Boot up: mobile music piracy, LinkedIn email hacking, wearable voice?, and more

Boot up: mobile music piracy, LinkedIn email hacking, wearable voice?, and more
Browser Boot up: mobile music piracy, LinkedIn email hacking, wearable voice?, and more

07:31 AMLieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) uses a communications earpiece in Star Trek. Is that the future of wearables? Photograph: CBS Paramount TelevisionA burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology teamSome 27 million people in the US have used mobile applications to get at least one song in the past year, much of it believed to be unauthorized, NPD found in research that seeks for the first time to quantify the phenomenon. That’s more than the 21 million people NPD estimates use peer-to-peer sites such as isoHunt to download music.…The Google Play store offers some 250 apps for downloading MP3 files to smartphones and tablets powered by its Android software. Several tout the benefit of connecting users to the sources of free music that they could find through a typical Internet search.But, the most popular of these Android apps, Music Maniac, has been downloaded more than 10 million times — and affords free access to all 10 of the top songs listed on the current Billboard’s Hot 100 list. The Recording Industry Association of America said it has sent notices to Google requesting the app’s removal, claiming it enables song piracy. Google has thus far refused.The apps tend to have the get-out that they can legally be used to find free or uncopyrighted music.LinkedIn is urging people to stay away from Sell Hack, a sinister-sounding service that reveals the personal email address of anyone with a profile on the professional network. LinkedIn is warning that the service’s “Hack In” tool uploads confidential information, and says it has sent Sell Hack a cease-and-desist letter.Sell Hack is marketing the “Hack In” button to salespeople looking to reach new prospects. The company’s website claims that people who install its plug-in will be able to use the button to view the email contact of LinkedIn members with whom they’re not connected, such as LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner:Raising the question of why your email would be visible through viewing the profile. LinkedIn is a social network equivalent of herpes – once you have it, you’d like to get rid of it.Nathan Taylor reckons voice will be key to wearables, and that it’s just waiting for a processing breakthrough to become second nature:And once software gets into wide use, it often has an exponential improvement trajectory, driven by algorithmic breakthroughs coupled with Moore’s law. Especially during its initial growth phase. I explored this in detail in last week’s post, using computer chess as an example. But note that during the early portion of exponential growth, doubling doesn’t seem to do anything at all. Twice almost nothing is still almost nothing. Then as the technology approaches our reference vantage point (in this case human spoken language), doubling becomes magical.In other words, what if the ideal wearables are headphones, not glasses?Yasha Levine:With all the hubbub about NSA spying, Google’s PR people really want you to know how separate the company is from America’s military-industrial complex.Earlier this week, Google made a big show of refusing DARPA funding for two robotics manufacturers it purchased, even though the companies themselves were financed with plenty of DoD cash. It’s a nice gesture, and one that was welcomed by those who want Silicon Valley to be free of government interference.Unfortunately, while a crowd-pleasing announcement is good for Google’s public image, it does nothing to change the company’s long and ongoing history of working closely with US military and surveillance agencies.Fascinating piece. As a side note, Pandodaily has improved enormously since its merger with Paul Carr’s NSFW Inc.The aggressive CryptoLocker ransomware appeared last year, locking files on victims’ computers and only offering a decryption key in return for payment of a ransom.The success of the scam – it had infected an estimated 250,000 PCs between September and December last year – has encouraged copycats, with CryptoDefense appearing in February and demanding $500 for a key to unlock files.According to security firm Symantec, the latest iteration is earning its creators $34,000 a month, but while previous versions have been uncrackable without payment, CryptoDefense includes flaws that could allow victims to escape with payment.Oops, but in a good way.Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of basic arguments over its impact on markets and investors. The new book is typical Lewis. It’s a page-turner that reads like a novel and succeeds in making complex topics accessible to non-experts. By taking seemingly disparate developments—the secretive race to build underground, super-fast fiber optic cables, the 2009 arrest of a Goldman Sachs computer programmer—Lewis stitches together a compelling, character-driven narrative to walk readers through the immense changes the financial markets have undergone over the past decade.Only two things wrong with it, apparently. Whether they’re big or small may be a matter for discussion.In 1998, Health Canada first commissioned the Royal Society to examine Safety Code 6 to assess consistency with the scientific literature in setting limits to protect the public from adverse health risks. This led to a Expert Panel report in March 1999. While there have been changes made to Safety Code 6 over the past 15 years, public concerns continue to be raised in respect of RF exposure that fall within the limits of the code. So, in 2013, Health Canada once again commissioned the Royal Society to strike an independent expert panel.At nearly 120 pages plus appendices, it is a hefty read.The bottom line? A single statement in the Public Summary says it best: “the Panel has concluded that the balance of evidence at this time does not indicate negative health effects from exposure to RF energy below the limits recommended in the Safety Code.”Deploy tinfoil hats elsewhere.When it comes to discovering new music nothing beats the good old radio. That’s according to the results of an Edison Research survey which finds that 35% of Americans who try to keep up with the latest music consider FM/AM radio their number one source.Personal recommendations are also popular when it comes to music, with 21% of the respondents mostly relying on their social circle to stay up-to-date. Among the plethora of online music services, surprisingly, YouTube is the most important one for music discovery, 10% find new tunes on Google’s video portal.Given how woeful most US FM radio is, this suggests the streaming services are doing a terrible job. Is YouTube’s recommendation system better? Or is it simply bigger? Pandora is only just behind YouTube, at 9%.After Flurry found that native apps are used about 83% of the time by smartphone users, and the mobile web 17%, here’s a piece from 2011 in which Gemmell points out whythe inescapable fact is that when deploying on the web, from the user’s perspective, you’re probably starting with a disadvantage.You can follow Guardian Technology’s linkbucket on PinboardTo suggest a link, either add it below or tag it with @gdntech on the freeDelicious service.View original page