Rovio, the Finnish mobile gaming company, has been on a roll lately with Bad Piggies rocketing to the number one spot in app stores and the teaser videos for the upcoming Angry Birds Star Wars game getting widespread attention. Now the company has quietly pushed out an October holiday update for the "Seasons" franchise that is aptly named "Haunted Hogs".
The update, which began rolling out this morning for Android users, is a rather major update as opposed to the usual simple addition of a new level or two. This one actually not only changes the game icon, but reworks many of the insides of the game as well. Aside from the icon, you will immediately notice that the years (2011, 2012, etc.) have been replaced by Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3.
Microsoft recently announced that it will now permit migrating Xbox Live accounts from one country to another. While the Xbox community rejoices in celebration, I reflect on my assiduous journey to have my account migrated, and wonder if my case along with that of a fellow friend and others who joined our cause, contributed to this outcome.
Back in 2002, I got a copy of Unreal Tournament for the original Xbox, and with that an update for the new and exciting Xbox Live service. To join the service, I had to create a Microsoft Passport account (aka Windows Live ID, or more recently Microsoft Account), which I did using an existing, non-Hotmail email address that I still use today.
Thousands of high schools have jumped on the tablet bandwagon and adopted one-to-one iPad programs. This year, over 600 districts in the US are piloting iPad programs and more are considering it. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that they've shipped over 1 million iPads into the education space.
These numbers are remarkable and in general are a positive trend when it comes to adoption of technology in education. That being said, there is cause for concern. The majority of iPad deployments thus far have been messy and poorly executed. A recent study conducted on the efficacy of iPads in four California school districts found that students who used iPads performed no better than the control group.
I have followed Apple for over 20 years now in various ways as a consumer, an employee, a consultant and as a developer. These are my thoughts about the Maps debacle and what it says about the state of Apple overall.
The core of Apple (pun intended) is the seamless integration of hardware and software. Whereas Microsoft’s play in personal computing is purely software and companies like IBM, Dell, and HP were purely hardware, Apple wants to control the entire process. As a result, the integration is tighter, everything works better and the lines blur between the two.
How do you keep up with the pulse of your business? For most companies, everyday activities are based on business processes that are repeated and repeatable. A retail company takes in sales. They process credit cards. They order more stock. They replenish inventory. A manufacturer procures raw materials in a global market. Then, they transport them to the manufacturing facilities. Finally, they create their product and distribute it.
No matter what the business or the task, every activity that costs or makes money is governed by a process. In the current business landscape, most businesses run these processes using IT tools. Managers look to IT to build in logical, dependent frameworks that keep the whole business running like clockwork. With the Internet, Cloud and mobile technologies, IT also has the task of connecting all of these activities together so that they can be controlled, orchestrated and monitored from almost anywhere.
Sharing details of the hack that “wiped his life” has earned Mat Honan a place in the annals of information system security; the specific interdependence of flawed authentication systems that cost him so dearly -- encompassing Apple, iCloud, Amazon.com, Gmail and more -- would probably still exist if Honan had not gone public. Wired has the full story for those who have not been watching it unfold on Twitter.
As news spread last weekend about how much of Honan’s data the hackers had wiped out -- by social engineering Apple Support into wiping his iPhone, iPad and MacBook -- the company quickly moved to suspend over-the-phone resetting of Apple ID passwords. Amazon also reacted and, according to a follow-up report in Wired: “handed down to its customer service department a policy change that no longer allows people to call in and change account settings, such as credit cards or email addresses associated with its user accounts”.
If you use Google search (and who doesn’t), you may have noticed that sponsored results (pay-per-click, or PPC, ads) have been taking over more and more of the search engine results page.
Here at WordStream, we’ve noticed that too! So we decided to do some research into what impact all of these new, bigger, more prominent and engaging ad formats are having on the average Google searcher. The results are astonishing: Clicks on paid search listings beat out organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent in the US.
Today’s homes are becoming smarter and smarter, thanks to embedded technologies. While we’re a good way off from talking homes with their own personalities -- popularized on television and in the movies -- they can do amazing things.
Our homes can keep out burglars, conserve energy, control temperature and humidity and even make our morning coffee, all with little input from us. Interestingly enough, today most of those functions are independent of one another. Our "smart" homes are really a collection of decentralized smart devices, all of which make modern living easier and more comfortable.
As we reach the end of June, commercial developers are busy preparing software for a Q3 launch, so we’ll be entering a lean period for key, new releases. This doesn’t mean it was a quiet week; far from it. TechSmith released Camtasia 8.0 for Windows and 2.2 for Mac. This powerful screen-recording tool will enable you to produce professional-level presentations for just about any audience.
If you’re seeking an image editor to complement your screen recording toolkit, look no further than the free GIMPshop 2.8. This is effectively the popular GIMP, wrapped up in a different and user-friendly interface. The various K-Lite Codec Packs are a collection of codecs you can use to play video and audio content on your PC. Although it’s becoming more of a challenge to find videos that won’t play on your PC, there are still plenty encoded using a compression format that was more popular in the early part of the previous decade. Download K-Lite Codec Pack 8.92 Basic, the Standard pack, Full or Mega, which also contains a number of conversion tools.
The new, targeted, high-tech, military grade malicious code such as Stuxnet, Duqu and Flamer dominates security news. So imagine our surprise when an AutoCAD worm, written in AutoLISP, the scripting language that AutoCAD uses, suddenly showed a big spike in one country on ESET’s LiveGrid two months ago, and this country is Peru.
We have seen other small number of infections of ACAD/Medre.A in other countries, but they are all in regions that are near Peru or have a large Spanish speaking contingent. The odd one out in the infection table would be the People’s Republic of China, but not quite so weird when we started to analyze the worm based on this sudden spike. More about China will follow later.
The slow drip of revelations about Flame have kept this piece of malware in the news for more than two weeks so it is worth reminding people that most antivirus programs now protect against Flame (ESET products detect it as Win32/Flamer.A). The coverage of Flame was boosted last week by a conveniently-timed assist from leaks that put Stuxnet back in the headlines.
Frankly, many antivirus experts were underwhelmed by reports that anonymous officials in the US. government were asserting that the industrial-sabotage malware known as Stuxnet was developed as part of attacks on Iran's industrial infractructure sanctioned by the President of the United States (a lot of us already assumed that was the case). There has also been a longstanding presumption of Israeli involvement in Stuxnet and so it was no surprise to hear "Stuxnet is our baby; Obama disclosed it for his reelection campaign" coming from Mossad agents. The third unsurprising revelation is that part of the Flame code is nearly identical to code found in Stuxnet.
I have been testing Windows 8 Release Preview 64-bit for over 10 days now. I have installed it onto a second partition on two computers: Lenovo ThinkPad T61 and desktop clone computer. On both PCs, Windows 7 is also installed as an alternative OS. I set up dual boot using free tool Easy BCD.
My conclusion so far: this is an operating system one can live with, but that hardly justifies upgrading from Windows 7. That is unless you have got a tablet computer and like the new Metro UI. Since I haven't got one, the new Metro UI for me is just a bother -- simply a hindrance for efficient work. Except for this new user interface there is actually hardly anything new, while on the other hand, not one single awkward or archaic concept has been replaced by something new.
At a time when password breaches like the one at LinkedIn are once more making the news, there's plenty of good advice around about how to select a strong password as opposed to the sort of stereotyped easy-to-remember-but-stupendously-easy-to-guess password that turns up again and again in dumped lists of hacked passwords.
So if your favorite, much-used password (or something very like it) is in the following list, it might be a good idea to stop reading this now, go to the link on how to select a strong password and use it as a basis for changing all your passwords to something safer (then come back and think about the PINs you use). The list is abstracted from one compiled by Mark Burnett, representing the most-used passwords in a data set of around 6 million:
With the recent announcements of password breaches at LinkedIn, and warnings from Google about state-sponsored attacks on Gmail accounts, it seems like a good idea now to review some password security basics. Then there is report today that someone hacked presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Dropbox and Hotmail.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at a rather low-tech solution to a decidedly high-tech problem: How to guard against password reset attacks, and where to securely store the answers to your password reset questions.
New York City buzzed earlier this week when Salesforce announced it will acquire Buddy Media for $689 million. For those that have watched Mike Lazerow build the company from "a social media agency", as people jabbed in the early days, to a true social management platform, this outcome doesn’t come as a surprise. Buddy quickly grew as brands’ presence on social media shifted from experimental marketing budgets to a critical part of any chief marketing officer’s strategy. While Buddy originally (and wisely) hitched its wagon to Facebook as the network took off, they have since diversified outside the walls of Mark Zuckerberg’s castle and into other networks and platforms like Twitter, Google+ and more.
While this purchase may or may not come as a surprise to people, I have seen many folks scratching their heads and asking: "Why Salesforce?" Why not go, instead, with WPP (who’s an investor), Facebook, or another big agency holding company. The answer to this question lies in the difference of business fundamentals between agencies, Facebook, and Salesforce.