Month: July 2014

USA TODAY: TSA cracks down on ‘dead’ electronics


TSA cracks down on ‘dead’ electronics

Don’t bring dead phones or laptops to those overseas airports for flights heading to the USA. Department of Homeland Security officials warned last week that security would tighten at airports where flights head directly to the USA but without providing much detail about how the scrutiny would change. But security officials said Sunday that the attention is focused on explosives that could be disguised as electronic devices. The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement Sunday saying that as part of its routine screening at the overseas airports with direct flights, checkpoint officers may ask owners to turn on devices including cellphones.

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HTC posts first profit in a year, despite decreased revenue



HTC is making money again. On Thursday, the Taiwanese smartphone maker reported an unaudited NT$2.26 billion ($75.6 million) profit in the second quarter of 2014, its first since the same quarter last year. However, its NT$65 billion ($2.17 billion) revenue was not only on the low end of company guidance, but was down from the same time last year.

In the past quarter, HTC has released a few phones of note: the flagship HTC One M8, and a lower cost version with a plastic shell aimed at emerging markets, specifically China. It also launched a mini version of its flagship in Europe and Asia. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, HTC’s profit this quarter is due to cost-cutting measures, not increased handset sales. HTC has addressed supply chain issues, and, unusually for the one-time OEM, has started outsourcing some production to reduce costs.

While the HTC One M8 earned rave reviews

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YouTube reportedly in talks with indie labels to avoid blocking videos

This all begs the question, why can’t I just watch an indie artist using the older method? Frankly, I can tell you that if I subscribe to YouTube music videos and I still have to watch ads, I won’t be interested in the service at all.


YouTube (S GOOG) may not block music videos from some indie labels after all: The video service is currently in talks with the labels in question to strike a deal to include their music in its upcoming subscription service, according to a Financial Times report.

The paper had first reported two weeks ago that YouTube was planning to block the videos of five percent of all of its label partners  if those labels wouldn’t agree to also make their music available through YouTube’s upcoming subscription service.

Some indie labels have been holding out on striking a deal with YouTube because of what they believe to be unfavorable conditions; YouTube declined to comment further on the current state of the negotiations, according to Thursday’s Financial Times report, but told the paper that it has been offering all labels a fair deal consistent with what other streaming music services have to offer.


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Suspected double agent spied on German NSA committee for the US, reports claim

Given how dumb we were to spy on Merkel, this guy is going away for a long time.


A German intelligence agent has been arrested on suspicion of secretly reporting back to U.S. spies about the activities of politicians who are investigating U.S. espionage in Germany, according to Friday reports by Süddeutsche Zeitung and the broadcasters NDR and WDR, and Der Spiegel.

The targets, apparently, were members of a Bundestag (German parliament) committee that is examining the implications of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, taking testimony from the likes of NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.

The individual arrested on the orders of the attorney general worked for the BND signals intelligence agency, Germany’s equivalent to the NSA, government sources told the news outlets. The 31-year-old was originally arrested on suspicion of having contact with Russian intelligence, but then apparently confessed to having reported back at least once to the Americans on the Bundestag committee’s activities. He reportedly did this for money.

The reports raise the possibility…

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Android this week: Software updates for all; Android Wear apps; Better battery life

I honestly feel that phones and tablets I just are not built with a large enough battery. For iPhone users, this is a major problem. For Android users, especially on cheaper phones, thankfully the screen is larger and so battery size is larger, but they are still sold short by designers who feel a thin phone is a must. Until battery technology improves, we really should just put up with a beefier phone… It may not be as sexy, but it would be functional.


Google(s goog) hasn’t been sitting idle since its developer event last week. Instead, it has started to push an update to Google Play Services out around the world for all devices running Android 2.3 or better. Aside from a few outliers, that’s the vast majority of phones and tablets running Android; Google’s way of improving Android without actually pushing a new version of Android.

Ellie Powers. Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom Ellie Powers. Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

The company did the same last year as it attempted to reduce the version fragmentation issues that have proved troublesome. This time around, devices are getting Google Play Services 5.0, which brings several new things to Android, no matter how old your device is. Included in the update are “Android wearable services APIs, Dynamic Security Provider and App Indexing, whilst also including updates to the Google Play game services, Cast, Drive, Wallet, Analytics, and Mobile Ads,” according to…

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