European society was disrupted after a computer hacker stole a series of files that guaranteed the legitimacy of major government Web sites, and in the process, exploited a weakness in the global Internet. Consumers last week were advised to avoid online transactions with Dutch retailers, and, for a time, online banking. Passport applicants and those wishing to submit income tax returns scrambled to fire up dormant fax machines or lined up at local post offices. In the placid capital city, The Hague, government computer administrators checked thousands of computer servers to determine the extent of the damage caused by the anonymous hacker, who in Web postings claims to be an Iranian saboteur motivated by geopolitical gain. "This is the Dutch equivalent of Hurricane Irene," said Calum MacLeod, the director in Europe for Venafi, a U.S. company whose software helps companies like Cisco manage the class of digital files called security certificates targeted by the hacker in the Netherlands. Mr. MacLeod said the attack on the Dutch government's preferred provider of security certificates, DigiNotar, a company in Beverwijk, near Amsterdam, exposed the fragility of the global system of digital authentication that undergirds the Internet.
TechNet is highlighting a new little app called Mouse Without Borders that allows you to use these peripherals with up to four different computers. It was developed in Microsoft's Garage by Troung Do. The Garage is apparently both a physical location at Microsoft and a company-wide initiative to encourage grass. roots innovation and some tinkering and hacking among Microsoft employees. Some of the stuff they come up with ends up being rolled into Microsoft products, some doesn't. And some, like Mouse Without Borders, gets released as standalone download.
New iphone 5 news. A new analyst report making the rounds this morning asserts that Apple's putting the finishing touches on iOS 5, and plans to send it to its device assemblers as soon as next week. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities told AppleInsider and MacRumors today that Apple should be delivering the golden master version of iOS 5 between September 23 and 30. That software will then be imaged onto new devices that ship out to stores. The timing is of special note given expectations of a new iPhone and iPod Touch in the coming weeks. Kuo suggests it will take 10 to 12 days for shipping of new iPhones and iPod Touch units with the upgraded software, placing a higher possibility that those units won't be available until the second week of October.
AT&T has become the first U.S. carrier to show off smartphones that will be powered by Microsoft's Mango update to Windows Phone 7. The phones, two manufactured by Samsung and one from HTC, all will feature support for 4G data speeds, according to AT&T. The company also said all existing Windows Phone 7 customers would have access to Mango, also known as Windows Phone 7.5, this fall. Mango adds 500 new features, from major improvements like multitasking to numerous, transparent backend services, according to Microsoft.
Angry Birds is the game franchise that just keeps on giving. Some wonder whether the casual video game's popularity has peaked. Rovio's General Manager for North America, Andrew Stalbow, thinks otherwise. Today, Stalbow revealed that there have been 350 million Angry Birds downloads since the game's launch in December 2009. PLayers are putting in an astonishing 300 million minutes of gameplay -- every day. That's 150 million more downloads than when Fortune checked in on Rovio back in June and more than triple the number of downloads reported last March.
Ford wants developers to create a broad array of connectivity applications that can be used in conjunction with its cars, and it launched its OpenXC platform Monday to promote that effort. In an announcement at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference here, Ford and its partner Bug Labs unveiled OpenXC, a platform designed to allow third-party developers to create any number of open-source hardware or software products that will interact with Ford's Sync system. The idea, said K. Venkatesh Prasad, the senior technical leader of Infotronics at Ford Research and Innovation, is to make it possible for outside developers to design new ways to extend the usefulness of the Sync system, which today is installed in more than 3 million Ford vehicles. Essentially, Bug Labs CEO Peter Semmelhack suggested on stage at Disrupt, OpenXC is a plug-and-play system that will bring the power of Sync application development to anyone. Ford will soon be making development kits publicly available.
Chad Hurley and Steve Chen have some experience with turning a small Web site into Internet gold. In 2006 they sold their scrappy start-up YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion. More recently they picked an unlikely candidate to be their next Web sensation: a Yahoo castoff. The men are trying to inject new life into Delicious, a social bookmarking service that, in its time, was popular among the technorati, but failed to catch on with a broader audience. "What we plan to do," Mr. Hurley said in an interview here last week, "is try to introduce Delicious to the rest of the world." Created in 2003, Delicious lets people save links from around the Web and organize them using a simple tagging system, assigning keywords like "neuroscience" or "recipes." It was praised for the way it allowed easy sharing of those topical links. The site's early popularity spurred Yahoo to snap it up in 2005 - but in the years after that Yahoo did little with it. In December, leaked internal reports from Yahoo hinted that the company was planning to sell or shut down the service. At the same time, Mr. Chen and Mr. Hurley, who had recently formed a new company called Avos and begun renting space a few blocks from the original YouTube offices in San Mateo, had been brainstorming ideas for their next venture. One problem they kept circling around was the struggle to keep from drowning in the flood of news, cool new sites and videos surging through their Twitter accounts and RSS feeds, a glut that makes it difficult to digest more than a sliver of that material in a given day.
South Korea's Samsung Electronics said Monday it had filed a complaint in France against its US rival Apple for infringement of three mobile phone technology patents in its iPhone and iPad tablet computers. "The complaint focuses on three technology patents, and not on the design of the tablets," as was the case in a complaint filed in Germany that Apple won last week, a Samsung spokeswoman said. The complaint was filed before a Paris district court in July and the first hearing is expected in December. A source familiar with the complaint said it concerns three Samsung patents concerning UMTS, which is one type of so-called third generation mobile phone technology.The complaint targets Apple's iPhone 3G and 3GS and iPhone4 smartphone models, and first and second-generation iPads that are mobile phone capable, added the source. Last week a court in Duesseldorf banned Samsung from selling its latest Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in Germany, ruling it had copied Apple's iconic iPad.
AT&T will offer the Acer Iconia Tab A501 for $329.99 on Sept. 18, with a two-year data plan. The data plan is $35 a month for 3GB of service. The A501 will run on AT&T's 4G HSPA+ network and will feature the Android Honeycomb mobile operating system. That price brings the Acer, with a 10.1-in. display, well below the A501's full price of $479.99, which is more in line with other popular tablets, such as the iPad 2, which starts at $499 for Wi-Fi-only service or $629 for Wi-Fi + 3G wireless.With the discount on the A501, AT&T could be responding to widespread reports of a coming Amazon tablet at $250 or $300. Analysts are also predicting a surge of lower-cost tablets this fall.
email from listeners:
Sue asks: Is it safe to purchase a jailbroken phone? I'm on my second iPhone thanks to someone stealing my other one. If I were to purchase a jailbroken iPhone what's the difference to going to a regular used one?