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India's $35 Tablet Computer 294

NotBornYesterday was one of many readers sending in news that the Indian government has announced it is helping to develop a $35 tablet computer running Linux. "India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touchscreen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011. The government plans to subsidize the tablets so the cost to students could be $20; and eventually, they hope the cost will fall to $10 per unit. India's human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal, says, 'The motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35, including memory, display, everything.' Using a memory card instead of a hard drive, and running a Linux OS, the designers have managed to keep the price low, and are now looking for manufacturing partners. The tablet can be used for functions like word processing, Web browsing, and video conferencing. It has a solar power option too, which is important in India's less developed areas, though that add-on costs extra."

Crack the Code In US Cyber Command's Logo 380

Dan writes "According to Wired: 'The US military's new Cyber Command is headquartered at Ft. Meade, Maryland, one of the military's most secretive and secure facilities. Its mission is largely opaque, even inside the armed forces. But the there's another mystery surrounding the emerging unit. It's embedded in the Cyber Command logo. On the logo's inner gold ring is a code: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a.'"

The Unstoppable 'Tech Support' Scam 312

Barence writes "A pernicious new type of scam is targeting British computer owners, reports PC Pro. The con is both fiendishly clever and ridiculously simple. The fraudster cold-calls the customer and tells them that Microsoft has detected a virus on their PC, then invites them to download a piece of remote-assistance software. No doubt reassured by the lines of indecipherable code flitting across their screen, the caller assures the customer they can make the virus vanish – but first, of course, they want payment. £185 to be precise. The spoof site behind the scam is approved by McAfee's Site Advisor and bears Microsoft logos, something which both companies have failed to act upon. Meanwhile, an assortment of British regulators have said there is nothing they can do to stop it."

EU Plans To Make Apple, Adobe and Others Open Up 389

FlorianMueller writes "After pursuing Microsoft and Intel, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes is now preparing an initiative that could have an even greater impact on the IT industry: a European interoperability law that will affect not only companies found dominant in a market but all 'significant' players. In a recent interview, Mrs. Kroes mentioned Apple. Nokia, RIM and Adobe would be other examples. All significant market players would have to provide access to interfaces and data formats, with pricing constraints considered 'likely' by the commissioner. Her objective: 'Any kind of IT product should be able to communicate with any type of service in the future.' The process may take a few years, but key decisions on the substance of the bill may already be made later this year."

Comment Re:You have to be kidding! (Score 1) 199

U.S. ISPS need to be shot.
I am currently sitting on a couch in LaCygne, Kansas. Looking out the window, I can see the place where the fiber (yeah fiber, in a rural area) terminates if I look out the window.

Now guess what the speed is. Go ahead, guess.

512 KBits/320KBits.
Back home in Texas, my Verizon DLS (non FIOS), is 1.5MBit/384KBit for $30/month. In other words, I can upload from home faster than I can download here in Texas.
Now guess how much the Kansas line costs a month. Go ahead and guess.

Its all a scam, and there is no basis for it. Greed, pure and simple.

Comment Why people like the pirate bay are a good. (Score 3, Insightful) 42

Why the heck would you allow non-hackers to protect you from the people you need to hide from?
I seem to recall that a group like the pirate bay, who made it their business to mask identity from powerful interests created for exactly this purpose.
A misconfigured tor node or vpn stream could expose someone to torture or worse. A group like this needs to step back, and ask someone in the know to do it, and just offer funding.

Microsoft Explains Mystery Firefox Extension 142

Ricky writes with a followup to news we discussed a couple days ago that a Microsoft toolbar update was installing an IE add-on and a Firefox extension without the user's consent. Quoting Ars: "Microsoft has fixed the distribution scope of a toolbar update that, without the user's knowledge, installed an add-on in Internet Explorer and an extension in Firefox called Search Helper Extension. Microsoft told us that the new update is actually the same as the old one; the only difference is the distribution settings. In other words, the update will no longer be distributed to toolbars that it shouldn't be added to. End users won't see the tweak, Microsoft told Ars, and also offered an explanation on what the mystery add-on actually does. 'The Search Enhancement Pack is a shared component used by the Windows Live Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, and Bing Bar. This component enables toolbar search functionality, like the toolbar search suggestions drop down. It is not the toolbar. It is a component used by the toolbars.'"

Microsoft Talks Back To Google's Security Claims 528

Kilrah_il writes "Yesterday there was a piece about Google ditching Windows for internal use because of security concerns. Now Microsoft is fighting back, claiming its products are the most secure — more than Google's and Apple's. 'When it comes to security, even hackers admit we're doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else. And it's not just the hackers; third-party influentials and industry leaders like Cisco tell us regularly that our focus and investment continues to surpass others.'"

Comment Re:Not Surprising, but when will MS ditch Windows? (Score 1) 1003

Windows 7 is no better than XP in terms and security - just check the news for the last year or so. Furthermore, many of the last updates applied to XP brought 7's security "features" to XP; things like better canary support, an upgraded (still crap) firewall, and other such things. The notion that 7 is more secure than XP is just bollocks.

Privacy Machiavellis 206

Chris Jay Hoofnagle has a piece up at on what he calls the "privacy Machiavellis," which are exemplified by Google and Facebook. (The article is adapted from a longer treatment published last year, called "Beyond Google and Evil.") Hoofnagle heads the privacy foundation set up with money collected from settlements of privacy lawsuits against Facebook. From SFGate: "... you have no way to ask Google to stop this tracking. Instead, you can merely opt out of the targeted advertising — the product recommendations. Exercising your privacy options creates a worst-case-scenario outcome: If you opt out, you are still tracked, but you do not receive the putative benefit of targeted ads. An illusory opt-out system is just one of the increasingly sophisticated sleights of hand in the privacy world. Consider Facebook's privacy options. ... Facebook can proudly proclaim that it offers ... more than 100 [choices]. Therein lies the trick; by offering too many choices, individuals are likely to choose poorly, or not at all. Facebook benefits because poor choices or paralysis leads consumers to reveal more personal information. In any case, the fault is the consumer's, because, after all, they were given a choice. Reader Kilrah_il sends word that Google has just released a tool that could alleviate some of the above worries: it stops tracking by Google Analytics for users of IE7+, Firefox 3.5+, and Chrome 4+. Perhaps Hoofnagle will comment on it here or elsewhere.

Local TV Could Go the Way of Newspapers 180

Hugh Pickens writes "Alan D. Mutter writes on his 'Reflections of a Newsosaur' blog that the economics of local broadcasting may begin to unravel as dramatically in the next five years as they did for newspapers in the last five years, due to the unparalleled consumer choice made possible by a growing mass of (mostly free) content on the Internet. 'Once it becomes as easy and satisfying to view a YouTube video on your 50-inch television as it is to watch "Two and a Half Men," audiences will fragment to the point that local broadcasters will not be able to attract large quantities of viewers for a particular program,' writes Mutter. The economics of cable TV programming already are geared to serving small but targeted niches, but as audiences shatter, those options won't be available to local broadcasters, who will be deprived of the vast reach that enabled the high ad rates and enviable profits long associated with their businesses. Although barely 8% of US households had access to IPTV in 2009, this technology is likely to be available to some 20% of the more than 100 million homes subscribing to pay-television services in 2014, according to senior analyst Lee Ratliff of iSuppli, a private market research company. 'We already have gotten a hint of what the future could hold. Acting to trim spending during the recession, many local stations cut back their news staffs, resulting in a decline in the caliber and depth of their coverage,' writes Mutter."

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark