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Kinectimals for Android from Microsoft – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Kinectimals for Android from Microsoft Ubergizmo Microsoft might have their very own fledgling mobile operating system in the form of Windows Phone, but this does not mean the company has no heart to ... and more »

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Twitter rolls out tailored Trends with descriptions on the web, removes Discover tab (Martin Beck/Marketing Land)

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Earlier this month, Twitter started displaying more context about trending topics for mobile users of the network. This week, the company is moving the experience to the web, gradually rolling out the feature on Twitter.com. Not everyone is seeing the change yet, but those who do are being presented with a description for each of the trending topics in the left-side bar. In some cases, there’s also information about when a topic started trending and number of tweets it has spawned. Here’s how it looks on the Marketing Land account. The switch also means the end of the Discovery tab, which had already been deleted from the mobile apps. Originally intended to surface high-quality and popular tweets from a user’s network, Discover had been made largely redundant because by recent Twitter moves to surface content in other ways — for instance, the While You Were Away mobile feature and this week’s introduction of Highlights to provide a twice daily snapshot of the best Twitter has to offer. Such efforts are part of Twitter’s strategy to improve the experience for casual users in the hope that more of them will make the network a regular part of their daily digital routine, crucial for a company trying to pick up the pace of growth in its base of 288 million monthly active users. Twitter also announced this week that trends with descriptions is being made available to people in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The feature is still limited to English language users who have enabled tailored trends. The change to the trending required that Twitter build a entirely new backend platform, Twitter said in a blog post today on by engineering manager Zhenghua Li . Read More »

How Comcast failed to get merger support in Congress despite $25M spent on lobbying in 2014 (Eric Lipton/New York Times)

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Photo Representative Tony Cárdenas, a California Democrat, was one of many lawmakers wooed by Comcast in its efforts to persuade them of the advantages of a deal to buy Time Warner Cable. Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times WASHINGTON — David L. Cohen, the master salesman who runs the Comcast Corporation ’s lobbying efforts, stood before a room full of Latino House lawmakers one morning in early December trying to convince them that they should embrace his $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable . But as Mr. Cohen continued to talk — taking up much of the time set aside for the closed-door session — at least some of the assembled lawmakers began to wonder if his highly polished pitch was falling short. “He was smothering us with attention but he was not answering our questions,” said Representative Tony Cárdenas, Democrat of California, who said that in the early stages of the deal he was open to supporting it if his questions were addressed satisfactorily. “And I could not help but think that this is a $140 billion company with 130 lobbyists — and they are using all of that to the best of their ability to get us to go along.” Continue reading the main story Related Coverage Comcast Withdraws Purchase Bid, but It Isn’t Going Anywhere APRIL 24, 2015 Under Regulators’ Scrutiny, Comcast and Time Warner Cable End Deal APRIL 24, 2015 News Analysis: Once Comcast’s Deal Shifted to a Focus on Broadband, Its Ambitions Were Sunk APRIL 23, 2015 The announcement Friday morning that Comcast was terminating its effort to take over Time Warner Cable, a plan that would have united the nation’s top two cable operators, ultimately collapsed because of clear signals that federal regulators were preparing to block it. But the warning signs were already present from the muted reception it had received on Capitol Hill. Despite the distribution of $5.9 million in campaign contributions by the two companies during the 2014 election cycle, and the expenditure of an extraordinary $25 million on lobbying last year, no more than a handful of lawmakers signed letters endorsing the deal. By contrast, more than 100 signed letters of support in 2010 when Comcast was pushing its merger with NBCUniversal. Congress has no direct power to approve or disapprove any merger, but endorsements, particularly if they come from black and Hispanic leaders, can send a subtle but important message to regulators that the deal is in the public interest and should be cleared. It was not that many lawmakers spoke out against the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal — it was just that many of them remained silent. Lawmakers cited a variety of reasons as to why Comcast’s elaborate pitch failed to gain traction this time: The miserable customer service ratings the company earns, for instance, made politicians leery of helping it out. In addition, there were much more substantial antitrust concerns associated with this deal, and some members of Congress said they thought Comcast had failed to live up to its promises in the NBCUniversal deal, and so could not be trusted this time. Read More »

Critical HTTPS bug may open 25,000 iOS apps to eavesdropping attacks (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

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Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock At least 25,000 iOS apps available in Apple's App Store contain a critical vulnerability that may completely cripple HTTPS protections designed to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks that steal or modify sensitive data, security researchers warned. Further Reading As was the case with a separate HTTPS vulnerability reported earlier this week  that affected 1,500 iOS apps, the bug resides in AFNetworking , an open-source code library that allows developers to drop networking capabilities into their iOS and OS X apps. Any app that uses a version of AFNetworking prior to the just-released 2.5.3 may expose data that's trivial for hackers to monitor or modify, even when it's protected by the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol. The vulnerability can be exploited by using any valid SSL certificate for any domain name, as long as the digital credential was issued by a browser-trusted certificate authority (CA). "The result is an attacker with any valid certificate can eavesdrop on or modify an SSL session initiated by an app with this flawed library," Nate Lawson, the founder of security analytics startup SourceDNA , told Ars. "The flaw is that the domain name is not checked in the cert, even though the cert is checked to be sure it was issued by a valid CA. For example, I can pretend to be 'microsoft.com' just by presenting a valid cert for 'sourcedna.com.'" Lawson estimated that the number of affected iOS apps ranged from 25,000 to as high as 50,000. SourceDNA has provided a free search tool  that end users and developers can query to see if their apps are vulnerable. To make it harder for attackers to exploit the vulnerability maliciously, SourceDNA isn't providing a comprehensive list of vulnerable apps. A quick check found that apps from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase were likely affected, although some of those reports may be false positives. It's possible that some apps flagged by SourceDNA use custom code or secondary measures such as certificate pinning that prevents attacks from working. Apps from Microsoft, meanwhile, remained vulnerable to the HTTPS-crippling bug reported earlier. The new vulnerability is the result of a bug in AFNetworking that fails to ensure the domain name contained in the certificate matches the domain name of the HTTPS server it protects. As a result, anyone with a man-in-the-middle position—say, an attacker on an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot, a rogue employee inside an Internet service or virtual private network provider, or a state-sponsored hacker sniffing the Internet backbone—can present their own CA-issued certificate, then read or tamper with the protected communications Read More »


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