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~TechnoNoob~

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Mobile Apps Ripe For Malicious Software

Found this article in the Wall Street Journal that talks about malicious software being delivered via the app stores in mobile devices. While the iPhone is not untouchable from these malicious apps from what The Wall Street Journal is reporting, Google’s Android phones are far more likely to be affected. Here’s a excerpt from the article, link to the full article follows.

By SPENCER E. ANTE via The Wall Street Journal

Some security experts believe Google’s Android Market is more vulnerable than other app stores since Google doesn’t examine all apps before they are available for users to download.

A Google spokesman said the company has put in place security measures, such as remotely disabling apps found to be malicious and requiring developers to register with its Checkout payment service, and argued there’s no evidence for claims that its store poses a greater risk than others.

.Apple vets applications before they appear in its App Store, but risks still exist. In July 2008, Apple pulled a popular game called Aurora Feint from its store after it was discovered to be uploading users’ contact lists to the game maker’s servers. More recently, it yanked hundreds of apps it said violated its policies, some out of security concerns.

“Consumers should be aware that iPhone security is far from perfect and that a piece of software downloaded from the App Store may still be harmful,” wrote software engineer Nicolas Seriot in a research paper detailing iPhone security holes that he presented at a computer security conference in February.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, speaking at the All Things D conference this week, said his company’s employees carefully curate the store. “We have a few rules: has to do what it’s advertised to do, it has to not crash, it can’t use private APIs,” or application programming interfaces, he said, adding that 95% of submissions are approved.

“Apple takes security very seriously,” a spokeswoman said. “We have a very thorough approval process and review every app. We also check the identities of every developer.”

Apple’s iPhone itself isn’t immune to mobile threats, either. Since 2008, security experts have identified at least 36 security holes in the phone’s software, according to a review of the National Vulnerability Database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. One, identified in September 2009, could have allowed hackers to learn someone’s username and password from messages sent to servers when browsing the Web.

full story here

~TechnoNoob~

iPhone App Review (Homerun Battle 3D)

There are literally thousands of apps out there in iPhone land and few of them really stand out amongst the crowd. One of the most popular apps in the Apple App Store is Angry Birds and I would wager to say it’s hard to match that apps success.

So it surprised me when I ran across Homerun Battle 3D by Com2Us. I was not expecting much of anything when I saw the ratings on the game so I simply downloaded the free version. And to my amazement, I found the graphics and gameplay fun and simple (and fast).

I highly recommend the free version, it’s fun and you can play against opponents online. The only speed bump Homerun Battle 3D hits is its full version price of $4.99. Angry Birds is a rich and highly fun game and does it all for .99 cents. I’m not sure why the developers think this is worth $4.99 but I reason that the ratings would go up quickly if this app were .99 cents.

Homerun Battle 3D

~TechnoNoob~

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Copyright © 2010 The Babbling TechnoNoob

Cadence iPhone App

I found this article over on TUAW, almost makes me want to start doing a little running myself. At any rate those of you who are runners and athletes, this app may be for you! Lauren Hirsch from TUAW provides a fair review of Cadence below.

by Lauren Hirsch (RSS feed) on May 23rd 2010 at 7:30PM VIA TUAW

“Lace up your shoes (oh, ay, oh, ay!) / Here’s how we do / Run baby run / Don’t ever look back”

Are you like me? Do you like the running? Do you like running with your iPhone? I love to run, and I need music. Just the right song can turn a mediocre run into something transcendental.

But what was it that separated the motivating songs from the energy-sapping ones? Turns out, it’s at least partly the beat. A song that pounds along with my stride is always welcome. For a spell, I tried finding songs that would do that. I even checked out Podrunner podcasts–the ‘casts are set to a particular beats per minute (BPM) that you can choose. Problem was, I wasn’t that excited about the music. Sure, it was the right tempo, but I wanted my songs.

Enter Cadence (US$4.99). It scans your library and lets you create and select playlists that match particular BPMs. The app itself is simple: there is a slider for choosing a particular BPM, and a rudimentary play/pause/skip button array at the bottom of the screen. Helpful features behind the curtain include a tolerance setting, in which you can have the app pull in songs that are slightly above or below a certain number of BPMs for greater variety. In fact, the lyrics at the beginning of this post – Check Yes Juliet by We The Kings – was one such song serendipitously served up mid-run in the 165 BPM (+/- 2 BPM) category. And yes, my pace picked up considerably.Setup, however, isn’t particularly easy to figure out. Rather than a button called “Scan Library,” you need to go to “choose BPM source.” Once I was there, it took the iPhone three times to effectively do that, stalling twice. If you’ve downloaded the app directly to your iPhone, you can only import songs that are part of a known BPM database; categorizing your entire library requires their desktop app, Cadence Desktop. Unfortunately, and curiously, Cadence Desktop refused to give Check Yes Juliet a BPM setting at all.

A few more drawbacks: the app doesn’t work with the pause/play/skip button on my earphones. Since my iPhone lives in an armband while I run, I rely on the earphone clicker to navigate my music. Second, while the native iPod app will work with other apps, leaving your iPhone free to, say, run a GPS program such as RunKeeper in the foreground, Cadence takes the place of that foreground app. Perhaps with the advent of multitasking, this problem will be short-lived. Until then, I’m using my trusty Garmin Forerunner.

It also doesn’t appear to be a particularly stable app; sometimes when you change BPMs, the song titles disappear until you reboot the app. Sometime the app itself won’t load at all. Other times it crashes, stalls, or takes a while to load up the next song. And, in iTunes, Cadence Desktop creates almost 100 smart playlists, creating a lot of visual clutter. That being said, if you are having trouble using the Cadence app itself, using its desktop app to categorize your smart playlists would ostensibly then free you to choose these playlists directly in the iPod app, avoiding multitasking issues as well as app instability. You lose the smoothing features and the slider, but if your app won’t run at all, it’s one way to get out the door and on your run. That, after all, is the whole point.

Update: according to the developer, the issue with Cadence Desktop not recognizing the song in my library was that it was a DRM-protected song, and a problem common to all programs that seek to analyze DRM-protected music. BPM information can be added manually, though this in general is not a great solution for large libraries amassed prior to DRM-free iTunes downloads.

~TechnoNoob~