The NewsDemon Blog

Smartphones Vulnerabilities Reveal Private Information

By Newsgroup Usenet August 9th, 2010

If you’re one of the thousands who uses a smartphone to hold all of your data, you might want to reconsider what you put on there.

As some newsgroups point out, although smartphones are great at providing turn-by-turn directions, help you find the closest gas station and keep you updated on social network sites, most also store all of this information which is extremely valuable for bad guys.

Loose your phone, and you may find more things revealed about yourself than you’d imagine. Forensic experts have said that iPhones and other smartphones can provide extensive amount of both digital fingerprints as well footprints. This can allow crooks who may get in possession of your phone to exact where you’ve been, who you’ve communicated with and other personal information.

“There’s plenty of information an iPhone hangs onto,” Jonathan Zdziarski, author of iPhone Forensics “For example, the iPhone takes a screen shot every time you hit the home button, including shots of your e-mail with the time stamped on it.”

Since most nowadays come equipped with a GPS, camera, browser and other online tools, a wealth of information could be at the fingertips of someone you’d probably rather not want to share with, including:

Mapping software will store locations you’ve searched or directions you’ve received.

The auto correcting typing feature of iPhones actually stores words you’ve typed, which could potentially be accessed months after a message was sent and deleted.

Photos taken with the phone can contain information about where, when and with which device the image was captured.

Web browser information is also often stored, such as reservations the owner has made or sites they have visited.

The iPhone may be in the limelight for this type of information, but the Blackberry, Windows Mobile and even Android phones also can be dangerous.

Another thing to note is that text messages, other than those stored on your phone, are in most cases kept by your service provider as well. Having access to your phone, it may be easier for some to grab a hold of personal information to retrieve those records as well.

Be cautious when using your phone and pay close attention to how you use it and where you keep it. As Jonathon states: “People need to be aware that that racy picture you took is still going to be on there even after you delete it,” he warned. “So figure out what information is valuable to you, and don’t put that on your phone.”

Search Wars: Bing vs Google

By Daniel Li August 3rd, 2010

Bing Vs Google

On search engine realated newsgroups, posts are laying out the respective search strategies of Google and Microsoft, both of which revolve chiefly around fancy new features and services. And, increasingly, Microsoft’s Bing seems to be winning.

Bing still handles a small slice of Web searches in the United States, 12.7 percent in June, compared with Google’s 62.6 percent, as measured by comScore, the Web analytics firm. But Bing’s share has been growing, as has Yahoo’s, while Google’s has been shrinking.

Google has even taken on some of Bing’s distinctive look, like giving people the option of a Bing-like colorful background, and the placement of navigation tools on the left-hand side of the page. The decision to change its layout and then to undo the change shows that Google is feeling the pressure of Microsoft going hard into the search space.

And this wasn’t the first time Google’s hand was forced by Microsoft. In October, Microsoft announced at an industry conference that it was integrating Twitter results into Bing. Google was upstaged, since it hadn’t announced a Twitter deal yet. The company scrambled to get Twitter integration, which it announced just hours later.

“There is a cold war going on,” says one analyst. “Bing’s competition is forcing Google to try and catch up.”

Bing, for example, will compare airline prices for customers, and predict whether they’ll go up or down.

Google officials have conceded that there is more competition, but say they aren’t simply playing a reactionary role. The result of this competition is a raft of new tools and features for consumers, resulting in richer, more relevant answers to increasingly complicated queries. It remains to be seen whether Google’s departure from the clean and simple search engine that made it famous will nip Bing’s growth the bud.

Prince Declares Internet Dead

By Newsgroup Usenet July 9th, 2010

Is it time to shut the Internet and Usenet down? Prince thinks so. Explaining why he’s giving his new album away free to readers of the Daily Mirror this weekend, Prince tells the paper that the web, on which some prominent media corporations have bet the farm, is now obsolete.

“The internet’s completely over,” he explained. “I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.

He added: “The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

Of all people to respond, Mr. G or Kenny G, says that if the Internet is dead, “then I must be dead too, ’cause I use it all the time,” adding with a laugh, “Maybe I’ve got a sixth sense, and I can only see dead people. I don’t know.” Unlike Prince, Kenny G said the Internet is vital to promoting his work.

Prince was an early adopter of internet-release platforms, making a number of records available through his music club subscription service, which was shut down in 2006 after five years. Since then, Prince has been a fierce opponent of content sharing, even threatening to sue a woman who put up a YouTube video of her baby dancing to one of his songs in 2007.

He’s surely fighting a lone battle against the internet, shutting his own website down and threatening to sue every legal an illegal download service out of existence. The singer-songwriter will give away his new album 20Ten with copies of The Mirror and Daily Record on July 10. The album will not be available to download.

Fourth Of July Newsgroups Special

By Daniel Li July 3rd, 2010

Celebrating Independence Day in the US, Newsgroups is offering a one day sale for all new members with all monthly accounts available for only $4.00 for the first month.

The one day sale on all monthly accounts begins on July 4th at the stroke of midnight Eastern Standard Time. During the one day event, all subscriptions ranging from 15GB to the Unlimited plans will all be priced for only $4.00 for the first month. This price includes the new Unlimited Plus plan with FREE secure online storage and backup service. This special applies to all new customers in both the US and EU.

With any monthly subscription, members receive premium access to over 107,000 uncensored newsgroups at blazing speeds with simultaneous SSL encrypted connections, a free newsreader and a host of other features.

The Fourth of July Independence Deal for $4.00 on any premium Usenet access monthly account from Newsgroups will come to an end on July 4th at 11:59PM. Simply visit on July 4th and subscribe to any of our monthly plans for only $4.00. No coupons or codes necessary.

Finland Right To Broadband Makes Newsgroup Access Easier

By Newsgroup Usenet July 1st, 2010

Starting today, Finland has made it a legal right for everyone in the country to be connected to basic Internet broadband service of 1 megabit per second downlink speed, and has vowed to give everyone a 100 Mbps connection by 2015.

The move came considering internet had become an integral part of everyone’s life, which the government also acknowledged. 96 percent of the Finnish population is online and around 4,000 homes are left that needs to comply with the minimum speed.

“Internet services are no longer just for entertainment,” Finland’s communication minister Suvi Linden. “Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realised not everyone had access. From now on a reasonable priced broadband connection will be everyone’s basic right in Finland.”

This could save many Finland Usenet newsgroup subscribers a lot of money yearly for their ISP broadband access to get on Usenet.

Finland is the first to make this a legal right, with Spain to follow suite. The UK has also passed legislation regarding broadband, guaranteeing 2Mbps connections to all citizens by 2012. They have not actually made broadband a legal right, though. Spain has said it will introduce a plan next year to allow citizens to buy at least 1Mbps of broadband at a regulated price, and telecommunications companies will be required to make the “universal service” available to everyone, no matter where they live.

The “universal service obligation” would be handled by about 26 different nationwide providers who would offer service around the country. It should not be too difficult: Finland is one of the world’s most wired countries, but only about 26 percent have a broadband connection–about the same as the United States.

As covered before, although the FCC has attempted to offer free broadband, it still a hazy dream that remains questionable if it will truly come into existence.

School Libraries Cutting Librarian Jobs

By Newsgroup Usenet June 24th, 2010

After summer is over, many students across the country may have a hard time to find help at their libraries. Based on a survey this past spring, the American Association of School Administrators project that 19% of all of the nation school districts will have fewer librarians next school year.

As many states face severe budget cuts, the loss of librarian jobs are on the chopping block for some in order to save on costs.  Administrators across the country have viewed libraries as luxuries rather than a haven for those to read, learn and research. Since only a few states have any laws to mandate libraries or librarians, layoffs seem as a minor inconvenience to some observers. Those that share this view neglect the importance and significance they are in fundamental learning and technology.

Unlike the overflowing bookshelves of wealthier families, 61 percent of low-income families own no age-appropriate books, according to a 2009 study commissioned by Jumpstart on “America’s Early Childhood Literacy Gap.”

Recently, the FCC promoted and had begun to deliver free broadband to libraries to help. Since early last year, Newsgroups began and continues to provide free Usenet access to librarians and libraries as well to help.

Unfortunately, some jobs will be lost and although the total damage seems small, it has been a slow trickling down process that further negatively impacts these great learning centers.

Dedicated newsgroups to libraries and librarians have long been a discussion forum for library enthusiasts who’ve shared concern of the impact this will make. “Information literacy is just so important for kids to be more successful in college,” said Livingston, 66, who worked in the Sammamish High School library for about a decade. “The kids are being hurt.”

New US Broadband Advisory Group Introduced

By Newsgroup Usenet June 9th, 2010

Major players in the Internet and telecommunication industries, including Google, AT&T and Verizon, are forming an advisory group on network management practices for  online services.

The forum will be overseen by Dale Hatfield, a well-respected former FCC Chief Technologist and current director of the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Government staffers are welcome to observe the group’s works.

The Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group intend to study and educate lawmakers on broadband network management practices and could help the industry form a consensus on these network management practices as the FCC examines net neutrality regulations that could affect network operators’ ability to control Web-based applications and content running on their networks. That’s a fancy way of saying that the forum allows engineers to seek consensus on proper network management practices in a less adversarial forum than FCC rulemaking. The Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) is still in its infancy and an organizational structure will be announced in the coming weeks.

The new group would work to “inform federal agencies in their industry oversight functions.” This after many complaints about Comcast’s ISP side blocking and throttling of certain ports and services. The worry now is whether BITAG is an attempt to undermine the FCC and replace “public interest” regulation with corporate-focused rules. The Advisory Group is still incubating. Operational and organizational structure is under development, as are specific functions such as outreach, identification of best practices safe harbor issues online. You can also check out more about this and more on a variety to technical and online newsgroups that are following and discussing the story.

US Oblivious To USENET Broadband Speed

By Newsgroup Usenet June 2nd, 2010

A new survey indicates that most Americans are pretty clueless when it comes to the speed of their Internet subscription. Four out of five have absolutely no idea what it is.

The survey comes after separate findings by the agency that the actual speeds experienced by consumers are as low as half of what providers advertised. Those results, from a ComScore survey early this year, were announced by the FCC’s task force assigned to create its national broadband plan. In an effort to keep broadband providers honest, the agency through its broadband speed initiative plans to compare the speeds consumers get against what broadband providers actually advertise.

But apparently this did not stop that same vast majority of consumers who answered the agency’s questionnaire from reporting that they were either “very satisfied” (50 percent) or “somewhat satisfied” (41 percent) with their connections. Despite the fact that they couldn’t even disclose the speed of that very or somewhat satisfying link, 71 percent assured the government that their connection is “as fast as the provider promises at least most of the time.

These reported plateaus of technological savvy seem to cross all demographic boundaries. Seventy-one percent of men did not know their advertised speed, the FCC says; neither did 90 percent of women. Seventy-three percent of 18-29 year olds were in the dark regarding this matter; so were 88 percent of those 65 years and older. Same for the 79 percent of whites and 87 percent of African Americans. Income had little effect on the numbers.

After ranking third in the world a decade ago, the U.S. has dropped to 15th in the proportion of citizens receiving fast Web service, or broadband, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. South Korea, Iceland and Germany are among the countries that ranked higher in 2009, the Paris-based group says. Connections were both faster and cheaper in 12 countries, including Hungary and Denmark.

Countries that rank higher than the U.S. tend to be densely populated, use subsidies, and promote computer use, said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Washington-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which studies innovation policy. “The U.S. is behind because we’re a big, spread-out country with lots of people who don’t own computers,” Atkinson said in an interview.

The FCC has been stepping up its efforts in the regulation and understanding of data connection and communication usage in the US. It recently launched a new initiative to get mobile service providers to provide more info to customers that are in danger of receiving huge cell phone bills. In March, the FCC unveiled an Internet speed test tool at for consumers to clock the speed of their connection.

This study will become the foundation for the FCC’s “State of Broadband” report later this year.

ATT Offers Free Online Access In Times Square

By Newsgroup Usenet May 25th, 2010

Good news for AT&T and Usenet newsgroup subscribers who hang around Times Square often, as the carrier has confirmed that it would be launching its first-ever outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot in Times Square. The hotspot will give anybody with an iPhone or AT&T smartphone unlimited online use as part of this pilot project.

Instead of thousands and thousands of people simultaneously accessing the gigs of data on Usenet over AT&T’s bruised, congested cellular network, they can use free Wi-Fi, offloading traffic and reducing the strain on the network thousands of other people are trying to make phone calls over. The company acknowledged that the network was primarily there to offset the burden on AT&T’s 3G service in New York City, which even after a deliberate upgrade plan has been oversaturated primarily by the sheer amount of use from iPhone owners. Key cities such as San Francisco have also been overwhelmed by usage to this day and, while slightly improved, may be prime candidates for the next stages of the pilot.

“With this pilot AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone, we’re examining new ways to combine our Wi-Fi and 3G networks to help ensure that AT&T customers in Times Square always have a fast mobile broadband connection to do what matters most to them,” said John Donovan, AT&T chief technology officer, in a statement.

AT&T currently offers Wi-Fi at over 20,000 locations and reports 53.1 million Wi-Fi connections on its network in the first quarter alone.

NBC Replaces Heroes With Other Caped Crusader

By Newsgroup Usenet May 17th, 2010

TV series HEROES has been grounded from all future time travel after its 4th final season. As reported on comic book and television related newsgroups, the cause lies in dismal ratings after a confusing HEROES Season 3 and 4 that lost most everyone along the way.

Not even all the heroes powers combined could save the cheerleader or the network from the inevitable.

After the first season hooked the world into wanting to save a cheerleader and launched comic book heroe style culture into primetime, the show shimmered with hope and promise. Unfortunately, the shine wore off as Heroes went backwards with both its storyline and following as the numbers of viewing fans have slowly abandoned the series every season since. Many Usenet newsgroup subscribers wonder: Is it any surprise that the network would pull it from finishing the season?

NBC had a lot initially riding on this show – investing heavily in both the marketing and production of the show – which could explain the track it took. Heavy pressure to gain viewers, the storyline ironically attempted to capture more viewers, but lost more instead.

This does not mean that NBC has lost interest into the comic book genre though. In its place, a new comic book drama, “The Cape” is looking to replace and is rumored to debut during the would-be Heroes’ season 5 premiere. A mixture between Batman, The Punisher and Westley from the Princess Bride, “The Cape” keeps in the tradition of the dark tragic hero storyline.  Trailer below: