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The Phantom Threats We Face

This is a copy of my weekly Loose Wire Service column. By Jeremy Wagstaff We fear what we don’t know, even if it’s a guy in Shenzhen trying to make an honest living developing software that changes the background color of your mobile phone display. Here’s what happened. I’ll save the lessons for the end of this piece. A guy who prefers to go by the name Jackeey found a  niche for himself developing programs—usually called apps—for the Android cellphone operating system. They were wallpaper applications—basically changing the background to the display. That was until an online news site, VentureBeat, reported on July 28 thatContinue readingThe Phantom Threats We Face

Sleazy Linkers Lose An Ally

Seems as if there’s a bit of a groundswell building against internal links, which I got all upset about a few months ago. (internal linking is where you place a link on a word like, say, Google, but instead of actually linking to Google you link to another page on your own blog about Google.) Amit from Digital Inspiration points out that Valleywag, the Silicon Valley gossip blog that everyone hates but still reads, always practiced excessive internal linking but good sense prevailed at Gawker and they have suddenly changed that habit. Amit also points to Shane at the Daily Telegraph, who is complaining aboutContinue readingSleazy Linkers Lose An Ally

Microsoft DVDs and the Elusive Truth

What’s true and what’s not? Not that easy to ascertain these days (not that it ever was particularly easy) with blogs and all that. This piece from The Business has, as you might have read, been roundly condemned as untrue: Microsoft invents a one-play only DVD to combat Hollywood piracy : COMPUTER software giant Microsoft has developed a cheap, disposable pre-recorded DVD disc that consumers can play only once. The discs would give Hollywood increased control over the release of new films and allow consumers the chance to watch a film at the fraction of the price of an ordinary pre-recorded DVD. More important, theContinue readingMicrosoft DVDs and the Elusive Truth

Bluetooth And The Art Of Sex

Is Bluetooth helping Brits meet each other and have sex? Apparently, according to WIRED, which reports on a new craze called ‘toothing’ (couldn’t they have come up with something sexier?). Toothing involves using the Bluetooth feature in a cellphone — used to transfer data between one Bluetooth device and another, without wires — to send messages to another cellphone within range (across a room, say.) What the toothers do, apparently, is to spot someone else messing with their cellphone on a train, a mall or, somewhat unromantically, in a carpark, and then send them a message using this feature (via a trick called Bluejacking, orContinue readingBluetooth And The Art Of Sex

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