Bob's Byte

Security in a Flash: datAshur Pro

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DatAshur ProIf security wasn't our foremost concern before 2016, Yahoo gave us all a billion reasons this year to be concerned.

While cybersecurity at the data centers of enterprises may be the front line of the battle for security, most small businesses instead fight a guerilla war. Insecure mobile devices, employee indiscretion, and "insider threat" are a formidable trio of security threats facing every small and medium size company.

On top of that, security gurus advise us to expect an increase of criminal attacks, as organized crime shifts to harvest from smaller, less protected data orchards.

And did we mention the upcoming GDPR standard to come into effect into 2018 for anyone with EU data?

That's why we chose to test the datAshur Pro. This PIN authenticated, hardware-encrypted USB 3.0 flash drive lets you keep important data safe. The model we tested came with 64GB (but the range starts at 8GB). You use it straight out of the box. And whether you use it or lose it-- your data is safe either way.


Sinking Shipping Firm to Cause 2016 Price Disruption

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Korea's Hanjin, container shipping giant, drowns in financial waves and the consumer electronics industry will get swamped.

Hanjin Shipping

With too many container ships and freight rates at historical lows, Hanjin files for receivership-- and much of the industry will only now learn how dependent the electronics industry is on container ships.

For example, Daniel Yoo at Kiwoom Securities told CNBC Hanjin handles more than 50% of Samsung Electronics' device shipments from South Korea to the Americas-- as well as 23% of LG Electronics.  


Google's New OS: Fuchsia, Really?

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The software developer geek website GitHub reveals Google is working on a new OS, called "Fuchsia."

Is it an interesting experimental project (not intended for commercializing) or the start of Google's next major play? Not much is known yet: "The decision was made to build it open source, so might as well start there from the beginning," wrote one Google employee in a chatlog.

Fuschia, the color

"Things will eventually be public, documented, and announced, just not yet," wrote another.

But it's not based on Android or Linux.

The GitHub page carries a simple description, "Pink + Purple== Fuchsia (a new Operating System)."

There is plenty of speculation. Could it be for IoT?

The OS's documentation indicates its "Magenta" kernel is designed to work on as varied systems as "embedded devices," mobile devices, and desktop computers. It appears to be written in DART, a general-purpose programming language (originally developed by Google).

Some speculate it's for the today's other big trend, augmented reality.

Our bet is Google is working to unify Android and Chrome OS, the company's two operating systems that run on mobile and laptops respectively. We think this is the unification of its existing operating systems we predicted a couple years ago--and Google's push into the next generation of computing platforms.  An OS that works for virtually anything, the way Microsoft is rolling.

Windows 10 is making headway in mobile, holographic and VR as well as desktop. That's probably a major concern at Google who thought Microsoft was far behind in the rearview mirror.

We think the clue is right in front of our eyes on the GitHub page.

If you change the order of the equation, you get the hint:

Fuchsia = Pink + Purple.

Google Fuschia will be a combination of two things: and we are betting Chrome and Android.

In any event, Google, known for its genuis DNA, might have taken a little more care with code names. After all, for anyone not an English native speaker, pronouncing "Fuchsia" can be a challenge.

Go  What is Known So Far about Google Fuchsia

Going After Google

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The EU association "Digital SME" intervenes in the EU antitrust case against Google practices with respect to Android.

DIGITAL SME represents SMEs-- active in developing mobile apps-- who seek an end to Google’s practices of limiting competition in mobile apps and services and of impeding the emergence of innovative mobile platforms competing with Android.

Android Monster

DIGITAL SME shares the European Commission’s concern about Google using Android’s dominant position to limit innovation and competition in mobile apps and services, including in mobile app stores, mobile web browsers, and mobile search.

Android device manufacturers who wish to pre-install Google’s must-have apps, such as Google Play Store or Google Search, must also pre-install numerous other Google apps.

The ubiquitous presence of Google’s apps on Android devices significantly undermines the ability of developers of competing app stores, web browsers, and other types of apps to compete with those of Google. 

DIGITAL SME requested interested third party status following the issuance of the Commission’s Statement of Objections against Google on 20 April 2016, which contains allegations that Google has abused its dominant position by anti-competitively excluding versions of Android as well as apps and services competing with those of Google.

Oliver Grün, President of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance, commented on the Commission’s decision: “We welcome the Commission’s investigation into Google’s practices.  In theory, an open source operating system such as Android would represent a vast potential for SMEs by providing a mobile platform that anyone can use and improve. However, Google’s behaviour eliminates the benefits arising from Android’s open source nature, since it forces licensed Android device manufacturers only to use the Google version of Android. And Google’s strategy appears to be successful: most consumers are not even aware of any versions of Android other than Google’s own.

”Yet, competition in each of these areas is crucial to maintaining competitive conditions in mobile ecosystems – not only for SME developers but also for other SMEs distributing mobile content and services to users on mobile devices.

"We are concerned that reduced competition among app stores negatively affects the terms under which SME app developers can distribute their apps and generate revenue, and has implications for developers’ control over and use of data generated by usage of their apps,” Grün concluded.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition has now accepted the association as an intervener in the ongoing antitrust investigation against Google’s conduct with respect to the Android operating system.

Go DIGITAL SME  vs Google's Android

"Pokémon Go" Opens Up Mass Market for AR

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It's only been a week since its release, but even New York City is rocked by a new and "wildly popular augmented reality game."

For CE dealers, this marks two trends: it will accelerate interest in other AR and VR products, so it's a good time to increase familiarity with the category. And it marks a big shift for a CE giant as its success means the penny has dropped for Nintendo: they will now aggressively enter the mobile gaming industry with all their resources(probably even developing their own brand of mobile device accessories).

Pokémon Go

Nintendo's Pokémon Go is so popular it will soon overtake Twitter and other famous social media in numbers of daily active users (according to Android statistics).

It's so popular in just a week that NYC police have felt compelled to issue warnings, some tongue-in-cheek, but nonetheless urging Pokémon Go players "to be aware of their surroundings at all times, particularly when using any hand-held electronic device.”  The 19th Precinct of Manhattan added a Twitter message: “Don’t let us catch you catching #Pokemon while driving, you can’t do both!”

According to The New York Times, "Pokémon Go" is "on nearly every New York City sidewalk"as an increasing number of New Yorkers have been chasing virtual creatures since Pokémon Go came out last week.

Nintendo’s AR game sends players out into the real world to catch about 250 virtual Pokémon via a smartphone "grab" (when Pokémons appears on the screen, the user flicks Pokéballs--collected earlier from blue Pokéstops on route-- to capture them.)