Opinion: Is Facebook is Killing the Open Web?

 Is Facebook is Killing the Open Web?

Google and the other search engines have been the major driver of traffic to the open web for years. Social media is changing all that in two ways; social referrals – what we call ‘word of mouth’ in real life – and embedded content. Is Facebook is Killing the Open Web? Continue reading

Opinion: Fingerprints Make Bad Passwords

Fingerprints make bad passwords

We all know passwords are rubbish. We pick short ones, simple ones, easy ones; we never change them,  we use our birthdays, childrens’ names, pets’s names, postcodes; and then we write them down on post-it notes and stick them to the screen. We think we’re clever when we use a password manager – right up to the point that gets hacked and all our passwords get published to FacePoke in one fell swoop.

What we need is something unique to us that we don’t have to remember or write down, that is always on our person and that will never change. Like a fingerprint. Lots of phones and laptops now have fingerprint scanners. That must be better. Except that’s worse. Continue reading

Opinion: Flipping heck! Adobe Flash and HTML5 [Guest Post]

When we tried to kill our usage of Flipping Book document previews, I realised with horror that it’s more than four years since I declared in a podcast that Flash would be dead within eighteen months. Not only is it still here, but there’s no end in sight to the long tail of Flash.

And that long tail is causing us problems; as an independent publisher on the web, my current client is struggling not only with a reliable preview technology, but also wants to sell read-only resources via it’s website. Welcome to the digital realm… Continue reading

Opinion: Android Hacks and the Stagefright from Hell

Stagefright, Creative Commons, Gresham College via Vimeo

You may have read about the multiple-hack affecting Stagefright, the code in Android that plays back media in MMS (multimedia messages). An enterprising hacker (allegedly) needs only send an MMS containing the exploit to the phone number of an Android 2.2 or later device and Stagefright will write code to any part of that device for which it has permissions – with the potential to affect 950 million, yes million, Android phones.

Whilst it is in theory quite easy to upgrade your phone to the latest Android (off-brand Chinese phones excepted), the question is how many users of those 950 million (that are still in use) are actually capable of doing so? Even if you go to the right website to get the latest phone software, there are many obstacles to making those phones secure again.

Find the right site, identify your phone, download the software, read, study, backup your data (yes, you!) then cross your fingers as you flash the firmware and wait for the rising smoke from your handset. But don’t even attempt it until you’re absolutely certain you understand the instructions and follow them to the letter.

Easy. Continue reading

Opinion: Goodbye Google Plus

Google Plus: image Creative Commons by West McGowanIt’s true: Google is breaking it’s heavily embedded but failed social networking product Google Plus into separate products – Streams and Photos, new head of Social Bradley Horowitz announced on Google+ earlier this month.

It was telling that Horowitz didn’t specifically mention Google Plus, which pretty well signals the end of Google’s foray. Google Plus was supposed to be a one-stop shop for interactiing across all products and all users. Clearly the vision has changed. Continue reading