At the "Hackers On Planet Earth" (HOPE) Conference in New York this week, forensic scientist and security expert Jonathan Zdziarski identified several holes and back doors currently on the iPhone. There's even a packet sniffer that's running all the time. Apple has yet to respond to it. It's important to understand that whenever you're using a connected device, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it could reveal information to interested parties. In his presentation, Zdziarski revealed some of the data that is constantly leaked out by the iPhone.
This Week in Tech News
In the biggest layoff of Microsoft's history, 18,000 employees are on the line to be let go. That amounts to 14 percent of its staff. But the majority of those people came on board when Microsoft bought Nokia, and most are not in the U.S. either. It will cost Microsoft 1.1 to 1.6 billion dollars in severance and benefits. 13,000 jobs will be cut immediately and another 5,000 will be cut over the next 6 months. A total of 1,351 jobs will be cut in the Seattle region at Microsoft's headquarters.
Netflix is testing a private viewing mode, which will prevent recommendations based on any content you view when in privacy mode. Anything you watch will not be logged into your history either. Leo says that's a good option for those who watch something out of curiosity or "guilty pleasure," and doesn't want it to affect recommendations.
As part of the release of his new album "Mandatory Fun," music parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic has released eight videos in eight days as part of his #8videos8days campaign on Twitter. The songs include Pharrell Williams "Happy" with "Tacky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" with "Word Crimes". But Leo says what's interesting is that he's released them across multiple internet portals. And he's killing it.
Tech reporter Ryan Block tried to cancel his Comcast cable account on the phone, but the account rep wouldn't let him. He tried for over an hour to get Ryan to change his mind. Leo says that he's learned the rep loses money on his salary after a percentage of accounts get cancelled, to the point where he ends up making minimum wage. So the representative probably was trying to save his salary. This is a bad way to do business, and Comcast later issued an apology for the hardship that Ryan dealt with.
While Leo remains skeptical on the idea of the smart watch, he has begun to like the LG G Watch more. He finds it convenient to send and receive text messages and get notifications passed from his phone. He can talk to it, query it, and tap the screen. It's not as much of a health tracking watch, as other fitness bands and smart watches have been, but it does measure steps taken. Leo says the jury is still out on this, and probably not worth buying yet. He suggests waiting to see if Apple does something magical to make watches good.
Ubervita, a nutritional supplement firm, said that they want to know who's publishing negative reviews on Amazon.com of their products. The judge said Ubervita can issue subpoenas to Amazon and Craigslist to get user identities. US District Judge Marsha Pechman wrote on Wednesday: "Ubervita may serve subpoenas on Amazon, Inc. (or other appropriate Amazon entity) and Craiglist, Inc.
After Netflix began publicly blaming Verizon for its video streaming quality issues, Verizon is now refuting this on its site, and is blaming Netflix.
Verizon: Buffering Problems Are Netflix’s Fault (Time)…
A cover, supposedly for the next Apple iPhone, has been leaked. This could be made of sapphire crystal, and is very tough. It was showed off earlier this week in a YouTube video from Hong Kong by Marques Brownlee. The video shows the glass bending, and Brownlee was even stabbing it with a knife to show that it could not be scratched. The front part measures 4.7", which is consistent with the predictions we've been hearing from other sources as one of the sizes of the next iPhone.
Leo bought the Android Wear LG G Watch. This is the latest smart watch, after many previous watches like the Pebble or Samsung's Galaxy Gear Gear. There have also been many fitness bands like the Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone Up, and the Fitbit Flex. Microsoft even had a Spot Watch over a decade ago, and even the Casio calculator watch. Unfortunately, the LG G Watch is only marginally better than those past attempts according to Leo.