A disturbing trend showed up this week in the cyber world concerning companies and the fine print that they’re putting into their privacy policies on their websites. They’re basically making it possible to deny a customer’s right to sue the company based on the users “consent” which they unknowingly give when they “like” a brand on Facebook.
General Mills, which makes cereals like Cheerios and Chex, have quietly added language to their website to alert customers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons or “like” online communities on Facebook.
The idea is that any favorable interaction with the company or its products that confers a quote “benefit” to the consumer is treated as an acceptance of the company’s terms, which includes a waiver of any legal rights against the company.
The bottom line to you as a consumer is that you should carefully read any explanations on company websites if you’re concerned about losing these kinds of rights.
Ubuntu 14.04 will be the first version of Ubuntu to provide the operating system for commercially available tablets. “Trusty Tahr,” or version 14.04 will be a long-term support edition for desktops and servers.
Canonical CEO Jane Silber said Ubuntu 14.04 for desktops “would be a good option for businesses considering a switch from Microsoft, and specifically those replacing XP or Windows 7 as they come to end-of-life.” It would be nice to think that businesses would seriously consider such a switch, but I think they would be fairly forward thinking to consider it. Sadly, there are many businesses willing to take a chance of having an open source operating system upon which to base their business. Those that do decide to make the switch, more power to them!
Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux but also forms the basis of other operating systems including the popular Linux Mint desktop.
This is a message from a viewer of the Netcast, that also goes to my church… check it out!
“Hi, Dr. Bill… just a FYI that I took your advice from your most recent computer show and converted an old XP PC we have over to Linux Mint. The hardest part for me was getting the .iso file on to a DVD… but, I found and downloaded a free program that helped me with that. I installed the ‘Cinnamon’ version and it works like a champ! This particular PC is the oldest one in the house and I have only been using it for searching for Praise and Worship music for the worship team, then formatting and printing it. This Linux version came with LibreOffice and Firefox for the browser… which all works great! Thanks for the tip and for helping us breathe some new life into an older (but still working) PC.”
In Microsoft’s Office Blog it was announced that Microsoft is expanding their online Office products to include the Chrome web store, so now Google Chrome users can use Microsoft’s Office Online product.
You may already access Microsoft’s Office Online products at: http://www.office.com
Microsoft also discussed its “Tell me” feature, which allows you to ask Word how to do something, and the relevant information will be presented in a simple drop-down list.
Word Online now includes commenting, improved footnotes, and lists.
PowerPoint Online also offers improved performance, text editing, and the “Tell me” feature.
Office Online works in all browsers according to Microsoft, and if you use Chrome, you can now add Word Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online. Excel Online will be coming to the Web store shortly.
I really love the Canon Vixia camcorder line. I use a Canon camcorder to shoot my video netcast. This week at the NAB Canon announced the Vixia Mini-X full HD camcorder.
It has an F/2.8 lens, a Canon DigiX 4 image processor, and a 12.8 megapixel high sensitivity CMOS sensor, which increases its ability to operate in low light levels. It records in AVCHD at 1920×1080 resolution at a 60i frame rate, as well is recording in MP4 format in either 1920×1080 or 1280×720 resolutions at 30p or 24p frame rates. It also provides linear PCM audio recording, and captures great video, but also has great audio thanks to a built-in, high-quality set of stereo microphones.
It records to an SD card and has the ability to have external audio pluged-in via a mini-jack. All these features, taken together, provide for a camera that would be excellent for podcasting. At around $400 it would be a great choice for beginning podcaster that was serious about a high-quality HD video production on a budget.
This was a standout in a release of other Canon Vixia camcorders at this past week’s NAB convention!
As you, no doubt, know… I’m very into video, and video broadcasting technology! This past week was the National Association of Broadcasters convention; and it gave many vendors an opportunity to update the video community on new hardware and software releases.
I wish I could’ve been there! To quote Klingon Commander Kor, “It would’ve been glorious!” However, Tech Podcast Network was there, and there are a lot of great videos covering the NAB available at TPN.TV. So do yourself a favor, and go check out the coverage TPN.TV!.
I also saw some great videos on Geekbeat.TV over the last few days. Notable among them was their coverage of BlackMagicDesigns new cameras available for studio usage. They had a standard HD camera for under $2000, and an Ultra HD version, which some people call 4K, camera that was around $6000. Now, there’s no question that that’s a lot a lot of money, but for the quality, and features of these cameras, that is an awesome price point!
So if you’re into video, and video technology, check out these resources. There’s a lot of really neat stuff coming down the pipeline for prosumers!
Twitter announced on their blog this week that they are adding a new feature to web-based Twitter account interaction. You’ll now have real-time pop-up notifications when someone is Tweeting you.
You will receive a notification if someone has replied, favorited, or re-Tweeted one of your tweets. The notifications are fully interactive and you can reply, or re-Tweet using the interface.
Twitter says they’re planning to roll out this feature over the next few weeks.
But wait, there’s more! HeartBleed isn’t through it with us yet! It turns out that the exploit also affects networking gear from Cisco and Juniper.
HeartBleed, has already affected popular web and e-commerce sites, and now it seems that many of Cisco’s products use a version of the OpenSSL as well! In a press release they said this “could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to retrieve memory in chunks of 64 kilobytes from a connected client or server.”
Juniper also posted a “high alert” on their support page with similar information. Infected networking hardware is not as easy to fix as a simple software patch, in many cases, in fact, in some cases the upgrade is going to require buying new hardware!
This is because the code is actually embedded in the chips within some of the hardware. As you might imagine, this is not going over well with people that own this hardware!
Before it’s all said and done, I expect that HeartBleed will rack up millions of dollars in successful exploits to people’s accounts, as well as corporate remediation of hardware!
LinkedIn has a new feature that is somewhat interesting. Now LinkedIn will notify you of open positions at your own company!
This new feature is called “Internal Job Recommendations.” It would seem to me that this points out that most companies have a hard time communicating changes, and positions that may be open, within their own company. It’s been my experience that communication is one of the biggest failings in the business world. Whether that communication is among our own peers, or from management “down,” it is an issue that arises again and again. I think this is due to the fact that everyone gets busy, and everyone gets focused on what they’re doing, and doesn’t think to share with their coworkers information that can help them do their jobs, and perhaps help you do yours in the process.
LinkedIn also announced two other major enhancements that are mostly aimed at recruiters. They’ve added an updated recruiter profile page, and new mobile apps that are aimed at recruiters as well.
For additional information you can check out the announcement in their blog post.
In an interesting move, Amazon, has acquired the digital comic book store, Comixology. Amazon is been acquiring different companies over time such as its acquisition of Audible some time ago.
If you’ve never used Comixology, then imagine a sort of iTunes store for comic books, where you can buy a comic book and read it on the web, or you can read it through iOS or Android app on your tablet, or smart phone.
Comixology has some 50,000 comics available for sale, and last year the company launched a self-publishing platform for comics, that allows comic book creators to upload, and sell, their own work, which will tie in well with Amazon’s own self-publishing efforts.
Comixology will remain a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon, and retain its name, much is Audible did.