The system, called Login Verification, gives users the option to have a verification code sent to their mobile phone every time they log in to Twitter. After a person enrolls, he or she will be able to enter a six-digit code sent via SMS each time the user signs in to twitter.com. The system is designed to provide a second check on top of a regular password to help ensure only authorized users log in.
The feature, which Twitter describes as a form of two-factor authentication, can be turned on from a user’s account settings page.
The release comes after numerous hacks targeted at companies including the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Jeep and even Burger King.
Twitter announced in February that the site itself had been breached.
Security experts have long called on Twitter to offer enhanced security features to its users such as a two-factor sign-in process. Those calls increasedfollowing the recent spate of cyberattacks.
Other large technology companies in Silicon Valley such as Apple, Facebook and Google already offer two-step authentication as an option.
In its announcement of Login Verification, Twitter seems to be acknowledging users’ security concerns. Usually, “login attempts come from the genuine account owners, but we occasionally hear from people whose accounts have been compromised by email phishing schemes or a breach of password data elsewhere on the web,” wrote Jim O’Leary, of Twitter’s product security team, in a blog post.
The new smartphone from the Samsung stable has outpaced its predecessors in first-month sales.
The GALAXY S III reached the 10 million mark 50 days after its launch in 2012, while the GALAXY S II took five months and the GALAXY S seven months to reach the milestone, Samsung said.
The device is now available in over 110 countries and will gradually be rolled out to a total of 155 countries in tandem with partners, Samsung said Thursday.
The Galaxy S4 features a 5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display with 441 pixels per inch, and a dual camera function that allows simultaneous use of both front and rear cameras, besides software such as Air View A and A Air Gesture that aim to simplify interaction with the phone including through hand gestures.
Samsung is also planning to introduce more color variations of the device. In addition to the currently available White Mist and Black Forest, new color iterations will be added this summer, including Blue Arctic and Red Aurora, followed by Purple Mirage and Brown Autumn, the company said.
The South Korean vendor had a 30.8% share of the smartphone market in the first quarter to Apple’s 18.2%, research firm Gartner said.
Samsung is also making profits from its Android smartphone sales, and captured a 95% share of all Android smartphone profits in the first quarter, research firm Strategy Analytics said earlier this month. Global Android smartphone profits reached $5 billion in total during the first quarter of 2013, and accounted for 43% share of the entire smartphone industry’s operating profits, it added.
The success of the Galaxy S4 has not gone unnoticed by its competitors. Apple has filed to a court in California that the smartphone infringes on five of its patents. The company aims to add the Galaxy S4 to an ongoing case involving Apple and Samsung being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.
Seagate has announced what it claims is the “industry’s first” 4TB video hard disk drive, that is, a 3.5in HDD that is engineered specifically for use in video applications such as digital video recorders (DVRs), set-top boxes (STBs) and surveillance systems.
“Purpose-built for video solutions, the Video 3.5 HDD can store up to 480 hours of HD content making it the industry’s highest-capacity drive designed specifically for video,” the firm said.
When we asked how the hard drive is engineered for video applications and is not just a bog standard hard disk drive, Seagate explained that the hard drive supports up to 16 HD video streams or 20 standard definition video streams simultaneously, as well as having 24×7 operation capabilities.
To clarify what exactly this means, we asked Seagate to explain how the video hard drive differs from a desktop hard drive. A Seagate spokesperson said that the video hard drive is built for DVR like applications that run 24 hours a day seven days a week in warmer environments, such as a DVR inside an entertainment center, with support for profiles to ensure continuous smooth delivery of video content.
“They’re built to support an ATA-8AV command set which means they’re optimised for streaming, meaning we can support 30 percent more HD streams on this drive than on a laptop drive,” Seagate explained.
“ATA commands are also paired with command completion times that are optimised for video so if your drive has corrupt data, which likely is a single pixel on one frame of your screen, the drive knows to skip over it rather than go back to correct or rebuild that data which would cause your video to pause while this happens.”
The video drive has also been built for low power consumption and heat emission so device designers and manufacturers can build the drive into designs more flexibly. It also offers “superior acoustic management” to limit audible distractions during operation of DVRs and STBs, so designers can build nearly silent home entertainment systems.
“Boasting near silent acoustics, the drive operates below the range of audible sound for the human ear at just 2.3 decibels providing optimised acoustics for home entertainment components, crucial for consumer electronics and video applications,” the firm added.
4TB of data is capable of storing around 100 full length DVD quality movies. Compressed movies take up much less space, with the drive being able to store around 4,000 lower quality films. For movies that have been condensed into the popular HD compression format Matroska video (MKV) at HD 720p, the drive can store around 1,000 two-hour movies, or 120,000 minutes of video, making it idea for storing all your favourite episodes of cheesy American TV shows such as Gossip Girl or 90210.
Seagate hasn’t yet announced a release date or pricing for its 4TB video hard disk drive.
In a prepared statement Cook read before a Senate subcommittee yesterday, the chief executive named Texas as the location of a new factory where Apple will assemble Macs.
Cook was in Washington, D.C. to defend Apple’s tax practices after senators accused the California company of dodging its obligations by shunting profits to overseas subsidiaries, including several in Ireland, one of which has allegedly paid no income taxes for five years.
“We’re investing $100 million to build a Mac product line here in the U.S.,” said Cook, repeating comments made last December in interviews with NBC andBusinessWeek. “The product will be assembled in Texas, include components made in Illinois and Florida, and rely on equipment produced in Kentucky and Michigan.”
Cook’s naming of Texas and the other states was part of a litany of Apple’s U.S. job creation history. Cook did not elaborate on the facility, when it will come online or what Mac the plant will assemble.
However, in an interview earlier this week with Politico — part of his D.C. media blitz before Tuesday’s hearing — Cook said that the U.S. factory will begin churning out a new version of a current Mac later this year.
Cook also told the influential blog that components for the new Mac would come from suppliers in Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Kentucky.
Apple already relies on iPhone and iPad components made in Texas, and iPhone glass from Kentucky, Cook said in the prepared statement.
Texas is a natural for Apple.
“Both Sony and Microsoft have said games can be resold and that’s exactly what we anticipated. It’s a recognised way to make these games more affordable. All three new platforms understand that,” Bartel told Forbes.
“As people upgraded to PS3 they traded in their old systems and libraries, which is why Sony made the move to not support backwards compatibility with later iterations of PS3. That’s why the ‘buy, sell, trade’ model works well. It enables people to purchase new games by trading in their old ones. We expect to see the same thing with this transition for PS4 and Xbox One. Trade-ins allow for a seamless transition.”
He added that 70 per cent of the $1 billion that GameStop brings to the market goes to new game sales.
After the Xbox One reveal yesterday there was still some confusion about how the machine’s internet requirements would affect the sharing and resale of games, leaving Microsoft executives to clarify the details.
That’s one of the tools the world’s largest retailer plans to use to improve the in-store shopping experience as it looks to mobile-influenced purchases outpacing e-commerce sales, said Gibu Thomas, Wal-Mart’s global head of mobile, in a CTIA Wireless keynote speech on Wednesday.
“The future of retailing is the history of retailing, of a personalized interactive experience for every customer delivered through a smartphone,” Thomas said. Citing independent studies of the U.S. market, Thomas said in-store buying influenced by mobile use was on track to be about twice as big as e-commerce sales by 2016.
Mobile already drives about one-third of the traffic to Walmart.com, spiking to more than 40 percent during the holiday season late last year, Thomas said. The store’s smartphone app also boosts buying: Customers who have the app make more trips to Wal-Mart and spend as much as 40 percent more there, he said. A majority of Wal-Mart’s customers have smartphones.
The app already includes a shopping-list function, which can tell customers where to find their products in the store and give them relevant digital coupons they can redeem through the phone. Wal-Mart is testing a system called “Scan and Go” with which shoppers can scan each their purchases with the Wal-Mart app and then scan their phone once at a self-checkout register to pay, Thomas said.
But through analyzing what customers usually buy, the company now thinks it can automatically compile a list that will come up whenever the shopper opens up the app. It’s designed to anticipate what the customer will need.
“The best shopping list is the one you don’t have to create, so that’s the one we’re working on,” Thomas said.
If you have any old AMD shares lying around you might like to sell them as fast as you can, according to the bean counters at Goldman Sachs.
Despite the fact that the company is doing rather well, and its share price is has gone up rapidly over recent months, Goldman Sach analysts claim that the writing is on the wall for AMD. It thinks that AMD shares will be worth just $2.50 soon. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $2.98.
The company said that while AMD could clean up in the gaming market even if you take those figures into account the stock is trading at 22 times its 2014 CY EPS estimate. In other words the company’s core PC business is still shagged and still will generate 45 per cent of the company’s 2013 revenue.
“We therefore believe this recent move in the stock is just the latest in a long history of unsustainable rallies, and we are downgrading the stock to Sell. We believe the current multiple is unjustified for any company with such significant exposure to the secularly declining PC market,” the firm’s analyst wrote.
Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein think that the share price will settle on $2.00 and FBR Capital Markets thinks $3.00. In other words if you want to know what is really happening at AMD you might as well ask the cat, than any Wall Street expert.
A Comparative Climatology Symposium held at NASA Headquarters on May 7 focused on new approaches to climate research by highlighting the similarities and contrasts between the environments of the rocky worlds Venus, Earth, Mars and Saturn’s smoggy moon Titan.
The symposium also included discussions about exoplanets, the sun and past, present and future space missions.
John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will be able to make important observations of the atmospheres of exoplanets. [Photos: The James Webb Space Telescope]
He said JWST won’t be able to locate the exoplanets, only study them, but the recently selected TESS mission could act as a planet scout for JWST targets. It is estimated that TESS will discover around 300 “super-Earth” alien planets, many of them in the habitable zone.
But the number one challenge, Grunsfeld noted, is figuring out the climate of our own planet.
Understanding climate change
Jim Green, NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director, said that one goal is to examine a variety of planetary bodies as a system, to see if there are trends or similarities. He also pointed out that from a planetary scientist’s perspective, climate change on our planet is not a new thing.
“Earth’s climate has done nothing but change,” Green said.
Green said that three Earth-observing satellites will be launched this year, and they will help us better understand how the climate is currently changing and the implications that has for our planet’s environment.
David Grinspoon, holder of the first Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress chair in Astrobiology, talked about Mars’ “ferocious and interesting” meteorology, and how Martian global dust storms may help unravel what happened on our planet during the K-T extinction 65 million years ago, when an asteroid hitting the Yucatan Peninsula is thought to have eradicated 75 percent of animals and plants on Earth, including the dinosaurs. [Wipeout: History's Most Mysterious Extinctions]
As for Venus, Grinspoon said scientists believe current-day volcanism on Venus is thought to be necessary to sustain the planet’s thick clouds. He added that the active surface has eradicated most ancient rocks, preventing us from easily understanding Venus’ early history.
Grinspoon also discussed the unique climate of Titan, noting that the methane cycle on this moon of Saturn is “like Earth’s hydrological cycle on steroids.”
Studying the climates of Mars, Venus, Titan and even exoplanets could help us refine our climate models of the Earth. However, Grinspoon said that “clouds are the biggest uncertainty in understanding the past of Venus and predicting the future of Earth.”
Tying climatology to astrobiology, Grinspoon said that our expectations of the other planets, in the absence of data, were that they’d be much more Earth-like than they actually are. We still haven’t found a planet quite like our own, although astronomers are zeroing in on exoplanets that should have habitable conditions.
But, Grinspoon said, “it may be that conditions for life’s origin aren’t rare, but the hard part is the persistence of habitable conditions.”
Venus was a popular topic during the symposium. Roald Sagdeev, University of Maryland professor and former director of the Space Research Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, said during an overview of the Russian missions to Venus that “from the point of view of habitability, Venus is like having a dead body to study, which is of course very useful for learning anatomy.”
David Crisp, Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, said that sending weather balloons to Venus taught us a lot about atmospheric physics. And Roger Bonnet, Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute, said there was no chance for a big “flagship” mission to Venus, since the viewpoint among many amounts to “Who cares about clouds and wind on Venus, when we have so much of that on Earth? We want to see little green men!”
One participant noted the presence of “the Venus mafia” at the symposium, inferring that the focus on Earth’s “twin planet” had muscled out discussion of other places of interest.
But in addition to studies of Venus and other terrestrial worlds, there was a talk about our sun and its influence on space weather, and general discussions about refining climate models, defining habitable zones, and the importance of basic research.
The participants seemed to agree that, most importantly, planetary climate studies needed to be interdisciplinary, with scientists from different fields communicating and collaborating.
Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, also pointed out that we should never become complacent in our scientific understanding. For instance, he said that while climate models have not been able to make early Mars warm enough to sustain liquid water on its surface, the same can be true for models of the young Earth.
And when it comes to understanding where a planet needs to reside in its solar system to be habitable — the so-called Goldilocks Zone where the temperature is just right for water to be liquid rather than ice or gas — he commented that “the approach [to the habitable zone] is very Goldilocks in that it’s almost a fairy tale.”
Finally, Meyer noted, just when we thought we understood how planets are made, we discovered hot Jupiters and other unusual exoplanets that “turned all of our planet formation models on their head.”
“And that’s a good thing,” he added.
A day that SEGA fans thought would never come has arrived: SEGA has entered into a deal with Nintendo where Nintendo consoles will get the next three Sonic the Hedgehog titles as platform exclusives. The once bitter rivals are calling this a “worldwide partnership,” which despite being a bit short on details apparently leads us to believe that SEGA will be developing additional new software for the Wii U and 3DS consoles going forward.
The next three Sonic titles will include Sonic: Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and a third unannounced title that the company is expected to officially announce at E3. The reason for the Sonic exclusive deal has to do with the past performance of Sonic titles on Nintendo consoles, and since they have proven to be good sellers, the deal does seem to make a lot of sense for both companies.
What is more interesting, however, is the other aspects of the partnership that will see additional titles developed for the Wii U. Nintendo needs all of the software support it can get for the Wii U, and just getting SEGA to continue to release new titles for the Wii U is a good thing. Sources tell us that SEGA has some new Wii U titles planned for announcement at E3, but it isn’t known exactly what SEGA might be cooking up.
While a big deal with Activision or Take-Two is really what Wii U owners might want, at least getting SEGA to continue producing Wii U titles is a positive news thing. It does remain to be seen, however, if SEGA can deliver the kinds of titles that will be successful sellers on the Wii U when so many owners are looking for the big titles from some of the other publishers.
Although the iPhone remained the top smartphone by customer satisfaction, with a score of 81 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) published Tuesday, Apple’s lead largely evaporated. Not only did Apple’s score fall two points from the year before, satisfaction in competitors’ devices jumped.
Samsung’s satisfaction score grew the most, increasing by five points to 76, a 7% gain. Motorola’s score climbed 5.5% to 77 points, while Nokia’s gained a point to close at 76, a 1.3% increase. Other smartphone manufacturers’ scores slumped: Those of HTC and LG slid 4% and 5.3%, respectively.
2012′s eight-point gap between Apple and the best of the rest was halved in 2013, as Apple now leads the next-closest, Motorola, by just four points.
ACSI’s director, David VanAmburg, attempted to explain Apple’s shrinking lead.
“While the iPhone 5 had strong sales, it has not bolstered Apple’s overall customer satisfaction,” said VanAmburg in a report accompanying the survey results. “[And Samsung's] improvement is the largest yet for any cell phone manufacturer.”
VanAmburg credited the 2012 launch of the Galaxy S3 for the boost to Samsung’s score, and noted that the 81 scored by the iPhone lagged behind the 86 garnered by Apple’s Mac personal computers and iPad tablets last September.
ACSI’s results generally conformed with media coverage and customer reactions to the iPhone 5 — which was seen as a minor upgrade, even though it sported a slightly larger screen — and Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and S4, which have been applauded. Most analysts, for instance, have portrayed Samsung as Apple’s only real competitor.
According to IDC, Samsung shipped 71 million smartphones in the first quarter, while Apple shipped 37 million iPhones, or just over half as many. Apple’s share shrunk to 17.3% for the quarter, down from 23% the same period in 2012; meanwhile, Samsung’s share climbed from 28.8% to 32.7%.
The Internet company nabbed the 92nd spot in the annual list of global companies from multiple industries including technology, retail and service, released Tuesday by BrandZ, a brand equity database. The ranking gave Yahoo a “brand value” of US$9.83 billion, which is based on the opinions of current and potential users as well as actual financial data.
Apple occupied the number-one position on the list, with a brand value of $185 billion. Google was number two, with a value of roughly $114 billion.
The BrandZ ranking, commissioned by the advertising and marketing services group WPP, incorporates interviews with more than 2 million consumers globally about thousands of brands along with financial performance analysis to compile the list. Yahoo last appeared on the list in 2009 at number 81.
Yahoo’s inclusion on the 2013 list comes as the Internet company works to reinvent itself and win back users. Previously a formidable player in Silicon Valley, the company has struggled in recent years to compete against the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Improving its product offerings on mobile has been a focus. New mobile apps for email and weather have been unveiled, along with a new version of the main Yahoo app, featuring news summaries generated with technology the company acquired when it bought Summly.
Most notably, Monday the company announced it is acquiring the blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Big changes to its Flickr photo sharing service were also announced.
Yahoo’s rebuilding efforts have picked up steam only during the last several months, but the 2013 BrandZ study was completed by March 1.
However, last July’s appointment of Marissa Mayer as CEO likely played a significant role in the company’s inclusion in the ranking, said Altimeter analyst Charlene Li. “Consumer perception has gone up since then,” she said.
“Yahoo’s leadership has a strong sense of what they want to do with the brand,” she added.
Yahoo’s 2012 total revenue was flat at $4.99 billion. However, after subtracting advertising fees and commissions paid to partners, net revenue was up 2 percent year-on-year.
Three months after hackers working for a cyberunit of China’s People’s Liberation Army went silent they appear to have resumed their attacks using different techniques.
The Obama administration had bet that “naming and shaming” the groups, first in industry reports and then in the Pentagon’s own detailed survey of Chinese military capabilities, might prompt China’s new leadership to crack down on the military’s team of hackers. But it appears that Unit 6139 is back in business, according to American officials and security companies.
Mandiant, a private security company that helps companies and government agencies defend themselves from hackers, said the attacks had resumed but would not identify the targets. The victims were many of the same ones the unit had attacked before. Mandiant said that the Chinese hackers had stopped their attacks after they were exposed in February and removed their spying tools from the organisations they had infiltrated.
But in the last two months, they have begun attacking the same victims from new servers and have reinserted many of the tools that enable them to seek out data without detection. The subject of Chinese attacks is expected to be a central issue in an upcoming visit to China by President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon. However little is expected to come of it, the Chinese have always denied that they have a hacked anyone, ever.
Dell’s public cloud service was the firm’s offering that was meant to tempt customers that buy kit from the firm not to run off to Amazon. Now it seems that Dell doesn’t want to run its own cloud datacentre operations but resell services through its Cloud Partner Program.
Dell’s Cloud Partner Program presently has three providers signed up, with Joyent arguably being the biggest name so far. Dell also announced that it will resell services for Scalematrix and Zerolag, adding that its customers can use Dell as a cloud service broker rather than as a cloud provider.
Dell’s public cloud had been using Openstack, an open source suite of software that promotes software interoperability between cloud service providers. The firm’s decision to dump its public cloud service is not only a blow for Openstack, but an admission that the Texas based PC vendor does not want to compete with Amazon Web Services.
Dell Cloud VP Nnamdi Orakwue said, “The partner approach offers increased value to Dell’s customers, channel partners and shareholders, as part of our comprehensive cloud strategy to deliver market-leading, end-to-end cloud solutions.”
Orakwue spun Dell’s announcement as giving customers the choice they apparently want in cloud service providers, though given the almost ubiquitous availability of Amazon Web Services, one has to question whether customers really care about having a choice of cloud providers, no matter how important it might be for competition.
Dell said it will continue to provide private cloud services and claimed it is still committed to the Openstack project. The firm added that customers can buy services through its Cloud Partner Program immediately.
GrubHub and Seamless, which allow consumers to easily order online from various restaurants, are part of a group of fast-growing businesses that standardize local services under a national umbrella. Think restaurant reservations, where OpenTable dominates, or car services, where privately held startups such as Uber are making significant inroads.
“Internet sites are able to aggregate local merchants, and we’re right in the sweet spot,” said Matt Maloney, GrubHub chief executive, in a phone interview.
The services did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval. It is expected to close by August, the services’ executives said.
Online takeout services allow consumers to browse hundreds of menus online, along with reviews by fellow diners, and then order from the service, which notifies the restaurant. The services store payment information, cutting back on the time it takes to order food.Restaurants like the services because they cut back on phone calls at peak times.
Last year, GrubHub and Seamless coordinated $875 million in takeout sales, resulting in more than $100 million in combined revenue, they said in a statement.
But the overall U.S. takeout business is worth around $69 billion annually, with most of those sales coming from diners picking up the phone and calling the restaurant. “Our number one competitor is the paper menu,” Maloney said.
Both companies have attracted significant backing, including more than $84 million for Chicago-based GrubHub from investors such as Benchmark Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
New York-based Seamless’s backers include private-equity firm Spectrum Equity, which paid $50 million two years ago for a minority stake in the business.
GrubHub is the larger of the two services, covering 20,000 restaurants in 500 cities. Maloney, its founder and chief executive, will become CEO of the combined company, while Seamless CEO Jonathan Zabusky will serve as president.
Seamless currently works with 12,000 restaurants in 40 cities, including in London.
The combined company will have 600 employees.
DAS (distributed antenna systems) using coaxial cable have been the main solution to the problem, but they now face some limitations. To address them, Corning will introduce a DAS at this week’s CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas that uses fiber instead of coax all the way from the remote cell antennas to the base station in the heart of a building.
Cable-based DAS hasn’t kept up with the new world, according to the optical networking vendor. Though Corning is associated more often with clear glass than with thin air, it entered the indoor wireless business in 2011 by buying DAS maker MobileAccess. That’s because Corning thinks optical fiber is the key to bringing more mobile capacity and coverage inside.
The system, called Corning Optical Network Evolution (ONE) Wireless Platform, can take the place of a DAS based fully or partly on coaxial cable, according to Bill Cune, vice president of strategy for Corning MobileAccess. Corning ONE will let mobile carriers, enterprises or building owners set up a neutral-host DAS for multiple carriers using many different frequencies.
Though small cells are starting to take its place in some buildings, DAS still has advantages over the newer technology, according to analyst Peter Jarich of Current Analysis. It can be easier to upgrade because only the antennas are distributed, so more of the changes can be carried out on centralized gear. Also, small cells are typically deployed by one mobile operator, and serving customers of other carriers has to be done through roaming agreements, he said.
Corning ONE links each antenna to the base station over optical fiber, converting the radio signals to optical wavelengths until they reach the base station. Fiber has more capacity than coax, can handle higher frequencies, and requires just one cable from a MIMO antenna, Cune said. Because of fiber’s high capacity, it’s relatively easy to bring other mobile operators onto the DAS.
The system is based on optical fiber, but it can be extended over standard Ethernet wiring to provide backhaul for Wi-Fi access points. Each Corning ONE remote antenna unit that’s deployed around a building will have two Ethernet ports to hook up nearby Wi-Fi access points, which can use the fiber infrastructure for data transport to wired LAN equipment, Cune said.