Top Stories for the Week of February 24, 2015

  • Episode 388
  • February 24, 2015
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Tuesday February 24, 2015


Some Lenovo computers came with a mean little piece of spyware already installed.

Lenovo is offering customers a tool to help them remove pre-installed software that experts warned was a security risk.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo is offering customers a tool to help them remove pre-installed software that experts warned was a security risk.

The Superfish adware program - which as branded as offering shopping tips - was shipped on some of the company's notebook devices.

Lenovo said on Thursday it had disabled it because of customer complaints.

But a later statement said the company was also aware of a security risks about the software, and the company was "focused on fixing it".

Superfish was designed to help users find products by visually analysing images on the web to find the cheapest ones.

Users had initially complained about intrusive pop-up ads appearing on their browsers.

Computer experts later warned that the software was potentially compromising their security.

Superfish appears to work by substituting its own security key for the encryption certificates used by many websites.

This would allow it - or anyone who hacked Superfish - to collect data over secure web connections.

The company said, "We apologise for causing these concerns among our users - we are learning from this experience and will use it to improve what we do and how we do it in the future."

Lenovo said it had acted "swiftly and decisively" and that users could download a patch to remove Superfish.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Search engine, Yandex is bringing Google's competition practices to the authorities in Russia.

Google is facing a possible Android probe after Yandex complained about the way Google sets itself as the default search engine on Android devices.

Google faces the prospect of a fresh competition investigation after Russia's biggest search engine filed a complaint with the authorities.

Yandex alleges that its rival has an unfair advantage because it insists device-makers set Google as the default search setting if they want to pre-install its Play store.

Google Play is promoted as the safest and best-stocked marketplace for apps and other media for Android devices.

Google has yet to respond.

The US company has yet to see the complaint filed with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

However, Google may try to defend itself by noting that manufacturers are free to install rival services if they choose not to pre-load its other software.

It is also likely to argue that customers can carry out searches via other software - including Yandex's search app - after buying an Android handset or tablet.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


A new study has found that Facebook is the biggest drain on smartphone performance.

A new study has found that Facebook is the biggest drain on smartphone performance.

It seems that the more socially connected you are, the more likely your smartphone's battery is running almost on empty.

And not because those consumers are always updating their status, sharing images or waiting for the latest viral video.

Different apps put a strain on a smartphone in different ways and, according to online security company AVG Technologies, social media apps have the biggest impact, followed by games and shopping apps.

AVG's data comes via its own app, currently installed on over 1 million Android devices.

It measures how installed apps dent smartphone performance and results are collated and presented every quarter.

At the top of the list is Facebook which, thanks to the app being always running in the background monitoring activity on the network and sending notifications, has the biggest overall drain.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Chief Technology Officer at AVG Technologies said what surprised them "was that some of those tools and security updates aimed at improving your phone experience, were in fact impacting it quite heavily".

The hope of the study is that people will better understand the resource usage on their devices, helping them manage which apps are allowed to run.

Source: www.ctvnews.ca


The latest Barbie doll will have an embedded microphone and speaker, and require a wi-fi connection to communicate with your kids.

Barbie is having a digital makeover, with the release of an internet-connected version of the iconic doll.

Barbie is having a digital makeover, with the release of an internet-connected version of the iconic doll.

Toy maker Mattel is partnering with US start-up ToyTalk to develop Hello Barbie, which will have two-way conversations with children.

The Barbie will use a speech-recognition platform developed by ToyTalk.

A prototype of the doll was at the New York Toy Fair on 14 February, where many up-and-coming smart toys were on display.

The Hello Barbie will be able to play interactive games and tell stories and jokes.

It will also listen to the child's conversation and adapt to it over time - so, for instance, if a child mentions that they like to dance, the doll may refer to this in a future chat.

The doll requires a wi-fi connection and can provide an hour's worth of playtime when fully charged.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Forgetting all that was learned from Google Glass, Sony is taking on SmartEyeglasses.

A developer edition of Sony's augmented reality smart glasses will go on sale in ten countries next month.

A developer edition of Sony's augmented reality smart glasses will go on sale in ten countries next month.

Pre-orders for the SmartEyeglass, costing $840 (£620), are now being taken in the UK and Germany, with Japan and the US to follow shortly.

The black-framed glasses are compatible with recent Android-powered smartphones.

Sony's initial model will come with a software development kit to encourage people to design apps for it.

The glasses contain an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, image and brightness sensors, 3-megapixel camera and a microphone.

They also come with a controller, designed to be attached to clothing, which contains a speaker, touch sensor and the device's battery.

Text is displayed in front of the wearer in monochrome green.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Will technology help us escape the commute?

Fed up of endless traffic jams and overcrowded trains? Then how about commuting to work in your own jetpack?

Fed up of endless traffic jams and overcrowded trains? Then how about commuting to work in your own jetpack?

New Zealand firm Martin Aircraft Company is building a one-person jetpack scheduled to go on sale in 2016. And it actually seems to work.

Although currently slated for use by emergency services, it is only a small leap to imagine it in the hands of commuters.

"In five to 10 years time we wouldn't be surprised to see jetpacks flying around on a daily basis," according to chief executive Peter Coker, "in some countries even being used instead of transport."

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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