Archive for August, 2012

Microsoft restricts the use of the ‘Metro’ name and dictates design elements.

Microsoft Windows 8 start screenThe warning now appears in online guidelines for developers, in a section labeled “Naming your app.”

“Make sure your app name doesn’t include the word metro,” Microsoft cautioned. “Apps with a name that includes the word metro will fail certification and won’t be listed in the Windows Store.”

The ban on “metro” was first reported by the MarkedUp blog Tuesday.

Microsoft’s move was the latest in its deprecation of the Metro label, one it had associated with Windows 8 for nearly a year, and used much longer with other products, including Zune and Windows Phone.

Last week, Microsoft confirmed it was dumping the Metro tag, but claimed that it had used it only as a code name. That held little water, however; The company had never said as much regarding Windows 8 or Windows RT, and in presentations, press releases and developer documents, the firm had repeatedly used the word to describe the apps and the WinRT-based environment they run in.

According to several reports, the name was ditched after Metro AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based conglomerate that’s the world’s fifth-largest retailer, complained.

Microsoft and Metro AG both declined to comment on the origin of the name change.

Several sources have said Microsoft was telling developers, partners and employees that Metro would be replaced by such phrases as “Windows 8 design” and “Modern UI.”

As of Wednesday, there were still four free apps in the Windows Store that used the word “metro” in their titles, including ”MetroTwit“ and “Tweet Paint Metro.”

It’s unclear whether those apps’ names will have to be changed, or if they will be “grandfathered” in under earlier rules.

Long Zheng, the developer of app ‘MetroTwit’ called the new restriction “illogical,” and added that “We will be seeking legal advice.”

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Dropbox security tightened

Posted August 29, 2012 By David Kolle

 

Dropbox has added additional security measures with a two-step verification process for all user accounts.

Dropbox is implementing two-factor authentication. Photo: Courtesy of Flickr, ilamont.comThe process, which is optional but recommended by Dropbox, “adds an extra layer of protection” to accounts by requiring users to submit a six-digit security code in addition to their passwords whenever they sign in, or link a new computer, phone or tablet.

The security code is sent to users’ phones via text message, or generated using a mobile authenticator app.

Dropbox first unveiled the new feature to its forum users, asking them to report their experiences.

The announcement comes just after Dropbox found that usernames and passwords stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a number of Dropbox accounts. In a blog entry posted late July, the cloud-based service said it would take steps to improve users’ security by unrolling “two-factor authentication,” which requires two proofs of identity when signing in.

Users have previously requested the feature in Dropbox forums last year.

Google also encourages users of GMail and Google Apps to use two-factor authentication. Two hacking cases involving email account compromises show the extra level of security is warranted.

To enable two-step verification, sign into the Dropbox website, and click the “Security” tab in the drop-down menu under your name. Under the “Account sign in” section, next to “Two-step verification,” toggle “change.” You’ll then be asked to re-enter your password to confirm your decision to enable two-step verification; once this is done, you can choose to get your security code either by text or from a mobile app. Dropbox details the steps in its Help Center.

 

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This week social network site Diaspora* sent out an email to it members announcing that it will become more of a community project offering.

English: The Diaspora developers Français : Le...

The Diaspora developers

The email written by one of the sites co-founders and developers, Daniel Grippi reads;

“Dear Community,

We have been overwhelmed with your support the past week after our annoucnment of Makr.io and the opening up of signups on joindiaspora.com.  This week, we are excited to share with you some important Diaspora announcements.

When we started Diaspora two years ago, the project kicked off with amazing reception and support from people that believed in our ultimate goal: giving users ownership over their data. It’s a powerful idea, one that captured the imaginations of millions of people across the world. This vision has expanded and evolved over the past two years that we have been working on it as the project has grown.

Diaspora* began when we were still at NYU—just four guys trying to scratch our own itch. We had an idea about how social networks could work in a new and exciting way. We intended to be done over the course of a summer, and with an expected budget of $10,000 from our Kickstarter campaign. The reception of this idea was so good that we managed to reach 20 times the expected amount in donations, and the project expanded to cover far more than just a summer. It’s been over two years now, and we are proud of what Diaspora has become.

Today, the network has grown into thousands of people using our software in hundreds of installations across the web. There are hundreds of pods that have been created by community members, and it has become one of the biggest Github projects to date. It has been translated to almost fifty languages, with hundreds of developers worldwide contributing back to the project.

Diaspora has grown into something more than just a project four guys started in their office at school. It is bigger than any one of us, the money we raised, or the code we have written. It has developed into something that people all over the world care about and are inspired by.  We think the time is right to reflect this reality, and put our code where our hearts lie.

Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community.

As a Free Software social project, we have an obligation to take this project further, for the good of the community that revolves around it. Putting the decisions for the project’s future in the hands of the community is one of the highest benefits of any FOSS project, and we’d like to bring this benefit to our users and developers. We still will remain as an important part this community as the founders, but we want to make sure we are including all of the people who care about Diaspora and want to see it succeed well into the future.

If you look around, you’ll see that we’ve made an effort to open up to the community more to help better serve it. We’ve opened up our Pivotal Tracker for community developers help join in (You can sign up here), we’ve launched a tool that deploys one-click installations to the Heroku app hosting service, and we’ve updated joindiaspora.com to be more community-centric, showcasing other pods a user can join.

This will not be an immediate shift over. Many details still need to be stepped through. It is going to be a gradual process to open up more and more to community governance over time. The goal is to make this an entirely community-driven and community-run project. Sean Tilley, our Open Source Community Manager will spearhead community efforts to see that this happens.  Stay tuned to our blog for a message from Sean concerning next steps, as well as ways to get involved in helping with the transition process.

This is a new opportunity for Diaspora to grow further than ever before.  We can’t wait to see what we can do together.”

Will be interesting to see how the community driven social network develops and if it is successful as it creators hope.

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New smartphone case claims to reduce cancer risk

Posted August 27, 2012 By David Kolle

A new smartphone cover made from the same material as NASA spacecraft claims to reduce antenna radiation and improve performance.

Pong CaseIt’s still not clear exactly how bad the problem of cellphone radiation really is – but recent studies show that just 50 minutes of cell phone use affects brain activity in the area of brain closest to the phone, and the World Health Organization have reclassified cell phone radiation as “potentially carcinogenic for humans.”

A company called Pong, however, claim that they’ve developed a solution, in the form of a phone case.

The problem Pong claims to be solving is that mobile devices emit microwave energy, and the majority of it is absorbed by the heads and bodies of phone users while making calls.

The Pong case, which is available for a variety of different smartphones, claims to redirect radiation away from the user and reduce exposure by up to 95%.

But given that it could take decades for the harmful effects of radiation to manifest, how do we know whether it’s actually working?

Pong’s Chief Technology Officer, Ryan McCaughey, says that they’ve done rigorous testing.

“The scale we base our research is the industry standard of SAR, or specific absorption rate. All cell phones are measured to this standard, and what we do is compare the effect of a cellphone on SAR with and without the Pong case.”

“Our lab tests, including independent lab tests, which we feel are a very important validation, show that we reduce SAR by up to 95% below current safety limits.

But even Mr McCaughey admits that the Pong isn’t a complete solution, because not enough known is yet known about how safe even small levels of radiation are.

“There’s so far no known safe limit. We can’t say that someone using the Pong is going to be completely safe from radiation, but we’re of the feeling that less exposure to radiation is better, and that’s what Pong is providing.”

To find out more about the Pong case visit www.pongmobile.com.au

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