Friday, March 30, 2012

Major Data Breach Of Visa, MasterCard Payment Processing Company Confirmed

Update 3:30PM PST: Global Payments Inc, the third party payment vendor that was affected by the breach, has issued a statement confirming the breach and setting the access date of early March 2012.

Both Visa and MasterCard are acknowledging a "massive" security breach has occurred at a credit card processor used by both companies that has put an unknown number of accounts at risk.

KrebsonSecurity originally reported the "massive" security breach which was originally estimated at 10 million accounts. The then unknown a credit card processor is now being identified as Global Payments of Atlanta. The Wall Street Journal, is now reporting the breach may only impact about 50,000 cardholders. While substantial, that would be far less than the possible 10 million speculated by KrebsonSecurity.

Update: It is now estimated that between one million and three million cardholders could be affected. No numbers have officially been released.

According to the Journal MasterCard and Visa have both confirmed the potential breach at the third party vendor. However, both have stated that the impact is limited to their site alone and the company's own databases were not affected.

"MasterCard's own systems have not been compromised in any manner," a company spokesman said in a statement. The company will "continue to both monitor this event and take steps to safeguard account information."

Visa said in a statement that it is aware of a possible compromise involving a "third-party entity" affecting card account information from all major card brands.

"There has been no breach of Visa systems, including its core processing network VisaNet," the company said. Visa said it has provided banks with affected account numbers "so they can take steps to protect consumers through independent fraud monitoring and, if needed, reissuing cards."

Despite the fact that the estimated window for the breach was Jan. 21 and Feb. 25, the information was not widely made public until today. Both Visa and MasterCard have stated they have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain accounts that are potentially at risk

Cardholders concerned about their accounts should contact the banks that issued them their cards.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google Announces New YouTube Vlogger Program

Google and YouTtube are asking; Do You Have What it Takes to be the ‘Next’ great YouTube Vlogger?

Recently YouTube asked YouTube creators what they thought should be the next major promotion for the Next Creator program? After checking the feedback and tallying the results they came up with the "Next Vlogger" program.

What is it you may ask? Well its the chance for 16 vLoggers to be featured on YouTube and Google+ Hangouts conducting educational workshops for Google. Each vLogger will receive $5,000 worth of video equipment and more than $10,000 worth of promotion and ads on and off YouTube. Participants will also receive training and mentoring from top industry experts to help aid you on your quest to take over the vLogging world.

Now through April 18, applications will be open for you chance to be one of the sixteen vLoggers to take part in the three month program. To apply you'll need a YouTube account, with a video uploaded to your YouTube channel that you think best represents your vlogging style and you will be required to complete two short essays: one essay about why you want to participate in this Program and a second essay about what your plans are for developing your Channel. Each Essay must be in English and two hundred (200) words or less in length. If your Essay is longer than 200 words, only the first 200 words will be considered.

The vLogger program is open to YouTube creators from Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. You'll need to apply first!

For more detail see the Next YouTube Vlogger page.

Register Now For Your iPhone 4 Antennagate Settlements

The official website for the iPhone 4 "antennagate" class action settlement is now live and accepting registrations for customers wanting to get their $15 share of the settlement.

To be eligible for the cash payment, you must have: (a) experienced antenna or reception issues; (b) been unable to return your iPhone 4 without incurring any costs; (c) been unwilling to use a case or free bumper for your iPhone 4; and (d) completed certain troubleshooting steps or are unable to complete the troubleshooting steps because you no longer own your iPhone.

The settlement will provide a $15 cash payment if you are a United States resident who are or were the original owner of an iPhone 4, and who experienced antenna or reception issues, and satisfy other requirements explained on this website.

Since July 2010, Apple has offered a free bumper to iPhone 4 owners who have experienced antenna or reception issues. Class Members can continue to request a free bumper as described at

For more details see the iPhone 4 Settlement Website.

Google Opens Campus London A New Place For London Based Start-ups

Google wants to want to empower the next generation of London based start-ups. The company today announced the opening of Campus London , a seven story co-working facility in the east London neighborhood known as Tech City.

Campus London is a collaboration between Google and partners Central Working, Tech Hub, Seedcamp and Springboard. The site will provide start-ups with workspace, free high speed internet and a support program which will include mentoring programs, speaker series, networking events and more. The campus is open to all members of startup community not just those in the the sector: entrepreneurs, investors, developers, designers, lawyers, accountants, etc. are all invited.

"Our goal with Campus is to catalyze the start-up ecosystem and build Britain's single largest community of start-ups under one roof," wrote Eze Vidra, Head of Campus London in his blog post announcing the opening.

According to Google on day one, Campus is already at 90% capacity, with more than 100 people on site and an additional 4,500 who have signed up online to visit. Take a photo tour of Campus here, and if you’d like to learn more visit

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apple, Sony Sued Over iTunes, Playstation Network Systems

Inventor Benjamin Grobler alongside intellectual property attorneys from the office of The Lanier Law Firm have filed lawsuits against Apple and Sony alleging infringement of Grobler's patents relating to the way systems such as the iTunes and Playstation Network work.

The lawsuits filed on March 27, 2012, alleges that Apple and Sony are infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,799,084 which describes a system in which digital data is distributed to an electronic devices called a "data depot" for storage and management. The IP also calls for a remote database that maintains ownership and user records. According to the lawsuit, Apple and Sony have infringed the patent by making and offering infringing data vending systems such as iTunes and the Playstation Network, and that the companies are inducing their customers' infringement by using these systems.

According to the patent date it was filed on January 31, 2001, three weeks after Apple first launched iTunes and ten months before the introduction of the iPod.

The cases are Benjamin Grobler v. Apple Inc., No. CV-12-1534, and Benjamin Grobler v. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, No. CV-12-1526. Both are pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Full detail of the filling can be found here.

This geek's opinion:

The details of this post were in part grabbed from this press release which was put out by The Lanier Law Firm. Sorry to say it but when you read the full release it looks like nothing more than blatant advertisement for their firm. While the case might have merits (I'm not sure it does) I'm thinking this is nothing more than another patent troll trying to use the broken patent system for personal gain and a law firm jumping on the band wagon to garner some attention.

Now all that said, I have to ask: What is it with Apple and a their lack of patents in some areas and over usage of patents in others? This report came out a bit on the late side so I haven't seen a response from Apple. Nor have I seen any other reports discussing Apple possibly having prior patents to these types of systems. But I have to wonder.

Apple In Trouble Over New iPad's 4G Advertising

It appears as though the marketing team over at Apple may have gotten a little rambunctious with the advertising of the New iPad is several foreign countries. Reports are surfacing about complaints that marketing is misleading consumers into believing the new third generation iPad is 4G compatible, even in countries currently without 4G capabilities.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken legal action to ensure Apple makes consumers aware its third-generation iPad cannot connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia due to technical incompatibility. The ACCC alleges that Apple's recent promotion of the new "iPad with WiFi + 4G" is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product "iPad with WiFi + 4G" can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.

According to reports by Reuters Apple will offer refunds to Australian buyers of new iPad. Apple promoted its third-generation tablet as the iPad with Wifi+4G, but Australia has only one 4G network, operated by Telstra Corp, which operates on a different frequency to the 4G on Apple's new iPad.

Further reports indicate that both Sweden and the UK may also enter the legal battle. Both countries have stated that they have received numerous consumer complaints about the iPad, which is being widely advertised as a 4G tablet despite not working on the 4G LTE networks in either country.

"One may rightfully ask if the marketing of the new iPad is misleading," said Marek Andersson of the Swedish Consumer Agency, which is considering launching an investigation over whether the ads run afoul of consumer protection laws.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), meanwhile, has told Pocket-lint that it is currently assessing complaints from consumers to "establish whether or not there is a problem under the [Advertising] Code." ASA could impose a marketing ban on the iPad 3’s claims that it supports 4G in the UK.

While Apple has offered a refund to Australian customers there has been no word on whether or not consumers in other none 4G supporting countries will also be issued refunds.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Run Android Apps On Your Windows PCs With Bluestacks Emulator

We are always looking for new ways to test out the latest Android software and games and today we found an interesting new application that will allow us to do that from the comfort of our desktop. Today, BlueStacks software released a beta copy of the company's App Player, which includes access to thousands of Android apps from any Windows desktop.

The Bluestacks App Player is a software emulator that allows Android applications to run on Windows 7, Vista and XP OSes (Windows 8 support is coming). Upon installing the App Player users can install and run just about any of the 450,000+ Android applications found in the Android Market (aka Google Play). This includes just about all your favorite games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Words With Friends and Draw Something.

The App Player features a popular download section, quick search functionality, and accelerometer support (thanks to the keyboard arrow keys). We didn't test any paid Android apps, but free apps simply downloaded and were available immediately in the My Apps launcher.

BlueStacks says its patent-pending "Layercake" technology, which allows apps that use hardware graphics acceleration to run on x86-based PCs will allow you to run any and all of the available Android apps on your PCs, and although we weren't able to test every single one — the apps we tried worked fairly well without too many issues.

The areas we noticed issues with were mainly a lack of sharp looking graphics. We noticed images didn't scale as nicely as we hoped and text in some of the apps looked blurry. In some of the games scenes looked a little fuzzy, while on others there was some occasional lag. This was especially noticeable in Angry Birds.

Major complaints with the software itself included the app launcher toolbar which was perched rather precariously on top of our home screen, and placed itself over any of our Windows screens. Additionally the software is set to run automatically at start-up and seemed to use a lot of resources with several entries in the task manager. The settings for the actual application were rather limited and I didn't see any options to change either of those!

We've discussed running Android and Android apps on a PC via Google's own SDK, and while that provided us some access it was nothing compared to BlueStacks' interface and ease of use. The software is in beta so some of the minor complaints we had may be fixed by the release date, something Bluestacks hasn't hinted to. We also noticed the software says "free while in beta" so I assume they are working on a paid version.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HP Merges PC And Printer Groups, What It Means To You

There have been a lot of headlines today regarding HP's confirmation of reports that the company plans to restructure their Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) (printing division) merging it into the Personal Systems Group (PSG) (pc division) and creating the new combined entity to be officially called the Printing and Personal Systems Group. From these reports several questions have spawned with many consumers concerned about what it might mean to them.

In short the blending of the two divisions will have almost no impact on consumers!

This move is a corporate restructuring and cost saving move only. Something that internal for HP is meant to unify and streamline certain key business functions such as go-to-market strategy, branding, supply chain and customer support.

"This will lead to a better customer experience and drive innovation across personal computing and printing," the company explained on Wednesday. "This realignment is expected to provide opportunities for cost savings and accelerate HP’s ability to pursue profitable growth and reinvest in the business."

What all this means is that at the consumer level not much will change. You'll still have support for your HP printer, ink and other supplies will still be available and you'll still see printers on sale. This isn't the same as the proposed spin-off of the PC business we saw last year. In fact its the exact opposite with HP becoming more committed to both divisions.

One area we may see some changes in is the further advancement of combination all-in-one printing units. HP has already suggested units based on WebOS and they already have devices with full functionality or detachable tablets like the HP Photosmart eStation. The combined efforts of the two teams might mean further integration of PC features right on your printer!

Intel Ultrabook Temptations What Would You Do For An Ultrabook?

Even if a crowd of people were watching would you break the law in order to get your hands on the latest geek gadgets? How about use your powers of persuasion in order to talk several strangers into helping you out? Exactly how far would you go to get your hands on one of the hottest gadgets our there?

That’s exactly the question Intel Corporation asks in Ultrabook Temptations, a series of six light-hearted experiments filmed in four cities across three countries and recently posted to YouTube.

“People are drawn to Ultrabooks. When you see one, you just want one,” said
Claudine Pache, digital marketing manager for Intel Australia and New Zealand. “We created the ‘Ultrabook Temptations’ to see just how far people would go to get their hands on one.”

The six spontaneously filmed experiments were “temptations” for consumers, encouraging them to go a little beyond their everyday comfort zone to get their hands on a new Ultrabook. For example in one ”daring temptation” an Ultrabook is installed in a display case near a busy area with the simple instruction to “Smash Glass to Win Ultrabook” and a small hammer. Film crews were rolling as several passers-by looked on.

Would commuters prove daring enough to smash the glass in public and claim the prize? As the video above shows the answer is a resounding yes!

All six of the Ultrabook Temptations series videos can be seen at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Poor Android Smartphone Or Tablet Battery Life? Blame Those Free Apps

Are you experiencing poor battery life on your new Android based smartphone or tablet? According to a  new report conducted by Purdue University and touted by Microsoft suggests that this may be due to in-app advertising.

Using a new specially-developed energy profiling tool called EProf the research team at Purdue University monitored the power use of Android and Windows Phone devices. For the Android tests the team tested power consumption while using five popular Android applications - Angry Birds, Free Chess, the Android browser, MapQuest and the New York Times app all running on an HTC Passion (Nexus One) running Android 2.3. The results were quite eye-opening.

PcToolsThe researchers found that up to 70 percent of the power used by free apps was caused by downloading advertisements and tracking users. The team claims that this excessive battery consumption is due to poorly-coded ad modules which leave connections open for up to ten seconds after downloading information.

Poorly coded Ads aren’t the only thing with negative impacts on your battery life. Both the Android browser and the New York Times app consumed around 15 percent of battery power on user tracking alone. The EProf tool also discovered bugs in apps such as Facebook’s Android app that also cause the battery to be drained more rapidly than necessary by not allowing the CPU to enter sleep mode even after the app has been terminated.

In the case of the very popular game Angry Birds, just a fifth of the power used was caused by actually playing the game, with almost half accounted for by location services used for location based targeted advertisements.

My thoughts: No real surprises here

I can't say I'm all that surprised. Years on the internet should tell anyone that advertisements and games tend to suck up more power even on your PC. Bad coding has been an issue in the computing world forever. The one thing I am a bit surprised about however, is that the team decided to only presented its conclusion on the Android OS and apps, and not their finding on Windows Mobile OS.

Given that the study was at least partially funded or conducted in collaboration with Microsoft it comes across a bit more like Android bashing than quantitative research.

EA Shutting Down Servers For Several Less Popular Older Games

Electronic Arts (EA) has announced, beginning April 13th the company will shut down online servers for more than a dozen of the its less popular and older online console titles.

"The decisions to retire older EA games are never easy," EA said in their announcement. "But as games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level – fewer than 1 percent of all peak online players across all EA titles – where it's no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running."

The games affected by the April 13th shutdown include:
  • BOOM BLOX Bash Party for Wii
  • Burnout Revenge for Xbox 360
  • EA Create for PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active 2.0 for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp for Wii
  • FIFA 10 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
  • The Godfather II for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • MMA for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Need for Speed ProStreet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • The Saboteur (loss of The Midnight Club access) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Spare Parts for PlayStation 3 Xbox 360

Additional gaming titles that will be shuttered March 31st include:
  • BATTLEFIELD 3: Aftershock for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Fantasi Safari for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Ghost Harvest for iPhone

If you have further questions about your account or the shut down of these services, please visit

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple's New iPad Tops 3 Million Sold Claims Record First Weekend Sales

Apple has announced it has sold three million of the company's new third generation iPads, since its launch on Friday, March 16.

“The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold―the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can't wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.”

Its really unclear how quantify what Apple is calling "record weekend," since Apple general doesn't discuss opening weekend sales numbers and didn't provide similar reports last year when they launched the iPad 2. The only time Apple has boasted about early tablet sales was in April 2010, when it said it had sold 300,000 first-generation iPads on the first day of availability.

Apple's claims were reiterated by AT&T whom also reported record sales figures and activations. AT&T didn't provide specific numbers on its iPad sales, but did say the new iPad set single-day records for sales and activations and that it saw "robust demand for the new iPad."

Reviews of the new iPad have been greatly mixed with most consumers loving the new features but many stating they wish Apple had done more to refresh the device line. The new iPad features a new 2048X1536 Retina display, which has been called nothing less than extraordinary. A dual core 1Ghx Apple A5X chip and 5 megapixel iSight camera.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

iFixit Does An iPad 3 Teardown

Is it "The New iPad?" "iPad HD?" "iPad 3?" Does anyone really care?

The wonderfully geeky crew over at iFixit flew to the land down under to get there hands on the new iPad 3 when March 16 rolled past the International Date Line just so they could tear it apart and show the rest of the world what kind of magic Apple has hidden inside.

Courtesy iFixit

iFixit's teardown team flew to the Telstra store in Melbourne Australia to be the first ones in line to buy the third generation iPad and of course being the geeks they are they rushed over to the shop at Macfixit Australia and immediately began disassembling the device.

So what kind of magic did Apple hide under the hood? Well to be honest nothing all that amazing!

As expected they found a slightly thicker 42.5Whr battery. The already confirmed 1GB of RAM, coming in the shape of two sticks of 512MB Elpida LP DDR. A 1Ghz Dual-core Apple A5X processor which features a package on package (PoP) system-on-a-chips (SoCs) design that also packs a quad-core graphics processor. There is also a 5MP camera and of course that Samsung 9.7 inch LED LCD with 2048×1536 pixel Retina display.

All in all the specs are fairly reasonable for an upgraded version of the iPad. For full details as well as a picture guide of the teardown be sure to head over to iFixit to get a closer look.

New iPad Goes On-sale Tomorrow What You Need To Know

Apple's new third-generation iPad will officially hit store shelves tomorrow, March 16, here's a bit of what you need to know before reaching for your wallet and shelling out that hard earned cash.

When and where can I get my iPad?

Apple will be opening the doors to their retail stores at 8 a.m. local time. There may or may not be long lines, some areas are prone to higher traffic so plan ahead. Another option would be to head to AT&T or Verizon locations, assuming you're interested in one of the LTE-enabled iPad models. Verizon In Store Sales begin 8:00 AM local time with Online Sales beginning at 3:01 AM EST.

The third option would be opting to try to find it available and in-stock at the select Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Sam's Club and Radio Shack stores that will be carrying it. I'd check with your stores tonight to see if they will have them.

Reports are indicating that Walmart will begin selling a limited quantity of the new iPad at 12:01 AM. Supplies and selection will be limited and will vary by store.

How much id the new iPad going to cost me?

Depending on the option you choose and the amount of storage you need you'll spend anywhere from $499 to $829. Here are your options:
  • 16GB Wi-Fi-only for $499
  • 32GB Wi-Fi-only for $599
  • 64GB Wi-Fi-only for $699
  • 16GB Wi-Fi + 4G for $629
  • 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G for $729
  • 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G for $829

With Apple's new retina display images and image files, as well as applications are going to be growing in size. For this reason I strongly suggest buying something other than the 16GB model. You may find yourself running out of space very quickly!

Each model will be available in your choice of white or black. You will be able to choose either AT&T or Verizon as your carrier if you select one of the LTE-enabled models. You'll also need to sign up for data service with either company and rates vary from $14.99 to $50 per month on AT&T and $20 to $80 on Verizon. No long-term contract is required with either option as there is no subsidized pricing.

The early reviews for the new iPad

I usually take early reviews with a grain of salt and I don't like to put a lot of stock in Apple's hand picked "reviewers" but the early reviews can be nice to read just to get the idea of what you are looking at. Here are just a few:

Should I buy it, keep my old iPad or what?

If you read Geek News very often you know I'm not a big Apple fan, nor am I a big early adopter. I can usually wait on new tech to hit, get some decent reviews and then make a well informed decision. The third-generation iPad looks impressive in some areas and really lacking in others. If I were an owner of an iPad 2 or one of the latest Android tablets I probably couldn't see the justification to buy the new iPad. If however I were the owner of the original iPad an older Android or I was buying my first tablet I could see the iPad at the top of my list of choices.

The problem for me is as Michelle Maisto of eWeek said, "this new version lacks a specific “wow” factor that's been common to Apple products." There isn't anything there that really pushes me over the top in comparison to anything else I can get at a cheaper price. You can find some screaming deals on the iPad 2 or even better in my opinion some great deals on some of the new Anrdoid tablets.

I'm sure the third-generation iPad is going to be a major hit, aren't all Apple products these days? For me however, I'll be relaxing at home tomorrow watching my March-madness while any Apple-madness ensues.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Amazon Adds Top Discovery Communications Programs To Prime Instant Video Service

Amazon and Discovery Communications, the parent company to many of our favorite television channels, today announced a licensing agreement that will allow Amazon Prime members access to streaming videos of the company's prior seasons of hit series and specials.

Videos from some of our favorite shows on the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel as well as content from the company’s 25-year programming library will now be available as a free video stream or download to Amazon Prime subscribers. Among the programs included in the agreement are Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and geek favorite Mythbusters. TLC viewers will get Say Yes To The Dress and Cake Boss while Animal Planet will add Whale Wars. In all Amazon's Prime Instant Videos has added 3,000 new titles from Discovery Communications, bringing the total number of videos available to subscribers to 17,000

“Discovery Communications is committed to delighting audiences on all platforms supported by the right business model, and we are pleased to work with Amazon to help satisfy our existing viewers’ curiosity and introduce new audiences to our engaging content,” said Rebecca Glashow, Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution and Partnerships, Discovery Communications. “This library offering will be a wonderful complement to our current array of multi-channel video services and most importantly, a win for viewers.”

Prime Instant Video is a subset of the company’s video streaming, rental, and download service that allows U.S. subscribers, who pay $79 a year for two-day shipping and other goodies, to stream videos as often they’d like.

Fore more details read the full Amazon press release.

Checkout The Dell Treasure Hunt And Win A New Dell XPS 15z Laptop

Dell is offering web guru's the chance to treasure hunt their way to a new a new, fully loaded Dell XPS 15Z laptop or a $499 coupon – if you can follow the clues and find the right page!

To kick off the adventure and find the first clue visit the Dell Laptops page and click on the treasure hunt banner. Follow the clues found along the way and if you are the first to find the winning web page on the new Dell XPS 15Z laptop is yours!

Also, by linking to the Treasure Hunt on your Twitter or blog with the hashtag #delltreasure, you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes to win a $499 coupon towards any Dell purchase of $499.99 or more – just for sharing the news with your friends and family!

Here’s how to play:
  • 7 clues for how to find the winning landing page will be placed throughout the Home segment of The first two clues are live and the last five will be released each day over five days with the last one appearing on 3/18/12.
  • The first person we find Tweeting or blogging the location of the correct treasure page will win an XPS 15z. All others who tweet or blog about the correct treasure page will be entered into the sweepstakes for one of ten $499 coupons.
  • You will simultaneously be entered for the sweepstakes if you tweet or post a blog about the Treasure Hunt itself.
  • All tweets or blog posts related to the contest or sweepstakes must include the hashtag #delltreasure. And you also must follow @DellHomeUS Twitter account so that we can direct message you to let you know you won. Otherwise, you will stay lost and not win.
Official promotion rules can be found here:

Here is the first clue:
  • This laptop delivers the power you need inside the thinnest 15” PC on the planet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Firefox And Chrome To Get Windows Metro Style Apps

By the time Windows 8 arrives later this year most of your favorite browsers will be ready with a Metro style version built specifically around the new operating and its new user interface.

Earlier this week Mozilla confirmed that developers have stared development on the Firefox for Metro project with plans to unveil a concept version of it next quarter, and push out alpha and beta versions in the second half of 2012. Following suite Google is also reportedly working on a version of Chrome that runs on the Metro UI of Windows 8.

An unnamed Google representative discussed the company's plans with Mashable. The official said Chrome for Windows 8 will be based off the existing desktop browser, as opposed to the Android version of Chrome. Google will improve touch support on the desktop side, but will also build a Metro version for the tablet-friendly side of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is currently in a prerelease Consumer Preview state with no know official release date. Neither Mozila or Google have set official release dates for either browser and there is currently little information available on potential features the software may carry.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Firefox, Chrome And IE9 All Fall At Pwn2Own 2012

This year's Pwn2Own hacking contest saw almost all of your favorite browsers falling to "zero-day" exploits with only Apple's Safari standing untested at the end of the day.

HP TippingPoint's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), Pwn2Own's sponsor, as well as Google who sponsored their first-ever hacking event called "Pwnium," have confirmed that Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and Firefox have all fallen to zero-day attacks exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability in the most up-to-date versions of each browser. In each case the security teams were able to bypass the browsers security to take complete control of the target machine and run malicious code.

ZDI has confirmed that for the first year Safari was the only browser not attacked.

This marks a significant change for Google. As to date, there are no known reports of a zero-day attack ever hitting Chrome in the wild, and at the previous three years' contests, Chrome was the only browser to escape unscathed. With Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari all being brought down by exploits.

Final results from Pwn2Own 2012: 1 Chrome and 1 Internet Explorer 0day from @VUPEN and 1 Firefox 0day from @_snagg and @_dvorak_. @VUPEN took 1st place netting $60k while @_snagg, and @_dvorak_ too 2nd places netting $30k.

Google also paid out $60k to Sergey Glazunov, a regular Chrome bug hunter, who during the first day of the contest, demonstrated an exploit that completely bypassed Chrome's sandbox. This exploit was later fixed and detailed by Google's Chrome team in a security update.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Android Market Relaunches As Google Play An All-In-One Storefront For Music, Books And Apps

Today Google has announced the company is streamlining their online storefronts for music, books and digital goods, incorporating the Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore into what is now going to be called Google Play.

Google Play is meant to be an all inclusive repository where users can download and share their favorite music, movies, books and apps from their Android based smartphones or tablets. Google Play is going to be entirely cloud-based so all your files will be stored online, always available to you, and synce-able across all your devices.

With Google Play you can:

  • Store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks
  • Download more than 450,000 Android apps and games
  • Browse Google's selection of eBooks
  • Rent thousands of your favorite movies, including new releases and HD titles

To celebrate the announcement, Google will be offering a different album, book, video rental and Android app at a special price each day for the next week in what is being dubbed a “7 Days to Play” sale. In the U.S., today’s titles include the collection of top 40 hits Now That's What I Call Music 41, the popular game Where's My Water (which oddly was Apple's 25 billionth download) , the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the movie Puncture for just 25 cents each. In addition, you'll find great collections of hip-hop, rock and country albums for $3.99 all week, detective novels from $2.99, some of our editorial team's favorite movies from 99 cents, and our favorite apps from 49 cents.

To learn more, head over to or keep up with the latest on Google Play's Google+ page.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Best Buy Extends Perfect Match Promise Offers 30 Day Support, Returns And Price Matching

Starting this past weekend Best Buy has extended its Perfect Match Promise to include all product categories for customers shopping either their retails stores or online website. Under the new policy Best Buy will be consolidating many of its service offerings, providing 30-day price matching, free support, and returns across all of its product lines.

The Perfect Match Promise is simple: 30.30.30
  • 30-day free phone support to get product up and running
  • 30-days of easy returns with no restocking fees
  • 30-days of competitor price matching

"We've created the Perfect Match Promise to ensure customer peace of mind. From selection to set-up and beyond, we're giving consumers the confidence they need to make the technology decisions that best fit their lifestyle," said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president of U.S. marketing at Best Buy. "The Perfect Match Promise is a simple and straightforward guarantee from us to our customers that combines 30 days of free phone support to get products up and running, 30 days for returns with no stocking fees, and 30 days of price match guarantees."

Previously Best Buy Perfect Match was only offered on specific products meeting a required price level. Prior to the changes Best Buy's Perfect Match applied just to TVs priced at $899 and higher, as well as appliances priced at $429 and above. Now all customers at all pricing levels will be able to take advantage of the new price matching policy and return or exchange periods.

As sales have undoubtedly slumped for the electronics giant they have been proactive in changing policies based on customer feedback. Due in big part to customer feedback, prior to the 2010 holiday season the company dropped their 10% to 15% restocking fee found on returned items. We've also seen extended return dates for items bough during the holiday season.

Looking For A Job In The Tech Sector? Microsoft Suggests Cloud Computing

Are you looking to break out in the tech sector but not sure where to go? According to Microsoft you may want to focus on cloud computing.

Recent research commissioned by Microsoft suggest that cloud computing may be one of the fastest growing tech segments in the coming years with spending on public and private IT cloud services generating $1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues and creating nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015.

“The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation,” says Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. “It’s a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation, and open up new jobs and skillsets across the globe.”

The IDC study released today discovered that cloud computing will help create nearly 1.2 million U.S. and Canadian jobs by 2015 and that the U.S. accounted for 62 percent of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services last year. The highest percentage of new jobs will occur in emerging markets, according to the study, especially China and India, which together are expected to produce nearly 6.8 million cloud-enabled jobs between 2011 and 2015. This can partly be attributed to the size of their workforces, and partly to the fact that many Chinese and Indian companies aren’t bound by large legacy system investments.

IDC developed its results by analyzing cloud spending trends in more than 40 countries and then using this information to forecast the number of jobs this spending will create.

Apple’s App Store Tops 25 Billion Downloads Lucky Chinese User Gets $10k iTunes Card

Apple's App store has officially reached the 25 billion download mark, topping off what has been an incredible run by Apple. The company has said the 25 billionth app downloaded was Where's My Water? a free version of Disney's Where's My Water? game downloaded by Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China. As the winner of the App Store Countdown to 25 Billion Apps, Chunli Fu will receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.

“We’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve this historic milestone of 25 billion apps downloaded,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “When we launched the App Store less than four years ago, we never imagined that mobile apps would become the phenomenon they have, or that developers would create such an incredible selection of apps for iOS users.”

According to Apple the App Store offers more than 550,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 123 countries around the world. The company also said it has more than 315 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices worldwide.