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Comment: Nothing New Here (Score 4, Informative) 146

by leapis (#29586299) Attached to: Retrievable iPhone Numbers Raise Privacy Issue

I have written applications on just about every smartphone plaform, and I have never met an API did that did not have the ability to query the phone number of the device. Assuming you have a data plan (in many cases, the only way to get the app in the first place), its a tiny amount of code to post that information to a web page the first time the application runs. Some platforms, such as the Android, do indicate when an application has access to use the Internet, but its not trivial to find out exactly what information is going back and forth.

This issue has always been there, and is no more of a problem on an iPhone than other similar platforms.

Moon

Entire Moon Added To Google Earth 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-sign-of-a-fully-operational-battlestation dept.
CNETNate writes "Complete with Street View-like panoramas, 3D models of spacecraft now left abandoned on the moon's surface, and guided tours from the voices of Apollo astronauts, Google's recent update to Google Earth marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with an enormous update. It's a collaboration with NASA and other agencies, and follows the launch of Google Earth 5.0 which, amongst other things, added the ability to explore our planet's oceans. There are a number of original creations — such as the 3D mock-up of the Apollo 11 spacecraft and its astronauts — and you can download the new version from Google now."
Spam

Opting Out Increases Spam? 481

Posted by timothy
from the damned-either-way dept.
J. L. Tympanum writes "I used to ignore spam but recently I have been using the opt-out feature. Now I get more spam than ever, especially of the Nigerian scam (and related) types. The latter has gone from almost none to several a day. Was I a fool for opting out? Is my email address being harvested when I opt out? Has anybody had similar experience?"
The Courts

Worlds.com To Extend Virtual World Lawsuit To Second Life, WoW 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-percent-inspiration-ninety-nine-percent-litgation dept.
FiveRings writes "BusinessInsider has a story about Worlds.com, a company that inherited the patent on virtual worlds from the Starlight Starbright Foundation and is taking it to court against NCSoft over the company's various MMOs. If successful, he will press on and sue the makers of Second Life and World of Warcraft as well. The article notes that the NCSoft case is being held in east Texas, which has been a favorable venue for patent trolls in the past."
Businesses

The Last Will and Testament of Circuit City 600

Posted by timothy
from the oh-the-huge-manatee dept.
Harry writes "Sunday is the final day of business for Circuit City, the once-dominant national consumer electronics chain done in by the rise of Best Buy, the crummy economy, and multiple failings of its own. I paid a final visit of respect to my local store, and found that they'd gotten rid of just about all the unopened electronics products, and were therefore selling off stuff like broken computers and the toilet-paper dispenser from the restroom. Whether or not you were ever a fan, it was a sad scene." NPR has a segment on the end of the Circuit City era as well.
Businesses

Ballmer Pleads For Openness To Compete With Apple 532

Posted by Soulskill
from the outside-looking-in dept.
mjasay writes "At the Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer took aim at Apple's closed iPhone ecosystem with an ironic plea for openness: 'Openness is central because it's the foundation of choice.' Ballmer has apparently forgotten his company's own efforts to vertically integrate hardware and software (Zune, XBox), its history of vertically integrating software (tying SharePoint into Office, IE, SQL Server, Active Directory, etc.), as well as years of illegally tying Windows to Internet Explorer that only the US Justice Department could undo. Indeed, Microsoft's effect on the browser market has pushed Mozilla to get involved in a recent European Commission action against the software giant, with Mozilla's Mitchell Baker recently declaring that 'A number of illegal activities were also involved in creating IE's market dominance,' now requiring government intervention to open up the browser market to fair competition. Putting aside Microsoft's own tainted reputation in the field of openness, is Ballmer right? Should Apple open up its iPhone platform to outside competition, both in terms of hardware and software?"
Security

How To Argue That Open Source Software Is Secure? 674

Posted by kdawson
from the beyond-because-i-say-so-dammit dept.
Smidge207 writes "Lately there has been a huge push by Certified Microsoft Professionals and their companies to call (potential) clients and warn them of the dangers of open source. This week I received calls from four different customers saying that they were warned that they are dangerously insecure because they run open source operating systems or software, because 'anyone can read the code and hack you with ease.' Other colleagues in the area also have noticed that three local Microsoft Partners have been trying to strike fear in the minds of companies that respond, 'Yes, we use open source or Linux' when the sales call comes in. I know this is simply a sales tactic by these companies, but how do I fix the damage these tactics cause? I have several customers who now want more than my word about the security of systems that have worked for them flawlessly for 5-6 years, with minimal expense outside of upgrades and patching for security. Does anyone have a good plan or sources of reliable information that can be used to inform the customer?"
Security

Houston Courts Shut Down By Malware 126

Posted by timothy
from the full-employment-for-compsec-types dept.
Conficker is still at it: dstates writes "The municipal courts of Houston were shut down yesterday after a computer virus spread through the courts' computer systems. The shutdown canceled hearings and suspended arrests for minor offenses and is expected to extend through Monday. The disruption affected many city departments, the Houston Emergency Center was briefly disconnected and police temporarily stopped making some arrests for minor offenses. The infection appears to be contained to 475 of the city's more than 16,000 computers, but officials are still investigating. Gray Hat Research, a technology security company, has been brought in on an emergency contract to eradicate the infection. In 2006, the City spent $10M to install a new computer system and bring the Courts online, but the system has been beset by multiple problems. After threatening litigation, the city reached a $5 million settlement with the original vendor, Maximus, and may seek another vendor."
Security

US Army Files Found On Second-Hand MP3 Player 184

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the great-seller-+++ dept.
MichaelSmith writes "A New Zealand man who bought a second hand MP3 player from a store in the US found it loaded with the names and personal details of American soldiers, as well as a mission briefing and information about equipment. Chris Ogle says he will return the unit to the US Defense Department if asked, and that it never worked as a music player anyway. A slightly different version of the story is available from TVNZ."
The Internet

Network Solutions Under Large-Scale DDoS Attack 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-they're-so-friendly dept.
netizen writes "CircleID is reporting a large-scale DDoS attack affecting all of Network Solutions' name servers for the past 48 hours, potentially affecting millions of websites and emails around the world hosting their domain names on the company's servers. The NANOG mailing list indicates that it is due to a very large-scale UDP/53 DDoS which Network Solutions has also confirmed: 'There is a spike in DNS query volumes that is causing latency for the delay in web sites resolving. This is a result of a DDOS attack. We are taking measures to mitigate the attack and speed up queries.""
Windows

How To Diagnose a Suddenly Slow Windows Computer? 835

Posted by timothy
from the ineffably-inexplicable dept.
Ensign Taco writes "I'm sure nearly every one of us has had it happen. All of a sudden your Windows PC slows to a crawl for no apparent reason. Yeah, we all like Linux because it doesn't do annoying things like this, but the Windows desktop still reigns supreme in most managed LAN work environments. I'm running XP with 4G of RAM and a decent CPU, and everything was fine, until one day — it wasn't. I've run spybot, antivirus, and looked at proc explorer — no luck. There is no one offending, obvious process. It seems every process decides to spike at once at random intervals. So I'm wondering if there's a few wizards out there that know what to look at. Could this be a very clever virus that doesn't run as a process? Or could this just be some random application error that's causing bad behavior? I've encountered this a few times with Windows PCs, but the solution has always been to just add more hardware. Has anyone ever successfully diagnosed this kind of issue?" And whether such a problem is related to malware or not, what steps would you take next?
Businesses

Circuit City Closes Its Doors For Good 587

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the gonna-have-a-heart-attack-and-die-from-not-surprise dept.
bsharma is amongst the hordes of people wanting us to share the news that long beleaguered retailer Circuit City has finally decided to close for good, asking for court approval to close the remaining 567 US stores. "Whalin said management mistakes over the past few years combined with the recession brought down Circuit City. 'This company made massive mistakes,' he said, citing a decision to get rid of sales people and other mismanagement. What's more, given the credit market freeze, Whalin added that no manufacturer wants to sell to any retailer who doesn't have money to pay for the merchandise. At the same time, Whalin said there's still a very slim chance that one or more firms that have expressed an interest in buying Circuit City could still buy it out of bankruptcy over the next few days."
Social Networks

Facebook Nudity Policy Draws Nursing Moms' Ire 904

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-breastfeeding-for-the-children-too? dept.
HSRD writes "Web-savvy moms who breast-feed are irate that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace restrict photos of nursing babies. The disputes reveal how the sites' community policing techniques sometimes struggle to keep up with the booming number and diversity of their members."
Microsoft

How Sony's Development of the Cell Processor Benefited Microsoft 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-the-outcome-they'd-planned dept.
The Wall Street Journal is running an article about a recently released book entitled "The Race for a New Game Machine" which details Sony's development of the Cell processor, written by two of the engineers who worked on it. They also discuss how Sony's efforts to create a next-gen system backfired by directly helping Microsoft, one of their main competitors. Quoting: "Sony, Toshiba and IBM committed themselves to spending $400 million over five years to design the Cell, not counting the millions of dollars it would take to build two production facilities for making the chip itself. IBM provided the bulk of the manpower, with the design team headquartered at its Austin, Texas, offices. ... But a funny thing happened along the way: A new 'partner' entered the picture. In late 2002, Microsoft approached IBM about making the chip for Microsoft's rival game console, the (as yet unnamed) Xbox 360. In 2003, IBM's Adam Bennett showed Microsoft specs for the still-in-development Cell core. Microsoft was interested and contracted with IBM for their own chip, to be built around the core that IBM was still building with Sony. All three of the original partners had agreed that IBM would eventually sell the Cell to other clients. But it does not seem to have occurred to Sony that IBM would sell key parts of the Cell before it was complete and to Sony's primary videogame-console competitor. The result was that Sony's R&D money was spent creating a component for Microsoft to use against it."

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

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