If your Mac is running OSX Lion there's an awesome feature in the Preview program that allows you to capture a handwritten signature with your Mac's camera. You can then apply that signature to any PDF that someone sends you and email it back to them in a flash. Gone are the days when you had to print out the document, sign it, and re-scan it to a PDF before attaching it to an email! There's also the ability to move, resize and add multiple signatures to your heart's content.
Great story: Matt Spaccarelli is an AT&T customer with an unlimited data plan for his iPhone. AT&T started throttling or slowing down his connection because he was using up "too much" data watching movies on Netflix. He argued to AT&T that they had rendered his Internet connection completely unusable by limiting his "unlimited" data plan. AT&T basically laughed at and mocked him....so he took his case to small claims court and WON!!!
Something to think about if you use the Path App on your mobile phone. It shouldn't surprise anyone that there's not much privacy on the web, especially when we interact with others through social networks and our web mail accounts. It was discovered recently that the Path software secretly uploads your entire mail address book to their servers without first prompting or warning you that it is going to do so. Some people have no problem with sharing this information but the point is that anyone using the app should have been told that up front.
After a huge public outcry, Path released an apology and updated its software so you now have the ability to choose whether or not you share your contacts. They are also purging all of the information they previously collected on their servers.
What is still alarming is that ANY application you download to your iPhone or iPad has access to your address book (if that information is on your device) and could do whatever they want with your personal data. It's a scary reminder that we really do have to think twice about what we install on our phones and "smart" devices. It could impact not just our own privacy but all of the others we interact with on the internet.
A comical look at Verizon's 4G service and their deluge of available smartphones: aired on last night's Saturday Night Live. The onslaught of choices and cellular doublespeak is enough to drive anybody batty. I guess they can get away with it...I'm not signing up with AT&T anytime soon, at least not in New York City.
The NYTimes has an interesting article on corporate espionage in today's world and the steps being taken to thwart it...posted the same day the CIA's website was brought down and possibly hacked by cyber toughs. Scary stuff.
Lifehacker has a decent article about pimping up your stereo system and not emptying your bank account in the process. There's a lot to consider before you start dropping those $$$s, so it's a worthwhile read.
If you haven't succumbed to the seductress of smartphones: the iPhone 4s, and you're in the market for an Android device, it can be a daunting choice. People are always asking me for recommendations because there's so many similar phones to choose from on all the major carriers....so I really liked this little round-up by PC Magazine that features some of the best picks out there right now.
Not great news if you happen to own a security camera made by Trendnet. A flaw in the software can allow anyone to view your camera feed even if you followed the instructions and password protected the device when it was set up. Trendnet is supposed to be working on a firmware update to fix this issue but hasn't released any kind of a formal statement to its customers as to when this security patch will be released. They also haven't indicated the specific cameras that are affected by the "coding error" which opens up your cameras line of sight to anyone on the internet (well, anyone who has the time on their hands or the knowledge of how to do it). My advice would be to unplug your camera until Trendnet issues some kind of statement and more importantly, a fix. Even then, I might think about what you are pointing it at in the future.
I'm a big fan of the Chrome browser and opening a private "incognito" tab when I visit sites where I don't want to be tracked or spied upon. It can also be used for reading the occasional article on the New York Times website and not being bugged about a paid subscription. The only downside is having to open a separate browser window or remembering to do so each time you want to use it. The Ghost Incognito extension for Chrome makes this super easy to manage. Once you install the extension and visit a site where you don't want to be tracked, a click on the icon in the toolbar will put you right into "incognito mode". It will also remember that site every time you visit it in the future. You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Shift+N (Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS) and ⌘-Shift-N (Mac) to open an incognito window. Sometimes it's nice to go stealth and be a ghost of the internets! You can download the Ghost Incognito extension at the Chrome Web Store.
iPhones. iPads. Android. We've updated all of our essential apps lists to include a few forgotten favorites, some long awaited arrivals and, as always, even more amazing apps. Check them out:
This blog features important news, computer tips, and my own spin on the culture of technology.