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Submission + - Interview with programmer who hacked Skype (

jhernik writes: Good products can’t stay proprietary for long, says Efim Bushmanov, the Russian who published an open source version of Skype’s protocol

Last week, the news broke that a Russian programmer had reverse-engineered Skype’s proprietary VoIP protocols. In an interview, he praises Skype as a good product with more “polish” than open source software can muster. He denies any malicious intent including spamming or phihing, and says that products like Skype simply cannot remain proprietary for ever and hopes that Microsoft, which is buying Skype for $8.5 billion, will remain neutral to the project, and could benefit it in the end.

Tucked away in Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi Republic some 1,400 km northeast of Moscow, Russian programming researcher Efim Bushmanov is getting a lot of attention. Having reverse engineered Skype protocols and then made his research available to the public via his blog just a few days ago on June 2, search queries bearing his name now generate over 10,000 responses on Google.


Submission + - PayPal Sues Google Over Wallet Trade Secrets (

jhernik writes: Google executives are being sued by PayPal for using trade secrets to build the new Google Wallet service

PayPal, eBay’s payment service, has sued Google over its new Google Wallet service, accusing the search engine of poaching trade secrets for use in its mobile payment service.

The suit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court just hours after Google unveiled its Wallet payments sheme, alleges that two key executives who created the near-field communication (NFC) service used company secrets about mobile payments to fashion its own service.

Unveiled at a press event in New York, Google Wallet lets consumers pay for products by tapping their Android-based smartphones against a special sale terminal.


Submission + - Passport Site Scrapped In Government Website Cull (

jhernik writes: The government’s cull of ‘vanity websites’ continues, with the passport website as the latest casualty

The Identity and Passport Service website has been merged into the Home Office site as part of government cost-cutting plans to reduce the number of ‘vanity websites’.

When users now visit the Identity and Passport Services website, they are confronted with the following message.

“It is the government’s intention to reduce the number of websites to provide cost savings and improved access to government information, departments and their services,” reads the notice on the website. “To this end, Identity and Passport Service (IPS) content has been integrated into the Home Office’s website.”

An archive of the site is available here, archived as of 9 January 2011.

Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Apple Proposes Even Smaller Micro-SIM Card (

jhernik writes: Apple has proposed an even smaller SIM card so that it can create “thinner” devices in the future

Users with fat fingers beware, as Apple has proposed an even smaller SIM card for its future devices.

Apple of course already utilises a micro-SIM for its iPad and iPhone 4. This tiny card is much smaller than the traditional SIM cards usually found in mobile phones, which measure 15 x 25mm. A micro-SIM is almost 52 percent smaller than that, measuring just 12 x 15mm.

And now Apple is planning an even smaller card card than the micro-SIM, after it submitted the concept to the European standards body ETSI.


Submission + - O2 Network Hit By Vandalism (

jhernik writes: O2s voice and data services in the South-East have been hit by problems after an incident of theft and vandalism

O2s network covering customers in East London, North London, Kent and Sussex has been hit by problems after an incident of theft and vandalism that occurred on Monday night, the company said on Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at a site in East London and was discovered in the early hours of Tuesday, the company said.


Submission + - GSMA Slams Euro Call For Ban On Wireless In School (

jhernik writes: The GSMA has condemned a European report that calls for a ban of mobile phones as “unbalanced unscientific”

The ongoing debate over the supposed dangers posed by mobile phone usage and wireless signals has exploded once again. An influential European committee has called for a ban on mobile phones and Wi-Fi networks in schools – but industry body the GSM Association (GSMA) has denounced the report as an “unbalanced political assessment, not a scientific report.”

The Council of Europe’s Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs published a report earlier this month on the potential dangers of electromagnetic fields. The report recommended that European governments take precautionary steps to ban mobile phone and Wi-Fi usage in schools.


Submission + - Microsoft Rumoured To Buy Skype For $7.5bn (

jhernik writes: Microsoft is said to be close to a deal to buy VoIP service Skype, in what would be its biggest-ever deal

Microsoft is reportedly close to a deal to buy Skype for between $7 billion (£4.2bn) and $8 billion (£4.9bn), in what would be its largest-ever acquisition.

But the deal is not yet complete and could still fall apart, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported the possible deal in its online edition. The blog GigaOm also reported Microsoft’s interest in Skype.


Submission + - Intel Says 3D Chips Will Be In Phones This Year (

jhernik writes: Intel’s Tri-Gate 3D technology will cut power and boost performance of devices using 22-nm Ivy Bridge chips

Intel has advanced its plans for “3D” chips, which improve performance by carrying electrons along raised vertical strips instead of two-dimensional flat tracks.

The chip maker announced a breakthrough in its Tri-Gate technology on 4 May, which will allow chips that operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing better performance and greater energy efficiency.

First discussed in 2002, Tri-Gate can be expected later this year in handheld devices, sensors and big computers which use Intel’s “Ivy Bridge” chips made using 22-nm fabrication technology, and will eventually replace planar transistors completely


Submission + - iPhone 5 To Roll Out In September (

jhernik writes: The iPhone 5 will begin production in July and ship in September, according to a Reuters report

The iPhone 5 will begin production in July of this year, with shipping likely to begin in September, according to unnamed sources cited in a Reuters report on Wednesday.

One of the three unnamed individuals reportedly said the iPhone 5 will have a faster processor than the current model but will largely resemble the iPhone 4.

Launch rumours
These dates are similar to those suggested by an analyst report circulated earlier this month, in which Avian Securities said production could begin as late as September.


Submission + - Twitter To Offer Facebook-Style Fan Pages (

jhernik writes: Twitter is looking into opening up new revenue streams with its own brand pages

Micro-blogging site Twitter could soon offer dedicated Facebook-style pages, as part of an attempt to further tap into and monetise the business activity taking place on its platform.

Sources familiar with the project told Marketing Magazine that Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo and president of revenue Adam Bain are championing the idea, as part of an attempt to create fresh revenue streams. The pages would allow companies to tout their brands and deliver tailored content to their followers.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Samsung And Visa To Offer Olympic Mobile Payments (

jhernik writes: Visitors to London for the Olympics will be able to use NFC-equipped mobile phones to buy snacks and drinks

Mobile giant Samsung and credit card company Visa are teaming up to offer mobile payment technology at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The two companies will produce a special mobile handset ahead of the games, equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) – a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4 inches – and a Visa-enabled SIM card. The handsets will be distributed among Visa and Samsung sponsored athletes, and will also be available for consumers to purchase through mobile network operators and other distributors.


Submission + - Critics Slam Lack Of Android Honeycomb Apps (

jhernik writes: With Motorola’s Xoom and Asus’ Transformer due to bring Android 3.0 tablets to the UK, where are the apps?

As tablets based on the new Honeycomb version of Android appear, critics have questioned Google’s moves to enforce a standard Android platform, and said there may be as few as 20 “real” apps for the devices.

Motorola’s Xoom tablet is due to appear in the UK next week, along with the Eee Transformer, but their ability to compete with the recently-launched Apple iPad 2 may be hurt by the shortage of tablet-optimised Android apps. Meanwhile, reports that Google wants to standardise Android hardware are causing alarm.


Submission + - BP Spills Personal Data Of 13,000 Oil Leak Victims (

jhernik writes: Black marks for BP as a laptop goes missing with details of compensation claimants from last year’s oil spill

Oil giant BP has admitted to losing a laptop containing the names and private information of 13,000 people who filed compensation claims after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year.

The laptop, which contains a spreadsheet of the names, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers of claimants, was password-protected but not encrypted.

The company says it immediately reported the incident to law enforcement and company security, and has sent letters to individuals whose data was stored on the computer, notifying them about the potential data security breach and offering to pay for their credit to be monitored.

“There is no evidence that the laptop or data was targeted or that anyone’s personal data has in fact been compromised or accessed in any way,” a BP spokesman said in a statement.


Submission + - Lawyers Seek To Block Twitter Data Handover (

jhernik writes: Twitter’s lawyers are trying to block US authorities from accessing personal data as part of a WikiLeaks probe

Lawyers on Friday asked a US judge to overturn a ruling from earlier this month, forcing Twitter to hand over account details to the US Department of Justice, in a case related to the US federal government’s ongoing investigation of Wikileaks.

The appeal (PDF) seeks to overturn a ruling that would give the US government access to Twitter account details for three users who had contact with Wikileaks. The government also wants Twitter to provide information on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and on Bradley Manning, a US Army private charged with providing data to Wikileaks.


Submission + - Yahoo Rolls Out Search To Challenge Google (

jhernik writes: Yahoo Search Direct predictive-search technology is geared to help searchers find answers, not links, faster

Yahoo on 23 March launched Search Direct, a feature that retrieves immediate search results to rival the Google Instant predictive-search technology.

Like Google Instant, Search Direct brings users search results as they type characters, and before they complete a query, hit the search button, or go to a search results page.

The idea is to shave several seconds off all search queries, coaxing users to search more and, ideally for Yahoo, see and click on more ads.

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