[Deal Alert] Pre-order the Karma Go LTE Hotspot for 33% off and get 200MBs of free data
being connected to the internet is a high priority for many. Especially when we move beyond our smartphones and need connections for our Wi-Fi based tablets and laptops. Sure, you can use your phone as a hotspot device and share the data connection, but there are times where that just isn’t a viable solution. That is where hotspot devices can come in handy. The nationwide coverage of the Karma Go pre-paid LTE Hotspot unit is one way to connect to the net while on the go.
The Karma Go doesn’t carry a pre-set data limit, no contract and no monthly fees for data you may or may not use. Instead Karma is all about paying for what you need and use. Buy a block of data and use it when you need it without worrying about it ever expiring. In Karmas case, it is $14 per 1GB. If you share your connection you earn 100MBs additional data for free every time. Sharing is caring after all. If you pre-order the Karma Go they are also going to give you 200MBs of free data.
The offer to pick up the Karma Go for $99 vs the regular price tag of $149, is a limited one. At the time of posting this there was only 5 days remaining. So direct your browser over to the Karma Go pre-order page at Stack Social now.
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Manual app brings DSLR-like control to your iPhone snapshots
Thanks to the expanded third-party integration in iOS 8, app developers are able to take advantage of things like extensions for that Photos library. It also allows access to the iPhone’s camera settings, and a new piece of software offers another option for sorting just that. Manual, a $1.99 add-on for Apple’s handsets, allows you to tweak variables in a similar fashion to how you would with a DSLR. There are options for controlling shutter, ISO, white balance, focus and exposure bracketing. On top of all that, a rule of thirds grid keeps compositions in order, a live monitor eyes exposure and a fill flash mode tackles lighting woes. All of that may sound complicated, but the interface is quite simple, so you should be easily making your tweaks in no time — as long as you have the latest version of iOS, of course. Other apps, like Camera+, tackle manual controls too, so you’ll be able to take your pick when it comes to fine-tuning those photos.
Students allegedly being forced to work in Chinese tech factories
Despite the efforts of major technology corporations, such as Apple and Samsung, to improve labor conditions in China, major problems are still slipping through the cracks. Now, as The Wall Street Journal writes, some Chinese students in their teenage years are reportedly being forced by their schools to work about 12 hours per day, six days a week, on factory assembly lines in that country. It gets worse, though. According to a 16-year-old student who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, she was told to either “spend summer making computers” for an HP supplier or wave goodbye to the chance of graduating from her vocational school. She’s only one of thousands of teenagers going through this situation, per the report.
Of course, this only adds more fuel to the fire. Last year, a number of factories in China (and in other parts of the world) came under pressure after findings of child labor violations, unreasonable hours and extremely poor working conditions, so much so that companies like Apple went as far as dropping suppliers. Back then, tech firms promised to monitor the situation closely, along with the China Labor Watch, but it clearly hasn’t been close enough to keep these factories from violating the rules.
[Image credit: Flickr/Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights]
Filed under: Cellphones, Misc, Tablets, Apple, HP
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Amazon lets you fill out your wish list with the help of a hashtag
Look beyond the lightspeed rush of news and one-liners and you’ll see a Twitter that’s slowly morphing into a place where you can buy stuff. Amazon seems to be coming to grips with that peculiar truth, which is why it cooked up another way to use the social service to discover and covet the gewgaws people tweet about. Assuming you’ve already hooked up your Twitter account, try responding to tweets including Amazon product links with #AmazonWishList – they’ll instantly be added to (what else?) your wish list for easy buying down the road. It’s useful enough what with the holiday shopping season nearly upon us, but let’s face it: this just gives Amazon more reason to fill your feed with products you may or may not actually need. We just wish we could fill our Amazon carts directly with a tweet, and we’d be shocked if the folks in Seattle haven’t started thinking about it already.
Developer Warns Against Using In-App Browsers on iOS Due to Potential for Keylogging
Craig Hockenberry, one of the developers behind Twitterriffic, has written a blog post warning iOS users about in-app browsers, which he says are “considered harmful.” According to Hockenberry, and as outlined in a video, an in-app browser has the ability to record what’s being typed, even at a secure login screen.
This means an unscrupulous developer could potentially create an app with an in-app browser to capture the usernames and passwords of users who login to websites like Twitter or Facebook with the browser. Many existing apps use in-app browsers to allow users to do things like login with an already existing social media account simply to make the login process easier, but it appears there’s also potential for abuse.
A few things to note about what you’re seeing:
The information at the top of the screen is generated by the app, not the web page. This information could easily be uploaded to remote server.
This is not phishing: the site shown is the actual Twitter website. This technique can be applied to any site that has a input form. All the attacker needs to know can easily be obtained by viewing the public facing HTML on the site.
Hockenberry says that acquiring usernames and passwords works in both iOS 7 and iOS 8, and may also work in earlier versions of iOS, but he is quick to point out that it is not a bug, as the techniques demonstrated in the video can be used for “good as well as evil.”
Hockenberry does not have a clear solution in mind for Apple, as fixing the core behavior of both WebKit and UIWebView would require the company to update every version of iOS that included Safari and WebKit, but he does suggest the company could protect users with OAuth.
As for end users, Hockenberry warns not to enter private information when using an app that’s not Safari. Browsing web content is safe, but he recommends that users open a link in Safari if there are any concerns about private information. More details on the security of in-app browsers, OAuth, and Hockenberry’s recommendations can be found in his original blog post.
HealthKit apps clear to return following iOS 8 update, but major issues arise (update)
When iOS 8 arrived last week, Apple was quick to pull HealthKit-friendly apps from its App Store due to a major bug. An update for the new mobile software has arrived though, and it fixes the issue to make the fitness and wellness selections available once more. The folks in Cupertino promised a solution by the end of the month, and kept that word, delivering a new version in under a week. iOS 8.0.1 also mends third-party keyboard issues, Reachability (one-handed mode) woes, problems with apps accessing the Photo Library and a smattering of other bugs. We’ve nabbed the update on devices here at Engadget HQ, so if you’ve yet to be alerted to the download, it should be on its way shortly. However, we’re seeing reports that folks (especially iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users) are having new issues with cell service and Touch ID upon installing the latest version. We’ve reached out to Apple for more info on these problems and we’ll be sure to report back as soon as we know more, but for now, you may want to sit tight.
Update: The iOS 8.0.1 download has been pulled.
Filed under: Cellphones, Software, Mobile, Apple
Findery: the crowdsourced travel guide
“Find yourself on this map,” Caterina Fake said enthusiastically. Fake, widely known as the co-founder of Flickr, had just greeted me into the Findery office, an airy loft tucked inside a nondescript building in the Hayes Valley district of San Francisco. Before I could take in the high ceilings and the afternoon light shining through a black pirate flag hanging from a railing, Fake directed my attention to what looked like a large, 16 x 20 framed portrait of a galaxy.
It was neither a galaxy, nor a map. Instead, it was a graphical depiction of what the Flickr community looked like in April 2005. Created by an avid Flickr user who goes by the name of GustavoG, the image showed hundreds of photo avatars linked to each other with blue lines indicating social connections. After pointing out where she was on the graph, I found my own Flickr avatar in just a few minutes. We were only a few connections away. “That cluster [the one my photo was in] represents all the early web people,” Fake said, as if we were old friends.
It’s been nearly six years since she left Yahoo-owned Flickr for greener pastures. A year later in 2009, she co-founded a startup called Hunch that promised to help users make better decisions based on a survey of their tastes and interests. Hunch eventually sold to eBay in 2011. Not one to stand still, Fake came up with yet another startup in 2012. She called it Pinwheel, but after a testy trademark dispute, it was renamed to Findery.
Findery, to put it simply, is an app that helps you find what’s interesting around you, but not in the traditional way of restaurant recommendations or trendy nightspots. Instead, Findery is about uncovering hidden secrets and local knowledge, all of which is entirely sourced from Findery users themselves. So instead of using the app to locate the nearest sushi spot, you’d use it to find out the meaning behind an unusual statue or the history behind that run-down building down the street from your hotel.
In other words, don’t mistake it for a Yelp or Foursquare competitor. “Discovery is not about ratings, reviews or restaurants. We want to be much more about discovery in the sense of discovering,” said Fake. “We feel very strongly that the ‘Where do we eat?’ problem has been solved a thousand times and it’s not very interesting. We very deliberately did not address that at all.”
Instead, Findery is about people and stories. It’s what Fake says has always mattered to longtime bloggers and those aforementioned “early web people” who were so crucial to Flickr’s success. The tips on Findery are the type you’d expect from a real person, rather than a disembodied tour guide. It’s much more personal, and therefore a lot more human. Fake describes Findery as somewhere in the continuum between Yelp and Wikipedia.
“We’re very liberal arts,” said Fake, invoking the famous Steve Jobs quote about the intersection of technology and liberal arts. “That intersection? We’re there. We want to be the people’s atlas.”
To do all that, Findery needed a large database of user-generated content. That’s the reason it was initially launched on the web — its developers wanted to make sure there was enough content all over the world from real users before apps were rolled out. It was only this year that the company released them — an iOS app debuted earlier this spring, while an Android one launched just last Thursday.
As I zoomed in and out of different parts of the Findery map, I noticed that some notes on the app tend toward the recommendation model (“This place has whiskey on tap!”), while others are more personal and unique. Fake showed me an intriguing photo of a crew setting up a fireworks display in Orlando, Florida. Underneath the photo was a note entitled “Monsters of Rock” that read: “On April 14th, 1979, Aerosmith, Blackfoot, Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent played at the Tangerine Bowl. I was on the fireworks crew and took this photo during setup.” In the comments of that photo, the author recounted enjoying the show next to none other than Nugent himself.
“Isn’t that cool?” asked Fake. It’s this sort of personal story that adds flavor to a place, the kind of info you might not find in a Lonely Planet or a Zagat. Another example is a photo of a colorful sidewalk taken in Larreynaga, a small city in Nicaragua, on Good Friday. The note reads: “People spent hours creating art on the street with painted sawdust knowing that it would be destroyed by foot traffic later that day.”
To surface the more interesting notes — Findery gets its fair share of spam — it uses an internal algorithm called “notability.” Sort of like the “interestingness” metric on Flickr, Findery’s algorithm figures out a note’s importance based on a variety of factors, including if it’s been blogged, if it’s received a lot of clicks, if the user has a good reputation and so forth.
Notes aren’t always short. I came across several that are paragraphs long, so much so they’re practically essays about a particular building or place. Some were long and meaningful narratives, while others were pithy and humorous. I found one photo of a couple of Stormtroopers in the Brussels Metro in Belgium, apparently on their way to a Greenpeace protest. The note title was simply “another day at work.”
It’s this serendipity that prompted Fake to create Findery in the first place and, unsurprisingly, Foursquare was one of the inspirations. “One of the things that was so great about it was when you would get these unexpected social encounters in some remote neighborhood,” said Fake, referring to Foursquare tips that would sometimes pop up on the phone. “You get this really lovely magic feeling of being time-shifted that you don’t really get anymore … It’s been lost in the immediacy of the everyday.”
While Findery doesn’t see Yelp and Foursquare as competitors, it does have one in Field Trip, Google’s point-of-interest app that does nearly the same thing. However, instead of relying on users to generate content, Field Trip uses information from guides like Thrillist, Zagat and local blogs. “I’ve always felt that it was really important for things to be written for the platform for which they are intended,” said Fake, pointing out that seeing a Thrillist or Zagat post pop up when you’re in a foreign locale can be a little jarring, while a more human note can feel more welcoming. Additionally, Field Trip doesn’t have the personal voice that Findery has, which she sees as a real asset.
“We were being accused of being a hipster app,” laughed Fake, remembering early reviews of the app. “Someone had opened it up in the Mission [San Francisco’s current hipster haven] … Well of course you’d see that!” But, she said, plenty of regular people from all over the world use Findery too.
Still, there remains a question of whether something as personal as this is what everyone wants. The popularity of Yelp and Foursquare attests to the generally accepted idea that people do want straightforward recommendations. Even Fake herself said that a lot of first-time users to Findery tend to review restaurants because people have just been trained to do that. But Fake believes that there’s room for something different.
“I really rebel against this tunnel view of the Valley that we get here all the time — sort of the Y-Combinator, young, urban male perspective on things,” said Fake. Instead, she said the communities that Findery supports and attracts are different, and deliberately so. She pointed out that technology isn’t just a Valley thing for the young and hip — it’s a global thing, for everyone. “I’m a 40-something mom. I’m not a typical demographic.”
It’s been a few days since the launch of Findery’s Android app, and Fake tells us it’s doing well.
“We feel that we’re in a really good space, that we’re forward-looking and not backward-looking,” said Fake. She added, “Screens are multiplying and they’re moving,” referring to Google Glass and the recent interest in wearables. Fake said the team is definitely looking into making some kind of watch-compatible app, be it for Android Wear or Apple’s WatchKit — it’s a natural fit for something like Findery.
“My absolute dream is to have Findery be on Virgin America,” she said. “You could look out your window and be like, ‘What’s that? Tell me about where I am.’ That’s the dream.”
Filed under: Internet
Kevin Mitnick will sell you security exploits, if you have $100,000
Ever since he was released from prison, legendary hacker (and social engineering expert) Kevin Mitnick has spent much of his time helping companies protect against internet attacks. However, his security consulting work recently entered murky territory. He’s now offering the Absolute Zero Day Exploit Exchange, a service that sells “exclusive” unpatched exploits to companies and governments for $100,000 or more. If you’re willing to pay for a premium tier, you can even get notification the moment an exploit is available for a program you’re interested in — whether or not it’s your own.
Mitnick is quick to tell Wired that his team is screening both the researchers and customers, and won’t sell to either gangs or nosy governments. He knows first-hand what it’s like to be on the wrong end of the law, after all. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that clients are on the up-and-up, however, and Mitnick adds that he isn’t asking customers what they’ll do with their purchases. While many may use the knowledge to patch vulnerabilities in their own software or those of their partners, there’s a concern that others could use exploits for corporate espionage or other less-than-scrupulous activities. Hopefully, the high pricing and close scrutiny will limit the service to customers with good intentions.
[Image credit: Movistar Campus Party Mexico, Flickr]
Filed under: Internet
Source: Mitnick Security
Motorola launches the Moto X (2nd Gen) in India for INR 31,999
Motorola has raised the curtains for its latest flagship device, the Moto X (2014) in India today. The smartphone will be available exclusively via e-retailer Flipkart from midnight.
The device featuring high-end specs is priced at INR 31,999 and comes in Bamboo, Black and leather back options for Indian customers. The new Moto X runs Android 4.4 KitKat, features a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM, 13MP rear camera with dual LED ring flash, 4K video recording, 2MP front shooter, 2,300 mAh battery and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.
However, Motorola will only be selling the 16GB variant of the smartphone, which is an odd move since there is no expandable storage options available on the device.
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Star Wars: Galactic Defense headed our way later this year
What do you do when you have oodles of money and the rights to one of the most iconic franchises ever? You make tons of mobile games as fast as you can with the branding and hope they stick. Both long time fans and new comers alike can appreciate a fun Star Wars theme based game, hut not even 7 days ago Disney released the free-to-play Star Wars: Commander title and now there will be another one coming out shortly.
Star Wars: Galactic Defense will take you on a tower defense quest across all 6 movies including the prequels and the classic titles. You will have your choice of the being the Rebels or the Empire. You will also be able to control a number of iconic characters on the battlefield. Kind of like what they did in Alien Creeps TD where you can manually move a hero during battle across the pre-determined battle path. The supporting dev team, DeNA, offered up Part 1 of a dev diary that gives a bit of an outline of the game and a look at the gameplay. Check it out.
“Star Wars is a franchise that has touched us all at DeNA and we’re honored to work with Disney and Lucasfilm on Star Wars: Galactic Defense,” said Barry Dorf, vice president of partnerships and alliances at DeNA. “We can’t use the Force™, but we do have one of the world’s most talented and passionate mobile development teams working to create an unforgettable Star Wars gameplay experience.”
As you might have guessed, Star Wars: Galactic Defense will be a free-to-play title. That means you can expect a series of in-app purchases to help speed up your fight against the Empire or to crush the Rebel Alliance. You can get a slight jump on the game if you pre-register for the upcoming game and participate in a set of social media missions. If successful you can earn some powerful upgrades, in-game currency and even Darth Maul. To pre-register head over to the official Star Wars: Galactic Defense page.
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