Did Facebook Get Caught Reading Your Text Messages – Not True

London’s Sunday Times claimed that Facebook admitted to reading the text messages that were being sent by their users. They weren’t talking about the text messages that are were sent via their “messages” application, but the actual SMS messages that were sent between your cellphone and another person’s cellphone.  They claimed that Facebook was reading the SMS messages of the users who downloaded their Facebook app onto their smart phones, which could be millions of people.

According to the Sunday times, “Facebook” claims that it was doing it for research so they can launch their Facebook messaging service, but the article was not very clear as to when or even IF this actually happened. The article quoted several sources but they were not named. According to TechCrunch a Facebook spokesperson speaking to ZDNet said there is “no reading of user text messages.” Facebook says the Times piece is “completely wrong” but says the Facebook Android application permissions require SMS read and write capabilities.

Facebook said that lots of communications apps use these permissions, and the application technically has the capability to integrate with the phone’s SMS system, but added that it is for testing purposes. The company did not respond to the claim that the Times “admitted” to reading text messages, however.

Shortly after Facebook released this statement, the Sunday Times article was taken down, at least that’s what it seems like when you click on the link. So good job Times, you just completely paranoid a whole bunch of people that were sending text messages about the upcoming parties.

Is Having a Pinterest Button Really Worth the Traffic and Hype?

It seems that everyone, including my wife, has been talking about Pinterest for the past couple of months. Look at this picture on Pinterest! I bought a new crate that I’m going to turn into a dresser; I got the idea from Pinterest… Pinterest this, Pinterest that, Pinterest Pinterest PINTEREST! But after all is said and done, I can’t really blame her. Technically speaking, Pinterest is a great website. It’s easy to use and people pick up on the concept extremely fast. Their design is A+ and the functionality of the site is easier than a minimalistic blog. But is it worth it?

Pinterest is a great site to share images and infographics, outside of that, you can’t expect to be bringing in traffic to your website, but most importantly, you can’t be using Pinterest to be bringing in traffic to your brand. According to Shareaholic, referral traffic via Pinterest had increased from 0.17% to 3.6% over the span of 6 months.

Already, Pinterest has passed Google Plus, LinkedIn, Youtube, Reddit, and it’s about to catch up to Twitter, but in order to understand HOW and IF Pinterest is useful to your site or brand, you need to pay attention to how Pinterest works.

Could Pinterest be the hidden traffic mine waiting to be tapped? It could be, if you have the right kind of website. Pinterest doesn’t share articles per se, they share images, infographs, pictures, drawings, and any other material that can be “viewed” and instantly appreciated. An article like this one for example, is not going to get the attention of anyone on Pinterest regardless of how much “useful” information it may contain. If your main goal is to brand your company, you may want to stick with Google+, Twitter, and other social websites rather than Pinterest – that is unless you are extremely appealing to the Pinterest market.

Since Pinterest is all about sharing images, certain industries like fashion, architecture, photographers, graphic designers, cooks, bakers, or artists, can really benefit from Pinterest. If you are not part of this tight niche community, using Pinterest may be wasting your time and effort.  In order to reel in people from Pinterest to your site, you have to write articles and post images that are appealing to Pinterest-ers. For example, an article like this would need to include a picture of a cat inside of a crate made from recycled materials to even get the attention of a Pinterest user, then your article needs to back up your image. But at the end of it all, what’s the point of getting traffic to my site when it’s not the kind of traffic that is going to affect my brand?

Pinterest’s demographics are mostly women, while men are more than welcome to use it, Pinterst is full of arts and crafts that are going to appeal to women looking for ideas to decorate their homes, gardens, kitchen, clothing attire, or fill in the next recipe for a quick romantic dinner.

If you have a cupcake website, you found the holy grail of people looking for ideas. If you have a website like Guns Magazine, or Generic Tech Blogs, the chances of women finding guns or iPhone Rumors interesting enough to pin to their account is slim to none. I’m not saying that there isn’t any, but Pinterest is more of an artistic site. Think of Pinterest like the front of your refrigerator, if your article is something people will “pin” to the fridge, then you have good chances of getting traffic from Pinterst. But last time I checked, having a gun pined to your fridge only makes you look like that creep in your building.

Companies like Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, or Fossil are great companies that can benefit greatly from Pinterest, but for all the other industries that don’t sell images, art, or clothing, our content is not worthy of a pin. Until Pinterest changes their user interface, which I highly doubt they would do – why fix it when it’s not broken. We need to focus on different alternatives to brand our company out to the right crowd.

For the Next 30 Days Box Will Give you 50GB of Free Storage!

Box, not to be confused with Drop-Box just updated its Android App for the better. If you get the application within the next 30 days, you will bet 50 GB of storage in the “Cloud” for free. No strings attached, you will never have to pay for anything.

Additionally, if you get the app right now, they will increase the max file size from 25MB to 100MP but you have to get it before March 23 at 11:59:59 PM. Check out the video above so you can see how the box can help you and your business / personal life stay connected and organized. I know 50GB doesn’t sound like too much, but it’s definitely worth it, especially when it’s free storage that you can access via your cellphone! Check out Box.net  if you want to learn more about the system. Via MaximumPC

Yosemite National Park’s Lava Waterfall

The Magma Colored waterfall only happens in a two week window of time outside of the Horsetail Fall at Yosemite National Park. If the sky is clear and the weather is just right, the images captured by the photographers leave people in awe. The waterfall’s color change was first discovered in 1973 by Galen Rowell, an outdoors photographer, ever since; photographers have been coming to the fall to capture similar images.

Capturing these images is more than just going out there and taking a picture with your cellphone camera. If you want to capture the Horsetail waterfall at it’s brightest, you’ll need to know about astronomy, physics, and geometry as hopefuls consider the azimuth degrees and minutes of the earth’s orbit relative to the sun to determine the optimal day to experience it. The photographers are looking for the lowest angle of light that will paint Horsetail the colors of an iridescent sunset as rays reflect off granite behind the water. It materializes in varying degrees of intensity for the same two weeks every year.

The waterfall can only be pictured for that short period of time during mid February, that’s IF enough water accumulates through rain or snow. If the fall is flowing, and the sky is clear, you have two minutes during dusk time to take a picture of the fall. After two weeks of flowing “red” the river will will dry out, and the angles of the sun rays will be out of place.

Michael Frye, who wrote the book “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite.” said that “Horsetail is so uniquely situated that I don’t know of any other waterfall on earth that gets that kind of light,”

If you want to get a shot of this elusive lava waterfall, you’re in luck. Recent storms and snowfall mean the finicky fall is flowing again, and park officials are hopeful it will last through February 24, which is generally the last day of the year it can be seen.

The popularity is reminiscent of an actual fiery fall that entertained guests in the park from 1930 to 1968. Each summer evening as the sun set, employees of the park concessionaire would build a huge fire atop Glacier Point. At 9 p.m., as the fire burned down to embers and the Indian Love Song waned, someone would yell, “Let the fire fall!”

With long rakes men pushed glowing coals over the 3,200-foot cliff. Had visitors looked in the opposite direction at a different time of year they would have seen the watery fire-fall of nature. Via: Yahoo News

Apple Wants to File Patent Lawsuit Against a Bankrupt Kodak

Talk about kicking a company while it’s trying to get back off the ground. On January 19, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Shortly after the announcement, they backed out of the digital camera field, a technology they invented and failed to commercialize. In their Chapter 11 Documents they listed assets of 5.1 billion dollars and a debt of 6.8 billion. In order to stay somewhat profitable, Kodak restructured their company so they could focus on digital printers as their main form of income, but out of the blue, Apple hits them a patent law suit.

Apple asked a US Bankruptcy Court for permission to go after Kodak. Which is actually kind of nice since they are not legally bound to request permission to sue a court-protected bankrupt company.

According to Bloomberg, the lawsuit focuses on technologies that Kodak uses in their printers, digital picture frames, and digital cameras. I can only imagine the frustration that the Kodak executives are feeling right now, immediately after finding a way out of full bankruptcy, Apple comes along and tells them “Yea, that rope you grabbed onto before falling of the ledge? We own it, and were going to cut it.”

Instead of Apple trying to take down Kodak, they should try to find an agreement where both can profit, imagine the different types of products they could come up with? I thought the point of being in the tech business was to develop newer and better technologies… not come up with ideas and storing them away until someone develops them, and then take them to court for beating you to it.

When I buy a product, I buy it because it’s going to make my life easier. I understand the importance of protecting your patented technologies, but at the same time, I think companies should share their technologies with other companies so they can develop better working products for everyone. Imagine if Apple had a patent for cellphones, and Samsung had a patent for LCDs? An iPhone would never exist without massive lawsuits – think about all the other products that need a specific part of technology to be finished but we have to wait on “legal terms.”

I miss the older days where technologies and products were made in factories instead of court rooms.

NASA Pulls the Plug on Their Last Mainframe Computer

And just like that, another era at NASA has come to an end. Linda Cureton, the Chief Information Officer for NASA announced in a blog post that the agency’s last mainframe computer was finally shut down. Main frame computers are the large computers that filled entire rooms, they’re not as big as ENIAC, but they are still larger than a refrigerator.

The computer was an IBM Z9, pictured on the left, it was a super computer that had the power to conduct complicated calculations, but NASA said tit was unnecessary and began to look for other alternatives. According to Cureton, they are best suited for applications that are more transaction oriented and require a lot of input/output – that is, writing or reading from data storage devices. The end-user interfaces are clunky and somewhat inflexible, but the need remains for extremely reliable, secure transaction oriented business applications.

These systems were replaced by smaller, faster and cheaper high-performance Linux and Unix systems that are more scalable and easier to manage. Cureton said it best when she wrote: Back then, real systems programmers did hexadecimal arithmetic – today, “there’s an app for it!” – Oh you need to fly out to the moon and then land a robot on the surface? not to worry, we have an app for that! only .99 cents! – with a free “land on Mars” expansion pack!

Scientist are Developing a Device to Unlock your Computer with your Heartbeat

Anonymous made a very good point when they said that all passwords are hackable. You can’t ever really be 100% secure, passwords are a problem that for the most part, will never go away. It doesn’t matter how secure, long, or protected you believe your password is, if a hacker really wants to get into a webpage or system, given enough time, they will manage to break into it. But if a group of researchers have it their way, some day we may have a password that is unique to each one of us and the only way to hack it is by taking our heart.

The researchers are playing around with the idea of using the human heart beat and associating the beat with an encryption key, by taking your heart’s ECG reading from a person’s hand, they can extract the signature beat of the heart and generate the password needed to unlock your device.

This should be ultra-secure, in theory, but what happens if you’re running or you’re minutes away from turning in your midterm paper but your heart is racing because of how nervous you are? Well, according to Chun-Liang Lin from the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan, the human heart never repeats the same pattern. The encryption scheme is based on a very sophisticated math algorithm that can figure out when the user is the right user based on missed beats, length of beats, and other small tale tale signs.

The goal is to build the system into hard drives that will use a device to detect your heart beat almost instantaneously to unlock your device. Via NewScientist