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Chrome Can Now Control Another Desktop Remotely With New Extension

October 9, 2011 Leave a comment

The Chrome remote desktop extension lets a person remotely control another computer over the network, in this case using Chrome on a Mac to control a Windows machine also running Chrome. (Credit: Google)

“Months of work on “chromoting” have reached fruition with Google’s release on Friday of a new Chrome extension to let a person on one computer remotely control another across the network.

The Chrome Remote Desktop beta version, which arrived Friday, is a browser-based equivalent of remote desktop software for conventional operating systems.

Such software is handy for IT administrators managing employees’ machines, people taking care of their relatives’ computers, or individuals getting access to their own machines from afar.”

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Google Mobile Search is Threatened by Apple’s Siri

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

“One day after Tim Cook’s first presser as Apple’s new CEO, the Internet is scurrying to analyze whether the lack of a radically redesigned iPhone 5 will give competitors a leg-up on Apple. Hardware-wise, maybe not, depending on what the competition has up its sleeve.

But there’s one element to the iPhone 4S—software, we might add—that is likely to eventually hit Apple’s competition where it hurts: the new “virtual intelligent assistant” known as Siri.

Introduced during Apple’s iPhone event in Cupertino on Tuesday, Siri offers iPhone 4S users a way to interact with their devices, apps, and data with natural language voice commands.

Users can send and receive texts or e-mails simply by talking to Siri, find out whether there will be rain today, create new Reminders and calendar items, ask for directions, move appointments, and more.

Not only that, but users can ask Siri to look up a plethora of information, such as restaurant reviews from Yelp or even simple facts from Wikipedia or Wolfram Alpha. Cooking and need to convert a recipe’s tablespoons to teaspoons? Ask Siri and get the answer back almost instantly without having to type a single character…

For Google, this is not good news. Google’s mobile search users (on any platform) are increasingly important to the company as more people begin to use their phones to look up local information such as directions, restaurant listings, reviews, and more.

Google Places, which works in conjunction with Google Maps, Google Plus, and Google Offers and allows businesses to pay for higher placement, was born almost entirely out of watching how and what users search for on their mobile devices.

Mobile ads attached to those queries are exploding right now—arguably moreso than just regular browser ads—and while Google doesn’t live or die by that revenue alone, it’s certainly not something to be taken lightly.”

Adobe Announces Creative Cloud and Touch Suite for Tablets

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

“Adobe has announced a new suite of mobile applications for content creators that will allow users to do graphical work on tablet devices like the iPad. Adobe is also launching a new Web service called Adobe Creative Cloud that can be used to sync and share content between devices.

The Adobe Touch suite consists of six tablet applications, including a photo editor, a collage toool, a Creative Suite file presenter, a vector drawing program, a social color palette manager, and software for designing wireframes.

Although the flagship mobile photo editing application is called Adobe Photoshop Touch, it’s not a fully-featured port of its namesake—it’s a lightweight tool that offers a selection of “core” Photoshop features with a finger-friendly user interface…

Alongside the new tablet applications, Adobe also announced the Creative Cloud, a hosted storage, synchronization, and sharing service for users of Adobe Touch applications or Adobe Creative Suite.

The Creative Cloud will allow content creators to easily move their work between desktop computers and mobile devices. It will also have social features and integration with Adobe’s digital publishing technologies.”

Massive Security Vulnerability Found In HTC Android Devices

October 2, 2011 1 comment

“In recent updates to some of its devices, HTC introduces a suite of logging tools that collected information. Lots of information. LOTS. Whatever the reason was, whether for better understanding problems on users’ devices, easier remote analysis, corporate evilness – it doesn’t matter. If you, as a company, plant these information collectors on a device, you better be DAMN sure the information they collect is secured and only available to privileged services or the user, after opting in.

That is not the case. What Trevor found is only the tip of the iceberg – we are all still digging deeper – but currently any app on affected devices that requests a single android.permission.INTERNET (which is normal for any app that connects to the web or shows ads) can get its hands on:

  • the list of user accounts, including email addresses and sync status for each
  • last known network and GPS locations and a limited previous history of locations
  • phone numbers from the phone log
  • SMS data, including phone numbers and encoded text (not sure yet if it’s possible to decode it, but very likely)
  • system logs (both kernel/dmesg and app/logcat), which includes everything your running apps do and is likely to include email addresses, phone numbers, and other private info

Normally, applications get access to only what is allowed by the permissions they request, so when you install a simple, innocent-looking new game from the Market that only asks for the INTERNET permission (to submit scores online, for example), you don’t expect it to read your phone log or list of emails.

But that’s not all. After looking at the huge amount of data (the log file was 3.5MB on my EVO 3D) that is vulnerable to apps exploiting this vulnerability all day, I found the following is also exposed (granted, some of which may be already available to any app via the Android APIs):

  • active notifications in the notification bar, including notification text
  • build number, bootloader version, radio version, kernel version
  • network info, including IP addresses
  • full memory info
  • CPU info
  • file system info and free space on each partition
  • running processes
  • current snapshot/stacktrace of not only every running process but every running thread
  • list of installed apps, including permissions used, user ids, versions, and more
  • system properties/variables
  • currently active broadcast listeners and history of past broadcasts received
  • currently active content providers
  • battery info and status, including charging/wake lock history
  • and more

Let me put it another way. By using only the INTERNET permission, any app can also gain at least the following:

ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION Allows an application to access coarse (e.g., Cell-ID, WiFi) location
ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION Allows an application to access fine (e.g., GPS) location
ACCESS_LOCATION_EXTRA_COMMANDS Allows an application to access extra location provider commands
ACCESS_WIFI_STATE Allows applications to access information about Wi-Fi networks
BATTERY_STATS Allows an application to collect battery statistics
DUMP Allows an application to retrieve state dump information from system services.
GET_ACCOUNTS Allows access to the list of accounts in the Accounts Service
GET_PACKAGE_SIZE Allows an application to find out the space used by any package.
GET_TASKS Allows an application to get information about the currently or recently running tasks: a thumbnail representation of the tasks, what activities are running in it, etc.
READ_LOGS Allows an application to read the low-level system log files.
READ_SYNC_SETTINGS Allows applications to read the sync settings
READ_SYNC_STATS Allows applications to read the sync stats

 

 

Update (4th Oct 2011): HTC Confirms Flaw, Promises Patch

 

Windows Client Announced for Ubuntu One Cloud Storage

October 1, 2011 Leave a comment

“Ubuntu One, the cloud storage service available for Ubuntu versions 9.04 and higher, now has an official Windows client.

Previously available as a beta, Ubuntu One for Windows gives XP, Vista, and 7 users a free 5GB of cloud storage space in which to keep their files.

Ubuntu One works a bit differently than, say, Dropbox, a competing cloud storage service: for example, if you’d like to sync your My Documents and My Pictures folders, Dropbox would require you to store them within your Dropbox folder, while the Ubuntu One client allows you to select folders anywhere on your hard drive for syncing.

Once synced, your files can be accessed from Ubuntu, Windows, and Android devices, as well as through the Ubuntu One web site.”

IDF 2011: Another Wrap Up

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

In addition to the wrap-up of IDF 2011 by AnandTech posted earlier, here is another wrap-up from Engadget if you still have not had your fill of those wonderful little toys…

Spending a Week With Google Wallet

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

“Contactless payments have been something of a curiosity in the credit card industry.

MasterCard’s PayPass has been around for the better part of a decade, but merchants and banks alike seem hesitant to adopt the technology required to make the system work, and inconsistent implementation adds to the confusion — particularly for customers.

Google’s new mobile phone-based Wallet service has the potential to transform the technology from its current status as a transaction turkey, to a future as a checkout champion.

But will it work? We spent a week with a Wallet-enabled Nexus S 4G, using the device to pay whenever we encountered a MasterCard PayPass terminal.”