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FCC votes in favor of Net Neutrality... just

FCC votes in favor of Net Neutrality... just

The Net Neutrality debate has been rumbling on for quite some time now, but today something of a milestone has been reached. After the campaign gained the support of President Obama, Twitter, and many others, today was the Federal Communications Commission vote on a number of proposals put forward by chairman Tom Wheeler.

It is a victory for Net Neutrality and a great step towards ensuring that the internet remain open and free from controls by companies or government. The policy states, among other things, that ISPs may not charge for prioritization of web traffic. The vote was far from being a landslide. Two Republicans opposed to the policy changes kept the result to a 3-2 vote in favor of the proposals.

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Google cheapens Android Play Store -- sells top app search spots to highest bidder

Spiv android

Not everything has to be monetized. In business, the goal is profits, true, but that is not the sole reason for existence. The money is earned by the hard work of employees, and relationships built with customers. If you have no customers, you have no profits -- never forget that. If a company takes advantage of customer trust and the overall relationship, the customers may become fatigued to the practices.

This brings us to Google. It is a company that is near and dear to our hearts. The world is a better place because of the search giant and its offerings. With that said, the company and its founders have become wealthy thanks to its customers. Those customers give Google access to their lives in exchange for free Gmail, Maps and more -- it is a contract between both parties. Today, Google crosses a line, creating fatigue by inserting ads into Play Store search results. It is a straw on our collective backs.

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Emailage fights fraud with email address scoring


Email is the most common form of digital ID, used to login to websites, complete transactions and more besides. This means that over time each email address develops its own unique reputation and digital life based on its past behavior and actions online.

Phoenix-based startup company Emailage has used this to develop a risk scoring system for email addresses which will help companies to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions. Emailage has successfully flagged over 2 million transactions as risky in the past year alone, amounting to $150 million it's saved customers. The company has now received $3.8 million in venture capital funding to further develop its product.

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Agile versus waterfall development: The case for agile


Agility and flexibility are top of mind when it comes to delivering IT projects. With that being the case, the traditional waterfall development approach, which requires each step of a project to be completed before the IT team can move onto the next, seems a bit outdated.

Enter the agile development technique. This iterative development method should be the go-to today. It's based on collaboration and continuous development, and differs from the waterfall approach in that it can be characterized as being adaptive rather then predictive. Essentially, with agile, the requirements gathering, development and testing happen concurrently versus consecutively. Let’s take a closer look at why this development method makes more sense for most businesses today. And then, we’ll briefly examine a newer method -- DevOps -- which, too, is becoming more common. Regarding agile:

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Patent trolls beware -- EFF to testify before Congress

justice the law

While the phrase "patent troll" is not technically correct, it has become synonymous with a business model that is almost universally loathed. Companies that are created as a front and used to buy up patents and then extort, for lack of a better word, money from smaller businesses -- typically ones they feel they can push around for an easy and quick profit. Unfortunately the tactic works in many cases as those facing litigation can't afford to fight and end up settling to save money.

This practice has brought about a cry for reform of the patent system, which many feel is irrevocably broken. Now Congress is listening and today the Electronic Frontier Foundation will take center stage to plead its side of the argument.

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Cloud-hosted script library simplifies web development

cloud storage

Developers often find themselves repeatedly going over the same ground when it comes to adding functionality like forms or product pages.

California-based Cloudward is aiming to make life easier for web app developers with the launch of Cloud Snippets. These are cloud-hosted scripts, powered by Google Cloud Services, that allow anyone to instantly add forms, surveys, landing pages, ecommerce product listings, and more using the simplicity of Google Docs, Sheets, and Drive.

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Corel VideoStudio X8 adds Freeze Frame effect, NewBlue pack


Corel Corporation has unveiled VideoStudio Pro X8 ($79.99) and VideoStudio Ultimate X8 ($99.99), the latest versions of its versatile consumer video editor.

Both editions add a new Freeze Frame effect (just select a frame and set the duration), while the bundled NewBlue Video Essentials II brings 10 plugins, including Chroma Key, Lens Correction, Picture-in-Picture and Vignette.

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Pivot or Divot: How a first time founder learns to navigate the realities of running a startup


Starting a tech business in today’s rapidly evolving landscape presents a real challenge: how do you conceptualize an idea, develop it, and push it to market before the idea becomes obsolete in the face of new technology?

Firepype was first conceptualized in 2011­­ -- eons ago by tech standards. Amazingly, there is still no other product that offers automated media distribution the same way this does. The basic prototype came together pretty quickly for the first client, in a matter of weeks. Then it became time to refine the idea into an elegant, marketable package, and the forward momentum slowed to a crawl as I searched for the right team to help turn my vision into a reality.

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New tool simplifies translating apps into different languages


Developers put a lot of time and resources into the technical aspects of their apps. But when it comes to selling them in other markets there's often little left for localization.

Now OHT-Mobile, part of One Hour Translation, has a solution with the launch of Lingui, a low-cost way to localize apps quickly without the need for extra manpower, complicated processes or even the requirement to send updates to the App Store or Google Play.

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Run Android on your PC desktop with Droid4X


Android apps aren’t just for your phone and tablet. Install Droid4X and you can run Android on your PC, too, taking full advantage of the extra screen resolution and more easily sharing files and data.

As with many similar applications, Droid4X is essentially a wrapper around VirtualBox, with Android 4.2.2 provided on a custom virtual machine. But you don’t need to know any of the low-level details, as the program manages all of those itself.

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LG announces 4G LTE-enabled Watch Urbane smartwatch

LG Watch Urbane LTE

The average smartwatch relies on a smartphone to show relevant information. Those notifications, emails, messages, directions and the like are not pulled from thin air, after all. Making such devices pretty much useless when, for instance, the smartphone runs out of juice or is not within pairing distance. This is where having a cellular radio inside can make a huge difference.

LG is among the few vendors that sees just how useful cellular radios can be for smartwatches, as today it announces a 4G LTE version of its recently-unveiled Watch Urbane Android Wear smartwatch. Unlike the original, the new Watch Urbane LTE -- which rivals Samsung's Gear S -- runs LG's own Wearable Platform. The South Korean company is touting it as "the world’s first LTE-enabled smartwatch".

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Do you know where Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev is? You could be $3 million richer


Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev is a Russian hacker who could make you rich in a couple of different ways. He is the gentleman who is thought to be the architect behind the Zeus botnet as well as the infamous CryptoLocker scam that holds data hostage for a ransom. Those are two of the largest problems facing today's computer users and each still persists while Bogachev remains elusive.

He has twice been indicted in US courts, once in Nebraska and, more recently, in Pennsylvania. The array of charges is quite long, including conspiracy, money laundering, computer fraud, identity theft and more. These indictments mean little as long as he remains on the run.

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Using the power of big data to understand customers

Big data

Companies are increasingly tuning into the importance of understanding their customers in order to make their marketing more effective and big data has a key role to play in providing them with the information to do so.

A new infographic produced by big data analytics platform Datameer looks at how companies are using big data to build their brands and boost revenue.

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Facebook can put users on suicide watch

Facebook puts users on suicide watch

A few months ago Twitter was criticized for teaming up with suicide prevention charity Samaritans to automatically monitor for key words and phrases that could indicate that someone was struggling to cope with life. Despite the privacy concerns that surrounded Samaritans Radar, Facebook has decided that it is going to launch a similar venture for Compassion Research Day in a bid to prevent suicides.

Working with mental health organizations including mental health organizations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,, Facebook aims to provide greater help and support for anyone considering suicide or self-harm.

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Yet more aggressive Android adware found on Google Play

mobile malware

Google Play is supposed to be the safe place to download Android apps from, but that’s increasingly not the case. Three weeks ago security firm Avast detailed how it had found three popular Android apps riddled with Adware in Google’s store.

Today Bitdefender reports that it has found ten Google Play apps that are packed with aggressive adware that can do all sorts of nasty things.

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