DTNS 2290 – USBSTD

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja joins us to share some French perspective on Iliad possibly buying T-Mobile USA and why BadUSB makes him afraid of everything.
*Note: Earlier Thursday a version of the MP3 was posted with the last few minutes of the show missing. The file has been removed and a new file replaces that one here. Apologies – Tom

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Show Notes

Today’s guest: Patrick Beja!

Headlines

Ars Technica passes along the Wall Street Journal report that French Telecom Iliad, made an offer for T-Mobile USA, less than a week ago. Iliad would reportedly pay $15 billion in cash to buy 56.6% of T-Mobile USA. Softbank, owner of Sprint, also would like to acquire T-Mobile for something around $30 billion for the whole thing.

And T-Mobile is only getting more valuable. In quarterly earnings posted Thursday, T-Mobile USA added 1.5 million customers, for the fifth straight quarter of subscriber gains more than a million. The company posted a net profit of $391 million, or 48 cents per share, boosted by a spectrum license deal with Verizon.

Wired reports researchers from Security Research Labs in Berlin will present a USB vulnerability at Black Hat next week. BadUSB is a hack that replaces a USB controllers chip making it virtually undetectable. Malware on a PC can compromise any USB connected device and likewise any infected USB device can compromise any computer it’s plugged into. That includes mice, keyboards, USB sticks and even cell phones. USB firmware is not code-signed making it easier to spoof.

GigaOm reports Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org foundation has introduced an app in Zambia that allows limited Internet access for free. Through a partnership with India’s Bharti Airtel, custmers can us an Android app or website to access services like Wikipedia, AccuWeater, Google Search, jobs portals, and Facebook Messenger among others, at no cost, except to the idea of net neutrality in Zambia possibly.

BBC reports Samsung’s profits fell 20% in Q2, hurt by slowing smartphone and tablet sales and a strong Korean Won. Samsung reported profit of 6.25 trillion won ($6.1bn; £3.6bn) down from 7.77 trillion won a year ago. The company warned that “prospects for growth remain unclear.”

Here’s why growth prospects might be unclear. Smaller device makers are eating Samsung’s lunch. The Next Web reports Strategy Analytics mobile marketshare numbers for Q2 show Samsung marketshare falling from 32.6% to 25.2% on declining shipments. Apple fella couple points to 11.9% despite rising shipments. The ones to watch are Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi, all jumping above 5%. LG fell from 5.2% to 4.9. Oh and all those phones run Android for the most part. Android now has 84.6% of the market up from 80.2% while every other OS fell.

Ars Technica reports good news for Sony as Quarterly earnings posted a profit of ¥69.7 billion (about $677 million) up nearly 97% from a year ago. The PS4 powered most of the turnaround sending the Game & Network division from ¥16.4 billion (about $160 million) loss last year to a ¥4.3 billion (about $42 million) profit this time around. Spider-Man helped too as Sony Pictures film distribution more than doubled its earnings over last year. More revenue may be coming in through the PS4 as Sony launches it’s on demand PlayStation Now service in the US and Canada with a 100 titles available from $3 to $15 depending on the amount of time you want to play a title.

A friend passed along a press release from ViaWest, a large operator of data centers in North America. Seems Shaw, the only slightly-less-despised-than-Rogers cableco in Canada has purchased ViaWest for $1.2 billion. ViaWest is one of the largest privately held data centre infrastructure, cloud technology and managed IT solutions in North America, with 27 locations in eight states. For you US listeners, imagine Comcast buying a big chunk of the Internet it doesn’t already own and you get the picture.

The Verge reports on a Reuters report that the European Commission is preparing an anti-trust case against Google’s Android mobile platform. According to Reuters’ sources, European regulators have sent questionnaires to telecom companies and phone manufacturers, to see if Google is pressuring them to use Android. Add this to the still unresolved European anti-trust suit over the the web giant’s search practices, and Google may soon be applying for the right to be forgotten by the European government.

GigaOm reports Microsoft lost a fight in US Federal Court in New York Thursday to prevent US law enforcement to access data held on servers in Ireland without requesting permission from the Irish government. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled the search warrant served requires Microsoft to hand over the data requested regardless of where it was stored. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said Microsoft will promptly appeal.

News From You

Hurmoth sends along the Mashable report that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has sent a letter to Verizon Wireless asking why the company will slow down the top 5% of unlimited plan users on its 4G LTE Networks. Wheeler wrote, “‘Reasonable network management’ concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams.” All major US carriers throttle top users of their 3G networks. A recent GAO report found that wirless carriers find that data caps help ease congestion. The same report did not find that data caps helped ease congestion for wireline ISPs, but were used as revenue generators.

AllanAV sends along a CNET report that Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri has created the first man-made, biologically functional leaf. Yup it takes in carbon dioxide, water, and light and releases oxygen. In addition to creating some nice air for us to breathe here on Earth, the leaf could also create oxygen on long-duration manned space missions to Mars and beyond. When reached for comment, the photosynthetic organism said, “I am a leaf on the wind.” Too soon?

MikePKennedy posted the Engadget story that Tesla has signed a deal with Panasonic to help build the so-called Gigafactory which will attempt to make cheaper batteries for electric cars. Tesla will build the plant and maintain it, while Panasonic supplies the lithium cells, plant, machinery and manufacturing equipment. The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35GWh of cells and 50GWh of power packs by 2020.

Discussion Section:

http://www.wired.com/2014/07/usb-security/

http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/07/this-thumbdrive-hacks-computers-badusb-exploit-makes-devices-turn-evil/

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/187279-undetectable-indefensible-security-flaw-found-in-usb-its-time-to-get-your-ps2-keyboard-out-of-the-cupboard

https://www.blackhat.com/us-14/briefings.html#badusb-on-accessories-that-turn-evil

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/07/sprint-has-competition-in-attempt-to-buy-t-mobile/

http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/frances-iliad-makes-bid-for-t-mobile-us-1406822189-lMyQjAxMTA0MDMwMTEzNDEyWj

Pick of the Day: Way of Life via Matt from Sweaty Sacramento

Matt from Sweaty Sacramento writes: “I’ve got a productivity app suggestion that, like your show, I use every day. Way of Life is an iOS app that helps you build new habits by tracking them daily. It’s essentially an automated version of the Seinfeld productivity method which has helped me a great deal in building good habits and becoming hyper productive. You can track daily completion, take notes of each habit or task, and look at trends based on your collected data to help motivate you or figure out why you might be struggling. The app also offers Dropbox syncing, note exporting, and custom reminders for each habit or task. The free version allows up to 3 tasks or habits to be track, which is a great way to start testing this method out. I quickly found myself purchasing the full version with no limits and believe it is worth the price of $4.99

Friday’s guest: Darren Kitchen & Len Peralta

3 thoughts on “DTNS 2290 – USBSTD”

  1. In reference to the story about internet.org providing Zambians with free data on the shortlist of apps, in my opinion Wikipedia gives it a heck a lot more value. A phone that only does Facebook disgusts me, but if they gave people free access to the whole of Wikipedia, I couldn’t condemn it however slimey the motives. I am sure that Zambia could add a lot to and benefit a lot from the repository of human knowledge that Wikipedia strives to be.

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