Category Archives: iPod touch

Will iTunes Become the New PayPal?

Guest writer Derek Vaughan walks you through Near Field Communications – a technology that may well make your wallet obsolete.

Imagine buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks and paying for it by simply ‘swiping’ your iPhone past the cashier. In seconds the money is paid to the retailer, and your iTunes account reflects the charge for the coffee. All of this has happened without you ever having to pull out your wallet or purse, and the transaction happens so quickly that you barely break stride on your way out of the store.

Sound like science fiction? Well, it’s not. If things materialize along the current lines iTunes may morph from an entertainment distribution platform into a full fledged banking system more akin to PayPal than to Napster.

This type of financial transaction will be enabled by a technology named Near Field Communications, or just NFC for short. As described by Wikipedia, NFC is ”a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 848 kbit/s. NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.” In other words, NFC can securely transmit and receive data related to a purchase at a retail store – as long as the purchasing device is close enough to the receiver (and one assumes – that the buyer’s account has sufficient funds).

What brings NFC and iTunes together is the hardware currently being developed by Apple and enabled by iTunes. This would possibly include iPhones, iPads, iPods, and MAC computers.

A number of sources including PC Magazine are now reporting that the next generation iPhone – presumably named the iPhone 5 – will include NFC and be able to transact via NFC by charging the equipment owner’s iTunes account. The article goes on to quote a source familiar with the situation, ”From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information.”

Daniel Foster, an expert in online transactions and security with dedicated server company 34SP.com postulates, ”With the walled garden approach that Apple has developed coupled with the unparalleled growth of both the iPhone and iPad – Apple must be taken seriously if the company enters the transaction marketplace. Remember, many of the emerging market countries have yet to adopt the iPhone as well. The growth opportunities in India and China alone are enormous.”

So just how big is the marketplace for these types of transactions? A recent article by Bloomberg quotes PayPal President Scott Thompson from remarks made during a meeting with financial analysts. Mr. Thompson predicts that PayPal will double revenues and post sales of up to $7 billion by 2013. That would compare to sales of $3.4 billion in 2009. These revenues reflect only 12 percent of online purchases – and just a small fraction of offline purchases. Therefore, if Apple can enter this market and do for wireless transactions what it did for buying music – then $7 billion doesn’t seem at all unreasonable.

Although the path looks bright for deploying NFC technologies, not everyone is convinced that NFC will prevail in the future. Lou Honick is CEO of Host Merchant Services, a leading credit card transaction service. Mr. Honick notes, ”Near field communication technology holds significant promise for enabling mobile payments, however it comes with some significant caveats given the companies that are deploying it. Electronic payments have all but displaced cash, and while there are costs and drawbacks, businesses are forced to accept the bad with the good. Also, sixteen digit credit card numbers are really no longer adequate for the job they were intended to do because of fraud concerns.

NFC and mobile applications help solve this problem by adding enhanced security and encryption to transactions. However, while many merchants dream of breaking the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express oligopoly on forms of payment processing, and NFC certainly opens up alternatives, we have to be careful that we aren’t simply trading Visa and Mastercard for Apple and Google or even worse, AT&T and Verizon without any significant savings and benefits to the merchant. While it makes sense to move to an application based payment platform facilitated by NFC, it would be of far greater benefit to consumers and merchant to get there with an open and flexible platform that encouraged competition.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that is the direction we are headed, and as much as I like Apple products, we all know how they feel about being open and flexible.

Whatever the final outcome, look for even more interest in NFC in the coming months as Android phones get into the act, and the mobile carriers themselves develop transactional systems to capture a bit of the payment system marketplace. With billions at stake, expect to see things move quickly in the wireless transaction market.

For more information on this technology – checkout The New York Times.

About the Author:

Derek Vaughan is a web hosting industry veteran and expert. Mr. Vaughan has architected the marketing growth of several prominent web hosting success stories leading to acquisition including Affinity Internet, Inc., Aplus.Net and HostMySite.com.

Prior to his entry into the web hosting industry, Mr. Vaughan was responsible for online marketing at The Walt Disney Company where he marketed ecommerce for the ESPN.com and NASCAR.com brands. Mr. Vaughan received his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University and currently serves on the HostingCon Advisory Board.

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Filed under Apple, Connected Devices, Financial, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Money Management, Point of View, Software

Software Giveaway – iPhone Video Converter, available for FREE from 13th July, 2010 to 26th July, 2010

iSkysoft Studio let me know the other day, that their iPhone Video Converter is being offered for free, from 13th July, 2010, to 26th July , 2010.

I have not tested this application, and the following information has been provided by iSkysoft Studio.

iSkysoft iPhone Video Converter converts all popular video and audio formats such as AVI, MPEG, MOV, OGG, WAV to iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 supported formats including MP4, MP3, etc.

It provides a series of practical settings such as video crop, file trim, video brightness, contrast and saturation, and merging multiple files into one output file.

There are Mac and Windows version, both free.

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Key features for iSkysoft iPhone Video Converter:

Convert video such as M2TS/MTS, MOD, TOD, AVI, MKV, WMV and audio for playback on iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, etc.

It supports new iPhone 4.

Extract audio to iPhone audio like MP3, AAC, WAV for playback on your iPhone and other portable players.

Crop away black borders of the movie and watch it in full screen.

Trim the length of any title or chapter to get video or audio clips you need and convert the specific segment you like.

You can get your favorite lines or episodes and save them in MP3 format for your iPhone as ringtones.

Merge several video clips to one output file so that you can enjoy a long video without interruption.

Note: You can’t get free upgrade and technical support.

You can checkout this free offer at the developer’s site here (Mac), or here (Windows).

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Filed under Apple, Cell Phone Apps, downloads, Free Full Versions, Freeware, iPod touch, Mac, Multimedia Tools, Photo Tools, Software, Software Giveaways, Video Tools, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Panda Security Says Apple’s iOS Not Bulletproof

PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security, the company responsible for Panda Cloud Antivirus, disclosed today that iPads, are NOT invulnerable to malware.

According to Panda, “Apple users’ brand new iPads could potentially fall prey to the same type of malware as iPhones, such as the malware that was able to infect jailbroken iPhones last year”. Panda goes on to say, “any device that runs on Apple’s operating system iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) is vulnerable to this threat.”

To my way of thinking, it’s long past the time for Apple to stop running those highly deceptive television commercials. Commercials,  in which the impression is created that Apple products are somehow hardened against malware attacks. Facts, continuously disprove this assertion.

In March of this year, for example, Apple fixed 53 security holes in OS X, and in the past several days patched 65 security flaws in its iPhone and  iPod Touch operating system.

For more information, and to see the video demonstration of the Eeki.A Worm Infecting an Apple iPad, click on the graphic.

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About PandaLabs:

Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security’s new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 99.4 percent of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), who work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog.

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Filed under Apple, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, Malware Advisories, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Software

Anonymizer Universal – Multi System Compatible Anonymous Surfing Application

We’ve covered anonymous surfing, and the applications designed to facilitate this, a number of times in the past two years here on Tech Thoughts.

Interestingly, previous reviews of anonymous surfing applications have been read disproportionately by readers from Middle Eastern countries. There are obviously more reasons to surf anonymously in these countries, than in others.

Anonymous surfing (the use of an anonymous proxy server between a user and the Internet), offers protection against snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or even curious family members. And, if the large number of readers fro the Middle East is any indication, from repressive governments.

Additional reasons for for choosing anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafe, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business center hotspots. All are “hangout spots”, frequented by hackers.

When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. Effectively, this means the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.

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You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; some of which are quite good and up to the task; most however, are less than reliable.

More reliable and safer, in my view, is to download and install a client application which manages the details of anonymous surfing for you.

Anonymizer Universal is a fee based anonymizer application with a difference – it’s PC, Mac, and iPhone, iPod touch, iPad compatible. Anonymizer Universal, routes all of your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel from your computer, or iPhone, to Anonymizer’s secure and hardened servers. Anonymizer Universal then changes your real IP address to a different untraceable IP address each day, to ensure continuous anonymity.

Whether you are using a Web browser (such as Internet Explorer‚ Safari‚ Firefox‚ etc.)‚ checking email‚ using an instant messaging program‚ or conducting any other type of personal online business‚ all of your activities are protected.

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Fast facts:

Total Network Security

All Anonymizer Universal’s servers and authentication procedures are completely secure and can only be accessed by Anonymizer.

Compatibility/Portability

Universal compatibility across platforms–Mac‚ iPhone‚ and Windows

Secure mobile Internet access from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

Concurrent logins that allow you to be protected on your mobile device and computer simultaneously

Technologies

Powerful encrypted L2TP/IPSec VPN connection and tens of thousands of untraceable rotating IP addresses combine for the ultimate protection for all your online activities‚ from Web browsing to email and chat.

The advantages of L2TP/IPSec VPN technology include:

An encrypted tunnel for all of your Internet traffic as it travels to Anonymizer’s secure servers.

Confidentiality and security as your data and personal information travel the Web.

An extra layer of protection for your Wi-Fi no matter where you connect.

All ports and protocols secured (outgoing mail port 25 is blocked).

Proprietary IP Rotator Technology

Trialed and tested Anonymizer IP Rotator technology guarantees your anonymity every time you connect online.

Each day‚ your computer’s IP address gets replaced with a different‚ anonymous IP address.

Your daily‚ anonymous IP address comes from a pool of tens of thousands of U.S. IP addresses that are ordinary and untraceable.

Ease-of-Use

Simple installation

Easy-to-use interface

Seamless connection

System requirements:

Windows XP‚ Vista, Windows 7 (Microsoft .NET framework)

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad – iPhone OS 3.0 or greater

About Anonymizer:

As the global leader in online privacy, anonymity, and identity protection solutions for over 15 years, Anonymizer continues to push the envelope with products that allow consumers and organizations to remain safe, secure, and anonymous each time they go online.

Proprietary Technologies—Customizable Solutions

Our proprietary technologies allow us to provide solutions that address the needs of home users, businesses, and other customers. In addition, our state-of-the-art solution sets can be uniquely adapted and customized to meet the needs of any client.

Billions Protected—and Counting

Each day, Anonymizer’s solutions protect the identities and privacy of worldwide users as they go online. With a pristine 15-year history of protecting customer online identities, our products have protected billions of Web searches and personal communications. Anonymizer has set the standard in Internet privacy solutions.

A one year home user license is $79.99 USD. Visit the developer’s site for more information.

If you are more inclined to go with a less costly, or even a free solution, then checkout OperaTor and XeroBank – Anonymous Surfing Tools, here on this site.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Cell Phone Apps, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP