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Facebook has unveiled a new product, Facebook Home, at an event everyone knew would have something to do with phones and apps and operating systems.
"We're not building a phone and we're not building an operating system," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday. "But we're also building something that's a whole lot deeper than just another app."
Um, OK. Thanks for clarifying that, Zuck.
In all seriousness, though, here's the breakdown on Home, a feature Facebook hopes will make it part of everything you do on your phone.
What is it?
As described by Zuckerberg and others, Home is a "family of apps" that essentially push Facebook content front and center on your Android phone.
Once the phone "wakes up," the home screen and lock screen are replaced with something called "Cover Feed." Images and posts from friends will appear as the new screen's background. Users can flip through and interact with them -- "like" an update, or post a comment -- immediately without having to open a specific Facebook app. One touch takes the user to their apps, or back to the last app they were using.
Home's other big feature was called "Chat Heads," which is a basically a tool that combines Facebook Messenger with the phone's regular SMS text-message tool. Messages pop up regardless of what the user is doing at the time, along with the sender's profile picture, enclosed in a little circle.
The user can decide whether to open the message (without leaving the app or other screen they're on), dismiss it or save it for later with a single touch.
When and where can I get it?
Home will be available in the Google Play mobile store on April 12 for at least some Android phones. Users will be able to choose whether to install it permanently, or for a one-off trial session.
At release, it will only be optimized for Samsung's Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II and the HTC One line of phones. It will run on the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One when those phones are released, with other phones being added in the coming months.
Facebook said a version for tablets will be released "within several months."
How about my iPhone?
Your wait might be quite a bit longer. Or, you know, forever.
During the event, Zuckerberg repeatedly talked about how Google's open Android system was the perfect place to build Home. It's not unusual for mobile-device makers, most notably Amazon with its Kindle Fire tablets, to tweak the system to suit their own needs.
Apple, on the other hand, has a very closed operating system, giving its developers far less leeway in exchange for what the company says is a smoother, better-developed user experience. Creating something like Home for Apple's iOS system would require an almost unprecedented partnership between the companies.
"Anything that happens with Apple is going to happen with partnership," Zuckerberg said. "Google's Android is open so we don't have to work with them."
Still, Facebook isn't ruling out the possibility, at least not officially.
"This is a first step and we're continuing to iterate," a Facebook spokeswoman said in response to iPhone questions. "We chose to start building on Android because we could build a more deeply integrated mobile experience. We'll continue to test and iterate on the Facebook experience across all platforms. "
What happened to the Facebook phone I was hearing about?
Well, there's not one. While rumors to that effect have swirled for a couple of years, Facebook has always maintained it wasn't "making" a phone. That remains technically true.
But at Wednesday's event, HTC unveiled the HTC First, an AT&T exclusive Android phone that will be released the same day Facebook Home goes live. The phone will have Home pre-loaded as the default version of its operating system.
So it's the closest thing to a Facebook phone for now.
Unveiled by CEO Peter Chou, the First will be a mid-range phone that looks vaguely like an iPhone 5, with a 4.3-inch screen and dual-core Snapdragon processor. It will sell for $99 in the United States.
Folks looking for a high-end HTC phone may be more inclined to wait for the HTC One, which launches on April 19.
What are folks saying?
"Jokes aside, I think Home is a very smart thing for Facebook to do. At least for now. Really is a blanket over Android. Need to play with it." -- MG Siegler, columnist, TechCrunch
"Wonder when Twitter and others will introduce their own "super apps" that take over lock screen, home page.... ." -- Stephen Levy,senior writer, Wired
"It's nice-looking enough, for what it is. But what it is is an assumption that users want to use Facebook to filter everything they do with their smartphones ... . Putting friends first isn't a bad concept for the smartphone experience. But Facebook thinks that friends = Facebook and Facebook = friends. If this were ever true, it isn't now." -- Jesse Brown, columnist, Maclean's
From time to time I hear from friends and colleagues, "My computer is running slow", "I can't get online", "My printer does not work", "I can't get my e-mail" as well as other issues. So I figured, I would write a quick article about things you can check that will empower you to resolve the issue(s) on your own. If you still think your system is running slow, give us a call at 559.274.9700 and we can schedule a live consultation for you. We have a flat-rate service that is under $50 for a remote appointment. If we are unable to resolve your issue remotely, we can dispatch a technician to your residence or business for an additional $30/incident. As always, if we cannot resolve your issue we will refund the associated service fees. So let's talk about how we can empower you to speed up your computer.
Some of the common things to check on your computer
- Virus, Trojans, and Other Malware - Viruses, trojans, and other malware are some of the main culprits to a slow running Windows computer. Many viruses are introduced to a computer when the user does not have a virus protection software package such as those developed by Norton or McAfee, two leading anti-virus and computer security companies. Viruses are easily introduced from a website or via files loaded onto their computer from an unprotected source. These files or programs will infiltrate computers and perform a variety of hostile, intrusive, and damaging things to a computer and ultimately can spread to other computers via the Internet or an internal network.
- Spyware & Adware - Spyware is software that is loaded on your computer without your knowledge according to information provided on the Mcafee.com website. It when you visit websites or load software onto your computer. Usually this software will transmit usage information to a third-party that may use the information for targeted marketing and advertising. In many cases, spyware may be clandestinely loaded onto your computer when you download "free" software or files from a less than trusted website or software source. Sites offering free ringtones or free music downloads are notorious for transmitting spyware and adware. Adware is similar to spyware although it may not transmit information back to a third-party, but it may pop up at inopportune moments and slow down the use of your computer.
- Fragmented Hard Drive - A fragmented hard drive is another reason why you will notice your Windows computer begin to run slow. Files are typically stored on the hard drive or disk in a manner that fills up the available sectors of a hard drive. As files are saved and erased from a hard drive, these sectors may become scattered on the hard disk. As time progresses, the hard disk has to spend more time spinning as it collects or distributes these files when opening a program or saving it to disk. This will eventually lengthen the time it takes to perform these normal operations and will slow down the use of the computer.
- Not Enough Ram - RAM or Random-Access Memory, expressed in megabytes, is the computer memory that most computer applications are stored in when they are running. This should not be confused with hard drive storage space since anything stored in RAM will be lost when the computer is turned off. If RAM capacity is too low on a computer and you are trying to run a large application, the Windows operating system will often use hard drive space as temporary storage to run the application. This is known as "swapping" and will cause the computer applications to run slower than if it was stored entirely in RAM memory. If the hard drive is severely fragmented (mentioned earlier) and you have insufficient RAM, then this could cause your computer to run even slower.
- Startup Programs & Background Applications - A lot of programs that you install on your computer will automatically load themselves at startup when you boot your computer. These programs will load in the background when you boot up your computer even if you don't plan to use them during that session. Yet, they are using valuable system resources just sitting there. Many software programs or background applications such as screen savers or applets may also cause a Windows computer system to run slow. The more programs that are loaded or running in the background that are not being used, the slower your computer will get.
- Widows Registry Problems (PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!!) - The Windows registry is a database that contains instructions, settings, and options for the Windows operating system. These settings control the hardware, software, and user options for running the computer. It is typically an area that you would not normally access unless you are an experienced user. As more software is installed it increases the memory overhead, which ultimately slows down the system. Sometimes when software is uninstalled, it does not effectively cleanup system files and information is left in the registry. Problems with the Windows registry is another major reason why a Windows computer system will run very slow.
- Wireless Connection - A slow wireless connection, also referred to as Wi-Fi, could be the culprit to a computer system running very slow especially if you are trying to access the internet or use a program that relies on the wireless connection. The reasons behind a slow wireless connection could be that too many users are trying to access it at the same time if it is a public Wi-Fi connection or a shared wireless network. Other reasons that may cause your wireless connection to run slow could be problems with the wireless hardware itself or the wireless card in your computer. If you are using a wired connection, the problem may be with that particular service. If you are using dialup, then you are probably going to have problems since so much of the data transmitted over the internet now consists of large files.
- Hard Drive Near Capacity - When your hard drive is begin to reach its maximum capacity, it could cause your Windows computer system to slow down as the computer works harder to write files to remaining areas of your hard drive. This is related to the fragmented hard disk problem mentioned earlier in the article. In many cases, you may receive an error message that your hard drive is full and this could bring your computer to a complete stop or prevent you from saving files until a solution is implemented.
- Graphics Hardware Underpowered - Many computer applications use extensive graphics in their operation especially gaming software, presentation software, and photo editing software. If your computer graphics hardware is not adequate, this could cause your Windows computer to operate very slow as the computer redraws the screen or swaps files between the RAM memory and the hard drive. An underpowered graphics card or applications that exceed the minimum RAM memory requirements may be the primary reasons that your computer will operate very slow.
- Anti-Virus Too Restrictive - In the effort to restrict viruses, spyware, spam, and other intrusive programs and files, your anti-virus software may be set to varying levels of protection. In many instances, in order to perform its tasks, the protection software may slow down the operation of your computer. Most protection software has varying levels of protection and adjusting these may change the speed at which your Windows computer may run.
This still not running correctly? Give us a call at 559.274.9700 and we can schedule a live consultation.
Apple releases iOS 5.0.1 update to fix iPhone 4S battery issues, available OTA as well
Apple has today released its iOS 5.0.1 update (build 9A405) to address battery issues, add multitouch gestures to the iPad 1 and more. The update is now available in iTunes, and is also available over-the-air to existing iOS 5 users.
Some users may not see the over-the-air update immediately, so either be patient or just use the iTunes update method. We recommend waiting and doing the update OTA because the update experience is much quicker this way, due to the smaller size of the update file (the iPad 2?s update is only 34.9MB OTA), and very slick.
The fixes that are listed are:
- Fixes bugs affecting battery life
- Adds Multitasking Gestures for original iPad
- Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud
- Improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation
Apple has also included an explicit fix for the security issue discovered by security researcher Charlie Miller just a few days ago. In addition, there is a fix for the iPad Smart Cover security glitch, which would allow users access to your last running app.
To get the update now, plug your device into iTunes and click update, or if you’re already on iOS 5, you can go to Settings>General>Software Update to update your device.
Direct download links for the firmware of all devices:
- iPad 2 Wifi
- iPad 2 GSM
- iPad 2 CDMA
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4 CDMA
- iPhone 4S
- iPod touch 3G
- iPod touch 4G
Full changelog of security updates:
iOS 5.0.1 Software Update
- CFNetwork Available for: iOS 3.0 through 5.0 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, iOS 3.1 through 5.0 for iPod touch (3rd generation) and later, iOS 3.2 through 5.0 for iPad, iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2
Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to the disclosure of sensitive information
Description: An issue existed in CFNetwork’s handling of maliciously crafted URLs. When accessing a maliciously crafted HTTP or HTTPS URL, CFNetwork could navigate to an incorrect server.
CVE-2011-3246 : Erling Ellingsen of Facebook
- CoreGraphics Available for: iOS 3.0 through 5.0 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, iOS 3.1 through 5.0 for iPod touch (3rd generation) and later, iOS 3.2 through 5.0 for iPad, iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2
Impact: Viewing a document containing a maliciously crafted font may lead to arbitrary code execution
Description: Multiple memory corruption issues existed in FreeType, the most serious of which may lead to arbitrary code execution when processing a maliciously crafted font.
CVE-2011-3439 : Apple
- Data Security Available for: iOS 3.0 through 5.0 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, iOS 3.1 through 5.0 for iPod touch (3rd generation) and later, iOS 3.2 through 5.0 for iPad, iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2
Impact: An attacker with a privileged network position may intercept user credentials or other sensitive information
Description: Two certificate authorities in the list of trusted root certificates have independently issued intermediate certificates to DigiCert Malaysia. DigiCert Malaysia has issued certificates with weak keys that it is unable to revoke. An attacker with a privileged network position could intercept user credentials or other sensitive information intended for a site with a certificate issued by DigiCert Malaysia. This issue is addressed by configuring default system trust settings so that DigiCert Malaysia’s certificates are not trusted. We would like to acknowledge Bruce Morton of Entrust, Inc. for reporting this issue.
- Kernel Available for: iOS 3.0 through 5.0 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, iOS 3.1 through 5.0 for iPod touch (3rd generation) and later, iOS 3.2 through 5.0 for iPad, iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2
Impact: An application may execute unsigned code
Description: A logic error existed in the mmap system call’s checking of valid flag combinations. This issue may lead to a bypass of codesigning checks. This issue does not affect devices running iOS prior to version 4.3.
CVE-2011-3442 : Charlie Miller of Accuvant Labs
- libinfo Available for: iOS 3.0 through 5.0 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, iOS 3.1 through 5.0 for iPod touch (3rd generation) and later, iOS 3.2 through 5.0 for iPad, iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2
Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to the disclosure of sensitive information
Description: An issue existed in libinfo’s handling of DNS name lookups. When resolving a maliciously crafted hostname, libinfo could return an incorrect result.
CVE-2011-3441 : Erling Ellingsen of Facebook, Per Johansson of Blocket AB
- Passcode Lock Available for: iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2
Impact: A person with physical access to a locked iPad 2 may be able to access some of the user’s data
Description: When a Smart Cover is opened while iPad 2 is confirming power off in the locked state, the iPad does not request a passcode. This allows some access to the iPad, but data protected by Data Protection is inaccessible and apps cannot be launched.