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Category: Technology (page 1 of 5)

Considering the Google Pixel 4

I’m in the market for a new smartphone. My iPhone SE is fading quickly. Some pixels are dead and the screen has blotches across it. It’s also feeling a bit dated, but I don’t mind the dated look. I don’t have it to impress others. I love it mainly for it’s size. It fits nicely in my front pocket. It fits nicely in my hand.

It’s ridiculous that most smartphones last an average of 2 years or less. Isn’t it? That’s the industry average, and it’s mirrors my experience. I’m sure I’m not the only one to think that’s an absurdly short amount of time for the kind of money they are asking.

So I was looking forward to this week’s Apple event where they were expected to announce the new iPhone 11. But meh – I had a similar reaction last year. The 11 is not much more than an incremental freshened up XR. And most of the honest reviewers seem to agree. Forget the fan boys that love anything with an Apple logo stuck to it. Even with it’s $50 cheaper price tag over last year than last year’s entry model (iPhone sales numbers are dropping and Apple is shifting focus more towards services), it’s still outside the limits of what I think we should be paying for a phone. Those with short memories will have forgotten that last year Apple increased the base price of the base model iPhone by $150.

So I’ve started considering Android again. And I’ve reluctantly started looking at the Google Pixel phones again.

I’m reluctant to go with a another Google product. My previous phone was a Android One Motorola X4. It just stopped working one night, while I was asleep. I wasn’t plugged in. It was sitting on my nightstand. I had used it before going to sleep. It died a couple weeks after the warranted period ended. Before that I owned a couple of Nexus phones. They were all middle of the road phones. So I’m reluctant to buy another Google product.

But the Google Pixel 4 official “leaks” are looking interesting and come hot on the heals of the iPhone 11 announcement. There are a lot of photos and specs of the Google Pixel 4 available over at GenK. (You my need to decipher the Vietnamese with the help of Google Translate, as I did.) Most prior leaks of the Pixel 4 had blurry photos. These are nice shots that show a very interesting phone with very interesting features.

Way back in June, Google themselves tweeted out a photo of the Pixel 4 when the leaks started spilling out.

The leaks have only accelerated, seemingly never ending, and creating a lot of buzz, which is probably what Google was hoping for.

For me, it will come down to price. Right now, through Sept 28, the Pixel 3 is discounted by a whopping $400 in Canada, $300 in the US. That’s nothing to sneeze at, particularly if you are serious about your mobile phone photography and you want the pure Android experience. The Pixel 3 is still one of the best, and at the current discount, it has to be near the top of anyone looking for a mid-range priced phone. This was Google’s flagship smartphone less than a year ago.

But then there’s the Teracube to consider.

Updated » Apple iPhone Safari Hack that has existed for a couple of years is revealed

Aug 30

Video from SkyNews… The iPhone has been hacked!

Sept 8

This upends pretty much everything we know about iPhone hacking. We believed that it was hard,” respected security expert Bruce Schneier writes on his blog. “We believed that if an exploit was used too frequently, it would be quickly discovered and patched. None of that is true here. This operation used fourteen zero-days exploits. It used them indiscriminately. And it remained undetected for two years.” While I am unlikely to switch to Android, my trust in the privacy and security capability of their devices has eroded.

» If we can’t trust Apple, who can we trust? » Om

More at Michael Tsai, BuzzFeed, John Gruber, TechCrunch, MacRumors, The Verge, Zeynep Tufekci

DMVs are selling your private driver information to thousands of businesses and raking in millions, and you can’t do anything about it

When you give your name and address to the Departments of Motor Vehicles in exchange for a driver’s license, many of those DMVs in the USA are selling your personal information to thousands of businesses. Some have made tens of millions of dollars a year selling your data.

When asked how much the Wisconsin DMV made from selling driver records, a spokesperson wrote in an email “Per these 2018 DMV Facts and Figures, $17,140,914 was collected in FY18 for driver abstract fees.” Examining that document shows that Wisconsin’s revenue for selling driver records has shot up dramatically since 2015, when the sale drew in $1.1 million. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles made $77 million in 2017 by selling data, a local outlet found.

Documents explicitly note that the purpose of selling this data is to bring in revenue.

But there are both real world privacy and security concerns.

“The selling of personally identifying information to third parties is broadly a privacy issue for all and specifically a safety issue for survivors of abuse, including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking,” Erica Olsen, director of Safety Net at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told Motherboard in an email. “For survivors, their safety may depend on their ability to keep this type of information private.”

And, not only is this somehow all legal, there is no obvious way for you to opt out or control who has access to your personal information!

» More from Joseph Cox at Motherboard / Vice…

WSPR Explained » How radio amateurs transmitting as little as one milliwatt can be heard on the other side of the world

Unlike most of ham radio, this is a one-way mode. Not only is there little expectation anyone will be listening, but there’s even less that the signal would make it back. Radio propagation isn’t always a two-way path.

WSPR’s biggest selling point is you can do it on the cheap. It’s easy to set yourself up for not much more than $100 and often a whole lot less. And, though a ham radio license is needed to transmit, anyone can put up a receiver. And the US ham license test is multiple-choice, all published and online.

» Geoff Fox at Extreme Tech provides a quick overview of WSPR » Weak Signal Propagation Reporting.

Usage Share of Internet Browsers 1996 – 2019

Finally, Apple offers genuine iPhone parts and tools to independent repair shops

This is a surprising and welcome change. Although, lets not forget this came after a lot of media and public pressure over a long period.

The company has announced the Independent Repair Program, which will provide independent repair businesses, regardless of size, with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics for iPhone repairs as it gives to Apple Authorized Service Providers. After piloting the program with 20 repair business in North America, Europe, and Asia, Apple is launching the program in the United States with plans to expand it to other countries.

There’s no cost for repair shops to join the Independent Repair Program, although the application information notes that applicants must be established businesses in a commercially zoned area, and all repairs using genuine iPhone parts must be performed by an Apple-certified technician.

Read More by Adam Engst at TidBits…

Millions of Facebook users’ phone numbers found online

Honestly, does this surprise anyone?

Facebook has run fast and loose with users’ private data from the beginning.

Hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts have been found online.

The exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.

But because the server wasn’t protected with a password, anyone could find and access the database.

Each record contained a user’s unique Facebook ID and the phone number listed on the account. A user’s Facebook ID is typically a long, unique and public number associated with their account, which can be easily used to discern an account’s username.

Read more by Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch…

YouTube fined US$170 million for collecting children’s information without parental consent

Which is petty cash for owner Google/Alphabet

» Read the story by Rachell Lerman and Marcy Gordon of the AP at Time Magazine…

The CEO of Twitter got Hacked

» The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, got a taste of what it’s like to be hacked when a hacker compromised his Twitter account » More at TechCrunch…

Video » It’s Not Easy or Simple to Browse the Internet Anonymously

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