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U.S. Carriers Begin Blocking Android Tethering Apps →

May 04, 2011 |


Google told ZDNet that it isn’t officially blocking tethering apps. However, Google does say that Android users on specific carriers may not be able to find the app in the Android Marketplace. In other words, Google isn’t denying that certain apps are being blocked by the carriers.

One of the great aspects of being “open”. Now, it is true that Android is open, but the ones reaping the benefits of this openness are mostly the carriers. The end users? Not so much.

Here’s Chris Ziegler’s take on it, too (Via Daring Fireball).

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Keeping It Straight – A new and delightful book by Patrick Rhone →

May 04, 2011 |

How would you describe a book that contains a lifetime’s worth of keen insight into the human soul? Words inevitably fall short, unable to do justice to the passion and dedication behind this wonderful piece of literature. Through his gentle, thoughtful writing, we get to know Patrick the writer, but we also get a glimpse of Patrick the human being. He may not have all the answers, but that’s not what he is after. Patrick’s journey is one of calm and collected self-discovery, the kind of journey that you want to last forever. With this book, we get a personal invitation to join him for the ride.

And that’s an offer you just can’t refuse.

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Bin Laden Is Dead →

May 02, 2011 |

Justice? Revenge? Whatever your opinion, this day is one for the history books.

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Déjà vu

May 02, 2011

I collect memories.

This is the story of one of my favorite ones. It’s the best kind of story: the one that doesn’t have an ending yet. It’s about character, and it involves two cities, two airports, and two friends.

The first city is Tampere, Finland. The time is 2006 and it is the last night of my Erasmus year. It’s 4 a.m. after a terrific Brazilian dinner, and it’s time to leave. Everyone else has left already and when I stand up, I immediately feel the wine in my head. There have been too many glasses, and everything around me seems to move in slow motion. Still, it’s time and I need to keep moving. I pick up my luggage, adjust my tie, and I mentally prepare to leave the flat for the last time. I’m exhausted and drunk, but it’s time.

Then I feel an easy hand on my shoulder. When I turn around, Daniel is still there. He has been there since the beginning. He’s just as tired and drunk as I am, but he’s still there. He’s holding my tennis racket for me, and smiles widely as he walks me out of the flat. We close the door and go out on the street together, where a taxi is waiting to take me to the airport. Behind we leave a place that we have filled with many great memories over the last year.

Daniel doesn’t live there anymore. He moved to the city center about four months earlier, but he wanted to keep me company on my last night, and he decided that it should be something special. He cooked dinner, a Brazilian traditional recipe, and he made sure that we would have enough red wine to last the entire night. We ate, drank and talked, and now it was time to say goodbye. This is a tough moment for me, the end of the Erasmus and going back to my life as I knew it, but somehow having Daniel besides me makes it right. He was the first person I met in Finland. It was only fitting that he would also be the last.

He will still spend a couple more months in Finland before flying back to Brazil, and we have agreed to meet in Spain before he leaves, so we both know that it’s not really a goodbye. Not yet anyway. It is with that small comfort that we hug each other and shake hands for the last time, just before I get into the taxi and head to the Tampere Airport.

The second city is Berlin, Germany, and the time is now. As I type these lines I’m in a Lufthansa flight, heading back to Madrid after spending a weekend there with Daniel. I hadn’t seen him since August 2006, when I got to show him a little bit of Spain, including Madrid and my home town, Plasencia. When he emailed me a few months ago because he was planning a trip to Europe and asked if we could meet, it was a no-brainer. It took us a while to work out our schedules, but there was never any doubt that we would meet somewhere in the Old Continent.

I arrived in Berlin on Friday afternoon. He had been there for a couple days already so he offered to pick me up at my hotel. Right away it felt like it was two weeks ago that we were having beers in Tampere, instead of five years. It felt great to recognize his smile, his calm demeanor and his slow, careful and precise movements. To prove that, even after not seeing each other for so long, we remain simply two very good friends that get along pretty damn well. I also got to meet his good friend Henrieke, a charming, lovely girl that was his host in the city, and that was nice enough to take great care of me as well and show us around.

It’s been a fantastic weekend, filled with good laughs, great beer, and even a quiet, relaxing morning in one of the nicest parks of the city, drinking mate) under a bright, yellow sun. Unfortunately, time flies when you’re having fun, and soon it was already Sunday and we were at the Berlin-Tegel airport again, getting ready to leave. He’s going on to Finland to continue his month-long trip around Europe, and I’m going back home. Henrieke was so nice that she even came to the airport with us, and I leave Germany knowing that I have made a new friend, and written a new chapter with an old one. When I hugged him goodbye, I had a strangely familiar feeling, but this time around I’m confident that it was not really a goodbye, but rather a “see you next time”.

Daniel is an authentic person. He remains the most clear example I know of someone who values and treasures his personal relationships more than anything. To him, time and attention are two precious things that must not be taken for granted. Until just a while ago, he didn’t even have a cell phone, but in my experience living with him this was never a problem. Whenever we wanted to meet or do anything, we would always find a way to make it work. He’s proof that we don’t really need to bury ourselves in technology and social networks just for the sake of it, or because it’s the norm. He taught me that there can be another way to connect with people, a way that starts by looking the other person in the eyes.

This time, Daniel and I have agreed that our next meeting will be in Brazil. It looks like December might be a good time. I honestly cannot imagine how a New Year’s Eve in the Brazilian Summer must be like, but I do know one thing: I really want to find out.

Only time will tell if it’s meant to happen. Until then, our memories will have to do. And now, we have a great new one to hold onto.

Cheers, my friend. Take care, and see you next time.

Mate in Berlin

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When Will Microsoft’s Internet Bloodbath End? →

April 30, 2011 |

What they don’t bother to mention in the release, but they can’t hide in the actual numbers, is just how bad the quarter actually was for the division. While revenue may have grown a bit year over year, income — as in the money you actually get to keep — was an entirely different story. It was a bloodbath, really. Yes, again > >

Worth it for the chart alone. AND Patrick Bateman’s picture, of course.

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Sony to PSN users: your credit card info may be safe after all →

April 28, 2011 |

Sony says that, though credit card info may not have been compromised, caution is still your best friend:

Q: Was my credit card data taken? A: While all credit card information stored in our systems is encrypted and there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained. Keep in mind, however that your credit card security code (sometimes called a CVC or CSC number) has not been obtained because we never requested it from anyone who has joined the PlayStation Network or Qriocity, and is therefore not stored anywhere in our system.

The company was heavily criticized for their lack of transparency following last week’s incident, when they were forced to shut down their PlayStation Network service, revealing it had been hacked and personal data from their users had been compromised.

Though the situation remains very serious, this new update will help clean their image a bit. As we’ve recently seen with Apple, the sooner you tackle these problems, the better. Whenever something this bad happens, people want to know exactly what went wrong, how bad it really was and more importantly, how they’re going to clean up the mess. Every day that you stay silent and obscure about what happened damages your reputation even further.

Sony seems to have learned its lesson the hard way, let’s hope they can fix the issue as soon as possible.

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Apple Q&A on Location Data →

April 28, 2011 |

6. People have identified up to a year’s worth of location data being stored on the iPhone. Why does my iPhone need so much data in order to assist it in finding my location today? This data is not the iPhone’s location data—it is a subset (cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.

Interesting response from Apple PR regarding the location-tracking file that was discovered on iPhones last week. It doesn’t avoid responsibility, and states clearly what has happened and what they plan to do about it.

I agree with Christina Warren that it took them a bit too long to come out with this, but as they say, better late than never.

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Your iPhone Knows What You Did Last Summer →

April 21, 2011 |

So your iPhone—and probably your computer—now both have a file that mirrors data that was previously limited to law enforcement, which itself was only able to obtain it from a court order. Without encrypted backups, someone who has access to your computer can see your whereabouts. “By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple have made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements”.

This is scary. We still don’t know why that file even exists, but  it must surely have a purpose that Apple so far hasn’t disclosed. Whatever it is though, there is no excuse for just leaving the file there unprotected. The bare minimum precaution that they should have taken is encrypting the file. There are many disturbed people out there.

Of course, every time something like this happens, a Senator starts sending open letters and asking philosophical questions in the name of every Red, White and Blue American.

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