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Businesses

Submission + - PayPal's Recent System Plagues User Accounts

Tech_Maker_and_User writes: On Friday, May 11, I had funds from a customer deposit become unavailable to me from my PayPal account. When I called as to why I could not retrieve the funds I was informed by the customer service rep that there is a technical problem and that the problem would soon be resolved. After the weekend, I found that my funds were still unavailable to me for the one deposit. I decided to dig a little deeper and called back but this time spoke to a PayPal customer service representative named Kim. When I asked about the technical issue, she responded, "Do you mean the one plaguing PayPal?" She stated that PayPal recently applied a large system update which has produced this error. "We can see your deposit, but it doesn't reflect in your balance", said Kim. "We have a lot of developers working on this problem even over the weekend, but we cannot give an exact date as to when the problem will be resolved." Kim stated that they are not applying provisional credits because they chose to fix the problem and estimated that it wouldn't be long before the problem is resolved. She added my PayPal account to the "list" of other PayPal accounts that are experiencing this issue.

Feed Guessbots navigate by making informed predictions (engadget.com)

Filed under: Robots

A new system of robotic navigation being developed at Purdue University enhances a bot's ability to get around unfamiliar environments by allowing it to "guess" what unknown areas look like. Unlike the traditional method of "simulataneous localization and mapping" (hilariously nicknamed SLAM), in which bots take detailed measurements of an area to generate maps, the guessbots divide an area into cells and make predictions about "frontier cells," or areas adjacent to cells which have already been mapped. Each frontier cell is then assigned a "confidence score" -- cells with low scores need further investigation, while those with high scores can be added to the map. Initial computer simulations of the system resulted in virtual guessbots needing to map less than 33% of a building to navigate successfully, and while real-life prototyping already underway doesn't seem to have gotten quite as good, it's produced higher-quality maps in shorter amounts of time than SLAM, according to the developers. The guessbots do have limitations, however: they system only works well in highly-structured environments like buildings -- outdoors is probably out -- and like all robotic navigation systems, small measurement errors add up fast. Even still, let's hope this filters down to the consumer level fast -- a navigation system that's able to predict what's coming up next instead of blindly following a map just might keep us from wrecking all those cars.

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!


Data Storage

Submission + - Microsoft briefly reveals online storage service

Lucas123 writes: "This past weekend, Microsoft briefly revealed the online backup service they've been talking about for two years, according to a story on Computerworld. 'The hosted backup service, now called Window Live Folders, will initially offer users 500MB of free storage that they can organize into personal, shared and private folders to separate content and limit access. "Password-protected online file storage. Always available where you need it," the site's tagline read before it went offline.'"
United States

Justice Department Promises Stronger Copyright Punishments 322

An anonymous reader writes "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has stated that the Justice department will be getting even harder on copyright infringement, targeting repeat offenders. The new 'Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007' is headed for Congress promising to 'hit criminals in their wallets' hoping to ensure that any 'ill-gotten gains' are forfeited.
Security

Submission + - Distributed Open Proxy Honeypot Project Results

An anonymous reader writes: The Honeypot Project is capturing live web attack data with sensors placed around the world to provide concrete examples of the types of attacks occurring "in the wild," in addition to raising awareness and developing effective countermeasures to new threats. Since January, the Honeypot Project has logged nearly one million web requests and here are the results.
Security

A Chip on DVDs Could Prevent Theft 435

Dieppe writes "A simple chip added to a DVD disk could prevent retail theft. According to the AP article at MSNBC, the chip would be activated at the register to make a previously dark area of the DVD clear, and therefore readable. Could this help to stem the tide of the approximate $400 million dollars in losses from brick and mortar stores? Game console DVDs could also be protected this way too. Could this help to bring the prices down on DVD games and movies?"
Security

A Foolproof Way To End Bank Account Phishing? 436

tcd004 writes "F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen proposes an elegant solution to the problem of bank account phishing in the latest Foreign Policy magazine. Hypponen thinks banks should have exclusive use of a new top-level domain: .bank. 'Registering new domains under such a top-level domain could then be restricted to bona fide financial organizations. And the price for the domain wouldn't be just a few dollars: it could be something like $50,000 — making it prohibitively expensive to most copycats. Banks would love this. They would move their existing online banks under a more secure domain in no time."
Robotics

Submission + - South Korea developing robot code of ethics

thefickler writes: A 12-member task force, consisting of top lawyers, doctors and scientists, has been set up by the South Korean Commerce Ministry to develop a code of ethics for robots by the end of the year, according to TECH.BLORGE.com.

"We expect the day will soon come when intellectual robots can act upon their own decisions. So we are presenting this as an ethical guideline on the role and ability of robots," said South Korea's Commerce Ministry.
Censorship

Submission + - Myspace eliminates "Gay" option

ishboo writes: "Just recently myspace abolished the option to select "Gay" as a sexual preference in your profile while still leaving bi and lesbian. This comes form chairman of News Corps. (Myspace's parent company) Rupert Murdoch who made this choice based on "Personal Family Values" who has a history of being accused of being homophobic. http://rawstory.com/news/2007/MySpace_deletes_abil ity_of_users_to_0503.html"
Businesses

Submission + - Micromanagement, or good business practice?

RxScram writes: I have been working at my current job for almost 2 years. About 6 months ago, my manager decided he was too busy, and basically promoted one of my coworkers to be a "middle manager". This former coworker, and now middle manager, keeps adding new administrative burdens. Today he added his most recent... he wants me to start keeping a log where I track my work activities for the day every 30 minutes. He had wanted to do every 15 minutes, but I was at least able to talk him up from that. Does this seem excessive to anybody else, and does anybody else have horror stories about their micromanaging boss?

Feed Despite TSA's Best Efforts, Word Of Its Latest Data Leak Gets Around (techdirt.com)

The TSA has lost managed to lose a hard drive containing the personal information of 100,000 employees. What's sad is that on its own, the story's not particularly newsworthy, given the TSA's previous losses as well as the Federal government's abysmal track record in the area. But it's worth noting how the TSA disclosed the breach: by issuing a press release at 7pm Eastern time on a Friday. Such releases used to be favored by companies trying to bury bad news, as it would generally get lost in the shuffle over the weekend, when fewer people -- both in the media and in their audience -- were paying attention. However, as the TSA has found out, efforts like this to try and control the news cycle don't really work any more. Of course, it's a stretch to think all these stories will actually help change the situation, since the TSA's director has made the standard offer to pay for a year of credit monitoring for the employees whose data was lost, and that's apparently all it takes to make everything okay.
Security

Submission + - Wikipedia admins go on rampage

joeszilagyi writes: After their passwords got cracked: At least four different Wikipedia administrators have had their weak passwords taken in the past 24 hours. They deleted the home page repeatedly, and one person even put Tubgirl on the "Site notice", which is a global header for all of en.wikipedia.org. How did it happen? Weak logon security measures — there is no CAPTCHA; crappy passwords, and on top of that, while there is an encrypted SSL logon page, it's hard to find. The scariest thing is that people with passwords of "password" are entrusted as sysops and administrators on one of the Top 10 websites on Earth. They even blocked Jimbo Wales repeatedly from his own website!

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