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+ - Android Smartphone Activation in the U.S. Triumphs Over iOS in Q1->

Submitted by awaissoft
awaissoft (2930871) writes "Google’s Android platform dominated the smartphone market in the U.S. yet again with majority smartphone activations during the first quarter, while Apple’s iOS came in second place.

The dominance of the Android platform in the U.S. smartphone market continued as it again took the top spot during the first quarter of 2014. According to new data from research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, CIRP, Android smartphone activations accounted for 53 percent of the entire market share in the U.S., but Apple’s iOS platform witnessed a significant drop from the previous quarter, nabbing 42 percent of all activations during the CIRP’s survey period.

The results were based on a survey of 500 U.S. residents who activated their devices from January through March. CIRP’s data only shows the number of new activations and not the total number of devices running Android or iOS.

Since Android and iOS took the majority share, with 95 percent of all activations in the U.S., other competing platforms were left with a mere 5 percent. Based on the findings, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS took one percent each and the remaining three percent was mustered by basic phones.

The results show a significant drop in the non-smartphone activations, down 20 percent from the beginning of Q1, CIRP shows. As for Android, the market share grew significantly from 43 percent at the beginning of the quarter to 53 percent by the end of the period. The growth was seen for iOS platform as well, which was weighed at 30 percent at the beginning to 42 percent during the quarter’s end.

“On a percentage bases during the quarter, iOS grew a little faster than Android, from a smaller base, even though in absolute terms Android had a larger share,” Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP, said in a press release, Friday. “The long term issue is where Android and iOS growth will come from when there are no more basic phones being retired. First time smartphone buyers are key to that equation.”

Another recent survey from a market intelligence firm, IDC, revealed in February that Android accounted for nearly 80 percent of all smartphones in 2013. The survey was conducted on a global level and showed the total number of devices powered by different mobile operating systems and not just activations."

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+ - Bullied Student Records Bullies, Gets Hit With Felony Charges For Violation->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Here comes another story highlighting the danger of schools "outsourcing" their disciplinary problems to law enforcement. As we've stated before, this does nothing more than turn routine misconduct into criminal behavior, which is a great way to derail a student's future.

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school's attention, which duly responded by calling the cops to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania's wiretapping law. (h/t to Techdirt reader btr1701)

Maybe the future holds better outcomes, but for right now, everyone involved had a chance to stop this from reaching this illogical conclusion, but no one — from the administrators to their legal team to local law enforcement to the presiding judge — was interested in reining this in. In the end, it looks as though an innate desire to punish someone was satisfied every step of the way."

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+ - Snowden Used the Operating System Designed for Internet Anonymity

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "When Edward Snowden first emailed Glenn Greenwald, he insisted on using email encryption software called PGP for all communications. Now Klint Finley reports that Snowden also used The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) to keep his communications out of the NSA’s prying eyes. Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box using a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity that you install on a DVD or USB drive, boot your computer from and you’re pretty close to anonymous on the internet. "Snowden, Greenwald and their collaborator, documentary film maker Laura Poitras, used it because, by design, Tails doesn’t store any data locally," writes Finley. "This makes it virtually immune to malicious software, and prevents someone from performing effective forensics on the computer after the fact. That protects both the journalists, and often more importantly, their sources." The developers of Tails are, appropriately, anonymous. They’re protecting their identities, in part, to help protect the code from government interference. “The NSA has been pressuring free software projects and developers in various ways,” the group says. But since we don’t know who wrote Tails, how do we now it isn’t some government plot designed to snare activists or criminals? A couple of ways, actually. One of the Snowden leaks show the NSA complaining about Tails in a Power Point Slide; if it’s bad for the NSA, it’s safe to say it’s good for privacy. And all of the Tails code is open source, so it can be inspected by anyone worried about foul play. "With Tails", say the distro developers, "we provide a tongue and a pen protected by state-of-the-art cryptography to guarantee basic human rights and allow journalists worldwide to work and communicate freely and without fear of reprisal.""

+ - Was California Law Broken in the Mozilla CEO Firestorm?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "While the rise and fall of Brendan Eich at Mozilla sparked a debate over how to properly strike a balance between an employee's political free speech and his employer's desire to communicate a particular corporate 'culture,' notes Brian Van Vleck at the California Workforce Resource Blog, the California Labor Code has already resolved this debate. "Under California law," Van Vleck explains, "it is blatantly illegal to fire an employee because he has donated money to a political campaign. This rule is clearly set forth in Labor Code sections 1101-1102". Section 1102 begins, "No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity." Corporate Counsel's Marlisse Silver Sweeney adds, "Mozilla is adamant that the board did not force Eich to resign, and asked him to stay on in another role. It also says that although some employees tweeted for his resignation, support for his leadership was expressed by a larger group of employees. And this is all a good thing for the company from a legal standpoint." As Eich stepped down, Re/code reported that Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said Eich's ability to lead the company had been badly damaged by the continued scrutiny over the hot-button issue. "It's clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting," Baker was quoted as saying. "I think there has been pressure from all sides, of course, but this is Brendan's decision. Given the circumstances, this is not surprising." Van Vleck offers these closing words of advice, "To the extent employers want to follow in Mozilla's footsteps by policing their employees' politics in the interests of 'culture,' 'inclusiveness,' or corporate branding, they should be aware that their efforts will violate California law.""

+ - Romanian Man Kills Himself & Four-Year-Old Son Because of Ransomware Porn Th->

Submitted by ReekRend
ReekRend (843787) writes "Apparently the man had previously looked at porn online and thought the threat was real. "The report claims a suicide note left to his wife explained that the reason for taking his own life was: 'I received a warning [on my computer] that said I have to pay 70.000 lei [£13,000] or go to prison for 11 years. I don't think it's normal what I've done...I apologise to all of you...I don't want Nicusor to suffer because of me...I can't stand going to prison. I can't.' ""
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+ - Western Digital 'MyCloud' Is Down 5 Days & Counting

Submitted by Nemo the Magnificent
Nemo the Magnificent (2786867) writes "A friend of mine bought a Western Digital 'MyCloud' NAS server (non-RAID) a couple of weeks ago. WD implements the cloud service through its wd2go.com site. He reports that that site is down and has been since last Wednesday. No word on when it'll be back up. The only official announcements are daily repeats of this canned posting:

'Our My Cloud and My Book Live users are experiencing intermittent issues with WD servers that enable remote access when using these products. These issues include poor transfer speeds and/or inability to connect remotely. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and we are working very hard to resolve these issues and resume normal service as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and will provide updates as they are available.'

"

+ - Dropbox's new policy of scanning files for DMCA issues->

Submitted by Advocatus Diaboli
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "This weekend, though, a small corner of the Internet exploded with concern that Dropbox was going too far, actually scanning users' private and directly peer-shared files for potential copyright issues. What's actually going on is a little more complicated than that, but shows that sharing a file on Dropbox isn't always the same as sharing that file directly from your hard drive over something like e-mail or instant messenger. The whole kerfuffle started yesterday evening, when one Darrell Whitelaw tweeted a picture of an error he received when trying to share a link to a Dropbox file with a friend via IM. The Dropbox web page warned him and his friend that "certain files in this folder can't be shared due to a takedown request in accordance with the DMCA.""
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+ - Google Sacrificed Innovation to Avoid Pissing Off Steve Jobs

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In addition to affecting one million employees, reports PandoDaily's Mark Ames, Apple and Google's wage-fixing cartel also sacrificed innovation so as not to anger Steve Jobs. "One the most interesting misconceptions I've heard about the 'Techtopus' conspiracy," writes Ames, "is that, while these secret deals to fix recruiting were bad (and illegal), they were also needed to protect innovation by keeping teams together while avoiding spiraling costs." Not so, argues Ames, who describes how Google cancelled plans to have former Apple employee Jean-Marie Hullot run a small engineering center in Paris after Jobs expressed his disapproval. A promise from Google Sr. VP of Knowledge Alan Eustace that "Jean-Marie will not be working on anything to do with cell phone handsets" wasn't good enough for Jobs, who told Eustace, "We’d strongly prefer that you not hire these guys [Hullot and his team]." Breaking the news to Hullot, Eustace wrote, "Steve is opposed to Google hiring these engineers. He didn't say why, and I don't think it is appropriate for me to go back for clarification. I can’t risk our relationship with Apple to make this happen over his objections." In a follow-up e-mail to Jobs, Eustace wrote, "Based on your strong preference that we not hire the ex-Apple engineers, Jean-Marie and I decided not to open a Google Paris engineering center. I appreciate your input into this decision, and your continued support of the Google/Apple partnership." Ames notes, "It's worth taking a moment to reflect, again, on what was happening here: in a field as critical and competitive as smartphones, Google's R&D strategy was being dictated, not by the company's board, or by its shareholders, but by a desire not to anger the CEO of a rival company." Jobs, who reportedly took glee in Google's only-too-eager termination of an employee who crossed his path, was apparently viewed as one not to be trifled with. Asked by lawyers last year to describe Steve Jobs' view on hiring in Silicon Valley, Google co-founder Sergey Brin responded, "I think Mr. Jobs' view was that people shouldn't piss him off. And I think that things that pissed him off were — would be hiring, you know — whatever.""

+ - Monster Rare Yellow Hypergiant Star Discovered-> 2

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A gargantuan star, measuring 1,300 times the size of our sun, has been uncovered 12,000 light-years from Earth — it is one of the ten biggest stars known to exist in our galaxy. The yellow hypergiant even dwarfs the famous stellar heavyweight Betelgeuse by 50 percent. While its hulking mass may be impressive, astronomers have also realized that HR 5171 is a double star with a smaller stellar sibling physically touching the surface of the larger star as they orbit one another. “The new observations also showed that this star has a very close binary partner, which was a real surprise,” said Olivier Chesneau, of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. “The two stars are so close that they touch and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut."
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+ - How the NSA Plans to Infect 'Millions' of Computers with Malware->

Submitted by Advocatus Diaboli
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process. The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks."
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+ - Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Apple and Samsung couldn't agree on a patent cross-license even though their CEOs met recently. What could be the reason (or one of the reasons) is that Apple is asking for obscenely high patent royalties. At the March 31 trial an Apple-hired expert will present to a California jury (already the third jury trial in this dispute) a damages claim of $40 per device (phone or tablet) for just a handful of software patents. The patents are related to, but don't cover all aspects and elements of, functionalities like slide-to-unlock, autocorrect, data synchronization, unified search and the famous tap-on-phone-number-to-dial feature. Google says there are 250,000 patentable inventions in a smartphone. On average, Apple wants $8 per patent per device. That would add a patent licensing bill of $2 million to each gadget. So Apple and Samsung will be back to court again later this month."

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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