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Facebook: No “immediate plans” for password legal action

Facebook may have updated its policies to stop employers demanding user’s passwords for the social network, but the company says it has “no current plans” to follow through on the legal action it originally threatened. The change to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities followed widespread reports earlier this month that some companies were requesting access to new job applicants’ accounts, so as to comb through for signs of unwanted behavior. Although the policy update was announced with plenty of fighting talk, Facebook now tells us that it will be looking to negotiation around best-practice before resorting to the courts.

“We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the thing to do” a Facebook spokesperson told us. “While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.”

Although it has become increasingly commonplace for companies to look at publicly shared information on social networks as part of an online background check, actually demanding access to private content has obviously pushed Facebook too far. “We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action,” policy chief Erin Egan said yesterday, ”including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.”

Facebook’s argument is that the intrusive access isn’t just a privacy concern for the individual user, but for their friends and family who will have set up their own privacy settings based on assumptions of who can then access that content. It is now against the social network’s rules to “share or solicit” Facebook login credentials.

Facebook: No “immediate plans” for password legal action is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Shopping For A Used Phone? PocketESN (And These Tips) Could Make Back Alley Craigslist Deals A Little Easier

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As an Android nerd and 2-year Sprint customer, one of the biggest cons I’ve found from being with a CDMA carrier is the sometimes painful process of swapping or purchasing used devices. Aside from the initial device I receive when signing up for a 2-year agreement, my devices are almost always obtained through face-to-face meetings with sellers on Craigslist. A few quick protips I’ve learned through the years are:

  1. Always bring a friend
  2. Have them video record the transaction from the car
  3. Call minutes before meeting up to make sure the buyer has the full amount agreed to (to avoid getting short changed at the time of transaction)
  4. And most importantly… always check ESN’s.

“ESN” is short for a phone’s Electronic Serial Number. CDMA carriers use this to track devices on their network. Unlike GSM carriers that use SIM cards like T-Mobile and AT&T, a phone on carriers like Sprint or Verizon can easily be blacklisted if they’ve been reported lost, stolen or damaged. You can see why checking a device’s ESN is a crucial step in the buying process to avoid getting burned.

But checking an ESN isn’t always easy. A cautious seller may not want to provide you with the info over the phone as to avoid the device being activated without payment. The smartest way to go about it is in a face-to-face meeting with the seller. This way you can see firsthand, the device’s ESN (typically found underneath the battery). Even then, a shyster could replace the ESN sticker with one from a different device. The most full-proof method of checking a device is jumping into the phone’s Settings > About Phone > Status. No way to fake that (unless it’s rooted).

Okay, so now you have the ESN, we can start the process of making sure it’s clean. You can do this by either calling the carrier (a tedious process that can take a lot of time), jumping online to a free ESN checking sites (in which case you’ll have to read and type out that long ESN number accurately (I always mess up). Or as Nicole Cozma on Cnet pointed out — there’s a free app that will do everything for you.

PocketESN, is a free app in the Google Play store that will check the ESN of any device it’s installed on. It’s pretty straight forward. Install. Check. Get on with your life. PocketESN comes in both a free version that will only check the phone once, or a slightly more pricey paid version for $6 that will check any device, as many times as you’d like (even comes with a handy barcode scanner for quick ESN entry).

The only problem I’ve found with the free version of the app is, in a real world situation, it would require either the buyer or seller to sign into their Google account before at the time of the transaction in order to download from the Play store. Or, you could always back up the app using your preferred cloud service and then sideload. Either way, an active internet connection would be required and not exactly ideal for every situation.

You guys do any used phone shopping on Craigslist? Got any helpful tips? Could you see this app being useful, or would jumping onto in the browser be all around easier?

[Play Store Link]

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Ohio high schools pit robots in basketball competition

Ohio is a very spors-centric state. The Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the best college football teams in the country, and even though the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Bengels aren’t the best, they have ardent fans and are among the most well-branded spors teams. But when it comes to basketball, Ohio has a deficit. So maybe it’s time to stop looking for humans and see if robots can do the job.

At the Buckeye Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Cleveland this weekend, teams from 60 high schools around the country will meet in a true battle of machine versus machine. In the competition, robots are built to play a game called Rebound Rumble, a form of basketball in which robots shoot as many balls as they can in rounds that last for two minutes and 15 seconds. Robots earn points for each shot that sinks through the net, with more points earned as the net is raised.

One of the teams’ advisers, Kate Keckan, was quoted by local newspaper the Plain Dealer as saying, “It is an opportunity for students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to building a robot for a competition and to work with professionals in the industry. We have 30 students on the team.” While this kind of event won’t have significant impacts on the advancements of robotic technology, it is cool to know that people as young as high school age are building such advanced devices.


Ohio high schools pit robots in basketball competition is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Konami’s Silent Hill HD Collection not appreciated by original designer

The man who was the top dog in designing the original three Silent Hill games has been vocal at his disappointment with the recently released Silent Hill HD Collection. In other words, he thinks that Konami has ruined the masterpieces he helped create, even though the HD Collection is supposed to be a significantly improved version of all three titles. And it’s not exactly a good thing when someone who helped invent a franchise is not happy with the way that franchise is being presented.

We’re talking about the masterful game artist Masahiro Ito, and when he talks, people listen. In his Twitter account, Ito referred to a side-by-side comparison shot of the original Silent Hill and the supposed HD remake of Silent Hill. “Left side is HD, isn’t it? It’s poor. It’s really a released version? Really?” When he realized that it was in fact a shot of the final retail game, his response was, simply, “OMG!!!!” Yes, four exclamation points.

Ito isn’t the only one expressing frustration at the way the classic titles were ported over the a current-generation system. Gamers have been pouring in on the official Konami forums as well as other game communities to complain about everything from bad graphics to bugs and glitches. There are screen freezes, audio blips, and all sorts of other miscellaneous errors. But the voice of Ito himself expressing disappointment is worth more than a million disappointed gamers.

[via Destructoid]

Konami’s Silent Hill HD Collection not appreciated by original designer is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Hardware Mod For Galaxy Nexus Car Dock Fixes Lack Of 3-Pin Connection [Do It Yourself]

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Nobody knows exactly why it happened, but when Samsung decided to release their official Galaxy Nexus car dock here in the states, they did so minus the 3-pin connectors that not only send the phone into car mode, but charge the device as well. Well, a handy-man over on XDA decided to take matters into his own hands put together a (not so) quick do-it-yourself project that would make Ben Heck proud.

The results? A car dock for the Galaxy Nexus (GSM) the way it should have been released. Look like a fun weekend project? Well, with a cold beer and a little elbow grease, you too could give your Galaxy Nexus the car dock it deserves. The jury is still out on whether or not this will work on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus but for more info, follow the link below for his full walkthrough.


Filed under: Android No Comments

85by85 is LinkedIn meets Chatroulette

There’s a new online startup that sounds like a great idea when you first hear it, then immediately afterward you have to think it’s a crazy idea, and then finally you’ll probably settle somewhere around “well that sounds interesting but probably not for me.” Regardless of your thoughts, though, it is certainly a unique and novel idea. 85by85 wants to be like online speed dating, for business purposes.

So, if you’re an independent contractor looking for a new gig, or an employer trying to find the most efficient way to interview as many people as possible, 85by85 wants to be your go-to source. In essence, it’s like LinkedIn on speed. The way that people are connected is very similar to Chatroulette – it’s a random process – but there is actually some priority given to matches who have similarities in their LinkedIn profiles.

85by85 “interviews” or chat sessions last two minutes before they are automatically terminated and both parties are then paired with new matches. In effect, this service strives to take the difficulty out of real, live networking. Is there really such a thing as an adequate replacement for that? Probably not, but then again crazier things have happened in the social space. If nothing else, 85by85 is an incredibly creative idea.

[via VentureBeat]

85by85 is LinkedIn meets Chatroulette is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Epic Mickey 2 developer spills the beans

The sequel to Epic Mickey has been confirmed, and the excitement is already starting to spread. Now, the covers are really starting to be unraveled as developer Warren Spector begins to explain all the unique gameplay mechanics that will be part of the experience. In addition to being presented in HD, the sequel will be available to whole new customer segments. While the original Epic Mickey was only available on the Wii, the next entry will be on all three major consoles.

The new game’s official title will be Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Two. As you might expect from that title, multiplayer gaming will be encouraged, with a full cooperative gameplay mechanic. In addition, developers hope to address some of the issues that plagued the preceding title. Specifically, many critics complained that Epic Mickey had awkward and unpleasant camera controls, which made navigating through levels an unnecessarily arduous process at times.

The biggest aspect of the game is the multiplayer aspect. So in a PlayStation Blog interview, Spector delved into just how Epic Mickey, which was a very extensive and intense single-player game, will be opened up to simultaneous cooperative play. There were many things Spector has been wanting to implement since the day he wrapped up the original game. The video of his interview is in the link below.

[via PlayStation Blog]

Epic Mickey 2 developer spills the beans is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace surpasses 70K apps

In the world of the iPhone App Store and Google Play, apps are now counted in the hundreds of thousands. Microsoft’s burgeoning alternative isn’t quite there yet, but it is showing modest and continuous growth. The Windows Phone library of apps have jumped to more than 70,000, the latest milestone announced by Microsoft. The company said in January that the app platform had surpassed 60,000 titles.

And in December, Microsoft bragged about having 50,000 apps, around one year after Windows Phone was first launched. On average now, 300 new apps are being added to the Windows Phone Marketplace every day. What’s interesting, though, is that there are 100,000 registered developers for Windows Phone. That means there are more people who are able to create apps than have actually created apps, a statistic Microsoft would no doubt like to reverse.

Obviously, the Windows Phone Marketplace still has a long way to go before it can legitimately stand up against the offerings from Android or iOS. Microsoft has, however, said that it wants to turn the app industry on its head, essentially touting the message that quality is better than quantity. After all, can the average person really tell the difference between 400,000 and 500,000 apps? Heck, will the average user even notice a difference if it’s 70,000 apps versus 500,000 apps?

[via Unwired View]

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace surpasses 70K apps is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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iFrogz Boost NearField Audio speaker Review

This little piece of hardware is a fabulous wonder of the modern wireless age – and it doesn’t just work for iPhone, it works for any tiny speaker that wants to be amplified! The iFrogz Boost NearField Audio speaker is a little brick – it weights in at next to nothing, is made mostly of soft, rubbery plastic on the outside, has a few bumpers on the bottom to hold it tight to your table. This device will blast out audio at high levels without any more effort on your part than placing the speaker portion of your smartphone near the power button side of the device. It’s really quite magical – as you’ll see here in a moment.

This device comes in a simple cardboard box and you get the dock only. The dock is just a bit too large to fit in your pocket, but certainly not too big to fit in your purse or backpack. It’s got two relatively unprotected speakers, one on each side, with a power button on the front with a single light that’ll show you the status of the device. Other than the three AA battery slot below, and the two ports in the back for auxiliary line-in and optional DC power via microUSB, there’s nothing more to this device.

It’s what’s inside that counts. Inside is iFrogz implementation of NearField Audio, this allowing you to simply place your device down and have its sound amplified through the device electronically – have a peek at the hands-on video above to see what it’s all about. This device is powered either by the three AA batteries you’ll be placing yourself inside or by a microUSB cord you, also, will be supplying.

The bits that you need to supply allow this device to cost an undeniably inexpensive [$39.99 from iFrogz online store]. It’s worth that price just to experience this strange new technology for the first time – and more than that, it’ll work for hours, days, and months on standby with only the three AA batteries you slap into it right out of the box! Worth it.


iFrogz Boost NearField Audio speaker Review is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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New iPad color quality consumes 30% more power

According to a study released this week, the technology behind the vibrant colors of the new iPad’s gorgeous Retina display contributes to a 20 to 30 percent increase in power consumption. It’s no surprise that the higher-resolution Retina display would be more power hungry, but it’s interesting to note that a portion of that may be attributed to the improved color quality.

Performed by Dot Color, the study reveals that Apple needed to use more advanced filters on the new iPad in order to attain what the company claims to be a 44 percent improvement in color saturation. Better color filters means less light leakage, such as when blue light is needed to make an image, less green light leaks along with the blue.

However, the improved color filters also means that less light is let through, which forces Apple to increase the output of the new iPad’s backlight LEDs. This is needed in order to maintain the same level of brightness as the displays on previous iPad models. It’s one of those small details that adds to a richer user experience, but it alone causes 20-30 percent more power consumption.

[via AppleInsider]

New iPad color quality consumes 30% more power is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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