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[July 02, 2014]
Boot up: Android Wear reviewed, Microsoft cuts?, bye-bye Orkut
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team WordPress plugin with 1.7m downloads puts sites at risk of takeover >> Ars Technica Websites that run WordPress and MailPoet, a plugin with more than 1.7 million downloads, are susceptible to hacks that give attackers almost complete control, researchers have warned.
"If you have this plugin activated on your website, the odds are not in your favor," Daniel Cid, CTO of security firm Sucuri, warned in a blog post published Tuesday. "An attacker can exploit this vulnerability without having any privileges/accounts on the target site. This is a major threat, it means every single website using it is vulnerable." Summertime blues: Microsoft insiders brace for cuts >> Gigaom Microsoft's fiscal year ends tomorrow, and with 25,000 new Nokia employees aboard as of April, the time is coming for cutbacks, according to sources close to and inside the software giant.
To be fair, things have been looking up for Microsoft of late – last week's Office 365 outage aside. Microsoft's cloud strategy has won good reviews, with Microsoft Azure now generally seen as number 2 (albeit a distant number 2) to Amazon Web Services in public cloud. And the company's third quarter earnings came in better than expected.
But, Microsoft took on a ton of expenses with the $7.2 billion Nokia buy, which is intended to bolster its mobile story against Apple and Android devices, and insiders said something has to give. Nomura Securities analyst Rick Sherlund has characterized the deal as an acquisition not even a mother could love and expects Microsoft to lose $1 billion in the first year of ownership.
New caption suggestions for the pic of Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop in the mountains, maybe.
Android Wear review: the everything inbox >> The Verge Dieter Bohn: There are basically two kinds of people in this world: those who check their phone immediately when it buzzes and those who don't. If you're the sort that does, you're going to enjoy having your inbox on your wrist. When something comes in, you can quickly glance down to see what it is without completely ignoring whatever you're doing. You can act on some of them too, thanks to Android's rich notification actions. That means that you will be able to play and pause music from apps that put those controls in the notification center, for example.
It's a small happiness to get an email you want to immediately destroy and be able to immediately destroy it from your watch. It's a small happiness to glance down and see that the weather or package-tracking information you want is sitting right there. But for every time Android Wear gives you exactly what you want, there's another time that it frustrates you. If you have more than one email stacked up, for example, you can't manage them from your watch — you'll have to go to your phone for that. There are other hassles, too. Android, unlike iOS, doesn't put those little numbered badges on your icons. That means that if you dismiss a notification, it's solid gone and I have accidentally swiped the wrong way on my watch several times.
(Thanks @GambaKufu for the link.) Android Wear software review: smartwatch software that doesn't suck >> Ars Technica Ron Amadeo: Wearables will never be an "essential" piece of technology, and that's not the standard by which they should be judged—a smartwatch is a luxury item that's tied to your smartphone and doesn't really introduce any new functionality. What a good wearable can do, though, is let you do stuff faster and easier than you can with your smartphone, and it's by that standard that Wear is a useful product. The days of having to find, turn on, and unlock some lost piece of plastic are over, and now addressing that ever-present beep just takes an effortless glance at your wrist.
You won't be able to perform 100% of the normal smartphone actions from your watch. You'll be able to see a notification, delete a boring e-mail, and send a quick text reply; and you'll be able to verbally look up things with Google. That's about it. I think there's value in a device like this, and Wear will become a steady part of my personal tech loadout from now on. On the other hand, if you're looking for a watch that will let you do away with your smartphone, that product doesn't yet exist.
No mention in the four-page review of battery life, which seems like a relevant element.
I/O thoughts >> Rusty Rants Russell Ivanovic develops for iOS and Android, and went to his first Google I/O: Sundar [Pichai] has united all those divisions into one coherent functional team with one common vision. Talking to various Google Engineers at the event it was clear they all had the same sentiment.
In previous Google keynotes there were always things announced that you knew were going absolutely nowhere, but this year that changed. Android 'L' preview is an amazing OS, with great visual design that excites me about the future of that platform. Android Wear is a really good 1.0 implementation of what I personally want in a smart watch. Android TV looks like the platform I've been begging Apple to build for the last 3 years, and while I have to reserve judgement until it comes out later this year, I'm excited about it. Android Auto is something I want in my car right now, it's just that good. Perhaps if you had to pick one thing that is a "that's nice, but let's wait and see" it would be their Android in the home implementation. Much like Apple's HomeKit it all comes down to how many hardware vendors actually adopt it before it becomes useful.
(Thanks @undersinged for the link.) Google reins in Android device makers >> Re/code Ina Fried: On the watch front, for example, the biggest choice a hardware makers gets to make so far is deciding whether to use a square or circular hardware design: Their decisions limited to the size and type of screen, how big a battery to include and some flexibility around which sensors are included. As far as software customization goes, they can come up with a few watch faces, but not much more. That makes it tough for for any one hardware maker to stand out.
The restrictions are also applied to new Android-enabled TVs and devices. Companies can either offer it as a set-top box or built into TV sets.
Google says the moves make its software more consistent, especially for those using multiple Android-based devices.
But as Fried points out, that sucks value - and so profit - away from the device makers and towards Google.
Advancing our encryption and transparency efforts >> Microsoft TechNet Blogs Matt Thomlinson is VP of Trustworthy Computing: Over the past six months, we have been working across the industry to further protect and help ensure your mail remains protected. This includes working closely with several international providers throughout our implementation, including, Deutsche Telekom, Yandex and Mail.Ru to test and help ensure that mail stays encrypted in transit to and from each email service. I'd like to thank each of these companies and the community for the hard work they've put in, and for making this additional engineering investment a priority. This encryption work builds on the existing protections already in many of our products and services, like Microsoft Azure, Skype and Office 365, and some improvements we have made over the last six months. A few examples include enhanced message encryption in Office 365 as well as Azure's addition of ExpressRoute, a service that enables businesses to create private connections between Azure datacenters and infrastructure on their premises or in a colocation environment. This is a significant engineering effort given the large number of services Microsoft offers and the hundreds of millions of customers we serve around the world.
Christensen vs. Lepore: a matter of fact >> TechCrunch Thomas Thurston built a dataset at Intel which he later refined to test disruption theory. He says it's effective - much more so than "only 25% of businesses survive their first 10 years": The theory's accuracy is also disproportionately higher for big financial wins, as opposed to small wins. I bring this up because some people look at exceptions like the iPhone, Tesla and Ralph Lauren and fret that the models somehow miss blockbusters. This too is a question of fact, not opinion, to which there's been considerable analysis. The bigger a win, the greater the odds current Disruption-based models will catch it. I just used examples like the iPhone and Tesla because they're well known.
As if it weren't enough, Disruption Theory has also proven highly replicable. It's rules-based, not a fuzzy art form. More than 1,000 corporate managers and students at schools including Harvard and MIT have been tested both before, and after, specific training in Disruption Theory (over 8,000 observations). When asked to make blind predictions about the survival or failure of real (but disguised) businesses, test subjects with no training averaged 35 percent accuracy, whereas after being trained the average accuracy rose to 65 percent. This demonstrated that anyone following certain Disruption-based rules can achieve similar results — a hallmark of good science.
He hasn't made the dataset available - perhaps because it's far too valuable to a venture capitalist like himself.
Tchau Orkut >> Orkut Blog Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world. Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut's growth, we've decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau). We'll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them.
We will shut down Orkut on September 30, 2014. Until then, there will be no impact on current Orkut users, to give the community time to manage the transition. People can export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout (available until September 2016). Starting today, it will not be possible to create a new Orkut account.
Orkut, the service, may be going away, but all of those incredible communities Orkut users have created will live on. We are preserving an archive of all public communities, which will be available online starting September 30, 2014.
Orkut, Buzz.. Google has killed more social networks than most companies start.
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