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Archive for the ‘Apps’

Online trolls really are losers

August 04, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Dr Search, Gaming, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

New research has found that men who harass women online are actual losers – at least when it comes to video games.

Online trolls really are losersTwo researchers analysed how men treated women while playing 163 games of Halo 3.

Men who performed poorly in the games responded by being hostile to female players- and were more likely to bully female players.

The male winners were mostly pleasant to other players, while the losing men made unsavoury comments to female players.

“Low-status males that have the most to lose due to a hierarchical reconfiguration are responding to the threat female competitors pose,” the researchers, from the University of New South Wales and the Miami University in Ohio, write. “High-status males with the least to fear were more positive.”

In Halo 3, players are anonymous and only interact with each other by voice a few times during the game. Most Halo players are men.

When performing poorly, players increased negative statements toward women and submissive statements toward the men who were winning.

“As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance,” the researchers write.

Male players were thrown off by hearing female voices during the game. The researchers think their results suggest that young males should be taught that losing to women is not “socially debilitating”.

The results also suggest that video games may be reinforcing gender segregation and potentially promoting sexist behaviours, especially troubling since so many “gamers” are teenagers.

Dangers of constantly on wifi smartphone apps

March 28, 2014 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Cyber Security, data security, Hackers, mobile phones, Personal Security, Search Clinic, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, WiFi

The dangers of constantly keeping your smartphone’s always on has been revealed.

Dangers of constantly on wifi smartphone appsMany smartphone users leave the wireless option constantly turned on on their smartphone. That means the phones are constantly looking for a network to join – including previously used networks.

Once the user has joined a disguised wifi network, the rogue operator can then steal any information that the user enters while on that network – including email passwords, Facebook account information, and even banking details.

This is also why smartphones and other devices that use wireless technology – such as Oyster cards using RFID (radio frequency identification) or bank cards with chips – can betray their users.

Mr Wilkinson – who began developing the Snoopy software three years ago as a side-project – gave the BBC a preview of the technology ahead of its release.

Pulling out a laptop from his bag, Mr Wilkinson opened the Snoopy programme – and immediately pulled up the smartphone information of hundreds of Black Hat conference attendees.

With just a few keystrokes, he showed that an attendee sitting in the back right corner of the keynote speech probably lived in a specific neighbourhood in Singapore. The software even provided a streetview photo of the smartphone user’s presumed address.
DJI phantom SensePost has used the Snoopy software attached to cheap commercial drones like DJI’s Phantom

Drones- not just flying cameras:

  •     Drones are controlled either autonomously by on-board computers, or by remote control
  •     They are used in situations where manned flight is considered too dangerous or difficult
  •     Also increasingly used for policing and fire-fighting, security work, and for filming

For instance, the Snoopy software has been ground-based until now, operating primarily on computers, smartphones with Linux installed on them, and on open-source small computers like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black.

But when attached to a drone, it can quickly cover large areas.

“You can also fly out of audio-visual range – so you can’t see or hear it, meaning you can bypass physical security – men with guns, that sort of thing,” he says.

It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which an authoritarian regime could fly the drone over an anti-government protest and collect the smartphone data of every protester and use the data to figure out the identities of everyone in attendance.

Mr Wilkinson says that this is why he has become fascinated with our “digital terrestrial footprint” – and the way our devices can betray us.

He says he wants to “talk about this to bring awareness” of the security risks posed by such simple technologies to users.

His advice? Turn off the wireless network on your phone until you absolutely need to use it.

Microsoft and Google clash over smartphone apps

April 18, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Customer Service, Google, Microsoft, Mobile Marketing, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Microsoft has accused Google of pushing Android handset makers to use its apps like YouTube and Maps.
Microsoft and Google clash over smartphone apps
Along with Oracle, Nokia and 14 other tech firms, Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission.

The group, known as FairSearch, argues that Google is abusing its dominance of the mobile market.

“We are asking the commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market,” said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel for FairSearch.

“Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system,” he added.

Android is now the dominant mobile operating system, accounting for 70% of the market, according to research firm Gartner.

The complaint describes Google’s Android operating system as a “trojan horse”, offered to device makers for free. In return they are “required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone,” the complaint reads.

Google is also under fire for its common user privacy policy which groups 60 sets of rules into one and allows the company to track users more closely.

Last week six European data protection agencies, including the UK and France, threatened legal action if Google did not make changes to its policy.

In October a European Commission working party said its privacy policy did not meet Commission standards on data protection.

It gave Google four months to comply with its recommendation. Google maintains that the new policy “respects European law”.

Microsoft itself is no stranger to EC criticism- in March it was fined £484 million for failing to promote a range of web browsers in its Windows 7 operating system.

Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble’s Nook ereader

January 07, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Ecommerce, EReaders, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The publisher Pearson has said it will invest in the Nook series of ereaders and tablets.Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble's Nook ereaderPearson said it would pay £55.5 million for a 5% stake in Nook Media, which includes the digital bookstore and 674 stores serving US colleges.

The maker of Nook-  US book chain Barnes & Noble (B&N), sells the devices online in the UK and in its stores as well in the US.

Microsoft is another big investor in the Nook.

After the deal, B&N will hold 78.2% of the Nook business and Microsoft will have about 16.8% , Pearson said.

It added that, subject to certain conditions, Pearson will have the option to buy another 5% stake in Nook Media.

“Pearson and Barnes & Noble have been valued partners for decades, and in recent years both have invested heavily and imaginatively to provide engaging and effective digital reading and learning experiences,” said Will Ethridge, chief executive of Pearson North America.

“This new agreement extends our partnership and deepens our commitment to provide better, easier experiences for our customers.”

B&N offers its own curated magazine, newspaper, book and app stores – and plans to add a video service offering movies and television shows by early 2013.

Its devices compete with tablets and ereaders from Apple, Amazon, Sony and products using Google’s Android software.

B&N does not operate its own stores in the UK, but as well as online, it sells its products through Sainsbury’s and the bookstore Blackwell’s.

Nokia launches it’s own streets map to battle Google and Apple

December 07, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Dr Search, mobile phones, Nokia, smart phones, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

Nokia has launched it’s own Maps service after a user-backlash led Apple to apologise for the quality of its iOS6 Maps update.Nokia launches it's own streets map to battle Google and AppleThe Finnish firm quickly capitalised by beating Google to the release of an app in Apple’s iPhone and iPad store.

Giving away a product that cost millions of dollars to create to owners of a rival’s products might seem like an odd business decision, but behind it lies a critical point.

If Nokia’s 25-year-old mapping business is to survive the evolution from dedicated sat-nav systems to smart devices it needs to secure as much feedback data as it can.

That means attempting to woo smartphone and tablet users with a series of innovations.

You can already see a hint of the importance of feedback data in the colour codes Nokia uses to show which streets are suffering from busy traffic. It does this by taking anonymised GPS and movement readings from users’ phones and other Nokia-powered sat-nav systems to work out road conditions.

Its upcoming Living Maps feature aims to take this a step further by colour-coding areas according to each user’s leisure tastes.

The unit traces its roots to Barry Karlin, a South African immigrant to Silicon Valley who had the idea of a computer mapping solution after becoming lost while driving in the area in 1984 and finding the large map he owned unwieldy to use.

In 1987 he launched DriverGuide – a printed door-to-door driving guide sold from kiosks which was targeted at rental car drivers in San Francisco.

Over the following years the company changed its name first to Navtech, then Navteq and for a time came under the control of Philips.

But after research costs mounted, the Dutch company decided go in a different direction and by 2004 the business had been floated on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of about $2 billion (£1.2 billion).

Its public status proved to be short-lived when Nokia announced it wanted to acquire the firm in 2007. It paid $8.1 billion for the privilege the following year.

Nokia already powers the default map apps on Windows Phone handsets, Windows 8 computers and Amazon’s Kindle tablets.

The True cars are fitted with a range of sensors including high-precision cameras and an inertial measurement unit which measures the slope of each road – a feature which could allow trucking companies to identify the least hilly routes in order to cut fuel costs.

But the critical feature is a rotating sensor called Lidar (light detection and ranging) which uses 64 lasers to capture 1.3 million points of digital information every second of each vehicle’s journey.

“The lasers bounce off any reflective surface that allows us to capture lane markings [which use reflective paint], it shows us the exact location of road signs and it also allows us to capture the world in 3D,” explains Mr Fox.

“That’s the primary purpose… we are able to create at street-level a digital representation of the real world.”

While Google’s Street View offers panoramic photos, Nokia intends to offer a computer-created graphics-based version of the planet by combining Lidar-collected data with colour information gathered by panoramic cameras.

The advantage, Mr Fox suggests, is that Nokia can offer a highly-detailed depiction of the environment to pedestrians, but a less distracting version to motorists.
6,366 people are employed by Nokia’s location division.

Cyber thieves target smartphones and mobiles for future profits

November 14, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Android, Apple, Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, Google, internet, mobile phones, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

As more people around the world are using smartphones and downloading apps, bank, and conduct business, there’s more and more of an incentive for criminals to attack phones- as they used to attack PCs in the past.Cyber thieves target smartphones and mobiles for future profitsCrimeware kits, which let novice cyber thieves create their own viruses with a few mouse clicks, have been behind the huge rise in the number of malicious programs that plague PCs.

Now, such kits are starting to be made for mobile malware.

What criminals like about mobiles is their intrinsic connection to a payment plan. This made it far easier to siphon off cash than with PC viruses.

All phones that have access to SMS are able to charge money to their phone bill via premium rate SMS processes.

Almost 70% of the millions of scams try to steal cash by surreptitiously racking up premium-rate charges.

Malicious apps made it hard for people to realise they were being scammed, because they could work surreptitiously while phone owners used a different application.

Alongside the growth in mobile malware is a rise in junk or spam text messages being sent to phones – many involving fake offers in an attempt to sucker the recipient into revealing their credit card number.

The ways to keep your mobile phone safe are:

  • Stick to official marketplaces and app stores
  • Be suspicious of offers that look too good to be true
  • Check your bill for rogue charges
  • Be wary of sites offering for free apps that cost money elsewhere
  • Be extra wary of Android apps as Google’s vetting is not as strict as Apple’s.

eBay thirdquarter sales and profits increase

October 22, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Customer Service, eBay, Ecommerce, internet, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Advertising, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The auction site eBay has reported a rise in third quarter sales and profits- as more consumers used the website.eBay thirdquarter sales and profits increaseNet profit for the three months to the end of September rose 14% from a year earlier, to £445 million ($718 million), eBay said.  Net revenues rose 15% to £2.125 billion.

The company has also been looking to take advantage of the increasing number of people who use mobile smartphones to shop and pay for things.

“We had a great third quarter across our company, with Marketplaces and PayPal accelerating customer growth,” chief executive John Donahoe said in a statement.

“Mobile continues to be a game changer for us, and we continue to be a clear leader in mobile commerce and payments.”

The group forecast sales of between £2.46 billion and £2.5 billion in the fourth quarter.

Whilst the results were impressive, EBay shares fell nearly 1% in extended trading in New York after its results came out as analyists had been hoping for even better results.

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AMD supports Android apps on Windows 8

October 08, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Android, Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Google, Microsoft, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Further to our last post on the ongoing Microsoft and Google battles– here comes another twist as Microsoft is working hard to convince developers to make apps for it’s Windows 8 operating system.AMD supports Android apps on Windows 8What this means is that some Windows 8 laptops and PCs could end up running more Android apps than those written specifically for Microsoft’s software.

Machines built around chips made by AMD will come optimised to run the Android apps.

A collaboration between AMD and software firm Bluestacks lets the devices run the 500,000 apps more usually found on Android phones.

By contrast, Microsoft reportedly only has a few thousand apps written specifically for Windows 8 at launch.

The Android apps will be available on Windows 8 devices via AMD’s AppZone player.

Inside this is code from Bluestacks that acts as a wrapper around the mobile phone programs so they can run on desktops, laptops and tablets.

AMD has made changes to the core code that runs its processors and graphics cards to ensure apps built for the small screens on mobile phones look good and run well on larger displays.

The player also lets users synchronise their apps across both a PC and an Android phone or tablet.

AMD has about a 25% share of the market for desktops computers with the UK’s ARM chasing them rapidly.

As Windows 8 has been developed to work well with portable devices such as tablets, Microsoft has been working to create an ecosystem of apps for the operating system.

Bluestacks’ Android-running software also works on Intel-powered devices, including Macs, but typically has to be installed after a gadget has been bought and booted up.

Bluestacks is also talking to other PC makers to get its software installed as PCs are put together in a factory.

Google ends old Office file formats app

October 05, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Google, Microsoft, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Google has warned it’s app users that they will be unable to download documents to their computers in Microsoft Office 1997-2003 formats from the start of the month.Google ends old Office file formats appThe decision continues Google’s continuing battle against Microsoft.

However Google Apps runs in the cloud- which provides an alternative to Microsoft’s Office productivity suite.

Users of versions of Office bought before 2007 may be unable to open documents modified using Google Apps.

The formats which are no longer supported are .doc, .xls and .ppt.

Google issued the warning on its Google Apps update blog earlier this week.

Google Apps users will still be able to open and edit documents that were created in the older formats once the change comes into effect, but they will be unable to save them on their computer or pass them on to others in their original format.

For people who use Office 2003 or earlier, the move creates an obstacle to sharing documents with Google Apps users.

That is because once modified in Google Apps, a document created in Microsoft’s suite may no longer be usable by the document’s original author.

Google now supports saving documents in Microsoft’s newer .docx, .xlsx and .pptx formats used in Office 2007 and Office 2010, as well as other formats including Open Document Format (.odf and .ods), a freely available standard used as the default format by free office suites including OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

Smartphone games apps won’t kill gaming consoles

October 03, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Gaming, smart phones, Social Media, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Video Marketing

The organiser of the UK’s biggest video games show- the Eurogamer Expo, is confident smartphone gaming won’t kill off traditional gaming.Smartphone games apps won't kill gaming consolesRupert Loman thinks that people will always want the experience of playing a game on a big screen with friends or taking on other players online.

The Eurogamer Expo was held last week at London’s Earls Court.

It gives fans first hand gaming experience of about 50 upcoming titles, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3.

“I just think it’s testament to how far the games industry has come, that there’s so many different ways you can play,” says Rupert.

He believes that the “huge” popularity of console gaming, and the massive numbers shifted by the likes of the Call of Duty series, means it’s as strong as ever.

” Gaming now offers something for everyone. There’s all sorts of ways of playing – online games, massively multi-player universes, social games.”

“With the Wii U you’ve got games that are great for kids and families. Anyone can game these days – there are so many ways of doing it.”

However he does admit that, while console gaming will always be around, mobile gaming could eventually overtake it in terms of popularity.

“It could well end up being a bigger industry,” he says.

“But I don’t think it will replace that situation where you want to play Fifa or something like that in your front room with your friends. That’s one experience.  You’re on the train and you want to play a game on your 3DS or your Vita or on your mobile – that’s another”.

Rupert Loman says he expects Microsoft and Sony to start making moves very soon: “As far as I’m aware, their plans for next generation consoles are pretty far advanced.

“I’d expect them to be revealed mid-next year and be in the shops next Christmas, or soon after that.”