? All Tech Radio Episode 348
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  • Facebook is reportedly pursuing tools that would allow kids under 13 to access the social network with parental supervision. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is testing several options, including technology that would link a parent's account to their kids, or add controls to let a parent decide who their kids could "friend" or what apps they download. In a statement, a Facebook spokesman said that "many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services." "We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment," the spokesman said. Facebook is currently restricted to those ages 13 and over, thanks to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which bans websites from collecting information from users under 13. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reviewed COPPA in the hopes of bringing it more in line with the realities of today's Internet-based society, and released several recommendations for how the law might be updated.
  • Facebook caused millions of websites to slow down to a crawl on Saturday. How did they do it? It was the Like button. Every website has links to other websites on them. Some more than others. If those embedded links are unavailable or slow, it causes the entire web page to open slowly waiting for all the links to catch up. Other buttons for Digg, My Space, Reddit, and Google + have the same possible slowdowns to many sites.
  • It's taken nearly five years, but it looks like the iPhone will soon be running on nearly every segment of the U.S. wireless telephone network, including smaller regional carriers and prepaid cell phone services. It looks like even T-Mobile will soon be ready to carry the iPhone. Already two big prepaid cell phone services names will start offering the Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S without a contract. Cricket Communications, a subsidiary of Leap Wireless will start selling a non-contract version of the CDMA iPhone on June 22, according to a company announcement. The Cricket iPhone 4S will sell for $499.99. You can buy an iPhone 4 for $399.99.
  • According to media reports a behind-closed-doors Microsoft event happened late last week, A new app called Smart Glass will allow users to beam content on their smartphones or tablets directly to their TV, through the Xbox 360. It's being compared to Apple's AirPlay platform. As such, it doesn't sound like there is anything incredibly groundbreaking here, other than the fact that Microsoft once again wants to prove the only thing you need to have connected to your TV is an Xbox 360. Microsoft's challenge at this year's E3 will be to prove to consumers that the Xbox 360 - a console that launched more than a half a decade ago and that still exists in some forms with no external hard drive, built-in WiFi, or HDMI connectivity, and that still relies on outdated DVD media - is still relevant. Luckily, Sony has the same problem so we'll see how both companies manage to prove such a point to consumers.
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 Now Top Selling Console Worldwide. Microsoft's Don Mattrick announced at the Microsoft media event at E3 that the Microsoft Xbox 360 has moved from the top console in North America to the top console worldwide, beating out the PS3 and Nintendo Wii. Microsoft has not yet announced a successor to their popular 360 console but the success is attributed to high Kinect sales as well as improved media offerings for the console. "There never has been a better time to own an Xbox," he said before announcing a slew of products for the 2012 holiday season. New games included a new Splinter Cell iteration as well as a brand new Halo, Halo 4, a game that pits the title's hero, Master Chief, against entirely new enemies.
  • No need to calling and text plans in two years. As more wireless customers are using their smartphones for data rather than voice calls, AT&T management is looking to a future where voice and texting plans are a thing of the past. As detailed by CBS News this week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson indicated that wireless customers may only require a data plan by mid-2014. Stephenson specifically stated "I'll be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don't see people in the market place with data-only plans. I just think that's inevitable." In this scenario, customers wouldn't sign up for voice or texting plans as voice could be routed through a data plan with a service like Skype or Apple's Facetime. There are already a number of third-party texting applications available to smartphone users as well. According to company management, AT&T has seen a decrease in the average number of minutes used per month, thus fewer people are using their smartphone to place voice calls.
  • Microsoft took an unusual step over the weekend and released an emergency Windows update after discovering attackers had issued unauthorized digital certificates to sign the Flame malware. The update revoked two certificates from Microsoft Enforced Licensing Intermediate PCA and one from Microsoft Enforced Licensing Registration Authority. Microsoft also revoked certificates that could be used to sign code that had been issued by the Terminal Services activation and licensing process as they "chained up" to the company's root authority. "We have discovered through our analysis that some components of the malware have been signed by certificates that allow software to appear as if it was produced by Microsoft," Mike Reavey, a senior director of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group, wrote on the Microsoft Security Response Center blog on June 3.
  • With Gorilla Glass 2 and Lotus Glass already in production, Corning is today adding yet another glass to its portfolio with the launch of an ultra-slim and flexible substrate called Willow Glass. The company is marketing its latest creation as nothing short of revolutionary, with thinness and flexibility that will allow displays to "wrap" around a device or structure. Naturally, that means it could also potentially be used in the contour-style screens we've seen on recent Nexus handsets. To that end, Corning says the glass has been formulated for ideal performance when paired with touch sensors and can be produced in sheets that are just 100 microns thick - equivalent to a standard sheet of paper. Willow Glass could also see implementation within flexible solar cells, though that use case is admittedly far less groundbreaking. The company is currently shipping samples of Willow Glass to select customers and full production could begin sometime later this year.
  • "This time it is for real," reads the Internet Society's World IPv6 Launch website. On Wednesday, June 6 (switch to 6 on 6/6) a number of top Internet firms - including Microsoft, Google, YouTube, and Yahoo - will deploy a new Internet protocol, dubbed IPv6. On IPv6 Day last year, a number of these companies switched from IPv4 to IPv6 for 24 hours, but now it's the real deal, though they will continue to run IPv4, as well. Updating from the current version of the Internet Protocol - IPv4 - the new platform will open a world of IP addresses, since the last block of the 4.3 billion possible IPv4 addresses were doled out early last year. The entire IPv4 address space is 32 bits long, but the IPv6 address space is 128 bits, opening up a world of Internet possibilities.
  • Following days of cryptic Foursquare tweets including the hashtag #allnew4sq, the exploration app announced Saturday that the, well, all new Foursquare is coming "this week." Though the company reached 1 billion check-ins back in September, Foursquare is reportedly now shifting away from that focus. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told TechCrunch in March that check-ins are no longer the most popular feature on the service. Crowley said he realized that people were using the app as more of a recommendation service, or to find friends or local things, without checking in anywhere. So, the company is taking advantage of its new user-influenced direction, turning the app from a check-in site to a recommendation engine.

email from listeners:

  • Grant from Seattle asks "Are ultrabooks ever going to come down in price or will they just be the high end computers going forward?"