Samsung decides not to patch kernel vulnerabilities in non-Lollipop S4 devices

Softpedia reported on Samsung not patching kernel vulnerabilities in non-Lollipop S4 phones.

According to Jonathan Salwan, one of QuarksLAB’s junior security researchers, Samsung took 3 months to acknowledge the bugs (November 2014), and only responded to QuarksLAB’s emails after the company went public with their research on September 21, 2015.

“They just acknowledged the issues, then went silent until this blog post popped,” said Mr. Salwan. “Samsung just confirmed to us that the JB and KK families will not be patched and that the vulnerabilities are only patched on the LL family.”

Because security is a priority.

Samsung accused of programming TVs to cheat energy efficiency ratings

Boing Boing reported on Samsung being accused of programming TVs to cheat energy efficiency ratings.

Samsung admits that its TVs radically changed their power-consumption during testing, but say that the low-power mode was inadvertently triggered by the tests, and was meant to be an automatic power-saving feature.

If it’s a power saving feature, why is it only activated during tests and not in real-world usage?

Google’s Nexus phones are just ads

The Verge reported on Google’s Nexus phones being just ads.

It almost seems innocuous, except that it’s not. There isn’t a single Android device manufacturer that is happy with the Nexus program, and I’ve spoken with them all. Those who build Nexuses for Google often do so reluctantly — with the possible exception of Huawei this year, whose US reputation stands to improve dramatically from the halo effect of being associated with Google by manufacturing the Nexus 6P. Still, neither Huawei nor LG, maker of the Nexus 5X, expects to make much direct profit from these new phones: they are priced aggressively and distributed narrowly, so there’ll be little (if any) profit per device and few devices sold overall. Like Google, all a Nexus manufacturer can hope to gain is the benefit of indirect marketing and a better reputation among Android diehards.


In previous years, I’d have said the Nexus devices were necessary, vital even, in steering Android in a better direction and fighting the fragmentation of ugly, dysfunctional, and inchoate manufacturer software slapped on top. In 2015, however, Android phone makers have grown more conscientious and restrained. Their software and industrial design are more elegant than ever, and their pricing is as aggressive as it can be.

There is no Android villain left for the Nexus crusader to slay. The premium Nexus 6P and the value-for-money Nexus 5X are just diving into a crowded field without any mission for improving it — in fact, they’re going to make everyone worse off by hastening the price erosion that is the bane of every Android device manufacturer’s existence. This situation might look just dandy for us, the consumers, today, but I don’t think we’ll be happy if it leads to the extinction of companies like HTC or the exit from smartphone making by the likes of Sony.

The Android ecosystem still needs Google to take the lead. The race to the bottom is borne from the way the ecosystem works and Google not making Nexus devices will not stop the dwindling profits for Android devices.

Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

Quartz reported on millions of Facebook users having no idea they’re using the internet.

This is more than a matter of semantics. The expectations and behaviors of the next billion people to come online will have profound effects on how the internet evolves. If the majority of the world’s online population spends time on Facebook, then policymakers, businesses, startups, developers, nonprofits, publishers, and anyone else interested in communicating with them will also, if they are to be effective, go to Facebook. That means they, too, must then play by the rules of one company. And that has implications for us all.

This is a very interesting trend, and a reminder that everyone’s introduction and experiences with smartphones and the internet differ a lot.

Samsung TVs appear less energy efficient in real life than in tests

The Guardian reported on Samsung TVs appearing less energy efficient in real life than in tests.

Independent lab tests have found that some Samsung TVs in Europe appear to use less energy during official testing conditions than they do during real-world use, raising questions about whether they are set up to game energy efficiency tests.

Can Dropbox fend off its competitors?

When Dropbox founder Drew Houston met with Steve Jobs in 2009 to talk about Dropbox, Houston famously shut down Jobs’ approach to buy the file-sharing service. According to a report from Forbes in 2011, Jobs let Houston know that he was making something of a mistake banking on Dropbox’s service to sustain a company, telling him that Dropbox was “a feature, not a product.”

Now, it sort of feels like Jobs was right. Dropbox doesn’t feel like it’s future trajectory is up. In fact, it kind of feels like the rain has started and the Dropbox is getting soggy. Dropbox isn’t going to get much further without becoming easier, more meaningful and high-powered. Dropbox isn’t going anywhere but down as a standalone app, but if it can find a way to make itself a part of our lives the way it began to before iCloud, Google Docs, Box and the rest, it might stand a chance. And, well, if there’s one company that’s become the leading expert on making itself an essential part of daily life, it’s Apple.

_via [It’s time to revisit Apple buying Dropbox Gigaom](

Online file storage and sync is increasingly commoditised, but regardless compared to OneDrive, iCloud Drive, Google Drive etc, Dropbox still stands out in terms of reliability and ease of use. That being said, I totally understand that the importance of Dropbox as a standalone product is less so nowadays. Hopefully Dropbox will be able to get past this, it’s still my favourite online storage and sync service.

Google ‘Customer Match’ means your email address is now for sale to the highest bidder

Computing reported on Google ‘Customer Match’.

Google is close to rolling out a tool named “Customer Match” which, it appears, will combine a logged-in Google account with any email address handed by a customer to a retailer to create lists of addresses to target specific users with marketing material.

The search giant can sit comfortably with this arrangement, as the lists of emails are anonymised through the service, meaning Google keeps hold of the specific details and the retailer doesn’t get them, but can use them to blind dump advertising into Google-based sessions in services such as YouTube, Gmail or basic search functions on the Google homepage.


It appears Customer Match is another response from Google to dwindling display advertising revenue, as companies attempt to find new ways to push adverts to users without depending on simple clicks of randomised ad banners.

While Apple is pushing for greater privacy by not tracking you, Google goes the opposite way.

iFixit violates Apple agreement

Kyle Wiens wrote about why the iFixit app was pulled from the App Store.

Not too long ago, we tore down the Apple TV and Siri Remote. The developer unit we disassembled was sent to us by Apple. Evidently, they didn’t intend for us to take it apart. But we’re a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA—and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway.

The device was provided to developers for them to create apps, not to tear it down show it to the public weeks before the product is launched. They probably should read the non-disclosure agreement again.

People who are whining about Apple pulling the app as a punishment for the violation of a device NDA have comprehension problems. The developer account was banned for violating the NDA, and since the app is tied to that account, it was subsequently removed from the App Store. So put down those pitchforks and stop yelling about unfair punishment and censorship.

It is disappointing to see iFixit behave so recklessly and, instead of realising their mistake, they continue to thump their chests in defiance.

Why parents will love Apple’s Live Photos

MG Sigler wrote about Live Photos.

It’s no accident that people with children immediately realize the value in this feature. With each passing day they see their children growing up in front of their eyes in ways that those of us without children can’t quite comprehend. To you and I, time passes slowly and people age slowly. Children morph from day to day. And so having a live look-back at your child even a few days removed is immensely valuable and meaningful.


Yes, anyone could just take a video of their loved ones and it would be an actual live look back into their lives. But most people aren’t very good at taking video. They take footage that’s way too long. Or it’s staged. Or they miss things. With Live Photos, Apple figured out a rather ingenious solution to all of those things in a nice, tight picture package. It’s brilliant.

Watch Blackberry CEO demo the Blackberry Priv

CEO John Chen fumbling through the product and making vague remarks on a product he should be very familiar with. And “obviously it runs Google”.