Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple infuriates iOS 5 beta users by suddenly bricking their phones without warning

A huge number of iOS 5 beta users have apparently been infuriated after their phones were suddenly bricked yesterday evening US time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oracle releases Java patches

Oracle has released critical patch updates for Java runtimes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not news, but worth emphasising: SSL certificate authorities can be compromised

I can't actually spot the piece of news in this "news" item by the BBC. However, the general point of the article still stands as a universal truth: our secure web communications generally depend, and always have depended, on the assumption that certificate authorities are not compromised. They also depend among other things on the assumption that client machines' certificate stores, software and operating systems are not compromised and don't have bugs. People do sometimes forget this and take the little padlock icon in their web browser as some kind of "guarantee"; it's worth reminding ourselves from time to time that SSL offers a degree of confidence that a communication is secure, but no absolute guarantee.

However, I repeat that this isn't really a piece of news to have come to light on 18 October 2011; it has been universally true since the inception of the secure web communications protocols that we so readily rely on.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Amazon's Kindle Fire: does it have something to offer other than cheapness?

The latest company to jump on the tablet bandwagon-- in as much as such a bandwagon actually exists-- is Amazon with the launch of its new Android-based Kindle Fire.

Clearly, the distinguishing feature of buying Amazon's offering is that the device is coupled with Amazon's purchasing ecosystem, as opposed to, say, Apple's if you were to buy an iPad.

One thing that strikes me is that at present at least, the majority of media focus appears to be on the price, which at $199 does seem aggressive to the point of being a loss leader. When Apple originally launched the iPad, arguably the spark of the recent tablet frenzy among the rest of the market, it is interesting to compare Apple's approach of offering what they saw as a "fairly priced"-- but by no means "cheap" if you sounded opinion at the time-- marketed essentially on features. Amazon clearly have their ecosystem on their side compared to the average Miscellaneous Android Tablet Manufacturer X. But they do appear to be buying into the price-focussed strategy of the other manufacturers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out!

What do you think? I'd love to hear your opinion about the Kindle Fire.