Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data • The Register

Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data • The Register:

Is Google double dipping? It is selling a premium priced phone, like Apple, but still wants our data:

Re Register points out:

All that changed in 2016 as Google adopted the Pixel brand instead and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into marketing. This entailed a significant price hike, what we called “the Mountain View equivalent of the Cupertino idiot tax”. It was an, um, interesting decision.

In its splash screens Apple says it believes “privacy is a fundamental human right”. But it can afford to: Apple merely sells overpriced hardware and doesn’t use your data for targeting advertisements as its main source of income. The Apple “tax” is the price you pay for privacy. With Pixel, Google wanted to keep Apple inflated margin and slurp up all your data, too?

It seemed a lot to ask, especially since the first 2016 Pixels were good without being standout attractive.

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Beware of scammers impersonating energy and telecommunications companies | Scamwatch

Beware of scammers impersonating energy and telecommunications companies | Scamwatch:

Beware of scammers impersonating energy and telecommunications companies 24 April 2018 The ACCC is warning consumers to beware of scammers impersonating energy and telecommunications providers and demanding payments.

Scamwatch has received 5000 reports of fake billing scams in the last 12 months, with reported losses of close to $8000.

“The scammers typically impersonate well known companies such as Origin, AGL, Telstra and Optus via email, to fool people into assuming the bills are real,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“They send bulk emails or letters which include a logo and design features closely copied from the genuine provider. The bill states the account is overdue and if not paid immediately the customer will incur late charges or be disconnected.”

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Facebook said: most people could have had their public profile copied…

First it was 50 million, then it was 87 Million, now it is 2.2 BILLION!

“We believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way.”

Oh! Shock! Horror! Farcebook lied/ Forgot/ Prevaricated/ Obfuscated/ stuffed up AGAIN. Imagine That!

That wonderful, open, disingenuous honest lad Mark Zuckerberg made a teen, tiny mistake.

It was (Once Again) LOTS more people

Facebook Just Made A Shocking Admission, And We’re All Too Exhausted To Notice | Gizmodo Australia:

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, explained that prior to yesterday, “people could enter another person’s phone number or email address into Facebook search to help find them.” This function would help you cut through all the John Smiths and locate the page of your John Smith. He gave the example of Bangladesh where the tool was used for 7 per cent of all searches. Thing is, it was also useful to data-scrapers. Schroepfer wrote:

However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.

#DeleteFacebook

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Facebook admits 311,000 Australians had their Data Stolen

Facebook admits your data has probably been scraped by ‘malicious actors’ – ABC News

the company disclosed they “do not know precisely what data the app shared with Cambridge Analytica or exactly how many people were impacted”.

Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said they calculated the 87 million figure by constructing “the maximum possible number of friends lists that everyone could have had over the time, and assumed that [Cambridge University scholar Aleksandr] Kogan queried each person at the time when they had the maximum number of connections that would’ve been available to them”.

“That’s where we came up with this 87 million number. We wanted to take a broad view that is a conservative estimate,” he said.

The REAL story here is that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg has once again failed to offer any real protection to his users. The reason, of course it that the users are not the customers.

Facebook’s customers are those willing to pay for access to the astounding database of personal information that Facebook has developed. You can access this data by buying ads inside the Facebook platform, or using it sport information into your own database. This is what Cambridge Analytica did, and, apparently an endless list of others.

Remember, it is always easier to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission. This is a lesson Zuck (or F**k as many  are now  calling) him learned many years ago.

He considers his users as “Dumb Fu*k’s” for giving him their information. Well, I guess they are…

Welcome to the world of Farcebook. Time to #DeleteFacebook…

Enjoy!

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Facebook told to stop tracking in Belgium

Facebook told to stop tracking in Belgium – BBC News

Facebook has been ordered to stop tracking people without consent, by a court in Belgium.

The company has been told to delete all the data it had gathered on people who did not use Facebook. The court ruled the data was gathered illegally.

Belgium’s privacy watchdog said the website had broken privacy laws by placing tracking code – known as cookies – on third-party websites.

Facebook said it would appeal against the ruling.

The social network faces fines of 250,000 euros (£221,000, $311,000) a day if it does not comply.

The court said Facebook must “stop following and recording internet use by people surfing in Belgium, until it complies with Belgian privacy laws”.

“Facebook must also destroy all personal data obtained illegally.”

The ruling is the latest in a long-running dispute between the social network and the Belgian commission for the protection of privacy (CPP).

In 2015, the CPP complained that Facebook tracked people when they visited pages on the site or clicked “like” or “share”, even if they were not members.

It won its case, but Facebook had the verdict overturned in 2016.

Now the court has again agreed with the findings of the CPP.

Facebook said it was “disappointed” by the verdict.

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Top tip: Don’t bother with Facebook’s two-factor SMS auth – unless you love phone spam – The Register

Thanks to Shaun Nichols at the Register for a good article on ANOTHER fail by facebook.

Top tip: Don’t bother with Facebook’s two-factor SMS auth – unless you love phone spam • The Register:

Top tip: Don’t bother with Facebook’s two-factor SMS auth – unless you love phone spam Pick another 2FA method: Social network is having a What The Zuck moment By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco.

Forget fake news, Russian trolls and the gradual cruel destruction of journalism – now Facebook is taking heat for spamming a netizen’s phone with text messages after he signed up for SMS-based two-factor authentication.

Software engineer Gabriel Lewis said this week that after he activated the security measure with his cellphone number, he began to receive not just one-time login tokens as expected, but texts from Facebook with links to stuff happening on the social network.

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Going digital: How to take your music, movies, and books with you

A big problem for every minimalist, down-sizer, or digital nomad is how do I cope with the mass of books, music, movies and other entertainment I have bought over the years?

 

Rene Ritchie at iMore gives his approach at iMore.com:

Going digital: How to turn your music, movie, and book atoms into bits! | iMore:

How do you replace all your old physical media — your music, newspapers and magazines, books and comics, movies and TV shows, with shiny, new, space-saving bits? More easily than you might think!

In the case of using online sources such as iTunes, Google Play and Netflix, a good internet connection is essential.

For me, this is often not an option. If I am in a remote area, or a country or location with bad or no internet, streaming services are useless.

I have made more of an effort to save or convert much of the digital. Heritage I have collected, including ripping my music CDs and Video DVDs. The problem with my approach is that I meed to keep the physical disks as a defence against accusations that I have pirated the music and movies, so storage is required.

In that case, the storage needs to be local.

What have you done with your media?

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A Rugged, Lightweight Folding Bluetooth Keyboard.

I often use my mobile phone or tablet as a notebook during lectures and seminars. A Bluetooth keyboard is a must-have for long periods of typing.

This lightweight, 250mm long keyboard is ideal for traveling with the minimum equipment, and being able to take notes on a phone or tablet.

My search for the perfect pocketable keyboard has lead me into a few dead-ends. Most folding keyboards are in two halves and shift keys around. Often splitting the spacebar into two keys. The central hinge results in nothing being in the quite the right place.

The tri-fold keyboard I have found is the perfect compromise. The actual keyboard is 235mm or 9.25” long, so touch typists may have problems. They layout, however is excellent. It is a robust metal tri-fold design. The left and right ends fold over to cover the middle of the keyboard. It is spring loaded, and stays open or shut. Opening it locks the ends down with a click and switches the keyboard on, initiating the Bluetooth connection. My 8” tablet, once paired, now connects instantly, with no user intervention. I can switch from the on-screen keyboard to the folding keyboard in two or three seconds. The keyboard powers on as it is opened.

Bluetooth 4I carry a small rectangular piece of Coreflute with may as an almost weightless lap desk. The aluminium case slides around, so I have added 4 small plastic feet to the back. This keep the keyboard stable and stops it moving.

It is available under several brand names. I purchased a white keyboard, but most suppliers only have the black version.

The documentation is less than perfect, but basic functions are obvious. There are some options to configure it for iOS, Android or Windows.

This keyboard is here on Amazon.

There is also a full sized version here:

00208

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The mbeat M-Droplet USB Docking Station

Need more ports on your Laptop? Read on…

After two days of USB hub hell, I have found a hero. The Mbeat M-Droplet USB hub.

I have just gone through two days of USB hub and device hell, trying to get a couple of high capacity USB 3.0 drives in sync.

Attempting to copy between the devices in Windows, things were less than perfect. I would start a big file copy, and after a few minutes, one device would disappear, and the file copy would stop. Sometimes the entire system would freeze, requiring a re-boot.

I have been using a cheap, generic powered four port USB 3.0 hub. It worked, pretty much, but the speeds I was getting were depressingly slow.

At one point I connected everything to an unpowered, 5 dollar USB 2.0 hub, and the speeds were almost the same.This morning, I went shopping.In Officeworks Launceston, I hit paydirt. I found the M-Droplet USB Hub Docking Station.It is a tear-drop shaped tube that functions as a laptop stand and hub for USB 3 powered laptops, Ultrabooks and Apple MacBooks. It uses the laptop USB 3.0 port for input, and connects to a host of devices.

NOTE: If you are using a later MacBook Pro with no USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-c to USB-A cable should work just as well.

It has 3 USB 3.0 and 1  USB 2.0 ports, as well as an SD and a Micro-SD reader and a RJ45 10/100 Mbps LAN port.

mbeat M-Droplet USB Hub
mbeat M-Droplet USB Hub

I am writing this on a 2015 MacBook Air. The M-Droplet is connected, copying files between two USB 3.0 ports at almost three times the speed of the cheap hub I was using. The Eternet port is working, and a 64 Gb SD card is visible, so I will assume the Micro-SD slot will work as well.

UPDATE: I have now been using this device for some time, and it has never let me down. The hub is light, compact, and makes a perfect riser to lift the back of a laptop to raise the screen.

I have tested it with a Windows 10 Ultrabook, a McBook Pro, MacBook Air and two Chromebooks. Everything seems to work perfectly. It also functions as a fast charger. The power supply can charge multiple devices, a phone, tablet, and other devices USB 3.0 charging rates.

It is currently topping up a USB power bank.

I highly recommend the mBeat M-Droplet hub.

Note: I am getting between 70 & 100 MBps copies from one USB 3.0 drive to another USB 3.0 drive on the M-Droplet. This is far in excess of the best I could get on a generic USB 3.0 hub, or from port to port on the computer. The computer has been tied up doing file transfers between ports for more that 24 hours. After connecting the M-Droplet docking station, I have accomlished similar transfers within a couple of hours. And I still have ports free.

Because the M-Droplet can also charge USB devices, I can remove the USB charger from my power board. I am constantly charging a phone, tablet, Bluetooth headphones or a power bank. Now I can charge from the docking station, it provides 2.4 Amps from each USB 3.0 port. The USB charging ports work even when there is no computer connected, so this is a pretty good USB charger as a stand-alone device.

Enjoy!

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Thule Vectros Hard Shell Case for MacBooks

Thule Vectros Case For MacBook Air
Thule Vectros Case For MacBook Air

Anyone who travels with A laptop spends time worrying about the safety of their computer on the road. When that computer is expensive, and the lynchpin of your business. It becomes critical to protect it at any cost.

Protecting your work computer is vital

My recent purchase of a MacBook Air to replace a five year old ASUS Zenbook was a big investment. I do not change computers frequently, so protecting the asset became an immediate priority.

I purchased the Thule Vectros 13″ bumper case. This is a black hard shell polycarbonate bumper that fits top and bottom with an inner component that is ribbed silicone. It provides a substantial thickness of padding around the outside, but is open in the center, with optional clear inserts to protect the top and bottom. I left the bottom skin off, swapping scratch protection for better cooling.

The bumper design provides a “lip” around the outside of the device that allows a good grip on the hard polycarbonate exterior. It is designed to survive a one meter (3’3″) drop with no damage. The web site provides a graphic comparison video of a Mac being dropped onto a corner with and without the case. I recommend a look at the video, if you have doubts.

Thule Vectros Case For MacBook Air

The inner, soft silicon insert protrudes to provide four sturdy soft feet that give a good grip on any surface.

The case has very positive locking lugs to keep it attached to the computer. Make no mistake, installing and removing this case is an exercise in fear. It must be installed exactly according to the instructions. It will not fly off when the case is dropped. It has a positive latch on the lid, so it will not open when dropped. The top and bottom shells transmit pressure around the case, protecting the computer. I suspect it will protect from a significant amount of pressure, even someone inadvertently sitting on a backpack or case with a laptop inside. I do not suggest trying it, but this is one very tough bumper case.

The Thule Vectors Case is no compromise protection

My only problem was that the case does not provide holes for the dual microphones on the left side of the 2015 MacBook Air. I had to drill through the case in two spots, and then remove the soft silicone material from the inside with a scalpel.

I loved this case, but adds 401 grams or 6.6 ounces to the weight of the laptop. It increases the height of the closed MacBook Air to 2.6 cm or 1 inch. This is a significant addition. The case cannot be added and removed. Once on, it takes five minutes of careful work to get it off without damaging the MacBook. It is all or nothing.

Thule Vectros Case For MacBook Air

If I were permanently on the road, the Thule Vectros bumper case would be my constant companion. I really do like it! The engineering and manufacture are second to none. It fits perfectly and looks great. It also makes the laptop stand out in a coffee shop or shared workspace. No-one is going to walk off with this computer un-noticed.

Another side effect of the shell is that if you want to anonymise your computer, it is easy to insert a photo, or otherwise cover the Apple logo on the lid. The case disguises the distinctive MacBook shape, making it less of a target for theft.

If you are looking for a sleeve rather than a case, I recommend the Thule Gauntlet zip up sleeve. It is cheaper, lighter, and offers good protection, including a waterproof zipper. It can be found here:  Thule Gauntlet TAS-113 13.3″ MacBook Pro and Retina Display Sleeve (Black)

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