Phones: Carriers, OSs, Security, Privacy, Driving, and Government

Teaser medium

The Geeks cover various aspects of cell phones and how we interact with them — baseband hackability, OS choices, grappling with carriers, towers, and the dangers of using smart phone features while driving.

Collaborative Edting

Recently a listener emailed us to ask about what Collaborative software we use to run the show. Here is my response:

Ok – the software we were using was called: EtherPad – we chatted about it on air on Episode 2009-02-28

Then in our December 5th 2009 episode we mentioned that Google Acquired AppJet the makers of Etherpad.

Then in the December 26th 2009 episode we covered that Google Opened Sourced the Ehterpad code.

In researching this email I see that a group has made a Node.js download of the server software – very cool, I can set this up again to run on – which might now be my weekend project!

And there are a whole bunch of people running the Etherpad server software and making the tool available.

CyanogenMod Windows-Based Installed

Today we are exiting the ‘beta’ status phase and providing the CyanogenMod Installer for general release. The Play store application is now available, and the PC client component is now available.

The second operating system hiding in every mobile phone

“…we have a complete operating system, running on an ARM processor, without any exploit mitigation (or only very little of it), which automatically trusts every instruction, piece of code, or data it receives from the base station you’re connected to. What could possibly go wrong?”

What’s In Your Metadata?

We’re studying the National Security Agency, and we need your help.

The NSA has confirmed that it collects American phone records. Defenders of the program insist it has little privacy impact and is “not surveillance.”

Like many computer scientists, we strongly disagree. Phone metadata is inherently revealing. We want to rigorously prove it—for the public, for Congress, and for the courts.

That’s where you come in.

FCC Open Source Cell Carrier Coverage App

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has released a smartphone app that will allow users to measure the speed of their mobile broadband connection, while providing aggregate data to the agency for measuring nationwide mobile broadband network performance.

The FCC will in turn provide consumers, starting from early next year, with maps and other information on mobile broadband performance, which will help consumers compare the performance of their service providers.

Drivers still Web surfing while driving, survey finds

Texting while driving used to be an offense identified with younger vehicle operators. But a new poll shows how it has spread to older drivers as well. The poll also found that one in four drivers are now accessing the Web while driving, yet another dangerous distraction. A look at some of the other results of the poll and state laws governing usage while driving.