today, some very high-profile hacks have been accomplished over the last couple of years using these kinds of techniques. Not the least of which was a widely read case in which Wired writer Mat Honan's accounts were nearly decimated by hackers employing social engineering techniques.


If anything, cases like Honan's and this one about Josh Bryant (@jb)'s hack shared via Daring Fireball should have thrown up red flags for any internet company dealing in identity. These are not new tactics and they should be guarded against as a very basic precaution.


More to follow...


Image Credit: Hans J E


Slideshow: Facebook Drives Open Hardware

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Move over, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell. Open-source hardware is here, ready for datacenters large and small. That was the message from the fifth annual gathering of the Facebook-led Open Compute Project (OCP).


Microsoft contributed to the growing OCP pot the details of its current datacenter server design. Its engineers joined the project's working groups, adding the heft of an operator that, like Facebook, is already running more than a million servers in its global datacenters, increasingly based on freely available hardware designs.


The event sported an unusually active show floor where Microsoft showed its new server designs, hoping others will make and use them. Like Facebook, the datacenter giant now believes it can drive to lower-cost services than its rivals by making its designs open. Facebook saved an estimated $1.2 billion in the last three years using the approach, Microsoft claims.



'Open-source is not just for the big guys,' said Frank Frankovsky, vice president of hardware design and supply chain operations at Facebook and president of the OCP. He noted the growing ranks of suppliers selling to all comers the OCP-based systems needed to run a datacenter 'without the proprietary BS that goes with it.'


The so-called 'converged infrastructure' of brand-name servers, switches, and storage comes with 'vendor lock-in' that is no longer acceptable, Frankovsky said. 'The industry is fundamentally being changed... Those who embrace open-source will be far more successful than those who resist it.'


Big datacenters such as Facebook's and Microsoft's still represent a minority of the datacenter market, but an expanding one as more companies turn to public cloud services. Meanwhile the largest datacenter operators -- Amazon and Google -- still prefer to go it alone, aiming to get an edge with proprietary in-house designs for datacenter gear.


The OCP event attracted 3,300 registrants. IBM and Panasonic were among a handful of companies that more quietly joined the Open Compute Project, which now has more than 150 members and an expanding licensing and certification process.


The rise of ARM server SoCs continued to be a hot topic at the event. Advanced Micro Design tipped details of 'Seattle,' its first 64-bit ARM server SoC, sampling within weeks. Applied Micro sketched out plans for competing 28 and 16 nm SoCs.


The following pages provide a virtual walk-through of the summit.


Next page: Microsoft opens server

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