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City and Regional Magazine Publishers Using Mobile Apps

Members of the City and Regional Magazine Association are growing their respective use of mobile apps as an added real-time extension to each participating magazine’s print messaging and influence.

Dining, entertainment, attractions, nightlife, accommodations, shopping, and local sightseeing, as well as the ‘best of,” are among the many categories at the real-time fingertips of both visitor and local iPhone users.
“Many of our association’s members are offering their readers the opportunity to engage with their respective magazines anywhere, any time; providing well-researched and accurate information covering the full gambit of products, services and events available in their respective communities,” explained C. James Dowden, CRMA’s Executive Director.
In addition to iPhone mobile apps, publications like D Magazine are reaching out beyond iPhones into the bigger world of mobile web app providers.
“We realized early on in the mobile app process that when you’re serving a community as big as a city, you can’t focus on one platform and expect to hit the majority…to advance our reach we are expanding into the wider world of mobile web app providers,” explains, Jennifer Erwin, D Magazine Publisher.
“We’ll be able to provide nearly the same rich experience as within an iPhone App, but via the browser across the majority of smartphones.” Erwin added, “Not to mention the fact that we won’t have to deal with lengthy approval processes – or be beholden to any of the providers’ terms – expanding to more mobile web apps also means we can develop these completely in house with our current team…Long term, we’ll be able to react quicker with better mobile products and serve a greater number of users. It’s a win all around.”
New Orleans Magazine has been utilizing mobile Apps for four months now….the app is from CRMA associate member, Godengo, and is tied to the publication’s website,” said Todd Matherne, CEO/Publisher. “We offer ads on the apps and promote with print ads as an added value to our buys…we are still experimenting with ways to increase even more value to our advertisers…and the increased use of mobile applications, is part of that expansion,” added Matherne.
New York’s Buffalo Spree Magazine, is currently working with Zinio, their digital publisher and associate member of CRMA, to get Buffalo Spree digital on the iPhone/pad/touch up and running. “We’re also working with Godengo (on-line publisher) that is developing a mobile version of Buffalo Spree’s website…with the implementation of these two initiatives, we’ll soon be joining the ranks of the growing mobile community,” said Matthew Cirillo, Director of Information Technology for Buffalo Spree Publishing.
Honolulu Magazine publisher, Alyson Helwagen, said their app, developed with Godengo, basically delivers information from their website via an app rather than a browser. “We have maybe 2,000 downloads, which is a lot since we’ve done nothing to promote it — people are just finding it in the iTunes store, explained Helwagen. “We’re still refining, and haven’t done much promoting; we’re waiting until we have the product fine-tuned…We do have a digital edition on sale on the Honolulu site that allows users to read the magazine in any browser, or on any tablet or phone. We’ve been promoting that heavily online, a little bit in print,” added Helwagen.
“As with these magazines – and other titles in various stages of app development – the hands-on convenience of various mobile apps, ultimately provides immediate gratification for consumers making daily and immediate decisions about where to go and what to buy. Their continued and expanded use is projected to increase throughout the CRMA membership, offering both advertisers and users maximum benefit,” stressed, Dowden.


Around the City

From FinallyFast:

I decided to take a little break from all of the technical news and let you all see a little bit about Ascentive. So once a week I’m going to share some of my favorite spots around Philadelphia (which is where our Ascentive Offices are located). I might also share some fun pictures of our offices too, we’ll see.  I figured I would start off down at the historical area. They recently opened what they found of the President’s house just a little while ago and I had yet to go down and look around. It was a very interesting exhibit, although it was a lot colder then I expected.

The glass you see surrounds an opening that shows down to the foundations of the House. All of the brick walls and fireplaces above ground are were they would be if the house was still standing.

There are a ton of different screens, each telling a different story of one of the several slaves that worked in that house. If it had been warmer I think I would have spend more time sitting and listening.

Here is a picture of the actually foundation. If you get a change a walk around Independence Hall and the Park it is well worth it. You can check out more information on The President’s House here, or by going to the Independence Hall Park Website.


Cyber Security Bill Forbids ‘Internet Kill Switch,’ Senators say

The sudden trend to shut off internet access in response to civilian unrest and opposition protests, which has recently emerged among Middle Eastern governments, will not extend to the United States. That is the aim of new legislation proposed by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, which will prohibit the idea of an “internet kill switch” in the U.S. government.

The Cyber Security and Internet Freedom Act of 2011 comes in response to recent government discussion about power over the internet. After governments in Egypt and Libya disconnected the internet in their respective countries, and cyber security officials continue to warn about growing threats facing government networks, some high-ranking military and political officials had weighed the option of providing the federal government the power to cut off internet access. This bill appears to be the first sign of action in the debate and is vehemently opposed to the measure.

“While the United States must ensure the security of our nation and its critical infrastructure, it must do so in a manner that does not deprive Americans of the ability to lawfully read or express their views,” Collins, a Maine Republican, said in a statement delivered on the floor. “Neither the president nor any other federal official should have the authority to ‘shut down’ the internet.”

Senator Lieberman stressed that point even further, explaining that the bill was proposed quickly as part of an effort to dispell any rumors or misconceptions about the approach the federal government should take toward cyber security.

“We want to clear the air once and for all. As someone said recently, the term ‘kill switch’ has become the ‘death panels’ of the cyber security debate. There is no so-called ‘kill switch’ in our legislation because the very notion is antithetical to our goal of providing precise and targeted authorities to the president,” Lieberman said.

The debate has been ongoing for weeks, apparently set off by the measures taken in Egpyt. Earlier this month, Gregory Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a watchdog organization, testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee about the dangers of shutting off U.S. internet access. Congressman Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, favored the option to shut off internet access and compared it to the military power required in the face of a weapons strike. Nojeim, however, maintained that unforeseen effects could make a situation worse, as the internet is also the main medium of modern communication.

Collins, in promoting the Cyber Security and Internet Freedom Act of 2011, appears to have heard Nojeim’s call to protect free speech, even on the internet.

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that must be protected, and his ban was clearly designed to limit criticisms of his government. Our cyber security legislation is intended to protect the United States from external cyber attacks,” Collins said.


Congress Warned Against Chokehold on Internet Access

From the Finally Fast Help Desk:

An internet watchdog organization recently called upon the U.S. Congress to reevaluate its internet control policies in light of the recent conflict in Egypt.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Gregory Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology warned the federal government against assuming similar power over internet access as the administration of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did. Mubarak systematically disconnected the internet across Egypt after citizens and government opposition forces organized protests throughout the country.

These issues, according to Nojeim, should prompt the federal government to consider its policy over internet access, at the risk of garnering criticism of its own.

“When the government of Egypt cut off internet services on January 27, 2011, to much of its population in order to stifle dissent in an uprising, it magnified concerns about extending cyber security emergency authority to the U.S. president,” Nojeim said.

Some members of Congress maintained that the government and military requires access to internet connectivity in the country for security purposes. Rather than restricting internet access to deny opposition forces free speech, as the Mubarak administration acted, the U.S. government must have the ability to shut off internet access in preparation for dangerous cyber threats, Representative Mac Thornberry said.

“If a formation of planes or hostile-acting ships came barreling toward a factory or refinery in the U.S., we know pretty well what we expect the military to do,” Thornberry said. “But what do we expect, or should we expect, if a bunch of malicious, or potentially malicious (data) packets come barreling toward that same factory or facility in cyber space?”

And, although Nojeim emphasized the unexpected impact that may arise from shutting down private networks in the U.S., regardless of the reason for it, Thornberry believes the government needs the ability to cut off internet access until it has the adequate protection against the threats facing internet security.

“Cyber is a new domain of vandalism, crime, espionage and, yes, warfare, but we are not very well equipped to deal with any of those challenges,” Thornberry said.

Thornberry’s response reiterates a recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The agency recently released its Cyber Security Two Years Later report, which evaluated the government’s progress since the CSIS released a report in 2008 that presented cyber security as a top priority for the incoming Obama administration. According to the CSIS’s most recent report, the government is still not prepared to protect the networks the U.S. economy and population rely on.


Google’s Android Market Website May Change Phishing, Malware Distribution

Google recently made it easier for its mobile customers to download apps on their computer and install them on their mobile phones. In this same update, the company also made it much easier for their mobile customers to transfer and spread malware, according to a recent report from security research firm Sophos.
Google updated the website for its Android Market, allowing users to download apps on their computer and access them on their mobile devices. This enhances the app downloading experience by providing additional information, through a website accessed on a larger PC screen, and offering a website for the Android Market to customers who may prefer a website format over an app.
Vanja Svajcer, principal virus researcher at SophosLabs, examined the new Android Market website for security and protective standards, downloading a popular game also available on the iPhone. According to Svajcer, Google is generally secure in its standards for downloading apps, providing permission requests designed to ensure the user is aware of everything he or she downloads. Early in the investigation, these standards appeared prevalent and functional in the Android Market website, according to Svajcer.
“The most important security aspect of the installation process on Android are the permissions an app requires on a device after the installation. Android users should particularly carefully read the required permissions before they install any applications, from the official Android Market or any other source,” Svajcer wrote in a recent company blog post. “As expected, the web-based Android Market displays the required permissions so that the user can make an informed decision about whether to install the application.”
This process is flawed on the new system, according to Svajcer, because of an exploit Google researchers have been aware of since last year. Because the system begins downloading an application as soon as the user clicks the install button on the website, the INSTALL_ASSET intent vulnerability, discovered by Jon Oberheide last year, could facilitate the distribution of malicious mobile web apps.
“In summary – if someone managed to steal your Google password they could trick your Android smartphone into installing software, without you having to grant permission on the device itself,” Svajcer wrote.
This vulnerability, and its presence on the new Android Market website, is presenting an entirely new dynamic in phishing and password strength for Google users.
“The result of all this is that a Google password suddenly becomes even more valuable for potential attackers, and I would not be surprised to see even more Gmail phishing attacks as a consequence,” Svajcer wrote. “In future, however, the phishers’ intention may not be to use stolen account credentials for the purposes of sending spam but to install malware on the user’s Android devices instead.”
Mobile malware, which grew 33 percent last year, is set to become more complex and common in 2011, according to AdaptiveMobile.