Monday, November 28, 2011

Police use radio encryption to stop iPhone eavesdropping

Computerworld Security News
Anxiety over the public snooping of police radios using smartphones is persuading a growing number of US police forces to take the controversial step of moving their communications to fully-encrypted operation.
Sent with Reeder

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Schmap Las Vegas Guide used my photo for their map promo. #w00T¡

Hi Tony,

Back in 2009, you kindly gave us permission to include your credited photo in our Schmap Las Vegas Guide.

I’m writing now to let you know that we’ve recently completely reformatted and overhauled our Schmap Guides to include real-time local buzz for events, restaurants, bars and more:

Your photo in the new Real-Time Schmap Las Vegas Guide is at:

McCarran International Airport

I hope you like the changes we’ve made - if you’ve any comments or ideas, please do drop me a line!

Best regards,

Emma J. Williams
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides

P.S. If you're a Twitter user, I'm hoping you might help us test this before media launch: (advance notice for local Las Vegas events and deals via Twitter DM)

We also have two Twitter accounts for Las Vegas, well worth following:

Twitter-trending Las Vegas restaurants and bars:

Live music, parties and more happening right now in Las Vegas:

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Texas Town Used Three Character Password To Secure SCADA System | threatpost by @paulfroberts


In an e-mail interview with Threatpost, the hacker who compromised software used to manage water infrastructure for South Houston, Texas, said the district had HMI (human machine interface) software used to manage water and sewage infrastructure accessible to the Internet and used a password that was just three characters long to protect the system, making it easy picking for a remote attack.

The hacker, using the handle "pr0f" took credit for a remote compromise of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems used by South Houston, a community in Harris County, Texas. Communicating from an e-mail address tied to a Romanian domain, the hacker told Threatpost that he discovered the vulnerable system using a scanner that looks for the online fingerprints of SCADA systems. He said South Houston had an instance of the Siemens Simatic human machine interface (HMI) software that was accessible from the Internet and that was protected with an easy-to-hack, three character password.

"This was barely a hack. A child who knows how the HMI that comes with Simatic works could have accomplished this," he wrote in an e-mail to Threatpost.

"I'm sorry this ain't a tale of advanced persistent threats and stuff, but frankly most compromises I've seen have been have been a result of gross stupidity, not incredible technical skill on the part of the attacker. Sorry to disappoint."

In a public post accompanied by screenshots taken from the HMI software, the hacker said he carried out the attack after becoming frustrated with reports about an unrelated incident in which an Illinois disaster response agency issued a report claiming that a cyber attack damaged a pump used as part of the town's water distribution system.

A report by the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center on Nov. 10 described the incident, in which remote attackers hacked into and compromised SCADA software in use by the water utility company. The hackers leveraged the unauthorized access to pilfer client user names and passwords from the SCADA manufacturer. Those credentials were used to compromise the water utility’s industrial control systems, according to Joe Weiss, a security expert at Applied Control Solutions, who described the incident on’s Unfettered Blog.

"You know. Insanely stupid. I dislike, immensely, how the DHS tend to downplay how absolutely (expletive) the state of national infrastructure is. I've also seen various people doubt the possibility an attack like this could be done," he wrote in a note on the file sharing Web site

The system that was compromised was protected by a three character password, pr0f claimed - though not neccessarily the default password for the device.

Siemens Simatic is a common SCADA product and has been the subject of other warnings from security researchers. The company warned about a password vulnerability affecting Simatic programmable logic controllers that could allow a remote attacker to intercept and decipher passwords, or change the configuration of the devices.

In July, Siemens advised customers to restrict physical and logical access to its Simatic Industrial Automation products. The company warned that attackers with access to the product or the control system link could decipher the product's password and potentially make unauthorized changes to the Simatic product.

At the Black Hat Briefings in August, security researcher Dillon Beresford Dillon Beresford unveiled a string of other software vulnerabilities affecting Siemens industrial controllers, including a serious remotely exploitable denial of service vulnerability, the use of hard-coded administrative passwords, and an easter egg program buried in the code that runs industrial machinery around the globe.


Commenting on this Article will be automatically closed on February 20, 2012.

Amazing... simply amazing. Great article by Paul Roberts, hopefully it wakes up some admins and managers.

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Friday, November 25, 2011

GEICO BroStache. #BestApp ever!!!

Check out this application on the App Store:

Cover Art

GEICO BroStache


Category: Entertainment

Updated: Jun 14, 2011

7367 Ratings

iTunes for Mac and Windows
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Google+: Sharing but like real life - YouTube

Fake Facebook account deletion warnings target users

Help Net Security - News
An email supposedly sent by the Facebook Team warning users about them having violated the social network's policies is currently hitting inboxes around the world: LAST WARNING : Your account is re...
Sent with Reeder

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Social Network 2 – If Zuckerberg Deleted Facebook Parody Trailer

The Social Network Two Trailer

Would our society come crumbling down if Facebook suddenly disappeared? A hilarious new parody film trailer explores a ghastly future where “Zuckerberg deleted Facebook. And then he killed himself. Forever.” Watch and see the panic ensue:

I know Aaron Sorkin, writer of the Oscar-winning Social Network 1, is only considering making a movie about Steve Jobs. Still, I’d love to see Nice Piece Productions, the team behind this trailer, take on “Steve Jobs 2″. I’m imagining the beloved inventor being brought out of cryogenic sleep to fight off an alien invasion with his own line of sleek, stylish ray guns.

And if you want more Social Network fun, here’s another vision of the sequel where Julian Assange and Facebook team up to fight off Google+.

Sent with Reeder

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

10 things to be thankful for in greentech this year — Cleantech News and Analysis by @katiefehren

As you sit down to your sustainably raised turkey (or Tofurky) dinner this year, it’s a good time to think about the things that have gone well for greentech in 2011. Yes, there have been a lot of clouds for the industry this year, with the Solyndra debacle and the overall recession, but there have been quite a few milestones this year. Here’s what I’m thankful about:

1. Cheap solar panels. The prices of solar panels and cells have dropped dramatically this year. That’s been difficult for solar makers trying to stay in business, but for solar consumers, that’s great news. According to a recent study from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, between 2009 to 2010 the price of residential rooftop solar panels fell 17 percent to $6.20 per watt, or a $1.30 decline, and in 2011 fell 70 cents per watt, or 11 percent in the first half of 2011.

2. Spotlight on data center energy. Internet giants are now starting to recognize that energy efficiency and clean power are important parts for the modern data center. While last year Google was the main proponent of next-gen energy tech and data centers, in 2011 Facebook and Apple also joined the fray in paying attention to clean power and energy efficiency. Facebook’s open compute project pays mind to energy efficiency for data center cooling and low power servers, and Apple is building a solar array near its data center in Maiden, N.C.

3. LED prices coming down. Prices of energy-efficient LEDs are starting to come down. Samsung recently started selling a $20 LED bulb that replaces a 40 watt incandescent. Earlier this year, Lighting Science Group and Dixon Technologies India promised to sell an LED light bulb that can fit into a standard socket, will cost less than $15, and will last eight years. Many more LEDs still cost about $35 per bulb, which is still pretty expensive. I bought two LED bulbs from Toshiba the other week and they cost me $70 together.

4. Home energy breakthroughs. Gadgets and services to help home owners manage and monitor their home energy use haven’t taken off yet. But in 2011, there were a few breakthroughs. Startup Nest launched a gorgeous learning thermostat that sold out of production for months ahead in just a couple of days. The company is led by iPod and iPhone designer Tony Fadell. At the same time, both Verizon and AT&T are planning home energy services bundled with other digital home devices. Verizon’s home energy service went live last month, and AT&T told me it’s developing its own, too. Best Buy also decided to experiment with home energy this year, launching a dedicated website and sections at three of its stores.

5. The new U.S. fuel standard. The Obama administration launched a new fuel efficiency standard that will require passenger cars and light trucks to achieve a combined average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That could make a real difference in fuel reduction of U.S. cars.

6. Governments in developing countries. The U.S. might be struggling with how to fund greentech research in a post-Solyndra world, but that isn’t stopping the governments of China and India from investing heavily in clean power technology. Many people know about China’s huge investment, but India has a goal to have 20 GW of solar by 2022, and is supporting domestic Indian companies in a variety of ways to meet that goal.

7. Private investment in solar financing. In addition to solar prices dropping, investors are starting to realize that solar is a long-term, low-risk asset class. Google realized this year and made a variety of investments in solar farms, while new upstarts like Clean Power Finance have emerged to take advantage of this private funding market. A new company called Solar Mosaic even launched a sort of kickstarter for solar this year.

8. Smart meter installations. Despite some of the media attention on consumer push back, smart meters are actually being rolled out a fairly rapid clip. The penetration rate of smart meters in the U.S. has jumped from 6.5 percent in 2009 to 13-18 percent in 2011, according to a report from FERC.

9. The Internet is revolutionizing reuse. While companies like Airbnb aren’t really “green” companies, they are contributing to the trend of collaborative consumption, or using IT to help people share “stuff” from apartments to cars to tools. This is one of the biggest trends for the web this year, and it just happens to be a more sustainable use of resources.

10. Low-power ARM chips for servers. Startup Calxeda has been leading a shift of the idea to use low-power ARM chips for servers. Calxeda launched its EnergyCore ARM server-on-a-chip (SoC), which it says consumes as little as 1.5 watts (and idles at half a watt), and HP, the world’s largest server maker, committed to building EnergyCore-based servers that will consume as little as 5 watts when running all-out. Compare that to the lowest-power x86 server chips from Intel, which consume about 20 watts but deliver higher performance. It might seem like a niche tech, but if data center servers turned to ARM, that could equal a lot more energy-efficient data centers.

Image courtesy of Aine D.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.

An awesome, well put together geek-thanks list. Thanks to @katiefehren for this great article. Be thankful everybody :)

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ice on your turkey makes it tender, apparently via @hackaday - Great #Thanksgiving #Hack dudes!

Turkey day is fast approaching and for those of us not cool enough to be rocking the deep-fried turkey this year we’ll have to suffer though a potentially dry oven-roasted bird. Chef [Justin] came up with a great way to prevent dried out white meat on a turkey using ice of all things.

The enemy of moist and tender breast meat is heat. Cooking meat for too long will dry it out. There’s a problem, though: the breast is the thickest part of the bird which means it will take longer than the legs or thighs to reach the necessary 160 degrees. [Justin] figured that if he could cool down the breast with ice, it will take longer to cook and both the white and dark meat will come out perfectly.

[Justin] set up a test with two 15-pound birds. Both turkeys were allowed to come up to room temperature, then ice packs were put on the breast of one bird for 15 minutes. This lowered the temperature of the experimental breast by a few degrees. Both birds were then thrown into the oven.

After coming out of the oven, both birds looked great. The bird treated with ice packs appeared to be more tender and moist. Sounds like the perfect thing to pull out of our bag of tricks next week.

Share this:

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Fake FBI email threatens recipients with jail

Fake FBI email threatens recipients with jail

An email purportedly coming from the FBI Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division has been hitting inboxes and threatening recipients with jail time if they don't respond, reports Cyberwarzone.

"We have warned you so many times and you have decided to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have not been instructed to get you arrested and today if you fail to respond back to us with the payment then we would first send a letter to the mayor of the city where you reside and direct them to close your bank account until you have been jailed and all your properties will be confiscated by the fbi," says in the email. "We would also send a letter to the company/agency that you are working for so that they could get you fired until we are through with our investigations because a suspect is not suppose to be working for the government or any private organization."

The crooks continue with the threats, accusing the recipient of being an "internet fraudster".

"We have investigated and found out that you didn't have any idea when the fraudulent deal was committed with your information's/identity and right now if you ID is placed on our website as a wanted person, i believe you know that it will be a shame to you and your entire family because after then it will be announce in all the local channels that you are wanted by the fbi," claims the sender, "Robert Mueller II".

But, being a "good Christian and a honest man", he wants to help: all this will go away after the recipient has sent $98 via Western Union to one Chi Jacob in Nigeria, and his previous deal with another Nigeria scammer that would result in him receiving $10.500,000.00 will finally go through.

Needless to say, there is no way that the email is legitimate. But, as funny as it may look to the majority of the recipients, I wonder whether those who fell for a previous "Nigerian" scam might not fall for this one, too.

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tony Burkhart - Google+ - Wow, what a warrior and a hero! … #SupportTheTroops

Check out this website I found at

Five years after being wounded in one war, amputee soldier re-enlists in another A little more than five years after a bomb blast took part of his right leg, Staff Sgt. Brian Beem was lucid and upright on a prosthetic limb as he re-enlisted at a remote base in Kandahar province.

Full story here:

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best Door to Door Salesman Ever! Kenny Brooks - YouTube

Revision3 bets on HTML5, drops Flash player development

GigaOM — Tech News, Analysis and Trends

Revision3 was faced with a dilemma: Its Flash player was getting a bit long in the tooth, but Flash isn’t supported by a growing number of devices that its viewers are using to watch its videos on. The company had already built an HTML5 player to be used by viewers with iPads and other HTML5-compatible devices, but it wasn’t as advanced as what the startup had built into Flash. As a company with limited resources, updating both players wasn’t really an option, so it had to choose between updating its Flash player, or placing more emphasis on HTML5.

So what did it do? It bet on the future.

Revision3 rolled out a new, HTML5-based video player Thursday to help standardize the video experience across web browsers online and those on new mobile and connected devices. At the same time, Revision3 made a strategic decision to phase out support of Flash and throw more development resources behind HTML5 instead.

The new player went live on Thursday, as the default option for Revision3 viewers. In addition to being available on more devices, Rev3 CTO Rob DeMillo told us in a phone interview that the new player has some other immediate benefits: The new player loads more quickly than its Flash player, and scrubbing through a video is much more responsive. It also supports all the same advertising and analytics that Revision3 had from the Flash player.

That doesn’t mean Revision3 is dropping Flash altogether: It’s keeping the old player around for those whose browsers don’t support the HTML5 player or H.264 video codec. When a viewer tries to access a video, Rev3 will automatically detect the browser and device a user is using and determine if it supports the player. If the browser isn’t HTML5-compatible, Revision3 will serve up its legacy Flash Player instead.

While Revision3 sees HTML5 as the future of video, DeMillo noted that the new player isn’t fully at parity with features that were available in Flash. In particular, there are things like theater mode — where the player dims out the rest of the page while a video plays — that don’t quite work yet.

DeMillo said that HTML5 isn’t exactly the panacea that it’s made out to be. Development meant tweaking the player to make sure it worked across different browsers and even across different versions of the same browser. “It felt very much like 1995,” DeMillo told us.

That said, the folks at Revision3 expect more video publishers — especially smaller independents with limited resources — to follow its lead over the coming years. Rev3 CEO Jim Louderback said he thinks others in the industry will be faced with the same decisions soon, and will likely choose to move to HTML5 more exclusively going forward.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.

Sent with Reeder

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Friday, November 18, 2011

the disposable memory project / leaving disposable cameras around the world, and telling their story

I heard about this on Leo Laporte's this week in Tech show today, and it seems like a really cool idea!

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

@salvationarmyus Bell Ringers Accepting @Square Mobile Payments

The Salvation Army has begun shifting into digital donations, as fewer and fewer shoppers carry much change or bills.

This year, the charity is testing the use of Square, a mobile payments start-up that allows anyone to accept credit card payments via mobile devices.

“A lot of people just don’t carry cash any more,” said Maj. George Hood, the Salvation Army’s spokesman. “We’re basically trying to make sure we’re keeping up with our donors and embrace the new technologies they’re embracing.”

The Army, with nearly $2 billion in annual revenue, was the biggest and most visible charity to adopt the technology. Other nonprofit groups and individual fund-raisers have used it too. A Girl Scout troop in Silicon Valley, for instance, used it earlier this year to sell some 400 boxes of cookies at Facebook’s headquarters after the father of one troop member who worked there realized that many of his colleagues did not carry cash, according to Advertising Age.

Lucy Bernholz, an expert on the use of technology by nonprofits, said this could have enormous potential. “It’s a no-brainer,” Ms. Bernholz said. “It’s frictionless and will make it so easy to give that if the person ringing the bell can get your attention, there’s no excuse any more because chances are you’ve got a credit card in your pocket.”

Jack Dorsey, Square’s co-founder and chief executive, who also co-founded Twitter, is confident that Square is simpler than other methods of digital fund-raising because all it requires of a donor is to swipe a card and sign.

“Instead of training people on an entirely new behavior, an entirely new way to pay, we just use what they know,” Mr. Dorsey said. “It doesn’t require them to learn anything new and it doesn’t require the merchant or organization to learn anything new.”

Though 800,000 merchants accept $2 billion in payments a year using Square devices, they are mostly small ones like farmstands, hair salons and taxi drivers, and many shoppers have not seen it in action.

The Salvation Army plans to put Square to use at 10 locations each in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Bell ringers will carry Android smartphones donated by Sprint Nextel that are equipped with Square’s postage-stamp-size card reader and two apps, one from Square and one from the Salvation Army. Donors swipe a card, just as they would at any credit card processing terminal, and the money goes into the Salvation Army’s account.

Square, which charges a 2.75 percent fee on every transaction, a majority of which goes to the credit card companies, uses the same security measures as financial institutions and, the company said, has an added level of safety because the payer must be present to make the payment.

Greater use of credit cards also helps the Army reduce the theft that nonprofits might experience when cash is collected in small amounts

Three years ago, the Army added traditional credit card processing terminals to the Red Kettle Campaign with mixed results — it gathered just $60,000 that way in 2009, the last year the program was used nationally. In comparison, more than $148 million in coins and bills were tossed into the Army’s red kettles in 2010.

“The credit card terminals really haven’t been a blockbuster, I’ll be candid,” Major Hood said. “The winter elements have been a negative, people have to go through a process of entering data, and it’s just generally more cumbersome than we think Square will be.”

The partnership was the brainchild of William Raduchel, an investor in tech start-ups who has worked at Sun Microsystems, AOL and Xerox and who sits on the Army’s national advisory board. “When I saw Square, I realized immediately the implications for the Army in terms of getting money,” Mr. Raduchel said.

After playing with Square a bit himself, he got in touch with Vinod Khosla, a friend whose venture capital fund is one of the company’s biggest investors, and asked for an introduction.

He has already used Square’s device to donate $1,000 to the Army, and said that despite its age, the organization was open to new technologies.

“The Army does listen to advice,” he said. “It may not agree and sometimes it takes a while to convince the top managers, but in this case, they were very fast to conclude this made sense for them.”

Mr. Dorsey said that marrying a cutting-edge technology with an institution established in 1865 was fitting. “It definitely is a throwback, but that age was an age of curiosity and innovation and particularly craftsmanship,” he said, “and as we build the product, we’re thinking about craftsmanship and details and experience.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 18, 2011

An article on Wednesday about the Salvation Army’s experiment with accepting donations by mobile payments misstated the year the organization was established. It was 1865 — not 1852, which is the year its founder, William Booth, started preaching.



I love technology and I non-profits like @salvationarmyus. Now those two worlds have collided!

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

xkcd: Wisdom of the Ancients

Oh... good one. This is so true!


Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mac making a move in the enterprise, grew 44 percent in Q3

GigaOM — Tech News, Analysis and Trends

It’s a pattern we’ve seen for several quarters: Apple’s Mac sales post double-digit percentage increases as the broader PC market limps along with single-digit growth. So it’s not a huge surprise to see the Mac again making progress in its battle for market share. In a report issued Thursday, Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf said the Mac had reached 5.2 percent of worldwide computer sales. While that seems like a tiny slice of a huge industry — and it is — it’s the largest chunk of PC market share Apple has owned in 15 years.

Yes, 5.2 percent is significant for Apple, the computer side of which brings in huge profits for the company, but maintains a relatively low sales share compared to the HPs, Dells, Acers and Lenovos of the world. But the momentum is Apple’s right now. It’s growing both in the consumer space, where it was up 24.6 percent compared to overall PC growth of 5.3 percent, and perhaps more surprisingly, in the workplace.

Needham says Macs’ share of enterprise computer sales grew 43.8 percent during the third quarter of this year, compared to overall enterprise PC growth of 4.8 percent. And it’s been happening for a few quarters in a row. In a note to investors, Wolf wrote:

“What we initially viewed as a one-quarter blip in the business market has emerged as a durable pattern.”

Credit: Needham & Co.

The growth, as the chart shows, isn’t coming in just one area, but is spread throughout the wider enterprise market for computers. Apple saw decent gains in every sector, with the exception of government purchases, but saw significant growth particularly in “very large” and “large” businesses.

Macs are no longer much of a rarity in the workplace. For many years, there were valid reasons Macs were used mainly in the publishing and creative spaces, since software compatibility made it hard to use them elsewhere. But as consumer adoption of Macs has increased steadily in the past few years, many employees are either asking their employers in all industries to buy them the same Macs they’re using at home, or they’re just bringing in their MacBook from home to the office. And increasingly, IT departments are letting them.

Last month, analyst firm Forrester made waves by changing course and strongly recommending businesses let their employees use computers running Mac OS X, because they have “gained a reputation for reliability and low maintenance,” according to Forrester. The report found 22 percent of enterprise businesses foresee the use of Macs owned by employees “increasing significantly.”

Be sure to grab a ticket to our Net:Work conference on December 8 in San Francisco to learn more about the changing face of IT and the ongoing consumerization of workplace tech.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.

Sent with Reeder

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Six iPhone 4S features you may have missed | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Despite its superficial similarity to the iPhone 4, three landmark features set the iPhone 4S apart from its predecessor: Siri, the new 8 megapixel camera, and the much more powerful A5 processor. The iPhone 4S also comes with a few more subtle design tweaks that differentiate it from the iPhone 4, and you might miss some of those changes if you didn't have an iPhone 4 and 4S sitting side-by-side for a comparison.

Antenna Improvements

Phil Schiller actually did talk about the new antenna in the iPhone 4S during the most recent Apple event, but the changes to the iPhone's antenna aren't really obvious until you have the handset in your hands. One of those changes literally requires you to hold the device in your hand before you'll see it: the dreaded "death grip" of the iPhone 4 is gone in the iPhone 4S.

A well-known and widely (over)publicized shortcoming of the iPhone 4's antenna design caused it to attenuate wireless signals when held a certain way. Bridging the black gap on the lower left side of the iPhone's antenna band would cause signal strength to drop for some users. This so-called "Antennagate" dominated headlines about the iPhone 4 for months, and Apple eventually addressed the issue by providing free bumper cases to affected users.

Since I use my iPhone left-handed and without a case, with the iPhone 4 I always had to be mindful of how I held it. 3G signal strength at my home wasn't the best with my old wireless provider -- I'd get one or two bars if I was lucky -- so accidentally bridging that gap would cause my signal strength to drop to zero within a minute or less.

That's no longer an issue with the iPhone 4S. In fact, to get the signal strength to drop at all I have to hold the phone in a very unnatural two-fisted grip that requires bridging all four of the black antenna gaps at once. The "death grip" is a thing of the past.

The improved antenna design also equates to much faster 3G speeds, improved call quality, and lightning-fast Wi-Fi signal acquisition. 3G download speeds on my iPhone 4S are anywhere from two to four times faster than my iPhone 4 on the same network, and the murky "bottom of the ocean" call quality I got on the iPhone 4 was replaced with crystal-clear voice quality on the iPhone 4S. The newest iPhone also latches onto a Wi-Fi signal much faster than my iPhone 4 ever did, with essentially zero delay in connecting to networks it's connected to before.

Many critics lambasted the iPhone 4's antenna design in the wake of "Antennagate," but the iterative update of the iPhone 4S antenna shows that Apple has shaken out any deficiencies in the design.

Shifted Controls

One consequence of the antenna re-design is those antenna gaps have been shifted around. Rather than the asymmetrical three-gap design of the GSM iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S has four gaps arranged with bilateral symmetry, essentially identical to the gaps on the CDMA version of the iPhone 4. As a result, the mute switch and volume controls for the iPhone 4S have been shifted downward toward the dock connector by about a millimeter compared to the iPhone 4, similarly to how the CDMA iPhone 4's controls were altered.

As a result, many (if not most) cases designed for the GSM model iPhone 4 won't fit the iPhone 4S, including Apple's own bumper cases. Cases designed for the CDMA iPhone 4 should fit the iPhone 4S just fine. So should "universal" cases designed for both the GSM and CDMA versions of the iPhone 4; these cases feature slightly larger cutouts for the mute switch and volume buttons, so they should fit the iPhone 4S without issue.

Quieter Vibration Motor

Apple has swapped out the old vibration motor in the GSM model iPhone 4 with one that's either similar or identical to the one in the CDMA iPhone 4. The new motor features a smoother vibration which doesn't rattle the phone itself quite so much. The result is a much quieter vibration, one that you might not even hear from more than a few feet away if your iPhone's lying on a table; if you're holding the phone in your hand, you might barely hear the vibration at all.

Depending on your needs, that might not necessarily count as an improvement. If you loathe ringtones and instead listen for your iPhone rattling across a table or other flat surface for your notifications, this change may disappoint you. Personally, I appreciate the new vibration, because the old one always sounded as though it was trying to shake the phone to shreds.

The quieter motor in the iPhone 4S doesn't mean the phone's vibrations are weaker than those of the iPhone 4. I held the 4S in one hand and the 4 in my other; the strength of vibrations felt essentially the same, with the only difference being a distinctively loud BZZZZT coming from the iPhone 4.

Audio Improvements

The speaker on the iPhone 4S is NOTICEABLY LOUDER compared to the one in the iPhone 4. In some cases it's almost too loud; high-pitched notification sounds from apps like Tweetbot definitely have a piercing effect on my eardrums with the alert volume turned up all the way, which was never an issue with the quieter iPhone 4. The obvious upshot of the louder speaker is it'll be easier to hear ringtones and other sounds when you're in an environment with lots of ambient noise.

Despite that increase in overall volume, the speaker in the iPhone 4S also seems to produce sounds with higher clarity than the iPhone 4's speaker. Audio that used to overdrive the iPhone 4 speaker and make it sound "clippy" now sounds much clearer on the iPhone 4S speaker. Music and games sound much better on the iPhone 4S, but the improved speaker clarity also means some ringtones or other media may actually sound worse than on the iPhone 4. For example, I sourced some of my custom ringtones from low-fidelity mp3 audio files; while they sounded fine on the iPhone 4 speaker, the flaws in recording quality are much more obvious on the iPhone 4S speaker, with very audible background hiss in some cases.

Audio playback through both the iPhone 4S speaker and attached headphones produces a much less trebly sound than the iPhone 4. Music playback quality on the iPhone 4S also sounds subtly improved even through the included Apple-branded earbuds. Based on these sonic differences in music playback between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, I suspected the iPhone 4S had a different audio processor; information in iFixit's teardown confirmed that though the audio codec chip is from the same manufacturer (Cirrus Logic) as the iPhone 4, the part number for the iPhone 4S is different. It's likely the updated audio codec chip is also part of the reason the iPhone 4S speaker sounds clearer than the iPhone 4.

Your personal tastes may vary from mine. It's possible we could review the same hardware and come to entirely different conclusions about whether the iPhone 4 or 4S sounds "better" over headphones. There's no mistaking the improvements in sound quality through the built-in speaker on the iPhone 4S, though; it sounds markedly improved compared to the iPhone 4.

Bluetooth 4.0

The iPhone 4S is the first iPhone to support Bluetooth 4.0, a low-energy Bluetooth spec that allows devices to sync via Bluetooth while consuming far less power than traditional Bluetooth devices. This low-power version of Bluetooth doesn't support voice -- headsets and other voice devices still have to transmit over one of the higher-power specs -- but it does support transmission of data from other peripherals like heart rate monitors, watches, and input devices like keyboards or game controllers.

The applications for health and fitness-related gear are virtually endless. As of now, many third-party accessories require a proprietary receiver to send data to an iPhone, or else they transmit via one of the older, more power-hungry Bluetooth specs. Using Bluetooth 4.0 would allow these devices to communicate directly with the iPhone, without the need for an intervening dock connector dongle, and such devices could have tremendously increased battery life compared to those currently on the market.

One example of a device that could greatly benefit from Bluetooth 4.0 is Jawbone's Up health monitoring band. The Up monitors a great deal of user health data, but syncing that data to the iPhone requires plugging a connector into the iPhone's headphone jack. Using Bluetooth 4.0 could theoretically allow a device like the Jawbone Up to be in constant communication with the iPhone 4S without the need for users to sync data manually.

Another possible implementation of Bluetooth 4.0 would be a wristwatch that can display certain kinds of information transmitted to it from a synced iPhone (notifications, for example), and send basic commands back to it, such as controlling music playback. This has been a popular dream of geekier users ever since the current iPod nano debuted; once it became clear the nano could be used as a watch, people almost immediately leapt to the next-level idea of using the nano to control another device and/or display data transmitted to it.

Not many Bluetooth 4.0 devices exist on the market as of yet, but expect to see a lot of them hitting the market once the standard becomes more widely adopted. The low-power spec allows devices powered by standard watch batteries to run with lifetimes measured in months to years rather than the hours to days of battery life current devices get.

Video Mirroring

The iPhone 4S is the first iPhone to support mirroring to an Apple TV via AirPlay, at 720p resolution. It also supports video mirroring or video out at 1080p resolution via Apple's Digital AV Adapter or VGA Adapter, the same connectors that allow for 1080p mirroring on the iPad 2. Video mirroring to an Apple TV will make it much easier to share content with people sitting nearby, and it also has great applications for gaming.

None of these features are anywhere near as headline-grabbing as Siri, but the minor details that you might not even notice are often where Apple's products excel. The iPhone 4S is no exception.

Great article by Chris Rawson. I wanted everyone else to read it, as it was super informative for me too, being an iPhone4S user now too.

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Now is a good time to jump over to Google+ while Anonymous begins to take control of Facebook

Now is a good time to jump over to Google while Anonymous begins to take control of Facebook.

Has offensive material appeared in your Facebook news feed over the last twenty-four hours? If so, you're not alone, as security firm Sophos has confirmed the sudden-yet-offensive problem.

According to reports made by Facebook users, news feed content and personal messages now include explicit hardcore porn images, Photoshopped photos of celebrities in sexual situations, pictures of extreme violence and a photograph of an abused dog. That said, workers may need to get their Facebook fill at home rather than on the job until the porn flood has been contained... unless you work within the porn industry, that is.

News of the problem began to surface as Facebook users took to Twitter to vent their anger. The complaints universally point out that porn-posters are unaware that their accounts have been compromised to publish the offensive material. Even more, they can't even see the images posted on their wall or in their message box after logging on.

"One of my friend's accounts was compromised and messages containing a video were sent," reads one Twitter post. "My daughter's boyfriend had something posted on his wall that he couldn't see on his computer, but my daughter could see on his wall from hers."

"I had to deactivate my FB after all that Jesus porn... I just can't risk my position in heaven looking like I posted that mess," another user Tweeted. That's right, porn related to Jesus is making the rounds across Facebook as well.

"I have 5000 friends," said actress and director Courtney Zito. "My feed is littered with porn. I can't even check my news feed with anyone around because of it. Just saw one with a guy who had his skull bashed in and his brains on the street. Another one was the devil... Besides the countless naked girls. I'm about ready to deactivate."

Currently Sophos isn't sure how the offending content has been spread across Facebook, but assumes that it stems from a successful dose of spam.

"Whether users are falling for a clickjacking scheme, are being tagged in content without their knowledge, have poorly chosen privacy settings, have been tricked into installing malicious code, or have fallen victim to another vulnerability inside Facebook itself," Sophos reports. "What's clear, however, is that mischief-makers are upsetting many Facebook users and making the social networking site far from a family-friendly place."

But numerous reports are now pointing to a threat made by Anonymous, a threat to attack Facebook using a powerful "Guy Fawkes virus" they developed. According to the hacktivist group, it's a highly sophisticated work that takes control of your Facebook account and spreads to your friends' accounts without you actually being logged in.

"After the worm gets under control, Anonymous will use this to its advantage against corruption, and as an alternative attack towards groups who take on Anonymous," the group states in the video seen below, blatantly admitting to the Facebook attack back on Thursday. "We are Anonymous. We are a legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."

As of this writing, Facebook has not issued an official statement.

Anonymous #Operation ''Fawkes Virus'' Released on Facebook

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart