Tag Archives: smarthphones

Siri’s Data Conundrum: Dueling opinions from The Washington Post, GigaOm

Cell and data networks are like any common resource; they have limits. And once they hit their limit, regardless of which group is using its share and then some, there’s no more to go around.

This means that Siri’s data-hogging ways are a problem for more than just those willing to foot the bill. As networks become congested, everyone’s service deteriorates. Private desire becomes a public issue. Calls are dropped or never completed; Internet access slows. First-class airline passengers don’t really compromise service for those in coach. But bandwidth hogs do.

Other than Siri’s incessant “Sorry, I can’t connect to the network right now.” these concerns seem a little overblown, at least in early 2012.

In fact, much of his premise – that nothing can be done about it – was easily refuted almost completely by a subsequent GigaOm posting, which clearly laid out some very serious flaws in the author’s argument.

But I take the author’s point – how long can we expect to keep driving up the very upper end of data consumption for the tech savvy, while not increasing costs for everyone across the board?

Jailbreaking Is Not A Crime: Tell the Copyright Office to Free Your Devices! via @eff

The Problem – Smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles are powerful computers with lots of untapped potential. Yet many of these devices are set up to run only software that’s been approved by the manufacturer.  Modifying a device to run independent software – known as jailbreaking – is important to programmers, enthusiasts, and users. But jailbreaking creates legal uncertainty. Some device manufacturers claim that jailbreaking violates Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which carries stiff penalties.

The Solution – EFF is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to declare that jailbreaking does not violate the DMCA, and we need your help. In 2010, the Copyright Office said jailbreaking smartphones doesn’t violate the DMCA.  This year, we’re asking them to renew that exemption (otherwise it will expire) and expand it to cover tablets. We’re also asking for a new exemption to allow jailbreaking of video game consoles.

Please help the EFF fight for your rights by clicking through the link and submitting your own documentation of how jailbreaking enables you to do work, better!  I’m attaching an example of my own letter to the office, below:

ABC Tries Mobile-to-Facebook Push to Launch Show

New ABC show Happy Endings may get off to a strong start with a mobile-to-Facebook push the network hopes to use as a template for future campaigns.

The network, working with Mogreet, is asking consumers to text “happy” to 21534, which returns to them a video featuring the show’s stars. Videos are updated every Wednesday when the show airs. The clip then shows up on each user’s Facebook wall. (See image below.)

The idea, like that behind any social media campaign, is to give influencers — who have so far been targeted with a back-page ad in Maxim with more traditional media placement coming — some social currency, which they can spread among their various networks to create buzz for the show.

This ‘social currency’ will be a terrible important concept in the upcoming years. It’s still a rather ham-handed attempt to excite people with b-grade content, but ABC is trodding down the right path.

More DroidDream Details Emerge: It was Building a Mobile Botnet

New details have emerged regarding the purpose behind the DroidDream malware that was found in over 50 applications in the Android Market last week. After a brief investigation, Google opted to use its “remote kill switch” this weekend to wipe the vicious apps off end users’ mobile phones. Google also promised that going forward, it was “adding a number of measures to help prevent malicious applications using similar exploits from being distributed through the Android Market” in the future.

But at the end of the day, DroidDream’s goal was not identity theft – although that could have come later – it was to set up a system for downloading and installing additional applications on the end users’ phone without their knowledge. DroidDream was laying the groundwork for a comprehensive system of remotely-controlled Android phones. A mobile botnet.

I’m surprised they’re not even doing a simple security screening (ok, will it might not be that simple) given the damage these kinds of stories can do to its brand. Apple is clearly still the master of the smartphone marketplace strategy.