The UpStream

Pimps, Hide Your Phones and Hide Your Tablets Because The FBI is Siezing Everything Out Here

posted Sunday Mar 18, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Pimps, Hide Your Phones and Hide Your Tablets Because The FBI is Siezing Everything Out Here

The FBI are apparently baffled by new technology. In this case, they cannot seem to figure out how to get past the lock screen on an Android smartphone. Why would the FBI be outsmarted by a small piece of protection software and why can't they just ask one of their CSI buddies? Great questions!

The FBI has taken possession of a phone from Dante Dears. Dante is a convicted felon and founder of a San Diego gang named "Pimpin' Hoes Daily." (No, that's not a typo there and it's probably the only time I can use those words, in any order, on this publication.) When Dears was released from prison in January of 2009, reports have it that he went back to his old hood, probably near the playgrounds where he spent most of his younger days, and realigned himself with the same homies that put him in the slammer in the first place. So, the FBI was granted a search warrant to get a hold of his phone. However, on March 9, FBI agent Jonathon Cupina writes to the US District Court saying that their Regional Computer Forensics Lab team could not figure out the lock pattern on the phone after trying "multiple times" to get into it.

Now, they are ordering Google to get involved and get this thing unlocked. What is happening here? We have the details after the break.

Technology and Ethics Can Coexist

posted Saturday Mar 17, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Technology and Ethics Can Coexist

There are a lot of companies in the forefront of technology news that consistently live on or over the line of ethical conduct. Whether it be Google using their search position to marginalize or steal from their competition or Apple using near slave labor to produce their products, we live in a world where ethics and technology seem to not work together.

Then this happens, and everything we know is turned sideways. Pakistan has drafted an RFP (Request for Proposal) on a new piece of software that would help them censor the Internet. This is a government contract, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In the world of Google and Apple described above, any major software giant would want to jump in on this contract. It turns out that isn't exactly the world we live in.

A tweet from McAfee, one of the companies I would assume could pull off this tremendous task, states that they are not interested in bidding on this RFP. This is a big deal; hit the break to find out why.

Walmart Buys Social Calendar for Data

posted Saturday Mar 17, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Walmart Buys Social Calendar for Data

Walmart, the world's largest everything it would seem, has been feeling the push to get involved in the social craze. For a retailer, such as Walmart, the reason to want to get involved is the same as Google's reasons: data. There is no better way to find out about your customers than to spy on their online usage.

In an attempt to gain access to people's information, Walmart has purchased Facebook app Social Calendar. Anyone who uses Facebook knows about Social Calendar - we have all received invitations from more than one friend to add our birthday to their calendar. With access to everyone's birthday and who their friends are, Walmart now has the ability to remind you with more than just Facebook birthday cards; you could now be reminded to send a gift from Walmart.com.

How can they pull this off? Hit the break to find out.

Yahoo's Facebook Lawsuit - an IPO Gimmick?

posted Saturday Mar 17, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Yahoo's Facebook Lawsuit - an IPO Gimmick?

Yahoo's management made an interesting and unexpected move this week, suing Facebook for patent infringement. There are 10 patents in question here, some of which were filed and issued long ago, before anyone really knew what the Internet was or where it was headed. The patents are vague and mostly nondescript, leaving open a lot of room for failure on Yahoo's part.

There are a number of issues that this filing has raised. First, there is the major problem of software patent law. There are a lot of thoughts on what needs to happen, and most of those thoughts seem to come from a place of misunderstanding of how software or patents work. Patents, for software or hardware, are only allowed to be approved for implementation not concept. For instance, one of the patents in question, "Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user's authorization level," is not focused on implementation, but instead on concept. This patent does not bind to the law for patents, and therefore has no chance of standing up in a court case like this.

The solution here is to get the US Patent Office involved and get them to stop approving unlawful patents. That is not an option with patents already in question, so that leads to the second issue. With the ability of the court to nullify the patents in question here, why would Yahoo choose to file against Facebook after theoretically infringing for years? Hit the break to find out.

Microsoft Says They Won't Be Releasing a New Console Until At Least Next Year

posted Saturday Mar 17, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Says They Won't Be Releasing a New Console Until At Least Next Year

Even with the Wii U being released this year, Microsoft says the company will not be following suit by releasing their next Xbox console and hopes to get one more year out of the Xbox 360's life. Sources have reported that the Xbox team has confidence that the console will continue selling at a record pace, especially when it's paired with the Kinect.

Sprint Terminates Relationship With LightSquared

posted Saturday Mar 17, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Sprint Terminates Relationship With LightSquared

It would appear that this week the end to a very short but very tragic story has been written. LightSquared, the company that Sprint had announced a LTE network partnership with in October, has lost its never-existent partner. Sprint has announced that it has ended its planned partnership. This is a decision that we have expected to hear considering the problems that LightSquared has had and the money that Sprint has poured into its other 4G partner, Clearwire.

Over the past few months, as Clearwire has had more and more financial problems, plus losing most of its partners, Sprint has been the knight in shining armor, twice. With all of the money that Sprint has given to Clearwire, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it indicated Sprint had lost faith in its new partner and was moving to focus on repairing its relationship with Clearwire.

What does Sprint have to say about all of this? Hit the break to find out.

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