Category Archives: apple

Peter Stern joins Bit.ly as CEO

Business news from the Ascentive team

Three years after founding bit.ly as a home-grown startup inside betaworks, John Borthwick is passing the reigns to a Bit.ly’s first actual CEO, Peter Stern. Borthwick will remain CEO of betaworks and concentrate on new products and investments. Borthwick helped hatch Bitly as one of his incubator’s projects and has overseen it since, while juggling lots of other balls at the same

Stern comes most recently from Zenbe, a webmail platform and mobile that went through a Facebook talent acquisition last November. Stern, who was a co-founder, didn’t go to Facebook. He’s more a New York kind of guy. Back in the 1990s, Stern founded Datek, one of the original online brokerages. Stern led its growth to one of the four largest online brokerage firms before merging with Ameritrade in 2002. Prior to Datek, Stern helped build “cool electro-optic sensors and devices, most of which are classified.”

bit.ly allows users to shorten, share, and track links (URLs). Reducing the URL length makes sharing easier. bit.ly can be accessed through our website, bookmarklets and a robust and open API. bit.ly is also integrated into several popular third-party tools such as Tweetdeck. A more full list of third party tools can be found on the bit.ly blog. Unique user-level and aggregate links are created, allowing users to view complete, real-time traffic and referrer data, as well as location and metadata. Tracking stats are available after users shorten their long links with bit.ly by clicking on the “Info+” link on bit.ly, or just adding a “+” sign to the end of any bit.ly link

Although bit.ly started out as a link-shortener – and that is still primarily what it is used for- all of that realtime data about the links people are sharing is very valuable and can give rise to other products. For instance, bitly data is at the core of its News.me reader for the iPad. “You can expect bit.ly to build on its strengths,” says Stern, “enabling people to explore and share content in other ways beyond url shortening.”

Bit.ly has raised $14 million in a few years, and shrinks more than 8 billion Web addresses a month. Late last year, bitly raised $10 million, which it is putting towards new product development and hires (including Flickr’s former product chief).

Stern says a version for Apple’s iPhone is also in the works.

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Apple responds to location tracking accusations

Tech News from FinallyFast

Apple has released a detailed Q& A statement explaining how the company uses location data, an issue that has had many customers annoyed since last week when researchers revealed that the company’s iPhone contains a hidden data file that stores latitude, longitude, and even timestamps.

The company explains that they are not actually tracking the location of their smartphones (which was also stated in an email from Steve Jobs), and states that it is partly to blame for the uproar due to the fact that they hadn’t fully educated users to understand the complex technical issues with providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information:

“The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.”

Apple goes on to say that they cannot use the system to identify where their users are actually located, and that the entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so an appropriate cache is downloaded onto each iPhone. Apple admits that storing the cache for such a long time was a bug that will be fixed, and that another bug resulted in the iPhone continually updating its Wi-Fi and cell tower data from Apple’s crowd-sourced database even after users turned off Location Services on their phone.

Despite the fact that they are not actually tracking users, Apple says it will release a free iOS software update sometime in the next few weeks that reduces the size of the Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, start encrypting and refrain from backing up this cache, and delete it entirely when Location Services is turned off by the user.

A class action suit was filed earlier this week accusing the Cupertino, California company of invasion of privacy and computer fraud and secretly recording movements of iPhone and iPad users.


Searches for iPad can lead some to malware

Before anyone has even bought an iPad, cyber criminals are already trying to profit from the buzz surrounding Apple’s new tablet computer. According to reports from internet security firms, searches leading up to and immediately following Apple’s announcement last month may have exposed them to rogue anti-virus attacks. These black hat SEO attacks – where infected computers are bombarded with popups saying the computer has been infected with a virus and directing the user to bogus anti-virus software – occurred when they searched for terms such as “apple tablet computer” or “apple tablet computer announcement.” “It makes no sense to warn anyone off searching for the latest news and information by using Google,” said a Tech Herald article. “Odds are that you will find legit sites more often than malicious ones.” According to the Tech Herald, Google is blocking some of the malicious sites, but not all of them. Additionally the article confirms that several anti-virus providers are also blocking attempts to install the malware.


The rush is on for new netbook app store

Feel you missed out on the app rush with your idea for the iPhone? Well, it’s not too late to get your idea (or just find one for your own use) on the fast track as Intel and PC makers prepare to launch an app store for netbooks in 2010. Intel Corporation has made its beta version of the Intel Atom Developer Program Software Development Kit (SDK) available for Microsoft Windows and Moblin-based operating systems developers. The kit helps software companies and individuals design and submit apps for Intel-based netbooks to ultimately sell at stores opening next year. “We have a lot of developers right now jumping all over this and writing apps and getting them ready,” Scott Apeland, director of Intel’s Developer Network, told CNET. “Today, you can actually submit applications and get them in validation and be one of the first in the store when we have that available next year. We don’t have specific dates. It’s how fast we can get it up and ready.” Apeland said that there were “tens of thousands” visiting the company’s website, with thousands joining before the software development kit or tools were available.


Second-hand smoke can void Apple Mac warranty

By now, most people have heard that smoking is not the healthiest of habits. But two people in different parts of the country recently found out that Apple believes that if you expose your Mac to second-hand smoke, you may be voiding your AppleCare warranty while you’re at it, according to the Consumerist. “Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, that has voided the warranty,” one owner told the website after taking his Mac in for overheating. “They refused to work on the machine, due to health risks of second hand smoke.” After being denied service at another Apple Store, the second person appealed to Apple corporate – going as high as Steve Jobs’ office. She said that she was told the [damaged] computers were considered a biohazard since OSHA lists nicotine on its list of hazardous materials so its employees could not work on them. While Apple hasn’t made any official comment on the matter, those filing complaints with the Consumerist said that exposure to smoke is not listed in the AppleCare agreement as a reason for the warranty to be voided.