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March 4, 2013

Technology News Briefs — March 4, 2013

Change Continues At Yahoo

Yahoo is continuing to clean house as it attempts to modernize its stale image.

Yahoo Avatars are up on the chopping block and, as of April 1, will no longer be supported.

“If you like your existing avatar and want to keep it, please go to the Avatars download page, pick a picture size and format, and click the appropriate download button,” said platforms executive vice-president Jay Rossiter.

“Similarly, if you want to edit your avatar, you can download the image and then use a photo editing service of your preference. If you want to continue using your avatar with our products, go to Yahoo! Profile and upload the avatar you downloaded.”

For additional details on Yahoo Avatars, click here.

The Yahoo Message Boards website will also shut down April 1. Message boards on individual properties such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Fantasy Sports will remain active as will Yahoo Answers and the comments section on Yahoo News.

Yahoo app for BlackBerry, Yahoo Sports IQ, Yahoo App Search and Yahoo Clues (beta) will also all be shut down April 1.

Yahoo Updates API will no longer be supported as of April 16.

Huawei Gunning For No. 1 Spot

Huawei has Apple and Samsung in the crosshairs.

Chief executive of Huawei Devices Wan Biao revealed to The Telegraph the firm’s plan to surpass both companies in the lucrative Smartphone market.

“If you look back five years ago, Apple is small, Samsung is not so big,” Wan said. “You can’t see where we’ll be in five years. At least top three. Maybe No. 1.”

Wan said he believes Huawei’s Ascend can surpass Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy devices.

Huawei enacted a five-year transformation strategy a year ago both to change its image and its direction. The Chinese company wants to be seen not just as an infrastructure provider but as the go-to brand for sleek and powerful handsets. It is also looking to disengage from last year’s controversy that it was using its hardware to aid the Chinese government in spying on the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

Wan told The Telegraph he plans to build his brand with “top-tier phones,” that will appeal to people “young or old, rich or poor.”

“Our philosophy is that, within any one price segment, Huawei’s the best one. And in the price segment of the iPhone, second half of this year, we have a new flagship, targeted at the higher end.”

Jailed Hacker Hacks Prison Computer System, Teacher Blamed

An infamous U.K. hacker breached the computer system of the prison in which he is serving a five-year sentence, after being permitted to join an IT class — and his teacher is paying the price.

Nicholas Webber, 21, was sent to prison in 2011 for devising  multi-million dollar Internet crime site GhostMarket, which sold stolen credit card details.

According to The Daily Mail, Webber’s actions caused “major panic” although it is not known if he accessed any data.

The South London prison cast the blame on IT teacher Michael Fox, who was employed by Kensington and Chelsea College. He was barred from the prison, although he said he did not know Webber was a hacker. Although the college cleared him of any wrongdoing at a hearing last March, no other work was found for him.

Fox began a claim for unfair dismissal March 1. He told the hearing it “wasn’t his decision” to have Webber in his class, adding he had no idea he was a hacker.

The hearing has been adjourned until next month.