Over the last few years, the United States Justice Department and Homeland Security’s Immigration & Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) have been seizing various websites through charges of criminal copyright infringement with questionable tactics and disputed legal authority.
In 2012, three Android-focused websites were seized by the Department of Justice. With help from French and Dutch police, the FBI took over applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com, a trio of so-called Android piracy sites. On Monday, American prosecutors announced that two of the four men involved with the sites have pleaded guilty to copyright infringement. The case marks the first time that U.S. authorities have successfully prosecuted a case involving pirate app stores.
The case marks the first time that U.S. authorities have successfully prosecuted a case involving pirate app stores.
Now, via TorrentFreak, the Department of Justice is reporting that the third defendant, Kody Jon Peterson — who was involved in the operations of SnappzMarket — pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The plea agreement also notes that the Government attorneys and agents are allowed to contact Peterson with no notice and communicate with him without his own attorney being present:
“Peterson also agreed to cooperate with the authorities in the investigation, including producing all relevant records and attending interviews when required. However, in addition to more standard types of cooperation, the 22-year-old also agreed to go much further. A copy of his plea agreement obtained by TF reveals that Peterson has agreed to work undercover for the Government.”
While the Department of Justice was successful in prosecuting this specific case, it’s hard to see the justification for this type of effort towards these mobile app pirates. This reminds me of the severe over-reaction by ICE towards a number of vendors in South Florida who were repairing phones with aftermarket parts. ICE decided it was best to send 20 agents rushing into these stores as if they were taking down a drug raid. Meanwhile, stores like these, were fixing Apple phones at reasonable prices for people who most likely could not afford to fix their phones at an Apple store.
The Department of Justice seems to handle all the alleged piracy sites the same way: Pull down with no warning, give no hearing and give no due process.
Two years ago, TechDirt did a fantastic job covering the seizure of a domain named Dajaz1. It took the Department of Justice over a year to admit that they had no evidence. In fact, after the site had been withheld by the government for over a year, Congress seemed to finally take notice that the government was holding the site hostage without bring an actual lawsuit.
The Department of Justice seems to handle all the alleged “piracy” sites the same way: Pull down with no warning, give no hearing and give no due process. Before last year’s Super Bowl, ICE seized 313 websites without any adversarial hearing along with a “few” arrests for counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise. ICE did not publicize the fact that they also had seized legitimate merchandise.
“If passed as currently drafted, federal authorities would gain an expanded ability to conduct “remote access” under a warrant against a target computer whose location is unknown or outside of a given judicial district. It would also apply in cases where that computer is part of a larger network of computers spread across multiple judicial districts. ”
Today is the first day of Microsoft’s Build conference and that means the company will be sharing plenty of news about the future of Windows and other Microsoft products.
Earlier Microsoft not only revealed it is making several changes to the desktop version of Windows such as finally bringing back the start menu, they also announced plans to allow cross-platform compatibility between Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 modern apps. While both of these changes are pretty crucial, the most massive change Microsoft is introducing is in regards to its pricing structure for Windows.
Microsoft will now let manufacturers install Windows 8.1 and the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 on devices with screens smaller than 9-inches for absolutely free. That means any manufacturer can produce a small-screened Windows tablet or any WP handset without paying a licensing fee for the OS — period.
A completely free OS could really shake things up
I know what you’re thinking, “but Android is already free to use.” That’s a true and valid point, expect for when it isn’t. The truth is that Android as most of us know it isn’t free. First, there’s costs and other terms associated with getting a device Google Play certified, and then there’s also the fact that most device makers pay Microsoft royalty fees in order to use Android – yes really.
Put this all together, and Microsoft’s plan to offer Windows for free makes a great deal of business sense. Basically they are giving manufacturers an alternative to paying the fees associated with using Android, and Microsoft’s recent change that allows certain existing budget devices designed with Android to run Windows Phone will make it even easier for device makers to offer Windows-based alternatives.
But will manufacturers and consumers bite?
Even if Windows is free, manufacturers still need to test and develop devices to utilize it. This costs time and money, and isn’t an investment device makers will take if they don’t think consumer interest is high enough.
Even if more manufacturers do jump into the Windows arena, it doesn’t necessarily mean than consumers will follow suit. On the other hand, the lack of Windows licensing fees could mean that manufacturers might be willing to offer these products at lower costs than comparable Android-powered devices, which could be enough to win over the hearts of some consumers.
What the move means for Microsoft
Up until now, Microsoft has directly profited from selling licenses of its operating system to mobile devices makers. Obviously giving away Windows for free changes up their existing business model quite a bit, it also means that Microsoft will need to rely on Windows Store and other services in order to make up for the lost income from licensing fees.
Although it remains unseen if Microsoft’s plan will work, if it does, it could mean a major boost in marketshare for Windows on mobile devices. What do you think, is this a wise move on Microsoft’s part, or just a desperate one? Will it make any real difference on Windows adoption in your opinion?
The wallpaper and apps on my iPhone and why they’re there, as of February 2014
And so it comes back around to me, this time to guide you through what I use on my iPhone 5s. It’s a little more tricky than when I talked iPad for one main reason. I use my iPhone a whole lot more and for much different reasons. If I told you about every single thing on my iPhone, we’d be here a very, very long time. You’d get bored.
That’s because the majority of apps I try out – either for personal reasons or for my work here on iMore – are put onto my iPhone. Since it’s always in my hand or my pocket it’s a better device for this type of thing than my iPad. But, I do have a staple of apps which have a permanent home and which I use practically every day. So let’s take a look at those, and my current choice of wallpaper.
The wallpaper is the same as I have on my iPad. It’s one of Apple’s stock iOS 7 choices and I like it because it’s colorful.
Stock apps: Some of the stock iOS 7 apps remain on my main homescreen, but only the ones I actually use. Photos, Reminders and Clock stay up top. I use Reminders a lot, more like an alarm than a to-do list. Settings has a place as do the iTunes Apps – Music, Videos, App Store and iTunes Store – in a folder together. I do have iBooks and iTunes U installed – just to keep up to date with them – but these are rarely used and live elsewhere.
Apple Remote: I use this almost exclusively to control my Apple TV. I think it’s a much preferrable experience, namely scrolling and typing to search with an actual keyboard. And since I use my Apple TV most days, I use this app a lot.
Calendars 5 by Readdle: My favorite calendar app. I can’t pinpoint exactly why I like it so much, but Readdle is one of my favorite developers. I really like their work, and this has replaced the stock Calendar app for me.
Google Apps: Pretty much all of them is the easiest way to say it. I don’t use the Gmail app, though. I never really got along with it that much. But I live in Google services so I’ve got pretty much everything. Authenticator, Hangouts and Google+ are the three most used.
eBay: I spend too much time looking on eBay for things. More than Amazon or any other store. I have a problem and should probably move this app and hide it!
Yahoo Weather: The best weather app there is in my opinion. The data comes from the same source as the iOS 7 Weather app but those Flickr sourced photos make all the difference. I’m constantly looking at the weather just to have an excuse to open this app.
PayPal: Essential to me. I move a lot of money around using PayPal, and the iOS app is actually really nicely done.
Sky News: I wish this app looked better and I wish it was nicer to use. But Sky News is where I get my regular, non-tech news and this the only iOS app they have.
mSecure: I chose mSecure initially because it better supported Android as well as iOS and Mac. And I stand by that. 1Password is going to get better on Android, but I’m invested in mSecure as my password manager and I’ll be sticking with it.
TripIt: I don’t travel nearly as much as some of the Mobile Nations staff – and when I do it often doesn’t involve planes – but TripIt is an absolute essential. Hooked in to my Gmail account I don’t need to worry about keeping track of my travel plans because TripIt does it for me. I use the train a lot here in the UK and TripIt still pulls in those reservation details – albeit thinking I’m in the U.S. which is massively irritating – and organizes everything for me. It’s the best at what it does, I think.
Instashare: Until Apple makes AirDrop work between iOS devices and Mac, this is how I’ll be transferring my stuff.
MLB At Bat: I’m a Brit that loves Baseball. I’m also an MLB.tv subscriber, so this app becomes not only free but ultra useful. Since I’m not subject to any local blackout restrictions over here, I can watch all the Baseball I want wherever I am.
Social Apps: Only three that I really use. But I use them a lot. Flint is a Campfire client for iOS and the very best one at that. Campfire is what we use at Mobile Nations as our company office chat and it’s a real bonus having such a great mobile client to use. Skype needs little introduction. It’s how we call each other, so there’s no reason not to have it on my iPhone. And then there’s Tweetbot 3, which is the best Twitter app I’ve ever used. Doesn’t need much more than that, really.
Productivity Apps: Another couple of Readdle apps live in this folder; Documents and Scanner Pro. I really wish I used Documents to its full potential, but it’s the only way I manage documents from different sources including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. I’ve got different things in different places and this helps keep track of everything. Scanner Pro is a pretty fantastic app at scanning documents and creating a pdf copy. I also use Any.do quite a lot to plan out tasks because it’s cross platform and has a great, offline Google Chrome app too. I also use Simplenote in place of the standard Notes app for similar reasons, and it has a nice, simple Mac app. The other two apps in here are predominantly for work purposes. Trello is something we use to plan out our editorial content, and of course, Dropbox.
Entertainment Apps: I consume a lot of media content on my iPhone, and there’s a bunch of different apps I use to do that. Spotify, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and TuneIn Radio are the main ones. Well known, popular and great to get my fix on the go. Other British TV channels have apps too, and I keep ITV Player and 4oD close at hand, too. My podcast app of choice is Shifty Jelly’s excellent Pocket Casts which allows me to sync between iOS and Android. That and it’s just an awesome app. And pour one out for Twitter #Music. I actually like it, and I’ll keep hold of it until it finally shuts down forever.
On my dock: Google Chrome has replaced Safari, mainly because I use it on the desktop. The stock Mail app is there – for now – as are the Phone, Messages and FaceTime apps in a folder. Oh, and the iMore app. Because it’s iMore!
So, that’s the main collection of apps on my iPhone. There are also a bunch of others I use often such as Starbucks, British Airways, and I’ve just started using Medium, too. It’s a gorgeous iPhone app and there’s some really great stuff being written over there. Any of these match up with your own preferences? Share your own iPhone setups in the comments below!
Escalation. Costner brings a knife, Connery brings a gun. Wayne dresses in a bat suit, a smiling psycho gets green hair and a purple suit. And I write an article about my iPad Home screen, so Peter goes and posts about his Mac dock. Well, two can play the escalation game. So, here’s what’s on my Retina MacBook Pro dock right now!
Wallpaper: I’m Captain Default, live with it.
Mac App Store: It’s where I get and re-download most of my Mac apps.
iTunes: I use iCloud for sync so the only reason I keep iTunes around — aside from the occasional DFU restore — is to convert our podcast files to MP3 and add metadata before I upload. There are other tools that can do both, but iTunes is easy.
iBooks: I don’t really read on my Mac but I like having all of Apple’s stores all lumped together.
Mail: I have both my personal iCloud and work Gmail going into Apple’s default mail client. I like unified inboxes.
Safari: I use Safari for 80% of my web browsing. I do keep Chrome installed for occasional Flash files and Google services, but I vastly prefer the look and experience of Safari, and the ties to iOS Safari as well.
System Preferences: I could probably remove System Preferences from my Dock but I sort of like the comfort of it being there, omnipresent.
iPhoto: Thanks to Photo Stream all the screenshots and photos I take from my iPhone and iPad show up in iPhoto for easy dragging to Photoshop, almost instantaneously. – Free with new Macs – Download now
Aperture: I mostly use Aperture to do a few quick adjustments before right-clicking and “editing in Photoshop”. That’s why I use it over Lightroom. The lack of updates and features have minimal impact and I don’t need the workflow Lightroom provides. – ,99 – Download now
Photoshop: I’ve been using it for decades. It’s muscle memory at this point. Almost all imaging I do is done in Photoshop. (And I kinda like the new Creative Cloud subscription model…) – $(variable) – Download now
Napkin: How we do all the how-to diagrams we do on iMore. There’s nothing faster or easier. Most of the staff here use it now. – .99 – Download now
iMessage: Most of my friends and family have Macs and use iPhones and iPads so we all stay connected via iMessage. Yeah, there are rare glitches, but 95% of the time it works fast and flawlessly, and it has apps on mobile and desktop.
TextExpander: Most of what I write online is in Markdown and TextExpander makes entering frequent passages, links, data, and boiler plate so fast, so easy, that I don’t know how anyone can work without it. – .95 – Download now
Feeder: I produce 5 or so podcasts a week here at iMore and every one of their RSS feeds is burned using Feeder. – .99 – Download now
BBEdit: If it’s plain text, chances are I wrote it in BBEdit. For what I do, it’s like bringing a nuke to a fist fight, but I like the idea that I’ll likely never out grow what I’m typing it. – .99 – Download now
Coda 2: I don’t manually edit web sites as often as I used to — we have far smarter people for that on our tech team! — but whenever I have to tweak a header or CSS file or do anything else on any server, I do it with Panic’s Coda 2. – .99 – Download now
There are a couple other apps I use all the time but aren’t in my menu bar, like Final Cut Pro and Garage Band, because I’d forget to quit them when I was done if I got overly used to seeing them there, and they hit the resources hard enough I don’t want to forget to quit them. There’s also a bunch of stuff, Like Dropbox, 1Password, and Fantastical, that I use all the time but that sit in the menu bar rather than the Dock. Let me know if you’re curious about them and I’ll do a follow up about what’s in my menu bar. Also, fair’s fair — now that I’ve shown you mine, tell me yours! What’s in your Mac Dock right now?
There are some [jailbreak]http://www.imore.com/jailbreak utilities that come along and quickly receive must install status. JellyLock7 is quickly becoming one of them. It gives you quick access to your favorite apps without ever having to leave the Lock screen. It’s simple but it’s one of those tweaks that you never knew you needed until you had it.
Once you’ve got JellyLock7 installed, hop into your Settings app and configure up to five apps to appear on your Lock screen. You can also choose whether or not you want to grant access to those apps without your passcode. After you respring you’ll now have access to your chosen apps right on your Lock screen.
JellyLock7 is compatible with both iPhone and iPad and is available now for free in Cydia. If you happen to check it out, let me know what you think of it in the comments! iOS currently gives us access to the Camera app stock on the Lock screen. If your’e not jailbroken, would you like to see more apps show up on the Lock screen in the future?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, yadda yadda yadda… Which apps are on sale? It’s New Year’s and the iOS and Mac App Stores are seeing price cuts all over the place. Why, we haven’t seen savings like this since a whole week ago. If you missed the Christmas sales boat, now’s your chance to make amends.
Happy New Year’s everyone, and if you spot any good deals, leave a comment!
When not bringing us words of wisdom with his Weekend Coder series, our own Brian Scheirer found the time to put together an entertaining application for adults, kids, and animals lovers alike. The result of his efforts is camZOO, a virtual zoo that allows users to view webcams from zoos from around the world right from your BlackBerry device. No matter the habitat or location, it’s as easy as tapping on the animal you wish to see and loading the video.
If you’re ready to try out Android 4.4 KitKat, there are workarounds available. While we always advocate waiting for something official, the open source nature of Android lends itself to these situations. While downloading the new apps can be fun, it still doesn’t quite emulate KitKat perfectly, but they do a really nice job.
Essentially, what you’re doing is building your own KitKat build. By using what can be consider aftermarket parts for this build, you’ll get the kit-car of KitKat. It won’t be perfect, and you’ll absolutely see the difference when you compare the two, but it’s probably the best unofficial KitKat you’re going to see.
Droid Life was good enough to provide links for all the Google apps you’ll need, like Search and Play Services. It’s also worth noting that the new launcher will need three separate apps: Play Services, Search, and the Google Home APK. This is part of the new way Google Now functions with Android, and it’s pretty sublime. Definitely something you’ll want to check out.
Again, remember that you’re likely to run into issues with this. Phandroidnoticed a glitch where Google Search was force closing. The fix was pretty simple: select a different language, do a search, repeat three times, and revert back to your native language. It’s an odd issue, but that’s the type of thing you get in these situations.
We want to extend our thanks to Otterbox for providing the HTC One and the following cases for this giveaway! If you want some of the best protection you could possibly have for your smartphone, then Otterbox should be at the top of your list. In this giveaway, they are providing two Commuter and two Defender cases. The Commuter case allows for pretty lightweight protection, especially when compared to the top-tier Defender, which might give you more size but definitely gives you much more protection.
You’ll be getting the Commuter cases in purple and white, while the Defender cases come in grey and pink. No matter what, though, your new HTC One will be good and protected!
How to enter the giveaway
Entering our Sunday giveaway is just about as easy as it gets. You simply need to join our new Android Authority newsletter. Once you join our newsletter and remain subscribed you’ll be automatically entered into the draw each and every sunday. It’s that easy and don’t worry we won’t spam you, at most you’ll get an email with the top Android news of the week.
*Please note you will need to verify your email address, so ensure you enter a valid email address.
Terms & Conditions
The giveaway is an international giveaway and is open to everyone worldwide.However, keep in mind that this is the AT&T version of the HTC One.
We are not responsible for lost shipments.
If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal value to the prize.
We are not responsible for any duties or taxes that you may incur.
Only 1 entry per person, do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
The winner will be drawn at 12:00pm PST every Saturday, we will select the winner at random from the AA newsletter subscribers.
We have just a few days to go until Samsung unveils its 2013 flagship handset at a special media event in New York, but the Galaxy S4 is not the only new Android smartphone that’s going to be announced that day.
Xolo has decided it’s worth trying to steal the show from Samsung on March 14 with a media event of its own during which it will unveil the “fastest smartphone ever, with Intel Inside.”
Xolo’s event will take place in Goa, India at 4PM (presumably local time,) which means the new Xolo handset will be unveiled well ahead of the Galaxy S4. But while the device may indeed be the fastest smartphone ever with Intel Inside, it will surely not be able to steal the buzz from the Galaxy S4 this week. But will it be faster than the Galaxy S4?
Recent leaks showing benchmarks for Samsung’s fourth-gen Galaxy S model revealed that the smartphone will offer an overall improved performance compared to the competition. While we will point out the fact that the benchmarks have not been officially confirmed yet, the Galaxy S4 will probably be one of the fastest smartphones out there, if not the fastest one, at least for a few months, until something better comes along.
Obviously, we’re looking forward to see official benchmarks for a variety of upcoming Android handsets, including the Galaxy S4 and Xolo’s new Intel-based smartphone, and we’re certainly interested to see how Intel’s new mobile processors perform in the wild. But we’ll be back with that information as soon as testing these devices is possible.
Anyone looking forward to buy new Xolo smartphones this year or are you going to get the Galaxy S4 instead?