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Microsoft

Submission + - Verizon removes search choices for Blackberrys (theregister.co.uk)

shrugger writes: I picked up my Blackberry this morning to do a search and noticed, Bing as my default search engine. I thought this was very strange, since I didn't pick this setting. I went to change it back to Google, and to my chagrin, Bing was my only option!! Apparently Verizon has pushed updates that remove all search providers except Bing. Thanks a lot Verizon!
Earth

The Environmental Impact of PHP Compared To C++ On Facebook 752

Kensai7 writes "Recently, Facebook provided us with some information on their server park. They use about 30,000 servers, and not surprisingly, most of them are running PHP code to generate pages full of social info for their users. As they only say that 'the bulk' is running PHP, let's assume this to be 25,000 of the 30,000. If C++ would have been used instead of PHP, then 22,500 servers could be powered down (assuming a conservative ratio of 10 for the efficiency of C++ versus PHP code), or a reduction of 49,000 tons of CO2 per year. Of course, it is a bit unfair to isolate Facebook here. Their servers are only a tiny fraction of computers deployed world-wide that are interpreting PHP code."

Submission + - Conspiracy to Infringe Copyrights

LoanGuy writes: Is conspiracy to infringe copyrights considered a crime of dishonesty?
I was convicted of conspiracy to infringe copyrights many years ago and I work in the mortgage industry and maintain a loan originators license. There has been no problem until I received a letter from the Department of Finacial Institutions requesting a surrender my license. They stated that "The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (S.A.F.E. Act) requires that all residential mortgage loan originators must be either state-licensed or federally-registered by July 1, 2010. In order to be licensed with a state, loan originators must meet several minimum qualifications. One of the required qualifications is that a loan originator has never been convicted of a felony involving fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering. Conspiracy to Commit Copyright Infringement is a crime of dishonesty"
Science

Ants That Can Count 162

thisIsOdd writes "NPR had a recent report about scientists at the University of Ulm who suggest that ants in desert environments count to help them get to and from their homes. Because the desert's windiness and sandiness is not conducive the 'smell-trail' method, where ants squeeze certain glands that leave a chemical trail, scientists were puzzled by the fact that these desert ants were able to leave and successfully return to their nest. The theory is called the 'pedometer theory,' and the experiment used to test it involves manipulating the leg length of some of these ants. Ants with longer legs would pass the nest on the way home, and ones with shorter legs came up... well... short."

Comment Re:Hello, World! (Score 1) 291

Kind of thinking the same thing. Useful in the wild? Perhaps. Sometimes. Major blow for security? Hardly. Mindblowingly cool, especially given how frustrating much lesser limitations get? Totally. I've seen quite a few awesome "x86-with-harsh-limitations" (many just because, same reason as coding in brainfuck) but that's just out there. Hope they at least make an RSA poem..
Censorship

Bing Censoring All Simplified Chinese Language Queries 214

boggis writes "Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times journalist, is calling for a boycott of Microsoft's Bing. They have censored search requests at the request of the Chinese Government (like certain others). The difference is that Bing has censored all searches done anywhere in simplified Chinese characters (the characters used in mainland China). This means that a Chinese speaker searching for Tiananmen anywhere in the world now gets the impression that it is just a lovely place to visit."
Privacy

RFID Fingerprints To Fight Tag Cloning 59

Bourdain writes with news out of the University of Arkansas, where researchers are looking for ways to combat counterfeit RFID tags. Passive tags typically wait for a reader to transmit a signal of the appropriate strength and frequency before sending their own transmission. The scientists found that the amount of power required to trigger this varies quite a bit from one tag to the next, especially when many different frequencies are sampled. This and other physical characteristics give the tag its own "fingerprint" that is independent of the signal information stored in its memory, which the researchers say will facilitate the detection of cloned tags.

Comment Re:Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (Score 1) 264

This was my first thought as well. They're also big with teens, a market group where I could easily see the non-techies accidentally breaking a cockpit voice recorder (I don't know how dad! I was just putting it on my bedstand and it broke! GAWD!). Sure, tech has gotten flimsier since the bulletproofs of yesteryear but people take their tech much more for granted as well, not giving the TLC we used to show it.
Portables

Netbooks Have Higher Failure Rate Than Laptops 264

Barence writes "Netbooks are more likely to fail within the first year than their more expensive laptop brethren, according to new research. SquareTrade, an independent US warranty provider, analyzed the failure rates of more than 30,000 laptops covered by its own warranties. It found that 5.8% of netbooks malfunctioned within the first year, compared to 4.7% for regular laptops and 4.2% for premium laptops costing more than $1,000. The research also raises question marks over the legendary reliability of Macs. Three PC manufacturers — Asus, Toshiba, and Sony — boasted better reliability rates than Apple. Macs have a 17.4% malfunction rate over three years, compared to market-leader Asus, which has a 15.6% failure rate. HP was the worst of the nine PC vendors listed, with a malfunction rate of 25.6% over three years."
Bug

Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Firefox Extensions 208

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found several security holes in popular Firefox extensions that have an estimated total of 30 million downloads from AMO (the Addons Mozilla community site). Three 0-days were also released. Mozilla doesn't have a security model for extensions and Firefox fully trusts the code of the extensions. There are no security boundaries between extensions and, to make things even worse, an extension can silently modify another extension." The affected extensions are Sage version 1.4.3, InfoRSS 1.1.4.2, and Yoono 6.1.1 (and earlier versions). Clearly the problem is larger than just these three extensions.
Security

Submission + - How to hack China for just $1800 (goodgearguide.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "The wpad.cn domain is for sale, according to a note posted on the Web site. That fact probably doesn't mean much to most people, but to Duane Wessels it's a big deal. He says that if it fell into criminal hands it could be misused for phishing or other types of fraud. Wessels, the president of Measurement Factory, owns five wpad domains — wpad.com, wpad.net, wpad.org, wpad.biz and wpad.us. Between them, he gets 5 million hits per day. Most of them come from Windows computers erroneously looking for network configuration information, thanks to a decade-old Windows bug that Microsoft first fixed in 1999. Nobody knows why sites like Wessels' continue to get so much traffic long after Microsoft patched the flaw. He thinks it may come from old versions of Windows, obscure programs with built-in Web components, or perhaps even misconfigured servers on the network."

Comment About time (Score 1) 127

Growing up with a mom working as a chef or cook in various kitchens the whole way, I'd often be baffled by how awkward and backwards the tech involved was. Tons of stuff was clearly considered way obsolete by standards in non-food engineering. Like many fields (like cells having features you'd never see on a cordless or a car having features a house rarely has) cooking sticks to tradition for no particular reason. It's of course ok to treat it as an art, but while painting in oil has it's place it's also useful to have photoshop and an inkjet printer for when you need speed, flexibility and consistent results.

Submission + - The Pirate Bay closes its door (torrentfreak.com)

sopssa writes: The Pirate Bay is finally closing its doors. 'Today marks the end of an era, as The Pirate Bay team announces that the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker is shutting down for good. Although the site will remain operational for now, millions of BitTorrent users will lose the use of its tracker and will instead have to rely on DHT and alternative trackers to continue downloading. — Aside from this shutdown, there is also another major development quietly under discussion. TorrentFreak has learned that behind the scenes the Pirate Bay operators are talking to other BitTorrent site owners to encourage them to follow suit and completely ditch torrents in the future.'

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