Roundup: Friday the 3rd

What a boring Friday. We don’t exactly have a lot to spout about today, but here’s a freddiew video, which I’ll follow with some news.

 Phone names suck, and here’s why.

Former Noisecastian Eric – who did well for himself – has a some really good points on why phone names need to be revamped: Mainly because the Samsung Galaxy S™ II, Epic™ 4G Touch (Black) is everything that’s wrong with current naming conventions: extra letters, 4G, two names for the same device because the carrier wants to be different. Oh, but that’s not all! Check the article to ensure you see Eric admit Apple did something right with their naming convention. (For the record, I think the iPhone has it mostly right, one phone, differentiated by order of manufacture and storage capacity, minus the “4S” thing.)

Phablet” should not be a word, but Sammy’s up to something.

After the unlikely success of the Samsung Galaxy Note, there’s rumors that an upcoming announcement by the manufacturer may hold the secrets of another “phablet.” And that’s the last time I’m using that word. Many people doubted it – with good reason – but the success of the device could mean that there’s more where that came from. One question I must pose is whether it will be another Android device, or will they try to put Win8RT on the rumored 5.5″ screen?

Illinois law prevents employers from asking for Facebook logins. 

Illinois, land of… Chicago, I guess, is the second state in the union after Maryland to pass a law forbidding employers – current or prospective – from asking for your social media log in information. Governor Pat Quinn signed the law into the books to the relief of every college student ever. Privacy experts have been worried that snooping around in someone’s Facebook page might reveal their religious beliefs, sexuality or any other number of things which opens the door for discrimination. “We’re dealing with 21st-century issues,” Quinn said. “… Privacy is a fundamental right. I believe that and I think we need to fight for that.” Amen, Gov’nuh. That doesn’t mean employers can’t Google you, so if you’re job hunting be sure to lock down that page, and stop posting “WOOOOO SO DRUNK” posts every other night.

Microsoft quits “Metro” branding, asks developers to follow suit.

The “Metro UI” concept is now fairly ingrained into the average tech-nerd’s psyche. Even Android fans like it. While it may not be best for personal computers, (an argument for a different time) it works quite well on mobile, touch-based devices. Now, Microsoft is killing the name, opting for “Windows 8 style UI” instead. Some clues point to an ongoing European legal battle over the name “metro,” which is owned by Metro AG, a German retail company. Microsoft denies a legal issue, saying that Metro was a production code name, and since they’re nearing the Windows 8 release “As we get closer… and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.” Of course we believe you, Microsoft. Every major corporation goes from a recognizable name to a mouthful when they release products.

WoW down another million customers.

Blizzard isn’t doing so well these days. Diablo 3 has been noted as severely lacking the replay factor that Diablo II had, the real money auction house has all but turned into a legitimate source of export income for countries in the East, and their income is down 45% from last year. In fact, they’ve lost 3 million WoW users over the past two years, which is between $33,000,000-45,000,000 in lost income depending on how the players paid. Now, they’re laying their hopes on Pandas. More specifically, the Mists of Pandaria expansion pack, which costs $39 and looks like Jack Black was given free reign of the design studio.

Logitech announces HD-Skype-o-cam for Skyping from your sofa.

The real name for the device is the TV Cam HD, but the idea is the same: You can sit on your couch and Skype via this nifty device, which plugs directly into your TV and requires no external computer. The device will come with a remote for configuration and will be accessible via Wi-Fi or ethernet connection. The camera itself has a wide angle lens and four separate mics that help cancel ambient noise (and probably the feedback from your TV speakers). I already have a camera above my TV, however, and I really wish Microsoft would let me use the Kinect for Skyping.

Department of Justice hires end-users for IT management.

DoJ employees looking to use the site WebEx, a popular e-meeting, webinar and conference platform, in order to access information sent by a district court are out of luck. The Department of Justice has an all-out block in place on the site, meaning that law enforcement officials and lawyers are unable to access the webinar on the Electronic Case Filing system that’s in place. Let me sum this up: The DoJ’s IT department blocks a webinar that would help users learn how to use their own filing system, which I assume IT supports, and now IT will be flooded with calls because people don’t understand the system.

Apple rushes to hush up sales numbers.

Samsung had planned to unveil Apple’s sales numbers in court as an argument about whether their “similar” devices were truly infringing on Apple’s design. Apple, fearing that this information wouldn’t turn out well for them, has filed a last-minute request to keep the numbers quiet. The judge has preferred to keep as much evidence as possible in the public eye, probably knowing that this case will shape many – if not all – future patent cases, but also allows each side to request confidentiality on an item-by-item basis. I’m not sure why Apple wants to keep this stuff so quiet, but I find it funny that they’re doing all of this under the guise of “would lessen the burdens on the jury and the Court and would balance the public interest in access to court records and Apple’s interest in maintaining secrecy of its valuable trade secrets.”

Google cracks down on spam apps in Play store.

Google’s Play store, the marketplace for Android games as well as books, music and movies, has long been seen as the polar opposite of the iTunes marketplace: There’s little to no regulation on what makes it in the store, and apps that acted without user consent exist. Google has now revised the rules for the Play store, officially banning apps that collect information or install anything without user consent, as well as those who send texts or emails without consent. However, such action does not come without a price. Indie game developers Cory and Andrew Trese have over two years into their four games on Play, and they update once a week. Seems like the perfect indie dev team, right? Wrong.

Google has notified the brothers that their apps will be axed from the store on August 6 due to their apps violating the spam provisions of the new ToS. Emails and support forum posts have gone unanswered, giving no guidance as to what the duo should change in order for their apps to remain on the marketplace, where their small but loyal following  would no longer get the weekly bug fixes they’re used to. Perhaps Google should manually check the apps that are being flagged instead of relying on the almighty computer for everything. 

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