Sunday, October 27, 2013

Samsung Looks To Inspire People With "Launching People" Campaing

Technology has certainly inspired people to new heights over the years. We've blasted off to the moon, dove deeper into the oceans than ever before and even sent rovers to Mars. With today's advanced technology we can soar to even higher heights and Samsung wants to empower people to do so. Samsung Electronics announced its global “Launching People” campaign, a project committed to unleashing the dreams, passions and potential of individuals around the world with brilliant ideas and technology.

The “Launching People” campaign identifies and invests in the potential of inspiring individuals across the globe. Together with Samsung’s support and access to advanced technology, this potential can be actualized. “We believe that technology only begins to have meaning when you put it in the hands of a human being and when this technology collides with people’s potential, amazing things can happen” said Sue Shim, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung. “Over the next year, we’ll work with people all over the world on new and exciting projects that launch people’s potential with the assistance of technology, helping people not only explore personal passions, but also inspire others.”

Starting with the launch from France in June of 2013, Samsung’s “Launching People” campaign will turn consumers’ dreams, passions and potential into reality in 13 regions in Europe, Latin America and Middle East in 2013, and expects to expand the campaign further in 2014. Samsung will focus on providing consumers the chance to realize their potential by teaming them up with renowned mentors, startup funding and products to help them on their journey.

Samsung will activate programs across the globe over the coming months. Through real consumer stories, Samsung will spread the word about “Launching People” on and across all social media channels, including Facebook and YouTube – promising to invest in not only technology, but in the potential of people everywhere with dreams and passions. For more information on the campaign, visit

Friday, October 18, 2013

Aamazon Tax Law Invalidated In New York

The Illinois Supreme Court had decided that a state law requiring online retailers, like Amazon, to collect sales tax if they have in-state Web affiliates violates federal tax regulations putting a discriminatory tax on digital sales. According to the Associated Press the court voted 6-1 to determine that the Illinois' 2011 "Main Street Fairness Act" was superseded by the federal law, which prohibits imposing a tax on "electronic commerce" and obligates collection that's not required of transactions by other means, such as print or television.

Illinois is one of several states that has imposed taxation on click-through-link or what is being called the "Amazon Tax". A legal regulation which required out-of-state retailers to collect state taxes on annual sales of more than $10,000 that involve in-state "affiliates," or website operators and bloggers, that draw consumers to the retailers' sites in exchange for a cut of each sale. Justice Anne Burke, writing for the court's majority, questioned whether there was any substantial difference between out-of-state businesses reaching Illinois consumers through a click-through-nexus approach or through other direct marketing approaches that aren't being taxed.

In her decision Burke wrote, "The click-through link makes it easier for the customer to reach the out-of-state retailer. But the link is not different in kind from advertising using promotional codes that appear, for example, in Illinois newspapers or Illinois radio broadcasts." Justice Lloyd Karmeier dissented, saying the federal law does not apply because the state statute doesn't "impose any new taxes or increase any existing taxes," but rather changes the definition of who's obligated to collect them.

The fight is far from over. The Illinois Department of Revenue, said it's considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. did just that in August, when it sought a review of the New York Court of Appeals' March ruling upholding the law there. The Empire State was among the first to argue that a business with "affiliates" within its borders gives the company a physical presence there — a must if a state hopes to collect taxes from it, according to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Amazon ended its affiliates program in several states including, California, New York and Illinois when the laws were originally adopted bypassing the some of the state requirements.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Facebook and Google Privacy Changes, What You Need To Know!

Earlier this week both Facebook and Google made several changes that will great impact your online ID and privacy. Google by way of a terms of service (TOS) change, and Facebook by means of removing a feature that once allowed users to block who can search their name when using Facebook's search bar.

Google's Shared Endorsements Can Use Your Name And Photos

Through an update to the search giants TOS Google can now share your photos and name if at some point in the past you gave a product or service a +1 on Google plus. The company revealed the changes to its Terms of Service on Friday highlighting the changes. The most important one is that Google clarified how your profile name and photo might appear in "Google products," including display ads. For customers that aren't currently 'opted out' of Google the old Google +1 Personalization settings you will now by default be opted into Shared Endorsements. Which means Google will have full use of your name, profile photo, and a personal endorsement that may appear in Google ads.

For users wishing to opt out you can do so through the Shared Endorsements settings on your Google profile. Google has also pointed users to its Ad Settings tool, for more granular control over what ads you see.

Facebook Search No Longer Blocks Search By Name

Facebook has confirmed it will be removing the "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" feature which was once used to block a users name from the site's search results. As a result any user can now be searched for using Facebook's search bar. In the blog post announcing the move Facebook also mentions the need for users wanting to keep personal details private need to keep an eye on post visibility settings. The new graph search will make more posts more visible making post privacy setting more important to users rather than search visibility.

In the coming weeks, people who are sharing posts publicly on Facebook will soon see a notice reminding them that those posts can be seen by anyone, including people they may not know. The notice reminds people how to change the audience for each post.

To quickly control who can find posts you shared in the past, visit the privacy settings page. With one click, you can limit the audience of posts you’ve shared in the past. This means any posts that were previously shared with Friends of Friends or Public will now be shared just to Friends.

Should These Changes Concern Me?

Anytime your personal privacy is involved you should be greatly concerned. The information collected and now shared via social media sites can be used against you in numerous ways. Either from people looking to do you personal harm, hackers looking to gain access to personal information to send privatized attacks or gain access to your identity or personal accounts, or just businesses looking to exploit the information they receive.

By and large these companies are over stepping their usage of your personal information for their own gains. As evidence of the recent lawsuit Facebook settled for the company's Sponsored Stories, to the tune of $20 million. Google amongst others have been on the end of a growing amount of Federal Trade Commission scrutiny. Clearly someone is taking notice out there and you should too!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Adobe Confirms Data On 2.9 million Customers Stolen In Hack

Adobe Systems confirmed on Thursday that hackers had breached several severs and databases accessing source code to the companies more popular software such as Adobe Acrobat. During the breach the hackers were also able to gain access to full user data, including credit card information on about 2.9 million customers accounts.

Adobe Chief Security Officer Brad Arkin said the company had been investigating the breach since its discovery two weeks ago and that it had no evidence of any attacks based on the theft. "Based on our findings to date, we are not aware of any specific increased risk to customers as a result of this incident," Arkin wrote on an Adobe blog.

Arkin said hackers also took information on 2.9 million Adobe customers, including their names, user identification numbers and encrypted passwords and payment card numbers.

Adobe has said it will be taking the following steps to ensure customers are aware of the attack and to prevent any further intrusions:
  • As a precaution, Adobe will be resetting relevant customer passwords to help prevent unauthorized access to Adobe ID accounts. If your user ID and password were involved, you will receive an email notification from us with information on how to change your password. It is also recommended that you change your passwords on any website where you may have used the same user ID and password.
  • The company is in the process of notifying customers whose credit or debit card information we believe to be involved in the incident. If your information was involved, you will receive a notification letter directly from Adobe with additional information on steps you can take to help protect yourself against potential misuse of personal information about you. Adobe is also offering customers, whose credit or debit card information was involved, the option of enrolling in a one-year complimentary credit monitoring membership where available.
  • The company has worked to notify the banks processing customer payments for Adobe, so that they can work with the payment card companies and card-issuing banks to help protect customers’ accounts.
  • Federal law enforcement has been contacted and the company is working closely with them assisting in their investigation.

What the Adobe Hack means to you!

Despite their steps to keep customers safe, this level of security breach should be a major concern for all those that may be impacted. We strongly suggest that anyone that has worked with Adobe's sites in the past immediately change their log-in information. Secondly anyone that has a credit card that could be on file with the company, whether you are contacted directly from Adobe or not, should be diligently monitoring their statements and transactions for any possible misuse. Third, and this can't be stated enough, be on the lookout for fake Adobe emails with malicious links. Often times hackers unassociated with the original breach will use news headlines to create phishing attacks. Sending legitimate looking emails to unsuspecting users trying to dupe them into visiting fake sites with malicious code. Always check those links, emails sources ect and never share any personal information once you are there.

Samsung Lays Best Buy Acquisition Rumors To Rest

Earlier this week rumors surfaced that Samsung may be looking to further its partnership with Best Buy. Perhaps going so far as acquiring a major stake in the company. Today Samsung has laid all those rumors to rest with a blog posting on their Samsung Tomorrow Blog.

The rumors and speculation followed a Korea Times report (which now appears to be offline) Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-yong said that he “recently met with senior executives at Best Buy and discussed pending business issues.” Analyst firm HMC Securities quickly jumped to conclusions and claimed this includes a proposed investment deal, since it claims Samsung “has been considering increasing subsidies paid to BestBuy.”

Samsung shot that suggestion down in a brief post on its blog:
In the past few days, there have been reports that 'Samsung is considering to acquire stakes in Best Buy'. Please take note that these rumors are not true. There have been no talks whatsoever regarding stock acquisition of either company.

While it now appears that the acquisition rumors may have been false the question still stands as to what the two companies may have been in talks over. Back in April of this year Samsung announced a relationship with Best Buy that resulted in Samsung Experience Shops being installed in over 1,400 Best Buy stores. The newest speculation is leaning towards the two companies looking to build upon that relationship potentially adding in Samsung based shops for other Samsung products such as appliances, TVs, or more.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Samsung 's HomeSync Media Center Set To Debut October 6th for $299

Samsung's HomeSync, which we got our first glimpse of at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, is finally making its way to the US market starting October 6th. The media hub/cloud storage device is a Jelly Bean-powered box that allows you to turn any HDMI equipped television into a "Smart TV" capable of syncing, sharing and streaming content from either the web or a mobile device directly to your TV.

Samsung HomeSync

Equipped with 1TB of storage the Samsung HomeSync is more media server than a simple media center. The device can be remotely accessed by Samsung Galaxy devices equipped with Samsung Link, the company's program for connecting and sharing content remotely via network access. That includes the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 8, the 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1, and Galaxy Camera.

Users with compatible Galaxy devices can store, sync, and stream content directly from their mobile devices to their TVs while at home or on the go. It allows customers to use their Galaxy devices as remote controls to browse content on their TV, and users can mirror the HomeSync screen directly on their Galaxy devices. HomeSync will also feature support for wired or wireless mouse and keyboard, for standalone use as well as easier access to Web browsing, YouTube, apps, games and social networking.

HomeSync will start selling in the US for $299 on Sunday at Best Buy, Amazon and several other retailers. As part of its Galaxy Perks, Samsung said, users can register their HomeSync systems and get $50 to spend on movies and TV shows through Samsung Media Hub.

More details on Samsung's HomeSync