Category Archives: Google

Apple releases iPhone 4S, World cries in pain!



I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror… I feared something terrible has happened. I launched my browser to find out that it were just Apple fan boys crying hysterically about the new iPhone 4S. The bitching started yesterday and is yet to end…

So Apple released the new iPhone 5 iPhones 4S and it doesn’t make popcorn, but hey, you can still be a happy camper and send a postcard to your granny! Or you can talk to it on those lonely nights!

Now, now, enough of this poison, let’s get constructive. Apple releases a new smartphone, a great smartphone but since it doesn’t live up to the ridiculous rumor mill the Internet has been feeding, most of the fan boys go on a tantrum… most of them, because others go the opposite way and start saying that the new iPhone 4S is the pinnacle of innovation and this is where I stop them with a shovel to the face!

The iPhone 4S is an awesome piece of engineering, it builds on the last model, upgrading it to what might be considered the standards, the problem is, that those standards this time were not set by Apple, but by other companies like Google and Samsung. Yes whining fan boy, the Android folk stole your spotlight. There’s not a single piece of innovation on this model, nothing you can’t find on actual Android phones. Wanna bet?

  • Siri – Android has voice commands for a butt load of years, Google voice app comes in every Android phone and it’s even available for iOS. My Samsung Galaxy S II even comes with an extra layer, powered by Vlingo, which, by the way, has an app for most smartphones available including your old iPhone 4 :) Is it good? I don’t know, I don’t speak to my phone… and I bet you won’t either.
  • Dual Core CPU – Check…
  • 1080p video / 8Mpx Cam – Check and Check… Oh and a 2Mpx front cam :D
  • Notification system – Really? Are you going there? Android has a notification system like, since… always. Copied by Apple byw.
  • Reminders – Yippeee! A Todo app included in the OS! Thanks Apple for screwing the life of the 100000 developers who have todo apps in the App Store! Oh, yeah, Android has them too. A dime a dozen!
  • FindMyFriend – Oh come on! This one is plain dirty! Gowalla and Foursquare are two of the most popular apps in the iOS ecosystem, developed for iOS from day one. And Apple does what? Stabs them in the back and include a location app in the OS! Great move Apple, competing with the devs that made your OS popular! And yes… Android has them too… and Google Latitude.
  • Twitter integration – That one is cool! Let me know when all the apps on your phone integrate with the OS…
  • iTunes in the cloud – Google Music
  • Photo Stream – Picassa Web Albums
  • Documents in the Cloud – Google Docs
Want me to go on? Sorry, I don’t have the time. My advice to the fan boys? Stop bitching and bite the bullet! iPhone 4S is a great phone, the best Apple did so far, but be real about it and stop saying that it’s the best smartphone on the market, because it isn’t.
Apple is now up to the market standards, maybe innovation comes with the iPhone 5, but for now, enjoy the upgrade.

 

 

 

 

Bye bye iOS, Hello Android

Yes, I’ve gone Android.

For those who know me that might come as a shock. I’m a big Apple fan, I have a Mac since 2007 and never thought of going back to Linux or Windows (until recently with Lion’s release, but those are another 2 cents).

I got an iPhone 3G when they were released in Portugal. The first year using it was awesome, the second was normal, after that Apple turned my phone into a zombie. The last iOS 4 update, 4.2, left my phone crippled, unusable, with most of the new features left out. Still I used it for what I could… email, Twitter, music and a few apps.

Everything else was a bloated and dreadful experience, even the mere act of typing something in the keyboard was a torture, it literally froze the keys for a few seconds. My 3G became a pale shadow of the awesome phone it once was.

I needed a new device, it didn’t have to be a phone, I could perfectly live my daily digital life with a tablet, email, Facebook, Twitter, a good browser, WordPress support and I was set… but there was a problem: I was sick of iOS.

For me, as an iOS user, I got almost no new features for my 3G with iOS 4. So sticking with the same OS for 3 years in a row, can get you pretty tired of it.

I’m up to date on iOS info and rumors. I know what’s new for iOS 5 and I’ve played with a few iPhones 4… and even with all the new bells n’ whistles, I wasn’t buying it. Plus, with a new iPhone 4S or 5 or whatever Apple is going to release in October, it was more of the same.

So, as an Apple fan, I considered buying an iPad, same eco-system but with a few differences here and there, enough to give me something usable and new to explore. I’ve played with a few iPads from friends and co-workers. Hell of a machine. It was on my buy list, until Android crept in…

 

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Security Woes

Crackers are always on the lookout for new chances to access your accounts, either if you’re a private / regular internet user, or a multinational corporation like Sony who recently fell victim to several attacks affecting their flagship console, the PS3, and their Playstation Network.

It began when their PS3 private keys, that sign all data transactions and operations, got public. I won’t digress here, you can find a lot of info on Google, just look for GeoHot / Sony. The latest attack to the PSN has managed a downtime of a week by the time I’m writing this, and only today Sony has come forth with a press release on this issue, as well as a FAQ, saying that all their entire PSN user base got their data compromised, including Credit Card data.

I’m yet to believe that Sony hasn’t released the full extent of the information about the attack, so for now there are three crucial steps that PSN users should follow:

 

  • If you’re using the PSN password in any other service / account, change it. Change it everywhere. You are probably using the same email address you used on the compromised PSN account.
  • Change the password of the email address you used on your PSN account.
  • Change your credit card number, or cancel the card and get a new one. If you can’t do this, be on the lookout for strange credit card transactions and never, ever, release the confirmation code to anyone. Sony states that the cc confirmation code wasn’t stored on their database.

Read the FAQ, they have more info there, but follow these three steps and when the PSN is up again, change your password for something unique, not used on any other account / service and remove your credit card number from the account.

 

Still on Security

With the advent of social networking and connected services, we’ve witnessed a lot of centralized authentication methods. It’s now usual for us to access services that use other site’s accounts to authenticate, like “Login with Facebook” or “Authorize on Twitter”.

This can be very useful because you don’t have to memorize a ton of different passwords but, if you see your Facebook, Twitter or Google account compromised, all those services using “third-party” authentication will be compromised as well… so what to do?

 

  • Use strong passwords. Having a password like your birthday date is not secure. Having your pet name, girlfriend, mom, dad, favorite actor is not secure. Any dictionary word is not secure. Use random stuff with numbers, signs, uppercase and lower case, like “1M4ecur3!?”
  • Use a password manager like 1Password for Mac or Keepass Password Safe for PC. Not only you’ll have an encrypted and organized password safe, but these apps can also generate random passwords.
  • Use HTTPS always when possible. This will encrypt your traffic to these sites. Twitter, Google, Facebook, all of them have HTTPS options, you just have to go to your account settings and turn it on. Facebook can even warn you by email and SMS when other devices accesses your account. Google has a 2 Step Authorization process for your account, using verification codes and an app for your mobile device that works like a token, giving you real-time generated verification codes.
  • Don’t use free Wi-Fi. Sure, it’s cool to use a free hotspot, but you never know who’s listening. People using free Wi-Fi are exposed to virus and password sniffing. This can happen in your neighbors unprotected Wi-Fi or even your school’s network.
  • The usual crap: use a secure OS. Mac OS X and Linux are secure by nature. If you must use Windows, turn on the system’s firewall and get another one, as well as an AntiVirus. Be sure that they’re always updated.
  • Don’t trust your passwords to anyone.

Remember, even with all these precautions you’re never totally safe.

 

Google Chrome OS – Was I right or what?

Last year, when Google released Chrome I wrote this.

Some might say it was futurology, but I say it was the most logical step of evolution. The fact is, I think I was really close on Google’s plans for Chrome.

Sync iCal and iPhone with Google Calendar

Google launched today Google Sync, a serive that allows you to sync the contacts and calendar in your Google account with your computers and mobile devices.

I wanted to sync my iPhone with my Google Calendar and Contacts, so I adventured myself with Google Sync. It’s not difficult to do it, just follow the instructions here very carefully.

After that, all went well but I wanted two other things working for full bliss: sync all my Google Calendars with my iPhone and my Mac’s iCal. Confused? Well, when I used Google Sync with my iPhone, it only synced my default Google Calendar, I had to access http://m.google.com/sync with my iPhone and specify which callendars I wanted to sync. Easy.

Syncing my Google Calendars with iCal was a little bit more trickyer, but found this article in Google help, that actually did all the work for me. This allows iCal to use CalDAV to access all your Google Calendars. You can configure the settings manually in iCal’s preferences or use Calaboration to automate it.

So, now I have all my Google Mail, Contacts and Calendar synced with my iPhone and Mac :) All this for free. It’s getting hard for Apple to justify a paid MobileMe

Hope this helps!

Slow Blog

As you might have noticed, things are a little bit in the slow here, mainly because I’ve been spending my blogging time writing for 8-Bit Revolution.

So, if you can read Portuguese and you love videogames, drop by. :)

Can Someone explain me this?

# Visit type: Spider – Google AdSense
# IP: 66.249.71.107
# Hostname: crawl-66-249-71-107.googlebot.com
# Url Requested: /blog/category/computer-stuff/security
/?;DECLARE%20@S%20CHAR(4000);SET%20@S=CAST(0x4445434C4152
45204054207661726368617228323535292C404320766172636861722834
30303029204445434C415245205461626C655F437572736F722043555253
4F5220464F522073656C65637420612E6E616D652C622E
# User Agent: Mediapartners-Google

Why is the GoogleBot requesting a URL from my blog with what looks like an SQL Injection attack?

Google Chrome: Google OS cornerstone?

Google Chrome

Today, Google announced it’s new web browser. In merely 48 hours, the Internet was drenched in all the hype caused by leaked comic book scans and screenshots an plenty of rumors, that in the end became true.

An hour and a few minutes have passed since the beta version of Google Chrome and it’s probably one of the most downloaded browsers in launch day, I dare say, like or close to Mozilla Firefox 3. This only proves that people love everything that’s Google related and that they trust Google.

Google Chrome is like Google.com homepage page: simple and effective. The Chrome team mishmashed a few ideas from existing browsers, like Firefox and Opera, used Webkit (from Safari) and applied some ideas of their own for security and stability. I won’t go in details here, you can read a lot about that in the Google Chrome Comic. The result, from what I’ve tested, is a piece of software that will change the way that we’ll use the web. It’s easy to use for the common user, powerful, stable, very user friendly and fast.

But Google Chrome is not just a browser. It’s the cornerstone of a possible Google OS. I can imagine now a small linux distribution with a small footprint, loaded with Google apps like Google Earth, Picasa and a fully integrated Google Chrome, transforming all those webapps (Gmail, Google Tal, Calendar, etc…) we use into applications (through the Google Gears module in Chrome). Boot that from a USB pen drive and you have a portable OS, a thin client ready for the web, using the cloud for storage, etc… the applications are endless. You can already have this, with Firefox and few quirks, but I believe Google itself will create and optimize it’s own web OS.

After all, the web is Google’s business and, the more it can keep us online, the better.