Siri, secure yourself. If only that command worked; as it turns out, the popular virtual assistant feature on the iPhone 4S that allows users to schedule appointments, search the web, check the weather and more, may be a security threat to users who want to keep private information away from prying eyes — and ears. CNET discovered that Siri’s default security setting allows users to access the iPhone 4S feature even when the phone is locked. That means if you leave your iPhone in a cab, for example, a thief could easily access your address book, appointments and other personal information. Thankfully, there is an easy way to turn the setting off. Simply visit Settings and click General, then click Passcode Lock and toggle the option for “Allow access to Siri when locked with a passcode” to Off. The iPhone 4S will now require the the phone to be unlocked before it allows access to Siri. More →
AT&T’s “4G” message may be a bit convoluted when its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network begins to bear fruit. The company has already branded its HSPA network as “4G”, although the coverage and real world speeds are less than impressive — especially when compared to other HSPA+ networks, like that of T-Mobile. But that hasn’t stopped the nation’s second largest carrier from working on a second 4G network and, thankfully, this one seems to be bringing the downlink goods. Recently, blog GigaOM was treated to a tour of AT&T’s Foundry laboratory in Texas. The site reports seeing “real world speeds” of 28.87Mbps on the downlink and 10.4Mbps on the uplink. Much better than the paltry 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up being pumped out by the company’s current 4G, HSPA network. AT&T plans to launch its LTE network in several markets by the end of this year and hopefully… these speeds hold up. More →
If you’re a Canadian resident struggling with the newly imposed broadband data quotas, you’re definitely going to appreciate this. Netflix has announced a new set of tools available to Canadian users that can curb the amount of data used while streaming movies by up to 66%, “with minimal impact to video quality.”
“In the past, viewing 30 hours of Netflix could consume as much as 70 GBytes, if it was all in HD, and typically about 30 GBytes,” writes Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer at Netflix. “If any member wants to change back to higher data usage and video quality, they can do so on the Manage Video Quality page, found under Your Account.”
Using the new settings, that same 30 hours of video can be viewed with just 9GB of data flying over the wire. If you’re interested to know exactly how Netflix has managed to slice and dice its data usage, there is some technical information waiting for you after the break. More →
In a recent blog post, Twitter announced a new measure aimed at keeping its users data a bit more secure as it travels over the wire. Via the “Settings” preference pane, users can now force Twitter communications to always travel over a secure, HTTPS connection. “This will improve the security of your account and better protect your information if you’re using Twitter over an unsecured Internet connection,” writes Twitter. “In the future, we hope to make HTTPS the default setting.” Enabling the feature also secures traffic traveling to and from the official Twitter applications for both the iPhone and iPad — it will not, however, automatically enable HTTPS on the mobile Twitter website. Unless you have a specific reason not to enable the feature, we highly recommend it. More →
If you rely heavily on Google Voice, as we do, but don’t have an Android handset — preventing you from leveraging the superb Voice app — we have good news. Google has added the ability to send missed call notification emails directly to your email address of choice. As the Google Voice Blog explains: “Starting today, whenever you miss a call, you can see a notification in your Google Voice inbox, or receive an email notification, or both. This setting can be turned on and off from the Calls tab in the Settings menu.” The feature is live and ready to be used. Enjoy. More →
Over the past few days, tech sites have been reporting that some Gmail users were seeing a new option in their email web-settings that allowed them to switch between multiple Gmail accounts without logging out. Today, Google has made this new feature official. On the official Gmail Blog, Engineering Director Macduff Hughes wrote: “You can visit google.com/accounts and click the link next to ‘Multiple sign-in.’ After you sign into your first account, you can sign in with up to two additional accounts from the new accounts menu in the upper right hand corner of Gmail, then easily toggle back and forth between them. You can even open multiple Gmail tabs — one for each of your accounts.” The blog does note that not all Google services support multiple account sign-ins yet and that this feature will not work in offline mode or on your mobile device. All things considered, we’re sure this new feature is welcomed by those who are trying to manage multiple Gmail accounts.
Yesterday, Facebook announced the addition of an advanced privacy settings customization page that will be available on your mobile handset. In a blog post, Facebook wrote:
You can get to privacy controls on mobile by going to m.facebook.com/privacy or by going to the Settings page and clicking the “Change” link next to the words “Privacy Settings.” Check it out for yourself to:
- Select who can see the content you post by setting the simple control for sharing on Facebook to friends, friends of friends or everyone,
- Fully customize your granular settings, if you want, and have them take effect instantly, and
- Read through our comprehensive privacy guide, formatted for mobile devices
If you’re on the move, and need to add someone to your stalker list, you now have that option. Anybody out there going to be using the feature regularly?
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was investigating the sluggish performance of iOS 4 on the iPhone 3G. While Apple is beginning an investigation, a reader over at Neowin was hands on with an iPhone and may have stumbled upon a quick fix. The problem is apparently remedied by turning off all the spotlight search options within Settings->General->Home Button->Spotlight Search. Though this may be a temporary band-aid, it may be enough to hold you over until Apple determines a root cause and issues a fix. If anyone gives it a try, let us know your results in the comments. More →
Last evening, Google announced that it was adding a oft-requested feature to its popular Gmail web-based email client: rich text signatures. As Google explains: “The next time you log in and visit the Settings page, you’ll see a rich text editor in the signature section. Here, you can customize your signature by adding pretty formatting, links, and images — or decide to leave things nice and simple. Gmail also now supports a unique signature for each email address associated with your account.” Gmail users, get to it…and do try to stay away from the Comic Sans please. More →
Just two days after the initial launch, Google, based upon feedback from users, is adding several requested features to their new social media platform Google Buzz. The changes, to be implemented later today, include:
- More visible option to not show followers/people you follow on your public profile
- Ability to block anyone who starts following you
- More clarity on which of your followers/people you follow can appear on your public profile
As you can see, most of the improvements revolve around privacy settings; giving greater control over how and to whom your personal information is shared — a concern/criticism that was quickly recognized by blogs and users alike. Buzz, as it currently exists, looks to be Google’s answer to Twitter, with a heavy emphasis on location awareness and your Gmail address book. We’re curious as to what your thoughts are on Buzz. Are you using it? Do you like it? Give us your musings in the comments. More →
JkOnTheRun has stumbled upon a simple fix that may help fix poor 3G connectivity in the Nexus One. The fix is drop dead easy — all you need to do is go into the options for Mobile Networks under the Wireless & Networks heading in settings, select Network operators, wait for the Nexus One to scan for service, click on the choice to Select Automatically (do not select T-Mobile or AT&T), the phone will register itself on the network and voila! Your 3G connection should be improved. A handful of people are reporting that they are seeing 3G connections in areas where they used to have EDGE. If you have a Nexus One and are tired of poor 3G reception, give this fix a whirl and let us know if it works for you.