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The Telecom Digest for December 28, 2012
Volume 31 : Issue 302 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Google Maps for iPhone Returns Better Than Ever (Monty Solomon)
SceneTap facial-detection company brings controversial nightclub app to Boston (Monty Solomon)
Sneaky Apps That Track Cellphones (Monty Solomon)
DRM be damned: How to protect your Amazon e-books from being deleted (Monty Solomon)

====== 31 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 23:15:52 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Google Maps for iPhone Returns Better Than Ever Message-ID: <p0624089bcd017bbd5a55@[]> Google Maps for iPhone Returns Better Than Ever Published on December 18, 2012 by Walt Mossberg Google's rich, reliable Maps app is back on the iPhone, and that means iPhone users can stop relying on the flawed, fledgling Apple maps app that replaced it as a built-in feature in September. Apple's version is still bolted into the phone, and the new, free Google app must be downloaded from Apple's app store. Google says the app was downloaded 10 million times in just its first two days of availability last week. The reappearance of Google Maps on the iPhone closes a big advantage Google's own Android phones had gained when Apple's replacement turned out to lack some key features, such as labeling of buildings and businesses, street-view photos and public-transit routing. It also offered too much inaccurate location data. However, the biggest news here is that the new iPhone version of Google Maps isn't just better than Apple Maps. For now, at least, Google Maps is better in most respects on the iPhone than it is on Android phones. It has been redesigned with a cleaner, simpler user interface that makes it easier to use. Google officials say they took the sudden need to build a new iPhone version as an opportunity to rethink the popular app from the ground up. I've been testing the new Google Maps on iPhone for a week or so in the San Francisco and Washington metro areas, and I really like it. It isn't perfect, but I prefer it to any other iPhone Maps app I've used, and to Google Maps on Android. The latter will likely also gain the new design in time, but for now, it looks inelegant by comparison. ... http://allthingsd.com/20121218/google-maps-for-iphone-returns-better-than-ever/
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 23:36:14 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: SceneTap facial-detection company brings controversial nightclub app to Boston Message-ID: <p062408a1cd0180747545@[]> Privacy a worry as an app scans the bar scene Firm says its technology doesn't identify people By James H. Burnett III | GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 26, 2012 It's New Year's Eve. You can't decide whether to hit the Allston pub or the Cambridge bar. But if your smartphone could tell you how crowded the two places were, the ratio of men to women inside, even the average age of the crowds, would that make the decision easier? A company called SceneTap has launched a smartphone application at more than 30 bars, mostly in Boston and Cambridge, that it says can do all that right now. But SceneTap could one day have the capability to do a lot more. That's making some people so nervous that when SceneTap launched last spring in San Francisco, it sparked outrage and forced the chief executive to issue a letter to quell the anger. At the heart of the issue is privacy, something Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others have learned can incite the masses when mishandled. SceneTap gathers data by collecting images from what is called a facial detection reader inside the bars. It locks in on a silhouette from the neck up and measures 14 data points on the featureless face, determining within seconds whether the subject is male or female and the person's approximate age. It's not facial recognition, like the picture-taking technology used at airports. But because SceneTap's patent application includes language about facial recognition, some critics worry it's only a matter of time before the company tries to collect more detailed information. ... http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/12/26/scenetap-facial-detection-company-brings-controversial-nightclub-app-boston/VGcRCA1LSSQZ4aFq3Vq26H/story.html?s_campaign=8315
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 15:18:55 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Sneaky Apps That Track Cellphones Message-ID: <p0624080ccd019b38bb3e@[]> Editorial Sneaky Apps That Track Cellphones December 23, 2012 A perversion of smartphone technology called "stalking apps" - precise, secretive trackings of the movements of cellphone users - is increasingly a matter of national concern, particularly for domestic abuse victims. No less threatening is the routine monitoring of children's locales and phone habits for commercial purposes while parents are kept in the dark. Stealth apps even stoop to cyber-leering through the now notorious app called Girls Around Me, which allows men to search out women, unbeknown to them, by cross-matching GPS technology with information and photo sites like Facebook. With these abuses proliferating, the Senate Judiciary Committee this month took a big step to protect the privacy of all cellphone users and close legal loopholes that enable stalking apps. The committee approved a worthy measure sponsored by Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, that for the first time would require cellphone companies to obtain a user's permission to collect location data and sell it or share it with third parties. It also would flatly outlaw creation of stalking apps, applying criminal and civil penalties. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/opinion/sneaking-after-cellphone-users.html
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 15:18:55 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: DRM be damned: How to protect your Amazon e-books from being deleted Message-ID: <p06240811cd01c240e13e@[]> DRM be damned: How to protect your Amazon e-books from being deleted Amazon recently erased all of one Kindle users' e-books. Ars shows how to stop it. by Cyrus Farivar Oct 25 2012 Ars Technica http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/10/drm-be-damned-how-to-protect-your-amazon-e-books-from-being-deleted/
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