Smartphones driving violent crime across US

On Feb. 27th in the middle of the afternoon, a 16-year-old girl was walking through San Francisco’s Mission district when she was ordered at gun point to hand over her cellphone. The robbery was one of 10 serious crimes in the city that day, and they all involved cellphones. Three were stolen at gun point, three at knife point and four through brute force.

Mobile phone theft accounts for a rising number of property thefts.

Incidents of cellphone theft have been rising for several years and are fast becoming an epidemic. IDG News Service collected data on serious crimes in San Francisco from November to April and recorded 579 thefts of cellphones or tablets, accounting for 41 percent of all serious crime. On several days, like Feb. 27, the only serious crimes reported in the daily police log were cellphone thefts.

In just over half the incidents, victims were punched, kicked or otherwise physically intimidated for their phones, and in a quarter of robberies, users were threatened with guns or knives.

(An interactive map showing six months of cellphone and tablet thefts in San Francisco can be viewed here)

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Smartphones driving violent crime across US

Smartphones driving violent crime across US

On Feb. 27th in the middle of the afternoon, a 16-year-old girl was walking through San Francisco’s Mission district when she was ordered at gun point to hand over her cellphone. The robbery was one of 10 serious crimes in the city that day, and they all involved cellphones. Three were stolen at gun point, three at knife point and four through brute force.

Mobile phone theft accounts for a rising number of property thefts.

Incidents of cellphone theft have been rising for several years and are fast becoming an epidemic. IDG News Service collected data on serious crimes in San Francisco from November to April and recorded 579 thefts of cellphones or tablets, accounting for 41 percent of all serious crime. On several days, like Feb. 27, the only serious crimes reported in the daily police log were cellphone thefts.

In just over half the incidents, victims were punched, kicked or otherwise physically intimidated for their phones, and in a quarter of robberies, users were threatened with guns or knives.

(An interactive map showing six months of cellphone and tablet thefts in San Francisco can be viewed here)

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Smartphones driving violent crime across US

Wall Street Beat: Rise in markets could fuel tech M&A

Increasing confidence in the economy and a rising stock market could lay the groundwork for a revival in tech-sector mergers and acquisitions as companies embrace cloud technology and pursue game-changing software, particularly for the mobile market.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor’s 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange all closed up for the week, marking three straight weeks of gains. Last week the Dow and the S&P broke through to milestone levels — 15,000 points for the Dow and 1,600 for the S&P.

Meanwhile the Nasdaq closed up 27.41 at 3463.58 Friday, its highest point since 2000, right after the dot-com boom started to go bust.

“Ultimately higher market values should result in higher valuations for sellers and thus result in more deals,” said Rob Fisher, PricewaterhouseCooper’s U.S. technology industry deals leader, in an email. “To the extent the rising markets are driven by confidence in long term fundamentals that also tends to increase the appetite of buyers who tend to shy away from deals when they have uncertainty about their existing prospects.”

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wall Street Beat: Rise in markets could fuel tech M&A

Wall Street Beat: Rise in markets could fuel tech M&A

Increasing confidence in the economy and a rising stock market could lay the groundwork for a revival in tech-sector mergers and acquisitions as companies embrace cloud technology and pursue game-changing software, particularly for the mobile market.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor’s 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange all closed up for the week, marking three straight weeks of gains. Last week the Dow and the S&P broke through to milestone levels — 15,000 points for the Dow and 1,600 for the S&P.

Meanwhile the Nasdaq closed up 27.41 at 3463.58 Friday, its highest point since 2000, right after the dot-com boom started to go bust.

“Ultimately higher market values should result in higher valuations for sellers and thus result in more deals,” said Rob Fisher, PricewaterhouseCooper’s U.S. technology industry deals leader, in an email. “To the extent the rising markets are driven by confidence in long term fundamentals that also tends to increase the appetite of buyers who tend to shy away from deals when they have uncertainty about their existing prospects.”

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wall Street Beat: Rise in markets could fuel tech M&A

Obama administration expands open data access

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order requiring that government data be made available in open, machine-readable formats, expanding open-access requirements from earlier in his administration.

A new open data policy, released along with the executive order Thursday, calls information a “valuable national asset” with value that multiples when it is easily accessible to the public.

The goal of the new order is to make “troves” of previously inaccessible or unmanageable data more easily available to entrepreneurs, researchers and other members of the public, the White House said in a press release.

“One of the things we’re doing to fuel more private sector innovation and discovery is to make vast amounts of America’s data open and easy to access for the first time in history,” Obama said in a statement. “And talented entrepreneurs are doing some pretty amazing things with it.”

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Obama administration expands open data access

Review: Virtual Piggy makes e-commerce child’s play

The idea behind Virtual Piggy is solid: This cloud-based service, which is designed to help children shop online safely and securely, allows for communication between parents and children, and protects children from many of the dangers lurking online without zapping their sense of independence. But right now it suffers from a few glitches that may make it hard for some kids—especially those on the younger end—to use without frustration.

Virtual Piggy is free to use. Parents sign up for an account, and then create profiles for each child they’d like to use the service. This requires entering the child’s name and date of birth, and then creating a username and password for that child.

The parent can set certain parameters for the child’s online shopping, such as transaction limits (both in dollar amounts for individual transactions and per day or week), and approval settings (which means the service will notify you whenever your child makes a transaction that is either above a certain amount or with a certain merchant). You also link a payment method—a credit card or a PayPal account—to your child’s profile and set a monthly allowance, which is the maximum amount the child can spend each month.

Virtual Piggy’s child dashboard shows the user how much they have left to spend, and which merchants they’re allowed to shop at.

Virtual Piggy has relationships with a group of online retailers that sell everything from games and books to clothes and more. These retailers, which include big-ish names like Ty.com (maker of Beanie Babies) and lesser-known sites like R&R Games, have agreed to allow children to use their Virtual Piggy accounts for checkout.

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Review: Virtual Piggy makes e-commerce child’s play

AT&T Launches Aio, a New No-Contract Prepaid Wireless Service

AT&T is now following in the footsteps of Sprint and T-Mobile by creating a separate service for customers who are (understandably) wary of signing up for a two-year mobile contract.  Like Virgin Mobile and Ultra Mobile, AT&T’s Aio Wireless offers relatively low-cost options without requiring a long-term commitment.  This affordable, no-contract option is becoming increasingly appealing for both customers and carriers.

Aio prepaid plans range from $40-$70/month, which are common price levels for prepaid mobile plans.  Every Aio plan offers unlimited data, talk, and text.  The different prices for each plan are justified by the speed of the data that’s delivered, and what percentage of it is “high speed.”  None of the Aio plans offer LTE, limiting their service to 4G data speeds topping out at 4 Mbps.

New customers to a contract-free Aio Wireless plan are offered a range of smartphones when signing up.  Although you won’t have access to the discounts you get when agreeing to a two-year AT&T contract, some smartphone prices are set low enough to be well within the grasp of most consumers.    A very capable Nokia Lumia 620, for example, will run you $179 if you buy it through Aio Wireless.  For any smartphone running on a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, that’s an eye-catching price point.  Aio also offers phones from Samsung, ZTE, and other manufacturers.

Right now, Aio plans are only available in Tampa, Orlando, and Houston, but AT&T has plans to open up more markets soon. 

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AT&T Launches Aio, a New No-Contract Prepaid Wireless Service

Stealthy Web server malware spreads further

A stealthy malicious software program is taking hold in some of the most popular Web servers, and researchers still don’t know why.

Last week, security companies Eset and Sucuri found Apache servers infected with Linux/Cdorked. If that malware is running on a Web server, victims are redirected to another website that tries to compromise their computer.

Eset said on Tuesday it has now found versions of Linux/Cdorked engineered for the Lighttpd and Nginx Web servers, both widely used across the Internet.

Marc-Etienne M. Leveille of Eset wrote that the company has found 400 Web servers infected so far, of which 50 are ranked in Web analytics company Alexa’s top 100,000 websites.

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Stealthy Web server malware spreads further

Microsoft to boost Office Web Apps features

Microsoft plans to accelerate improvements in Office Web Apps, the browser-based version of the Office suite, adding features like real-time co-authoring of documents and the ability to run in Android tablets via mobile Chrome browser support.

The planned enhancements, scheduled for release at some point in the next 12 months, are part of a shift in the way Microsoft views Office Web Apps, the company said Tuesday.

Originally conceived in 2010 as a lightweight companion to the main desktop Office suite, Office Web Apps is now seen as a potentially more powerful product, thanks to improvements in browser technology and connection speeds.

“Our goal for Office Web Apps is that people can rely on it to create polished Office documents from start to finish,” Michael Atalla, director of Office 365 product management, said in an interview.

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Microsoft to boost Office Web Apps features

Proposed U.S. law aims to counter cybertheft with import bans

A bill proposed in the U.S. Senate aims to block imports of products containing U.S. technology stolen online, a move that appears primarily directed at China.

Introduced by four senators, the Deter Cyber Theft Act would require the U.S. president to block the import of products containing stolen U.S. technology identified by the Director of National Intelligence, including products made by state-owned enterprises of nations on a priority watch list of the DNI that are similar to items identified as stolen or targeted U.S. technology.

The bipartisan bill is backed by Senators Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia and Tom Coburn, a Oklahoma Republican.

Recent reports indicate that China is by far the largest source of theft attempts against U.S. companies, according to a statement on Levin’s website.

Please like or comment below

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Proposed U.S. law aims to counter cybertheft with import bans