? Episode 296
 all tech radio show
 
 
  • PBS just learned an unpleasant lesson about what happens when you kick an Internet hornet's nest. After televising its "Frontline: Wikisecrets" documentary, the public television consortium's site, PBS.org, was hacked into and defaced by a group calling itself LulzSec -- a combination of the word security and the Internet argot for laughs had at another's expense. The group hit PBS with a series of embarrassing and potentially damaging payloads, posting graffiti-like Web pages, a fabricated story about rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls being alive in New Zealand, and making public a huge cache of phone numbers, logins and passwords apparently of PBS member station websites. The pranksters posted a cached version of the Tupac story, visible here.
  • Citing an anonymous source, Macotakara reported Monday that the next iPhone will have the same form factor as the iPhone 4, and will use an ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The report said it is "not confirmed" whether the new processor will have a single CPU or is dual-core. The report also said the handset will have an 8-megapixel camera, and a SIM-less design along with 3-4 internal antennas that will allow the device to serve as a "world phone" compatible with both GSM and CDMA networks. That would allow the same hardware to run on both AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. The report claims that the device, which will include a Qualcomm chipset, will be released at the end of July or in early August. While later than usual, that release date would be sooner than the fiscal 2012 claim the same site made back in March. Finally, the report claims that Apple's next "major new handset" will arrive in the spring of 2012. A spring release for a so-called "iPhone 6" was previously suggested in April, in a Japanese newspaper report that said Apple had selected Sharp to create next-generation low-temperature poly-silicon LCD displays for a thinner and lighter design.
  • ChronoPay financial controller Alexandra Volkova has been linked to the Mac Defender malware that has affected hundreds of Mac computers across the world. It was discovered that ChronoPay owns the mail-eye.com domain and pays the German virtual servers that run both the macbookprotection.com and macdefence.com domains. The Mac Defender malware redirects affected users towards the two domains. In the WHOIS information of the domains, fc@mail-eye.com was indicated. Documents show that ChronoPay owns the mail-eye domain and also pays for the servers in Germany where the malicious web sites are hosted. Records also show that the fc@mail-eye.com email address is assigned to ChronoPay's financial controller Alexandra Volkova.
  • I know what Andy can get me for Father's Day. The $100,000 Martin Aircraft jetpack is but one step closer to actual reality, thanks to a recent and successful test of the system's emergency parachute. But let's back up a second. The personal jetpack is, sadly, nothing like the comic book hero-turned-Disney-movie. It doesn't spew flames out of its rear to propel users into the air, but the tested version of jetpack does carry enough fuel for a 30 minute flight or so. It's powered by a water-cooled piston engine that blasts air downward to generate lift. Martin Aircraft has already tested the 250-pound, carbon fiber jetpack for a full seven-minute flight. Which begs the question: What happens if the engine stops working? At that point, one's dreams of soaring through the skies would turn into an Icarus-style nightmare, complete with an unhappy, $100,000 hole in the ground to finish the journey. Martin Aircraft's crafty solution to the problem involves installing a parachute into its jetpack system. But this isn't your ordinary skydiving-style device. It's a ballistic parachute, which uses tiny explosives to launch the canopy up into the air. Not only is it cool to watch but, more importantly, it's designed to give you quick and immediate access to the slowing down capabilities the chute provides. Its fast deployment would allow a user to benefit from the parachute at an extremely low altitude (100 feet or higher) should disaster strike.
  • People put all kinds of news on Facebook - personal news, real news and then there's The Onion news (which is totally fake and fun). But not everyone gets that The Onion is a spoof, and with Facebook's water-cooler factor, "bad news" can spread fast and upset the masses, especially when it's about a well-known boy wizard by the name of "Harry Potter." When an Onion posting about the "Final Minutes of Last Harry Potter Movie To Be Split Into Seven Separate Films" hit the social networking site, some took the joke to heart, protesting mightily on Facebook. That's where a new website, "Literally Unbelievable" stepped in to help sort the out the Wizards from the Muggles, so to speak, and bring the truth to the fore. Hudson Hongo, a 24-year-old writer, started the site May 20 specifically to showcase "stories from The Onion as interpreted by Facebook." The impetus was an Onion story about Planned Parenthood opening an "abortionplex," which engendered heated and unprintable responses on Facebook, as did the Potter send-up.
  • Alaska Airlines will officially use Apple's iPad tablet to show track flight information, manuals, references and more in PDFs. It will be implemented by mid-June. This will replace all printed pilot manuals. It is the first time domestic airlines to adopt this. They claim that this change will result in savings of about 2.4 million pieces of paper. The pilots of Alaska can now carry only iPads instead of heavy bags full of printed flight manuals. Those hard copy flight manuals can weigh as much as 25 pounds. The airline is also looking into other ways to save paper and put the flight charts on iPads as well."We've been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years, but never found a device we really liked," said Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines' vice president of flight operations. "When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said this is the perfect fit."
  • On the surface, a digital wallet, with all your financial data stored on your smartphone, sounds dangerous, but experts say it might be safer than your real wallet. Near field communication contactless payment technology has the potential to be more secure than traditional plastic credit cards. This kind of information is good news for Google, as the tech giant begins to roll out its near field communication (NFC)-based cell phone payment platform. "Because you have the ability to analyze what is running on the device and where potential fraud is coming from, rather than just having a credit card floating around in the world, there's an opportunity to increase the security of payments," Lookout Mobile Security chief technology officer and co-founder Kevin Mahaffey said. "There's 16-numbers and a 3-4 digit code that controls your access to money with credit cards, that's kind of crazy. With digital wallets, there's strong cryptograph and a lot of innovation to detect fraud on these devices."Google touted the security of its new service in the introductory press conference last week in New York City. The company said like a debit card, Google Wallet requires a pin number to be entered before it is used. Furthermore, the financial data related to Google Wallet is stored on a separate chip within the phone called the NXP PN65, also known as "The Secure Element."
  • The legend of Bigfoot lives - at least in the eyes of one woman. The woman, named "Samantha" told interviewers she saw Bigfoot while hiking near her native hometown of Spokane, Wash near the Spokane River. She recorded a video on her iPhone and subsequently uploaded it to YouTube. The video has thus far gotten more than 500,000 views. Most people seem to be convinced the video is fake. "Not real! You can tell it's a man walking," one commentator named Blueshockeyboys said. "I have never given it much thought, but now I'm not so sure. Seem real enough to me," Samantha, who did not give her last name out to interviewers, said to KLXY.com. Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a mythical ape like beast, that can walk upright and has the mannuerisms of a humanoid. It's been "sighted" several times in the Great Pacific Northwest. While it's mainly believed to be an urban legend, there are some legitimate scientists such as Jane Goodall and Jeffrey Meldrum, who believe in its existence.
  • Google Inc and Microsoft Corp will challenge the supremacy of Apple's iPad as new tablet models are announced in Taipe's Computex trade show this week. Google's Android OS and Microsoft's new Windows platform will be observed by investors and analyze if they are any match to Apple's iPad. KGI Securities Co's analyst Angela Hsiang said investors will want to know which tablet is better in performance and price and when the non-iPad camp will get going. She said, previously, people couldn't actually see the products but at Computex, they can touch and use the products.
  • Hold off on buying that Sony PSP. there's been a wild rumour roaming around the Internet that Sony's NGP will be officially named the "PS Vita" during their E3 conference in several days time. Said rumour was backed up by two images showing what were described as presentation graphics for the announcement of the name. Now it appears that we have more evidence to suggest that PS Vita will indeed be the name of Sony's upcoming handheld console, currently codenamed the NGP (Next Generation Portable). A new website has launched with the URL being http://vita.scedev.net/ -- you see the "vita"? Thinking what we're thinking? Yeah, thought so.The website doesn't seem to have any content of its own yet, as it only provides development platforms links to the likes of the PSP, PS2, PS3, and several others. There's nothing PS Vita related apart from the link, meaning that Sony could very well be waiting for their upcoming E3 press conference to end before going ahead and plastering the name across the mega-ultra-

Email from listeners

  • Judy from Seattle asks "What's the difference between Netflix and Hulu?