Mozilla has had enough of Flash’s security flaws, disables Firefox plugin

The Next Web reported on Mozilla disabling Firefox’s flash plugin.

Mozilla has blocklisted all vulnerable versions of Adobe Flash in its Firefox browser, following the discovery of numerous critical security flaws in the platform.

Mark Schmidt, head of Firefox Support, took to Twitter to announce the change.

Fall out from this.

Authors and booksellers accuse Amazon of antitrust violations, demand inquiry

The New York Times reported on authors and booksellers accusing Amazon of antitrust violations, and demanding inquiry.

The Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of Authors’ Representatives and Authors United said in letters and statements being sent this week to the Justice Department that “Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.”

Security researcher reveals that Google App Engine is vulnerable to attack

Digital Trends reported on Google App Engine’s vulnerability to attack.

According to a report released on’s Full Disclosure, a new set of vulnerabilities could leave Google’s App Engine open to attack from a rudimentary Java exploit.

Seven different unpatched holes were discovered by Adam Gowdiak, CEO of the Polish security firm Security Explorations. The exploit uses the cloud platform Google App Engine to launch a defunct string of Java code, which can then be executed to break out of the first-layer sandbox and wreak havoc on protected areas of Google’s servers.

Facebook’s head of security wants Flash to die

The Next Web reported about Facebook CSO Alex Stamos calling for more rapid moves to force Flash’s extinction.

It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.

It can’t come sooner.

HTC lose half of its market cap in four months

Ars Technica reported on how standing still caused HTC to lose half of its market cap in four months.

Have you heard about HTC lately? 2015 is shaping up to be an awful year for the company. In March the company had a market cap of $4.06 billion, and today—only a few months later—it’s worth less than half of that. The stock price, at about two bucks a share, is at a 10-year low. HTC just wrapped up the second quarter of 2015, where it posted a net loss of $258 million. And the trend is downwards—year over year, HTC’s monthly revenue was down 38% in April, 48% in May, and 60% in June. Will July be even worse? HTC is back to being that struggling OEM that feels like it could be permanently knocked out of the race at any time. There’s even been talk of the company being acquired.

The race to the bottom is always ugly.

The latest Flash zero-day is no joke

Tim Murtaugh wrote on A List Apart about the latest Flash zero day vulnerability.

Flash gets updated a lot, often for security purposes. What usually happens is a security firm, or a hacker looking for a bounty, or Adobe itself will find a vulnerability, and the Flash team will quietly patch their software before the exploit becomes widely known. This time, the exploit is already out there, and is quickly making its way into malware tools.

So, I assume you’re already multi-tasking and disabling Flash in your browsers. (Here’s how to disable Flash in Chrome. And Safari. And Firefox. And IE.)

I recommend a better practice. Don’t even install Flash.

Read it later

The folks over at The Sweet Setup have done a nice review of the current crop of Read It Later services. If you’re just getting into the act of saving articles for offline reading, it’s a good place to start.

But even more importantly, you don’t always have time to read an article the first moment you come across it. Ideally, you could have a place to store those articles for later when you actually have the time to curl up on that couch. Depending on the website, reading on the web can often be a hostile experience with distracting ads, over-pagination, requests to sign up for newsletters, and spammy “promoted stories from around the web” cluttering up your reading and making you question the moral fabric of human civilization.

Read-it-later services can solve all of these problems, helping you save articles to read on your preferred device in a much friendlier, more beautiful format. You could think of these services like Tivo for the Internet. As you browse the web during the day, you can pick and choose the things you want to read, and at night, instead of continuing to browse, you have a hand-picked selection of great material ready for you to read.

My first encounter with these apps was with Marco Arment’s Instapaper, which I loved to bits. Eventually I moved to Pocket and stayed there till today. Deciding on which one to use is really more a matter of preference, so go ahead and try whichever one you please.

Doug Menuez on Steve Jobs

NextShark reported on Doug Menuez, the man who spent 3 years with Steve Jobs after he got fired from Apple.

Menuez on entrepreneurship:

I think there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening all over the world. There’s a whole new generation of young, hungry entrepreneurs and innovators coming and I wanna help inspire through sharing stories. One of the feedbacks that I get is that people don’t always realize how hard it was in the 80s and the sacrifices that were made, and I think that helps people when they start hitting the wall. If you’re in your first startup and you’re hitting a wall, it’s pretty frustrating and pretty scary and frightening, and it’s good to know what other people went through just so you have some solidarity and keep fighting. Steve [Jobs] failed for 10 years; he struggled and failed and he was humiliated by the press after he left Apple. A lot of people today don’t realize it. They know how successful he is today, but they don’t realize how hard he worked to make the comeback.

Tim Cook’s speech on encryption and privacy

Matthew Panzarino wrote on TechCrunch about [Tim Cook’s blistering speech on encryption and privacy](( at EPIC’s Champions of Freedom event.

Cook lost no time in directing comments at companies (obviously, though not explicitly) like Facebook and Google, which rely on advertising to users based on the data they collect from them for a portion, if not a majority, of their income.

“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” said Cook. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.” […]

“We shouldn’t ask our customers to make a tradeoff between privacy and security. We need to offer them the best of both,” Cook wrapped up. “Ultimately, protecting someone else’s data protects all of us.”

Apple Music audio quality

Tech Radar wrote about issues they want Apple Music to fix.

Surprisingly, Apple Music streams at a bitrate of 256 kbps, which is lower than most of its competitors. Spotify, Rdio, MOG and even Beats Music, which Apple Music’s streaming foundation is built on, all stream at 320 kbps (Beats Music still streams at this quality on Android and Windows Phone devices, rubbing even more salt on our wounds).

And then there’s Tidal, which manages to stream its music at the lossless FLAC bitrate of 1411 kbps. So what gives, Apple? Why is the biggest and baddest new streaming service on the block peddling inferior audio quality?

You would think that an article about music streaming would be written by someone with some knowledge about how digital music works, or at least research about it before publishing a post. Beats streamed 320 kbps MP3 files, while Spotify a variety of files. Apple Music streams 256 kbps ACC files.

256 kbps ACC files are comparable to 320 kbps MP3 files, and people find the lower bitrate AAC having higher fidelity, but apparently Tech Radar and several other writers only look at the bitrate and accuse Apple Music of serving inferior quality.

Spotify streams MP3 files at 96 kbps on mobile and 160 kbps on desktop and web player for the free service. It streams 320 kbps Ogg Vorbis files for Premium subscribers.