Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Keyboard

AI.Type Android Keyboard leaks data from 31M users

GeneralEdward Kiledjian2 Comments
firefighters-808901_1920.jpg


ZDNet got the scoop on this significant leak. AI.type, a third-party keyboard replacement for Android has leaked data for its 31 million users online. 

How did this happen? A database administrator didn't secure the database.  Anyone with basic skills could access and query the unprotected database and "have fun" with the 577 GB of data it contained.

What type of data leaked? The leak includes fun elements like name, email address, precise user geolocation data, city and country. Researchers have also found [that some records contain] phone numbers, IP addresses dates of birth, gender, etc.

Why stop there? Researchers also found that some user contacts were in the database. One table contained ~375M telephone numbers.

This is a perfect example why Apple forces users to enter passwords and sensitive information using their native keyboard (even if the user has chosen to install a third party one.)

On Android, I use the Google keyboard for this exact reason. Another alternative is Swiftkey, which now belongs to Microsoft (another company I would trust).

WayTools TextBlade may be the ultimate portable keyboard

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

Truth is typing on a slab of glass just isn't efficient. Even with the larger iPhone 6 plus, iPad mini or Ipad Air 2, typing is acceptable at fast. Typing on glass is much slower than typing on a traditional keyboard (because of the tactile response which means you don't have to look at the keyboard). 

Over the last 20 years, I have tried hundreds of portable keyboard and only a small handful have actually been "good" or usable in the field. Now a company called WayTools is launching a brand new ultra compact portable bluetooth keyboard called the TextBlade. [Since it is bluetooth, it works with all modern smartphones and tablets including iPhone, iPad, Samsung, HTC, Nexus and more).

Announced at CES, it is a 3 piece keyboard that magnetically attaches to itself. It charges using any USB port and the company claims you get 1 month of autonomy with a 1 hour charge. 

The company describes the TextBlade as:

TextBlade is brimming with advanced technology, including the World’s first physical MultiTouch Keys, ultra low energy Bluetooth Smart, and the first MultiLayer Keys, bringing symbols and editing to home row ... all engineered into the most compact touch-type machine ever produced.
— WayTools

WayTools TextBlade uses the same QWERTY layout we all know and love but adds smart functions like copy/paste, easy letter, word or sentence selection, etc.

I can't judge it until I test one for a couple of weeks but I am very much interested and intrigued. If this works as advertised, it may turn out to be a huge win for the company and mobile productivity nuts.  

 

Blackberry sues Ryan Seacrest's company

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
Image by bigpresh under creative commons license

Image by bigpresh under creative commons license

You may not know this but Ryan Seacrest is the founder of an iPhone accessory company called Typo. Typo designed and sells an add-on iPhone physical keyboard which Blackberry claims is a copy of its own proprietary design.

Here is a picture of the Typo keyboard installed on an iPhone 5s

Here is a picture of the Typo keyboard installed on an iPhone 5s

A report by CIO magazine says Blackberry has submitted a request to the US District Court in Northern California to block Typo from "making, using, offering to sell, or selling within the United States, or importing into the United States, the Typo Keyboard.”

Blackberry has said it will "vigorously" defend its unique keyboards intellectual property and of course Typo has said ”BlackBerry’s claims against [us] lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously.”

The first shipment of Typo keyboards is already sold out and new orders are expected to be delivered in March (each kit costs $99). If you own an iPhone 5s, be aware that you lose the fingerprint capabilities when this case is installed. You can order one directly from Typo keyboard if interested (link).

Swiftkey predictive keyboard coming to IOS

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
Beq1vV4CQAAkiRg.png

Everyone's favourite leaker, evleaks, says the popular Android keyboard Swiftkey is coming to an IOS device near you.  But don't pop the champagne just yet because its not what you think.

It seems the company will be releasing an app called Swiftkey Note. Swiftkey note looks like a plain clean looking notes app with the Swiftkey magic keyboard built in.

We don't know if this is a prototype app to encourage other IOS app developers to license Swiftkey for their app do well just have to wait and see.

Sunday January 25 update

Our friendly neighbourhood leaker has provided some new pictures for your viewing enjoyment

Real world review of the Leap Motion Controller

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
Leap_Motion_1.png

Leap Motion Controller Review

I love new tech and am an early adopter. I saw the Leap Motion Controller demo about a year ago and got swept up in Minority Report type computing dreams. Oh the things it would  be able to do. I could think of a dozen ways it would make my computing life so much better and I waiting anxiously for the product to hit the market.

The cool factor

There is no denying this is cool technology. Comparing it to a Kinect is like comparing a bicycle to a giant 4x4 truck.

The leap controller

The device is a little stick gum sized package that sits in front of you and hooks to a PC via USB 2 or USB 3.  the built in LED illuminators and sensors have a 150 degree field of view in 3D space and detect your 10 fingers in millimeter accuracy. there is a fraction of a second lag that is imperceptible.

Leap_Motion_2.png

The tech is amazing at any price but blows me away at its sub $100 price tag.

Installation

Installation on a Windows 8 computer was simple. I downloaded the installer, ran setup with the default settings, created my "Airspac" account and was presented with an awe inspiring interactive demo.

Their appstore

The best apps are those with specifically designed support and can be found on their Airpsace store. They have a surprisingly generous offering of free and paid apps (Apple and Windows).

As you download and use the apps, you appreciate how much practice it takes to really become good with the Leap Motion Controller. sure anyone can use it immediately but fine-tuned control will require practice.

As you use the device you realize that it is very cool but I can't see how this will make my everyday computing life better. This is where reality started to sink in. It is very cool but currently not useful. It won't make you more productive or efficient.

Its cool but

It is fantastic technology  but has limitations (when you move one hand in front of the other the one in back is no longer detected).

Years ago Steve Jobs said he didn't built a touch based iMac because people would quickly get tired. He was right. Using the leap motion will eventually lead to tired arms.

I tried using it in my standard operating system but it was clumsy, error prone and just not a positive experience.

Every once in a while you may be asked to recalibrate the Leap Motion Controller which involved pointing it to a reflective surface and "painting" dots on the screen.

Verdict

The Leap Motion Controller is definitely cool technology that demos well but isn't really practical in the real world today.

This is clearly a version 1.0 product and will require a couple of years to mature before it becomes truly useful.

Right now, I say don't buy it unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket.

https://www.leapmotion.com/