LastPass forcing members to change passwords

/* Posted May 8th, 2011 at 2:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Uncategorized    */

Users who manage and store their passwords through password management service LastPass are being forced to change their master passwords after the site noticed an issue this week that raised the spectre of a possible security breach.

As described in a blog yesterday, LastPass (download) recently followed a string of breadcrumbs that pointed to an anomaly in its network traffic on Tuesday. Though such anomalies aren’t unusual, LastPass found a matching anomaly in one of its databases. Unable to identify a root cause for either anomaly, the company made the decision to assume the worst–that some of its data had been hacked.

Although LastPass hasn’t identified a specific breach, it’s erring on the side of caution by now forcing its members to change their master passwords. For you non-LastPass users, what exactly does that mean?

Services like LastPass and rival RoboForm let users create and manage passwords to more easily log in to the vast array of secure Web sites they visit. Those passwords can be stored on a PC or mobile device as well as online. As one means of protection, both companies typically urge users to create a single complex master password that can unlock the key to accessing their passwords. Of course, if that master password is compromised, hackers potentially can gain access to all the individual passwords, one reason why these companies advise users to employ complex master passwords.

In this case, LastPass said it believes that users with complex non-dictionary master passwords were probably safe even if any data was compromised. But the company knows that many users out of force of habit often choose simple, easily decipherable passwords. Though it sees the need to require all users to change their passwords as an overreaction, as LastPass says, “we’d rather be paranoid and slightly inconvenience you than to be even more sorry later.”

In the meantime, LastPass says that it’s taking further precautions against the anomaly by shutting down and moving certain key services and verifying all of its source code. The company is also enhancing the encryption used to protect its data.

Update 9:30 a.m. PT: LastPass is now reporting on its blog that the company is being overwhelmed by support requests and is having trouble keeping up with the number of password changes. The company has since set up a way for users to confirm their e-mail addresses without having to change their passwords. As a result, LastPass is urging people who are using the service from the same computer or IP address to hold off on changing their passwords for a few days.

“We’re asking if you’re not being asked to change your password then hold off–we’re protecting everyone.”

The company further suggests accessing your LastPass data offline by disconnecting from the Internet and then logging in or by downloading its LastPass Pocket software, which lets you carry around your data on a USB stick.

Update 11:07 a.m. PT: Security researchers at Duo Security have also offered their take on the LastPass security anomaly with recommendations on what LastPass users should do at this point.

Wondershare Scrapbook Studio Free Download With Serial Keycode

/* Posted May 8th, 2011 at 2:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Gadgets    */

Scrapbook Studio, from Wondershare, is a comprehensive and simple-to-use digital scrapbooking application which is designed to explore your unlimited creativity for making fun, pretty and attractive digital scrapbook, photo card and photo calendar with ease. The software application is capable of sharing your wonderful personalized digital scrapbook with your friends and family via email and social networking sites.

Wondershare Scrapbook Studio

Key features of Wondershare Scrapbook Studio:

  • A host of free high-quality templates for any occasion such as wedding, birthday, baby kids, family love, Christmas, holiday and so forth
  • Decorate your personal scrapbook layout with wide range of scrapbooking elements and more than 300+ scrapbook pages
  • Smooth drag-n-drop of photos and decorations
  • An array of editing tools and special effects to create your ultimate digital scrapbook
  • Print or share your creative, amazing scrapbook, greeting card, invitation and etc via email, Facebook, Flickr and more

Wondershare Scrapbook Studio normally costs $29.95 for purchase. In order to celebrate the great Mother’s Day, the software company is now giving away free licenses of Wondershare Scrapbook Studio to the interested users.

To grab the free copy of Wondershare Scrapbook Studio, follow these steps:

  1. Visit Wondershare Facebook promotion page.

  2. Fill up the registration form to obtain your free license serial key.

    Note: This promotion is for the fans only, click “Like” button to be a fan.

  3. An email (from iSkysoft Mailer) which contains a free license code of the Scrapbook Studio will hit your registered email inbox instantly.
  4. Download the setup installer of the digital scrapbook app – wss_full99.exe
  5. Input your received free license keycode to unlock the software.

Wondershare’s Scrapbook Studio digital scrapbooking software is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP platforms.

Related Entries:

iPad News: Conde Nast Latest Publisher to Offer iPad Subs

/* Posted May 8th, 2011 at 2:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under iPad    */

Conde Nast isn’t the first publishing giant to come to terms with Apple over iPad subscriptions for its titles, but it will be the first to rollout an issue.

20110507 232219 new yorker cover iPad News: Conde Nast Latest Publisher to Offer iPad Subs

It’s been an eventful week for both Apple and the print publishing industry. After months at an impasse on how to handle offering subscriptions on the iPad, three publishing giants have come on board and will be selling in-app subscriptions for the content of their magazines. Hearst and Time Inc. were the first to cut deals with Apple and now Conde Nast has joined them.

Conde Nast will actually be the first to make a subscription to one of its titles available, as it will offer the New Yorker next week to take advantage of the media frenzy over the death of Osama Bin Laden. By the end of the month, Conde will add seven more iPad edition subs for Glamour, Vanity Fair, Self, Allure, Wired, Golf Digest, and GQ.

To sweeten the deal, Conde will be dropping single-issue prices of its digital titles from the current $3.99 or $4.99 to $1.99 and offer new annual subs for $19.99. In addition, print subscribers to the eight Conde Nast titles already offered for the iPad will get free access to the digital editions.

Emerald Kinect and FFmpeg libs Sources

/* Posted May 8th, 2011 at 2:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Xbox    */


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Is Pay-Per-Click “Right” For Your Business?

/* Posted May 7th, 2011 at 8:43pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under SEO    */

Advertising is an age-old trick used to increase the consumption of products or services.  The advent of the Internet has given us more avenue to advertise aside from the usual, and costly, newspaper, magazine, billboard and television ads.

The Basics of Pay-per-click Advertisement

In the last years, pay-per-click (PPC) has gained significant popularity as far as Internet advertising goes.  In this type of advertising, a company pays the advertising hosts or affiliates if, and only if, their advertisement was “clicked” by users. The number of times clicked determines how much the company should pay the affiliate. Pay-per-click advertisements can be placed on websites, articles, e-mails, and even blogs; places where an average consumer would most likely see it, thus increasing the visibility of your products or services and directing traffic to your website.

But a click does not necessarily equate to a sale, and there is no hard evidence on the efficiency of pay-per-click advertisements in increasing the consumption of products or services.  Thus, there is no 100% assurance that the money you’re spending for this type of advertisement is really worth it.

If not all clicks equate to a sale, why should companies continue to use pay per click?

Reasons for Using Pay Per Click Advertising

First, pay-per-click advertisements are not intrusive and not interruptive. Thus you can be sure that consumers are clicking on pay-per-click advertisements are looking for products or services that they are interested in and intending to purchase.  It also doesn’t generate negative feelings towards your products unlike spam and pop-ups.

Second, pay-per-click advertisement is comparatively cheaper than other types of advertisement like TV ads, magazines, and billboards. Pay-per-click advertisement is also more flexible than other types of advertisements. You can easily change the content of your advertisement or even stop advertising, and you won’t be charged for it.  Again, what you’re paying for is the traffic that they generate, and not the ad placement per se.

Lastly, because pay-per-click advertisements are based on keywords, you can easily limit your intended audience to those who are actively searching for the products and services that you offer and those who with real intention to purchase.  Therefore, for pay-per-click advertisements to be really effective, you must pay special attention to your target keywords. Sometimes, it helps to ask help from a specialist on which target keywords would work best for your advertisement.

Cautions

You also have to be careful. Pay-per-click advertisement using the bidding model can bleed you dry because popular keywords tend to be more expensive and you can end up paying up to $5 per click if you bid for the use of the most popular keywords.  You can try the flat rate model first if you just want to see if Pay-per-click advertising will work for your business.  If it works, then you can continue and adjust as needed, maybe move to the bidding model to generate more traffic.  If it doesn’t give you the result that you want, then you can always try other means of advertising.

The good thing about pay-per-click advertisement is it’s considerably cheaper that you can afford to take it for a test run. Depending on the host or affiliate, you can even choose to set a threshold for minimum earnings.  This means that you do not pay unless the host or affiliate can generate the agreed amount of clicks, thereby ensuring that they are really exerting effort into getting a good amount of traffic to your website.

Want to learn how to do free people search on the internet? Go here to learn this valuable skill.

Sequence releases on Xbox Live Indie Games

/* Posted May 7th, 2011 at 2:43pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

 

Indie developer Iridium Studios has finally released its first title on Xbox Live Indie Games, Sequence, a rhythm based RPG.

 

The first of Iridium Studios’ titles, Sequence features over 12 hours of gameplay, 90 minutes of recorded dialogue, and 28 tracks from Ronald Jenkees and Michael Wade Hamilton. Players switch back and forth between three separate streams of notes, fending off enemy attacks while maintaining a constant barrage of offensive and defensive spells. The art and character design were completed by Wendi Chen.

 

“It’s time to play,” says Jason Wishnov, creative lead at Iridium Studios. “Remember, the Xbox 360 spits out several rubies and a cheeseburger upon completion of the game, so you should really get on that.”

 

About Iridium Studios:

 

Iridium Studios was founded in 2009 by Jason Wishnov in Los Angeles, California. Dedicated to unique gameplay concepts, the company immediately began prototyping what would become its first game, Sequence. Utilizing the wealth of talent in the Hollywood area, and bringing aboard talented artists and musicians, Iridium Studios quickly progressed through its first title. Iridium has been featured at Joystiq, Kotaku, CinemaBlend, and Hardcore Gamer Magazine.

 

via Press Release

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Javascript Iframe Breaker Code Courtesy of Walmart

/* Posted May 7th, 2011 at 2:43pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under General    */

For the same reasons that you would want code to break out of a frame, being put in an iframe by another webpage poses much of the same problems. Just like Google Images takes credit for your images, another website can iframe your webpage on their site so that your content actually looks like theirs. This is pretty much intellectual property theft and truthfully, there are more bad reasons to iframe than good reasons. It’s good if you give full credit to the page or if you are Google AdSense and want to serve ads independently without slowing down the loading time, or if you are some sort of web stat tracker. For any other reason, there is simply no reasonable justification to do this. It’s malicious, plain and simple. Fortunately, walmart.com has provided us with their very own iframe breaker code in Javascript embedded right in their HTML source code complete with documentation! Thanks Walmart!

Here is the iframe breaker code that walmart.com uses. If it’s good enough for Walmart, it’s good enough for me.

!-- start /include/static/kill_frames.jsp --
script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"
/**
* Function to kill any frames that are enclosing your page.
* This function checks if there are frames, and then kills off
* any framing pages that are not hosted by walmart.com
*
*/
function killFrames() {
  if (top.location != location) {
    if (document.referrer) {
    var referrerHostname = get_hostname_from_url(document.referrer);
    var strLength = referrerHostname.length;
      if ((strLength == 11)  (referrerHostname != "walmart.com")){  // to take care of http://walmart.com url - length of "walmart.com" string is 11.
        top.location.replace(document.location.href);
      } else if (strLength != 11  referrerHostname.substring(referrerHostname.length - 12) != ".walmart.com") {  // length og ".walmart.com" string is 12.
        top.location.replace(document.location.href);
      }
    }
  }
}
function get_hostname_from_url(url) {
  return url.match(/://(.[^/?]+)/)[1];
}
killFrames();
/script
!-- end /include/static/kill_frames.jsp --

Let’s break it down. So the documentation’s not perfect (“length og” should be “length of”) but all the pieces are there. To make this work for your website, simply replace all instances of “walmart.com” with “yourdomain.com” and change the references to string length to be the number of characters in your domain. If you read the comments, you’ll see that “11? refers to the number of characters in the string “walmart.com” including the dot, so count how many characters are in your domain including the dot and replace the numbers on lines 14 and 16 with your number. Also be sure to replace the “12? on line 16 with the same number plus one (see the documentation saying “12? is the length of “.walmart.com” string).

I’ve taken the iframe Javascript code and made it even more general and easy to tweak for your benefit. To use my code, all you need to do is replace the domain “walmart.com” with your own and the code will do the rest of the work for you. No need to modify anything else including the string lengths.

Here is my generalized iframe breaker code:

!-- start /include/static/kill_frames.jsp --
script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"
/**
* Function to kill any frames that are enclosing your page.
* This function checks if there are frames, and then kills off
* any framing pages that are not hosted by mydomain.com
*
*/
function killFrames() {
  if (top.location != location) {
    if (document.referrer) {
      var referrerHostname = get_hostname_from_url(document.referrer);
      var strLength = referrerHostname.length;
      var myDomain = "mydomain.com"; // REPLACE THIS WITH YOUR DOMAIN, THAT'S IT!!!
      var domLength = myDomain.length;
      if ((strLength == domLength)  (referrerHostname != myDomain)){
        top.location.replace(document.location.href);
      } else if (strLength != domLength  referrerHostname.substring(referrerHostname.length - (domLength + 1)) != "." + myDomain) {
        top.location.replace(document.location.href);
      }
    }
  }
}
function get_hostname_from_url(url) {
  return url.match(/://(.[^/?]+)/)[1];
}
killFrames();
/script
!-- end /include/static/kill_frames.jsp --

To add this to your website, simply copy and paste the code I’ve provided somewhere between the head tags in your HTML source code.

To test it, simply create any HTML page not on your domain with the code below and browse to it in your web browser. Remember to replace “mydomain.com” with your own.

iframe src="http://mydomain.com/" width="100%" height="100%"/iframe

If everything works, then you should be broken out of the iframe and you should notice the URL in the address bar be changed to your website.

Trailer: Tiny Duke Nukem Goes on Mini-Rampage

/* Posted May 7th, 2011 at 8:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

“Size only matters when you’re full-grown, baby.”

In this latest trailer for Duke Nukem Forever, the long-awaited sequel that is ostensibly coming out June 14, we see one of the game’s funnier gameplay gimmicks, in which Duke gets shrunken down to action-figure size.

You can read our hands-on impressions of this mode from the February play test in Las Vegas.

Musical magic and flying discs: iPhone apps of the week

/* Posted May 7th, 2011 at 2:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */

iPhone(Credit:
CNET)

Most everyone has probably heard about the dust-up over the location-tracking behavior on iOS devices since last June. Apple later promised in an open letter that it would resolve the issue, though the company claims it was not using the information for anything. But when a developer made a program to show users’ location data on a map, people were understandably concerned that someone could track their whereabouts through their location logs without them knowing it.

On Wednesday, Josh Lowensohn reported that Apple made good on its promise with the release of iOS 4.3.3, reducing the size of the “crowdsourced” location cache, and the device no longer backs up the cache to iTunes.

Even though I downloaded the software and checked out the map to see that my
iPhone did indeed track my location, I was never terribly worried about it and took Apple at its word that the location data wasn’t being used for anything nefarious. Still, I’m glad to see the company has listened to user concerns and hopefully this will lay this latest Apple controversy to rest.

What do you think? Were you nervous that your information was being used without your consent or do you even care? Let me know in the comments.

This week’s apps are a piano app that lets you play hit songs and a flying disc game that’s both graphically beautiful and challenging.

Magic Piano

In World mode you can watch and listen as other people play their renditions of hit songs.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Smule’s Magic Piano (Free) for iPhone brings the fun and beginner-friendly piano app to the small screen. Already a popular music-app pick on the
iPad, Magic Piano offers up a unique touch-screen music experience, letting you play both classical and pop music hits by following and touching beams of light on the screen. If you don’t like following along in Song Book mode, you also have the option to play freestyle in Solo mode, which lets you configure the keyboard into interesting shapes (circular, spiral, and other layouts) to add to the fun as you play.

Part of what makes Smule’s music apps great are the social elements that let you hear music being played around the world. Switch to World mode to get a 3D view of the globe and listen as people play live from different locations. You get a couple of controls so you can either skip to the next user or you can give the current performer a little encouragement by touching the heart-shaped button.

Song Book mode is probably where you’ll spend the most time, however, playing classics and hits you can buy using Smoola, Smule’s in-app currency. While the app itself is free and comes with a couple of songs to experiment with, you’ll need to spend a little cash to get hits from artists like Lady Gaga, Train, and Jason Mraz. Tiered Smoola packages let you choose how much you want to spend, but I got the Small Pack of 440 Smoola for $4.99 and was able to download most of the songs I wanted (at about 75 Smoola each). If you’re really serious about Magic Piano, you can get the Medium Pack of 920 Smoola for $9.99 or the Pro Pack of 1,920 Smoola for $19.99.

It’s important to note that if you don’t know a song beforehand it’s going to be hard to play it the way it was intended–Magic Piano shows the light beams as the notes should be played, but there is no indication of how you should play the song rhythmically. To be fair, it’s even kind of fun struggling through an unknown song to see if you can make it sound good, but it’s important to note that Magic Piano doesn’t really show you how to play a given song–it just gives you the notes in order.

Another drawback is the small screen size. Though you’ll be able to play along comfortably in Song Book mode, trying to accurately hit the keys of the various piano shapes in Freestyle mode is almost impossible. Still, my thought is that you’ll spend more time in Song Book mode anyway, so that won’t be a big deal to most users.

Overall, Magic Piano is a fun little music app that will appeal to anyone who wants to interact with a simulated piano. Though it costs a bit more to get the songs you want, it’s satisfying to hit the screen just at the right moments to make a song you know come to life.

Frisbee Forever

Good-looking environments add to the fun as you guide your Frisbee through the course.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Frisbee Forever (Free) is the fully licensed flying disc app that lets you guide a Frisbee disc through colorful obstacle courses. Against a cartoonlike 3D backdrop, you start by flicking your Frisbee onscreen, then guiding the disc through rings and around obstacles, all the while gathering stars as you go. You have the option to use onscreen control arrows, but I found the tilt controls to be much more fun. If you gather all the stars and make it through all the gates to the finish line, you’ll be awarded a gold medal along with experience points and Star Coins. As you level up, you’ll be able to win new Frisbee designs in bonus levels, or you can use your Star Coins to buy new designs in the in-app store.

Frisbee Forever is a lot of fun both for the cartoonlike graphics and themed worlds, and for the smooth control system that makes it satisfying to complete levels. Something about hitting the turns perfectly and gathering all available stars has its own draw–I found myself trying later levels again and again to try to get a perfect score. The themed worlds give your surroundings plenty of variation, and all the in-game 3D models are well detailed, letting you know that the developers made sure there was plenty to look at–even if you’re locked in concentration on the obstacles at hand. All told, there are nine themed areas with 10 courses each and one bonus world with 10 courses you’ll unlock as you play.

If you’re not the patient type, you can buy Star Coins via the in-app store to get fancy Frisbee designs immediately, but it’s not very hard to earn coins by playing to unlock the designs you want.

Overall, Frisbee Forever is a fun and quirky flying game with great-looking graphics, a solid control system, and plenty of courses to master, giving it a lot of replay value. Anyone who likes arcade flying games should check out this app.

What’s your favorite iPhone app? Is Magic Piano worth the trouble on the smaller iPhone screen? What do you think of Frisbee forever? Let me know in the comments!

HP Veer 4G: A Supercompact WebOS Phone

/* Posted May 7th, 2011 at 2:43am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under News    */

HP Veer 4G smartphonePicking up right where the Palm Pixi left off, the HP Veer 4G ($100 with a two-year ATT contract as of May 5, 2011) is smaller than your average high-end smartphone. Not everybody wants–or needs–a monolithic 4.3-inch phone, though. And just because the Veer is smaller doesn’t mean that it misses out on all the heavy specs. The Veer’s tiny design is a nice change from the dozens of large Android phones we’ve seen over the past year.

Supercompact Design

Immediately, the Veer reminded me of Microsoft’s sad little Kin One, with its square, compact shape. But the Veer, sporting a curved back and edges plus soft backing, is a lot slicker than the Kin One. Fans of the Palm Pre and Pixi will be happy to know that the Veer (as well as the Pre 3, for that matter) retains the mirror on the back of the phone for all of your self-portrait needs. The Veer comes in black and white. (And thankfully, there’s no delay with the white model!) We got a white review unit, which looks quite stylish.

When the phone is closed, it is ridiculously tiny, measuring 3.31 inches tall by 2.15 inches wide by 0.59 inches thick. It weighs a light 3.63 ounces. It is so compact that I fear that it could get lost easily in a purse or backpack. If you carry your phone in your pants pocket, however, you’ll barely even notice it’s there. Holding it up to your ear is a bit awkward, just because it is so diminutive. Honestly, I felt a bit silly talking on a phone this small!

The Veer has a 2.6-inch, 320-by-400-pixel display, which is pretty small compared with the 3.5-inch or larger displays we see on almost all new smartphones today. The size threw me off a bit–you’re not going to watch video on this thing. But details looked sharp, and colors were bright and vivid. I will say that the screen felt slightly cramped as I opened and shuffled through apps; I wish that it was slightly larger for that purpose.

The keyboard–a vertical-sliding keyboard with Chiclet-style keys–is similar to those on the older Palm phones. Unfortunately, the soft, gummy keys (which I’ve griped about in the past) are still present. Gone is the sharp lip, making room for more space between the keys. The keyboard is still a little awkward to type on, though. If you have big hands, you will get very frustrated using this phone. My colleague reported that his fingers kept “pressing three keys at once.”

Unfortunately, the Veer has no on-screen software keyboard, so you’re stuck with the slide-out keyboard.

Software

The Veer runs HP WebOS 2.1.1, which is similar to the version of WebOS we saw on the Pre 2. WebOS 2.1 basically enhances existing features in the WebOS platform. If you’re unfamiliar with the features and navigation basics of WebOS, be sure to check out our hands-on, which covers most of the basics. For the purposes of this review, I’ll be discussing only the new features in WebOS 2.1.

I’ve always been a huge fan of WebOS’s elegant way of handling multitasking. The OS uses a deck-of-cards visualization: You can view each of your open applications at once, shuffle them any way you choose, and then discard the ones you want to close by flipping them upward.

HP Veer WebOS 2.1.1 stacksStacks in multitaskingWebOS 2.1 brings a new element to the table: Stacks. In Stacks, WebOS 2.1 takes the card visual to the next level by grouping related apps into stacks. If you have two different Web pages open from the same site, for example, WebOS will stack them together rather than placing them as separate cards on your screen.

Another neat feature, called Just Type, lets you search, start an e-mail, update your status, and more without having to launch an app. Just Type is an enhancement built on top of the preexisting Universal Search feature. For instance, I wanted to update my Twitter status about the Veer, so I started typing “I have a…” This caused a list of options to pop up: the dialer, Google, and two new sections called Launch Search and Quick Actions. Under Launch Search, I picked Twitter from the list and updated my status with “I have a Veer 4G in house!” Easy. The Quick Actions section lists actions such as New Memo, New Calendar Event, and New Task. It is a really clever way to rapidly get something done on your Veer without having to mess with opening apps or menus.

Also new is something Palm calls Exhibition: When you dock your WebOS phone, it will be able to display widgetlike information apps for your calendar, Facebook, and other items. We didn’t have a Touchstone in house to test this feature, unfortunately.

Web Browsing

WebOS 2.1 adds support for Adobe Flash Plugin 10.1, so you can finally play Flash games, watch Flash videos, and view other Flash content on the Veer. The browser features other HTML 5 enhancements, too, such as geolocation support.

Web pages loaded up quickly both over Wi-Fi and over ATT’s network. The browser handled just about every site I threw at it.

My biggest gripe about the Web browsing isn’t really about the browser itself–it’s about the Veer’s display size. Reading text on such a small screen simply isn’t ideal, and scrolling through long pages of text and pictures can get a bit frustrating.

Performance

When the Veer debuted in February, it didn’t have the “4G” label attached to it. A lot of debate surrounds usage of the term “4G.” Without getting too technical here, the important thing that ATT customers need to know is that if your phone has 4G attached to it, you’re going to be stuck on a more-expensive 4G plan. According to ATT and Palm’s spec sheets, the Veer’s network specs are HSDPA Category 10 (for downloads) and HSUPA Category 6 (for uploads), which offer theoretical peak throughputs of 14.4 mbps and 5.76 mbps, respectively.

We were unable to test the Veer’s upload and download speeds, unfortunately, as no FCC-approved Speedtest app is available in the HP App Catalog (we use the Ookla Speedtest app to test Android phones and to conduct all of our 4G testing).

For further discussion, read my colleague Mark Sullivan’s analysis of the definition of 4G versus HSPA+, as well as Chris Ziegler’s editorial on ATT’s branding of the Veer on ThisIsMyNext.com.

Powered by the second-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 800MHz processor, the Veer might seem dated compared with the dual-core smartphones we’ve seen this year. I was pleasantly surprised by the Veer’s performance, however. It was only when I had an excessive number of apps open that the Veer started to slow down.

Call quality over ATT’s 3G network in San Francisco was pretty good. To test voice service on the Veer, I made a few calls standing on a busy street corner in the city. One colleague reported that I had “radio voice,” meaning that my voice sounded a bit thin and distant, but he said he could hear me fine overall. Voices sounded good on my end, as well, and I experienced no dropped calls or static during my tests.

We didn’t get a chance to perform formal battery testing, but the Veer held up during a full day of use. In my previous experience with WebOS devices, it was clear that the more apps you had open, the faster the battery would run out. WebOS’s multitasking system makes it pretty easy to manage what you have open, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on things.

Camera

The tiny Veer packs in a solid 5-megapixel camera, but unfortunately it does not have a flash. Photos that I took indoors with good lighting looked quite nice, with sharp details and natural color. Photos taken outdoors on a bright, sunny day in San Francisco also seemed very good. But photos taken in a dark restaurant at nighttime appeared murky and blurry without the flash.

Video capture wasn’t so impressive. My video clips had a lot of distortion and pixelation, and motion stuttered in a few shots. The Veer has an on-board video-trimming tool, which is incredibly simple to use (you simply drag and drop where you want your video to start and end).

Bottom Line

It is really hard to say who HP has tailored the Veer for. Its petite, pocketable size, as well as its QWERTY keyboard, suggests that it is meant for a younger, social-networking-savvy crowd. The robust multitasking, account syncing, and search tools, however, would be suitable for business users.

In the end, the design really isn’t for everybody; people who want to watch a lot of videos or play graphics-intensive games should either wait for the Pre 3 or check out the iPhone 4 or an Android phone on ATT. If the Veer’s small size appeals to you, be sure to spend some quality hands-on time with the phone first. The keyboard really is a pain to use, and with no software keyboard alternative, you’re stuck with it.

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