The truth about product registration cards

July 24th, 2014

When you buy a TV, lamp, or even a mesh chair for your teenager to take to college this fall, what business is it of the manufacturer to ask about your income, education, hobbies, and the car you drive? Frankly, none. It’s a tactic called data mining, the harvesting of personal information for companies to sell to marketers.

Companies make money from the data; you get peppered with spam and unsolicited sales pitches. Yet many consumers are scared into filling out those pesky product registration cards (or doing so online), fearing that failure to do so will void their warranty rights.

According to the California-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer education organization, the demographic questions amount to a deceptive data collection practice that has nothing to do with product registration. If you need to file a warranty claim, a sales receipt should suffice.  More

Wall Street Journal Hacked Again

July 23rd, 2014

Hacked again that’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached.

The systems have been taken offline in an effort to isolate any attacks, according to people familiar with the matter cited in a Wall Street Journal article.

The Journal has not found any damage or tampering, these people said, but the matter is not yet closed.

“We are investigating an incident related to wsj.com’s graphics systems,” a spokesperson for the Journal said. “At this point we see no evidence of any impact to Dow Jones customers or customer  data .”  More

Japan Wants Robot Olympics At 2020 Games

July 23rd, 2014

Japan’s prime minister wants to pit the world’s robots against each other when his country hosts the 2020 Olympics.

Shinzo Abe revealed his ambition while touring robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama.

He said a robot Olympics would be a good way to show off advances in the field of robotics around the world.

“In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world’s robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,” Mr Abe said.

He did not give details on the type of event he envisaged.  More

Your iPhone may be rigged to spy on you

July 22nd, 2014

NEW YORK — iOS forensic examiner Jonathan Zdziarski may know more about iPhones than any other non-Apple employee. Yet even he can’t find a reason for some of the mystery features buried within the iOS operating system, which look an awful lot like security backdoors that bypass user-designated data protections.

The features could be there to let Apple — or even the National Security Agency or the FBI — get access to most of your iOS device’s data without you knowing it.

In a presentation Friday at the HOPE X hacker conference here, Zdziarksi detailed his discoveries about the data-collection tools hidden on iOS devices. Some tools are listed by name, yet not explained, in the Apple developer manual and do far more than advertised. Others are undocumented and buried deep within the iOS code.  More

APPLE asks suppliers to produce 80 million large-screen iPhones

July 22nd, 2014

Apple Inc. is preparing for its largest initial production run of iPhones, betting that larger-screen models will lure consumers now attracted to similar phones from Samsung Electronics Co. and others.

The Cupertino, Calif., company is asking suppliers to manufacture between 70 million and 80 million units combined of two large-screen iPhones with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays by Dec. 30, according to people familiar with the matter.

Its forecast for what is commonly called the iPhone 6 is significantly larger than the initial order last year of between 50 million and 60 million versions of the iPhone 5S and 5C–which had a display measuring 4-inches diagonally, these people said. Both of the coming models are expected to feature metal cases similar to the iPhone 5S and likely come in multiple colors, these people said.  More

Facebook launches ‘Save,’ for all those things you didn’t have time to read

July 21st, 2014

Facebook gets it: Sometimes, there’s just too much stuff in your feed to keep up. So, the company’s launching a new feature called “Save” to allow customers to mark things they’d like to see later.

If a user sees something on their timeline, such as an article about Apple’s upcoming earnings announcement from CNET, they can indicate that they want to save it from their timeline by tapping on the top-right corner of the story. Facebook says places, movies, TV, and other items can also be placed in the Save list.

Users can view their saved items under the “more” tab on their smartphone or tablet. It will also be accessible through a standard Web browser on a computer.

The new Save feature brings an interesting twist to the world’s largest social network. Until now, the only way items such as news articles would rise to the top of any given user’s news feed was via an intricate algorithm that managed what users see based upon their interests and usage of the site. More