Archive for the ‘protection’ tag
There you are, full of gumption, standing next to a packed car. You’re off to college. You’re about to set off into the world to, as they say, make something of yourself. Armed with your trusty iPhone, you’ll likely reach your lofty goals. But an iPhone can be more than just a smartphone. With the right case, an iPhone can be a multifunctional tool, converging the power of the Internet with personalization more brilliant than the mating dance of a peacock.
Rocking a naked iPhone is a sign of confidence with a side of stupidity. One drop, and the phone will die. Thankfully, there are countless iPhone cases that will wrap the phone in protection while providing plenty of charm and character. As explained in the Legend of Zelda, it’s dangerous to go alone. Take one of these (iPhone cases).
Available in black and white, the $40 Opena is an iPhone case with slide-out bottle opener. It’s a bona fide crowd pleaser that will turn any chump into a lady-killer. As I wrote in 2011, cool kids are never without bottle openers and the Opena iPhone case sticks one on the backside of your iPhone.
Now, as an owner and occasional user of this case, I can profess that it’s worthy of your money. First off, the case itself is very durable and withstands nearly everything. It’s hard as nails. But more importantly, the bottle opener works very well. It’s a bit of a novelty, but it performs as advertised and even after likely hundreds of uses, the iPhone has survived despite the dock connector’s proximity to the beer bottle. The Opena is a must-have iPhone case.
The Playa Case comes from the makers of the Opena. The backside of the polycarbonate case sports a discreet storage compartment. The possibilities are nearly endless. Store your lunch card or computer lab’s access card in there. Slip in some notes.
Or use the case as it’s designed and store two condoms with your iPhone. For $35 the Playa case will protect your iPhone and your future: Don’t store condoms in your wallets, guys.
Speck SmartFlex Card
iPhone cases with card slots are pocket savers. Ditch the wallet and store your credit cards, IDs and access cards with your iPhone. However, there is a big downside: If you lose your phone, you essentially lose your entire life.
The SmartFlex case from Speck is my favorite. It’s durable, comes in a range of colors, and at $35, it doesn’t drain the beer fund. Or, for a few dollars more, Speak also sells the CandyShell case which also holds cards but offers a bit more protection.
The iPhone’s battery life sucks. It just does. There are plenty of ways to recharge the phone while on the go, but leave the battery charger at home and snag a Mophie Juice case.
Starting out at $80, these iPhone cases add a bit of heft to the sleek iPhone but they basically double the phone’s battery life. For $100 the Juice Pack Plus offers 25% more battery life, at $130, the Juice Pack Pro sports military-spec construction and even more battery.
College is a brutal environment. It’s best to protect your iPhone from the mayhem. There are several solid options available, too.
Lifeproof cases are the gold standard when it comes to durable iPhone cases. They’re a tad expensive, but they work. Since Lifeproof brags its cases can protect an iPhone from water, dirt, snow and shock, I’m sure it will protect against beer, mud, slushies and dropkicks as well.
G-Form makes several durable cases that are rather attractive as well. At $40 each, the X-Protect and Extreme Grid wrap the iPhone in the company’s shock absorbing material and provide extreme protection against droppage. Plus, they look pretty rad.
See all of our back to school coverage right here.
Someone took it upon themselves to experiment with a redesign for American Airlines with an interesting retro approach. After filing bankruptcy protection in 2011, reinventing themselves could potentially help the airline. The question now is, would this design persuade you to travel with them?
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Should Facebook ‘Likes’ Be Protected by the First Amendment? (PC Magazine)
The Declaration of Independence proclaims the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of … liking friends’ Facebook statuses? That’s what the American Civil Liberties Union is proposing in its appeal of an April ruling that said the social network’s “Like” button is not protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech. Politico District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson ruled this spring that several employees of the Hampton Virginia Sheriff’s Office, who were allegedly fired because they “liked” the Facebook page of Sheriff B.J. Roberts’ opponent in the 2009 election, didn’t do enough to warrant constitutional protection. “It is the Court’s conclusion that merely ‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection,” Jackson wrote in his opinion. The Verge Facebook this week filed a briefing in support of former deputy sheriff Daniel Ray Carter. The company “has a vital interest in ensuring that speech on Facebook and in other online communities is afforded the same constitutional protection as speech in newspapers, on television, and in the town square,” according to the document. The Wall Street Journal The social network is testing a new mobile ad product for app developers, the company said in a blog post Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal reported in July on the new ad product and the technology that will power it, which lets Facebook target consumers based on the apps they use. Bloomberg The service helps game makers and other software developers encourage users to install applications on their mobile devices, Facebook said yesterday in a blog. The mobile-ad service is also designed to help app developers measure the effectiveness of their ads. continued…
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Apple and Steve Jobs’ strategy of obtaining intellectual property protection for every and anything possible may be about to pay big dividends in the “patent trial of the century” that is currently taking place in a federal courtroom in San Jose, California. Apple is seeking over $2 billion in damages (which can be trebled if Samsung’s infringement is found to have been willful) and an injunction barring the sale of certain Samsung smartphones and computer tablets in the United States.
Most patent trials can be tedious and boring affairs involving complex technologies and the construction of difficult to understand utility patents. However, by protecting its well-known products using all types of intellectual property, including design patents, Apple has been able to turn what could have been a month-long patent litigation trial involving a number of highly technical patents into what it hopes is a simple referendum on whether Samsung copied the appearance and graphic user interface of the iPhone and iPad. Considering the similarity of Apple and Samsung products, Samsung may have a difficult time convincing the jury that there is more than meets the eye and that Samsung should not be held liable for infringement.
There are two general categories of patents that can be obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, utility patents and design patents. Utility patents are the most common type of patents and generally involve the way an invention is used and works and may be granted to anyone who invents a new and useful method, process, machine, device, or any new and useful improvement of the same. In this case, Apple is asserting that Samsung infringed three Apple technical utility patents involving features of a multi-touch user interface.
While design patents are litigated far less frequently than utility patents, and many companies do not even seek design patent protection, infringement of a design patent may be far easier for a jury to understand. A design patent protects only the ornamental appearance of an invention, not its utilitarian features. The general test for infringement for a design patent is relatively simple: Does the alleged infringer’s product design appear substantially the same as the patentee’s design? While a patentee can buttress its evidence of the similarity of designs through the testimony, for example, of industry observers, consumers, and business partners, jurors can use their own eyes for a side by side comparison and decide for themselves if the products look substantially the same. It certainly does not depend on understanding highly complex technical matters.
In addition to the utility patent infringement claims, Apple has accused Samsung of infringing a tablet design patent and graphical user interface patent for the iPhone. Thus, instead of having to convince the jury through highly technical evidence that Samsung infringed a number of utility patents, Apple can argue to the jury that the products are so physically similar that Samsung must have copied the designs from Apple and that the jury can make this determination with its own eyes.
In comparison to the relatively easy-to-understand Apple design patents, Samsung’s counterclaims against Apple involve Samsung’s patents covering the inner workings of cellphones. Such claims are technologically complex, and two of Samsung’s patents are “standards-essential patents,” which protect inventions that are incorporated into broader technology that an entire industry has agreed to use. Samsung alleges that it offered to license two standard-essential patents to Apple on fair terms, as legally required but that Apple refused and used the technology for its iPhones anyway.
While the law in this area is unclear, a recent decision by an influential jurist suggested that remedies for claims of infringement of a standard essential patent are limited.
The Apple-Samsung trial is expected to take a month. Both sides are expected to offer evidence supporting their claims and defenses from a variety of sources. Much of the evidence will be highly technical, and despite the best efforts of the attorneys on both sides to make the technical details comprehensible to a jury, the outcome may come down to simply whether the jury believes with its own eyes that Samsung copied the appearance of the iPhone and iPad.
Peter Toren is an intellectual property litigator and computer crimes expert with Weisbrod Matteis & Copley in Washington, DC.
[Image credits: Apple, Samsung]
Norwegian officials are probing Facebook’s ever-improving facial recognition features, concerned that the tech may pose a threat to Norwegians’ privacy.
“If Facebook also monitors Norwegian users, it may be a violation of Norwegian privacy laws,” said Norwegian Data Protection Authority communications director Ove Skåra in a statement concerning Facebook’s other surveillance features on the agency’s website.
The Norwegian Data Protection Authority just took some time last month to investigate how Facebook stores and analyzes private messages and chats sent between users, but the agency’s focus on facial recognition is new.
“It’s a very powerful tool Facebook has, and it’s not yet clear how it all really works,” Norway data protection commissioner Bjorn Erik Thon told Bloomberg.
“They have pictures of hundreds of millions of people. What material Facebook has in its databases is something we need to discuss with them.”
The Norwegian Data Protection Authority has spent several years working directly with Facebook (specifically with the company’s European headquarters in Ireland) on privacy issues.
Facebook started making serious investments in its own facial recognition technology back in 2010. The company launched facial recognition back in July and photo tag suggestions later the same year. By June 2011, the feature was available in most countries around the globe.
Last month, the social network faced some tough questions on the tech during a Senate hearing led by privacy advocate Minnesota Senator Al Franken.
“I think this information is so sensitive that it’s the kind of thing users have to consciously opt themselves into,” he said.
Other networks, such as Google+, have conscientiously decided to make facial recognition an opt-in experience. “We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these [privacy] issues,” said Find My Face project lead Hartmut Neven. “Face recognition we will bring out once we have acceptable privacy models in place.”
Filed under: social
Photo: Like it’s namesake, the European Data Protection Directive (“DPD”), this Mercedes is old, German-designed, clunky and noisy – yet effective. [Photo: Omer Tene]
Online security company Bit9 just announced the close of $34.5 million funding from some of the biggest names in venture capital. This is Bit9′s fourth round, and it’s led by Sequoia Capital. The round also includes existing investors Atlas Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and .406 Ventures.
With cybercrime on the rise, it’s become increasingly important to protect organizations against it. Bit9 combats advanced persistent threats that standard virus protection software, like McAfee and Symantec, do not.
The technology uses real-time sensors, monitoring, and application control to protect endpoints and servers from malicious attacks. The “whitelisting” feature allows only trusted programs to run and blocks banned software. If a breach occurs, Bit9 Parity will lock down the system so no new software can run.
This is the largest round in Bit9′s history, just about doubling its total funding raised over previous rounds. The company has grown 100 percent each year for the past two years and currently protects more than 700 organizations across multiple industries, like education, finance, enterprise, government, healthcare, retail and utilizes, from cyber attacks.
Bit9 is based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Filed under: deals
The iPad is a powerful tool, but it’s also not meant to go in public naked. Apple’s stated as much by making a case, and then the Smart Cover for the second generation iPad. And it makes sense — even though the iPad is a beautiful looking tablet, it’s a fragile one at that, and is designed to be used at different angles, in different positions, and not just flat on a table or in the hand. Thus, the need for a case was born.
But it’s more than that. While the iPad is a status symbol, the case it wears is an even stronger one. Were you hustled into buying at Best Buy, or is yours a sleek case that defines who you are and what your iPad is used for? After all, it’s not called a case for nothing: it makes a case for the type of person you are, and how you dress that most important — and stylish — tablet computer.
Beauty is just as important as function in this roundup though, so all of the ten cases underwent rigorous testing for both everyday use and pizzazz. Which is the best for you? Read on and find out.
Typical iPad cases are made out of cloth, such as polyurethane or leather, and are generally pliable and easy on the hands. They’re also thick yet light, don’t have that techy-look of shiny, glossy gadgets, but aren’t as clean-cut. Cloth, by and large, is the standard for iPad cases. They offer adequate protection from minor damage, but won’t protect much from a serious drop.
Apple Smart Case
Apple’s very own iPad case, aptly labeled the Smart Case, is a simple mix between the current Smart Cover and the original iPad’s cloth case. Unlike the case used for the original iPad, the Smart Case doesn’t fit so snug on the iPad 2 or iPad (2012). Users snap the iPad into the hard shell, and a Smart Cover protects the edges of the glass. The case holds the iPad steady, but it isn’t a perfect fit.
Beyond that, the cover doesn’t snap exactly into place, from one end to the next. It isn’t sized perfectly, a strange change of pace for Cupertino, which allows the cover to not close properly half the time. More of a nuisance than anything else, this coming from a company that specializes in making products perfect solely in terms of end-user experience is surprising.
Even then, the Smart Case is a very solid case for the iPad. It’s thin, comfortable to hold across or upright, and even with the annoyances is much better to use on a daily basis than the Smart Cover. It looks sleek, but isn’t an upgrade from the actual iPad itself.
The Smart Case is thin, but not this thin. Seidio’s Expert combines the Smart Cover a very thin synthetic leather case and a unique sticker that keeps the iPad in place, instead of additional cloth or something else to stabilize it. The Clean-Grip adhesive pad on the back is designed to withstand up to 700lbs. of force; in the company’s promotional video for the case, a guy drags a car in neutral with the case attached to the hood. Serious stuff, especially considering that the iPad weighs less than 1.5lbs.
Then again, seeing a $500 tablet hang from a case with no support can be unsettling. But it’s entirely safe; the adhesive is remarkably strong, so the worry is completely psychological. Setting the iPad properly is more of a challenge, and the case would be much improved if a stitched outline were on the cover for placement direction. Properly aligning the iPad for the camera hole and so the case closes properly is a bit too troublesome, especially since removing it from the Clean-Grip panel is much harder than it looks.
I found the Expert to be a very charming case, except that using a powerful adhesive, while clever, looks almost cheap when open. If the iPad had flat edges like the original, this case would look far less alien, but the tapered edges of the tablet makes the whole thing just look strange. Still, it looks perfectly normal and fairly stylish closed. Open her up though and the iPad’s rounded edges bulge out inappropriately.
iPevo Origami Folio
As the thinnest and lightest iPad case tested, the iPevo Origami is remarkably cheap and effective. The cloth corners sticking out from the edges and simplistic design don’t do the case justice, which does almost everything the competing cases do at half the cost. It works as a smart cover and folds, as the name suggests, like origami to hold the iPad upright or at an angle by bending the cover flap into shape. Properly bending the cover takes some getting used to, but once you are it’s as easy and convenient as Apple’s tri-fold design.
The thin profile and comfortable cloth give this case a nice, solid feel, especially when holding it with one hand. The Origami even covers the home button, and clearly has no regard for the aesthetic design, but it offers additional protection to the case by covering everything but the actual display. The entire glass bezel is covered, which helps keep it clean and makes the iPad more comfortable to hold from both the front and back. So what it lacks in looks, the Origami makes up for in practicality.
Speck WanderFolio Luxe
Of the tested cases, the WanderFolio Luxe is the most diabolically expensive. At $130, it’s more than triple the cost of some of the less expensive cases, but it’s also the most fully-featured standard case. Not only is the Luxe leather-bound and thick for great feel and protection, it comes complete with a six hideaway pockets right in the cover for carrying whatever you need, from paperwork to money to credit cards. I personally wouldn’t trust keeping secure documents in an iPad case, but in this day and age of carrying all of your belongings in just pockets sans bag, why not.
The WanderFolio’s thick frame feels very solid in the hand, both open and closed. The leather has excellent grip and is quiet and almost elegant, while the inside of the cover is felt for easier grip. It all snaps shut with a small magnetic latch. And instead of relying on the cover to stand the iPad upright, the WanderFolio has a piece of the case which disconnects from the tablet and acts as a support. This keeps the iPad standing at anything up to a 40 degree angle, but any higher up and the case slips.
The Luxe is expensive, so Speck offers a lower-priced yet nearly identical model named the MagFolio Luxe for $100, with the same great leather but no pocket. There’s also the $60 MagFolio and $70 WanderFolio which use thinner, lower-quality leather, which are otherwise identical models.
Mark Monitor is basically a service that helps brands track what’s said about them in public, and offers trademark protection, copyright infringement, domain management, and more. The company has more than 400 employees across five countries, and its clients include about half of the top Fortune 100 brands.
Thompson Reuters said it will add Mark Monitors services to its own to enhance the quality of protection offered to its vast number of clients. As part of the deal, the Mark Monitor team, including President and CEO Irfan Salim, will join Thompson Reuters.
Founded in 2006, the San Francisco-based company previously raised $12 million in total funding to date from Cargill Ventures, Focus Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Institutional Venture Partners. Completion of the acquisition by Thompson Reuters is subject to standard regulatory approvals.
Image via IKO /Shutterstock
The MarkMonitor website says the company offers a suite of products and services that include brand protection (i.e., protecting trademarks and commerce), anti-piracy, anti-fraud, and domain management. The Wikimedia Foundation recently moved all of its sites from GoDaddy to MarkMonitor (as noted by The Next Web). The company says it serves more than half of brands on the Fortune 100.
MarkMonitor has more than 400 employees in five countries, and the team (including CEO Irfan Salim) will be joining Thomson Reuters. In the press release, Thomson Reuters’ president of IP & Science Chris Kibarian describes the acquisition as “the beginning of a transformational shift within the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters.”
Investors in MarkMonitor include Cargill Ventures, Focus Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Institutional Venture Partners.