Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
CEO
| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

Google

Apple Responds to Locationgate

April 27, 2011

With the controversy surrounding the data being gathered by smartphones with Apple and Google operating systems, Apple has decided to come out with an explanation of what exactly it is doing and why. Here are the salient points of what they call a location Q&A:

  • Apple says it does not track the location of your iPhone, and it never has or will do so.
  • The reason this has become an issue is companies such as Apple haven’t done a good job explaining the complex technical issues at work.
  • Apple is maintaining a database of WiFi hotspots generated by tens of millions of devices sending encrypted information regarding the location of hotspots so as to be able to provide accurate location information when GPS satellite tracking information is not available. It cites usage in a basement as an example of why it needs to do this.
  • This crowd-sourced database is too large to fit in an iPhone but a subset of it is stored on iPhones and can be encrypted or not – based on user settings in iTunes. Researchers were confused by this data which was being backed up onto local PCs – but Apple plans on updating its software soon and at this point it will stop backing up this information.
  • Apple cannot locate a user based on its geo-tagged WiFi information.
  • Apple has been storing up to a year’s worth of location data and the company says this is a bug and going forward they will only store seven-days’ worth of location information.
  • Another bug according to Apple is the device continued to update WiFi and cell tower data from the crowd-sourced database even if location data was turned off.
  • Apple is collecting crowd-sourced traffic data in order to provide accurate traffic data for its users.
  • Apple provides anonymous crash data to third-party developers and the company’s iAds platform allows anonymous geotargeting of ads but requires user approval before sharing location data with an advertiser.

C3 Technologies Advances 3-D Maps

April 26, 2011

Stunningly realistic 3-D mapping technology is coming out of C3 Technologies - a company using multiple cameras on airplanes coupled with missile-targeting tech to provide users with incredibly realistic maps which include pixel-depth mapping allowing you to know exactly how high in the air any area of the map happens to be. The technology is more cost-effective than laser-based LIDAR and is said to need manual intervention 2% of the time.

Another benefit is it produces 3-D maps which are are 360 degree explorable. Check it out - it is pretty amazing.

Obviously, this accuracy is greater than what is needed for GPS and it is slow to render - even on a powerful machine but certainly, the clearer the picture, the better. Keep a watch out for new augmented-reality applications which could certainly benefit from the increased clarity of the map images C3 has produced here.

Check out the Vegas strip where you can see the Mirage and Ceasar's Palace (click to enlarge)


More from Technology Review.








Is Apple Telegraphing A Tablet Market as Large as PCs?

April 21, 2011

I'm Predicting 500,000,000 tablets sold by 2015 (updated - an eagle-eyed reader noticed I left out 3 zeros for the various iPad estimates throughout!)


Through informal research I have seen iPad owners not giving up on their PCs – in fact they generally use both machines at different times for different purposes. For example, website surfing to sites which utilize Flash often requires a PC or laptop as they may not work on an iPad. Moreover, iPads and iPhones require PCs which they must plug into to receive software updates, etc. Many people find that they need to type large amounts at one time or another and they often choose a PC or laptop for this task – either not realizing they can purchase a keyboard for their iPad or just not caring.

Another important point I have noticed is iPads are being utilized by younger users more often than comparable laptops or PCs because they are so easy to operate and the App Store makes it a breeze to try new software. And another plus for tablets is they also act as a book replacement - as Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. reminds us.




eBay Buys Where.com for Hyper-Local Deal Offers

April 20, 2011

In the race to become a leader in the local deal market – companies seem to be tripping over one another. This includes Google who is working organically while making an unsuccessful bid for Groupon. Twitter and Facebook play in this market as well and eBay just acquired Where.com, a Boston-based local-deals and location-based services company for $135M.

PayPal’s Amanda Pires explains they plan to integrate PayPal into the WHERE mobile app to make it even easier for customers to take advantage of the local deals.

Is Android Security Really an Issue?

April 15, 2011

Yesterday I showcased an interview with investing legend Roger McNamee, managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners but what I didn't mention was the following comment he made, "I don't trust Android because some 16-year-old kid in the Eastern Bloc presses a button and erases everyone's hard drive."

McNamee also made a call to short Google as a pairs trade with buying Apple the day before the stock of the search leader dropped almost $50 or 8% after missing their earnings number.


But just as interesting is another big piece of news which has to do with Skype responding to an Android vulnerability which has to do with unencrypted SQLite information on the device which can be accessed by malicious software. Of course the challenge is - what software is malicious - it certainly isn't advertised as stealing data in its description in app stores. Moreover, in this case, the issue seems to be Skype not setting file permissions appropriately to avoid data from being hijacked.

Of course when I read about the controversy I thought of the comments about the 16-year-old kid.

And at a time when Android is so popular - in fact in South Korea there is an antitrust complaint against the company - one wonders, what happens if McNamee is right and the platform isn't so secure?

But then again, any platform with a degree of openness and massive adoption is a major target of hackers and if our experience with Microsoft products is a solid guide, we can expect more Android vulnerabilities to surface and potentially frequent patches to be released to counteract them.












HTML5 to Allow 15-year Post Internet Boom Mega-Cycle

April 14, 2011

Investing legend Roger McNamee, managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners was interviewed on CNBC this morning and explained why he is bullish on the tech sector. He goes on to say Apple is winning and tell us why. He continues by saying companies are trading down from Windows to tablets and saving thousands per year on support. This will free up $100B worth of revenue per year in this category.


Moreover, there is a titanic clash for Internet control - will it be app stores or HTML5?


Photobucket Outage

April 13, 2011

Updated 4/14/2011, 4/15/2011 and 4/19/2011 - see below.

Originally posted 4/13/2011

Apparently my Photobucket account is one of the ones unavailable due to maintenance. I have come to rely on this cloud-based photo sharing service more and more as it works on iOS and the Sony Dash. There is an Android app as well which I have found doesn't display photos as well as it does on other operating systems. Here is the message the company gives when I try to login via the web.



Update 4/14/2011: Its been more than 24 hours and the site is still out. This is without a doubt one of the challenges of moving to the cloud - but that doesn't mean as a customer of a free service I feel I have such a strong right to complain.

Jim Goss, the company's VP of Operations expressed his apologies (see below) for the site being inaccessible via the Sony Dash, the web and iOS - I've tried all three.









Amazon Ad-Supported Kindle

April 12, 2011

The new Kindle with Special Offers costs $114 and shows ads as screen savers and so far has some high-profile customers - Buick, Olay, Visa, and Amazon.com Reward Visa Card (Chase Bank). Some of the offers are quite good, giving back an additional $70 if you get an Amazon Rewards Visa, a $10 credit on an Amazon gift card and more. The details are below:

  • $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
  • $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  • $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
  • $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
  • Free $100 Amazon.com Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
  • Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 Amazon.com credit
  • 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)
The question worth asking is why did it take so long for a mainstream player to come out with an ad-supported mobile device and will Google be far behind? How about Microsoft?

Bing For iPad: You Can Check Out But You Can Never Leave

April 8, 2011

Bing for iPad Home Page


The iPad gained a very valuable information portal today in the form of a new application from Bing which has impressed me a great deal. What is different about this software is it borrows from other well-designed apps and isn't afraid to throw in its own improvements and graphically appealing glue to tie it all together.

When you enter the app you are presented with the Bing image of the day and underneath the graphic are widgets which give you information about the weather, news, maps, movies, trends and finance. Many of these areas update, making this program a truly functional portal.

Bing for iPad Movies


You also have access to other information presented when you click at the top right of the menu. Some of these are repeats of the bottom widgets but items like images, shopping and history are unique.

Bing for iPad Map of TMC HQ Building


I've always been a fan of the Bird's Eye view of Bing Maps and you can use your iPad to pinch and zoom your way around the map like you would a mouse on a PC.














Facebook Opencompute.org Disrupts Data Center Market

April 8, 2011

And just like that, the vanity server gets decapitated



Google continues to suck the life out of profits in industry after industry for the benefit of consumers. For example, sure Garmin is worth $7B but it was once worth $25B! Why? In-part because you can now get free turn-by-turn GPS of excellent quality with your Android phone.



Featured Events