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The Real Revolution

This is also a podcast, from my weekly BBC piece.  While folks at the annual tech show in Vegas are getting all excited about a glass-encased laptop, the world’s thinnest 55″ TV and a washing machine you can control from your phone, they may be forgiven for missing the quiet sound of a milestone being crossed: there are now more smartphones in the world than there are ordinary phones. According to New York-based ABI Research, 3G and 4G handsets now account for more than half of the total mobile phone market. Those old ‘dumb phones’ and the so-called feature phones–poor relations to the computer-type iPhoneContinue readingThe Real Revolution

DigiNotar Breach Notes

Some folk have asked me for more details about the DigiNotar breach after my brief appearance on Al Jazeera this morning. So here are the notes I prepared for the segment. Links at the bottom. Background web security certificates are digital IDs issued by companies entrusted with making sure they are given to the right company or organisation. It allows a user to set up a secure connection between their computer and the organisation’s website. Browsers will show a little lock or some other icon to signify the certificate has been found and is trusted. Hackers broke into a Dutch company called DigiNotar, itself ownedContinue readingDigiNotar Breach Notes

The Fate of New Acquisitions: Whither or Wither?

By Jeremy Wagstaff I’m writing this on a Windows PC using a great piece of Microsoft software called Windows Live Writer. And that’s only part of the problem. As you no doubt know, Microsoft have announced they bought Skype, the Internet telephony company, for $8.5 billion. You’ll have to look under a lot of stones to find someone who thinks this is a good deal for Microsoft. Skype made $20 million last year on revenue of $860 million, posting a net loss of $69 million because of interest expenses. In short, this is not a company about to fill Microsoft’s coffers with dosh. Whenever aContinue readingThe Fate of New Acquisitions: Whither or Wither?

Data, WikiLeaks and War

I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of the WikiLeaks thing. Nor am I going to look at the bigger implications for the balance of power between governed and governing, and between the U.S. and its allies and foes. Others have written much better than I can on these topics. I want to look at what the cables tell us about the sorting, sifting and accessing of this information. In short, what does this tell us about how the world’s most powerful nation organized some of its most prized data? To start, with, I want to revisit a conversation I had sittingContinue readingData, WikiLeaks and War

Phone as Beacon

The idea that your cellphone may become a beacon of your availability took one small step closer yesterday, although you’d be forgiven for not noticing amid all the post-turkey bloat. The theory is this. Cellphones have gotten smarter, but they still miss one vital ingredient that computer users have had for years: presence. Anyone using an instant messenger, from ICQ to Skype, will know that they can indicate to their buddies, colleagues and family whether they’re at their computer, in a meeting, dead, or whatever. I’m not available. Leave a message This is useful information: It’s a bit like knowing whether someone is at homeContinue readingPhone as Beacon

The Commuter’s Shopping Impulse

A good piece that explores the point I was trying to make earlier about the commuter element in cellphone service adoption, from Reuters’ Sachi Izumi (via textually.org). Someone needs to look closely at the link between flat free pricing for mobile browsing and m-commerce (yeah I don’t like calling it that either, but it’s there to differentiate between buying online and buying on the mobile. I’m sure the distinction will blur eventually). Japan’s burst in mobile commerce ahead of the rest of the world is impressive, and it’s all to do with people being stuck with their phones for company for long periods. Jun Hasebe,Continue readingThe Commuter’s Shopping Impulse

From the Ashes of Blue Frog

The Blue Frog may be no more,  but the vigilantes are. Seems that despite the death of Blue Security in the face of a spammer’s wrath, the service has built an appetite for fighting back. Eric B. Parizo of SearchSecurity.com reports on a new independent group called Okopipi who intend “to pick up where Blue Security left off by creating an open source, peer-to-peer software program that automatically sends “unsubscribe” messages to spammers and/or reports them to the proper authorities.” Okopipi has already merged with a similar effort known as Black Frog and has recruited about 160 independent programmers, who are dissecting the open sourceContinue readingFrom the Ashes of Blue Frog

Russia Gets Serious About Its Virus Writers?

Is Russia finally getting serious about its virus writers? Kaspersky Labs and F-Secure, two anti-virus manufacturers, report that Evgenii Suchkov (or Eugene Suchkov, sometimes known as Whale or Cityhawk) has been found guilty of writing two viruses, Stepar and Gastropod. Suchkov was sentenced in the Russian republic of Udmurtia, and while he was only fined 3,000 rubles ($100) — a sentence which has attracted some derision — Kaspersky’s analyst reckons now “Russian virus writers know that they are not always going to be able to hide from the law. And the world knows that Russia is doing something about virus writing”. Suchkov, it appears, isContinue readingRussia Gets Serious About Its Virus Writers?

Is It Back To Basics For The PDA?

What do you want in a PDA? The Register carries a story that seems to belie the conventional wisdom that folk want everything in one device. It quotes Jupiter Research as saying that vendors are getting it wrong by focusing on the high-end, convergent devices, when actually they should be looking at the low-end, just-give-me the basics, market. “The adoption of portable devices increases as their size and complexity of use decreases,” the Jupiter report says. But on closer inspection the report’s not just saying that folk want a basic PDA. It’s saying that basic PDAs will remain the core of sales, but will graduallyContinue readingIs It Back To Basics For The PDA?

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