DeviceGuru writes "Boxee, maker of the free Boxee multimedia-player software platform for PCs and Macs, and the smarts behind D-Link's recently introduced Boxee Box, has just received $16.5 million more funding. Following several significant firmware updates and the addition of new apps for Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and other content sources, all pushed automatically out to users' devices, the $199 D-Link Boxee Box is finally stating to feel more like a finished product than a beta-test device. What's next for Boxee? The D-Link device will soon be joined by two more Boxee-powered devices: a Boxee NAS device from Iomega and a ViewSonic TV running Boxee, and one of the main uses of the company's new funding will be to 'sign up more device and distribution partners,' says Boxee CEO Avner Ronen."
handelaar writes "Perhaps in order to 'encourage' existing users of UK Tivo units to change their TV service to Virgin Media, pay £149 for a new 'Virgin TiVo' that they won't actually own, plus £34.50 per month in service charges, Tivo is to cancel all EPG data service to all the Tivos still in use in the country — and existing units will become basically nonfunctional at that time. The faithful aren't amused, having stuck by the company for several years, and mostly paying £120 per annum for service until now. 50% of UK residents aren't able to avail of this generous upgrade offer even if they want to — the cable company in question only covers about half the country."
Xemu writes "Computers don't make children fat, but watching TV for the same length of time does. This is shown by a recent Swedish study of all school children in Lund's county conducted by RN Pernilla Garmy. The results were clear: The child's obesity was directly affected by placing a TV in the child's room, but placing a computer in the room had no effect at all. One theory is that it's common to have a snack in front of the TV, while a computer requires a more active user, for example when chatting or playing games."
daria42 writes "The loose-knit collective of individuals known as 'Anonymous' has broken its silence about the distributed denial of service attacks on the Australian government. An individual (who insisted he or she is not a spokesperson for the group) said the attacks were more effective at stopping the government's Internet filtering project than signing a petition, and that the attacks could go on for months." The site where some members of Anonymous are said to hang out, 4chan, got a visibility boost yesterday when its founder moot spoke at the TED conference.
Apple has snapped up music streaming biz Lala in what many initially thought to be a move to step beyond the strict download market of iTunes. On closer inspection it seems that Lala was a somewhat less-than-ideal target and Apple may just be gunning for ready-made engineering talent. "On balance, the purchase appears to give Apple the chance to bring in engineers that will be useful now, and could be even more so if it chooses to enter streaming or subscription services. But, for the moment, there's nothing about the purchase that seems to provide the company with any key technologies it was missing in terms of diving into markets. Until another company demonstrates that there's money to be made (or iPods to be sold) through streaming, there's no reason to think that a move of this sort is imminent."
Norsefire writes to mention a Register piece reporting that early adopters are having a tough time with Karmic Koala, Ubuntu's latest release. "Ubuntu 9.10 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Linux distro. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Ubuntu forums." What has been your experience if you've moved to Karmic?
gpronger writes "Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Glass Will Certainly Mend Them! The old schoolyard ditty may be changed to reflect developments using metallic glass that will dissolve in situ instead of the traditional stainless steel or titanium hardware, which require removal by surgery once the bone has healed. Physics World reports that researcher Jörg Löffler at ETH Zurich has created an alloy of 60% magnesium, 35% zinc, and 5% calcium, molded in the form of metallic glass. Through rapid cooling, the alloy forms a molecularly amorphous glass that slowly dissolves over time, supporting the injury long enough for healing, then slowly dissolving away."
Cubeman writes: "The 512-bit RSA key protecting the operating system of TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus calculators has been cracked! Benjamin Moody posted the factorization yesterday, and it has been verified by Brandon Wilson. With the RSA key broken, developers can now release cryptographically signed third-party OSes which will validate on any unmodified calculator. While TI's security protections have previously been broken, all prior hacks required loading an extra program on each calculator. This broken OS key means that the last frontier of TI hacking has finally been achieved. Calculator programmers now have complete control over every area of the calculator and can write any code in any form, even entire operating systems, and distribute them freely on any 83+/84+ calculator in existence. ticalc.org has an article about this as well."
tunersedge writes "Yesterday I dug out of my parents' basement a PC they had bought brand new in 1984: Epson Equity I personal computer; 512K RAM; 82-key keyboard; 2 (count 'em!, 2) 5.25" floppy disk drives; 13' RGB monitor (with contrast/brightness knobs); handy on/off switch; healthy 25-year-old yellowed plastic; absolutely no software. (My mom ran a pre-school, and they used it to keep records and payroll. I cut my programming teeth on this thing. GW-Basic was my friend. Kings Quest screens took 2 minutes to load when you walked into a new one.) When I resurrected this machine I pulled the case off, dusted out a little, and plugged it in. It actually fired up! I'm stoked, except the disks we had are missing. What I'm looking to do is either buy some old working disks with whatever I can find (MS-DOS 3.22, GW-Basic, whatever), or try and recreate some using a USB-based floppy drive and some modern software. Has anyone tried to resurrect a PC this old before?"
An anonymous reader writes "Comcast has finally launched its DNS Redirector service in trial markets (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington state), and has submitted a working draft of the technology to the IETF for review. Comcast customers can opt-out from the service by providing their account username and cable modem MAC address. Customers in trial areas using 'old' Comcast DNS servers, or non-Comcast DNS servers, should not be affected by this. This deployment comes after many previous ISPs, like DSLExtreme, were forced to pull the plug on such efforts as a result of customer disapproval/retaliation. Some may remember when VeriSign tried this back in 2003, where it also failed."
Kleiba writes "The highest German Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Federal Constitutional Court) ruled that electronic voting machines like Nedap ESD1 and ESD2 are not permissible in Germany. Der Spiegel, a well-known German newspaper, is featuring article on today's decision (in German; Babelfish translation here) which was the result of a lawsuit by physicist Ulrich Wiesner and his father Joachim Wiesner, a professor emeritus of political science. The main argument against the voting machines in the eyes of the Court is that they conflict with the principle of transparency. 2009 is a major election year for Germany, with parliamentary elections in the fall." Reader Dr. Hok writes "Voting machines are not illegal per se, but with these machines it wasn't possible to verify the results after the votes were cast. The verification procedure by the German authorities was flawed, too: only specimens were tested, not the machines actually used in the elections, and the detailed results (including the source code) were not made public. The results of the election remain legally valid, though."
Stephen Larson alerts us to the out-of-court settlement of Gatehouse v NY Times, a lawsuit that attempted to stop the Boston Globe from linking to headlines and excerpting initial sentences from a competitor's Web site. At issue was the Globe's practice — barely distinguishable from those of Google News, Yahoo, and others — of linking to another news source's coverage of local news. The upshot is that the Boston Globe will stop the linking. No judicial precedent was set, because the case was settled before reaching a judge.
rmogull writes "Brian Krebs over at the Washington Post just published a story that Heartland Payment Systems disclosed what may be the largest data breach in history. Today. During the inauguration. Heartland processes over 100 million transactions a month, mostly from small to medium-sized businesses, and doesn't know how many cards were compromised. The breach was discovered after tracing fraud in the system back to Heartland, and involved malicious software snooping their internal network. I've written some additional analysis on this and similar breaches. It's interesting that the biggest breaches now involve attacks installing malicious software to sniff data — including TJX, Hannaford, Cardsystems, and now Heartland Payment Systems." One bit of good news out of this massive breach is that, according to Heartland's CFO, "The nature of the [breach] is such that card-not-present transactions are actually quite difficult for the bad guys to do because one piece of information we know they did not get was an address." Heartland just put up a press release on the breach.
rgraham writes "From the article on Growler: 'Apple apparently believes that somebody else is behind Psystar, which might help to explain why a major law firm would take on what seems like a fly-by-night's case; also why Psystar has been so bold in continuing to sell its products. I knew this thing felt funny. As Alice in Wonderland might put it, "It gets interestinger and interestinger."'"
rockwood reports that the .tel top level domain has been deployed, "in a first attempt at pushing the recently approved .tel... The top-level domain .tel was approved by ICANN as a sponsored TLD launching on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 to trademark owners of national effect and on February 3, 2009 to anyone who wishes to apply. Its main purpose is as a single management and publishing point for 'internet communication' services, providing a global contacts directory service by housing all types of contact information directly in the DNS."