? All Tech Radio Episode 429
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  • Is this an article from The Onion? Despite multibillion dollar losses, flopped product releases and bailing executives, BlackBerry CEO John Chen maintains the company can grab hold of market share going forward with enterprise and government spending as footholds to success. However, that might not be good news for the channel, analysts told CRN. "Today, our company is strong financially, technologically savvy and is well-positioned for the future. In less than two months, my team and I have engineered a new strategy to stabilize the company, return to our core strength in enterprise and security, and maximize efficiencies," Chen said in a CNBC column Monday. Just over a month ago, Chen grabbed the reins as CEO of the floundering smartphone company. Since he joined the company from Sybase, BlackBerry has posted staggering quarterly losses, with a nearly $1 billion loss in the second quarter and a more than $4 billion loss in the third quarter. Despite that, Chen said in the column that the company has plenty of cash going forward and he expects the company to be profitable again in 2016.
  • Facebook is 'dead and buried' to older teenagers, an extensive European study has found, as the key age group moves on to Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat. Researching the Facebook use of 16-18 year olds in eight EU countries, the Global Social Media Impact Study found that as parents and older users saturate Facebook, its younger users are shifting to alternative platforms. "Facebook is not just on the slide - it is basically dead and buried," wrote Daniel Miller, lead anthropologist on the research team, who is professor of material culture of University College London. "Mostly they feel embarrassed to even be associated with it. Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives." Who cares if kids like it as long as its popular?
  • It would appear that the debacle Target is facing this holiday season is turning over as we speak. Though they'd previously suggested that findings showed no PIN data to have been stolen in their 2013 credit card breach, today's update says otherwise. The positive side of this situation is the fact that these PIN numbers are wholly encrypted. The encryption these PIN numbers are locked up with is called Triple DES. According to Target, Triple DES is "a highly secure encryption standard used broadly throughout the U.S.." The idea that PIN data was taken in the first place was reported false earlier this month - now that seems to have changed. Target's current word on the situation is that though they "were able to confirm that strongly encrypted PIN data was removed", they have no reason to believe that said PIN codes are any less "safe and secure." Target suggests that "the PIN information was fully encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems."
  • The Russian hacker known to cyber security firms and hackers as "HASH" and alternately "Rev0lver" gained access to a BBC server sometime prior to or on Dec. 25, Hold Security LLC has told Reuters. The hacker placed access to the server up for sale that day. It is not known whether a sale was made. The BBC says the server has now been secured, according to an anonymous BBC security team source cited by Reuters. The server was located at ftp.bbc.co.uk. The "FTP" indicates a file transfer protocol (FTP) system. Such systems are usually used to send large files over the Internet. Also not confirmed was whether any other portion of the BBC's data infrastructure was compromised. Access to the FTP server could potentially act as an entry point for entities who wish to further infiltrate more of the infrastructure. Possible motives would include the ability to steal data or transmit messages of the infiltrator's own choosing.
  • Samsung said a 110-inch TV that has four times the resolution of standard high-definition TVs is going on sale for about US$150,000 in South Korea. The launch Monday of the giant television set reflects global TV makers' move toward ultra HD TVs, as manufacturing bigger TVs using OLED proves too costly. Last year, Samsung and rival LG Electronics, the world's top two TV makers, touted OLED as the future of TV. OLED screens are ultrathin and can display images with enhanced clarity and deeper colour saturation. But Samsung and LG failed to make OLED TVs a mainstream that would replace the LCD television sets and still struggling to mass produce larger and affordable TVs with OLED. Meanwhile, Japanese media reported last week that Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. decided to end their OLED partnership.
  • Amazon had a record holiday season this year, so much so that it had to limit new Prime memberships and give gift cards to those who didn't receive packages before Christmas. According to a new report from CNBC, Amazon set a record on Cyber Monday with 36.8 million items ordered globally, which is about 426 items per second. Due to this high amount of shopping traffic, Amazon was forced to limit new Prime memberships during the holiday season in an effort to protect the orders of current members. Amazon Prime is a $79 annual membership that allows for free unlimited two-day shipping. When checking out through the Amazon website, it posts an offer for a free trial of Amazon Prime if you're not already a member, allowing customers to utilize that two-day shipping. The problem is that too many people shopping last minute may take advantage of that just to make sure they get their gifts before Christmas, leaving current Prime members in a position where their gifts may be delayed as a result. Aside from limited Prime memberships, Amazon also addressed delayed shipments from UPS and FedEx. Both shipping companies said that bad weather and overloaded systems were the reasons for late deliveries that failed to make it before Christmas.
  • Nokia has decided to remove its mapping app from Apple's iOS store. The Wall Street Journal reports the company removed its HERE mapping app, saying changes in Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS 7 harmed the user experience. Nokia added that it had not optimized the app for the new operating system and said it was continuing to consider its options for iOS. Microsoft in September announced a $7 billion deal to buy Nokia's mobile-phone business. The HERE app was not part of the acquisition.
  • Archos just dropped a huge smattering of CES news in advance of the huge annual tech show, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas. Among the various announcements, tucked away near the bottom, is the revelation that it will be introducing a "selection of smartwatches" for 2014, which will start at under £50 (roughtly $82 U.S.). Archos doesn't go into much detail about its smartwatches, saying only that they'll have a "pebble-like" design and will work with both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. The "pebble-like" seems like a blatant shot across the bow of Pebble, the Kickstarter-backed hardware startup that began building smartwatches under that name this past year, though it's probably meant on the surface to indicate the things will look somewhat like rocks.
  • What was already shaping up to be an extremely intriguing and crowded CES 2014 show is about to become jam-packed with breathtaking mobile devices, as one of Samsung's highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 has paid FCC a final visit before it can break cover once and for all. At first, the SM-T320 model number carried by this fresh slate is unlikely to ring any bells. Upon further digging however, the gizmo's identity is fairly easy to guess, as the infamous Indian tracking website Zauba lists it sporting an 8.4-inch screen. Not exactly a conventional form factor in the Android landscape, but coincidentally (or not), the same size as the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 mentioned in a recent report. Ergo, the SM-T320 and GTab Pro 8.4 are most definitely one and the same. Too bad the FCC reveals so few of the little guy's features, namely just its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. Optional cellular connectivity should also be in the cards, whereas the price cited by Zauba (Rs. 34,941, or roughly $560) suggests we're dealing with a top-shelf slab of silicon. Upper mid-range, at worst. Fingers crossed for quad-core power and a Full HD panel, right?
  • Educators are largely opting for Chromebooks in the classroom over Apple MacBooks and Android tablets, a new study suggests. According to a report from research firm NPD Group, Google's low-cost Chromebook computers soared past Apple's MacBook line in terms of commercial sales, thanks largely due to growth in the education sector. "There are no governments or IT departments running out to buy these products - they would be underwhelmed," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. "Instead, this growth is being driven by education." Apple's MacBook and iPad sales declined this year as competition from Google's Android and Chrome lines ramped up, while Chromebooks and Android tablets experienced the most commercial growth with 1.76 million, compared to just 400,000 units in 2012.

email from listeners:

  • Is it time to buy a smart watch?