Archive for December, 2014


Loren W
29 December 2014
Melbourne Australia

 

Jailbreaking – the process of removing limitations on an Apple iOS, allowing users to get otherwise unavailable access to iPhones, iPads, and AppleTV, restoring a device via ITunes removes a jailbreak.
CydiaThe software used after jailbreaking that is the ‘gateway’ that allows users to install jailbroken apps.

It still strikes me as ironic, that if you mention ‘rooting’ an Android phone, to an Android user, it is yes so what. Mention jailbreaking to an iOS user, and you get a very different reaction. This is because traditionally, many Android phones are already unlocked to some extent, and unlocking and rooting them is again not treated with any dismay, just offering a different ‘class’ of user. To an Apple iOS user, jailbreaking is akin to hacking, stealing and other forms of thievery. What is often ignored is that today’s iOS jailbreak is often tomorrow’s iOS enhancement. There are sometimes complications and a slowing down of iOS when a jailbroken app is used, however, it often offers a choice that many iOS users may never get. Not Alone– It is estimate there are millions of users of iOS devices that only buy a device with the anticipation of jail breaking, but for many others the logical question is, there any reason now a days on the cusp of 2015, to actually unlock an iOS device. So without further ado, the top reasons to jailbreak an iOS device in 2015.

The simple things– Often it is the simple things that a user can do with a jailbroken iOS device that adds that extra feature, making the whole activity worthwhile. Hey Siri- A new feature in iOS8 allows you to choose to have Siri listen to you at all times and activate her via an ‘hey siri’ command, unfortunately this only works when plugged in to power. A logical approach for anything other than the newer iPads or iPhones as their battery life is exceptional. UnthetheredHeySiri, over rides this and works when powered or not, this may sound minor but offers a whole different element to this feature. Status HUD 2 – Offers a volume HUD in the status bar. Themes– The amount and feature set you can get with themes I huge. Zeppelin- changes the iPhone carrier MyWi– A fav from those that use their iOS device as a hot spot. Netflix++ – Netflix doesn’t show trailers on an iOS device but this little app allows it. iFile– Offers a better file manager than you can normally get in iOS any other way. SwipeSelection– selecting text in iOS is not great, this app offer a set of additional features via gestures on a keyboard. I would be surprised if this is not used in iOS sometime in the near future. Aeternum– a UI tweaker for iOS that is made to resemble the new AppleWatch UI. Slide2Kill8- One of the nice apps in Android is the ability to kill multiple apps at one time. This is one of those apps that Apple will likely borrow as well. Badgomizer– another feature rich fine tuner allowing custom icon color, shape, position, size, rotation and opacity. No Assault Just DetailedBatteryUsage– As many apps as there are showing battery usage, in iOS the feature richness is often lacking this app gives some of this back. iOS
is lacking and prevented in changing fonts, this app allows some worthwhile tweaking that again I expect Apple to allow one day. FilippoBiga– a Cydia source where you get even more tweaks. BioLockdown – The new fingerprint sensors allow you to make purchases and unlock your device with a finger print. Some developers can lockdown their apps using it as well, but it is hit and miss which ones do, this app allows you to offer this feature on all apps via the iOS device itself. Another app I expect Apple to develop in the next major release of iOS.

Sony Unleashes The Interview Online-

Posted: December 26, 2014 in Misc Tech

Other Countries Forced to Bypass USA Online ‘Geo-Locking’

 

Loren W
Melbourne Australia

26 December 2014

 

 

In a move release that did not totally surprise many, Sony unleashed the new action comedy, The Interview in the USA only to about 10% of the 4000 original cinemas and only in the USA and later online to the USA only (referred to as Geo-locking) The movie was released online first via Google Play, and on a dedicated site http://seetheinterview.com all taking credit cards, Sony then opened it up to YouTube Movies, and Xbox, tip toeing into the global release front for the diehard hackers, perhaps by accident. Dates of 22 Jan 2015 and earlier are still on the table in Australia, Europe and Asia dates continue to evolve.

Why The Delay Outside The USA – Money – Had they released the movie globally even online Outside the USA, then those countries that are still to get the movie would also be impacted further in theory. There is also the chance that movie-goers on hearing how bad the movie is might stay away as well. There are ways around the geo-locking but it requires some keen interest to do it, (Geo hacking if you will). In what many are saying is the biggest movie dog since Cujo, critics have not been kind to the movie, and rotten tomatoes movie review website has seen the score of the movie go down as more reviews come in. Currently gives it a 50% that is very low, but not as low as it could be in that reviews are pretty scarce, though interest in seeing it is a very high 96%. In a contest of bad movies over Christmas the competition for worst blockbuster is currently between the new Night at the Museum and the Interview.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major Film Release’s vs Australia – Delays What Delays? –The movie industry refuses to talk about why movies are released as a rule so much later outside the USA, and often deny it all together. Logical reports indicate that the result of the delays in TV, DVD, and Movies being

Released so much later globally is piracy. A recent checking of moves by Nick Evershed of the Guardian Newspaper Australia analyzed 168 movies to illustrate the point. Different Types of Geo-Locking and How to Ignore Them (unless prohibited by law). There are different types of online geo locks that need different levels of bypassing to manage. Manu users use them anyhow to protect their anonymity / privacy if online. Originally by hackers now more people than ever are keen to protect their privacy. 1) USA Location– Some require the buyer to be coming from the USA (tested by verifying the IP address location) can be managed by using a VPN (a free or paid service that fakes the originating IP address on a PC or a Modem/router). 2) USA Funds– Some blocks, require the user to use funds that are USA based, managed by buying a USA debit visa card and topping it up with Australia funds, users are sometimes charged per transaction to use the card. 3) USA Address– Some cards and services if being posted for instance require the user to have a USA address. This can be provided by USA forwarding companies, or might be provided by the USA credit card company depending on which one you use. 4) PayPal Payment – Some online payment stores use PayPal and some of those do not require the buyer to do anything other than pay in US dollars, something PayPal does easily. Interestingly all the methods Sony used in the Interview online release act slightly differently, so it is worth checking which services require and

work with which method. Hacking- Ironically this means Sony is only leaving 3 ways for hackers to watch the Interview if outside the USA, 1) a geo hack, 2) pirated downloads, or 3) waiting an extra month to see the movie when and if released in Australia. The movie industry is slowly releasing that delays in releases are directly showing increases of piracy so hopefully we will see the way movies are released evolve very soon. The Movie Itself – One of the good things about having the lowest of expectations is you’re pleasantly surprised when the movie is better than you thought. No Oscar winner here, but a fun movie for the holidays with a good entertainment value for different gender and different age groups. Well worth a watch.

 

 

 

 

 


23 December 2014
by Loren W
Melbourne, Australia

The UMI Zero- Might be the best 5″ phone of 2015

  • Umi is not a name that immediately comes to the mind by most of us. The name UMI means ‘mother’ in Arabic, and ‘ocean’ in Japanese, this might be the mother of all phones for Umi’s Flagship.
  • The New Umi Zero, a new phone thinner than an iPhone 6, with other impressive features;
  • Camera- Fast 13mp IMX 214 Sony Camera rear and an impressive, 8MP front camera, dual LED flash, Dual sim,
  • Charge! Texas Instruments Quick Charge (QVOC),
  • Screen – Samsung 5″ FHD Super AMOLED showing off an impressive 3264 x 2448 4:3 ratio & Gorilla 3 glass screen front and back,
  • Memory – 2GB Ram, 16GB ROM, (upgradeable via mem card),
  • CPU / SoC – World’s first 8 core 2GHz Octacore, MTK6592 system on a chip (SoC) CPU, using a quad core 700MHz GPU, The CPU/SoC alone is about 20% faster than the popular snapdragon 800 series CPU.

 

The UMI mobile range of phones include the ZOPO and UMI range, with them being part of the Shenzhen Huiyeshidai Technology Co. Ltd, based in Shenzhenshekou, China near Hong Kong.

 

 


Google Project Ara Reaches Phase 2 Ahead of 14 January Conference

 

22 December 2014
Loren W
Melbourne Australia

 

In June 2014, Google announced to very little fanfare outside of the tech community, the most adventurous mobile phone project ever known. A modular hardware eco-system, allowing you to put the phone together yourself, made in a modular form, and offering a more custom and future proof phone that allows you to update, components as required, creating bespoke high end or low end phones. Using the same components (called ‘modules’) in any of 3 size frames or endo skeletons (endo for short), all will greatly reduce electronic waste for Google (about 25%), and allowing for the production of phones that cost only $50 and up to produce, depending on the specification. Modules such as CPU, screen quality, Wi-Fi, battery, LEDs, speakers, night vision, health sensors, even Pico projectors and more are already available, most are available in different specifications as they are in phones today. The phone is targeted to be used by 6 billion people, 1 billion smartphone users and 5 billion ‘feature phone’ 3rd world users. This is no small endeavor, 20 partner companies, 150 people across 3 continents, universities, chip designers, industrial engineers all within Google ATAP (advanced, technology and projects division), and some members of ATAP are ex DARPA Innovation employees, and it is their methodology they are following for the project. Originally part of Motorola Mobility, Google kept ATAP on the sale of Motorola to Lenovo and they work under the Android team. Developers work on a common MDK (Module Developers Kits) to keep the development within certain common parameters.

The first prototypes are out, and are made up of the endo that via a ‘passive magnetic system’ binds all the parts together. (This means you can add extra parts such as more batteries, perhaps instead of a camera or other sensors as the technologies becomes available, on the surface of the modules are individual ‘cases’ (called shells) that can potentially even be custom printed on 3D printers so custom covers are a simple process. There are also 3 sizes , a small one 45x118x9.7mm (about the same size as an iPhone 4, ) a middle size 68x141x9.7m (about the same size as the iPhone 6) and a phablet model 91x164x9.7mm (larger than the Nexus 6, Note4 or iPhone 6+) The modules come in 3 sizes, 1×1 (none released yet) 1×2, and 2×2 (usually for battery). The Project Ara phone, is thicker than the new iPhone 6 but thinner than the even newer Nexus 6.

Even the modules are swappable between the 3 sizes of phone, allowing you to have 3 different endo skeleton sizes, all using the same components. The consumer pilot will be announced in Jan 2015 by Google but not likely to be offered until mid to late 2015. For developers the phones will be available in Jan 2015. The phone is uniquely targeted for the high end as well as the 3rd world. Leading to hopes some variations of the phones will be very low cost.

New Low End Chips
Since September 2014, Intel is working with Chinese chip manufacturer Rockchip creating new low end chips to compete with ARM, that will also be used in the lower end Ara modules in Spiral 3 or Project Ara in March 2015.

Updated Modules

Project Ara is entering the 2nd phase of development (2nd Spiral) currently and Spiral 3 is likely to take place around April 2015. Each ‘spiral’ addresses the next phase in technology advancements that are way ahead of the old Moore’s law observation, (that the advancement in technology originally transistors doubles every 2 years). Developers for project Ara are also working on 2 separate ‘reference designs’ for the best of breed models. The PXA1928 by Marvell, is a quad-core 64-bit system on a chip (SoC) offering communications of 2G- 3G- 4G. On the other high end the fastest mobile phone chip on the market is

 

the NVIDIA Tegra K1, this chip is part of the new modules google just announced is offering for developers. As technology is evolving this means the more software on a chip means, the unit can be smaller. However, the many lower spec modules are what google is most excited about as they openly target, the next 5billion users offering various health sensors and other similar heath modules as well. Google #AraDev even is being live streamed, and is at multiple live event sites on 14 January 2015. More Information is available from the Project Ara website www.projectara.com or you can sign up to the live stream here http://bit.ly/stream-ara , you can see the latest build of Project Ara here http://bit.ly/ara-video .

 

Google is Not Alone
Google is not alone, leaked in November 2014, by CEO Jun, Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi that hired ex Android VP Hugo Barra away this year has also announced their own modular phone and shown photos as well. However the ‘magic cube’ phone only allows the camera and battery modules to be switched out currently. That will be interesting to watch as well.

 

 

 


Threating Letters to the Prime Minister, Warnings From the Muslim Community and Even from Iran

Loren W
17 December 2014
Melbourne Australia

  • In what will likely be seen as a lone attack by a crazed individual, sex offender, and fraud, struggling with not being viewed as more important than he was, self-declared Peace activist, Sheikh, and Ayatollah, Man Haron Monis was the gunman at the centre of the Sydney Café siege on 15 December 2014, was very widely known to authorities.
  • It is be hard to understand where the actor Man Haron Monis, who also used the name Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi ends and the peace activist began. Warned by Iranian officials as having a long history of crime and fraud in Iran prior to fleeing and seeking asylum in Australia. He told the media he had be involved in the Iranian intelligence and security community but it appears he ran a travel agency only before fleeing with $200,000 of customers’ money and leaving for Australia.
  • Despite this he was granted asylum. Even after he was convicted of accessory to murder his ex-wife with his girlfriend (a self-confessed terrorist), in 2013, and sexual assault in 2014 ( where he claimed he was an expert in astrology, numerology, meditation and black magic before allegedly indecently assaulting 7 women)
  • As early as 2007 the Islamic communities warned that Haron was not a genuine spiritual leader.
  • Haron wrote many hate letters in 2009 to Australian War widows, a charge he was convicted of (menace).
  • In 2013 Haron wrote letters to the PM Tony Abbot challenging him to a live debate with a view to change Australian policy warning otherwise Australia and Australians could be attacked and emphasizing he was being ignored by the Australian government, and copying the letter to the ASIO, and AFP amongst others.
  • Haron was not on a watch list despite this, and even if he was he could not be watched at all times, he had changed his beliefs just weeks before the siege (something he even announced on this web site).
  • There are heroes in this story, mainly the Australian people, that when an element of racism showed its head in social media spoke up offering #Illridewithyou on twitter to offer solidarity with the Muslim community not feeling safe as a result of the actions of a sick individual.


4 December 2014
Melbourne Australia
Loren W

This One Might Be the Biggest of Them All

bear

digital wallet

  • Apple Pay – is the digital wallet service from Apple launched in the USA only (for now) in September 2014 that by using NFC (Near Field Communications) touching or almost touching specific Apple devices allows payments to be made instantly, using technology like Visa’s PayWave and MasterCard’s PayPass and AmercianExpress’s ExpressPay Terminals but tied to the security of the newer Apple Devices.
  • However there is a familiar name in finance looking to compete with Apple Pay and their current rival MCX. Andrew Robertson @robertsonabc reporting for ABC News reports that the big 4 Australia banks and 8 other financial institutions are looking to spend $1Billion to introduce a competing system within 3 years. It is with a company called SWIFT Financial and is believed to be a better deal for stores and banks as it bypasses the current delays in receiving payments as payments are received the instant they are made.
  • It is not clear if the payments will only use a bank to bank transfer method (what SWIFT if famous for) or still use credit cards. Currently Apple Pay works with very few debit cards, mostly credit cards, something MCX and SWIFT would love to avoid. Though MCX plans to use credit cards as well.
  • MCX the other digital wallet consortium is coming out sooner in 2015 with their product called Current-C that is not supporting Apple Pay either but is currently not well received by some as it uses older technology (QR codes) than the Apple Pay use of NFC. However some of the largest retailers in the USA has chosen to go with Current-C vs Apple Pay currently, in a war with 1-3% credit card fees. According to a story by Jacob Davidson @JakeD of Money

 The Name Game

  •  Note: A bit confusing on the word-smithing here. Swift is also the new name for the new apple programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa touch (used in new apps) for Apple iOS and OS X devices (iPads, iPhones and Macs).
  • MCX is the Merchant Customer Exchange – a company created by a consortium of U.S. retail companies to develop another merchant-owned mobile payment system, called CurrentC launching in 2015.

SWIFT Financial – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the 1973 Belgium founded Cooperative set up and control the standard that currently enables some 9000 banks in 209 countries (and territories) to send 15 million messages a day. SWIFT currently does not send funds only payment orders that banks then use to transfer the funds. SWIFT codes (or BIC codes) are unique to each bank. For instance there are 2300 banks in the USA alone with their own SWIFT codes and 311 in Australia.

  • Apply Financial (not apple) launched the SWIFT App for iOS that offers validates SWIFT/BIC codes. SWIFT has worked with the CIA and NSA since 9/11 and other
    governments to protect various interests. If a bank’s assets were to be ‘isolated’ such as Iran in March 2012, then one of the things they would do is cut off or manage the SWIFT communications. What countries have control over SWIFT has been the topic of discussion since 2012. Apply Financial – offers an ‘API’ – code to make apps and programs so that banks and companies not just banks share SWIFT payment codes SWIFT is a supplier / partner of Apply Financial.
  • Some aspects of this story are attributed to Jacob Davidson @JakeD (twitter) of Money and Andrew Robertson of ABC News Australia @robertsonabc (twitter)