Twitter vulnerability lets apps send DMs without user permission

The Next Web reports on a Twitter vulnerability that lets apps send direct messages without user permission.

Nevertheless, by using the command “d twitter_username message” the app can send a DM to anyone you can normally send DMs to. The app never has to check with the user if he or she is okay with sending a DM.

It’s worth noting that some apps block this functionality. Buffer, for example, gives the following error: “Sorry, direct messages can’t currently be sent through Buffer.” Other apps we tested, however, sent DMs without a hitch.

This means that third party apps can spam direct messages through your account without you knowing, unless you check your messages inbox.

It is a security concern because apps can exploit this for phishing.

What Medium is for

Noah Nelson explains what Medium is for after John Gruber wrote that he does’t get what Medium is.

Sometimes, however, it doesn’t pay to view the world through a macro lens. The forest can be missed for the kerning on the font that spells out t-r-e-e-s. This is what I believe is happening here with those who look at Medium and go “Huh?”

Ev Williams lays the case for Medium out succinctly. He calls it “a new publishing platform.” That’s pretty succinct right there. Williams elaborates on the point this way:

One of our goals was to make it dead simple to write and present a beautiful story without having to be a designer or programmer. We also sought to help great ideas quickly find the right audience — no matter who they came from.

Medium is beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, go take a look now. It is so gorgeous that I feel compelled to write and post on Medium. It is immensely satisfying to simply to see my writing appear on Medium.

Facebook’s News Feed update hurting social media marketers

Business Insider reports that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm update is hurting social media marketers.

When the change went down, lots of people assumed it would be terrible news for publishers that write a lot about “memes” and publish other “viral” content – publishers like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. Then AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac reported that the Facebook executive in charge of News Feed, Chris Cox, has a personal distaste for those two sites. It seemed like their doom was imminent.

However, that was not the case.

A week or so after Facebook made its changes, one social media marketing agency, Ignite, analyzed 689 posts from 21 brand pages. Ignite found that in just one week, the number of people who saw posts from those brands declined by 44% on average, “with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.”

Seems like Facebook doesn’t want companies to look for social media marketers to promote their brands on Facebook. Instead, they want businesses to use Facebook ads and pay to promote their posts.

Social media marketers will not be going out of business. They just need to include the cost of Facebook ads and post promotion in their services.

Appsfire kills its app discovery service

TechCrunch reports that Appsfire will cease to be an app discovery service within a week. It will focus on mobile ad technologies instead.

Says CEO Ouriel Ohayon, it’s “something we should have done a while ago.”

But the company’s data base of App Store data, called “App Genome,” is not going to waste. It will power AppsFire’s ad engine instead. This means AppsFire will not serve ads for those apps already installed on a user’s device. “So what we did with the app was totally useful to what we’ll do now,” Ohayon tells us. “It’s more than useful. It is what we believe will make us unique.”

Technically, it will still be helping users discover apps through ads.

72% of prospective tablet buyers want an iPad

Apple Insider reports on a November study by Changewave showing 72% of respondents want an iPad within the next three months.

Apple’s 72 percent share represents a 17-point jump since the agency’s August survey, conducted before the introduction of Apple’s new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

All other tablet brands garnered only single-digit shares.

iPhone 5s tops all four major US carriers ever since launch

Apple Insider reports that Canaccord Genuity’s survey data showed that iPhone 5s has been the top selling smartphone at all four major US carriers since its launch in September.

US carriers agree to standard set of rules for unlocking mobile devices

Apple Insider reports that US carriers have agreed to a standard set of rules for unlocking mobile devices.

We believe this agreement will continue to foster the world-leading range of devices and offerings that Americans enjoy today,” CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a statement. “The robust and differentiated technological ecosystem has brought unparalleled and world-leading benefits to American wireless users, in the form of high-end and affordable devices, post- and pre-paid options, and with the world’s most advanced devices being launched first in the United States.

I never had problems because I live in a place where phone-locking is forbidden. Good to see that the big four in the US are finally coming to their senses.

Reddit’s new user agreement lets it use your content freely

Mashable reports that Reddit has updated its user agreement to let it use user-generated content in anyway, even commercially..

You retain the rights to your copyrighted content or information that you submit to reddit (“User Content”) except as described below.

By submitting User Content to reddit, you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, perform, or publicly display your User Content in any medium and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, and to authorize others to do so.

You agree that you have the right to submit anything you post, and that your User Content does not violate the copyright, trademark, trade secret or any other personal or proprietary right of any other party.

Please take a look at reddit’s privacy policy for an explanation of how we may use or share information submitted by you or collected from you.

While it is understandable that Reddit needs to ensure it has the ability to continue hosting user content legally, the updated policy empowers the company to use user-generated content even for commercial uses.

If we are using a service for free, is it fair for the service provider to make money in this way? After all, they need revenue to continue making the service available.

What can you do with iBeacons in your home?

Mike Elgan shares what he envision the home would be like with iBeacon.

Scanning the vast, emerging innovations for low-cost, mobile-controlled home automation (much of it on crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter at present), it’s pretty clear that the home of the near future (3-5 years) will operate something like this:
As you pull into the driveway after a long day at work, the driveway and footpath lights come on. The door is unlocked for you as you approach it.

  • Upon entering, the lights turn on, music starts and a soothing voice greets you, giving you updates about when your spouse will be home and letting you know who came to the door earlier.
  • You tell your invisible personal assistant — let’s call it “Siri” — “Hey, put on the game.” (An Apple patent surfaced recently for a special dock for using Siri in the home separate from a mobile device.) Siri knows enough about you and your interests and habits to turn off the music, turn on the TV and tune into the Knick game currently in progress.
  • You go into the bedroom to change and the TV in there comes on with the game, then off again when you leave the bedroom.
  • You don’t have a TV in the kitchen, but when you go into the kitchen to start on dinner, the audio from the game automatically plays for as long as you’re in there.
  • Whoops! You spill some mustard on the floor, so you say: “Siri, I spilled something.” As you leave, you cross paths with the floor-mopping robot, which Siri has dispatched at your request.
  • You get the idea. All of this will happen without you taking the phone out of your pocket. Apple’s iBeacon system is perfect for this entire scenario, which of course requires some kind of indoor location system.

Sounds far-fetched? I don’t think so. We are within a few years of that becoming reality.

How Apple can deploy iBeacons rapidly

Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch about how Apple could have 250 million iBeacon units by 2014.

Specifically, most of the coverage of iBeacons so far has failed to recognize a very important reality of this system: every iOS device since the iPhone 4s and iPad 3rd gen is already capable of being either an iBeacon receiver or transmitter, as long as it’s properly configured.

But some of the iBeacons deployed in Apple stores are not specialized hardware at all, they’re just regular iPads or iPhones that have been configured as iBeacons. And that capability extends to any Apple device with Bluetooth Low Energy and the latest major version of iOS. Let that sink in for a minute and you’ll start to realize the forward-thinking strategy Apple has been implementing over the course of the last few years.

Imagine using an iPad as an interactive display and an iBeacon.

“This would present a major advantage to Apple, as many businesses have already implemented these devices into some part of their business, so iBeacons could essentially be turned on all over the business landscape with just a little education and awareness,” Paul told us. “This would further the value of using tablets in retail, as they can both display and transmit messages to those who have displays in their pocket. Apple would widen the gap between themselves and other tablet manufactures, because now their existing hardware plays nicely with your iPhone or iPad and would require such close proximity to make a handshake. NFC has failed to provide this value as evident in the ISYS hardware rollouts that see little adoption.”

Apple will be able to scale micro-location services faster than any of its competitors, not that there are any competitors at the moment. With so many user and provider transmitters already in the hands of consumers, Apple would not have to worry about lack of adoption, unlike NFC.