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Submission + - How Windows 7 knows about your internet connection (superuser.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In Windows 7, any time you connect to a network, Windows tells you if you have full internet access or just a local network connection. It also knows if a WiFi access point requires in-browser authentication. How? It turns out, a service automatically requests a file from a Microsoft website every time you connect to any network, and the result of this attempt tells it whether the connection is successful. This feature is useful, but some may have privacy concerns with sending their IP address to Microsoft (which the site logs, according to documentation) every single time they connect to the internet. As it turns out, not only can you disable the service, you can even tell it to check your own server instead.

Submission + - Adobe wants to read your Gmail 2

harryk writes: "Hope I'm not the first to submit this note about the most recent Adobe Acrobat update for Android devices (IOS unaffected?). According to the new permission requirements, "Read Gmail" is required. The only benefit of the new release is reportedly so that Acrobat can open when you want to read PDF files. The only problem with that logic is that Adobe Acrobat can ALREADY do this without needing to read my mail. From the update notes: "Adobe Reader now requires permission to read Gmail and default Email client. This is to enable users to open Gmail and default Email client PDF attachments using Adobe Reader only when users select the application to view PDF files. This permission is required because of a known limitation with the Android platform." ... Just tested this function and it works without the 'update'. What are you trying to do Adobe?"

Submission + - How To Hijack a Friend's Facebook Account (conceivablytech.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The security loophole described in this report allows an ex or frenemy to hijack your Facebook account within few minutes. It was discovered at University of Illinois and was reported immediately to Facebook. Interestingly and very surprisingly, other websites such as allfacebook.com pulled the report off their website. It is not confirmed whether Facebook has plugged the loophole.

Just One Out of 16 Hybrids Pays Back In Gas Savings 762

thecarchik writes with this snippet from GreenCarReports: "One of the criticisms of hybrid cars has historically been that there's no payback, especially given the cheap gasoline prices in the US. The extra money you spend on a hybrid isn't returned in gas savings, say critics. Well, that may be true, especially when regular gasoline is averaging $2.77 a gallon this week. But as we often point out, most people don't buy hybrids for payback — they buy them to make a statement about wanting to drive green. Nevertheless, a Canadian study has now looked at the question of hybrid payback in a country whose gasoline is more expensive than ours (roughly $3.70 per gallon this week), with surprising results. The British Columbia Automobile Association projected the fuel costs of 16 hybrids over five years against their purchase price and financing fees. In a study released in late July, only a single one of the 16 hybrids cost less to buy and run than its gasoline counterpart." The one car that would save you money, according the study, is the Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan — and it will only cost you $105,000.

Submission + - Why Do We Trust Google? (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: "Paul Venezia questions what it is exactly about Google that has millions of Internet users trusting its every move. Take Google Places, a service for which Google will place cameras in public locations and establishments, so you'll be able to view the interior of a restaurant, say, before heading out for dinner. 'I wonder what the reaction would be if Microsoft or Oracle tried the same thing?' Venezia asks. 'Given the paranoia about so many other intrusions such as government surveillance, snooping bosses, predators, whatever, it's amazing what Google has gotten away with. We've taken the candy, and in return we've given up significant levels of privacy to some huge corporate entity that we inexplicably trust not to betray us.'"

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!