If you follow my blog, you’ll have read a post I wrote recently called Dear Apple – let me tell you where to stick your MagSafe 2 Plug. I wrote that blog after receiving my brand new, all singing, all dancing Macbook Air, only to find out that it has a new power adapter, rendering the 50 or so power supplies I already have useless without a 10-dollar converter. Now it seems that something similar may happen with the new iPhone 5. Reuters is quoting two unnamed sources as saying that the next generation iPhone will have a smaller dock connector than the one that’s been used for iPods, iPhones and iPads for the last nine years. If you’re a loyal Apple user, you’ve probably amassed a collection of accessories that will be useless when the new phone shows up. I can think of only one group that will be happy with the news: accessory makers. But what will they do with all the unsold inventory?
Still not on Google Plus? A lot of people aren’t, but maybe they should be. In a new survey that measures user satisfaction of social media websites, Google Plus came out on top, while Facebook’s score was at a record low. Google Plus’ growth has been slow since its debut in 2011. It currently has about 250 million users, while Facebook has over 900 million. But Facebook users are often left dissatisfied and confused by sudden changes in interface and privacy settings. Just because Facebook has been on top for a few years, doesn’t mean it will be on top forever. Remember MySpace and Friendster? Yeah, me either. In the end, it’s our friends that we’re addicted to, not any individual website. Google is betting that by providing a better user experience and better tools that eventually, Google Plus is where everyone’s friends will be. Give it a try and add the Shelly Palmer Digital Living page to your circles for more tech news.
It’s time to celebrate. Your inbox just got one step closer to being junk free. Computer security experts have taken down Grum, the world’s third largest botnet, that until now was responsible for 18 billion spam emails per day. The researchers responsible started by blocking the botnet’s command and control servers earlier this week, but Grum’s controllers quickly set up new command and control centers. But the researchers prevailed, eventually taking down the new servers too. The Grum servers were in Panama, Ukraine and Russia, which until recently were all viewed as safe havens for this kind of activity. Instead of law enforcement authorities, technologists have started to take the lead in combating digital crime and that could start a pattern of more big take downs. There’s no guarantee that the Grum servers will stay down, but security specialists are hopeful. Let’s be thankful for what we have while we have it and rejoice in our cleaner inboxes.
AT&T has announced that it will soon offer plans that allow customers to share data between devices. The new plans are similar to Verizon’s recently available Share Everything plan. Let’s compare: AT&T’s data plans start $10 cheaper than Verizon’s, at $40 for 1 gigabyte. Both plans charge a monthly fee for each device, but AT&T’s fee gets smaller as you add more data, while Verizon’s stays the same no matter what. AT&T offers a 20 gigabyte plan for $200 a month, while Verizon’s plan only go up to 10 gigs. But, Verizon’s plan provides more choices for users who use smaller amounts of data. Current customers are not forced to switch over with either company, but you’re probably wondering if you should. It all depends on your data usage and number of devices. If you have several devices, pay attention to their data usage in the next couple of bills to see if you’d benefit from the switch.
Yahoo has named a new CEO, its fifth in as many years. Marissa Mayer, a former top executive at Google, has taken the reins at the struggling company, whose revenue has dropped steadily over the past three years. Much has been said about her gender and current pregnancy, but there’s really only one thing that matters: how is she going to save Yahoo? Though it still has a high number of users and is the 4th visited site on the Internet, it has failed to innovate the same way that companies like Google or Facebook have, and remains without a distinct identity. Mayer was chosen for her background in engineering, user experience and product design and says she wants to focus on Yahoo’s strong franchises including, email, finance and sports. She says she also sees opportunity for big growth in its video broadband and mobile businesses. Will she succeed where so many others have failed?
If you were skeptical about the existence of the “tablet wars” before, there is no denying they are in full swing now. It’s widely agreed that Apple’s iPad trumps its competition but don’t count out Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 just became available and it’s rumored that a redesigned Kindle Fire will be available soon. They may just be making headway due to their smaller size and cheaper price. And let’s not forget about Microsoft, who announced its Surface tablet a few weeks ago. The device will run the yet to be released Windows 8 operating system and if you live in a Windows world, it may be the tablet for you. Though the iPad is still king, Apple is acting like it feels the heat – rumors are swirling that it has a tablet with a 7.85-inch screen in the works that is as thin as an iPod and will be sold for significantly less than $500
Is the Internet making us crazy? A recent article in Newsweek Magazine asks that very question and finds that increasingly, experts think it might be. Internet Addiction is at term you may have heard before, and next year for the first time, it will be included in the DSM, the guide that psychiatrists used to classify mental disorders. Though extreme, life-threatening cases are rare, studies have shown that the brains of heavy internet uses often resemble the brains of drug and alcohol addicts. Here’s the kicker: as little as 38 hours a week online can be considered heavy use. By that standard, almost everyone has something to worry about. In the past few years, we’ve begun to outsource our brains more than ever before and that behavior will only grow as devices get more affordable and more efficient. The way we approach everything from shopping to education will continue to change, so we’d better find a way to make it work.
Yahoo has confirmed the theft of over 450-thousand usernames and passwords. The information was posted online by a hacker group, who says it didn’t publish the list maliciously, but instead to highlight security holes in Yahoo’s servers. In a statement, Yahoo said the file came from its Contributor Network and therefore contains the information of not just Yahoo users, but some gmail, Hotmail, aol, Comcast and MSN accounts as well. It added that the compromised file was old and of the usernames posted, less than 5% of the Yahoo accounts had valid passwords, but did not mention anything about the passwords from the other services. If you’re a user of the Yahoo Contributor Network, best to change your password right away. Security company Securi has set up a site where you can check to see if your email was one of the ones leaked, but if you’re not sure it never hurts to change up your passwords.
Two new Kickstarter records have been set by a project whose popularity has exploded since it was added to the site. The Ouya video game console became the fastest project to raise a million bucks and raised the most money ever raised on Kickstarter in one day. The low-cost, Android-based, open-source device intends to pave the way for independent game developers to get their games to your television screen. Kickstarter users seem to agree with that sentiment; the project is raising money so fast, if I say a number now, it will be inaccurate by the time my voice reaches your ears and it still has until August 9th to raise more money. Gamers are hungry for a new system – it’s been several years since the release of a popular tv-based device and technology and gaming has advanced significantly since then. The console is expected to be available in 2013 and by pledging 99-dollars or more, you can reserve one for yourself.
Ever wish there was an easier way to charge your phone on the go? Well, one day, you might be able to charge your devices using only the shirt on your back. Scientists are working on a t-shirt with individual fibers that store electrical power. The scientists see that we are approaching a future where cell phones and computers are as flexible and thin as paper. So, they set out to create a charging method to match, where you could, for example, roll up your phone and put it in your pocket to charge. They started by taking a t-shirt and soaking it in a fluoride solution. Then they baked the t-shirt at a very high temperature. During the process, the fibers in the fabric converted from cellulose to activated carbon. Small parts of the fiber were then used as electrodes and were able to act as capacitors, which store electrical charges. Simple, right? And it’s environmentally friendly to boot.