Federal Trade Commission Offers $50,000 Bounty Reward to Whomever Can Stop Automated Phone Spam with First Ever “FTC Robocall Challenge”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responding to what they say is a huge surge in automated phone calls, or, “robocalls,” by offering a cash reward and prizes to the person, or group of people, who can thwart these calls in the “FTC Robocall Challenge.” According to the FTC, complaints about robocalls skyrocketed to a high of 212,000 this past April, compared to the last high of 65,000 complaints in October of 2010.

Uber Shuts Down on Taxi Service App in New York City

Uber, the popular iPhone app that allows you to schedule a private car or taxi through your mobile device, is closing the doors on its Uber NYC taxi service, just a month after opening it to beta. Citing too much ride demand for not enough taxi supply, the app makers said that they are hoping they will have better luck in the Big Apple in the coming year.

Bliss Control: Manage All of Your Social Media Accounts from One Place

We can all probably agree that one of the most frustrating things about belonging to so many social networks is managing all of them. Different passwords, profile pictures, and account and privacy settings can be a lot to keep up with in your regular day. Enter BlissControl.com, the website that now allows you to manage the settings on all of your social media accounts with the click of a button.

App.net Founder Dalton Caldwell Moves to Create an Ad-Free Social Network

Would you pay to belong to an ad-free social network? Dalton Caldwell, mastermind behind App.net, akin to an ad-free Facebook or ad-free Twitter, thinks you just might. While he doesn’t presume that App.net will score the huge user-base of Twitter or Facebook, he does think that he will amass enough of a following that the $50 per person annual fee, coupled with the an ad-free and developer-friendly platform, will build a sustainable network that instills trust among both users and developers.

Best Portable Emergency Weather Alert Radio? Your Phone!

With the rash of deadly tornados recently, not to mention thunderstorms, blizzards, and wind storms, there are plenty of reasons to want to be able to get an urgent or emergency local weather alert – or even a national weather alert – wherever you are. Sure, you could carry a portable weather radio, but it turns out that the best sever weather alarm radio is… your phone! Weather apps turn your iPhone or Android phone into an emergency alert weather radio, and provide you with mobile weather alerts. Instead of an actual weather radio, your ‘weather smartphone’ will be your best weather alert radio; it fits in your pocket, will send you a weather alert text message, and provide you with weather radar and a weather map (unlike a radio). And even if you don’t get a severe weather text alert for weeks or months (and who wouldn’t like that?), it will gives you weather forecasts, weather conditions, and those great weather maps. So, what is the best weather app for the iPhone? Or the best weather application for the Android? Happily, the best iPhone weather app and the best weather phone app for Android are, in our opinion, the same one!

Study Finds Personal and Banking Data Likely Accessed on Found Cell Phones Before Being Returned to Owner: How to Protect Yourself

Internet security firm Symantec (proprietors of, among other things, Norton Anti-Virus) have released the results of research that they have dubbed the “Honey Stick Project”. In Project HoneyStick, researchers “lost” a total of 50 cell phones in various cities around North America, including NYC, Washington D.C., LA, San Francisco, and Ottawa, Canada. The aim was to see what the average citizen would do with a found cell phone: would they try to reunite it with its owner, or would they do something more sinister with it? It turns out that the answer is “both”.

Our First Impressions of the MyTouch 4G Slide – a Review

Today was the first day that the MyTouch 4G Slide was available to the public from T-Mobile, and so we picked one up so that we could give you our first impressions. The My Touch 4G Slide phone is known primarily for two major features (well, three if you count that it comes with Android Gingerbread 2.3 installed), and those are the incredible 8 megapixel camera, and the blazing fast 1.2 GHz dual-core processors. But it’s the little things that make or break a phone experience, so read on…

Social Media Pillories “News of the World” as Parliament Investigates Hacking of Dead Girl’s Cell Phone Voicemail

Twitter is aflame with calls for boycotts of Rupert Murdoch, his ‘News of the World’, ‘News of the World’s’ parent company, ‘News International’, and other Murdoch holdings, as the investigation of News of the World’s using a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, to hack into the telephone voicemail of several young girls who had been murdered in the U.K. in 2002, and that of their families, moves into Parliament. The families of Milly Dowler, Holly Wells, and Jessica Chapman have all been informed by police that each of their telephone voicemail accounts may have been hacked, each within days of each girl’s disappearance, and each by Mulcaire, trying to get a scoop for News of the World. Among other things, Mulcaire is alleged to have hacked into Milly Dowler’s voicemail on her mobile phone, and deleted some messages, which caused Milly’s family to continue to hope that she might be found alive when she had already been murdered, and which interfered with the police investigation. Calls for Rebekah Brooks, head of News International, and a personal friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron, to step down are escalating, putting the Prime Minister in an awkward position, particularly as his Communications Director, Andy Coulson, also formerly of News of the World, has already been forced to resign his position with the Prime Minister.

Facebook to Allow Sharing Your Address and Telephone Number with Third Parties

As if it isn’t bad enough that Facebook is sharing your private phone number with all of your Facebook friends, there has been quite a stir this week over the news that Facebook is moving forward with their plans to allow third parties to access your contact information, including your address and telephone number. While Facebook denies this in the press, Facebook themselves confirmed it in a formal letter to the U.S. legislature, signed by Facebook’s VP of Global Public Policy, Marne Levine.

How to Apply Parental Controls to Restrict Web Access, Calls and Texts on Your Child’s T-Mobile Cell Phone

If you are wanting or needing to give your child a cell phone, but want to be able to apply parental controls to restrict access, or even to make their access fully restricted access with them being able to call just a few numbers that you designate, then here is how to do it with T-Mobile. It is important that you understand these steps, and that you both a) don’t let Tmobile tell you that it can’t be done, and (equally important), b) don’t believe T-Mobile when they tell you that it has been done. You will need to do it – or at least check that T-Mobile has really done it – yourself. Here is how to lock down your child’s cell phone account and access, and apply full parental controls, so that they have no Internet access, and can only call and text to pre-approved numbers.