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AT&T Continues To Clamp Down On Unofficial iPhone Tethering

April 26th, 2011 04:12 admin View Comments

iPhone Tethering

TiPb reports that AT&T customers who have jailbroken their iPhone and using the tethering option unofficially have received a reminder message from AT&T this morning, informing them that they’re planning to update their plan to a tethering plan ($45/mo, incl. 4GB).

Back in March, AT&T had sent customers using unofficial tethering options an email stating that “records show that you use [tethering] but are not subscribed to our tethering plan” 

The text message reads as follows:

AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone service. Remember, you need a tethering plan ($45/mo, incl. 4GB) to use this feature, so we’re planning to update your line with the required plan soon. Visit att.com/dataplans or call 888-860-6789.

AT&T had started offering the official tethering plans for $20 per month in June 2010, almost a year after the feature was introduced in iPhone OS 3.0 by Apple.

Due to the delay, developers had released jailbreak apps that enabled tethering for a one-time fee, which are very popular. MyWi also allows users to convert their iPhone into a wireless router just like the personal hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 released last week. It is also one of major reasons users jailbreak their iPhone.

AT&T sent several MyWi users a notice last month to clamp down on the unofficial use of the tethering option. Here are some excerpts from the letter sent to one of the users:

[..] Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.

[..] If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.

If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.

Do you use MyWi or any other jailbreak app for iPhone tethering? Did you receive the email or SMS from AT&T? Let us know what you plan to do in the comments section below.

[via TiPB]

Source: AT&T Continues To Clamp Down On Unofficial iPhone Tethering

After a Nice Hot Blood Lunch, Mosquitoes Go Into Shock

April 26th, 2011 04:06 admin View Comments

skeeter

What’s the News: When mosquitoes finish a piping-hot meal of blood, they have more than your average postprandial snooze, biologists have found: they go into heat shock, producing proteins most organisms only make when something is terribly wrong.

How the Heck:

  • A team of biologists slapped tiny temperature sensors on mosquitoes and monitored them before and after they fed on chicken blood. The skeeters’ body temperature climbed by a whopping 20 F (71.6 to 89.6 degrees) in one minute, one of the biggest temperature jumps ever recorded in a cold-blooded creature.
  • While the mosquitoes’ body temperatures were elevated, they were also producing nearly eight times the normal amount of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), a protein that helps keep crucial enzymes from getting denatured by the heat and usually only shows up in humans when we’re running a fever. The two effects were solely because of the meal’s temperature: they happened when the mosquitoes were fed warm saline solution and didn’t happen with cooler blood.
  • When the team knocked down production of Hsp70 and fed the mosquitoes hot blood, the females laid 25 percent fewer eggs and digestion of the blood proteins seemed to slow down, indicating that Hsp70 works to keep those processes safe from the ravages of too much heat.
  • And this process isn’t a one-species fluke: The team found that the increases in body temp and Hsp70 production held across three species of mosquitoes and the bedbug, another notorious blood-sucker.

What’s the Context: Heat shock, the production of certain proteins to preserve the structure of heat-sensitive enzymes after a temperature jump, happens in pretty much every organism. But it’s nearly always a survival response in the face of trauma like disease, drought, or stress. The fact that a variety of blood-eating insects go into heat shock on a regular basis, just as a byproduct of having lunch, is unexpected and fascinating. What else are these little suckers hiding?

Reference: Joshua B. Benoit, Giancarlo Lopez-Martinez, Kevin R. Patrick, Zachary P. Phillips, Tyler B. Krause and David L. Denlinger. Drinking a hot blood meal elicits a protective heat shock response in mosquitoes. PNAS, April 25, 2011 DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1105195108

Image credit: tanakawho/Flickr

Source: After a Nice Hot Blood Lunch, Mosquitoes Go Into Shock

President Obama Uses iPad 2

April 25th, 2011 04:57 admin View Comments

Obama Uses iPad 2

TUAW’s reader has spotted US President Barack Obama carrying an iPad 2 from the official White House Photostream on Flickr.

The photo was taken few weeks back while the President was walking to Marine One after a town hall meeting, which gives a glimpse of him carrying an iPad 2 with a polyurethane Smart Cover.

Here is the description of the photo on Flickr:

President Barack Obama salutes as he walks to Marine One following a town hall meeting in Fairless Hills, Pa., April 6, 2011.

As TUAW points out, the President is well-known for his love for RIM’s BlackBerry, it remains to be seen if iPad 2 will convince him to switch to Apple’s iPhone (assuming White House security give it a clearance).

We wonder what’s his favorite iPad app or iPad game. Any guesses?

[Flickr via TUAW]

Source: President Obama Uses iPad 2

Steve Jobs Responds To iPhone Location Tracking Issue

April 25th, 2011 04:33 admin View Comments

iPhone Location

The iPhone location tracking issue reported last week by Security Researchers has raised quite a bit of controversy. As reported earlier today, Apple is being investigated by privacy regulators in South Korea, France, Italy and Germany, US Senators are writing open letters to Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs and some have already started suing Apple.

Apple has surprisingly been silent on the issue, which is usually a good time for Steve Jobs to clarify things.

MacRumors reports that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has responded to a concerned user clarifying that “We don’t Track Anyoneâ€.

MacRumors has posted the following email exchange between the user and Steve Jobs:

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.

A: Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Sent from my iPhone

There is not enough evidence to prove the authenticity of the email but Steve Jobs is known to periodically reply to emails from customers with such short replies.

Last week, Google spokesperson admitted to Wall Street Journal that it sends anonymous location data from Android based smartphones to its servers when users opt-in to using location services, which is turned on by default and informs users about it while setting it up. According to Google, it collects this data to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices.

Based on Apple’s response to questions on location tracking and privacy last year, it looks like Apple also collects data for similar purposes. So Steve Jobs’s comment (if the email is not a fake) stating “We don’t track anyone†probably refers to the hidden file in which iPhone and iPad 3G records location data as there is currently no evidence to suggest that this file is being uploaded to Apple servers.

Do you think this is blown out of proportion? What do you think Apple should do to address this issue?

Source: Steve Jobs Responds To iPhone Location Tracking Issue

Visual Virtual People: A Better Model for the Behavior of Crowds

April 25th, 2011 04:37 admin View Comments

crowds
A new model of crowd behavior uses simple visual rules.

What’s the News: When crowds go wrong, they go really wrong—more than 300 people died in a stampede in Cambodia last year during a festival, and hundreds more have been crushed to death in periodic disasters near the Muslim holy city of Mecca. A major flaw of computational models describing how people behave in crowds is that they are often too simplistic or too specific to a situation to explain both normal and disastrous behavior. A new model manages to recreate both types of behavior, working from two basic visual rules: (1) each person will move in the least crowded direction in their line of sight, and (2) they will adjust their speed to maintain a safe distance from visible obstacles.

“This work is an extremely important step in pulling together our fragmented understanding,†says behavioral biologist Iain Couzin, who was not involved in the study (via ScienceNOW). “We’re now approaching a sort of unified understanding of human behavior in crowds.â€

How the Heck:

  • The two simple rules, in combination with some basic physical laws, were enough for the model to recreate normal crowd behavior, such as people forming lanes as they walk down hallways, along with more unusual behavior.
  • As more people crowd into a tight space, the model develops stop-and-go traffic, and with even more crowding, the phenomenon known as turbulence appeared. This chaotic movement has been at the root of various crowd disasters; capturing its development in a model, especially with such a simple set of rules, is an important achievement.
  • The fact that these rules are visual—in the model, what people see is key to what they do—is key. Physical laws have dominated computational models of crowds so far, and shifting the focus to the senses humans actually use in such situations could make more complex and accurate modeling possible.

What’s the Context:

  • Urban planners use models of crowd behavior to design safe public spaces, where dangerous bottlenecks and other features that can trigger panics are avoided.
  • Many models treat people like particles, meaning that they obey simple physical rules like avoiding others and taking the most direct route to a destination. This is usually sufficient for most purposes, but it doesn’t explain unusual behaviors that crop up in extreme situations.
  • The best models incorporate a fair bit of freedom on the part of individuals. Those developed by Paul M. Torrens at University of Arizona, for instance, include body language and subtle human behaviors such as a tendency to veer right to avoid obstacles.

Reference: M. Moussaid, D. Helbing, G. Theraulaz. How simple rules determine pedestrian behavior and crowd disasters. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; doi:10.1073/pnas.1016507108

Image credit: PNAS

Source: Visual Virtual People: A Better Model for the Behavior of Crowds

Leaked Photos Of iPhone 5 / iPhone 4S With Larger Screen?

April 25th, 2011 04:19 admin View Comments

iPhone 4S

There have been several rumors and speculations, which indicate that Apple’s next generation iPhone will come with a larger edge-to-edge screen.

M.I.C Gadgets have posted two images of what could be photos of Apple’s fifth generation iPhone with a larger screen, which they are calling iPhone 4S.

M.I.C Gadget reports:

Man, we don’t know if this is real, but at least we can see that it has a larger display and edge-to-edge glass. Maybe it’s a mockup, but we are sure that it’s not an iPhone 4. One more pic after the break, comparing to an unofficial white iPhone 4 front panel.

Folks at M.I.C Gadget are not sure whether it is the real deal nor have them mentioned the source of these photos. The photos reveal a slightly taller and wider screen resulting in a smaller bezel compared to iPhone 4. The screen appears to be closer to 3.7inch, which Joshua Topolsky had indicated couple of days back but it it looks like iPhone 4 rather than a completely redesigned iPhone with “teardrop†shape like iPod Touch.

Do you like the look of the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S with a larger screen or do you think these photos are fake?

[via M.I.C Gadget]

Source: Leaked Photos Of iPhone 5 / iPhone 4S With Larger Screen?

Apple Being Investigated By Privacy Regulators In South Korea, France, Italy And Germany Over Locationgate

April 25th, 2011 04:51 admin View Comments

iPhone Location

Last week, Security researchers revealed that iPhone and iPad 3G regularly tracks the location of your iOS device and records the co-ordinates along with timestamp in a hidden file.

Bloomberg has reported that the controversy, which is being dubbed Locationgate has landed Apple into trouble as they are now being investigated by privacy regulators in South Korea, France, Italy and Germany.

Bloomberg reports:

The Korea Communications Commission asked Apple how often information is collected and saved, and whether users have a choice over whether it is saved or deleted, the commission said in an e-mailed statement today. Apple must explain why such data is saved on devices and if it’s stored on the company’s servers.[..]

[..] Apple has been investigated by French, German and Italian privacy regulators since analysts reported the company’s devices track and store data about the movements of iPhone and iPad users.

Meanwhile, in the US, Senator Al Franken has written an open letter to Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs stating that the Locationgate episode has raised the following questions:

1. Why does Apple collect and compile this location data? Why did Apple choose to initiate tracking this data in its iOS 4 operating system?

2. Does Apple collect and compile this location data for laptops?

3. How is this data generated? (GPS, cell tower triangulation, Wi-Fi triangulation, etc.)

4. How frequently is a user’s location recorded? What triggers the creation of a record of someone’s location?

5. How precise is this location data? Can it track the users location to 50 m, 100 m, etc.?

6. Why is this data not encrypted? What steps will Apple take to encrypt the data?

7. Why were Apple consumers never affirmatively informed of the collection and retention of their location data in this manner? Why did Apple not seek affirmative consent before doing so?

8. Does Apple believe that this conduct is permissible under the terms of its privacy policy?

9. To whom, if anyone, including Apple, has this data been disclosed? When and why were these disclosures made?

You can read the entire letter here.

As reported earlier, John Gruber of Daring Fireball has mentioned that according to his source the issue is a bug:

consolidated.db acts as a cache for location data, and that historical data should be getting culled but isn’t, either due to a bug or, more likely, an oversight. I.e. someone wrote the code to cache location data but never wrote code to cull non-recent entries from the cache, so that a database that’s meant to serve as a cache of your recent location data is instead a persistent log of your location history. I’d wager this gets fixed in the next iOS update.

Though Apple has not issued an official statement so far, it seems likely that Apple will release an iOS software update (iOS 4.3.3) to address this issue.

In the meantime, if you’re worried about someone accessing the hidden file with your location information then you can encrypt the iPhone backups through iTunes to prevent it (click on your device within iTunes and then check “Encrypt iPhone Backup” under the “Options” area).

Do you think this is blown out of proportion? Please share your views in the comments section below.

[via Bloomberg, ArsTechnica]

Source: Apple Being Investigated By Privacy Regulators In South Korea, France, Italy And Germany Over Locationgate

Cydia Back Online After 86 Hours

April 25th, 2011 04:37 admin View Comments

Cydia

If you’ve jailbroken your iOS device, you might have faced problems using Cydia – that is used to install jailbreak apps in the last few days.

You were not alone. It was due to the extended outage of Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service. Jay Freeman aka Saurik has confirmed that things are back to normal after 86 hours of downtime.

Saurik tweeted:

After 86 hours offline, Cydia is finally back! I’m eating some celebratory cake, and am looking forward to a night with >1.5 hours of sleep!

Due to the Amazon Web services disruptions issues, users were not able to purchase jailbreak apps, use the Theme Centre or access Cydia account section.

It looks like all those issues are resolved and everything is back to normal.

[via Twitter(Saurik)]

Source: Cydia Back Online After 86 Hours

PwnageTool 4.3.2 And Ultrasn0w 1.2.2 Released For iOS 4.3.2

April 24th, 2011 04:49 admin View Comments

Jailbreak iOS 4 on iPhone 3GS

iPhone Dev team has just released PwnageTool 4.3.2 for iOS 4.3.2 that incorporates the untether jailbreak developed by iPhone hacking expert Stefan Esser.

PwnageTool 4.3.2 will allow iPhone users to safely restore to a pre-jailbroken iOS 4.3.2 firmware and retain their current baseband so that they can use Ultrasn0w to unlock their GSM iPhone, which is only useful for users with older baseband.

Dev Team has provided the following information on their blog:

PwnageTool 4.3.2 now includes the iOS 4.3.2 untether from @i0n1c.  (And look, the PwnageTool and iOS version numbers actually match!).

Note that there’s a corresponding update to ultrasn0w, which has been bumped up to v1.2.2 to get along with iOS 4.3.2 (the ultrasn0w update does not include any new baseband support!). Please reboot your iPhone using the normal “slide to power off†swipe after installing ultrasn0w 1.2.2.

PwnageTool 4.3.2 supports the following iOS devices for iOS 4.3.2:

Source: PwnageTool 4.3.2 And Ultrasn0w 1.2.2 Released For iOS 4.3.2

Leaked Photos Reveal Apple Is Testing iPhone For T-Mobile USA

April 23rd, 2011 04:47 admin View Comments

iPhone 5 - T-Mobile

BGR has just reported that Apple is testing iPhone on T-Mobile USA. They’ve published a photo of an iPhone prototype working on T-Mobile’s 3G network. Currently iPhone (assume its unlocked) works only on T-Mobile’s slow EDGE network as it does not support 3G network.

The iPhone prototype working on T-Mobile’s 3G network is codenamed N94. The GSM iPhone 4 was codenamed N90 while the CDMA iPhone 4 was codenamed N92.

BGR reports:

We have verified that the phone itself is running a test version of Apple’s iOS, much like the one we saw in those videos from Vietnam, and it includes internal Apple test apps like Radar and Apple’s employee directory app. Additionally, the front of the white iPhone pictured looks a little different from the photos of the retail white iPhone 4 that surfaced recently — specifically, the proximity sensor has changed on the retail version. Combined with the fact that it wouldn’t make sense to release an iPhone 4 on T-Mobile at this point in time, we’d wager that Apple is just testing the new T-Mobile-friendly radio with its current iPhone 4 hardware, possibly in preparation for integration in a future device.

It will be interesting to see if Apple will launch iPhone 4 on T-Mobile’s network soon or it is just testing it to support T-Mobile’s AWS 3G bands for iPhone 5. In any case, since AT&T is acquiring T-Mobile (currently pending approval), loyal T-Mobile customers should be able to buy an iPhone eventually.

Are you waiting for that day?

[via BGR]

Source: Leaked Photos Reveal Apple Is Testing iPhone For T-Mobile USA

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