iTunes store shows fatal error, locking users out

If you’re having trouble logging into your iTunes account and noticing an error stating “FATAL::Unable to process your request. Please try again.”, fret not as you’re not the only one experiencing this issue. While Apple hasn’t given any official details on this just yet, the issue does seem to go away over time, possibly indicating that Apple is aware of the issue and is busy fixing it.

iTunes Store Users Being Kicked Out of Accounts with “Fatal” Error

While the first post appeared yesterday around 3 PM, our own account began to be afflicted by the issue last night, when an attempt to redeem a Digital Copy code on our iPad Air threw back the mysterious “FATAL: Unable to process your request” error, prompting us to “please try again.”

Repeated attempts failed, although we were able to redeem the code using our iPhone 5s. However, Thursday morning the apparent glitch also made its way to that device as well as iTunes 11.1.3 on our Mac as well, prompting a password reset that would up having no effect.

The issue appears to be affecting the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store and iBookstore, suggesting that the issue is system-wide, despite Cupertino’s system status web page showing “no reported issues at this time,” with green lights all across Services, Stores and iCloud.

Amazon Cloud Drive now supports video uploads on iOS

Cloud storage companies are all jostling to have us upload our photos and videos to their servers. Companies such as Google, Dropbox, and Flickr have already included automatic uploading features to their apps. Now Amazon had added support for automatic video uploads on iOS, a feature which has already been available on Android before this.

Videos up to 2GB in size or 20 minutes in length are supported. If you’re not planning to manually upload each video, you can just enable the app’s Auto-Save feature and let the app upload all the new and existing photos and videos from your device.

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos Adds Video Upload On iOS, And Finally An iPad Version

Amazon today added support for video uploads in the new iOS version of its Cloud Drive Photos app, which also now natively supports iPad and iPad mini. The update comes over a year and a half after Amazon first introduced the capability to store videos in its Cloud Drive Photos service via the app’s Android counterpart. Its slow progress to introduce the feature on Apple devices goes to show how much Amazon values its iOS customer base. (Or rather, how it doesn’t).

Qualcomm introduces 64-bit chips with integrated LTE

When Apple unveiled its 64-bit A7 processor, Qualcomm’s Chief Marketing Officer gave its PR team a huge headache by saying that 64-bit on mobile was a marketing gimmick and offered no benefit to the end user. Unsurprisingly, he was removed from the leadership team and reassigned.

Of course, there is a certain amount of truth to his claims. As of now, most apps haven’t been designed to take advantage of the 64-bit architecture, and as mobile phones generally don’t have 4 gigabytes of RAM, the benefits of a 64-bit isn’t immediately noticeable. But things change very quickly in the mobile scene and app developers out there are already updating their apps to take advantage of the new chips.

That brief backstory is probably going to accompany every article out there covering the fact that Qualcomm has just introduced its Snapdragon 410 64-bit chip that has integrated LTE. Without going into details of 64-bit chips, it’ll be the integrated LTE that will be tempting for me. Most of the top end phones currently support LTE connectivity, but once LTE support is available in more chips, I hope to see even budget phones offer LTE support. You can expect to see this chip surface in devices in the second half od 2014.

Qualcomm Unveils 64-Bit Chipset With Integrated LTE: Next Year’s Moto G Could Have 4G

Qualcomm has just announced the Snapdragon 410 chipset series, which is Qualcomm’s first announced processor with 64-bit support, but it’s actually more interesting because it aims to make integrated 4G LTE support a lot more affordable for device manufacturers. They plan to launch the 410 as a manufacturing sample by the first half of next year, which means it could be in shipping phones by this time in 2014.

CyanogenMod defaults to encrypted text messaging

Thanks to Edward Snowden, encrypted messaging has been increasingly in demand. While there are already solutions out there like iMessage, the effectiveness of it is still debatable. There are also other independant solutions being developed, such as Hemlis.

Now CyanogenMod is going to give users a hand too. It has teamed up with Open Whisper Systems to integrate encryption directly into the firmware. What this means is that text messages between CyanogenMod users will be automatically encrypted. Your initial thought might be that since it requires both parties to be running CyanogenMod, there aren’t that many instances where this would work, but there are already 10 million known users of CyanogenMod, and after taking into account that users have an option to not be counted, that figure could rise by several million.

This update will be rolled out to version 10.2 of CyanogenMod first, then added to earlier versions. As of now, there are over 670,000 CyanogenMod users on 10.2.

CyanogenMod rolls out encrypted text messaging by default

Cyanogen teamed up with Open Whisper Systems, which makes open source apps for secure texting and phone calls, in order to integrate encryption seamlessly into a phone’s firmware. Install CyanogenMod, and your texts to other users of CyanogenMod and Open Whisper System’s TextSecure will automatically be encrypted. You can still use whatever SMS app you like.

Chasing stolen Bitcoins isn’t easy

One of the benefits (and concerns, depending on which side of the fence you’re on) about Bitcoin is the level of anonymity that you get, along with the ease of moving money between Bitcoin wallets. With that in mind, you can understand when a stash of at least 5,400 Bitcoins were stolen, it caused a furore. At the time, 5,400 of Bitcoins would roughly be worth slightly above $5.4 million.

While Bitcoin can hide your identity, Bitcoin wallets are public record, which allowed a bunch of folks on Reddit to try and trace the stolen Bitcoins. It’s a long story, and the chase included following a wallet with 96,000 Bitcoins (about $100m), but in the end yielded nothing.

Tracing stolen money is never easy, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if the stolen Bitcoins are unable to be recovered.

Washington Is Finally Learning That Technology Can’t Be Contained

Small bitcoin transactions can be laundered using a “tumbler”, which takes money from multiple sources, mixes it all together in one wallet, and spits it out the other side. Someone following the cash sees it get split and recombined over and over, until it’s impossible to separate from the money being tumbled by other users.

But that plan falls apart when trying to launder $100m of bitcoin. What the bitcoin thief found was that the sheer quantity of cash they were tying to hide overwhelmed every other transaction being tumbled at the same time: 96,000 bitcoins went in at one end, and 96,000 came out at the other. It seemed like their money had been successfully traced to one final address where it eventually came to rest.

Can the DMCA and other laws curb innovation?

Using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to prevent users from unlocking mobile phones is downright crazy. Unfortunately, being crazy doesn’t mean that it’s not backed by the law. Depending on whether you are living in the year 2006 or 2009, unlocking your phone without your carrier’s permission could be legal, or illegal.

Let’s not forget that it wasn’t too long ago that we had the proposed SOPA and PIPA laws, which saw major Internet sites such as Wikipedia go dark in protest. Despite fending off those threats, there are more laws like it trying to be passed, so be prepared for plenty of “Washington VS the Internet” fights.

Washington Is Finally Learning That Technology Can’t Be Contained

Back in 1998, Congress was drafting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The law — created after heavy lobbying by record labels and Hollywood studios — was supposed to make it harder for people to copy files. One particular element, section 1201, made it illegal to crack open digital locks designed to prevent copying.

But the language was so broad that phones got swept up too. Mobile-phone companies encrypt the software that locks a phone to a network, so they started claiming that breaking that encryption — unlocking a phone — was illegal under the DMCA.

Dell is asking employees to quit

Business insider reports that Dell has started asking employees to leave the company.

Dell has announced an optional, global and voluntary separation program for eligible team members who choose to leave the company in exchange for the offer of a separation package to support their transition. Would note that we’ve taken steps to optimize our business, streamline operations and improve efficiency over the past few years. And we been consistent in saying that a critical element of our strategy has been, and always will be, about improving our cost structure and freeing up capital to make the investments in growth areas that matter to our customers.

This comes after Michael Dell started asking employees to work from home. This latest move is another way of cutting expenses. Will it be enough to save the company or will it be forced to take more drastic measures?

US House passes bill to expose patent trolls

WSJ.com reports that the US House of Representatives has passed a bill targeting patent trolls.

The House adopted an amendment from Rep. Jared Polis (D., Colo.) that would require patent holders to disclose their ultimate parent entity when filing lawsuits, to prevent them from hiding behind shell companies. It also approved an amendment from Mr. Rohrabacher that would preserve companies’ ability to appeal the decisions of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in U.S. district courts.

Opponents of the amendment, including IBM and Microsoft argue that the reform discourages innovation.

Twitter shows ads based on your browsing history

Mashable reports that Twitter will now.

The program, called tailored audiences, rolled out in a smaller scale in July. Using tailored audiences, advertisers can target users who have either visited their website or “shown an interest” in your brand’s category on and outside of Twitter. For advertisers, that means it’s now possible to identify people who are in the market for a product.

Why are people complaining when Google has been doing this all these while with Google AdSense?

Google and Oracle back in court over Java

WIRED.com reports that Google and Oracle are back in court after the later appealed against the decision in a previous suit.

The federal court had ruled in favour of Google after Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google claiming infringement of Java-related patents in Android’s APIs.

The judge originally assigned to the case, Judge William Alsup, went so far as to learn the Java programming language to better understand the technical details of the case, and he eventually concluded that APIs could not be copyrighted. He said that the Java APIs were kinda like the method you would use to organize a library of books, saying that you can copyright the content of the books on a shelf, but not the way they are organized.

Oracle disagreed, and filed an appeal in February, arguing that Google’s use of the Java API was akin to copying the chapter titles and topic sentences of a Harry Potter novel verbatim, paraphrasing the rest, and then trying to pass the whole thing off as an original work.