Sunday, April 27, 2014

Boot up: Samsung Olympic iPhone coverup?, Facebook v Microsoft, and more

Stray dog Sochi A stray dog in the Olympic Park in Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

A burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

Olympics sponsor Samsung is reportedly dropping Galaxy Note 3 smartphones in athletes' goodie-bags, though the gift comes with a catch: a supposed ban on any other device branding, iPhone or otherwise, during the opening ceremony. Details of the clamp-down, which is said to require the Apple logo on an iPhone be physically covered so that it's not caught on camera during the televised ceremony in Sochi, were spilled by the Swiss Olympic team.

They were pleased to discover the Note 3 in among the other promotional kit sponsors have been offering, Bluewin reports, but the phone came with guidelines on what Samsung is said to be requiring in return for its financial support. The rule only appears to apply to athletes, rather than anybody else attending the opening ceremony.

John Cassidy:

The tech industry, on the other hand, is defined by successive waves of innovation, and it operates more like a long-running lottery, with the prize for each drawing being a temporary monopoly. Microsoft is Microsoft because, back in the eighties, it won the lottery for the operating-system market. Facebook is Facebook because it won the lottery for the social-networking market.

In the technology world, market leaders, generally speaking, don't get dislodged by competitors who build a better or cheaper version of their product. Eventually, though, they do tend to get displaced by companies that create, or popularise, a new technology that shifts the entire industry in a different direction.

The Commission's objective is to address the four competition concerns it has identified during its investigation. The aim is to restore quickly the conditions for competition on the merits in the areas of specialised search and search advertising to the benefit of consumers. In the field of specialised search, the Commission's aim is not to artificially send traffic to sites that compete with Google, but to ensure that users are well informed of the existence of these competing sites and of their relevance to the user's queries, and are given the possibility to access them.

Yes, it's Flash again.

All of the exploits exploit the same vulnerability and all are unpacked SWF files. All have identical actionscript code, which performs an operating system version check. The exploits only work under the following Windows versions: XP, Vista, 2003 R2, 2003, 7, 7x64, 2008 R2, 2008, 8, 8x64. Some of the samples also have a check in place which makes the exploits terminate under Windows 8.1 and 8.1 x64.

A Belgian hacking team has disclaimed responsibility.

Tom Loosemore:

Earlier this month I dug into the analytics data to better understand what devices people are using when visiting GOV.UK.  I thought I'd also quickly share headline data on what browsers, operating systems and screen resolutions we've seen over the past month across the whole site. I hope it's useful.

The fall in Windows share - even as must have had a greater total number of visits - is quite remarkable: 10% in a year. Though IE6 is still going - just. ( traffic isn't small, either.)

A few weeks ago, we reported that Playboy TV was developing an app for Google's Chromecast that would stream explicit content to your TV. But due to Google's history of restricting adult content on their devices, we were skeptical that the (NSFW) app would ever come to fruition.

And our skepticism was justified: along with the release of Chromecast SDK to developers, Google has issued a list of terms and conditions for companies that want to make their apps Chromecast-compatible. One of these conditions? No content that "contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit materials." In other words, no dirty, filthy, nasty, naughty pornz.

There have been many reports suggesting the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Samsung's smart watch, hasn't done well in sales since it's been made available. Samsung's own lack of noise about sales seem to indicate that as well, as the company loves to boast big numbers whenever they've achieved them.

Another indication that the smart watch might not be doing well is a recent price drop in India (and this isn't some $20 discount that you'd be likely to overlook). Reports indicate the device has been discounted by $120, and that this is a permanent price adjustment.

So now we're left wondering: will Samsung be doing the same for other regions? Many folks already believed $300 was far too steep of a price to pay for the Galaxy Gear, especially considering the limited functionality this first release had.

The map below can be used to show which areas would be under water if sea level rises a specific amount. You can select a value of sea level rise using the drop down box in the upper left corner of the map. Although this map is not a carefully surveyed and extremely accurate presentation, it does provide a visually striking view of what geographic areas might be flooded if global climate change continues unabated.

For some readers, the slider has already moved. (Via @kentindell on Twitter.)

'Kontra' visited a Samsung store in New York. Inter alia, he found:

• Plenty of staff walking around.
• No merchandise is sold in the store.
• There is 'complimentary' food in the center island and a mini cafe lounge in the back.
• The white counters where the Galaxy product line is displayed reminded me of another store, but decidedly cheesier looking.

Wonder how the Carphone Warehouse ones will look.

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