Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to build your own external hard drive

Building your own external hard drive is easy to do, can save you some cash, and offers more custom options than buying prebuilt ones.

External hard drives are great for storing photos, music, videos, and backup files. Not only can they can be used with a PC, but also with media devices to add streaming storage, and with Wi-Fi routers as cheap NAS solutions. Off-the-shelf external hard drives often contain mystery drives inside and the enclosures aren't meant to be reused. Building your own external hard drive can sometimes be a cheaper, more flexible solution. And if you already have an old internal hard drive lying around, you can turn it into a cool external drive, for as little as $10.

Choosing your internal hard drive 

Internal interface 

Modern hard drives have SATA interfaces and are easy to identify because they only have 7 pins. If you're buying a new drive, it'll be a SATA drive. If you're reusing an old drive, it's possible that it's a PATA (IDE) drive, with 40 pins. Most enclosures support one or the other, so it's important to know which internal interface your drive has. 

Size, height, and capacity 

3.5-inch drives are used in desktop computers, while 2.5-inch drives are normally used in laptops. 3.5-inch drives offer higher storage capacities than 2.5-inch drives, so if you want 2TB of storage, a desktop drive is your only choice. However 2.5-inch drives are a better pick for portable use. While most 2.5-inch drives are 9.5 mm in height, some are 12.5 mm. Note the size of your drive before deciding on an enclosure. 

Rotational speed 

7,200rpm and 5,400rpm hard drives are the most common rotational speeds for internal hard drives. 7,200rpm drives are faster than 5,400rpm drives, but they tend to run hotter and are less energy efficient than 5,400rpm drives. If you choose the faster, hotter drive, the enclosure's ability to keep the drive cool will be an important consideration. 

Choosing your enclosure 

Plastic vs. aluminum 

Aluminum enclosures are more durable than plastic and inherently better at keeping drives cool. If you plan on running your external hard drive 24x7 or using a 7,200rpm drive, we suggest going with an aluminum enclosure. Plastic enclosures are generally cheaper than aluminum ones, but aren't as good at cooling. Occasionally, you can find a plastic one with a fan, but the drawback with fans is that they can get pretty loud, especially if they're sitting on top of your desk. On the other hand, if you're using a 5,400rpm laptop drive for portable use, a plastic enclosure is fine. 

External interfaces 

Choosing an external interface depends a lot on how you want to use your drive and how much you want to spend. A vast majority of enclosures are USB 2.0-only enclosures. Most media devices and routers only support USB drives. USB 2.0 is a good value choice and great for broad compatibility, but has the poorest performance among available interfaces. USB 3.0 is currently the fastest available interface on enclosures and is backward-compatible with USB 2.0. The drawback with USB 3.0 is that it's not as common as USB 2.0, and Macs only adopted the format in mid-2012. FireWire is more prevalent in Macs than PCs. FireWire 800 (EEE-1394b) is faster than USB 2.0, but slower than USB 3.0. For the best performance with a Mac, FireWire 800 is your best choice, unless someone releases an affordable ThunderBolt enclosure. eSATA performance is better than FireWire and USB 2.0, but is the only interface that doesn't power the drive via cable; it requires a separate power adapter. eSATA drives have notorious connectivity problems as well. Unless you're dedicated to using this interface for some reason, we'd recommend against eSATA as your lone interface Putting your external drive together 

Putting an external drive together 

is fairly straightforward. You typically mount the internal drive onto the tray of the enclosure -- or sometimes the rear cap -- and then screw the enclosure shut.

By: Ed Rhee

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's missing in Windows 8 apps

Come October 26, Microsoft will face two battles for Windows 8. Not only does it have to convince people that the OS is worth upgrading to, but it must land with competitive apps. Here's what they lack so far.

 Windows 8 ships with some absolutely gorgeous apps. Navigating through News, Travel, or Weather, it's hard to deny the rich and colorful depiction of content. While its four core productivity apps are equally pretty, they're woefully inadequate in their current state for getting things done. First off is the all-important Mail app. This is not an service-specific tool for grabbing only your Microsoft mail but a wide net to cast for juggling all your e-mail. It currently supports Microsoft's Hotmail and Outlook, as well as Google accounts and "Other" for non-Webmail accounts It's a great idea for the neophyte operating system, to encourage people to think of its default apps as capable of handling more than just Microsoft.

The execution, though, leaves much to the imagination. The app doesn't support basic Google features, like message conversations. Perhaps that's expected, since Google is a competitor. But it also doesn't yet do some of the basics in the overhauled, such as making controls immediately available.

Instead, you must swipe in from the top and bottom edges to see the most obvious tools, like subject-line editing, draft-saving, or font style-changing. And if you're on a Yahoo account, you're out of luck. It has other significant holes where there should be features. There's no way to flag or star an e-mail, there's no way to create a new folder or label, sync is atrociously slow, and Share doesn't interact with individual messages.

Share is so important to Windows 8 that it gets one of the five slots on the Charms bar, but yet you can not "share" an e-mail directly. You can highlight the contents of an e-mail and share that, but it's hardly the same thing. Also, Mail doesn't always indicate when new messages arrive, and it is not yet integrated with the Calendar app.

Speaking of which, the Calendar app is hardly ready for prime-time, either. Like Mail, it only supports Hotmail, Outlook, and Google accounts. If Microsoft is looking to peel off Apple fans with Windows 8, this isn't going to help. Your configuration options are currently limited to toggling a calendar on or off, and changing its display color. The lack of direct e-mail integration is painful.

It does nicely snap to one side, so you can have the Calendar open while working in Mail or any other app, but that's a feature of Windows 8, not of the app. And like Mail, it fails to integrate with Share. If Mail and Calendar are half-baked, Messaging is still in the mixing bowl. It flat-out doesn't integrate with Share, which is beyond silly given Share's importance to Microsoft and the importance of messaging to everybody else on the planet. Account support is currently limited to Microsoft Messenger, which almost nobody uses, although thankfully Facebook is supported.

This is weird because we've seen Google app support, and the People app, which I'll discuss next, supports Twitter. There's no instant messenger support for Yahoo, AOL, or any other account.

Google to downrank websites that receive copyright removal notices

The days of easily finding pirated content on the Internet are slowly be coming to an end. With the recent SOPA/PIPA and Megaupload fiasco, it’s clear that the powers that be are starting to crack down on the pirated content on the Internet by trying to shut down websites that provide them. 

The latest move comes from Google, who have announced that they will now start downranking websites that receive valid copyright removal notices. The more notices a website receives, the lower the rank will be of these sites.

Note that Google will not be removing these sites entirely from their results; just downranking them, so with some effort you may still be able to access them. Or you can just use any of the other search engines out there.

Google feels that this move will direct people towards purchasing genuine content when they search for something, like a movie or TV show, instead of providing them easy access to pirated content. And one can’t help but agree with them as currently it’s a lot easier to find pirated content online than genuine one.
While this move is not going to stop pirated content, it’s definitely going to make it harder for people to find it. At least for those who use Google for such things.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ideo shows purported iPhone 5 internals, front plate

A video has emerged showing not only alleged internal details of the iPhone 5 but the front plate that holds the larger display. So much for post-product-release teardowns. 

iPhone 5 mockup (Credit: Overdrive Design)
The iPhone 5 is being torn down piece by piece already. Just after alleged photos of the iPhone 5's main circuit board appeared, we now have a video of not only the front plate but items as small as the "flex cable," replete with the sleep-wake button and volume switch, according to SmartPhone Medic, a smartphone repair service based in Columbia, S.C. "We just got some new iPhone 5 parts in," the video begins. 

The SmartPhone Medic guy then goes to show the alleged iPhone 5's front plate with the larger display. In addition to the obvious display size difference with iPhone 4S (iPhone 5's display is about 30 percent bigger), the camera and proximity sensor locations have changed, SmartPhone Medic claims. They also place the new iPhone 5 front plate on top of the Samsung Galaxy S III, clearly showing that even with the iPhone 5's larger screen, the Galaxy S III's 4.8-inch display is a lot wider and taller. The video also shows an 8-pin dock connector flex cable assembly, and two other flex cables for the iPhone 5. The next iPhone could be announced as soon as next month.

By: Brooke Crothers


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ethernet's future: How fast is fast enough?

Your PC may not need a faster network, but overall data usage on the Web is doubling every year. The big question: Can the venerable Ethernet standard handle a terabit per second?

 Slow network speeds got you down? On Monday, computing experts will announce they're tackling the next speed bump for the venerable Ethernet standard. But don't expect to find the new speed option on your next computer's feature list. The standard, to be produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), will likely reach data-transfer speeds between 400 gigabits per second and 1 terabit per second. For comparison, that latter speed would be enough to copy two-and-a-half full-length Blu-ray movies in a second. In contrast, your laptop today probably maxes out at a mere 100 megabits per second -- maybe a full gigabit per second. 

And that's assuming your laptop even has an Ethernet port in the first place -- MacBook Airs don't, and the trend seems likely to spread as thin laptops catch on. Many people probably don't even know how fast their Ethernet connections are, because the real bottleneck these days for most users is their broadband connection to the Internet, not the Ethernet connection that can links personal computer to the local network at home or work. But a faster Ethernet standard still matters to ordinary people. The companies at the other end of the Internet connection -- the Facebooks, the Googles, the telecommunications and financial services firms -- are experiencing unrelenting growth in network capacity needs. And if they can't expand economically or add new features, the Internet either slows down, gets less useful or entertaining, or gets more expensive to use. "The bandwidth associated with core networking was observed, on average, to be doubling every eighteen months," engineers concluded in a July IEEE Ethernet bandwidth assessment (PDF). Thus, the engineers have decided to convene a new group to figure out how to satisfy that need. "For 2015, we expect the bandwidth that needs to be supported to be 10 times what it was in 2010, and in 2020, 100 times what it was in 2010," said John D'Ambrosia, chair of new Higher-Speed Ethernet Consensus group that will lay the groundwork for the actual standard. A big part of the group's work will be figuring out whether 400Gbps or 1Tbps is a better approach, he said. Right now, companies that build the networking hardware tend to favor the 400Gbps option, but the customers who use the network hardware favor the 1Tbps option, which is 2.5 times faster. The key question will be figuring out whether terabit Ethernet is economically practical for the hardware companies involved, he D'Ambrosia said. 

 "People realize 400-gig Ethernet is technically and economically feasible. When you look at terabit ethernet, it's driven solely by demand," D'Ambrosia said. "People know there's a tsunami of data coming. It's basic math: terabit is more than 400-gig, so we want a terabit. That's nice, but one has to worry about the technical feasibility and the economic feasibility." Whatever approach is used, it will likely work by bundling multiple physical connections together into one higher-speed virtual connection. That means individual connections don't have to be as fast. But there are cost limits to bundling multiple connections together, since each link needs its own components, and that can get expensive. For example, aggregating 25-gigabit connections into a group of 16 would get to 400Gbps, and 40 would get to 1Tbps. Doubling that so data could travel in both directions at that speed would mean 80 connections, and that would be "not pretty," D'Ambrosia said with some understatement. Especially with copper connections. Cables that bundle numerous strands are thick, unwieldy, and heavy. In supercomputing centers, there are facility issues with data centers when cables get too thick. Some contributors to the bandwidth assessment report said they've had to "go in and reinforce our high-performance computing [data centers] because of the sheer weight of copper cables," D'Ambrosia said. "A cable 2 inches in diameter is incredible." 

The Ethernet port on the side of PCs uses an RJ-45 connector and copper cables. But where customers use 100Gbps Ethernet, both fiber-optic links and copper technology appears. Copper tends to be cheaper, but fiber optics can reach farther. With today's 40Gbps and 100Gbps standard, copper cables can be a maximum of 5 meters long, and making them shorter raises practical concerns. The objective of the new group will be to build a consensus about how fast the next-gen Ethernet should be. Terabit Ethernet sounds great, but "it's not just a matter of what you want. 

It's how much you're willing to pay for it," D'Ambrosia said. Hashing out the priorities and limits means that the actual process later of designing the next-generation interface will go faster, he predicted. With the bandwidth assessment in hand, though, laying out the need for a standard 100 times as fast as today's by 2020, the first stage of the debate is over. "I suspect this is going to be a very fast-moving project," D'Ambrosia said.

By: Stephen Shankland

'Crisis' malware targets VMware virtual machines

Single piece of malware targets both Windows and OSX users and is capable of spreading to VMware virtual machines and Windows Mobile devices. 

Security researchers have discovered a single piece of malware that is capable of spreading to four different platform environments, including Windows, Mac OSX, VMware virtual machines, and Windows Mobile devices. First uncovered last month by security company Integro, Crisis was originally described as a Mac Trojan capable of intercepting e-mails and instant messages and tracking Web sites visited.Additional scrutiny by Symantec has found that the malware targets both OSX and Windows users with executable files for both operating systems. Crisis is distributed using social engineering techniques designed to trick users into installing a JAR, or Java archive, file masquerading as an Adobe Flash installer. 

The malware then identifies the computer's OS and installs the corresponding executable (see diagram below). "This may be the first malware that attempts to spread onto a virtual machine," Takashi Katsuki, a researcher with antivirus provider Symantec, wrote in a blog post Monday. "Many threats will terminate themselves when they find a virtual machine monitoring application, such as VMware, to avoid being analyzed, so this may be the next leap forward for malware authors." Crisis spreads by searching for a VMware virtual machine image on the compromised computer. 

When it finds such an image, the malware copies itself onto the image using the VMware Player tool, which allows multiple operating systems to run on the same computer. "It does not use a vulnerability in the VMware software itself," Katsuki wrote. "It takes advantage of an attribute of all virtualization software: namely that the virtual machine is simply a file or series of files on the disk of the host machine. These files can usually be directly manipulated or mounted, even when the virtual machines is not running." The Windows version of Crisis can also spread to Windows Mobile devices connected to compromised computers by installing a module on the device. 

However, because it uses the Remote Application Programming Interface, it does not affect Android or iOS devices. "We currently do not have copies of these modules and hence we are looking for them so we can analyze them in greater detail," Katsuki wrote. Symantec said the malware has infected fewer than 50 machines.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Five ways Windows 8 overhauls the PC

Five ways Windows 8 overhauls the PC Windows 8 makes numerous and substantial changes to how we use computers. Here are the most important ones that you'll have to get used to. 

In 2009, J.J. Abrams rebooted the fictional Star Trek chronology and franchise. In 2011, DC Comics did the same with its superheroes. But now Microsoft is about to reboot the very real Windows operating system, and it will forever change how we use computers. 

Windows 8 is Microsoft's answer to the question of how to integrate mobile and desktop computing. For the most part, it succeeds, but it's an ambitious answer that will be best understood only when many people to stop thinking of desktop and mobile as discrete entities. 

Touch will drive Windows 8's buzz, but it's so much more. The biggest change in Windows 8 is that it is designed for touch screens, but that doesn't mean that the keyboard and mouse are dead. In fact, to see that the opposite is true you have to look no further than the iPad. Apple's dominating and innovative tablet owns its market, but it drives a booming business in third-party keyboard solutions. 

Plans for Windows 8 

Instead of being confined to a mouse, Microsoft is saying that personal computers -- and mobile devices, for that matter -- are moving toward a variety of control solutions. Touch is one of these, as is voice, but so are the traditional keyboard for lengthy document writing and the pointer. The two-button mouse as we know it may be dying, but it is hard to imagine a scenario where you'll never want the precise control that one provides. 

Smartphones and tablets have driven touch popularization, and Microsoft is taking a big risk bringing it so forcefully to desktops and laptops, common wisdom says. And yet, the very first thing I did when I got a first-generation Chromebook was swipe at the screen. It was a subconscious reaction to the new device, and of course it resulted in nothing happening because Chromebooks don't have touch screens. 

And this morning, I pointed a colleague's 10-year-old daughter visiting the CNET offices at my Toshiba DX1215 running Windows 8 RTM and asked her to use it. I gave no instructions or hints to her about the edges and Charms bar. As someone who has spent a decade on Apple products, she looked at it for a second, swiped the screen once, and tapped the Cut the Rope tile. 

On her way to blasting through the first five levels, she said, "It's like a giant iPad." Touch will no longer be the purview of devices sized 10.1 inches or smaller, and touch is how many young people will grow up using computers. Do not underestimate touch, you computing curmudgeons. 

Windows 8 kills chrome. 

No doubt that Internet Explorer 10 is the best version of that much-maligned browser so far, but we're not talking about Google Chrome competitors. Lowercase "chrome" refers to an app's interface, the static visual elements that anchor an app's features. Microsoft's default apps hide most of an app's chrome, and other app developers already are taking their cues from Redmond's guidelines and lead. 

Basically, Windows 8 apps do a great job of getting out of the way of the content they're meant to show you. From one edge of the screen to the other, all you see is content because the chrome has been hidden under the four edges of the screen. 

Windows' lessons from the edges go beyond app chrome. The steepest part of the Windows 8 learning curve will be figuring out which app and operating system controls are hidden under which edges. The rule of thumb is that the left and right edges belong to Windows 8, while the top and bottom edges belong to apps, although this isn't strictly true. (App settings are often accessible only from the Settings charm on the right edge.) 

The important lesson here is that the swipe gesture can be applied in ways we haven't yet seen in Android or iOS, which allows the content to shine through. Microsoft's engineering on the concept of hiding chrome and controls under the edge has made it accessible to touch pads, traditional mice, and hot keys. 

Windows 8 kills your icons, too. 

For the entirety of its existence, the icon has been a static, stale program identifier. It's occasionally gotten little pop-up indicators, but basically it's been small and unchanging. Windows 8's tiles create a unique and innovative method to reveal real-time content on screen, without forcing you to dive into the world of the app. 

It sounds minor, but tiles will change your workflow on PCs because you won't be immersing yourself in an app every time you want an update. The implications of this for app-usage could be huge. It won't be good for organizations that measure how much time you spend using a particular app, but it does make sense for how we use computers. 

Windows 8 introduces the lapdesktabbooktop. 

Whatever you want to call it, Windows 8 makes desktop computing portable by unifying the operating system across devices. Not much is known about the coming shape, style, and price of Windows 8 hardware, but we've already seen some touch screen laptops (mostly at Computex) that come close to the thinness of a tablet. 

The unification will make it easy to connect the necessities of desk work peripherals, and then disconnect and take the tablet or laptop on the go. This is where the overall features and functionality of the operating system have a chance to revolutionize the devices we use. 

Core to this idea will be attractive form factors and affordable price points, but Windows 8's combination of touch and robust productivity tools could herald the maturation of portable computing. With "Windows 8-lite" Windows RT running Office 2013, Windows 8 will be demonstrating that mobile doesn't mean underpowered. 

 Originally posted at Windows 8

Google offers bigger bucks in Chrome bug hunt

Believing the easy security holes have already been found, Google is adding new financial incentives for outside bug hunters.

Google's program to pay outsiders who find Chrome security vulnerabilities is working well enough that the company has concluded it's time to add new financial rewards. "Recently, we've seen a significant drop-off in externally reported Chromium security issues," Chrome programmer Chris Evans said in a blog post yesterday. "This signals to us that bugs are becoming harder to find, as the efforts of the wider community have made Chromium significantly stronger." 

Thus, Google added a new $1,000 bonus on top of the regular incentive in three circumstances. The bonus applies if vulnerability is "particularly exploitable" and comes with a demonstration; if it's in an open-source software library used beyond just Chrome; or if the vulnerability is in a stable area of Chrome that Google thought had been already picked clean of bugs. Google so far has paid more than $1 million for finding Chrome security holes, most notably one $60,000 payment to Sergey Glazunov and another to "PinkiePie." 

Those vulnerabilities were uncovered in Pwnium, a Google contest to find working exploits in Chrome. Google announced up to $2 million in awards for Pwnium 2. Also yesterday, Google released Chrome 21.0.1180.79 for Mac, Linux, Windows and Chrome Frame to fix vulnerability in Adobe Systems' Flash Player, which is built directly into Chrome. 

The vulnerability apparently wasn't a mere idea, but rather an actual attack mechanism, according to Adobe. "There are reports that the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild in limited targeted attacks, distributed through a malicious [Microsoft] Word document. The exploit targets the ActiveX version of Flash Player for Internet Explorer on Windows," Adobe said.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Adobe Flash Player says sayonara to Google Play today

Adobe announced last year in November that it is going to stop developing the mobile version of the Flash Player for Android but the app will continue to be provided through the (then) Android Market.

A couple of months ago, Adobe saw the pointlessness of having the Flash Player at all on the Play Store and said that it will be removed from the store on August 15.
Well, the day has arrived and a few hours from now the Flash Player will finally be removed completely from the Play Store. Only those who have it installed will be able to use and see it on the store but no new updates will be provided.
The decline of the Flash Player can be traced back to the launch of the first iPhone, where Apple famously decided to forgo having the ability to play a vast majority of multimedia and interactive content on their device in favor of stability, user experience and battery life. It was considered a major drawback back then but that did not stop people from buying the phone.
Eventually, the iPhone grew more and more popular and Apple also released another device without Flash support - the iPad - which also went on to become a hit. Apple went as far as to remove Flash Player from their Macs, which used to come pre-installed.
Being locked out of one of the world's most popular platform, Adobe had no choice but to turn to Android. For a while, the Flash support was touted as one of the selling point for Android devices, especially the tablets. But that did not help Adobe, as very few Android devices were actually capable of running Flash properly. Not to mention that most of the content on the Web is not optimized for a touchscreen at all, thus providing a poor user experience. Then there was also the higher power consumption. Basically, all the reasons Apple gave for not including Flash support on iOS.
Eventually, Adobe chose to stop developing Flash Player for Android completely, instead concentrating its efforts into developing new and better technologies such as HTML5. Google, sensing this change, chose not to include support for Flash Player at all in their Chrome for Android, which was perhaps the final nail in the coffin.
After that, Adobe announced it will be removing the Flash Player from the Play Store on August 15 and here we are today.
As we said before, this is a good thing for the web as a whole. We will be moving from a third-party, proprietary plugin for enabling multimedia content on our browsers to something that is built-in and freely available to all. Yes, we are talking HTML5 here. Sure, it's still in its infancy right now but as long as Flash on the web exists, HTML5 cannot develop. It will take a while but things can only get better from here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to tame the Mountain Lion OSX

The new OSX of Apple is now available for download by visiting the Mac App Store. Majority of the downloads are fine but they are a handful of people who are experiencing problems with the download getting an error of "download will not complete".
Troubleshooting has been performed by some users by executing the action of quitting and relaunching the App Store while others took drastic measures by putting there devices into Safe Mode which to no avail.
Here are some work around for you guys to test if it will help resolve the problem:
1. You have to be sure that if you have Anti-Virus installed on your device to either un-install or temporarily deactivate the application.
2. Clear out the Cache and Cookies being used by the Mac App Store.
Apple-Care already responded to some of the queries of those affected by this problem and they recommended that the completion of the installation would require at least 48-72 hours.

Samsung to unveil its mysterious device

Whether Samsung launches a second-generation Galaxy Note Smartphone or a new Galaxy 10.1 Tablet—that, no one knows.

Samsung leaves millions clueless on what to expect on August 15, after sending out a “Save the Date” invite to the press.

The said invite, which came from Samsung Electronic America and not Samsung Telecommunications America, shook the IT Industry and left everyone asking for more details regarding the said announcement.

The unveiling of the Newest Galaxy Device is expected to set foot in San Francisco on the said date

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Unlock your baseband 4.12.01 and 4.11.08

"Did you accidentally upgrade your OS to 5.1 without saving your baseband? I've been guilty of that too."

Currently, the only way to unlock your iPhone with baseband 4.11.08 and 4.12.01 is through the factory unlocking service. 
For AT&T subscribers, you can factory unlock it by contacting the  AT&T Customer Support Service Center. However, you need to meet the set criteria before they can unlock your phone.
AT&T will unlock an iPhone under the following circumstances: 
  • The person requesting the unlock must be: 
    • a current AT&T customer or 
    • a former AT&T customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account 
  • The iPhone was designed for use on AT&T's network; 
  • All contract obligations, including any term commitment, associated with the device to be unlocked have been fully satisfied; and 
  • The iPhone has not been reported lost or stolen. 
In order to unlock your device, you have to contact AT&T at 800-331-0500 or by logging in to your account so you can contact them through email or chat. These unlocking methods usually take 5 to 7 business days. 
For non-AT&T subscribers who want their mobile phones unlocked, you may opt to check some sites that offer factory unlocking services and pay some dollars to get it factory unlocked. However, we warn everyone to check on the credibility of the site as there are some who claim they are legitimate but are not.  
iZone iHUB  will run through few sites that offer factory unlocking services and will be giving feedback on legitimate and cheapest ones. For more updates on the latest, you may like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter stops at nothing

Twitter has made enough fame in the Social Networking World after surpassing the 500 million target last June.

Amongst the Twitter users, Americans and Brazilians topped the list of the most active ones.
Twitter, as their tagline says, is “the fastest, simplest way to stay close to everything you care about.” It allows a user to “tweet” messages with 140 characters long, where an individual can even post and see photos and videos of their interest.

Big names around the world utilize Twitter as they find this SNS useful to serve a number of purposes, some of which include checking on the latest news, ideas, opinions, and other “trending topics”.

Users of this SNS practically finds the site easy to use, where one can also find freedom to speak and simply claim that he/she is only expressing his/her opinion.

What hides in the shadows

"What lurks in the shadows" is a famous quotation used by Japanese Novelist to represent a ninja and in the cyber world what actually hides in the shadows are the anonymous Hackers who spent years cracking the mobile phone security and matrix. After all this years of hiding they are now out. The guys from Defcon had created their own GSM Network and branded the flag of Ninja Tel.

The ninja hacker group has been out distributing phones to members who have contributed a lot on their community. The phone with lanyards included, they serve as identification card for them to be part of the annual ninja party. (For Defcon residence they can also attend the event by donating blood or signing up for bone marrow donation or by donating money to the Electric Frontier Foundation)

The HTC V which is running on ICS can be routed by using the private GSM network over Defcon's WIFI spots. The "Ninja Tel" network is "the biggest open BTS (base transceiver station) network ever," said Ninja Michael J.J. Tiffany.

Currently it now holds 850 subscribers on the private network with people utilizing the mobile phone capabilities with additional features, compliments from Ninja Tel.

This is just a start for many plans the Ninja Tel group for their going network. Ninja Tel is being supported by the following: Facebook, Zynga, AllJoyn, and Lookout.

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Apple versus Google, Let the battle begin

As the battle wage on between the two biggest OS available on your smartphone, forecast of the winner is already piling up. Android is gaining favor 1 to 2 versus its contender Apple. But Apple is not ready to wave the white flag just yet, they have a secret weapon that they are already unleashing to change the tides and the name of this weapon is "Application Developers".

Currently developers are still focus on developing applications for Apple and to be followed by Android and more to it is that they just stick to Apple at times.

“Android may have a lead in how many handsets it ships, but it doesn’t have a lead in how much money app developers are making from it,” said Hadi Partovi, an investor in technology start-ups like Dropbox and a former manager at Microsoft.

As early as Monday Apple will strengthen it's war efforts with Android by announcing a series of products it has in planned and will be discussed on the opening day of a developer's conference at San Francisco.

A sample of this development is a 3D map service that will be operated by Apple which would post a great challenge to Google's current mapping service it provides to its users.

But as per Eric Schmidt who is an Executive Chairman of Google. Developers will always be attracted by volume, and right now we hold 59% of the market share for mobile phone networks. This is a similar story a few years ago when Apple had its war with Microsoft and history will tell what happened.

Wait for the coming months for the war has just started for this two giant to stop.

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A Devil's Advocate: Creation of Applications on Facebook.

Dalton Caldwell caused a stir recently when he posted an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, accusing top Facebook execs of threatening his latest startup with the Luca Brasi treatment: Sell out to us or we'll crush you. 

"I had explicit approval from Facebook to build what I was building," says Caldwell, a software developer who unexpectedly found himself in the crosshairs because an app he was building to run atop Facebook was similar to Facebook's recently unveiled App Center. "They said, 'Sorry, we just need the revenue.'" 

Caldwell's public dust-up with Facebook -- which led to VC and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen stepping down from the board of Caldwell's company, Mixed Media Labs -- revealed much more than the personal tensions that occasionally flare between big and small software companies. It also opened a window on the extraordinary power wielded by Facebook and the power imbalance that thousands of developers have to keep in mind when they ally themselves with the biggest social network of them all. 

On the one hand, Facebook relies on a legion of third-party developers to invent apps that help keep more than half a billion users returning day after day. But in hitching their success to Facebook's reach, any developer that builds for Facebook's platform -- be it Branchout or Zynga -- can be sure to be in for a bumpy ride. Just look at what happened to BandPage, a San Francisco-based startup that built a tool for bands to share their music, communicate with fans about tour dates, distribute news -- you name it. Founder J Sider, a longtime band and venue manager who started the business two years ago, decided to build it entirely on Facebook. That's where musicians wanted to reach fans, he concluded, especially in a post-MySpace world, and Facebook didn't offer anything that met their needs. 

Facebook's 'black box'

One of the trickiest challenges for Facebook developers is navigating the tweaks Facebook constantly makes to "Edgerank," the algorithm that determines what shows up in the all-important News Feed. What appears in your News Feed might seem like a meritocracy, the result of how many of your friends 'liked' it or commented, but that's not the case. At least not entirely. 

Facebook can decide whether an app is seen by thousands or tens of millions of people, in effect controlling just how viral something becomes. Users often think that something is suddenly popular when what's really going on is Facebook is running tests -- always in the name of user experience, but doubtless also with an eye on revenue, especially as a newly public company with a sagging stock price. The impact can be huge. One week, an app is on fire. The next, it's reduced to ashes. "It's incredibly frustrating," said one developer, who didn't want to be quoted by name for fear of souring his relationship with Facebook. "We all worry about Facebook making changes, and we all want to figure out how to get in the activity stream more. But much of it is a black box." 

Working the relationship

Since things change fast on Facebook, app makers need to work hard to keep abreast of what might come. It's not easy, of course, since Facebook keeps its product roadmap and design plans close to its vest.
The relationship is one that Rick Marini, for one, can't let slide. Marini is the founder and CEO of BranchOut, the largest professional network that isn't LinkedIn. BranchOut, which has raised $49 million from big Silicon Valley investors, is entirely built on Facebook, and Marini's team meets with the folks at Facebook weekly to give them feedback and learn what they can about what Branchout could do better. 

BranchOut CEO Rick Marini
(Credit: BranchOut)
"We came out of nowhere and now have 30 million users, and there's no way we could have grown that fast without Facebook," says Marini. "Since the platform is always changing, we are always in touch with them. We tell them we see this kind of use behavior after you launched this change, and if things aren't working, they want to know." Facebook, of course, is rarely out to punish apps on its platform. Its execs are doing what they think is best for Facebook, and if that leads to some pain, that's the risk of attaching yourself to the world's largest social network. It's a symbiotic relationship, and sometimes an uneasy one. But ultimately, Facebook has created a flourishing app economy across all sorts of categories -- shopping, music, reading, games, fitness, cooking, and on and on. The power that Facebook carries is similar to that of Google with search. When Google makes major changes to its search algorithms, Internet roadkill is sometimes the result. But Google, like Facebook, is doing what it thinks is best: Google wants quality search results (with quality defined by Google), and Facebook wants a quality Facebook social experience (with quality defined by Facebook). And like Google, Facebook is now a big public company. As such, it's making decisions based not just on user experience. There are also millions of shareholders to satisfy and so there is added pressure to maintain revenue growth . It's that reality that leads Dalton Caldwell to conclude that Facebook, like the ad-driven Twitter, is no longer a true "platform," or what Zuckerberg used to describe as a "social utility."

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