Most Android malware lives in the margins, away from Google Play and the more reliable app shops. It’s nonetheless a good idea to be on the lookout for rogue code, and McAfee has stepped in with thorough explanations of how one of the most common scamware strains, Android.FakeInstaller, works its sinister ways. The bait is typically a search-optimized fake app market or website; the apps themselves not only present a legitimate-looking front but include dynamic code to stymie any reverse engineering. Woe be to anyone who’s tricked long enough to finish the installation, as the malware often sends text messages to expensive premium phone numbers or links target devices to botnets. The safeguard? McAfee would like you to sign up for its antivirus suite, but you can also keep a good head on your shoulders — stick to trustworthy shops and look for dodgy behavior before anything reaches your device.
Earlier this year Adobe announced Photoshop CS6 with a new user interface, and now Elements, its line of beginner-level products, is getting a facelift too. The company just introduced Photoshop and Premiere Elements 11, and while the two apps include a handful of new photo- and video-editing features, the bigger story is that they’re designed to be less intimidating to newbies. Both have a more readable UI, for instance, as opposed to the old theme with the dark background and low-contrast icons. Things like preview thumbnails have been brought to the forefront so that they’re easier to find. Also, both pieces of software ship with a re-tooled image organizer that puts commonly used functions front and center, with lesser-used features like keyword tagging hidden in the menus. The organizer also now has Google Maps integration, so you can view your shots on a map. You can also for the first time view by event, or by the names of people tagged in photos.
As for new features, Photoshop Elements is getting a series of new comic-inspired filters, including “Pen and Ink,” “Graphic Novel” and, yes, “Comic.” Photoshop Elements now allows European customers to upload photos to Cewe, while Premiere Elements supports Vimeo uploads. (Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Shutterfly and SmugMug sharing were already built in.) Amateur videographers will also enjoy a series of new Hollywood-inspired filters, including Red Noir, a “Sin City”-esque effect with red accents, and “Pandora,” which is meant to evoke “Avatar.” Finally, you can use Time Remapping and Reverse Time to speed up footage or slow it down, respectively.
Fans of the software will notice the pricing hasn’t changed: the two apps cost $100 each, or $150 as a bundle. Folks who are upgrading will pay $80 a pop, or $120 for both. Look for both on Adobe’s site today, with the old-fashioned boxed software hitting retailers soon.
Upstream speeds are frequently the bottlenecks for cloud storage: an entire company might be held back waiting for that last presentation video to go online before the big meeting. Box wants much more parity through Accelerator, a custom infrastructure that should make uploads hum. It uses Amazon’s EC2 for help, but the real magic comes through a mix of Box’s own network and special prioritization. Accelerator goes beyond just location to factor in the browser, OS and other criteria that could affect a data packet’s journey. The company claims through outside studies that its average 7MB/s speeds make it the upload king by a wide margin, to the tune of 2.7 times its fastest worldwide rival and 3.1 times any of its American counterparts. Peak speeds are up to 10 times faster than before, if you go by the company’s word. Most of the focus is on corporate customers and speeding up access near the provider’s ten global access points, but Box is planning both to ramp up performance in more areas and bring Accelerator to the company’s syncing platforms in the near future — an obvious lure for would-be Dropbox customers.
If you still cling to that Windows XP-powered PC as your graphics workhorse, Adobe reckons it’s time you upgraded. Photoshop CS6 will be the last release to support Microsoft’s venerable operating system, with Adobe stating that advances in more modern OS’ and graphics processing have allowed for more 3D and Lighting Effect improvements — ones that cannot be rendered within the older Windows iteration. It’s also worth noting that Vista doesn’t support CS6 either, so anyone thinking of upgrading will have to look towards Windows 7, or wait a little longer for the next big thing. Adobe added that specific Creative Cloud updates will also skip over Windows XP users — even if they still take up fair chunk of the PC crowd.
Mozilla has been seeding Firefox OS to eager developers for some time. However, we’ve largely been denied a peek at how the developer’s own take on a mobile app store will play out on an actual device. Some of that picture just filled out thanks to some images of the mobile Firefox Marketplace that have landed in Engadget’s hands. From what we’ve seen of the current store, it’s a significant break from the top-level storefront we saw back in the Boot to Gecko days, not to mention Mozilla Marketplace on the desktop. The deeper exploration shows a minimalist store that’s focused on quickly delving into individual categories rather than an abundance of highlighted apps. We’re not seeing any startling revelations — there’s only free apps visible in these early images, for example — but the gallery is proof that Mozilla is well on its way to fleshing out the core of its OS for a launch next year. Let’s just hope that the rest of the software moves at a similarly quick pace.
While most of its energy is focused on the XO-4 Touch, the One Laptop Per Child project is swinging into full gear for software, too. The project team has just posted an OS 12.1.0 update that sweetens the Sugar for at least present-day XO units. As of this latest revamp, text-to-speech is woven into the interface and vocalizes any selectable text — a big help for students that are more comfortable speaking their language than reading it. USB video output has been given its own lift through support for more ubiquitous DisplayLink adapters. If you’re looking for the majority of changes, however, they’re under-the-hood tweaks to bring the OLPC architecture up to snuff. Upgrades to GTK3+ and GNOME 3.4 help, but we’re primarily noticing a shift from Mozilla’s web engine to WebKit for browsing: although the OLPC crew may have been forced to swap code because of Mozilla’s policies on third-party apps, it’s promising a much faster and more Sugar-tinged web experience as part of the switch. While they’re not the same as getting an XO-3 tablet, the upgrades found at the source link are big enough that classrooms (and the occasional individual) will be glad they held on to that early XO model.
Mozilla has been keeping to a tight schedule of having a completed Firefox release every five to six weeks, and it’s very much on track. The browser team’s Ehsan Akhgari has confirmed that a properly polished version of Firefox 15 should reach the download servers on August 29th. When it does arrive, the new release will primarily expand the silent updates that Windows users first saw in Firefox 12: future iterations on all platforms will install themselves in the background and should be truly ready to go the next time the browser starts. Beyond this deliberately subtle change, the finished version 15 upgrade should still support Opus audio as well as clamp down on out-of-control memory use from add-ons. We’re looking forward to not noticing the differences very shortly.
Adobe’s cloud-based photo storage and editing app has been enjoying its new name since it hopped off the Carousel, and now it’s appreciating a feature bump too. Version 1.5 has just hit the virtual shelves of the Mac and iTunes stores, complete with a new UI and the option to log in using Facebook or Google accounts. Functionality wise, the update adds text captioning for your snaps and the ability to create albums which auto-sync across your devices and can be shared with others via the web. Alright, so the update isn’t revolutionizing the service, but we’re sure those that currently subscribe are reveling in it.
While 3D graphics have been filling our eyes in cinemas and video games way before Nemo ever got lost, we’ve typically had to settle for computer generated artwork. Live2D from Cybernoids is a drawing technology that hopes to change that. The software lets animators and game creators give hand drawn 2D images rudimentary 3D qualities. In the video above you can see the character turn her head, and the image — based solely on the 2D version — twists and adapts in real-time. There are two versions of the software, one based on polygons, and the other vectors, and there is support for consoles and smartphones — but no details on specifics at this time. The developers admit it’s only suitable for limited movement, such as in dialog-based games, for now, but hope to have the tools to handle full 360 degree motions over the next two years. At least, for now, it’s way way further down on the creep-o-meter scale.