Dragon Mobile Voice iPhone application privacy issue UPDATE

Back in December, I posted an article about how Dragon Dictation, made by Nuance Communications for the iPhone, seemed to have a pretty serious privacy problem.

I just got around to reviewing their updated application today, and found that there is now an option NOT have every contact and name in your address book updated to their servers.

That’s a great improvement on respecting the customer’s privacy! Great job Nuance!

On their website, they say that “when you install the application, you will be presented with a screen asking you if it is OK to add your names to the vocabulary, after accepting the EULA… If you click ’NO’, Dragon will not read your address book and will not upload any names to the server. When you dictate, Dragon may have a harder time understanding phrases or sentences that contain names and spelling of names. And Dragon will not upload names in the future unless you change the settings.”

Perfect! That’s exactly what I wanted!

The “yes” part of the agreement is still what it was before…

“If you click ’YES’, ragon will read only the names from your contact list, not email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, or other personal information. Dragon will upload these names to the server, where they will be associated with the unique, anonymous 40-character device ID (UDID) from your iPhone. Whenever you dictate, Dragon will use these names to improve accuracy and spelling when you refer to friends, colleagues, etc. in your dictations. When you use Dragon, it will periodically synchronize names in your contact list to the server unless you change the Settings.”

I’m now going to try the application this weekend and see if it really does what it says it can do.

Recall : Harry London Chocolate Pecan Caramel Stars

Some Harry London Chocolate Pecan Caramel Stars are getting pulled today because “they have not been labeled to include Wheat, FD&C colors Yellow #5, Red # 40 and Blue #1 as an ingredient(s).”

The specific item getting pulled is the Harry London Chocolate Pecan Caramel Stars with a lot code of 9238-1.

Even though the package had a statement that “product was manufactured on equipment shared with peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, milk, eggs, and wheat, Harry London is undertaking this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.”

Sounds like Harry London’s legal department paid the quality control guys a little visit.

No other Harry London products are affected by this recall.

Here’s the link to the official FDA recall.

Recall : Spot-2 Satellite GPS Messengers (and a review of Spot Series One Satellite Personal Tracker)

Spot Personal Tracker

I’m a big fan of SPOT Personal Trackers. I have a series one unit (like the image on the left), and it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It’s saved my butt a few times already and also gave me a very solid peace of mind when I’ve loaned it to family members on their trips as well.

You can map in realtime whoever is holding the unit, send measured “pings” from the device to pre-selected people to let them know you’re OK (and to leave a trail of breadcrumbs as to where you’ve been off exploring), directly notify your own private pre-selected list of people that you need help or even summon professional emergency rescue services from the unit in case you’re seriously FUBAR.

Its tough, too. It works just fine in temperatures ranging from -45C to 85C (-40F to 185F), and altitudes of -91m to +6,492m (-300ft to +21,300ft). It works perfeectly in other countries (which I can confirm!), and it gets signal just about everywhere in the world because it’s satellite based.

Check out the coverage map…

Spot Personal Tracker Coverage

Spot Personal Tracker Coverage

Aside from the very northern tip of Russia, some of lower Africa and most of Antarctica, you’re covered!

Spot Series 2

But recently, SPOT announced a recall on their 2nd series Satellite GPS Messenger devices. The new ones are smaller, have better button placement, and are aesthetically prettier, but they haven’t been out and “field tested” like the first generation devices have.

From the recall website, it says “Spot LLC is dedicated to providing the highest quality and best performance products to our customers, therefore, Spot LLC will be conducting a voluntary return on any new model SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™ (SPOT 2) purchased since October 1, 2009. During recent testing, we discovered that some of the new SPOT 2 devices might not meet battery and messaging operating specifications.”

Considering what this gadget is designed for, I think any failure, no matter how small or trivial, is a critical failure. They’re doing the right thing by pulling them back for replacement.

The recall is in full effect now. To find out if your Spot-2 unit is one of the recalled units, login to your account at https://login.findmespot.com and click on the My GPS Locations tab. A message will display indicating if you have an affected SPOT-2 unit.

Replacement units should be available “early 2010”, plus you’ll get 1 extra month of your current SPOT service plan and associated services as part of the recall.

Here’s the link to the SPOT-2 recall notice.