Jaring, the first Malaysian ISP, winds up

NET PIONEER: Mohamed was instrumental in introducing the Internet to Malaysians.

NET PIONEER: Mohamed was instrumental in introducing the Internet to Malaysians.

As Malaysia’s pioneering Internet provider goes into liquidation, its first CEO feels a sense of loss.

Anyone old enough to remember the obscenely loud dial-up modems may recall the country’s first Internet provider – Joint Advance Research Integrated Networking, better known as Jaring.

Jaring, which started off as the RangKom (Malaysia Computer Network) project in 1987, has ­finally closed its doors and is ­undergoing liquidation as of April 23.

The news didn’t sit well with many netizens, including the visionary Dr Mohamed Awang Lah who played an instrumental role in the company’s direction from 1992 until 2010.

 The former chief executive officer of Jaring was disappointed to see the end of the company that ­introduced the Internet to Malaysians.

While many of us today take the Internet for granted, it wasn’t an easy sell back then and he should know as he is fondly remembered as the father of the Malaysian Internet.

“It took a long time to convince people who were responsible for computer systems in various ­organisations to adopt the Internet for their networking,” he says.

“At that time, it was only ­universities that were interested. Companies didn’t get on board until the mid 90s. They were worried that once connected to the Internet, their expensive computers would be shared by others and the ­security of their information would be ­jeopardised.”

Jaring’s first dial-up service was considered pricey, as back then the Net was pretty basic and was ­mainly used for e-mail and discussion groups.

Dinesh Nair, director of ­developer experience and evangelism at Microsoft Malaysia, says: “In 1992, the cost of being on the Internet would have been at Telekom rates – 13sen per local call irrespective of time. A couple of years later, it was switched to 4sen per minute but Jaring fought back and got the 1511 special number at 1.5sen per minute.”

To continue building the ­country’s Internet infrastructure Jaring had to battle for funding from the Government – it was a huge challenge but it secured RM470mil in 1996 for a five-year period.

But, sadly, it wasn’t enough to keep it at the forefront as a new challenger had appeared a year earlier – TMNet, Telekom Malaysia’s subsidiary.

“Jaring wanted to continue ­building the infrastructure but it did not have the necessary Network Facility Spectrum licences until it was just too late to catch up,” says Mohamed.

By 2002, TMNet had become the largest ISP, boasting over 1.5 million subscribers with Jaring coming a distant second with a little over half a million users.

At the time, Mohamed told The Star that Jaring faced ­considerable challenge, primarily from ­“telecommunications network providers that charged high leased line rental rates, and who refused to allow access to their networks for certain Internet access services.”

In 2006 Jaring was taken over by the Finance Ministry and it was sold to Utusan Printcorp last year.

Mohamed, now the executive director of fibre-optics provider Neutral Transmission Malaysia Sdn Bhd, is modest about his ­achievements.

He says: “I believe that if I did not start it someone else would. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time with good support to make it happen.”

Source: The Star Online

China shuts 50 websites and social media accounts

A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

China has closed 50 websites and social media accounts for violations ranging from pornography to “publishing political news without a permit”, Beijing’s cyberspace watchdog said on Tuesday.

The government is pursuing a crackdown on unwanted material online. Critics say the increasing restrictions further limit free speech in the one-party Communist state.

Authorities shut 17 public pages on the mobile social messaging app Weixin, also known as WeChat in English, as well as 24 websites and 9 channels or columns on websites, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on its website (www.cac.gov.cn).

The Weixin accounts were shut down during the past two months, the state-run news agency Xinhua said.

Some of the other offences listed by CAC include publishing fake information under the guise of the government or media, and publishing information related to gambling or fraud.

Jiang Jun, a spokesman for the cyberspace watchdog, said the CAC would regularly publish a “black list” of violators, according to the statement.

Last fall, Xinhua said the cyberspace watchdog had closed nearly 1.8 million accounts on social networking and instant messaging services since launching an anti-pornography campaign earlier in the year.

In 2014, authorities received almost 11 million reports of what was described as harmful information online, Xinhua reported separately on Tuesday.

In November, Chinese officials called for controls on the Internet to preserve stability.

With a population of 1.4 billion and 632 million people online, China is a market no one wants to miss out on. But it also has the world’s most sophisticated online censorship system, known outside the country as the Great Firewall.

It blocks many social media services, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Google, along with many rights groups sites and some foreign media agencies.

Source: Reuters

 

Apple granted patent for GoPro-like wearable cameras

The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. Picture taken June 26.

The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. Picture taken June 26.

Apple Inc has been granted a patent for a wearable camera that could possibly challenge action cameras made by GoPro Inc.

The patent, which cites specific weaknesses in GoPro’s cameras, includes details about a camera system that can be mounted on bike helmets or scuba masks, Apple said in an application filed with the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office.

Shares of GoPro, whose cameras can be mounted on helmets, surf boards, bikes and dog harnesses, fell as much as 15 percent.

Apple’s newly patented camera system can also be used under water to take pictures and record sounds, according to the application.

A potential entry by the iPhone maker into the action camera market could also put pressure on privately held Polaroid Corp, which makes the small and colorful Cube cameras.

JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna, however, said it was premature to assume that Apple would soon launch a wearable camera.

“It does not seem to me that launching an action camera accessory is the most logical product extension for Apple to pursue right now,” Gauna said.

Apple declined to comment, while GoPro was not immediately available for comment.

“I think that it will have about the same impact on GoPro as the iPhone has had on camera makers and that impact is that there are fewer cameras sold but the number isn’t zero,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

Videos shot with GoPro’s cameras have created a buzz on the Internet, attracting millions of views on YouTube.

Olympic gold medal winning snow boarder Shaun White and 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater are among well-known athletes who have endorsed the cameras.

Intellectual property blog Patently Apple reported earlier in the day that Apple’s patent, which was filed by the company in 2012, incorporates some intellectual property from Eastman Kodak Co that the company acquired in November 2013.

With Tuesday’s decline, GoPro shares are now down 51 percent since their high of $98.47 last October. Still, the stock is up 73 percent since its IPO last June.

“We look at it as a buying opportunity at JMP, because what we saw out of the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas last week is that GoPro remains the undisputed leader in the action capture device category,” Gauna said.

GoPro shares were down 11.8 percent at $50.10, while Apple was up 1.37 percent at $110.76 in late-afternnon trading on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Source: Reuters

 

BlackBerry works with Boeing on phone that self-destructs

The Blackberry sign is pictured in Waterloo June 19, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

The Blackberry sign is pictured in Waterloo June 19, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) – BlackBerry Ltd is working with Boeing Co on Boeing’s high-security Android-based smartphone, the Canadian mobile technology company’s chief executive said on Friday.

The Boeing Black phone being developed by the Chicago-based aerospace and defense contractor, which is best known for jetliners and fighter planes, can self-destruct if it is tampered with.

The Boeing Black device encrypts calls and is aimed at government agencies and others that need to keep communications and data secure.

“We’re pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES 12 platform,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said on a conference call held to discuss its quarterly results.

“That, by the way, is all they allow me to say.”

The BlackBerry Enterprise Service, or BES 12, will allow clients such as corporations and government agencies to manage and secure not just BlackBerry devices on internal networks, but those that run on rival operating systems such as Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

The Boeing phone uses dual SIM cards to enable it to access multiple cell networks and can be configured to connect with biometric sensors and satellites. Boeing has begun offering the phone to potential customers.

 

Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android

ANDROID IN YOUR AUTOMOBILE: Google will provide details for its long-term plan to put Android Auto directly into cars. — Reuters

ANDROID IN YOUR AUTOMOBILE: Google will provide details for its long-term plan to put Android Auto directly into cars. — Reuters

Google Inc is laying the groundwork for a version of Android that would be built directly into cars, sources said, allowing drivers to enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without even plugging in their smartphones.

The move is a major step up from Google’s current Android Auto software, which comes with the latest version of its smartphone operating system and requires a phone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps. The first such vehicles will debut in 2015.

Google, however, has never provided details or a timeframe for its long-term plan to put Android Auto directly into cars. The company now plans to do so when it rolls out the next version of its operating system, dubbed Android M, expected in a year or so, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorised to discuss the plans publicly.

“It provides a much stronger foothold for Google to really be part of the vehicle rather than being an add-on,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and Automotive Practice Leader of industry research firm Gartner, who noted that he was unaware of Google’s latest plans in this area.

If successful, Android would become the standard system powering a car’s entertainment and navigation features, solidifying Google’s position in a new market where it is competing with arch-rival Apple Inc. Google could also potentially access the valuable trove of data collected by a vehicle.

Direct integration into cars ensures that drivers will use Google’s services every time they turn on the ignition, without having to plug in the phone. It could allow Google to make more use of a car’s camera, sensors, fuel gauge, and Internet connections that come with some newer car models.

Analysts said Google’s plan could face various technical and business challenges, including convincing automakers to integrate its services so tightly into their vehicles.

Google declined to comment.

Technology companies are racing to design appliances, wristwatches and other gadgets that connect to the Internet. Automobiles are a particularly attractive prospect because Americans spend nearly 50 minutes per day on average on their commute, according to US Census data.

Apple unveiled its CarPlay software in March and Google has signed on dozens of companies, including Hyundai, General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co , for its Open Automotive Alliance and its Android Auto product.

Android Auto and CarPlay both “project” their smartphone apps onto the car’s screen. Many of the first compatible cars are expected to be on display at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month.

By building Android into a car, Google’s services would not be at risk of switching off when a smartphone battery runs out of power, for example.

“With embedded it’s always on, always there,” said one of the sources, referring to the built-in version of Android Auto. “You don’t have to depend on your phone being there and on.”

By tapping into the car’s components, Google could also gain valuable information to feed its data-hungry advertising business model. “You can get access to GPS location, where you stop, where you travel everyday, your speed, your fuel level, where you stop for gas,” one of the sources said.

But the source noted that Android would need major improvements in performance and stability for carmakers to adopt it. In particular, Android Auto would need to power-up instantly when the driver turns the car on, instead of having to wait more than 30 seconds, as happens with many smartphones.

Automakers might also be wary of giving Google access to in-car components that could raise safety and liability concerns, and be reluctant to give Google such a prime spot in their vehicles.

“Automakers want to keep their brand appeal and keep their differentiation,” said Mark Boyadjis, an analyst with industry research firm IHS Automotive. “Automakers don’t want to have a state of the industry where you get in any vehicle and it’s just the same experience wherever you go.” — Reuters

Google revealed Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’

lollipoplead

Google has just revealed that the next major version of Android, 5.0, will be known as Lollipop. After months of teasing the OS, the search giant is finally taking what was previously known as Android “L” into the mainstream, with the first set of the devices expected to arrive early next month. Speaking of which, Android Lollipop will make its debut on the new Nexus 6, a big-screen smartphone from Motorola; the Nexus 9, an 8.9-inch tablet made by HTC; and the Nexus Player, a $99 media-streaming box with Android TV, the first one with Google’s novel home entertainment platform. What’s more, the company confirmed that Lollipop is coming to the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, as well as Google Play edition devices, in the coming weeks.

To make things better, Android 5.0 is also headed to a number of Motorola smartphones, such as both generations of the Moto X and Moto G (including the LTE model), Moto E, Droid Maxx, Droid Mini and Droid Ultra. Motorola didn’t say when exactly the upgrade would be available for those devices, but at least it has confirmed its plans to do so. Now that Google’s let the Lollipop out of the bag, we’re sure more manufacturers are due to start coming forward with their own announcement.

The Android 5.0 SDK is going to be available on Friday, October 17th, which means everything is slowly, and sweetly falling into place ahead of next month. In the meantime, stay tuned, because we’ll be updating this post if any additional details come in.

Source: Engadget