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      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
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  • Facebook Messenger app launches

    Facebook has launched a messaging application for use on both Android and iPhones. An engineer within Facebook, Lucy Zhang said that the messaging app can be used to not only exchange messages within the user's Facebook friends, but also to send messages on a user's mobile phone contact list. In a Facebook blog post Zhang explained the relevance of the product, saying, "When you're on the go, coordinating a bunch of people can be tricky, especially if plans change at the last minute. With Messenger, you can quickly start a group conversation and message everyone at once." Facebook has also...

  • Bad year for China: 500 000 cyber attacks in 2010

    China, in a recently released statement, said that it had been the target of close to 500 000 cyber attacks during 2010. Many of the attacks came from foreign countries such as India (8 percent based on IP activity) and the US (14.7 percent based on IP activity); this was according to a government report issued from the port city of Dalian where the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Centre is located. The bulk of these attacks came from Trojan applications which are used by hackers to gain access to specifically targeted computers. China has, in the past, been...

  • Write, heat, write again with rewritable ‘paper’

    A group of scientists in Taiwan has developed a rewritable electronic paper that needs no power source to maintain display of an image printed on it, and just needs to be re-heated to wipe it for re-use up to 260 times. Unlike the e-book technology now available on the market, the rewritable e-paper called "i2R e-paper" does not need to be back lit and therefore does not consume electricity, according to the island's top industrial research unit Industrial Technology Research Institute. Read more on Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • ‘The last reason for me to use the internet is over': The Onion paywall

    World famous news parody site The Onion is now insisting users must pay to access its content. A new paywall has been erected which limits the amount of content users can see before having to pay a fee. The paywell is similar to those put up around the sites of The New York Times, The Times of London and the Wall Street Journal but slightly less restrictive. Onion users are given a maximum of five premium page views on the site, before a notification pops up detailing the payment structures required to continue viewing the site. Users are given the...

  • OpenStack: Toward an open ‘Cloud’ infrastructure

    Moving to "the Cloud" is all the buzz nowadays. I personally hate the terminology, and while it may seem a pretty novel concept to some, the principles behind "cloud" computing are pretty old-hat. The idea is fairly simple, instead of hosting all of your own data and applications locally, you take advantage of the internet to handle everything. If you're using a webmail service, you're already doing cloud computing. The real technical genius behind it all is that the provisioning of services and access should be fairly instantaneous, and to do that most businesses that want to provide Software...

  • Inbox beat-down: How social media rivalry is impeding email deliverability

    Recently, both Google and Facebook have -- within 24 hours of each other -- initiated major manoeuvres to become the unequivocal masters of the inbox. With the social media migration deadlock still hanging in the balance after the launch of Google+, the email arena has been primed as the next battlefield between the information superpowers. In the blue corner: Facebook is now gunning to consolidate its users' social and email activities all under one roof, re-inventing itself as a major email service provider (ESP) by adding a few frills to its own in-house email service and promoting its use more...

  • Anonymous takes down Syrian Ministry of Defence site

    Hacker group Anonymous, has taken down yet another governmental site in its declared war against global injustice. The group has removed the Syrian Ministry of Defence website and posted, in its place, a series of videos, images, and a message demanding the removal of current president, Bashar Al-Assad. The message, which is printed in both Arabic and English says: "To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side - tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent...

  • 9 ways Twitter is good for democracy

    We all know tweeting isn't the same as voting and that most people on Twitter are observers rather than participants. I've long believed, however, that Twitter has the potential to make a significant contribution to a culture of openness, inclusiveness and what it means to be a member of the body politic, and the more I scroll through my timeline, the more I see evidence that this is the case. Here are 9 ways that Twitter is good for democracy. 1. First, and most obviously, access to Twitter is not easily controlled. We've seen the power of social media...

  • Famed Chinese artist and dissident sends first tweets since arrest

    Following what many had taken to be a regime-imposed silence, famed Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has returned to Twitter. Ai tweeted for the first time this weekend since his April arrest and subsequent June release on the back of public pressure from a number of international bodies. One of Ai's bail conditions, upon release from detention, was that he was barred from giving media interviews. At the time of his release he said, "Please understand, however that I cannot accept interviews. I am out on bail for one year, that is all I can say". Regarding this...

  • Hacker drone launches airborne cyber attacks

    Computer security specialists recently showed off a home made drone aircraft capable of launching airborne cyber attacks, hijacking mobile phone calls, or even delivering a dirty bomb. Rich Perkins and Mike Tassey built the bright yellow Wireless Arial Surveillance Platform in a garage from a used US Army target drone that they customized to find mobile phones and Internet hotspots. Read more on Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • New Blackberry range hits stores end August

    Research in Motion has announced the launch of five new handsets, all running the new Blackberry 7 operating system. The five phones are the Torch 9810, the Bold 9900/9930 and the Torch 9850/9860, a full touchscreen device. The refreshed range comes at a crucial time for the Canadian manufacturer, which is doing very well in developing marketings, but is being battered by slowing sales and negative sentiment in the US and Europe. Read more on Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Defcon ‘Kids Village’ guides hackers of the future

    Defcon, one of the world's premier annual hacking conferences, has introduced a "Kids Village" aimed at improving the hacking skills of children as young as nine. The Kids Village makes use of experts in the industry such as renowned security consultant and author, Chris Hadnagy. He said that in a world where children are surrounded by technology, guidance must be given to them so that they can legally and safely test their hacking skills. Nine-year old Anna and her brother, 10-year old Jake, for instance, together built a robot which can paint on small spherical objects such as small balls...

  • Bouncing, rolling drone takes flight

    A Japanese defence researcher has invented a spherical observation drone that can fly down narrow alleys, hover on the spot, take off vertically and bounce along the ground. About the size of a beachball and jet black, the remote-controlled Spherical Air Vehicle resembles a tiny Death Star from the Star Wars movies but has a more benign purpose -- to transmit live images from a video camera. Read more on Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • US military secure — opened with a paper clip

    Hackers at a Defcon gathering were recently shown how a high-security lock, certified for use in sensitive US government facilities, can be easily opened with just a piece of wire. Security specialist Marc Weber Tobias had plans to meet in Switzerland with lock-maker Kaba to discuss ways that the Swiss company's Access Control E-Plex 5800 model and its predecessor can be foiled. Read more at Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • AntiSec takes on US police agencies

    Hacker group AntiSec is claiming to have "defaced and destroyed" the websites of various US police agencies in retaliation to the arrest of suspected peers accused of hacking into the CIA, Britain's Serious Organised Crimes Agency (SOCA), and Sony. The group backed its claim in a recent post by releasing more than 10 gigabytes of information apparently looted from more than 70 local police agencies during the cyber attacks. "We are releasing a massive amount of confidential information that is sure to embarrass, discredit and incriminate police officers across the US," the group said in a message. "We are doing this in...