True Crime Diary is a great true crime blog run by writer Michelle McNamara. Ms. McNamara doesn’t update her blog daily, but when she does, the product is often an insightful and thought-provoking long read. That’s true of this entry posted yesterday, “#bloodbath: how social media might have changed one of history’s most infamous crime sprees.“
The crime spree in question: the horrific murders committed by the followers of maniac Charles Manson during the Summer of ’69. Using facts from the case, Ms. McNamara posits an alternate timeline in which smartphones and Twitter were as ubiquitous then as they are now. She paints a brief portrait of how tech might have altered the course of the Manson Family’s rampage, beginning the night Manson followers slaughtered actress Sharon Tate and several guests at Ms. Tate’s secluded Hollywood home:
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
The New York City Police want to help you find your lost or stolen iPhone, which is nice! That’s why the NYPD will implement something called Operation ID, beginning Friday, September 21st–not coincidentally the date the iPhone 5 goes on sale. The police will be on point for that, too:
Attendees at the EuSecWest-sponsored World Security Professional Summit in Amsterdam are participating in a contest called Mobile Pwn2Own. Contestants are, yes, basically revealing that our mobile devices can be easily pwned by someone with the know-how. Quell your bubbling phone fanboy or fangirl rage right now: it looks like both Androids and iPhones are vulnerable. The Next Web describes the Android pwnage, which was partially done, by the way, via near-field communication, or NFC:
Smartphones are a menace. Lots of them are straight-up covered in poop germs. We’re all well-nigh addicted to the chirping that heralds an incoming email. And now, CNN reports, our constant texting is giving everyone “headaches, neck cricks and achy shoulders.”
Finally, a way to pretend those headaches aren’t due to your runaway Read More
Mobile devices are a brave new frontier for cyber thieves, and the BBC reports malware creators are cashing in. Citing surveys by Lookout mobile security, the BBC states that sneaky cash-snatching apps have increased from 29 to 62 percent of all smartphone malware. Users acquire the thieving bugs when they ride into your phone on the backs of seemingly innocent apps:
Tap It To Me
What if your boyfriend was really sweet and helpful and you could shrink him into a tiny cyborg that lives inside your phone? Regardless of what Honey I Shrunk the Kids taught you, we don’t have the technology to do that–yet. But luckily there are Happiness Engines, little bots made by a startup in San Francisco that help make using your smartphone a little bit easier.
Now that big fancy Starbucks has its Square-enabled mobile payments system, you didn’t think Dunkin Donuts was going to allow itself to be one-upped like some sort of country cousin, did you? Certainly not!
GigaOm reports that today, the Massachusetts-based purveyor of superior coffee and slightly stale baked goods is launching its very own mobile payments app, for those of you looking to download something new to the fifth screen of your smartphone.. How it works:
It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It
HBO still refuses to cooperate with Netflix, much less offer up Game of Thrones for streaming. [Reuters]
Apple misses quarterly earnings; world continues spinning, somehow. [Washington Post]
AT&T, however, is raking in the dough as a majority of its wireless customers are now smartphone users. [Wall Street Journal]
There are an awful lot of rules for volunteers considering blogging about the Olympics. [Wired.co.uk]
And then there’s the possibility of hackers disrupting the games. [Reuters]
This strategy memo from Buzzfeed is curiously lacking in the use of memes and/or cat pics. [Chris Dixon]
Twitter is cooking up a way of calling up old tweets. If only we actually composed tweets for the ages… [New York Times]
If you’re reading this on your phone, maybe you should put the phone down and spend some time with your family/girlfriend/dog. Kidding! Keep reading Betabeat, please.
However, the New York Times reports that an increasing number of Silicon Valley execs are starting to wonder whether maybe they should be telling you to step away from the Internet every once in a while. After getting us all well and truly hooked, they’re now pondering whether maybe the implications of constant connection aren’t as wholly utopian as they expected.
You don’t say.
FreedomBox cofounder and Columbia law professor Eben Moglen is widely recognized for his controversial ideas about the Internet and privacy, so it was unsurprising when we learned that he’s not really that into Facebook and Twitter. But did you know that he thinks your cell phone is out to kill you? Or maim, at the very least.
Mr. Moglen certainly believes that smartphones are more foe than friend. This is because, according to Forbes, smartphones still don’t have the first rule of robotics encoded into their technological makeup. That rule, written by scifi writer Isaac Asimov, is, “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”