New submitter kju writes "The security blog of Verizon has the story of an investigation into unauthorized VPN access from China which led to unexpected findings. Investigators found invoices from a Chinese contractor who had actually done the work of the employee, who spent the day watching cat videos and visiting eBay and Facebook. The man had Fedexed his RSA token to the contractor and paid only about 1/5th of his income for the contracting service. Because he provided clean code on time, he was noted in his performance reviews to be the best programmer in the building. According to the article, the man had similar scams running with other companies."
An anonymous reader writes "I went to Best Buy the other day to get a new laptop for a client. I didn't realize till I got it home that they had broken the seal and opened the box. They put a sticker on the box that said, 'Inspected by Best Buy.' I found they had created the user profile, recovery disks, and installed a trial of Trend Antivirus. Seems to me this is more of a marketing agenda than inspection."
jfruhlinger writes "'Netflix Customers, Say Hello to Blockbuster' is the subject line of an email making the rounds trying to convince customers to switch services in the wake of Netflix's contentious price hike. The bankrupt video store chain is now owned by DirectTV and has its own streaming service. How did Blockbuster even get these email addresses? Are its services really going to be cheaper and/or better than Netflix's in the long run? Is 'You'll hate us less than Netflix' really a viable business model?" Relatedly, reader assertation asks, "Can anyone suggest a streaming movie service that has a selection comparable to Netflix and will run on a computer using GNU/Linux?"
Verdatum writes "Entertainment Weekly is one of many sites reporting the strong negative reaction from users of the new Netflix web interface. The new interface presents larger title images at the cost of visible ratings and the 'Sortable List' view. To see a suggested rating or view details, one must now first hover over each individual title. Netflix announced the new interface on Wednesday, in an official blog post. So far, the post has received thousands of negative comments, but only a few dozen comments by users believing the change is an improvement."
norriefc writes "Here in the UK super injunctions are all the rage. These are injunctions that bar the press from even mentioning that the injunctions exist. Recently a Twitter account exposed several of these super injunctions and named several people involved and what their alleged indiscretions were. Now one 'famous' soccer player is trying to sue Twitter and the yet to be named tweeters for invasion of privacy, apparently in ignorance of the Streisand effect. I'm doubtful of an American company paying much attention to UK anti-free-speech laws"
jfruhlinger writes "For some time there's been rumbling that Google's search results have been gummed up by low-quality pages from 'content farms,' written at low or no cost specifically to score high on common Google queries. Now it looks like the latest update to Google's search algorithm is having an effect, cutting into traffic to eHow (and cutting down the stock price of eHow's owner, Demand Media, in the process)."
An anonymous reader writes "Glenn Beck has told his viewers to do research, but to not use Google, because 'Google is pretty deeply in bed with the government.' He points to the fact that Google is having some problems overseas, as well as Jared Cohen. Cohen is Director of Google Ideas, has worked with the State Department, and has played a role in the 2009 unrest in Iran. He also mentions social networking in sinister undertones, asking if it's government propaganda."
schwit1 writes "The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public. The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013."
An anonymous reader writes "Fringe creator J.J. Abrams has said of the show's much-maligned move to Friday nights, 'Fringe deserves to live beyond season 3. If we're going to fail, let's go down doing the most bad ***, weirdest, interesting, sophisticated version of a series that we could possibly do.' Previous announcements about the move were more defensive, claiming that Fringe's shift to Fridays was an attempt to draw younger viewers back to the 'dead zone' of Friday nights. But season three has been confused enough in tone and approach that it's no surprise to hear yet another contradictory statement about its future..." Good episodes of Fringe have been great TV. I've really enjoyed the first half of the season and am looking forward to seeing what they do with it. A lot of mediocre SciFi has been shut down recently (Caprica? SGU?) and a lot of bad SciFi continues (V?) but Fringe flirts with greatness with regularity. I hope it makes it... even though on Friday it's not likely.
nicholasjay writes "Netflix is swallowing America's bandwidth and it probably won't be long before it comes for the rest of the world. That's one of the headlines from Sandvine's Fall 2010 Global Internet Phenomena Report, an exhaustive look at what people around the world are doing with their Internet lines. According to Sandvine, Netflix accounts for 20 percent of downstream Internet traffic during peak home Internet usage hours in North America. That's an amazing share — it beats that of YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, and, perhaps most tellingly, the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent."
angry tapir writes "Panasonic has developed a hair-washing robot that uses 16 electronically controlled fingers to give a perfect wash and rinse. The robot, images of which were distributed by Panasonic, appears to be about the size of a washing machine. Users sit in a reclining chair and lean back to place their head in the machine's open top. Two robot arms guide the 16 fingers, which have the same dexterity as human fingers, the company claims."
Dallas-based Blockbuster Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, calling into question the futures of over 5,600 stores worldwide. The company will be evaluating each location on a case-by-case basis, and seeks to cut costs after reporting a $558 million net loss last year. Newsweek credits the company's slow adoption of new media distribution methods as a big reason for the company's decline. "... while Blockbuster discussed creating its own subscription service to rival Netflix, it wasn't until August 2004 that its online DVD rental program actually started in the US. And when, in 2004, Coinstar entered the market with its Redbox DVD kiosks, Blockbuster didn't begin installing similar devices until 2008." CNET suggests that "Leaders of pay TV services might be wise to start doing the business equivalent of digging foxholes and manning the battlements or the same thing could happen to them."
A post at TechCrunch claims knowledge of large investments from Google into social game company Zynga, makers of FarmVille and Mafia Wars. The amount of money involved is not small — somewhere in the $100-200 million range — and could facilitate Google's expansion into the games market. Quoting: "The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures, say our sources, and it's a highly strategic deal. Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources. Not only will Zynga's games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn't be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal's biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant."
pinkstuff writes "The Navy unveiled its terror-fighting marine mammals at a two-day homeland security and disaster preparedness exercise in California this week. From the article: 'A Navy seal — actually a sea lion — took less than a minute to find a fake mine under a pier near San Francisco's AT&T Park. A dolphin quickly located a terrorist lurking in the black water before another sea lion, using a device carried in its mouth, cuffed the pretend saboteur's ankle so authorities could reel him in.' Queue the 'frickin lasers' jokes."
An anonymous reader writes "We all know about the Mythical Man-Month, the argument that adding more programmers to a software project just makes it later and later. A Linux startup out of MIT claims to have busted the myth, using an MIT holiday month to hire 20 college student interns to get all their work done and quadrupling its productivity."