Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Man to challenge Twitter 'threat' conviction

A man who was convicted and fined for tweeting that he planned to blow up an airport will take his case to Britain's High Court in a test of the limits of free speech on the Internet, his lawyers said Monday
Attorneys for Paul Chambers said prominent human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson has been instructed to lead the legal challenge to Chambers' conviction.

Chambers, a 27-year-old trainee accountant, was arrested in January after he posted a message on Twitter saying he would blow Robin Hood Airport in northern England "sky high" if his flight, due to leave a week later, was delayed.

Chambers insisted it was a joke. But a judge found him guilty of sending a menacing message over a public telecommunications network and ordered him to pay a 385 pound ($615) fine plus legal costs.

Earlier this month another judge rejected Chambers' appeal.

The verdict caused a wave of outrage on Twitter, with thousands of supporters retweeting Chambers' message with the tag "I Am Spartacus" — a reference to the 1960 movie epic in which the titular hero's fellow rebels all assume his identity in a gesture of solidarity.

Monday, November 22, 2010

iPad 3G With an Integrated SIM Card Coming Soon


Apple has given up on releasing an iPhone with an integrated SIM card. However, the company might soon launch an iPad 3G with an integrated SIM card, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Currently, both the iPhone and the 3G version of the iPad use a micro SIM card, provided by mobile carriers such as AT&T in the U.S. and Vodafone and O2 in Europe. With an integrated SIM card in an iPhone, Apple could cut the mobile carriers from the sales process, as users could buy the device directly from Apple and choose a carrier later.

However, according to "a senior source at a mobile operator", this did not sit well with the carriers. "Apple has long been trying to build closer and closer relationships and cut out the operators. But this time they have been sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs", the source said.

On the other hand, it's far easier for Apple to introduce the integrated SIM with the iPad 3G, since that device is not subsidized by mobile carriers. According to The Sunday Telegraph, Apple plans to launch the integrated-SIM variant of the iPad either before Christmas or in early 2011.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Google denies building Facebook 'rival'

Facebook dominates social networking. No rival comes close. So when rumors started circulating in July that Google may start its own social network, a lot of ears perked up. Since then, the search giant has continually refused to confirm its plans, but its deteriorating relationship with Facebook continues to make headlines.
Today at the Monaco Media Forum, Hugo Barra, Google’s head of mobile product development, reiterated that the company is not creating a Facebook clone, reports Reuters. ”We’re not working on a social network platform that’s just going to be another social network platform,” Barra said in answer to a question. ”We do think that social is an ingredient for success for any app going forward, search and advertising being probably the best two examples that I would mention. So that’s how we’re thinking about the problem.”

In September, CEO Eric Schmidt laid out a similar vision, saying that Google plans to add layers of social networking to its many websites and services. Instead of an all-out Facebook rival, his statements indicated that the search company plans to introduce social networking add-ons that will integrate with its core products, including Gmail and YouTube. For example, YouTube would share information in real-time about what videos are being watched by the people on your friend-list.

So what is Google doing? It’s hard to say, but all of the components for a social networking site are within Google’s services. The problem Schmidt and Co. have always had is when it tries to glue its social services together. Earlier this year, the company launched Buzz, a Twitter-like add-on to Gmail, but has been met with low usage and a lot of complaints. Google is social, but it can’t figure out how to network.

What do you think Google’s social network will look like? Does the company have what it takes to rival Facebook?

Friday, November 05, 2010

PayPal patches hacker hole in iPhone application

PayPal has rushed out a patch for a flaw in its iPhone application that could let hackers access accounts at the online financial transactions service, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
The flaw only affected people that used PayPal applications on iPhones connected to the Internet through unsecured Wi-Fi networks, according to the Journal.

A hacker would have needed to intercept PayPal transaction data by using commonly available gear to get between an iPhone and the Wi-Fi hotspot.

PayPal told the Journal it knew of no accounts compromised by the flaw, which was fixed on Wednesday.