Tag Archives: Gizmodo

Need to do dirt? Get you a Burner (app).

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When Techcrunch, Engadget and Gizmodo all talk about the same thing on the same day, my Spidey-senses start tingling.

So you can imagine the buzzing in my head reading about the release of Burner for Android today.

Don’t want to call your ‘herbologist‘ mom from your regular phone?

Can’t remember if the girl you copped that number from last night was cute (or not)?

Girlfriend mad at you and not responding to your texts?

Take no chances.

Burner is the solution for all that (telephonically) ails you.

The Burner app let’s you spoof your mobile phone number.

Instead of seeing your real number in the caller ID or as the source of a text message, your callers/text recipients see your Burner number instead.

Genius!

I took Burner for a spin and hit up my herbologist mom.

Getting set up was a cinch.

I downloaded the app from the App Store, entered my phone number and got an SMS with a verification code.

Once I plugged in the code, accepted the Ts&Cs and waited a few seconds, I was in.

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Burner works off credits, which dictate how long your Burner number lasts.

Hence ‘burner’.

On the low end, there’s the Mini burner, which lasts 7 days, or 20 minutes talk time or 60 texts.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Large or Long burner, which lasts 60 days, or 75 minutes talk time or 225 texts.

But you get a sample Burner right off the bat.

I’m not sure how much credits cost, but the next time I need to call my herbologist mom, I’ll let you know.

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That’s my Burner number.

Feel free to give me a call or send me a text.

It’s a burner, so don’t sleep. The number will be gone tomorrow!

Need to do dirt? Get your Burner (app) on!

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Filed under apps, iPhone

Is Google Glass the future of computing (or a passing fad)?

Google GlassMy colleagues and I are a bunch of (admitted) geeks.

Every day, we share links from Engadget, Gizmodo, TechCrunch and the like.

About interesting apps, techie news, digital trends or hot topics.

A few days ago, someone passed around a link to a promo video for Google Glass.

For the uninformed, Google Glass is Google’s foray into developing a wearable computer.

Unlike the alleged smart watch being developed by Apple, Google Glass is a frame you wear on your face, like a pair of glasses.

Google Glasses

There are no lenses, per se.

Just a small rectangular surface, sitting an inch or so away from the eye, within which sits the Google Glass display.

Google Glass is very limited in its functionality.

From the video demonstration, Google Glass lets you record and playback video, video chat, get turn-by-turn directions, or send a message.

The What It Does part of the Google Glass site seems to suggest that it does a little more than this.

But not much more.

Since there is no keyboard, you’re limited to voice controlled functions.

Now, we can talk to our computers, Star Trek- like, and have them perform increasingly complex functions.

There is a little button on the side, presumably to allow the user to switch between functions.

But beyond that, it’s totally hands free.

When I first watched the video, it reminded me of a GoPro commercial.

It was all about the visuals.

But unlike GoPro, Google Glass allows you to do more than just record video.

You almost forget about the little screen in the top right corner, because your field of vision is right in front of you.

And that got me wondering…

When you’re wearing a pair of Google Glasses, are you always staring up and to the right?

Like you’re thinking about something?

“Do I look like a dork?” perhaps?

My curiosity got the best of me, and I signed up to try out the damn things.

But a happy black chick on the sign up page told me that the applications to try Google Glass were closed.

If you we're so cute, I'd be mad atcha.

If you weren’t so cute, I’d be mad atcha.

I signed up anyway.

I doubt I’ll see a pair in the wild before they’re available for sale.

But one can always hope.

In any instance, it’s definitely got me intrigued.

What do you think?

Is Google Glass the way of the future?

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Filed under branding, technology

I’m sorry. I just can’t get excited about the iPad Mini.

Is this the new iPad Mini? Time will tell.

There’s quite a hullabaloo around Apple’s alleged September 12 announcement.

The buzz around the iPhone 5 and the release of iOS 6 have kept tech bloggers busy.

I have to admit, that I too, have been caught in the frenzy.

I was totally bamboozled by a colleague who posted up a link to a leaked ‘first look’ video of the iPhone…only to realize that it was a hoax.

Damn you adamthinks.com!

But as much as I’ve tried, I simply can’t muster the energy to get excited about the iPad Mini.

Yeah. The rumor mills have been throwing around theories about what the iPad Mini will ultimately be.

And there has much speculation about its potential features.

Sure. The Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 have left Apple in the unenviable position of NOT being first to the mini tablet space.

So the likelihood of a smaller, lower priced offering, designed to compete with these devices, is great.

But I’m still not waiting with bated breath for it.

I mean really.

The ‘new‘ iPad dropped a few months ago.

Less than six months later, they’re dropping another iPad.

And I’m supposed to be all gaga over it?

Why?

Because of the smaller form factor?

The lower price?

Will it have all the same bells and whistles of the current iPad?

Or will Apple pull an ‘iPad’ and drop a device without all the attributes you know they have the capacity to bake in – just to set up the crush for the fully loaded iPad Mini 2.

We’ve all been victims of Apple’s frequent bait-and-switch.

As much as we applaud Apple whenever a new innovative product is released.

We resent them.

When they immediately drop the new and improved whatchumacallit rendering your latest acquisition obsolete.

So you’ll pardon me if I’m over the fanfare and leaks around the iPad Mini.

If you’re really interested, I’m sure that TechCrunch, Gizmodo or Engadget are following the iPad drama unfold.

But not the kid!

Not today anyway…

If you’re really interested in the latest-and-greatest iPad Mini news, check the link to the latest iPad mini photographs from the Daily Mail.

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Filed under digital advocacy, iPad, mobile, opinion, technology

Trouble in Paradise. Apple’s Privacy Loophole.

Apple, I hope you're paying attention! Cause we're watching you!

With all the different websites, email platforms, social media sites, and mobile apps out there, we’re constantly agreeing to the terms and conditions of use as a condition for being able to use these platforms.

Few of us, rarely (if ever) actually read the fine print, and typically scroll through to the end of this usually voluminous text or simply check the “I Agree” box so that we can get passed the legalese and into the <insert name of digital thing you want to play with here>.

Most of us take it for granted, that if we’re signing up for something – anything – online, that there are sufficient safeguards in place that protect our personal information.

We usually aren’t worried that our private information isn’t going to be shared, sniffed, phished, sold, traded or otherwise accessed in any nefarious way.

And if it IS going to be so utilized, we’ll be given clear and unambiguous notice of such (nefarious) intent, and the option and opportunity to opt out of such use/mis-use of our information.

Right?

WRONG!

Last week, Gizmodo reported that Path, the smart journal app that lets you share your life’s experiences with your friends and personal network, was uploading its’ users’ contact information to their servers, without either the knowledge or consent of the apps’ users.

After the issue was raised, and many bloggers expressed outrage and dismay at Path’s actions, the company quickly removed all the uploaded data and apologized.

However, another Gizmodo’s piece (published today) exposed a troubling issue that continues to exist with Apple’s apps: the fact that any app can access and utilize the contacts from any user’s address book unchecked by Apple.

Now you must know, Apple’s entire paradigm is built on protecting a user’s privacy.

Anyone who uses Apple devices, can attest to the fact that everything is permission based.

You can’t pass gas using an Apple device,without a pop-up asking if you’re sure you want to do that.

Which makes the Path loophole, even more disconcerting.

If you’re like me, you’ve got a number of different apps on your iOS devices.

You take it for granted that any app that you’ve got on your device, passed Apple’s rigorous muster, and isn’t going to do anything or can’t do anything to compromise the integrity of other data you’ve got residing on your device.

You certainly don’t expect that an app is going to be able to not only access your private data, but also share that data without your knoweldge or consent.

Mind you, Path had taken advantage of Apple’s failure to protect the data in your contacts.

While Apple scrutinizes every app that ultimately makes it into the App store, this loophole exists on an operating system level, outside of that scrutiny.

As Gizmodo aptly summarizes:

The problem is that the address book service doesn’t use the same mechanism. It’s free for the taking. This is where the privacy clusterfuck ensues. Some app developers—like Path did—are taking advantage of this weakness. The fact is that, at this point, any app can access your address book and steal all your contacts. Just like that. We don’t know which apps may be doing this right now. That is a scary thought and Apple should have thought about it.

Who knows which of these apps are utilizing this back-door approach to access (and potentially suck up) my contacts (and who knows what else).

Apple MUST do something about this – and soon!

As Jesus Diaz (the author of the Gizmodo piece) puts it, “Apple should have made the access to your contacts information as restricted as to the user’s geolocation data.”

I’m going to keep an eye out for the resolution of this issue, and keep you posted.

But whatever the case may be, be careful what you put on your iOS device, it may be gaffling your info!

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, iPad, iPhone, mobile, privacy, technology, Uncategorized