? All Tech Radio Episode 345
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  • Apple is drawing upon the expertise of security researchers from Kaspersky Lab when it comes to security on OS X, according to Kaspersky CTO Nikolai Grebennikov. In an interview with Computing News, Grebennikov revealed that Apple had asked his firm to begin analyzing OS X in order to help improve its security. The request follows the recent high-profile Flashback scare, and shows that Apple is beginning to take steps to take OS X security more seriously. "Mac OS is really vulnerable, and Apple recently invited us to improve its security. We've begun an analysis of its vulnerabilities, and the malware targeting it," Grebennikov told Computing News. "Our first investigations show Apple doesn't pay enough attention to security. For example, Oracle closed a vulnerability in Java, which was a target for a major botnet several months ago."
  • Dropbox cloud storage had an interesting contest this past weekend. Just as last year, you would have a received an additional gigabyte of free storage is you complete a scavenger hunt. While there was a prize involved, it's really more about having fun if you had nothing better to do last weekend. Company engineer Rajeev Nayak described it as "a gift to our users." The company did not say how long it will take to complete the challenge, though last year's event was finished in as quickly as three hours.
  • Just about every tablet maker, including Apple, is rumored (or expected) to announce (or launch) a new tablet version within roughly the next four months. The devices are likely to be smaller in the case of Apple and bigger in the case of Amazon. Google is expected to announce an inexpensive tablet with hardware maker Asus at the Google I/O conference in late June, while a Windows RT tablet from Microsoft and new-found partner Barnes & Noble could be on tap for late summer or fall.
  • There's a whole new wave of evidence this week being revealed by none other than Google that points toward them working with Samsung on the next Android Nexus tablet. A Nexus device, for those of you that do not know, is a device that works with Google's Android in its most basic "vanilla" iteration, and with the evidence we're seeing today, we may be looking at a Samsung tablet released this summer as the next step. This next Nexus tablet will be the first tablet actually branded as "Nexus" but will be the second released in close collaboration with Google made to show off the next big version of Android, the first being the Motorola XOOM tablet which showed off Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to investigate charges that a version of Windows designed to run on tablets violates antitrust laws by limiting access for browsers that compete with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, a published report said. An aide to Antitrust subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) told The Hill that committee staffers will review complaints by third-party browser developers, including Mozilla, that Windows 8 RT will run only Internet Explorer in the desktop mode.
  • In a few weeks, Facebook says, it will open its own app store, called App Center, to help make Facebook apps, Web apps, and mobile apps easier to find. The social networking company, expected to go public later this month, hopes that a central app repository will make apps easier to find and is asking developers to prepare their apps for inclusion when App Center launches. The company says that Facebook (a.k.a. canvas), mobile, and Web apps that comply with its guidelines are eligible to be listed in its app store. But not every compliant app is assured inclusion. Facebook reserves the right "to remove apps that do not meet a high quality bar."
  • Facebook's cofounder Mr. Saverin, who was born in Brazil and became a US citizen in 1998, is on a list of Americans who decided to ditch their US citizenship in the last 12 months, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The billionaire will still have to pay an exit tax on his stake in Facebook as part of the decision he made in September to renounce his citizenship. Based on Facebook's valuation then and Mr Saverin's 4pc stake, his exit tax bill would have been about $600m. However, experts said that the 30-year old would ultimately have had to pay more tax on his Facebook stake over the course of his life if he had remained a US citizen. US capital gains tax, currently at 15pc, is set to climb to 20pc when cuts first introduced by George W. Bush expire at the end of the year. Mr Saverin lives in Singapore, which does not levy capital gains tax.
  • June is going to be a big month for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android. The progenitors of these three platforms--Apple, Microsoft, and Google, respectively--each have scheduled developer events in San Francisco throughout the month. None of the companies has tipped its hand on what to expect, but we have a pretty good idea. Typically, these events are spread out. Microsoft typically holds its MIXX developer conference in February or March, and Google I/O is usually in April or May. This year all these events are scheduled back-to-back between June 11 and June 28. Apple is likely to offer a preview of iOS 6, which is the platform used by the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Reports are mixed on whether iOS 6 will be a transformational change for Apple's smartphone platform.
  • A Russian company has developed software it says can disrupt and prevent people from downloading pirated content. Pirate Pay has been backed by Microsoft and has so far worked with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures to stop "thousands" of downloads. The tool poses as real bit torrent users but then "confuses" peer-to-peer networks, causing disconnections. Critics argue that the method will be ineffective in the long term. The entertainment industry claims that the downloading of pirated material costs copyright holders billions of pounds in lost revenue every year. Last month, the British Phonographic Industry won a court battle to force UK internet service providers to block its customers from accessing high-profile piracy site The Pirate Bay.
  • GameStop will begin selling Steam Wallet cards for Valve's Steam platform starting May 15, the company announced Monday. Customers will be able to purchase the cards in-store, giving them another way to keep their credit card numbers off the Internet. GameStop purchased a digital distribution platform of its own, Impulse, in March 2011. The new, uneasy partnership between the wildly popular Steam and the faltering GameStop may help the brick-and-mortar retailer finally enjoy some tangential financial success from the digital sales front. The Steam wallet cards will only be sold in $20 and $50 denominations for the time being. The cards will provide Steam users with an alternative payment method to credit cards, PayPal, JCB, and Click and Buy, and bring in business to GameStop from Steam's 40 million accounts. According to GameStop, customers will also be able to use trade credits from selling the store used games toward Steam Wallet cards.

email from listeners:

  • Dennis from somewhere asks "Why are commercials on the television noticeably greater in sound than the program one is watching?"