Samsung tries to cover up Galaxy S4 catching fire

The Telegraph reports that Samsung tried to cover up an incident of the Samsung Galaxy S4 catching fire.

The owner of the phone contacted Samsung regarding the fire. Instead of looking into the matter, they asked the owner to prove that the phone caught fire. The owner recorded a video showing the damage to the phone and power cable, and then he uploaded it to YouTube.

Samsung responded with a letter asking him to take down the video. The owner was also told that if he wanted a replacement unit, he had to agree that he was responsible for the damage to the phone and that it was not due to a faulty product.

On top of that, he had to agree that he would not talk to anyone about the incident. The phone owner posted another video revealing the details of Samsung’s letter instead of complying with their demands.

This is a poorly handled customer service incident that could have been avoided if Samsung had given customer service greater priority.

The phone owner was previously an iPhone user and had experience with exchanging a faulty unit with Apple, which he described as a straight forward process.

Apparently this is not an isolated case where a Samsung Galaxy S4 caught fire. Earlier this year, a Galaxy S4 was reported to have exploded and burnt down a Hong Kong apartment.

It is extremely irresponsible for Samsung to attempt to silence a customer who was doing the public a service by creating awareness over a faulty device. Samsung should be addressing the issue and educating customers about how to use the device safely.

Evernote Market’s sales of physical goods now accounts for 30% of monthly sales

When the Evernote Market first launched with physical goods such as the Evernote ScanSnap scanner and Jot Script Stylus a lot of folks were doubtful if the company could add the sales of physical goods to its portfolio of digital goods and services. At LeWeb Paris, the numbers presented by Evernote CEO Phil Libin prove that such concerns were unnecessary.

The company initially took a good 16 months in order to reach its first $1 million in sales, but the Evernote Market reached that in just one month. The best sellers in the Evernote Market are currently the designer backpacks, Evernote ScanSnap scanner, and the Jot Script stylus, combining to contribute about 30% of the Evernote Market sales. The Evernote Market itself is responsible for 30% of Evernote’s monthly sales. To give some perspective of the numbers here, before the Evernote Market was launched, Evernote Premium and Evernote Business accounted for 89%and 11% of sales respectively, and they currently contribute to 61% and 9% of sales respectively.

Not bad indeed.

The idea here, he said, is that these different businesses are mutually reenforcing. Indeed, 11% of Market users are not actually Evernote users yet. Users simply refer their friends to the market so they, too, can buy an Evernote backpack. It’s also worth noting that 51% of Market sales for Evernote come from its free users (which make up the vast majority of its users). While the company’s investors often told Libin that having lots of users who used the free service for users without upgrading to the paid version, he believes that the Market now validates this model because these free users are now becoming some the company’s most valuable customers.

Viber Out to challenge Skype Out

Viber introduced its Viber Out during the recent typhoon disaster in the Philippines and now the feature has gone official, allowing Android, iOS, and dekstop users of its service to make cheap international phone calls to traditional phone numbers. Windows Phone users should be receiving support for this feature soon too.

According to a price comparison table, the company touts that Skype Out calls can cost up to 486% more than Viber Out, though that would depend on the country that you’re calling to. Following its launch of stickers, the launch of Viber Out allows the company continues its march towards successful monetization.

Based on my experiences with both apps, I still feel that Skype has better call quality, but having to constantly sign into Skype in order to use it is always an inconvenience, as opposed to the “always on” operation method of modern messaging/calling apps. Whether this difference will be a deciding factor or not remains to be seen.

Viber introduces Viber Out international calling feature, touts cheaper prices than Skype

The service — which was first opened in the Philippines last month in the aftermath of a devastating typhoon — is available for all users of Android and iOS smartphones and the desktop app. Viber says it will roll out to Windows Phone customers soon.

Government spying possibly extends to online gaming worlds

It seems that spying doesn’t just live in the real world as governments are now looking to keep tabs on digital worlds too. It could be possible that terrorists or drug dealers are using digital worlds as a meet up point to discuss attacks and potential sales, but if you think about it for the moment, virtual gaming worlds have plenty of Game Masters, which are staff of the company and are basically Gods within the game. With that in mind, it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’re discussing a potential drug deal or terrorist attack, there could be one standing next to your character listening in, without you even knowing.

Let’s not forget that all your chat logs are probably stored on the server, so if governments did subpoena gaming companies, there would probaby be a large trove of incriminating evidence against the person. So if you’re intent on breaking the law, an online gaming world probably isn’t the best place to discuss it.

World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.

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.