Showing posts from December, 2012
6 Tricks for Faster Customer ServiceBy Jeffrey Trull | Money Talks News – Mon, Dec 24, 2012 10:07 AM EST
Today’s calls to customer service remind me of the way I approached algebra homework as a kid – I’d put it off as long as possible because I knew it would take longer than expected and somewhere in the process I’d be throwing my hands up in frustration.

But unlike homework, I’m okay with using “cheats” to get less-frustrating customer service. Things like technology that speeds up hold time and gets you on the phone with a real person instantly.

Now let’s flesh out those tips and add more…

1. Use GetHuman to directly reach a real person

Phone trees that answer questions with a recorded response are confusing and, if you know you need help from a person, a waste of time. GetHuman reveals the shortest path to reach a live customer service representative. The site has listings for more than 8,000 companies, with solutions provided by customers who have already battled through the phone sy…
Internet Users Face New Restrictions In China Changes suggest China under new leader Xi Jinping will continue to control internet use. 1:40pm UK, Friday 28 December 2012
China has tightened internet controls, legalising the deletion of posts or pages which are deemed to contain "illegal" information.
The new laws also require service providers to hand over such information to the authorities for punishment.
The move signals that the new leadership headed by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping will continue to muzzle the often scathing online chatter in a country where the internet offers a rare opportunity for debate.
The regulations, announced by the official Xinhua news agency, also require internet users to register with their real names when signing up with network providers, though, in reality, this already happens.
Chinese authorities and Internet companies such as Sina Corp have long since closely monitored and censored what people say online, but the government has now put me…
Get ready for the iWatch: Apple rumoured to be developing gadget you wear on your wrist
Wristwatch could communicate with user's iPhone via bluetooth Believed to be under development with chipmaker Intel
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER PUBLISHED: 15:08 EST, 27 December 2012 | UPDATED: 20:17 EST, 27 December 2012 Apple is believed to be secretly developing a 'smart watch' with a touchscreen.
Chinese online sites have reported the computer giant is working with chipmaker Intel on a wrist-worn gadget that has a 1.5inch screen and uses Bluetooth to communicate with other gadgets, which could include an iPhone.
The 'iWatch' will go on sale next year, the report claims.
Chinese site Tech.163 claims Intel has developed a Smart Watch that Apple is interested in.
The in question has a 1.5 OLED display with indium tin oxide, or ITO coated glass, and uses Bluetooth to communicate with a user's iPhone.
It is believed the iWatch will run a version of iOS, the same software as the …
Dark “Clouds” Forming After Netflix Outage Blamed On Amazon
December 26, 2012 4:00 AM
By KYW tech editor Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – From Christmas Eve through noon on Christmas Day, Netflix customers couldn’t watch any TV shows or movies on the service (see related story).
It’s an inconvenience for subscribers, but a major problem for businesses that trust other companies to store and deliver data.
You can get most anything from Amazon — including cloud storage.
“Amazon has a bunch of big, huge server farms,” says Barb Darrow, senior writer at the tech site
Darrow says companies like Netflix let cloud providers like Amazon do the data dirty work — the expensive, taxing task of serving up whatever information the rest of us on the Internet are asking for.
Over the holiday, a glitch at Amazon’s facility in suburban Washington, DC left Netflix users with nothing on their screens.
“Part of the reason is that it’s the largest and oldest of Amazon data centres  and it’s also…
Dec 27, 8:07 AM EST
China Tightening Controls on Internet

BEIJING (AP) -- China's new communist leaders are increasing already tight controls on Internet use and electronic publishing following a spate of embarrassing online reports about official abuses.
The measures suggest China's new leader, Xi Jinping, and others who took power in November share their predecessors' anxiety about the Internet's potential to spread opposition to one-party rule and their insistence on controlling information despite promises of more economic reforms.
"They are still very paranoid about the potentially destabilizing effect of the Internet," said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "They are on the point of losing a monopoly on information, but they still are very eager to control the dissemination of views."
This week, China's legislature took up a measure to require Internet users to regist…
Advanced humanoid Roboy to be ‘born’ in nine monthsDecember 26, 2012
MeetRoboy, “one of the most advanced humanoid robots,” say researchers at theArtificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich. Their 15 project partners and over 40 engineers and scientists are constructing Roboy as a tendon-driven robot modeled on human beings (robots usually have their motors in their joints, giving them that “robot” break-dance look), so it will move almost as elegantly as a human. Roboy will be a “service robot,” meaning it will execute services independently for the convenience of human beings, as in the movieRobot&Frank. And since service robots share their “living space” with people, user-friendliness and safety, above all, are of great importance, roboticists point out. Which is why “soft robotics” — soft to the touch, soft in their interaction, soft and natural in their movements — will be important, and Roboy will be covered with “soft skin,” making interacting with him safer a…
Samsung plans to ship half a billion handsets in 2013 The Korean phone company aims to ship 510 million handsets next year.
by Lynn La  December 26, 2012 12:46 PM PST
Samsung has big plans for 2013.
According to The Korea Times, the phone manufacturer expects itself to ship over half a billion handsets -- or 510 million to be exact -- next year.
In 2012 alone, Samsung shipped an estimated 420 million devices. If we go by next year's projections, it's aiming for a 20 percent jump in devices shipped.
Of the 510 million devices planned, 390 million units are expected to be smartphones while the remaining 120 million will be feature phones.
Also in Samsung's plans are more Microsoft Windows 8 handsets, and an executive at Samsung's telecommunications department noted the high user demand for LTE devices.
Despite its ongoing patent battle with Apple, which topped CNET's list of 2012's biggest tech stories, Samsung has managed to be a huge success both in the U.S. and overs…
Saudi website editor could face death for apostasy-rights group
RIYADH | Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:54pm EST
(Reuters) - The editor of a Saudi Arabian website could be sentenced to death after a judge cited him for apostasy and moved his case to a higher court, the monitoring group Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.
Raif Badawi, who started the Free Saudi Liberals website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in June, Human Rights Watch said.
Badawi had initially been charged with the less serious offence of insulting Islam through electronic channels, but at a December 17 hearing a judge referred him to a more senior court and recommended he be tried for apostasy, the monitoring group said.
Apostasy, the act of changing religious affiliation, carries an automatic death sentence in Saudi Arabia, along with crimes including blasphemy.
Badawi's website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures, the monitoring group said.
A spokesman for Saudi Arabia…
Analysis: Amazon, Google on collision course in 2013
By Alexei Oreskovic and Alistair Barr | Reuters – Sun, 23 Dec, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - When Inc CEO Jeff Bezos got word of a project at Google Inc to scan and digitize product catalogs a decade ago, the seeds of a burgeoning rivalry were planted.
The news was a "wake-up" call to Bezos, an early investor in Google. He saw it as a warning that the Web search engine could encroach upon his online retail empire, according to a former Amazon executive.
"He realized that scanning catalogs was interesting for Google, but the real win for Google would be to get all the books scanned and digitized" and then sell electronic editions, the former executive said.
Thus began a rivalry that will escalate in 2013 as the two companies' areas of rivalry grow, spanning online advertising and retail to mobile gadgets and cloud computing.
It could upend the last remaining areas of cooperation between the two companies…
Britain issues new guidelines on prosecuting offensive online comments
By Henry Chu
December 19, 2012, 11:42 a.m.
LONDON – People who post offensive messages on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter should face criminal charges only if their comments are harassing or threatening and not simply in bad taste, according to new legal guidelines in Britain that follow a spate of controversial prosecutions.
Free-speech advocates here have been alarmed in recent months by a number of incidents in which users of social media have been arrested and jailed for posting messages that others deemed repugnant. A 2003 law authorizes such harsh punishment for “indecent, obscene or menacing” communications sent through a public electronic network.
But the law predates the explosion of such new media as Twitter and Facebook, and some police officials say that having to investigate the increasing number of complaints about offensive online messages is distracting them from more serious work.
Keir Starm…
UK: Jobless to be remotely monitored by Government
Benefit claimants will have their online job applications remotely monitored by the Government to see whether they are making serious attempts to find work.
Mr Duncan Smith said the website will mean Job Centre advisers are able to target their help at jobseekers with problems
By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent11:33AM GMT 20 Dec 2012
From the beginning of next year, the unemployed will have to look for work through the Coalition's new Universal Jobmatch website or potentially risk losing their benefits.
The website will scan the CVs of benefit claimants and automatically match them up with job openings that suit their skills.
It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews.
However, the activities of benefit claimants can also be tracked using devices known as "cookies", so their Job Centre advisers can know how many searches they have been doing, …
Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos - With NO Opt Out
In its first big policy shift since Facebook bought the photo-sharing site, Instagram claims the right to sell users' photos without payment or notification. Oh, and there's no way to opt out.
by Declan McCullagh  December 17, 2012 9:54 PM PST
Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.
The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.
Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the w…
Apple's iPhone found to infringe Sony, Nokia patents A U.S. federal jury verdict finds that the iPhone infringed three patents
By Martyn Williams December 13, 2012 04:05 PM ET
IDG News Service - A federal jury in Delaware has found Apple's iPhone infringes on three patents held by MobileMedia Ideas, a patent-holding company formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA.
The jury's verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware was announced on Thursday and came after a seven-day trial and just a day of deliberations. The jury found that the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 directly infringed claims in U.S. patent 6,070,068, which was issued to Sony and covers a method for controlling the connecting state of a call, U.S. patent 6,253,075, issued to Nokia and which covers call rejection, and U.S. patent 6,427,078, also issued to Nokia and which covers a data processing device.
A copy of the completed jury verdict form was seen by IDG News Service.
Apple had argued that all three patents w…
Google to tweak practices to end search probe
By: Elizabeth Wasserman December 15, 2012 05:27 PM EST
Federal regulators may end a two-year antitrust probe of Google’s search business by letting the company make voluntary changes, such as limiting use of restaurant and travel reviews from other websites and letting search ad campaigns be easily ported to rival search services, two sources with knowledge of the case told POLITICO.
The FTC is also preparing to enter into a settlement with Google on a related case over how the company uses its acquired stockpile of patents against competitors, as POLITICO reported last week. Under the patent agreement, Google will curtail using key patents it picked up when it purchased Motorola Mobility to block competitors infringing those patents from getting their products to the market, although there are exceptions, sources said.
By allowing Google to voluntarily address some complaints about use of its dominant search and search advertising businesses, …
Smart TVs can spy on their owners
Published: 15 December, 2012, 01:11
Viewers, beware: while you’re watching TV, your TV might be watching you back. A security firm discovered that Samsung’s Smart TV can give hackers access to the device’s built-in camera and microphones, allowing them to watch everything you do.
The Malta-based firm ReVuln posted a video showing its team of researchers hacking into one of the Samsung TVs and accessing its settings, channel lists, widgets, USB drives, and remote control configurations. The security flaw allows hackers to access any and all personal data stored on the TV.
“We can install malicious software to gain complete root access to the TV,” the video writes.
With this access, hackers can use the Smart TVs built-in camera and microphones to see and hear everything in front of it. Instead of just watching TV, viewers could themselves be watched without knowing it.
But this flaw isn’t present in just one specific model. The vulnerability affects all 11 Sa…
Hackers Steal Data from Pentagon, NASA, Federal Reserve
by Ben Weitzenkorn, Staff Writer, Security, TechNewsDaily December 12 2012 12:39 PM ET
Members of the Anonymous-affiliated Team GhostShell hacking collective have published what they claim is stolen information for 1.6 million accounts linked to government agencies, including the Pentagon, NASA and the Federal Reserve.
The hackers appear to have breached the database with a malicious SQL code injection, ZDNet reported, stealing passwords and corresponding email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses and notes from defense tests.
"#ProjectWhiteFox will conclude this year's series of attacks by promoting hacktivism worldwide and drawing attention to the freedom of information on the net," Team GhostShell wrote in a Pastebin post that included links to the stolen information.
Team GhostShell gained notoriety when they leaked information from more than 100 websites, including those of the Thai Navy and MIT. The politically…