Posts Tagged ‘smart phone’

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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We all know that one of Steve Jobs favorite things was selling people well designed goods at vastly over inflated prices. People who were obsessed by having the latest gimmicks, bought his stuff in droves at whatever price Jobs put on them and in the process made Apple one of the richest companies in the world.

That’s what you call business, not quite ethical perhaps, but if you can get away with it and you can find people who are silly enough to pay far too much for your goods then why not?

What the creation of this ‘new’ market also did was spawn clones or look-a-likes from companies wanting to cash in on the windfall initially created by Apple.

Many of these are quite legitimate, like the Samsung Galaxy models which have become just as popular as the iPhones and are just as good, if not better, IMHO.

But what has also happened is that the same success has spawned a series of non-legitimate clones – from China – which look the same and provide many of the same functions, although the build quality as with much of the junk emanating from China is very poor.

smart phones

Apple Iphone, Samsung Galaxy S5, Star N9500

So, getting back to the question posed in the title of this post, if you are thinking of buying yourself a smart phone – and you are also thinking of saving a bit of money and buying one of those iPhone or Samsung Galaxy look-a-likes from China – think again.

This week a German firm called ‘G Data’ (which has a US subsidiary) released information that a popular brand of Chinese-made smart phone, the ‘Star N9500’, which is sold internationally by several major retailers, including Amazon.com, has been found to contain pre-installed monitoring software – that’s spy software to you and me.

G Data said it discovered the spy software hidden deep inside the proprietary software found on the Star N9500, which is a cheap smart phone based on the popular Samsung Galaxy S4.

malware

The hidden software contained within the phone’s operating system includes applications that could allow a third party to access and steal the telephone user’s personal information.

There are also secret applications that could permit a hacker to place calls from the telephone, or utilize the device’s microphone and camera without the consent of its owner.

And malware like this can not only allow hackers to access the telephone, but also any computers connected to it.

spy software

It was also discovered that the stolen data was being sent to a server based in, where else, China.

Adding to the intrigue, G Data’s team of experts and several journalists tried for “over a week” to track down the manufacturer of the Star N9500 by contacting several companies located in China’s southern province of Shenzhen, known as the center of the country’s telecommunications industry, but were unable to do so.

This isn’t the first time hidden spyware has been discovered in the operating software of telecommunications hardware made in China, and it probably won’t be the last.

But don’t get completely paranoid just because you read this post or other articles like it.

Just realize that the convenience that this latest technology provides, also provides criminals (which includes spying governments, you listening ennn esss ey?) easier access to your personal information.

And act accordingly.

Phone Spy Software

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Many Happy Returns Webby!

Posted: May 10, 2014 in bankers, Business, Computers, Current Events
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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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World-Wide-Web

The World Wide Web, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, turned 25 years old this year, 2014.

There has never been anything like it before, certainly not as regards the impact it has made on society and the way we live our lives. Many of those changes are good, many are not so good and a few are downright annoying.

Here’s my take on some of them.

To concentrate on the good parts first, the one thing the www has done, for those who can use it effectively, is to give access to information that was previously only available to the elite few who managed to claw their way into the lofty heights of academia, or who worked in places where information was readily available. Now the same information is accessible at the touch of a button to anyone and everyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer.

Another benefit, in my view anyway, is that is has sent a massive wake-up call to telephone providers world wide, many of whom were fast asleep, content to rake in healthy profits from antiquated systems. No longer do we have to settle for slow and temperamental data transfer lines. Nowadays, particularly in the last few years, people are demanding systems that can cope with download streams in the gigabyte range. If you are old enough to remember the first modems you will know you wasted too much of your life trying to download at 12Kb/sec., sometimes less.

Freedom is also a welcome by-product of the World Wide Web.

The freedom to work in any country in the world, from virtually any country in the world is one big plus – it is for me anyhow. Another one I particularly like is the freedom to watch TV programs that I like, when I like, no longer tied to the schedules of some brainless bean-counter working for a broadcasting company. And the freedom to have your say on things as and when the mood takes you – they call that blogging don’t you know! – is also a great advantage to the ordinary person.

www words

As is the freedom to disseminate information across the globe instantly, as Mr Snowden ably demonstrated, although I would hazard a guess that the powers that be would not agree with me on that one.

Indeed, this is the one aspect of the www that really bothers big brother.

China for example is one country where access is controlled by the state. Coincidentally this year also marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, you’ll find articles about that if you do a search, but probably not in China. They get away with it because they are not a democracy and do not pretend to be one.

In other countries, like the good old Land Of The (Not So) Free (Anymore)), the powers still like to con their people into believing that they are living in a democratic nation and that the people have the power to vote for this or that. But think for a moment, when was the last time you got to vote on whether to start a war, or whether to give $billions of your money to the greedy banksters to pay themselves huge bonuses and gamble away the rest?

It is because they need to keep the pretence of democracy going, that they do not yet have the confidence to start overtly censoring the internet. But they do all they can to snoop on what people are reading, or writing, or looking at.

This is where the freedom the www and associated technology provides can also be a negative, when it is used by governments to surveil us and record every piece of data they can. If they were doing this selectively and targeting terrorists and criminals no one would be too worried. But they are doing it to all of us, guilty and innocent alike.

big brother is watching

They are also doing everything they can think of to impose taxes on internet commerce – of course they have to coz they’re stoney broke.

The www has revolutionized business practices and created all sorts of new commerce opportunities, Amazon perhaps being the best example of a company that has gone from nothing to a multi-billion dollar business in just a few years.

Communication and social interaction are also areas where the www has liberated the ordinary person – first with email and more recently with social media. In the near future expect to see social media expanding to become much more than individual platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. We are already seeing many new applications that are allowing people to communicate more widely, more easily and more often.

social media

Another negative is that the World Wide Web has unwittingly facilitated the proliferation of pornography and violence, and is teaching a generation of morons all the wrong things. Things that will ensure they become a burden on society, not an asset.

And it has also opened a whole new environment in which criminals can operate. Millions of dollars are being stolen every day through scams, confidence tricks and outright theft.

You could say (and I frequently do) that people dumb enough to fall for these scams deserve all they get, or all they lose, is perhaps a better way of putting it. You know, the idiots who believe they really have won a lottery they didn’t buy a ticket for, or who think that Dr Umbungo Watanga from Nigeria is being truthful when he tells them that someone they never heard of has left them $25 million and all they need to do is send all their personal details and a few thousand dollars to unlock the fortune that awaits them. There really is one born every minute it seems!

All that said, and twenty-five years on, the www is still in its infancy. We have come a long way in the past 25 years, but we have really only scratched the surface as regards what the web has the potential to do to further improve our daily lives.

Where the vision to develop the www will come from in anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for sure is that the initiative won’t come from governments or their bureaucratic servants, simply because the people we elect to those positions do not have the required intelligence.

So its up to you. If you have any great ideas you want to share, send me an email.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web.

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Today I’m talking techo, well sort of.

As time moves on – and it’s moving on far too fast – more and more things tend to irritate me.

The stupidity and bureaucracy we have to endure is the thing that inspired this blog in the first place and that remains a huge thorn in my side. I have made many comments on that subject and given the opportunity will no doubt make many more.

But another thing that pisses me off more and more is almost the opposite of stupidity – it is people trying to be too damn smart.

Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the technology that we use today.

Now, I’m not a technophobe by any stretch of the imagination. I love my computers and the advent of the internet was one of the greatest things ever, as far as I was concerned. Indeed I have blogged in the past about my long love affair with computers  click here to read it.

Maybe it’s because of that long love affair, because I have been involved with computers for so many years, that what is happening now irritates me so much.

What I’m talking about is the fact that today’s personal computers and tablets and telephones and all the other periphery of techo gadgets try to do far too much for their owners. Everyone who has one of these machines is apparently a moron, or at least that’s how the manufacturers seem to treat us.

In the good old days you actually had to work at making your computer do things. Your telephone in those days made telephone calls and that was about it. And tablets were the things the doctor prescribed when you were feeling poorly.

To cut what could well turn into a very long list of current irritations into a manageable size, let me concentrate on just a few of the most horrible things that we now have to face.

In fact, rather than go on and on I’ll split this post over a few days.

Today it’s telephones.

Like I just said, I remember the days when phones were used to make phone calls – seemed logical enough to us at the time. Now they do all sorts of things. You can still phone people when you figure out how, but now you can also text, surf the internet, send and receive video messages and calls, play games, buy stuff – in fact almost everything you can do on your computer you can now do on a smart phone. And most of them have reasonable quality cameras too.

For a while those who could afford a cell phone were lumbered with a thing the size of a brick and it weighed almost as much too!

You can see one of those in the photo below (far left!). You can still get them, or rather a modern version if you want to draw a bit of attention to yourself – and there are always people who do.

evolution-phone

As the years went on the phones kept getting smaller and smaller. That was good for a while. They became light and pocket sized. But miniaturization became the trend, and cell phones got really really really small to the extent that unless you had the fingers of a five year old child instead of chubby man paws it was a struggle to find the right numbers to make a call and a nightmare to send a text.

Then, mainly because of the advance of wifi and 3G and 4G and so forth, cell phones started to get bigger again to the extent that they are nearly back to the size of that brick again, albeit a lot thinner and lighter. Glasses are the next step, with a heads up view just like on the helmet visors of those jet fighters you see in the movies. And sometime in the not too distant future you will just need a silicone chip embedded at the back of your ear-hole. Not sure I’ll go for that last one though.

That’s a potted history of the cell phone, but now for the really irritating part.

When texting really took off and became the most popular form of communication when using a cell phone, someone – they won’t tell me his name probably for his own safety – decided that we needed help writing a text. Not what I call a “speel chekkar” that is available on your computer – which would have been acceptable – but a much more sinister and annoying invention.

Guessed what it is yet?

Yes, it’s “auto-correct” or as it likes to call itself “anal cortex”.

I hate this thing with a passion. I disconnect it on every device I can because it doesn’t work!

Auto-correct has not the slightest idea what you are trying to say. It is unnecessary, frustrating, irritating and useless.

It has only one saving grace that I have found.

Sometimes it’s funny.

If you are not likely to be offended by strong language, have a look at some of the examples below and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Enjoy.

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autocorrect001.

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autocorrect002.

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autocorrect003.

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autocorrect004.

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autocorrect005.

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autocorrect006.

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autocorrect007.

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autocorrect008.

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autocorrect009.

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autocorrect010.

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