Google’s revamped dialer for Android 4.4 KitKat which pulls information from Google Maps is pretty awesome. The news that Google is going to automatically use your Google+ photo for your caller ID might cause a privacy uproar by some folks though.
Google will show your Google+ photo to Android callers starting early next year
Android 4.4 KitKat debuted last week with a smart new phone dialer that matches incoming calls to businesses with a Google Places listing, but that’s just the start of Google’s plans for caller ID. Early next year the search giant plans to link Google+ profile pictures to mobile phone numbers. Google accounts that have a verified phone number will be automatically opted in and linked to the associated Google+ account. In reality this means that anyone using Android to call, or receive a call, from a number linked to a Google+ account will see a profile image automatically without the need to have contact information stored.
A lot has been made recently over the NSA’s actions, but regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, having the option for secure, encrypted emails is always important. It’s possible that Lavabit wasn’t as secure as it was marketed to be, but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the importance of encryption, especially in this day and age.
Will we ever have truly private and secure email?
Despite the use of cryptography, Lavabit is also vulnerable to all three just like a conventional (unencrypted) e-mail service. The operator can, at any time, stop averting their eyes, an attacker who compromises the server can log the password a user transmits, and an attacker who can intercept communication to the server can obtain the password as well as the plaintext e-mail.
Most folks who use the Internet might not be concerned, or even know of, the issue of net neutrality, but if we don’t take it seriously, it’s the consumers that will lose out in the end.
We’re About to Lose Net Neutrality — And the Internet as We Know It
The implications of such a decision would be profound. Web and mobile companies will live or die not on the merits of their technology and design, but on the deals they can strike with AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and others. This means large phone and cable companies will be able to “shakedown” startups and established companies in every sector, requiring payment for reliable service. In fact, during the oral argument in the current case, Verizon’s lawyer said, “I’m authorized to state from my client today that but for these [FCC] rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements.”
Wait, it gets even worse. Pricing isn’t even a necessary forcing factor. Once the court voids the nondiscrimination rule, AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will be able to deliver some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others for any reason. Whim. Envy. Ignorance. Competition. Vengeance. Whatever. Or, no reason at all.
Sync, BitTorrent’s Server-Less Dropbox Competitor, Hits 1M Active Users, Now Available As An API
With more attention being paid to privacy now that the NSA’s snooping has been made public, it might be an opportunity for a decentralized file sync platform to pounce on. With the announcement of the Sync API, the battle for your files continues.
Sync, a file synchronization service from P2P platform BitTorrent that works as a kind of server-less Dropbox, has picked up some good traction since launching earlier this year, with 1 million active users archiving and synchronizing some 30 petabytes of data on the service to-date (up from 8 petabytes in July). Now BitTorrent is hoping to turn up the volume on that usage: today it’s releasing its first Sync API, which will let developers incorporate the service into their own apps as a way for users to access and share data.
Google Announces Live Video Tutorials Called ‘Helpouts’
YouTube already offers plenty of tutorial videos, but Helpouts takes things one step further and removes another barrier between people. As certain folks and services become more popular on the platform, it’ll be interesting to see if personalized one-on-one Helpouts will be scalable.
Google on Tuesday announced Helpouts, a new tool that connects users via live video chat with experts who can help them with questions about home improvement, cooking or even medical advice. Helpouts serves as a Google-vetted marketplace where approved companies such as Sephora, One Medical and Rosetta Stone can offer their services to interested parties in real-time over live video.
AppStorm with a detailed review of the new Numbers for Mac.
If you look at Numbers 3 from a newcomer point of view, like someone who has never used Numbers on OS X before, and/or uses its iOS version, and/or comes from more “traditional” softwares like Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc, you should be happy with the release. The freeform canvas is a breeze of fresh air and an invitation to creativity. The UI is modern, uncluttered, fresh. You can get a working and professional looking document in minutes thanks to elegant and easy-to-use templates. Just focus on the data and Apple takes care of the rest.
But if you’re an experienced Numbers (power) user, you’ll be disappointed, for sure. Lots of functionalities have been removed, and it’s hard to swallow you have to rethink your workflow and maybe even rework your tables for just a fresh coat of paint and full compatibility with iCloud and the mobile version. Let’s hope this new Numbers is just a new start from a blank canvas, the foundation for great things to come that will bring back much more power and customization. Fortunately, iWork ’09 apps should still be available in a dedicated folder after the installation of the new versions, so you can get the best of both worlds.
Users have a choice not to upgrade or embrace the new app. A refresh is due and it is better for the long run.
Apple announced a second Apple factory in the US, in Mesa, Arizona.
The purpose of the factory hasn’t been named specifically by Apple, though GT Advanced says it has entered “into a multi-year supply agreement with Apple Inc. to provide sapphire material.” Sapphire is used abundantly in Apple products, including the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and camera lens in the iPhone 5S. This gels nicely with the word about “components” Apple gave us.
Any chance of sapphire replacing gorilla glass in future iOS devices?
MacKenzie Bezos wrote an Amazon review of *The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.
For example, when the author does include people whose accounts of a supportive and inspiring culture contradict his thesis, he refers to them dismissively throughout the book as robots. In an archive of the thousands of thank you messages written to Jeff over the years, a small sampling includes “I just wanted to thank you for giving my husband the opportunity to work for your company so many years ago and let you know that he always spoke kindly and enthusiastically of the distribution center, the people and you.” “Having finished my shift I thought I would send you a short email to say thank you. There is a fantastic team based here and we have super support. Our mentors are true Amazon angels providing guidance and showing great patience.” “I cried as I read the Career Choice announcement on Amazon today. What Amazon is doing to help its employees is affecting lives in the most meaningful way I can think of. It restores my faith in humanity.” It seems like unbalanced reporting to avoid including the point of view of more people like these (and to use narrative tricks to discredit those who are included), given how plentiful they are.
Bezos’s wife writes on his company’s site a review of a book about him and his company.
Businessweek reports on T-Mobile’s disruption of the wireless telecommunications business.
Legere has not been overcome by a temporary spasm of crazed generosity. His is merely the first company in the U.S. market to acknowledge reality. Wireless telecommunications in the U.S. is on its way to becoming what the industry has fought against for two decades: a commodity business, where carriers and un-carriers all look the same and prices keep going down.
Legere displayed his Jawbone bracelet and Samsung smartwatch. “People are going to have devices,” he said. “As a new connected capability comes about, customers should be able to use it. No reason they should restrict it.” By “they,” he means the carriers, the other guys, who are trying to cheat you.
Tim Cook writes about workplace equality on Wall Street Journal.
Long before I started work as the CEO of Apple, I became aware of a fundamental truth: People are much more willing to give of themselves when they feel that their selves are being fully recognized and embraced.
As we see it, embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.
This is a stark contrast to a certain CEO or a certain president.