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Posts Tagged ‘Buzz

In the second case of its kind in a week, a woman in Brazil reportedly awoke in the middle of the night to find her iPhone emitting sparks and smoke.

Being awoken from a deep, soothing slumber by an alarm clock or wake-up call is bad enough, but being awoken by a fire on your bedside table would be something else altogether. It’d certainly get you out of bed in a hurry.

According to Brazil’s techtudo website, a woman by the name of Ayla Mota had her iPhone 4 plugged in to charge overnight when it allegedly began to emit sparks and smoke as she slept (no, the picture on the right is not of the actual incident).

The fact that the phone was on Ayla’s bedside table meant the indoor fireworks display was kicking off only a short distance from her head. Upon waking, it seems that Ayla was able to deal with the situation without coming to any harm, though she was reportedly shaken up by the event.

The incident comes in the same week that another iPhone 4 device was said to have spontaneously combusted, this time on board a passenger plane in Australia. In that incident the phone was reported to have emitted dense smoke and a red glow. A quick-thinking flight attendant used a fire extinguisher to deal with the emergency and no one was hurt. Australian airline authorities are looking into the incident.

Apple has yet to publicly comment on either case, though no doubt the company will be keen to cast its eye over the results of any investigations.

It’s hardly time for iPhone owners to start sleeping with a bucket of water under the bed though. These are extremely isolated incidents and with Apple having sold so many of its smartphone device, what are the chances of yours going up in smoke?

If, however, multiple reports start coming in of iPhones spontaneously combusting here, there and everywhere, then perhaps that’ll be the time to start filling up the bucket. But one hopes it won’t ever come to that.

 

Provided by Trevor Mogg

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The intellectual property battle rages on between Apple and Samsung. In April 2011, Apple filed for patent infringement, claiming that Samsung copied its iPhone and iPad designs. Courts all over the world have taken on this battle. Europe and Australia, for instance, have ordered preliminary injunctions barring Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from shelves — just in time for the holiday season.

 

Provided by Stephanie Buck

Debate is still raging about how many people are really using Google+ and whether it can ever overtake Facebook. But at least one prominent user was making active use of the site Wednesday: President Barack Obama.

Obama’s profile, which just gained a “verified account” tick mark, appears to have been launched first thing Wednesday morning. Naturally, it isn’t being run by the President himself, but by his reelection campaign — a fact that the profile’s posts makes no attempt to hide.

“Welcome to the Obama 2012 Google+ page,” reads the first Presidential post. “We’re still kicking the tires and figuring this out, so let us know what you’d like to see here and your ideas for how we can use this space to help you stay connected to the campaign.”

One one hand, Obama’s arrival is an important stamp of approval for the nascent social network. Obama has been active on Twitter and Facebook since he was a U.S. Senator running for the highest office in the land; his social media savvy is often credited with boosting his first presidential campaign, helping to recruit an army of young campaign workers and small donors. The President held a Town Hall with Twitter in June, and another at Facebook in April.

On the other hand, the relative lack of fanfare surrounding Obama’s arrival may indicate just how far Google+ has to go. His first post was arguably the most historic thing to happen on Google+ this week; more than 12 hours later, it boasts just 110 shares. (For comparison, one of our more popular Facebook stories this week has been shared more than 3,000 times in a day.)

Since that first announcement, Obama’s campaign has posted twice more Wednesday — once to tout the President’s tax credits for unemployed veterans, and once to push a campaign contest where winners get to have dinner with Obama. It has posted nine scrapbook photos, and no videos.

We’re looking forward to the President’s first Google+ hangout, which may supplant the meeting of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Llama as the most historic hangout in Google+’s young life.

 

Provided by Chris Taylor

Steve Jobs Emails

An ebook released Tuesday takes an inside look at the email correspondence of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

“Letters to Steve: Inside the Email Inbox of Apple’s Steve Jobs” ($2.99), by CNN technology writer Mark Milian, explores how the tech innovator fielded emails from fans — and how he handled the missing Apple iPhone 4 prototype dilemma with Gizmodo editors.

Jobs often responded to customer emails directly, which is highly unorthodox for someone in his position. Many ended up online.

Milian spent months scouring the Internet, looking at blog postings and message boards for email correspondences, and spoke to many of those who were lucky enough to get a response. The book, available for the Kindle, is a compilation of what he found.

Mashable spoke with Milian about what it was like to receive an email from the former Apple chief executive — and what kind of questions generally triggered him to respond.

Mashable: What trends did you notice about Jobs’ email responses while doing your research?

Milian: Steve Jobs is often described as a perfectionist, and he was known to be obsessive about typography. But he occasionally made typos. He was also inconsistent about whether he’d sign his name or include “Best” in his sign-off signature. Some of the sources I interviewed for the book believed he had assistants help him with his mail, but I didn’t find any evidence to support that.

Mashable: What type of emails grabbed his attention?

Milian: Flattery certainly helped people get a response. However, some would sent combative emails and still get replies, even if they were unpleasant. It’s obvious that Jobs cared very deeply about many of the topics he took the time to address. He cared about customers having exceptional experiences with their products and Apple’s repair system. But he also cared about things you’d never guess he had a passion for. For example, he’d write long missives about Flash or the H.264 video codec or the Objective-C programming language. If someone happened to touch on a topic he was engrossed in at a certain point, it got his attention.

Mashable: Is it unusual for someone with such executive power to field customer service inquiries?

Milian: There’s a chapter in the book about how Jobs directly handled customer-service inquiries by e-mail and occasionally by phone. Sure, you’ll find some CEOs on Twitter and Google+, but you won’t see them personally helping a customer get their laptop repaired. It fits with Apple’s mission statement to make sure customers have a great experience. If someone’s iPod is broken, that person is not having a good experience. Jobs at times felt like it was his duty to handle those types of emails.

Mashable: Which email exchange sticks out most in your mind?

Milian: Steve Jobs loved to end emails with a zing. An email I got exclusively for the ebook came from a man that runs a company. The man wrote to a bunch of people at Apple including Jobs about a flaw in the App Store’s ranking system. Jobs replied and explained some changes coming to the App Store, and then ended his email with a great jab: “I notice that your app has not received great reviews.”

He also played every angle in an attempt to get that [prototype iPhone 4] back, and it showed his brilliant negotiating tactics. However, Gizmodo was not about to give that phone up without a fight.

Mashable: What is it that most shocked you about the emails?

Milian: I was a bit surprised that so many people would so readily publish private correspondences without Jobs’ permission. I can see why, of course. He’s an icon, and people were excited when they received a message from him. But I found it unusual that many didn’t think twice about forwarding these e-mails to reporters or posting them to their own blogs.

 

Provided by Samantha Murphy

Does the requirement that you must use your real name onFacebook and Google+ make you shy away from saying anything risqué on those networks?

If so, you might want to sign up for Anybeat, a social network that aims to become a hub of conversation about controversial subjects. The site is officially out of beta as of Monday.

Founded by Dmitry Shapiro, the former CTO of MySpace Music, Anybeat separates itself from other social networks by encouraging its members to use pseudonyms. The hope is that not using their real names will embolden users to participate in conversations they’d never have on Facebook.

“We, as humans, have different needs when it comes to socializing,” says Shapiro. “One is to communicate with people we know, and that’s Facebook. But we need a place to get away from family and friends, and a place to get away from work, a place to socialize with people we don’t know. We want to create an open social place that’s inclusive.”

That sounds good in theory, though anyone who’s ever skimmed the comments on a YouTube video is familiar with how anonymous discussions can get ugly quickly. Shapiro emphasizes that what Anybeat is really offering is “pseudonymity,” which is subtly different from anonymity.

While a user’s real name is hidden, his or her profile name stays consistent, and reputations are created over time.

“YouTube is less of a social network,” Shapiro says. “A lot of it is culture. If [ignorant comments] are what you see, then that’s what it becomes. For us, every profile has ‘Cred’–it’s like a Klout score, or feedback on eBay. And we have moderation tools in place, like you’d find in the old BBS days.”

What sort of content would be off limits to a social network that prides itself on controversy? Shapiro says hate speech, threats, and porn would all make the list.

As Facebook and Google+ have risen in popularity, so have their real-name policies, leading the Web to move away from the anything-goes anonymity of decades past. Shapiro believes a total loss of online anonymity would be a bad thing.

“I think pseudonimity, using the Internet for casual conversations and not just formal ones, is critical.” he says. “It was the reason I fell in love with the Web: AOL chatrooms. I found the conversations I had there to be extremely meaningful. If you ever had a conversation with a stranger and you found that the stranger might have understood you in a way that your closest friends didn’t, that’s what we’re trying to facilitate.”

 

amazon-phone

This week we saw Facebook get a nasty virus, both Apple and Google release cloud-based music services, and heard a rumor about Amazon entering the smartphone market.

 

Didn’t have time to keep up with every ripple in the technology pond this week? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most noteworthy stories from the last week.

Facebook gets hacked, users subjected to hardcore porn

Earlier this week we learned that some Facebook users were seeing news feeds filled with images of hardcore pornography and violence. It was originally suspected that the hacker group Anonymous may have had something to do with the attack, but that assumption has since been debunked. The spam attack is now mostly under control and the company has said that someone exploiting a browser vulnerability, not Anonymous, is responsible for the breach. A Facebook spokesperson has maintained that no user information or accounts were compromised during the several-day attack.

 

Google and Apple launch cloud-based music services

This week we saw two of the most important and notable releases in the domain of cloud-based music services from both Google and Apple. We covered the announcement of the public version of Google Music on Wednesday, which now includes the ability to purchase songs through the Android Market, and gave our own hands-on impressions of the service. Apple also launched its counter-attack with the release of iTunes Match, a similar cloud-based music service that users can purchase for $25 per year. We took a first look at the new service to see if it’s worthy of all the hype.

 

Nokia introduces MixRadio for Windows Phones, Lumia may be carried at AT&T in the US

This week Nokia revealed more of the specs of MixRadio, a music service that will be included in its new Lumia 710 and 800 Windows Phone 7.5 handsets. The service will offer users access to an MP3 store, pre-made playlists, streaming, and more. We also confirmed this week that carrier AT&T is looking into carrying both Nokia Windows Phone handsets starting sometime in 2012.

 

Amazon may jump into the smartphone market

In one of the more exciting news developments of the week, we are hearing from Citigroup analysts that Amazon may jump into the smartphone market with an Amazon phone in the next year. Rumor has it that the phone will be priced in the $150 to $170 range and will run on a heavily-modified version of Android, much like the Kindle Fire.

 

iPhone surpasses BlackBerry in business, Apple preps for record sales

In a surprising but somewhat inevitable occurrence, it seems that Apple’s iPhone has finally surpassed BlackBerry as the preferred handset of business users. BlackBerry has had a corner on this part of the market for years, so it’s a success that Apple shouldn’t take lightly. According to recent estimates, Apple is also on track to sell a record number of Macs this quarter, which will likely only increase with the possible release of a 15-inch MacBook Air in March.

 

Provided by Kelly Montgomery