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Google News Has Russian Army Invading Savannah, GA 413

theodp writes "If you checked out Google-wannabe Cuil, you learned that mapping search results to relevant images isn't a trivial task. But even Big Dog Google isn't immune to embarrassing graphics gaffes. Readers of Google News were shown that Russian troops are thrusting into the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia, thanks to the Google Maps graphic accompanying a story about Russian incursions into Georgia — the nation-state in the Caucasus, not the Caucasian-pride-ridden state in the southern US. Yahoo! Answers also had some fun with the GA-Georgia mix-up — 'I live in georegia but i dont see rusia no where not even sound but they says theres tanks should i be worrie' (Google cache) — before a spoilsport deleted the question."

California Can't Perform Pay Cut Because of COBOL 1139

beezzie writes "Last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered a pay cut, to minimum wage of $6.55/hr, for 200,000 state workers — because a state budget hadn't been approved yet. The state controller, who has opposed the pay cut on principle and legal grounds, now says the pay cut isn't even feasible because the state's payroll systems are so antiquated. He says it would take six months to go to minimum wage, and nine months more to restore salaries once a budget is passed. The system is based on COBOL, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the state hasn't yet found the funds or resources, in ten years of trying, to upgrade it." The article quotes a consultant on how hard it is to find COBOL programmers; he says you usually have to draw them out of retirement. Problem is, if there were any such folks on the employment rolls in California, Gov. Schwarzenegger fired them all last week, too.

"Clear" Air-Travel Pass Data Stolen From SFO 379

Kozar_The_Malignant writes "A laptop containing the unencrypted security data for 33,000 travelers using the Clear system was stolen at San Francisco International Airport on July 26, according to CBS5 Television. The Clear system allows travelers who register and pay a $100.00 annual fee to speed through airport security by using a smart card at special kiosks in some airports. TSA has suspended new registrations in the system, which is run by a private contractor, Verified Identity Pass, Inc., a subsidiary of GE. The laptop was apparently stolen from a locked office at SFO. The company has now decided that it might be a good idea to encrypt the data in their systems. They are in the process of notifying customers that all of their personal data, including name, address, SSi number, passport number, date of birth, etc. has been compromised."

Blu-ray BD+ Cracked 521

An anonymous reader writes "In July 2007, Richard Doherty of the Envisioneering Group (BD+ Standards Board) declared: 'BD+, unlike AACS which suffered a partial hack last year, won't likely be breached for 10 years.' Only eight months have passed since that bold statement, and Slysoft has done it again. According to the press release, the latest version of their flagship product AnyDVD HD can automatically remove BD+ protection and allows you to back-up any Blu-ray title on the market."

Fingerprint-Protected USB Sticks Cracked 166

juct writes "Manufacturers of USB sticks and cards with fingerprint readers promise us that their data safes can only be opened with the right fingerprint. In their tests, heise Security found that it is easy to bypass the authentication and get access to the protected data. This works by sending a single USB command, using the open source tool PLscsi, that changes the accessible partition. They found the vulnerability in several USB sticks that use the same chipset. The article concludes: 'The fingerprint sensors in the products mentioned above apparently only serve one purpose: they mislead interested buyers. They do not provide any significant level of protection. We can only recommend that these products not be purchased.'"

G-Archiver Harvesting Google Mail Passwords 462

Thwomp writes "It appears that a popular Gmail backup utility, G-Archiver, has been harvesting users' Gmail passwords. This was discovered when a developer named Dustin Brooks took a look at the code using a decompiler. He discovered a Gmail account name and password embedded in the source code. Brooks logged in and found over 1,700 emails all with user account information — with his own at the top. According to a story in Informationweek, he deleted the emails, changed the account password, and notified Google. The creator of G-Archiver has pulled the software, stating that it was debug code and was unintentionally left in the product."
The Courts

Microsoft Internal Emails Show Dismay With Vista 662

bfwebster writes "Microsoft is currently facing a class-action suit over its designation of allegedly under-powered hardware as being 'Vista Capable.' The discovery process of that lawsuit has now compelled Microsoft to produce some internal emails discussing those issues. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has published extracts of some of those emails, along with a link to a a PDF file containing a more extensive email exchange. The emails reflect a lot of frustration among senior Microsoft personnel about Vista's performance problems and hardware incompatibilities. They also appear to indicate that Microsoft lowered the hardware requirements for 'Vista Capable' in order to include certain lower-end Intel chipsets, apparently as a favor to Intel: 'In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with 915 graphics embedded.' Read the whole PDF; it is informative, interesting, and at times (unintentionally) funny."

Vista SP1 Update Locks Out Some Users 410

Echostorm writes with word that Windows Vista SP1, which began rolling out via Automatic Update, has left some users' machines unbootable. The update loops forever on "Configuring updates: Stage 3 of 3 — 0% complete. Do not turn off your computer." "Shutting down"... restart and loop. Echostorm notes having found traces of what sounds like the same bug in early beta releases of SP1. It's unclear how many users are affected. So far there is no word on a fix from Microsoft.
PC Games (Games)

EVE-Online Patch Makes XP Unbootable 572

Nobo writes "CCP's latest major patch to the EVE-Online client, Trinity, comes with an optional DX9-enhanced graphics patch that dramatically improves the visual quality of the in-game graphics through remade models, textures, and HDR. It also has an unfortunate bug: the incredibly stupid choice of boot.ini as a game configuration file, coupled with an errant extra backslash in the installer configuration. The result is that anyone who installs the enhanced graphics patch overwrites the windows XP c:\boot.ini file with the EVE client configuration file, bricking the machine on the next boot. Discussion in a couple of forums threads is becoming understandably heated."

California Testers Find Flaws In Voting Machines 167

quanticle writes "According to Ars Technica, California testers have discovered severe flaws in the ES&S voting machines. The paper seals were easily bypassed, and the lock could be picked with a "common office implement". After cracking the physical security of the device, the testers found it simple to reconfigure the BIOS to boot off external media. After booting a version of Linux, they found that critical system files were stored in plain text. They also found that the election management system that initializes the voting machines used unencrypted protocols to transmit the initialization data to the voting machines, allowing for a man-in-the-middle attack. Altogether, it is a troubling report for a company already in hot water for selling uncertified equipment to counties."

Vista Branding Confusing Even To Microsoft 236

Trotti Laganna writes "Lawyers are now arguing a case brought against Microsoft over Vista's marketing. The software giant is being dinged for allegedly not telling the truth when it put the 'Vista capable' logo on PCs that would only be capable of running Vista Home Basic. Case in point - even the software giant's marketing director Mark Croft was confused by the pre-launch campaign in the United States. Croft's explanation was that "'capable'...has an interpretation for many that, in the context of this program, a PC would be able to run any version of the Windows operating system". After a 10-minute break to talk to Microsoft's lawyers, Croft admitted he had made 'an error', and retracted his previous statement, saying that, by 'capable', Microsoft meant 'able to run a version of Vista'."

Wolfram's 2,3 Turing Machine Not Universal 284

Fishbat writes "In a cutting message to the Foundations of Mathematics mailing list, Stanford's Vaughan Pratt has pointed out an elementary mistake in the recently announced proof that Wolfram's (2,3) machine is universal." Update: 10/30 04:18 GMT by KD : Ed Pegg Jr. from Wolfram Research points to this response to Dr. Pratt's note, which has been submitted to the FoM mailing list but has not yet appeared there due to moderation.

US Democrats Accidentally Publish Whistleblowers' Email Addresses 352

iluvcapra writes "The US House Judiciary Committee recently emailed all of its potential whistleblowers information about how it was restructuring its whistleblower program. Unfortunately for its sources, it emailed them this information with their addresses in the "To:" field (and not the Bcc: field) It also cc:'d this email to the Vice President. I'd like to think think this is some sort of ingenious subterfuge, but I'm doubtful."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Note To Criminals — Don't Call Tech Support 266

Billosaur writes "Darwin Awards, here he comes: Ars Technica has up a story about a would-be identity thief who did himself in by calling tech support about printer drivers. Timothy Short must have thought he'd hit the mother-lode when he stole a PC and a Digimarc printer from the Missouri Department of Revenue, perhaps with dreams of cranking out thousands of fake ids. Problem: he could not unlock the computer he stole and without the necessary drivers, he couldn't use the printer. Ever resourceful, Short called Digimarc tech support a couple of days later (twice), which brought him to the attention of a Secret Service agent, who recognized his voice from a recording of the calls. Short now faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison."

Driver Update Can Cause Vista Deactivation 875

KrispySausage writes "After weeks of grueling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA — something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation. Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour."

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.