Tech News

Deterring Smartphone Thefts With Kill Switches, Windows XP Needs To Die, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 20-06-2014

Also, BlackBerry posts surprise profit, Valve launches annual Steam Summer Sale, a U.S. college offers athletic scholarships to professional gamers, eBay Valet sells your unwanted stuff for you, and Conan O’Brien shows off at E3 2014.


iPhone Kill Switches Deter Thieves

There is now strong evidence that having kill switches on smartphones lowers the rate of crime by deterring thieves. Apple introduced a kill switch to iPhone with the release of iOS 7 A Complete Beginner's Guide to iOS 11 for iPhone & iPad Here's everything you need to know to get started with iOS 11. Read More , and the number of iPhones being stolen since has dropped in several major cities. In New York, iPhone thefts dropped 19 percent, in San Francisco, 38 percent, and in London, 24 percent. Over the same time period, thefts of Samsung smartphones increased. Perhaps because they weren’t ugly enough The Art of Stopping Phone Thieves With Uglification Smartphone theft worldwide reached epidemic proportions in 2013, prompting manufacturers, like Samsung, to announce plans to create a device kill-switch. The kill-switch design will turn stolen phones into lifeless hunks of glass and plastic. Can... Read More .

These impressive figures prove that having a kill switch on a smartphone — enabling users to delete all data and render their handset inoperable if stolen — deters thieves. And it has led Google and Microsoft to commit to introducing kill switches for Android and Windows Phone handsets, respectively. The feature is likely to be enabled by default, with the user afforded the option to disable it.

Apple deserves a lot of credit for being the innovator when it comes to smartphone kill switches. It doesn’t make up for the distinct lack of innovation elsewhere in its product lineup of late, but it’s something at least.

Security Firm Wants Windows XP To Die

When Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April 2014 Microsoft Kills Windows XP, Hollywood Sues Megaupload, Virus Shield Scam [Tech News Digest] RIP Windows XP, Hollywood sues Megaupload, Virus Shield scam, Xbox 360 emulation, multiplayer Goat Simulator, and Mario escapes into the real world. Read More , most people agree it was the right decision. After all, XP is old and outdated Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Think Microsoft is letting Windows XP die too soon? You're not alone. Many think this is a cash grab. What if I told you Windows XP is the longest supported version of Windows ever? Read More . However, XP still has a 20 percent market share, and people are digging their heels in despite repeated calls for them to move on to a newer, more able, operating system Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More .

Mykko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at security company F-Secure Labs, has had enough of people refusing to move on. According to The Inquirer, during a recent roundtable discussion, he stated, “I can’t wait for Windows XP to die. I’m glad Microsoft stopped shipping updates. I’m mad at Microsoft for shipping updates after end of support, it should try and kill this beast. But it’s not dead yet.


Hyppönen is extremely well known in the security community, so perhaps his words will have an impact on those Windows XP users still desperately holding on to the past. Fingers crossed.

BlackBerry Posts Profit To Stave Off Death

BlackBerry, the once popular but now struggling phone company, has beaten all expectations by actually posting a profit for its fiscal first quarter. A net profit of $23 million may not sound like much for a company the size of BlackBerry, but it’s a lot better than the $423 million loss posted for the previous quarter. Revenues stand at $966 million, which should stave off death for a while longer. Optimism!

The Steam Summer Sale Has Started

Valve has launched the 2014 Steam Summer Sale, with PC, Mac, and Linux gamers offered impressive discounts of a host of games. The Steam Summer Sale runs until June 30, so just remember that you can only play so many games in one lifetime. Make sure to choose carefully by reading reviews 3 Video Game Review Sites You Must Look At Before Your Next Purchase Video game reviews are more important than a review of any other entertainment category. This is simply because video games cost a lot more than a movie or a CD. When you are trying to... Read More before cracking open your wallets and purses.

Athletic Scholarships For League Of Legends

Robert Morris University in Illinois has become the first college in the U.S. to offer athletic scholarships to professional gamers. The college is targeting League of Legends players 3 Competitive League Of Legends Matches To Turn You Into A Fan Just in the past two weeks, we've learned of huge developments in the League of Legends eSports community. Professional League of Legends players are now being given visas, just like players from the NFL, NBA,... Read More currently attending high school, offering them up to 50 percent of their tuition fees and living costs, which equates to a healthy $19,000. And yet some people still think video games are aimed at children. Tch.


eBay Valet Sells Your Unwanted Goods

Selling your old and unwanted stuff on eBay 11 Critical Tips on How to Sell More on eBay eBay is one of the top online shopping sites. You may be a seasoned seller on eBay, or you may have just started with your eBay seller career, these tips can help boost your profits. Read More is a great way of having a clearout while making money in the process. Unfortunately, it also requires a little effort. Thankfully, eBay Valet has arrived eBay Launches iOS App Called "eBay Valet" Which Will Sell Your Stuff For You Want to sell stuff on eBay but are too lazy to actually do it? There's now an app for iPhone which will do the actual selling for you, in exchange for a 30% cut. Read More to do the hard work for you, in exchange for a healthy 30% cut of the profits, naturally. Previously available on the Web, eBay Valet has now been launched as an iOS app.

Conan O’Brien Wins E3 2014

And finally, Conan O’Brien isn’t a gamer. At all. But he does like the idea of video games, and his efforts to get better at playing them has become a regular slot on his show. His latest effort saw him attend E3 2014 E3 2014 News Roundup, Facebook Teases Slingshot, Moto X Offer Ends [Tech News Digest] Highlights from E3 2014, Facebook teases Slingshot, Moto X sells out, Doodle 4 Google winner revealed, Netflix stops ISP shaming, OneNote Clipper for Chrome, and George R.R. Martin joins Twitter. Read More , but games weren’t the only thing on his mind. Watch the video to the end and you’ll see what we mean.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you welcome the arrival of kill switches for smartphones? Is Mykko Hyppönen right to wish Windows XP would hurry up and die? Is there any hope left for BlackBerry? What will you be buying from the Steam Summer Sale?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. All comments will be read and the best will earn a reply.


Image Credit: Whatleydude via Flickr

Related topics: eBay, Steam, Windows XP.

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  1. Bob
    June 22, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I have been a windows user for about 15 years but recently I must admit I am becoming more and more interested in linux systems because they are free, generally seem easier to set up and install and upgrade and don't need patches every month (as far as I understand)

    There are still a lot of old machines around that worked reasonably well with XP but I have found several linux lightweights that seem to work even better. Especially as the majority of people just want to surf the net and write emails and documents. Why should we have M$ foisted on us all the time.

    • Dave P
      June 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Linux is a fantastic option for people looking to move away from Windows when ditching XP. Even if it's something like Chrome OS, which is based on Linux but from another big corporation.

    • dragonmouth
      June 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Chrome OS is nothing more than a Linux-based Windows. Granted it is not the security swiss cheese Windows is and is "free" but switching to it is switching from one proprietary lock-in to another proprietary lock-in. Might as well switch from Windows to OS/X.

  2. Jimmy
    June 22, 2014 at 6:21 am

    A hard disk will fail after being used for several years. Unless you clone your hard disk every few years, your existing PC will not function at some point in time.

    All new PCs are preloaded with Windows 8/8.1; some of which have an option to downwardly move to Windows 7. Windows 8.1 (32-bit version) can smoothly run on older machines with only 1GB of RAM. For those who are unfamiliar with the operations of Windows 8/8.1, they can always ask someone to download and install the freeware Classic Shell so that the PC will have the look-and-feel of Windows XP.

    • Dave P
      June 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      You're assuming that strange subset of the population still persevering with XP want to move on. They don't, for reasons that I personally cannot fathom.

  3. A41202813GMAIL
    June 22, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Just Crossing Fingers Will Not Move Me From XP In The Next 10 Years, Or So.

    You Can Install XP With Most Modern Motherboards.

    As Someone Recently Said - TOUGH LUCK.


    • Dave P
      June 23, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Good luck running XP in another 13 years. We will all be laughing at you using our fancy new gesture-controlled operating systems.

    • Howard B
      June 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Based on your username, I'm pretty sure somebody has *already* hacked your GMail.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      June 24, 2014 at 9:53 am

      @Dave P

      We Shall See.

      Gesture Lover, Hey ? - Good Luck With That.

      XP, FOREVER !

    • A41202813GMAIL
      June 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

      @Howard B

      Do You Have Anything Against Usernames Based On Social Security Numbers, Or Something ?

      XP, FOREVER !

  4. dragonmouth
    June 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Kill Switches - how long before somebody figures out a way around them?
    If the phone is completely wiped, doesn't that also get rid of the kill switch? Wouldn't loading a replacement O/S make the phone usable again? I don't own a smartphone, that's why I'm asking.

    Win XP - not just XP but ALL Windows versions currently in use should die. M$ should go back to square one and re-write Windows from the ground up using Unix as a model/framework. Currently all versions of Windows are like a chain link fence, full of holes. To say that Win 8.x is the most secure Windows ever is ludicrous. It's like saying that a chicken wire fence protects better because of its smaller holes. The idea is to have a wall, not a fence. OTOH, if M$ created a secure O/S, it would many security software companies out of business. After all, how many companies are making profit on providing security software for Linux, BSD, Unix and OS/X?

    • Dave P
      June 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Even if there was a way around it or installing a new OS fixed the issue, thieves aren't going to want the hassle. And that's the point.

      Windows 8 IS the most secure version of Windows, but sure, it's far from perfect. Perhaps Microsoft does need to go back and start again, but I can't see it happening in our lifetimes.