Microsoft Pulls The Plug On Consumer Phone Business

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 25, 2016 by itnerd

It’s official. Microsoft is out of the consumer phone business that it got when it bought Nokia. After dumping some Nokia related assets last week, Microsoft has laid off 1850 people according to The Verge. None of this is cheap. Noika was purchased for $7.2 billion in 2014. This announcement will see $950 million written off, adding to the $7.6 billion the company wrote off last year when it cut 7,800 jobs to refocus its Windows Phone plans.

Talk about a #fail. It’s a safe bet that shareholders will not be happy.

 

Hyundai Announces Upgrades To CarPlay & Android Auto… Unless You’re Canadian

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 24, 2016 by itnerd

Hyundai made the news late yesterday when MacRumors posted a story on the fact that updates that would bring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to US owners of the following vehicles:

  • 2016 Elantra GT
  • 2015 and 2016 non-hybrid Sonata
  • 2017 Santa Fe Sport
  • 2017 Santa Fe
  • 2015 and 2016 Genesis Sedan
  • 2016 Tucson

Seeing as I own the latter vehicle, this caught my interest. But then my hopes and dreams were dashed thanks to to Hyundai Forums user “Jusungchai” who managed to get a copy of an internal memo from Hyundai Canada that implies that this update isn’t coming to Canadians anytime soon, if ever. The company basically said the following:

  • Unless you have a 2017 model year Hyundai vehicle, you’re not getting Android Auto. The company cites “fundamental differences” in the hardware required to drive the software.
  • No timeline exists for CarPlay in any Hyundai vehicle. But it is being worked on by both Apple and Hyundai and that includes support for both English and French.
  • There is no guarantee of Hyundai Canada being able to offer CarPlay as an upgrade option to your existing Hyundai.
  • Hyundai Canada blames the media for anyone thinking that CarPlay and Android Auto would be available in whole or in part.

The funny thing is that if you check the Hyundai Canada website, they actually show Android Auto in a 2016 Tucson. I’ve taken a screen capture of it and pasted it below:

Untitled.jpg

This is on top of the fact that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available in other places beyond the US. For example, here’s a link to the availability of CarPlay in Australia with Android Auto support to follow. This makes me wonder about Hyundai Canada and their plans for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It really sounds like they haven’t got a plan and are simply trying to say “nope, you’re not getting it” and hope that stops Canadian Hyundai owners from asking to be treated like ones in the US. But that’s thus the conspiracy theorist in me coming out. I’m sure that there’s a much better explanation than the rather lame one that Hyundai Canada has provided. Might I suggest to them that they might want to come clean on it sooner rather than later.

Citrix Showcases Cloud-first Innovations to Enable Unified Workspace-as-a-Service at Citrix Synergy 2016

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 24, 2016 by itnerd

Today at Citrix’s annual conference, Citrix Synergy, Citrix showcased new products and services that offer the promise to accelerate digital transformation efforts by delivering a unified Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) that empowers workers with secure, on-demand access to the apps and data they need to work effectively and efficiently from anywhere. These on-demand workspaces from Citrix also give IT the ability to securely deliver and manage it all from a single, unified control plane.

Citrix has unveiled the following updates:

  • ShareFile now allows information rights management for ShareFile. This feature lets data security “follow the file” as it leaves the ShareFile system – even if it is sent through unprotected devices, USB drives, or any other file sharing systems.   The rights management protection ensures that files require ShareFile authentication to access – even after the file has been downloaded
  • XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 have expanded authentication, enhanced graphics support and advanced printing capabilities, while simultaneously driving down virtual app and desktop delivery costs. In addition, XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 provide powerful administrative monitoring and tools to simplify ongoing maintenance and configuration
  • XenMobile 10.3.5builds on Citrix’s MAM-first option by enabling IT to distribute apps securely without requiring personal devices to be enrolled with a company’s mobile device management (MDM) solution. Another new feature includes Secure Forms, which allows line-of-business managers and IT to easily transform traditional paper forms into secure mobile mini-apps without writing a single line of code
  • The Citrix NetScaler familyhas consolidated three new network offerings into the family: NetScaler Management and Analytics System (NMAS), NetScaler CPX and NetScaler SD-WAN Enterprise Edition

If you want to find out more about these announcements, check out the Synergy Newsroom for these and other announcements from Citrix Synergy.

Runkeeper App Hands Your Data Over To A Third Party

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 24, 2016 by itnerd

If you use the popular fitness app Runkeeper, you should pay attention to this story. It was recently discovered that Runkeeper has been handing over user data to a third party  – Kiip.me, even when it was not in use. The bug was discovered after the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), a Norwegian watchdog agency, lodged a formal complaint. While the bug has been fixed, the NCC wants Kiip.me to delete all the information it collected illegally.

Now, here’s my take on this. You have to assume that it is possible that the apps that you use could be sharing data with third parties. Therefore you have to be somewhat comfortable with that. If you’re not, you should look for something that has clear terms and conditions and spells out what the app does with your data.

For those who would like to switch to a different app, RunKeeper does give the option to export one’s data.

Apple Sued For Making An iPhone Work Like An iPhone

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 24, 2016 by itnerd

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I think that patent trolls are the lowest form of life on this planet, and that we really need some degree of patent reform to exterminate them. Here’s another example of why both of those are true statements. Apple is being sued by patent troll Corydoras Technologies for the the fact that Apple’s last several iPhones and iPads violate a slew of patents related to seemingly standard features, including the ability to place calls as well as sending and receiving emails. Here’s the details from Fortune:

A total of six patent infringement claims were brought against Apple by Corydoras Technologies on May 20, according to Apple-tracking site Patently Apple, which obtained a copy of the lawsuit. The case was brought against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Corydoras is headquartered in Texas, where many similar companies that buy up or file their own patents and sue others for royalties operate. That’s mainly due to some success the companies have had in Texas courts.

According to Patently Apple, the counts against Apple cover every iPhone dating back to the iPhone 4 and every iPad dating back to the iPad 2. In addition to taking issue with Apple’s devices placing calls, the lawsuits also allege that the tech giant violates patents Corydoras holds related to video calling, which is similar to Apple’s FaceTime, as well as displaying a person’s geographic location through a feature like Find My iPhone and the ability to block unwanted calls.

Frankly, These patents from this scumbag patent troll need to be invalidated without delay. Not only to encourage people to come up with the next big idea, but to keep scumbags patent trolls like this one from making money from someones work. Another point. Why are these trivial patents getting through the patent system with so much prior art and established methods already common knowledge. I mean, a device that makes calls and sends/receives e-mails is something that has a ton of prior art to it. This scumbag patent troll needs a swift kick in the nether regions for no other reason than to send a message that this sort of nonsense cannot be tolerated.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Upgrade Tactics Have Truly Become Sleazy

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 24, 2016 by itnerd

I have been writing about how aggressive Microsoft is in terms of getting you to upgrade to Windows 10 for a while now. Now they have truly hit a level that quite honestly I didn’t believe that they they could go to. Microsoft has apparently changed the infamous pop-up box that tells Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10, Now in the new version of this pop up, clicking the red cross on the right hand corner of the pop-up box now starts the upgrade instead of closing the box. The net result is that people thinking that they are getting rid of the box will now get Windows 10.

WTF?

Microsoft of course says that this is for your own good. But a writer at PC World says something different:

So after more than half a year of teaching people that the only way to say “no thanks” to Windows 10 is to exit the GWX application—and refusing to allow users to disable the pop-up in any obvious manner, so they had to press that X over and over again during those six months to the point that most people probably just click it without reading now—Microsoft just made it so that very behavior accepts the Windows 10 upgrade instead, rather than canceling it.

That’s gross.

And if you don’t find that small link to reschedule or cancel the Windows 10 upgrade—or, say, if the pop up appears while you’re away from your computer—your system will begin the process at the scheduled time. In other words, your PC can potentially upgrade to Windows 10 without you asking it to or explicitly approving the upgrade.

That’s gross, too.

The net result of this according to this writer:

Sure, she has 30 days to roll it back to Windows 7, but she feels so betrayed—like Microsoft forcibly removed her control over her own PC—that she’s strongly considering embracing the Dark Side and buying a Mac, instead.

In case you’re wondering, the “she” in this story is the wife of the writer. But the feeling is not surprising. My experience has been you either like Windows 10 and are happy to upgrade, or you like whatever version of Windows you’re on and you can’t stand how aggressive Microsoft is about upgrading you. And if you’re ticked off enough, it’s off to the Apple Store you go. There really isn’t any middle ground and that’s the problem for Microsoft. If they continue these sorts of tactics, they may find that their user base shrinks. That would be a #fail for them. Perhaps they should rethink this whole upgrade strategy. As in right now.

 

Security and Privacy Experts to Converge on Belgium for International Security Conference

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 21, 2016 by itnerd

The 2016 Kristian Beckman Award winner, Professor Bart Preneel, is one of three Keynotes engaged to speak at the upcoming 31st International IFIP Conference on ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection (IFIP SEC 2016).

The flagship event of IFIP’s Technical Committee 11 on Security and Privacy Protection in Information Systems, IFIP SEC 2016 will bring together security experts, practitioners, researchers, industry stakeholders and government decision-makers from 30 May to 1 June 2016 in Ghent, Belgium, to hear international keynotes:

  • Professor Preneel of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven discuss “The Post-Snowden Threat Landscape”;
  • Daniel Le Métayer of Inria explore “The Risk-Based Approach to Privacy: Prospects and Challenges”; and
  • Professor Herbert Bos of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands address the topic, “Crazy Time: Exploiting Software without Bugs”.

At IFIP SEC 2016, Professor Preneel will officially receive his prize as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Kristian Beckman Award, which recognises an individual who has significantly contributed to the development of information security, particularly at an international level.

In addition to his work at KU Leuven, Professor Preneel heads the COSIC research group, has been visiting professor at five European universities, has invented five patents and authored over 400 scientific publications. He has participated in about 40 EU projects, seven as coordinator, and been invited speaker at more than 120 conferences in 40 countries.

For more information about IFIP SEC 2016, visit http://ifipsec.org/2016/index.php

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 413 other followers