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Survey: Smartphones Rule Over Other Gadgets

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Consumers in the United States are more likely to buy a smartphone in 2011 than PCs, mobile phones, eReaders, media tablets and gaming products, according to a survey by Gartner. Smartphones were followed by laptop computers and desktop computers in rankings of U.S. consumers’ average intent to purchase in 2011. Mobile phones ranked fourth in average intent to purchase, followed by eBook readers in the fifth position, and tablet computers ranking sixth. U.S. smartphone sales are expected to grow from 67 million units in 2010 to 95 million units in 2011. By comparison, mobile PC shipments are forecast to total 50.9 million in the United States in 2011, up from 45.6 million from 2010.

Although demand is very strong at the high end of the smartphone market, Gartner analysts say vendors should not ignore the middle and lower tiers of smartphones, which will be a source of growth in 2011 as operators look for prepaid smartphones that require no subsidy.

Source of Information : Wireless Week

Mobile Transactions Popular – Minus the Fees

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Mobile transaction usage is growing, but consumers show little willingness to pay for such services, according to Yankee Group research. The company’s forecasts predict unprecedented growth in mobile transactions worldwide, yet consumer survey results show that less than 10 percent of respondents would be willing to pay extra for mobile transaction services such as mobile banking, mobile coupons and mobile payments.

Yankee Group senior analyst Nick Holland, author of the report titled “A View from the Trenches: What Consumers Think of Mobile Transactions,” says if banks, mobile operators, card networks and retailers want to tap mobile transactions as a revenue stream, they’ll need to come up with more creative schemes than per-transaction fees. Other findings include:

• The total value of global mobile transactions will increase from $162 billion in 2010 to $984 billion in 2014.

• The number of active mobile coupon users is expected to grow from 2.7 million in 2010 to nearly 35 million in 2014.

• The number of near-field communications (NFC)-enabled phones will grow from just 834,000 in 2010 to 151 million in 2014, a CAGR of more than 300 percent. Similarly, the value of NFC-based transactions will explode from $27 million in 2010 to $40 billion in 2014.

• In 2010, EMEA leads all regions with 42 percent of worldwide active mobile banking users, followed by Asia-Pacific (38 percent), North America (16 percent) and Latin America (4 percent). But by 2014, Asia-Pacific leads with 54 percent, followed by EMEA (32 percent), North America (10 percent) and Latin America (4 percent).

Source of Information : Wireless Week

Social Gamers Go Mobile

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Smartphone analytics firm Flurry has declared the era of marketing singularly to the 18- to 34-year-old group of hardcore male gamers as officially over. In particular, hardcore gaming is facing competition from more mass-market-friendly gaming apps on mobile devices. In addition, mobile social gaming is attracting a much stronger female base, as well as a younger average user. In February, Flurry reported it has detected more than 250 million unique iOS and Android devices in the market, and it’s detecting more than 750,000 new devices daily. Those devices are commanding a larger installed base than the combination of portable game platforms Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. In fact, Flurry says the audience playing mobile social games exceeds that of any U.S. primetime television show, the best of which can top 20 million viewers on days airing new episodes. So, game on.

Source of Information : Wireless Week

Checking In with Foursquare

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Foursquare’s check-in app has pulled ahead of the competition – now its task is to stay there.

Who elected you mayor? Foursquare did – and gave you some badges along the way. Few apps have been as successful at bridging the gap between real-life experiences and the digital world as Foursquare, which has about 7 million people using its mobile check-in service on their Smartphone.

Using Foursquare’s app, people can check in to businesses and places to share their location with friends while collecting points, getting discounts at local businesses, earning badges – and yes, even becoming mayor.

The company isn’t the only location- based mobile check-in service on the market, but has managed to hold its own amid considerable competition from Loopt, Facebook Places and new features on Google Latitude. It’s kept users engaged and appears to be growing steadily with a reported 2 million check-ins and 25,000 new users every day. Foursquare’s growth has outpaced that of both Loopt, which has about 4 million users, and Gowalla, whose user base has yet to crack the 1 million mark.

Neil Strother, head of ABI Research’s mobile marketing research, says Foursquare’s relationships with both major retailers and small businesses are a key contributor to its success. “Foursquare was among the first to excite the local retailer. Early on, they were getting individual shops to join in and stimulate their smartphone-carrying audience,” Strother says. “This goes beyond just checking in.” Foursquare has been able to drive momentum by cross marketing its app and services to both consumers, who are attracted to the app for the social element of the check-in service and the chance to get discounts, and retailers, who see Foursquare as a way to reach smartphone savvy consumers.

Last summer, Chili’s began offering free chips and salsa to customers who used Foursquare to check in at its restaurants. Foursquare’s corporate customers include a bevy of other companies, including the National Hockey League, Louis Vuitton and MTV. Foursquare also works with small and local businesses, who view the app as an easily accessible means to reach their mobile consumers.

Instead of resting on its laurels, Foursquare has responded to its success by frequently updating its app with new features, helping to keep the service relevant and interesting to users. “I know this sounds like a strange marketing strategy, but every time you have an update to the app it reminds people to use it,” says Jake Wengroff, director of social media strategy and research at ABI Research. “It’s not just a check-in service – you can check in with comments and photos. They’ve added additional social features which make Foursquare very, very appealing.” Social media is a fickle business, and the retail element of Foursquare will likely become increasingly important as the novelty of the app’s badges and mayors begins to fade among its long-term users.

“The allure of badges and mayorships may die down eventually, especially among its older audience set, but a good bargain will hold users’ interest for a while,” says Deepa Karthikeyan, an analyst at Current Analysis. “Retailers and merchants also help Foursquare earn additional revenue via advertising and revenue sharing deals.” Karthikeyan says new competition from Facebook Places and the addition of a check-in service on Google Latitude could push Foursquare to expand its relationships with retailers and add new features for users.

By expanding the app’s practical features, Foursquare will be able to retain fickle users and avoid becoming the MySpace of the mobile social networking world. Foursquare was co-founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, who met in 2007 while they were both working in New York City. The pair began building the first version of Foursquare in the fall of 2008 and launched the app at South by Southwest Interactive in March 2009. By September 2009, the company had received $1.35 million in seed funding from Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and seven angel investors, which it used to make its app more reliable, tweak its user interface, expand onto additional platforms and find new ways to work with local businesses.

At first, the app was only available in a selection of metropolitan areas around the world. In January 2010, Foursquare changed its model so that users could check in from any location. Foursquare opened its API to third-party developers, and its app is available for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Palm and Windows Phone.

The company plans to celebrate its anniversary at South by Southwest this month, where it will launch a new version of its app. In a typically ebullient blog post, the company announced the news by writing “SXSW IS LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY! NEW APP + NEW BADGES + PARTIES + CONCERT + MOAR FOURSQUARE. DETAILS COMING. OKTHXBAI.”

If Foursquare can maintain that level of enthusiasm and stay tuned to the needs of both consumers and businesses, it could be an app that’s here to stay.

Source of Information : Wireless Week

Banning BitTorrent

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I rent out my room to a lodger and would like to give him access to my wireless internet connection. I'm worried that he might download illegal material, and that I'll run into problems after he's gone. Is there any way to give him access while at same time preventing illegal activity?

I presume you're referring to file-sharing. After all, if you're concerned about your lodger engaging in other sorts of "illegal activity" then you shouldn't have him living in your house!

With regard to copyright infringement, your legal position should actually be quite strong: a recent court ruling found that the law doesn't hold broadband subscribers liable for uploads and downloads that they haven't explicitly authorized. This isn't a binding judgment, though, so for now it's understandable that you'd wish to err on the side of caution.

Unfortunately, there isn't much you can practically do to prevent your lodger from sharing copyright material, should he so wish. Normally, internet filtering would be a job for parental control software, but such tools run locally on the PC, and I doubt your lodger would take kindly to your installing a website blocker on his laptop.

Depending on what sort of router you have, it might have an option to block BitTorrent transfers. Such settings aren't foolproof: if someone is determined to share files, they can use encryption and tunneling to sneak their traffic through. But if your router has such an option then it would do no harm to enable it. Doing so would send a message that you don't endorse file-sharing, and if it prompted your lodger to use encryption then that would at least reduce the likelihood of him being caught.

If you really want to lock down your internet connection, you'll need more sophisticated hardware. If you have a spare PC, for example, you could install the free IPCop Linux firewall on it (www. ipcop.org) and use it in conjunction with the free L7 Filter that identifies and blocks peer-to-peer traffic (http:// l7- filter.sourceforge.n et). Clearly, though, this is a big, complex project.

Source of Information :  PC Pro -April 2011

Running WEP and WPA2 in parallel is problematic, as most routers require you to choose one or the other

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Next, configure the WEP router not to issue any IP addresses, but instead to forward DHCP requests to the master router. I'm not sure which of your routers is which, but the way you achieve this is the same in both: in the LAN settings page, under General Setup, select the button for "Disable Server", and in the box marked "DHC Server IP Address for Relay Agent", enter the address of the master router (normally 192.168.1.1). You might also need to enter this address in the Gateway IP Address box, and clear the entries for 1st IP Address and 2nd IP Address, so that the WEP router itself obtains an IP address from the master router.

Effectively, what you're doing here is turning your WEP router into an access point that simply acts as a bridge between your wireless devices and the master router. This will allow the master router to assign IP addresses to your WEP clients, after which it should be happy to handle internet traffic for them.

Source of Information :  PC Pro -April 2011

THE UBUNTU FILE SYSTEM

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Folder locations Once you start working in Ubuntu, you'll want to know where to save your files. Ubuntu gives you a personal home directory, with subdirectories already set up for Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos and Downloads. There's also a Public folder: files stored here will be available to anyone who logs on to your PC.

Drivesand devices. Ubuntu can read and write disks and partitions that use the familiar FAT32 and NTFS formats, but by default it uses a more advanced format called Ext4. This format is less likely to lose data in the event of a crash, and it can support large disks or files. The downside is that Windows can't read it – something to be aware of if you want to share files across a dual-boot PC. Another difference is the way the file system is organized. In Windows, each drive in your system has its directory hierarchy – so, for example, a folder on a USB flash drive might be addressed as "E: Files \Test file.doc". In Ubuntu there's a single root directory for the entire system, referred to simply as "I" (a "regular" slash, not a backslash as used by Windows), and all disks and devices appear within this hierarchy. You can see how this works by opening the Ubuntu File Manager and clicking on File System to view the root directory. You'll see a folder called /media, and if you've installed Ubuntu alongside a Windows installation, there will be a link within this folder to your Windows partition (your files are in /host if you've installed Ubuntu on the same partition as Windows, using the Wubi installer). Plug in a USB flash drive and that will appear here too. There are many other top-level directories besides /media, but unless you get into advanced system administration, only a few are worth knowing about. (Even so, most first-time users of Ubuntu probably won't be venturing anywhere near them.) The /etc directory contains hardware-specific settings, where you'll find configuration files for things such as graphics cards and printers. /usr is where most apps and libraries go when you install them, and /home contains the home folders for all the users on the system.

Virtual folders. As the contents of the /media directory demonstrate, a directory in Ubuntu may not be a "real" directory: it could be a link to a different device or to a different location on the same disk. This approach takes some getting used to, but it adds a level of flexibility. In schools and businesses that run Unix-type systems, for example, it's common for /home to be not a regular directory but a link to a different disk, or even a remote network location. This makes it easy to back up users' data or move it to a different PC, independently to the rest of the OS. (This type of virtual folder is called a "mount point".) If you want to reorganize your own directories, you'll find full instructions in the online Ubuntu documentation at http://help.ubuntu.com. Be warned, though, you'll need to use the Terminal, and there are some technical issues involved. One other thing to note is that in Ubuntu, filenames and paths are case sensitive – so a folder called "data" isn't the same as one called "Data". Remember that, or it will trip you up!

File permissions. A final important difference between the Windows and Ubuntu file systems relates to file permissions. In Windows, you can access almost any file or folder on your system — although there are a few circumstances when you might need to take ownership of a system file. Ubuntu is stricter. System and configuration files are owned by an administrator account called "root", and when you're logged in under your own name, you have only limited access to things outside of your home directory. That's normal, and it's for your own safety — it makes it almost impossible for you to accidentally mess up your system. These restrictions also apply to programs you run under that account, which makes Ubuntu resistant to Trojans and other sorts of malware. If you do need to edit system files, you can do so using a Terminal command called "sudo", which temporarily promotes you to a " superuser". You'll find everything you need to know about File Permissions and the sudo command in the online documentation.

Source of Information : PC Pro -April 2011

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