Tests on the latest version of Adobe System’s e-reader software reveals the company is now collecting less data following a privacy-related row last month, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Digital Editions version 4.0.1 appears to only collect data on e-books that have DRM (Digital Rights Management), wrote Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist with the EFF. DRM places restrictions on how content can be used with the intent of thwarting piracy.
Adobe was criticized in early October after it was discovered Digital Editions collected metadata about e-books on a device, even if the e-books did not have DRM. Those logs were also sent to Adobe in plain text.
Since that data was not encrypted, critics including the EFF contended it posed major privacy risks for users. For example, plain text content could be intercepted by an interloper from a user who is on the same public Wi-Fi network.
Adobe said on Oct. 23 it fixed the issues in 4.0.1, saying it would not collect data on e-books without DRM and encrypt data that is transmitted back to the company.
Quintin wrote the EFF’s latest test showed the “only time we saw data going back to an Adobe server was when an e-book with DRM was opened for the first time. This data is most likely being sent back for DRM verification purposes, and it is being sent over HTTPS.”
If an e-book has DRM, Adobe may record how long a person reads it or the percentage of the content that is read, which is used for “metered” pricing models.
Other technical metrics are also collected, such as the IP address of the device downloading a book, a unique ID assigned to the specific applications being used at the time and a unique ID for the device, according to Adobe.
Apple’s iPad finished in second place in the latest satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, with a score of 824 out of a possible 1,000. For the first time, Amazon took first place, scoring 827.
Samsung came in at 821 for third, while Asus and Acer filled out the first five, but those stragglers’ scores were under the category average.
J.D. Power’s satisfaction score included five separate measurements for performance, ease of operation, features, styling and design, and cost, with each accounting for different percentages of the final number. Performance, for example, counted as 28% of the total; cost for 11%.
Apple received high scores in performance and styling and design, while Amazon performed best in ease of operation and cost, said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power.
“Within the tablet segment, there’s a balance of cost and value, and for this period, Amazon was at the equilibrium,” said Parsons. “For the money, [Amazon tablets] do what buyers need them to do. And the Mayday feature really helped them in ease of operation.”
Mayday is a feature on Amazon’s higher-end tablets that lets customers video chat with support representatives using the device.
Parsons called out Amazon’s Fire HDX, which launched in October 2013 in a 7-in. size and a month later in an 8.9-in. format, for driving the brand’s scores. Amazon now sells the 7-in. Fire HDX for $179; the 8.9-in. model starts at $379. “The new Fire HDX did really, really well” in the survey, Parsons noted.
J.D. Power polled nearly 2,700 U.S. tablet owners who had had their current devices for less than a year. The survey period ran from March to August.
The last time J.D. Power published tablet customer satisfaction scores, Amazon placed fourth. Its jump to first was a small surprise, said Parsons. “I figured [Amazon's] scores would improve, but I didn’t think they’d take the top spot,” he admitted.
Price is increasingly important to satisfaction, said Parson, as costs fall and capabilities climb across the board, making it more difficult for premium-priced tablets like Apple’s iPad, to retain their polled positions. On average, tablet customers now spend $345 on their tablets, $48 less than in April 2013, a decline of 12%.
The laptop, which has a 14-inch screen and Android 4.3, was announced in June. At the time, HP said it would be priced at $399.
It is available on HP’s website.
The SlateBook 14 was introduced after customers told HP they wanted laptops with Android. The laptop has an interface similar to that on Android tablets and can adjust mobile apps to run on the larger touchscreen. Users will also be able to sync laptop data with mobile devices and vice versa.
The laptop is also for those who rely on the Web for most of their computing, much like Chromebooks. It has a few advantages over Chromebooks, with support for key Android apps such as Skype. Android also boasts better wireless printing support than Chromebooks.
The laptop weighs 1.68 kilograms and offers nine hours of battery life, according to specifications on HP’s website.
It has a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of DRAM and 16GB of storage. Connectivity features include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has a webcam, USB 3.0 port and a micro-SD slot for expandable storage.
It could be a strong multimedia laptop with a 1920 x 1080 pixel screen and an integrated graphics processor that can handle 4K video. TVs can be connected to the laptop through an HDMI port.
Elements of the project call for designing mobile apps for citizen access, digital interactive kiosks, smart street lights and video surveillance in an area called the city’s innovation district.
The project is designed to complement the city’s build out of a two-mile downtown streetcar path, Cisco said in a statement.
Kansas City, Mo. and its neighbor, Kansas City, Kans., are already getting plenty of outside attention from tech giant Google, which picked the area for its first deployment of Google Fiber, an initiative to install fiber optic cable there and in other cities.
Google won’t say how many households are connected to Google Fiber in the area, but it has already installed 6,000 miles of fiber optic cable. Meanwhile, cable provider Time Warner has provisioned 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for its Internet customers to use from mobile devices in various Kansas City area locales, including the popular eight-block restaurant and bar district on the edge of downtown called the Power & Light District.
While some citizen groups have been concerned that Google Fiber isn’t reaching enough low-income families in the area with gigabit fiber, there’s a general recognition by city officials that people of all income levels use smartphones and other wireless devices fairly widely. That can only help the Cisco initiative with Kansas City for wireless services.
Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James said the initiative with Cisco promises to connect city services and information with visitors and residents “like never before.”
Third-party app developers will also have an opportunity to build unique and innovative apps for public use.
Cisco will use its Smart+Connected Communities reference architectures to evaluate the initiative and will work with the city and a business consultancy called Think Big Partners to manage a “living lab” incubator for the tech startup community.
Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s executive vice president of industry solutions, credited city leaders with leading the “charge on innovation in the Midwest.”
At first, the Latitude 12 looks like a laptop. But within the display panel, the screen rotates 180 degrees and the laptop turns into a tablet once placed on the keyboard.
The new Latitude 12 laptop is part of a new Rugged Extreme line of laptops, which also includes the Rugged Extreme 14. The new laptops are robust and can withstand six-foot drops and remain protected from extreme weather conditions.
The laptops have hard covers that add a layer of protection, but also make the products heavy. The Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme weighs 2.72 kilograms with a four-cell battery, while the 14-in. counterpart weighs 3.54 kilograms with a six-cell battery and no optical drive.
The laptops can also withstand solar radiation, “explosive atmosphere” and weather ranging from -20 degrees to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 degrees to 63 degrees Celsius), according to specifications provided by Dell. The products are targeted at field workers like emergency responders and the military, and will compete against Toughbook rugged laptops from Panasonic.
The Latitude 12 rugged laptop has a starting price of $3,649, while the Latitude 14 begins at $3,499. The laptops will ship next month.
The hybrid design in Latitude 12 has been borrowed from the company’s XPS 12 Ultrabook Touch, which has a 12.5-inch screen that can similarly flip to turn the laptop into a tablet. The resistive touch screens on both laptops can show images at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.
The laptops will have storage options of up to 512GB solid-state drives. Users can configure the laptop with Intel’s latest fourth-generation Core processorscode-named Haswell. The laptops will come with either Windows 8.1 or 7, or Ubuntu Linux operating systems.
Other features include support for up to 16GB of DRAM, Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet through a connector. The laptop also has USB 3.0, USB 2.0, VGA and HDMI ports. Mobile broadband and docking are available as options.
Box has made its HTML5 document viewing tool called Box View available for developers to incorporate into their companies’ products and services.
It was unveiled in beta mode last September at the firm’s annual Boxworks conference and is designed to help firms ensure that documents in any format can be viewed online. The tool is based on technology Box acquired in its acquisition of Crocodoc.
Box product manager Sean Rose explained in a blog post, “Box View is an API that converts Office and PDF documents to easily embeddable HTML5, enabling developers to create beautiful experiences around content. Gone are the days of forcing users to deal with broken and inconsistent experiences across platforms.
“With just a few simple API calls, developers can create an elegant and consistent content experience across all platforms.”
Box cited some customers that are already using this service, such as UberConference, Xero and Shake to ensure that they can send information to partners, customers and contractors quickly and easily.
Furthermore, the firm has based the pricing model for the tool on a per-use basis, rather than a traditional per-user basis.
For users of the service as a Box-branded platform – so it displays the Box logo, rather than the customer’s own logo – it’s free for 1,000 document uploads per month. After that it’s priced at 2.5 cents per document.
Custom use of the tool so the customer’s own logo is displayed costs $250 per month for 2,500 uploads. Each document after that costs five cents per upload, but enterprise users can thrash out a deal with Box for any service they expect to handle over 10,000 document uploads a month.
“Most developers will never have to pay anything for Box View, and, for those that do, Box View pricing is built to scale alongside your app’s user base,” added Rose.
As part of this encouragement to developers to incorporate Box into its tools the firm has also unveiled new pricing models around its APIs, to again focus on usage levels rather than user numbers.
Integrating with Box in general is free for developers, and up to 25,000 interactions with the Box Content API is free too. For 25,000 or more API interactions the cost is $500 per month. Any more than this and custom deals are available.
Box VP of Platform Chris Yeh explained that this move was designed “specifically for businesses that want to leverage the APIs at scale” to help keep pace with the growth the firm is seeing.
“More than 35,000 developers are building on Box. Every month, our platform sees one billion third-party API calls, and the Box OneCloud ecosystem just reached 1,000 app integration partners,” Yeh said.
The updates come at a busy time for Box after it filed to go public earlier this week in a listing worth $250m, as it looks to build on its early success in the enterprise market.
Hardkernel’s Odroid XU board has incorporated Samsung’s eight-core Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chip, which is based on ARM’s latest processor designs. Samsung recently announced a new eight-core chip, the Exynos 5 Octa 5420, which packs faster graphics and application processing than the 5410. The 5420 has not yet been shipped yet, however.
The Odroid board is priced at $149 through Aug. 31, after which it will be offered for $169. Samsung for many months has said that a board with an eight-core chip would be released, and has shown prototype developer boards at conferences.
Odroid-XU will provide developers an opportunity to write programs tuned for Samsung’s octa-core chip, which has been a source of controversy. Analysts have said the eight-core design is overkill for small devices like smartphones and tablets, which need long battery life.
The eight-core chip design also takes up a lot of space, which prevented Samsung from putting LTE radios inside some Galaxy S4 models. Qualcomm, which hesitantly moved from the dual core to the quad-core design on its Snapdragon chips, on Friday criticized eight-core chips, calling the idea “dumb.”
Despite the criticism, the board will give developers a first true glimpse of, and an opportunity to write and test applications for, ARM’s Big.Little design. The design combines high-power cores for demanding applications with low-power cores for mundane tasks like texting and calling.
Samsung’s iteration of Big.Little in the Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chip combines four processors based on ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 processor design, which incorporates four low-power Cortex-A7 CPUs. The Cortex-A15 is ARM’s latest processor design and succeeds the previous Cortex-A9 core, which was used in popular smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and the Galaxy S3. Samsung said the eight-core chip provides a balance of power and performance, with the high-power cores kicking in only when necessary.
The board has an Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX544MP3 graphics processor, 2GB of low-power DDR3 DRAM, two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Other features include Wi-Fi, Ethernet and optional Bluetooth. Google’s Android 4.2 operating system is preloaded, and support for other Linux distributions like Ubuntu is expected soon. The board has already been benchmarked on Ubuntu 13.04.
The U.S. Defense Department is proposing to share some of its radio airwaves with private industry, a nod to growing pressure from the wireless industry and the Obama administration that federal agencies ease their control of valuable spectrum.
In a letter released by the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, the Department of Defense offers to share the airwaves it now dominates in the slice of frequencies from 1755 megahertz (MHz) to 1780 MHz with spectrum-hungry wireless and Internet companies.
The military would rearrange its systems within that slice of spectrum as well as the 2025-2110 MHz band and compress programs into the 1780-1850 MHz band that it would retain.
The Defense Department uses the airwaves for programs such as pilot training and drone systems and has faced criticism from some in the industry and in Congress for resisting efforts to open those airwaves for commercial use to satisfy growing demands posed by data-hungry gadgets and services.
The Pentagon had pointed to its own need for airwaves as its use of drones and other reliance on wireless technology grows. It also had estimated the process of moving its programs to new frequencies would cost more than $12 billion.
Under the new plan, the Defense Department drops the cost estimate to $3.5 billion by compromising on sharing slices of airwaves without completely clearing any of the spectrum bands.
In the letter, originally sent on July 17 to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees federal airwaves, DOD Chief Information Officer Teresa Takai called the proposal “a workable balance to provide access to the 1755-1780 MHz band most desired by the commercial wireless industry while ensuring no loss of critical DoD capabilities.”
The NTIA, in its own letter to the FCC, said it had not had enough time to review the proposal and could not yet endorse it.
The FCC, with NTIA’s help, is preparing for several auctions of airwaves to take place in coming years, including one that would sell off chunks of federally controlled spectrum. They will be the first reshuffling of airwave ownership since 2008.
Congress has required the FCC to auction off the 2155-2180 MHz band by February 2015 and the industry has sought to pair up that slice of spectrum with the valuable 1755-1780 MHz band, arguing it would collect more money. Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have introduced a bill to ensure such pairing.
The FCC has been drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking that would seek public comments on how the FCC should auction those federally owned or already cleared airwaves to the wireless companies and an FCC official said the agency’s notice will address the Pentagon’s new proposal.
President Barack Obama last month directed federal agencies to look for ways eventually to give up or share more of their airwaves with the private sector. This followed his June 2010 call to open up 500 MHz of federal spectrum for commercial use.
The new drives include the Connect Wireless Flash Drive — a thumb drive — and the Connect Wireless Media Drive, a larger, but still pocket-sized storage device. The Connect Wireless Flash Drive comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities; the Connect Wireless Media Drive comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities.
The Connect Wireless Flash drive is 3.07-in. x 1.04-in. x 0.54-in. The Connect Wireless Media Drive is 2.6-in. x 2.6-in. x 0.52-in.
The Connect Wireless drive family allows users to not only store but share and stream files across multiple mobile devices. They offer up to eight simultaneous device connections and three media streams, and support separate streams of 720p video content at 2MB/sec to three or five devices concurrently (for the Flash Drive and Media Drive, respectively).
According to a SanDisk spokesman, video streaming performance isn’t affected by multiple streams because device limits are set at a point that supports the streams without degradation. Devices can connect to the drives up to 150 feet away.
The Connect Wireless drives work with all iOS and Android devices, and Kindle Fire tablets, as well as PC and Mac computers. The drives are compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS 10.6 or higher
Movies, music, photos and documents can be loaded onto the wireless drives by simply dragging and dropping the files, which can then be accessed via the SanDisk Connect apps. Those apps are available for download from the App Store, Google Play Store and the Amazon Appstore for Android.
The drives contain an internal router, so no external router or Internet connection is needed to stream media. In order to use the drives, mobile device users simply download SanDisk’s Connect App.
The drives run on lithium-ion batteries. A single charge provides up to four hours of wireless streaming, with streaming data protected by Wi-Fi Password Protection (WPA2).
“With the new SanDisk Connect product line, we’re raising the bar on what consumers can expect from personal storage,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president for product marketing for SanDisk.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is available in 16GB or 32GB capacities for $49.99 and $59.99, respectively. In the U.S., it is available for preorder on Amazon.com, Newegg.com and Micro Center, with availability at Best Buy starting in August. It will also be available for preorder on Amazon.com in Germany and UK.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive has a retail price of $79.99 for 32GB or $99.99 for 64GB storage capacity. It is available for preorder in the U.S. on Amazon.com, with availability in Germany and UK in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Wi-Lan filed a lawsuit against Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, HTC and Sony in 2010 claiming the firms infringed patents that relate to data transmission over wireless networks. However a Texas court ruled that the four firms did not infringe Wi-Lan’s patents and found one patent Wi-Lan asserted against HTC and two it asserted against Alcatel Lucent invalid.
Wi-Lan had asserted that Alcatel Lucent and Ericsson infringed three patents, none of which claims were upheld by the court. The firm also asserted that HTC and Sony infringed another patent, and there the court not only judged against infringement but invalidated the patent.
Alcatel Lucent and HTC both said that Wi-Lan was trying to stretch its patents to cover technology in their devices.
Sally Julien, a spokeswoman for HTC said, “HTC believes that Wi-Lan has exaggerated the scope of its patent in order to extract unwarranted licensing royalties from entities who have been focused on bringing innovation forward in their own products.”
Kurt Steinert, an Alcatel Lucent spokesman said, “We think this validates our belief that Wi-Lan was stretching the boundaries of its patents, and the jury confirmed that belief.”
Wi-Lan has managed to get several companies to license its technology including Dell and Panasonic, and in May it initiated legal proceedings against Blackberry over a patent relating to Long Term Evolution network technology. However in this case the firm did not prevail against two large telecom equipment companies and two big smartphone makers.