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Amazon starts new service line

Posted by SS Admin on November 26, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Amazon.com is now offering new services that allow them to expand their control of the marketplace through leveraging their e-commerce site. The latest in a string of new offerings is a new service that lets customers schedule appointments for home services, which sounds like a positive to Susan McGalla. Amazon will get a cut of the revenue generated by the service which will range from fifteen to twenty percent of the totals.

Included in the new offering that has been called Amazon Local Services is basic services such as plumbing, electrician and auto mechanic service that lets customers easily and reliably choose amongst locally listed contractors and aids customers in making the reservation process significantly easier. In addition, customers will be able to review services which will further aid customers in being able to choose between competing companies.

The service is expected to launch in the fifteen largest cities around the country. Professional services are required to be licensed, insured, and have background checks performed on them which should make the process easier for customers to choose between the competing companies.

Amazon Local Services will be in direct competition with two existing companies; Yelp and Angie’s List but will use their brand recognition to gain an advantage in an industry that is estimated at over $400 billion in revenue. Obtaining even a small portion of that will be a boon to Amazon who is experiencing flattening revenues. Further, there is integration with existing products as customers that purchase, a washer and drier or ceiling fan, will be provided with links to local installers who can assist customers in purchasing these

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The FreedomPop Mobile Plan

Posted by SS Admin on November 24, 2014 in News, Phones |

Mobile phones are expensive. First, you pay for the device and then you pay for the service. Wouldn’t it be great if you paid for the device or used your own and then the services were free? With FreedomPop, you can purchase a device from them or bring your own and then enjoy free talk, text and data. Some of the top Android devices can be used on the FreedomPop network including all Samsung devices like the S4 and the Note 3. FreedomPop offers all types of mobile networking including mobile Internet on top of the free mobile phone plans.

Mobile Phone Plans:

According to TechCrunch, the free basic mobile phone plan includes 200 minutes of talking, 500 text messages and 500mb of data. If you need more minutes, messages or data you can pay a small fee to add what you need. FreedomPop is also in the early stages of offering app as you go deal where you pay a set price for a certain amount of time on a specific app. With this feature, you do not worry about going over your data allowance since the pay as you app service is on top of the allowed data.

Mobile Data:

Wireless hot spots are used when you want to use a laptop or tablet but Wi-Fi is not available. The hot spot is a hand-held device that uses the same 4G networks as the mobile phone plans. You link the hot spot to the device you want to use and you are connected. FreedomPop offers various hotspot devices and plans that will fit any need.

Buy a New Device or Bring Your Own:

FreedomPop offers a wide range of mobile devices for you to purchase. They offer the Samsung Galaxy lineup of smartphones as well as great deals on the HTC Evo that has been refurbished and even the mobile hotspots. All of these devices are available to purchase on the FreedomPop website. If you already have a compatible device, you can bring it with you, saving you money on upfront costs and on your monthly plan. As of late 2014, FreedomPop has also added its own line of low end smartphones.

How to Sign Up:

There are two ways you can sign up for FreedomPop services. First, you can go to their official site and fill out the easy sign up sheet or you can use the mobile app. The app is available through the Google Play store, the iTunes store and is compatible with most Android devices. This app will give your device a new U.S. phone number that you can use to make free calls, texts and even surf the web. This program uses the same parameters of use as the website sign up, 200 minutes, 500 messages and 500mb of data.

If you want mobile communications but you do not want to pay expensive monthly fees and have long, drawn out contracts, then FreedomPop is the way to go. With more and more features being added to the FreedomPop family all of the time, this is the perfect company to help you save money on your monthly mobile phone and bill.

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Firefox Stops Collaboration With Google, Makes Deal With Yahoo

Posted by SS Admin on November 24, 2014 in Search Engines |

While Yahoo was for many the first search engine that they used, it has long been overtaken by Google as the internet’s prime search engine. Google is the favourite search engine of most the average users part on the internet. 

When it comes to browsers, there is a larger variety of choice, but a lot of users have Mozilla and Google as their default tools for internet surfing. Well, the two companies are now ‘breaking up’. 

Instead, Mozilla and Yahoo have signed a 5-year partnership on both mobile and desktop. Future projects developments are scheduled, but the two companies prefer to keep them secret for the moment. 

For Russia, the default search engine will become Yandex, which is already in the top of the regional preference. For the US, Yahoo will become default on Mozilla, while pages like Google, Bing, eBay, Amazon, Twitter, and Wikipedia will stay in the list of alternative options. 

This is a great opportunity for Yahoo, as the CEO Marissa Mayer made sure to note, since the search engine will thus get more traffic. At the moment, the statistics show that only 10% of the internet searches are made via Yahoo, so there is a lot of place for growth. 

Kenneth Griffin speculates that this will only prove useful if the users will remain to Mozilla and not switch to the other browsers because of the new search engine altogether. 

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Internet Piracy May Actually Increase Sales

Posted by SS Admin on November 24, 2014 in Internet, Piracy |

Here’s some fascinating news. A recent study has shown that those who pirate movies and music on average buy more music online than the average person.

This could be because those who pirate content gradually become more comfortable with it and see the value in it. Why pay for it when you can get it for free? When the cost is low, why not? People want to support the artists who enrich their lives. After all, if nobody gives them money, then the artists won’t be able to make more art.

Mike Mearls, who is in charge of the Dungeons & Dragons brand has talked about piracy at length. He discussed how, as a child, he and his friends would share disks of computer games. This of course was the ’80’s version of computer piracy. When he didn’t have the money for a game, he borrowed his friend’s game. When he had the money, he bought his own, something that Andrew Heiberger can relate to.

This lead Mearls to putting out the Hasbro-owned Basic D&D game online on the company website for free. His theory was proven correct. Despite the fact that the rules for the game are online on the company website for free, the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons books have been topping the Amazon lists for weeks.

Certainly artists and companies are right to be wary about piracy, but the effects may not be as damaging as originally feared.

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Skout: Changing the World of Socialization

Posted by SS Admin on November 22, 2014 in Social Media |

People are so busy these days; there is no time to socialize. There are more singles in the world today than ever before. Careers have taken the place of getting married and having children. There are people in their forties and fifties, who have never been married. Some people are in that age group and have never been in a long term relationship. Why is that?

People have gotten so busy building their careers; they stop going out to socialize. Now with technology that has changed a little bit. People are turning to dating websites for companionship.

Skout is a dating website with a twist. This site adds a different element into the mix of dating online. Skout is a site for socializing. People can go on Skout to not only meet someone to date, but also to make friends, associates, and even business partners, all across the world. Screenshots of the app can be found on their Twitter feed.

Skout connects people from anywhere in the world. This is a great feature. If you are planning a vacation, you can make friends on Skout and visit with them while you are there. How great would it be to go on vacation and have people to socialize with that can show you around town?

If people in other states and countries is not what you are looking for, Skout can connect you with people in your area. If you are looking for someone to go to the gym with for motivation, try looking for someone with the same desire. You are new in town and you want to meet new people, take a look around Skout and find people with similar interests to make friends with.

Skout opens up the world, and the possibilities, for people to start all types of relationships. This is not just a dating site, though many have found their loves on the site. There are countless stories of couples meeting on Skout, dating for a time and getting married. There’s also their Fuse add-on, which makes it fun to have quick chat conversations with friends through text and photos.

The purpose of this site is to help people meet new people no matter where they are. If you are hanging out at a park alone, Skout can help you find a person there to chat with. Maybe you are headed to a local coffee shop, someone on Skout could be there looking for company. Skout makes meeting people easy. And with a handful of funding raised in recent years, they’re constantly expanding their features.

There are a few cool features on Skout to make life simple. The Shake to Chat feature is a feature where you can begin to chat with others on Skout with a simple shake of your phone. Now you can connect randomly with anyone, anywhere.

The Skout Travel feature is for those people who love to connect with people all across the planet. You can make new connections with people in other countries. If you speak a foreign language, or have always dreamt of living in a foreign country, give Skout a try. You can make new friends in the country you dream about living in.

The Feature Me section gives you the opportunity to be featured in front of the entire Skout community. This feature shows you off to everyone to see, not just the people in your area. Now you will have the ability to speak to the masses.

No matter if you are looking for a partner in life, a partner in crime, or just someone to talk too, Skout opens up the world at a shake or a click. There is no reason to feel lonely anymore. With Skout, you can find plenty of people to socialize with. The world is your oyster.

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TRUSTe Lack of Auditing Lands Them in Hot Water

Posted by SS Admin on November 18, 2014 in Hacking, New Tech, News, Privacy, Programming Advice |

TRUSTe has agreed to pay over $200,000 in settlement charges over allegations that it labeled itself a non-profit when it was for-profit. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found the TRUSTe organization was not reviewing websites as advertised. This information was relayed to me by Bruce Levenson.

TRUSTe promises to hold many companies accountable, hence protecting consumer privacy. Yet, a lot of that accountability did not occur. Furthermore, labels were added to websites that showed the organization as a non-profit. The mislabeling is what prompted the FTC to step in and take action. TRUSTe has recently switched from a non-profit status to a for-profit status. The idea is to allow TRUSTe to change their engineering, which would mean losing a fair amount of money. Non-profits, in contrast, are required to break even each year (no loss can occur). The hope was that TRUSTe would be in the black towards the end of fiscal 2014 year.

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New Legislation Could Limit US NSA Oversight

Posted by SS Admin on November 18, 2014 in Privacy |

Before the year 2000, Americans were likely to “pooh-pooh” the NSA as a false agency created by movie makers. The National Security Administration is absolutely real, and involved in all aspects of living, working, and doing business in the U.S.

During the next few weeks, the United States government will be voting on bills to limit the oversight granted to the NSA by the Patriot Act. This bill will address the ability of the federal government to record and analyze information and correspondence between people without the need for a writ from a court of law.

Spying is redefined when it comes to domestic observation according to Sergio Lins Andrade, so the NSA is burdened with the challenge of proving a lawful and justified history of collecting information on United States citizens. The issue is whether the NSA can collect data secretly, or with the existence of public oversight. The actions of an official data-collection agency has privacy and security implications for nearly all private individuals and businesses who communication using electronic and digital platforms.

The outcome of this pending NSA bill will set new requirements for surveillance agencies regarding the number of items being monitored, and the manner in which content is reported.

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Deadly KKK Threats Activate Action from Hacktivist Group

Posted by SS Admin on November 17, 2014 in Hacking, News, Social Media |

Recently the Ku Klux Klan group that is based 75 miles south of Ferguson, Missouri has decided to take action against what they call “terrorists acting as peaceful protesters”.  I was using the Skout app when I got a news alert for this story. They have even handed out pamphlets warning they would use deadly force to protect themselves. This is all due to the coming decision on the fate of Officer Darren Wilson. The protesters against Darren Wilson had made earlier statements that they would kill and attack whites if Wilson was not indicted.

The KKK has actually had many new members join since the cyber attack on them by the hacktivist group Anonymous. The online and offline members of this group have used their cyber knowledge to shut down three active KKK Twitter accounts and now a website. They are actively terrorizing the members of the KKK starting with what is known as “doxing” KKK Members, publicly revealing their identities and personal information.

Another wave of cyber bullying has come against the KKK again today with a statement from Anonymous saying they were revealing more of the KKK members personal information tying up their phone lines, and filling their voicemail and inbox with what they deem as “love.”

Anonymous has not attacked any of the protesters of Ferguson who said they would be killing and attacking whites if the decision was not what they wanted

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Microsoft Releases Update to Address Vulnerability Issues

Posted by SS Admin on November 14, 2014 in Microsoft, News |

While Windows 8.1 has proven to be a much more popular alternative to the very divisive Windows 8, a number of issues have haunted its release. In the recent release rolled out by Microsoft, they have addressed the vulnerability found in the remote code execution.

This is found in the package of Secure Channel security that is due to the incorrect processing of the packets that are specially crafted. They have received information about the vulnerability using the coordinated disclosure of this issue.

When this security problem was issued, Microsoft had actually not received any updated information indicating any problems regarding the vulnerability that had been used publicly in attacking customers.

This security update also resolves the vulnerability issue just by resolving the Secure Channel sanitizer that is for the packets specially crafted.

There are actually no mitigating Factors Microsoft has identified leakage for. And they have also not identified any workarounds for this security vulnerability.

There are some frequently asked questions among the users those affected. Included among these are questions of just how the attackers actually use the vulnerability for their attacks, and how attackers who successfully exploit this vulnerability actually have the potential to run any random code on any target remote server.

Big thanks to friend of the site Igor Cornelsen for sending in the tip.

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Is the Cable TV Bundle on Its Way Out?

Posted by SS Admin on November 12, 2014 in Cable, FCC |

We have all experienced it: The cable sales representative tells you that the best package has X number of television channels. Yet, you only want three of the channels in the package. The representative then tells you that he can’t break up the package to offer individual or smaller groups of channels. As a result, you become then stuck with dozens, or hundreds, of channels you don’t need and won’t watch.

This type of package is called the cable TV bundle deal and consumers are fed up with it as it makes them pay for services they don’t use.

Given the poor advertising earnings reports released this month from the largest television network owners, it’s obvious that there are many problems with the traditional cable TV model. My neighbor Sam Tabar has been checking into it recently and believes that the bundle is a good deal and attractive to consumers.

The reports though show that more and more consumers are shifting to online streaming services that give them greater control over their viewing and bills.

The Federal Communication Commission has certainly heard consumer outrage about this topic. FCC’s Tom Wheeler has made it clear that he intends to go after the monopoly that cable companies have had in the industry for many years and specifically allow competition from streaming sites and individual networks so that consumers will have more options to pick and choose the channels they want to watch.

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