Archive for the ‘Sony’ Category


More than just sexy phones: how Nokia will help sell Windows Phone 7

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Unlike, oh, to pick a random example, Apple, Microsoft has only a very limited retail presence. The company has opened a handful of (high-quality and actually rather pleasant) Microsoft stores in the US, but has little direct consumer reach beyond that. For the most part, it sells its Xboxes and shrinkwrap software on the shelves of other companies’ stores, with the burden of in-store promotion left up to the reseller.


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For smartphones, the most important of these resellers are the mobile operators themselves. Particularly in those markets such as the US and UK, where subsidized handsets are the norm, most buyers will never look beyond the shelves of their mobile network’s local store. If a smartphone isn’t promoted in the store, it will struggle to sell well. If the sales staff in the store guide customers away from a particular kind of phone, it’ll do even worse.

Microsoft has relatively weak relationships with the carriers. The carriers don’t buy product from Microsoft. They may be selling Windows Phone devices, but those are all sourced from Samsung, HTC, and LG. That’s where the strongest relationship is.

Nokia, however, has very strong carrier relationships. The company sells hundreds of millions of phones a year, and has fostered close working relationships with network operators around the globe (with the exception of the US).

Microsoft is looking to its partnership with Nokia to solve these marketing problems. And at Nokia World this week, the Finnish company did more than just reveal its good-looking handsets: it kicked off a huge marketing campaign, demonstrating the reach it has that Microsoft lacks.

Nokia’s plan is for its Lumia handsets, and Windows Phone, to be unmissable. Advertisements will inundate the Web, TV, and cinema. The TV and cinema ads are big, bouncy, and brightly colored. Their tagline is “The Amazing Everyday”: using your phone should be fun, easy, and exciting, making every day “amazing.”
Nokia’s TV advertisement

Though it’s varied from market to market, Windows Phone hasn’t really received this kind of saturation marketing before. In the UK, for example, TV spots have been few and far between, and most or all of them came from Microsoft, as part of its “Really?” campaign. In the US, there have been more advertisements from carriers—AT&T, for example, ran plenty of Windows Phone adverts in holiday season last year—but nothing as in-your-face as the Nokia campaign.

In-store promotion is also critical. Microsoft and Nokia need Windows Phones to be highly visible in carrier stores, and they need sales staff to push the handsets, just as they already do for iPhones and Android devices. To that end, Nokia says that it has put more phones into retailers’ hands than ever before, to make sure that the staff knows the devices and like the devices. The company has also demonstrated the in-store concessions that stores will use to promote the Lumia handsets. Importantly, they feature real devices rather than (infuriating and pointless) dummy units, as well as large interactive, touchscreen displays for learning more about the phones.
Real working handsets, instead of the infuriating dummy phones that serve only to enrage putative customers
Enter the vortex

High-profile retailer locations will include big vortexy things in the windows to draw attention from passers by. Outside stores, Nokia will also be installing large arch installations into certain high-end malls to promote the phones.

Nokia says that retailers are backing the devices in a way not previously seen before, with more store space dedicated to the devices and greater levels of staff training. The company also says that carriers and retailers are making three times the level of marketing investment than they have made for prior devices.
Phones, headphones, and a touchscreen computer thingy to learn all about them
Nokia has teamed up with Monster to produce audio accessories that are gloriously colorful

On top of these conventional marketing efforts, Nokia will also be promoting a range of stunts to generate buzz and make people take notice. These include putting fake saunas in bus shelters, performing DJ sets on the street, and dressing people as live tiles. Live tiles are a major part of what makes Windows Phone a little different from its competitors, and accordingly, Nokia is making them central to the branding of its campaign. The company wants to “fill the world with tiles,” so consumers in the six Lumia launch countries—UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Spain—should expect to see a lot of squares.

The massive increase in in-store promotion will give Microsoft something it didn’t really have prior to the Nokia partnership. Though LG, Samsung, and HTC all made Windows Phone hardware, none of them were fully committed to the platform; for them, it was just one among many. Nokia has put all its eggs in the Windows Phone basket, so is making a much greater effort to promote the platform and devices. The result should be far greater visibility for Windows Phone.

Perhaps the only gap in the promotion and branding is the lack of Nokia and Microsoft stores. Nokia had its own retail presence, with Nokia stores in select areas, but with the exception of a handful of locations in airports, these have been closed down over the past year, and Microsoft’s stores, which already leverage the tile branding to some extent, are only found in the US. In closing its retail properties, Nokia even took the (frankly astonishing) decision to terminate its online store. As a result, the two companies are always going to be heavily dependent on carriers and resellers doing the right thing to promote the phones.


Update: Oracle ordered to lower damages claim against Google

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Oracle’s expert ‘overreached’ in concluding Google owed up to $6.1B for infringent of Java patents with Android, judge said Friday
IDG News Service – Oracle has been ordered to lower its multibillion-dollar claim for damages in its patent infringement lawsuit against Google and its Android operating system, court papers show.


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Oracle’s expert “overreached” in concluding that Google owed up to $6.1 billion in damages for alleged infringement of Oracle’s Java patents, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup said Friday in a sternly written order.

The “starting point” for Oracle’s damages claim should be $100 million, adjusted up and down for various factors, he said.

At the same time, Google was wrong to assert that its advertising revenue is not related to the value of Android and should therefore not be a part of Oracle’s damages, the judge wrote.

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He also warned Google, “there is a substantial possibility that a permanent injunction will be granted” if it is found guilty of infringement.

These are the latest developments in a case that has been heating up as the two sides approach a potential Oct. 31 trial date. Google has asked the judge to delay the trial pending the outcome of a reexamination of Oracle’s patents. Alsup said Friday he’s not yet willing to give up on the October start.

Oracle sued Google last August, saying its Android OS violates seven Java-related patents, as well as Java copyrights, that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. Google has denied any infringement and complained that Oracle’s damages estimate is far too high.

On Friday, the judge seemed to largely agree with Google.

Oracle’s damages expert “served a report that overreached in multiple ways — each and every overreach compounding damages ever higher into the billions — evidently with the goal of seeing how much it could get away with, a ‘free bite,’ as it were,” the judge wrote.

The expert, Boston University professor Iain Cockburn, can revise his estimate and resubmit it, but the judge warned Oracle that it won’t get another chance after that.

“Please be forewarned: the next bite will be for keeps. If the next and final report fails to measure up in any substantial and unseverable way … then it may be excluded altogether without leave to try yet again,” the judge said.

Oracle declined to comment on the judge’s order. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


My Fav Free Forensic Analysis Tools

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I was talking about colleges with my son the other day to see what he is interested in for a possible major. I was hoping and praying he wouldn’t say English since my guidance there would be like trying to divide by zero or philosophy because that meant he’d be living here until his late 30’s. He told me he was interested in being a detective. Well! I must say my ears perked right up! I have always thought the two best careers in IT are forensics and data center. But no…he wants to be a actual detective…like you know the ones that carry a badge and stuff. I’m not sure were that even came from to be honest. He doesn’t watch detective shows or read detective novels. Heck the closest I was to ever being a detective was looking for my pants and wondering why I was wearing moose antler horns and a eye patch after a blackout. Well I guess it could been worse. He could have wanted to go to Auburn…


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But that got me thinking about forensics itself and some of the tools I use. I believe that if someone is just getting into IT and they want a solid career path, it’s hard to beat forensic science or data center engineering. Understand to be good in forensics you really need to understand HOW data actually works and moves though a system. Forensics is a top level discipline that you work towards after you master PCs, servers, networking (especially networking) and coding. Sounds tough but man alive is it a lot of fun. I would not say I am a forensics expert. Not even close. I am more of a hobbyist in this area. Now some of the tools out there in forensics are VERY expensive due to their incredible speed and “court room” validation.

However, if you just wanting to mess around and practice on a few machines to see if this is a career path for you, here are a few of the freebie tools I use and have had a ton of success with.

Are your pants on fire yet? Web Browsers analysis
This most common use I see for forensic hobbyist is getting to a history file when the history has been erased. This is a browser specific function so the tools must use the browser API’s to accomplish this. Here are a few of my favs:
– From across the pond the folks at Forensics-software have two most excellent tools. Fox Analysis and Chrome Analysis
– If it’s IE your looking for then its really hard to beat Nirsoft I absolutely love their IECookieViewer They have a bunch of other tools as well for you to mess around with but their IE stuff is really second to none. Honorable mention to their Skype Log View as well. Very cool tool!

Email Fun
Email is more difficult to find a freeware tool on the forensics side of the house. Email is really a database with a bunch of insane tables and procedures that can lead you down a path more dangerous then walking around Olongopo drunk with money falling out of your pockets. And before you ask No wasn’t me on the don’t do this poster… Email Detective is a proggy we used back in the AOL/Compuserv days to rebuild email. About the only game on the freeware side of the track is from MiTec out of the Czech Republic called Mail Viewer It’s lightweight and works good on Outlook Express, T-Bird and Windows Live email. See the commonality here? All of the email is cached or stored local and not on a server. For Outlook and other server based DB style systems, I just have not found a good freeware email tool I really like too much.

Lookin’ for a file in a haystack
There are so many attributes to look at with files. The good news here is there is no shortage of really good freebie tools that allow you dissect a file with the precision of a kid removing the vegetables out of Kung Pow Chicken. For stuff like reconstructing images to see if folks have been taking pictures of you eating a salad at a steakhouse (I was watching for my wife!) it’s hard to beat Forensic Image Viewer from Sanderson Forensics also check out MFTview while your there. He requires you to register to download, but it is totally worth it!
– A tool I really love to mess around with is Memoryze from Mandiant This digital bundle of awesomeness allows you to analyze live memory and even page files on a running system. It works great even on memory images. Oh man this tools digital foot must be hurtin’ from the ass it kicks!

But, isn’t there a ISO we can use like BackTrack instead of messin’ round and piece mailing all of these tools?
ISO are really awesome. Just like there are many different fishing lures to catch Bass, there’s also multiple ISO for different forensics needs. Of course you can just use the forensics mode on BT and it works good also. Here are a couple others I keep close at hand.
– Caine Live CD is one of my favs. Full featured with a ton of useful scripts built right in, this is a great general propose ISO with great support and really does Italy proud!
– Deft Linux another great ISO from Italy this is also another full featured ISO. It is very well documented and man alive is it fast! When I need speed, I turn to Deft!
– Plain Sight is a great ISO to get started on messing around with forensics and it has a lot horsepower too! The volatile memory examination tools are really the stuff!

Websites baby!
Some of my RSS locked forensics favs are:
– hardcore folks, news and training here!
– Nice up to date tool wiki
– Great free geek workshops that cover all things computer geeks dig!

Forensics is a huge field and I believe folks can really make there mark here. It really overlays nearly every single piece of IT out there today and oh man are these folks in demand. Plus it a fun hobby to get into just to really improve your troubleshooting skills. Well, time for me to head off to a customer call. I just glad he likes to talk networking on a Bass boat….

Jimmy Ray Purser

Trivia File Transfer Protocol
Soon after the site was established MGM/UA set up a website for Hackers it was hacked! A group calling itself the Internet Liberation Front managed to draw all over the photo of Hackers stars Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller, and replaced verbiage, ‘this is going to be an entertaining, fun promotional site for a movie,’ with ‘this is going to be a lame, cheesy promotional site for a movie!’ The studio decided to maintain the site during the theatrical run of the movie in its altered form. At least their not Sony….


Will the carriers kill the mobile revolution?

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Opposition to AT&T’s T-Mobile land grab is growing
Meanwhile, opposition to the AT&T merger with T-Mobile is growing. The FCC has posted a list of 50 questions for the giant carrier, asking it to defend claims that the $39 billion acquisition, which would give the combined company about 130 million customers, is in the public interest and necessary to extend and improve wireless voice and data services.


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The FCC wants AT&T to produce “all plans, analyses, and reports discussing the relative network spectrum capacity constraints of the company and other mobile wireless service providers, including any relevant pricing, traffic, and spectrum-efficiency assumptions.”

Sprint, which would be the biggest loser if the deal goes through, has been beating the drums to kill it. Although it’s easy to be cynical about Sprint’s motives, it makes a concise argument that it is worth quoting:

It [the FCC] can reject AT&T’s bid to take over T-Mobile and extend the last two decades of robust competition in the wireless industry — competition that has promoted economic growth and advanced U.S. global leadership in mobile communications. Or the commission can approve the takeover and let the wireless industry regress inexorably toward a 1980s-style duopoly. A duopoly of the two vertically integrated Bell companies would result in less choice for consumers and higher prices. A twin-Bell duopoly would stunt investment and innovation. No divestitures or conditions can remedy these fundamental anti-consumer and anti-competitive harms. AT&T’s takeover of T- Mobile must be blocked.

For the record, here’s AT&T’s lengthy justification of the merger.

I don’t think the government should go back to the kind of stifling regulation that existed before the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s. But in an odd way, the carriers themselves want to turn back the clock. They’d like to have something akin to the monopoly enjoyed by Ma Bell (in this case, it would be a duopoly) in the decades following World War II — but without the regulation that at least protected businesses and consumers that depend on its service.

Such a shift to an essentially unregulated market couldn’t come at a worse time. The use of mobile devices is growing exponentially, a trend that will accelerate as new platforms appear and older ones get better. Just think about how much data users of devices like the new Google Chromebooks, which is almost entirely browser-centric, will consume. What’s more, new applications will move to the fore; it would be a disaster if the carriers become so powerful they could discriminate against apps or content that seem contrary to their business imperatives.

Letting AT&T and Verizon carriers get their way would be a huge blow to the mobile revolution.


As Sony struggles to get PSN back up, new details emerge

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With the PlayStation Network expected to be back up within a matter of days, Sony’s statements to a US House subcommittee seem to point the finger on responsibility back at hacktivist group Anonymous, which initially denied involvement.

PlayStation chief Kazuo Hirai told Congress in a letter that the company was a victim of a sophisticated attack. As part of the hack, a file was planted on the company’s servers named “Anonymous” with the words “We Are Legion.” He said the company understood the full scope of the attack by April 25, but could not rule out the compromising of credit card data.


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The statement seems somewhat at odds with the company’s public statements, which up until at least April 29 seemed to suggest that credit card data had not been touched. Regardless of that fact, Hirai said that Sony had not received any reports of fraud that was believed to be connected to the PSN hack.

Sony’s hack is one of several being investigated by the feds, US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed to Reuters Wednesday.

“I am of course aware of the criticism Sony has received for the time taken to disclose information to our customers,” Hirai wrote. “I hope you can appreciate the extraordinary nature of the events the company was facing — brought on by a criminal hacker whose activity was neither immediately nor easily ascertainable.”

Related: AVG Technologies’ Tony Anscombe explains how PSN subscribers can protect their identities

Sony apparently feared releasing incomplete information on the attack, so it waited until April 26 — a week after the actual hack — to admit a data breach. If it would have been released earlier, it may have led to “confusion and [cause consumers] to take unnecessary actions,” it argued.

The identity of those responsible is apparently now known to Sony, and the company told Congress that it was working with law enforcement and the FBI.

Either way, frustrated gamers should not have much longer to wait for PSN to come back up. In a blog post Wednesday, Senior director of coporate communications Patrick Seybold wrote that the company was working “around the clock,” and would share details soon on how service would return.

“We will continue to keep you posted as we work to restore our network and provide you with both the entertainment and the security you deserve,” he wrote.