Lookout now blocks Dialer exploits

Android fragmentation affects security patches, too. Instead of waiting to see which devices have been protected against a Dialer app vulnerability discovered earlier this week, Lookout Mobile Security (download) has stepped into the breach with a patch for it today. So far, it's the only known Android security app to block the exploit, but even Lookout's patch requires initial user input.

The vulnerability allowed some Samsung phones to be remotely wiped from the Dialer app, the "phone" part of your smartphone. While Samsung pushed out a patch quickly, it's not clear if other phones have … Read more

Who's Siri? Singapore get its own concierge app

Siri may not be able to search for businesses outside of the U.S. or understand Asian accents, but Singaporeans need not fret. They now have Def!nd.

Just launched by local telco SingTel, Def!nd is a digital concierge app that's able to do some things Siri cannot. Def!nd can locate nearby restaurants and amenities, book taxis, and find shopping deals. Through the app, users can even book a restaurant and receive an SMS confirmation.

The best part? You don't have to be a SingTel subscriber or own an iPhone 4S to use Def!nd. … Read more

Singlish-speaking Siri rival seen in Singapore

Apple's Siri voice assistant may soon have some competition in Singapore.

Local carrier SingTel has cooked up its own voice-recognition assistant application for iPhone and Android that's designed to understand the locals, reports Agence France-Presse.

The app, called DeF!ND, is able to pick up on what the AFP refers to as "Singlish" which is a blend of English and words in languages from neighboring countries, along with a helping of local accents.

By comparison, Apple's Siri (which is still in beta) currently supports English, French, and German. Apple has said that it's bringing … Read more

Can a desert tree fight global warming?

Scientists at Tel Aviv University say they have a novel idea for combating the negative effects rainforest deforestation is having on the planet.

The group, led by Amram Eshel and Aviah Zilberstein, professors at TAU's Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants, have successfully grown a forest of salt cedars in the Aravah Desert using only a small amount of recycled sewage water and salt water left over from desalination plants.

The scientists used different varieties of the botanical genus of salt cedar trees called Tamarix, which is indigenous to old-world deserts. They're known for thriving in … Read more

CES: VoxOx attempts communication unification, again

LAS VEGAS--VoxOx debuted several years ago as a high-powered multi-protocol chat alternative that incorporated some nifty VoIP features thanks to its parent company, a small telecom outfit called TelCentris.

Today at CES 2011, TelCentris announces a revamped VoxOx with an emphasis on simplicity and messaging unification.

The big improvement to the latest version of the program, available for Windows and Mac, is the unified messaging window. People will be able to interact via instant message, SMS, VoIP phone calls, and social networking all from the same communications stream. This includes voice mail transcriptions similar to Google Voice, although TelCentris … Read more

Report: Google, CIA fund predictive analytics firm

Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, have provided funding to a company that monitors all the noise on the Web looking for connections between people, groups, and events, according to Wired.

The company, Recorded Future, offers a Temporal Analytics Engine for predictive analysis, allowing people to "visualize the future, past, or present."

In addition, In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures both have seats on the board Recorded Future and have been "very helpful," providing advice to the Cambridge, Mass.-based start-up, Chief Executive Christopher Ahlberg, an ex-Swedish Army ranger, told Wired in an articleRead more

CenturyTel makes $22.4 billion bid for Qwest

CenturyTel agreed to buy Qwest Communications International in a $10.6 billion all-stock deal, the companies announced Thursday. CenturyTel will also assume $11.8 billion of Qwest debt, making the merger worth about $22.4 billion, one of the biggest in telecom history.

Qwest and CenturyTel are two of the biggest landline phone companies in the country, with combined network assets in about 40 states. The deal comes as Qwest, which abandoned its wireless efforts years ago, has struggled to keep up competitively with other former Baby Bell companies AT&T and Verizon Communications. While these companies do not … Read more

CIA-backed group investing in lens start-up

LensVector, a Silicon Valley start-up working on new lens technology that rids mobile phones of moving parts, has secured new funding to tailor its products for a group with a particular interest in tiny cameras: the United States intelligence community.

Specifically, In-Q-Tel, the CIA-based organization that invests in technology companies, has funded the Mountain View, Calif.-based start-up, said LensVector Chief Executive Derek Proudian. In addition, LensVector also is being paid to develop specific products through the deal with IQT.

Proudian declined to reveal exactly how much money is involved in the new investment and development contract. However, he did … Read more

CIA to start spying on social media?

Visible Technologies, a company that monitors online social activity and packages the findings for clients, has forged a "strategic partnership" with In-Q-Tel, the CIA's not-for-profit investment arm, to give the organization insight into social media.

The deal was first reported on Monday by Wired.

According to Visible Technologies, In-Q-Tel is also investing in the company through a "technology development agreement." It did not release more details than that.

However, examining Visible Technologies' work may offer insight into what In-Q-Tel has in mind.

Visible Technologies, which is based in the Seattle area, provides services that allow … Read more

SingTel Singapore Grand Prix: A Preview in Pictures

In 2008, FIA Formula One World Championship reintroduced the Singapore Grand Prix to its legions of fans after years of inactivity. Despite this fact, the race that takes place at the scenic Marina Bay in Singapore has a history that dates back to the mid 1960s. In fact, a lot of the appeal of this particular F1 event is its course that runs around the picturesque Marina Bay area vicinity, and also because of its night race that takes place amid the bay's incredible visuals. And with that said, this is the very reason I have selected this particular … Read more