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Submission + - Microsoft wipes family photos off employee phones (

jbrodkin writes: "Microsoft employees who forget their phone passwords will see their devices get wiped, even if they're filled with personal data. "At Microsoft, we have a policy that says if you try to log in on a phone five times incorrectly, we actually wipe the phone," says Microsoft's Brad Anderson. "When that one gets wiped, it doesn't differentiate between what is corporate data and what is personal data." For the sake of its employees and customers, Microsoft is working on a system that can treat the corporate and personal data separately, but is so far coming up short. "I know what the problem is, but I'm not sure how we're going to solve it yet," Anderson says."

Submission + - House Alarm Blasts Burglars With Pepper Spray ( 1

Zothecula writes: This is one home security alarm you won't want to trigger by mistake! Burglar Blaster mounts on a wall inside the home, and once armed, uses an infrared beam to detect when an intruder has entered the house. It then emits a cloud of pepper spray, that will severely inconvenience anyone within 2,000 square feet (186 square meters).

Submission + - Stock trades to exploit speed of light (

SpuriousLogic writes: Financial institutions may soon change what they trade or where they do their trading because of the speed of light.

"High-frequency trading" carried out by computers often depends on differing prices of a financial instrument in two geographically-separated markets.

Exactly how far the signals have to go can make a difference in such trades.

Alexander Wissner-Gross told the American Physical Society meeting that financial institutions are looking at ways to exploit the light-speed trick.

Dr Wissner-Gross, of Harvard University, said that the latencies — essentially, the time delay for a signal to wing its way from one global financial centre to another — advantaged some locations for some trades and different locations for others.

There is a vast market for ever-faster fibre-optic cables to try to physically "get there faster" but Dr Wissner-Gross said that the purely technological approach to gaining an advantage was reaching a limit.

Trades now travel at nearly 90% of the ultimate speed limit set by physics, the speed of light in the cables.


Antenna Arrays Could Replace Satellite TV Dishes 183

Zothecula writes "There was a time not so very long ago when people who wanted satellite TV or radio required dishes several feet across. Those have since been replaced by today's compact dishes, but now it looks like even those might be on the road to obsolescence. A recent PhD graduate from The Netherlands' University of Twente has designed a microchip that allows for a grid array of almost-flat antennae to receive satellite signals."

'Officer Bubbles' Sues YouTube Commenters Over Mockery 594

An anonymous reader writes "'Officer Bubbles' — the Toronto Police Constable who was videotaped threatening a G20 protester with arrest for assault over the crime of blowing bubbles at a police officer has had enough of mocking videos and comments on YouTube. He has decided to sue everyone involved (commenters included) for more than a million dollars each. The complaint is detailed in his statement of claim — most of the comments seem fairly tame by internet standards; if this goes anywhere, everyone is going to have to watch what they say pretty carefully. The lawsuit appears to have been successful in intimidating the author of the mocking cartoons into taking them down."

2012 Mayan Calendar 'Doomsday' Date Might Be Wrong 144

astroengine writes "A UC Santa Barbara associate professor is disputing the accuracy of the mesoamerican 'Long Count' calendar after highlighting several astronomical flaws in a correlation factor used to synchronize the ancient Mayan calendar with our modern Gregorian calendar. If proven to be correct, Gerardo Aldana may have nudged the infamous December 21, 2012 'End of the World' date out by at least 60 days. Unfortunately, even if the apocalypse is rescheduled, doomsday theorists will unlikely take note."

Comment Re:Insane (Score 1) 2058

It may not be rocket science, but it's not 3rd grade math either. It's very likely that the house/land in question was worth much less than $100,000. If that was the fee, they couldn't have or wouldn't have paid it. To answer your question, it appears that the people of the rural county that this man lived in did not in fact have any form of social responsibility or compassion. The government in that area, which was presumably expressing the will of its constituents, had apparently decided not to arrange for fire protection for all of the people outside the city who could be served by the city fire department. The people had decided to to leave it up to each individual as to whether or not to get the protection. The City had, after seeing that the owner of the house had not paid the fee, called him and written him a letter. For whatever reason, even after those communications where he was told what the consequences would be if he didn't pay and his house caught on fire, did not pay. It is sad, indeed, that this man subjected his family and pets to the consequences of his inaction. Many people decide not to live in cities because they don't like to pay higher taxes for things like city water, city sewer, fire protection, city garbage collection, city building codes and inspections, etc. They also don't want to have to play by the rules that go along with city life. It's a choice -- you get what you pay for.

New Batfish Species Found Under Gulf Oil Spill 226

eDarwin writes "Researchers have discovered two previously unknown species of bottom-dwelling fish in the Gulf of Mexico, living right in the area affected by the BP oil spill. Researchers identified new species of pancake batfishes, a flat fish rarely seen because of the dark depths they favor. They are named for the clumsy way they 'walk' along the sea bottom, like a bat crawling."

Submission + - Official WoW Forums to Display Full Names (

Becausegodhasmademe writes: In a move that has drawn heavy criticism from the World of Warcraft playerbase, Activision Blizzard announced today that the full name of posters on their public forums will be displayed alongside each forum post. The thread on the US WoW forum announcing the changes has reached 21,000 posts at time of writing, filled with complaints from customers very concerned about their privacy. In defense of the move, a community moderator posted his full name and challenged the players to find information on him. Within 15 minutes his personal information, including address, telephone number and the names and addresses of his family members were posted, causing the community moderator to delete his Facebook account.

The account cancellation page at is currently down, due presumably to the volume of customers canceling their accounts. As the privacy changes will affect European forums as well, many posters are questioning the legality of the change.


Submission + - How to Own a Database With SQL Injection (

Trailrunner7 writes: Threatposy has a cool guest column that lays out the techniques that attackers are using to penetrate databases via the Web through SQL injection attacks. "SQL injection is the most common penetration technique employed by hackers to steal valuable information from corporate databases. Yet, as widespread as this method of attack is, a seemingly infinite number of ‘sub-methods,’ or variations of SQL Injection attacks can be carried out against the database. One example would be the SYS.DBMS_PRVTAQIP package of a common Database Management System that contains procedures that are susceptible to SQL Injection and allows any user with EXECUTE privileges to execute commands under the elevated privileges of the SYS user.

Typically, when executed through a web front end, these attacks will not necessarily be caught by firewalls since they are using Port 80, and are hidden as part of the regular POST data when submitting a web form.


Submission + - IT folks snoop your protected data (

coondoggie writes: In a survey of IT professionals published Wedneday, 67% of respondents admitted having accessed information that was not relevant to their role, and 41% admitted abusing administrative passwords to snoop on sensitive or confidential information.

Submission + - Hands-on with Pixel Qi screens in full sunlight (

griffjon writes: "Side-by-side comparison of the OLPC's screen and an Acer with the new Pixel Qi screen installed, both of course sharing Mary Lou Jepsen's screen technology:

"The XO's dual mode screen still rules in terms of pixel resolution at 1200 x 900 vs. the Acer's 1024 x 600. It was amazing to see Windows 7, Amazon Kindle software, the New York Times web site and a QuickTime video in direct sunlight. Shades of gray and some color tints are visible. Besides the XOs and e-ink based Kindle ereaders, no other color screen device I own can be seen as clearly in sunlight. Not even the famed iPad. In the video, you can see that at a certain angle where line of sight and sun are aligned, the new Pixel Qi screen glows as if backlit!""

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