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The Internet

Submission + - Facebook Maxes Out Its Data Center Space (facebook.com)

1sockchuck writes: "Facebook is adding 2 million new users a week, and recently maxed out the data center space at its California facilities. The load on the company's servers "continues to increase at a pretty astounding rate," says Facebook engineer Jason Sobel, who said the fast-growing social networking service has added a data center in Virginia, which is now serving 30 percent of its traffic. Sobel also discusses how Facebook sorts out which data gets stored on the East Coast and West Coast, which has meant some fine-tuning of its MySQL code to properly update Memcached."
Bug

Submission + - Virus that came Pre-Installed on Maxtor HD 1

kirouac writes: "Security mavens from Kaspersky say they have discovered a nasty virus that came pre-installed on Maxtor external hard drives sold in the Netherlands. The virus, dubbed Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah, was found on the Maxtor 3200 Personal Storage, according to this press release from Kaspersky (translated from Dutch to English courtesy of FreeTranslation.com). The company said the virus roots around a computer in search of gaming passwords. The malicious code also rifles through a computer's contents and deletes mp3 files, according to a separate description of the virus, also from Kaspersky. A spokesman for Seagate, which recently acquired Maxtor, said the company was investigating Kaspersky's findings. "This scenario seems unlikely because the 3200 does not have any software preloaded on the drive so there is not an opportunity for a virus to be loaded," he said. Yes the drive is formatted but I have never heard of a virus that lives in the master boot record.""
The Military

Submission + - Air Force drone hits Afganistan -- from Nevada (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "The US Air Force is reporting its satellite-controlled unmanned Reaper aircraft has made its first precision bomb strike in Afghanistan. The strike was launched Nov. 7 from the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. The remote pilot released two 500-pound laser-guided bombs, destroying the target and eliminating the enemy fighters, the Air Force said. In this case the Reaper was operating over the Sangin region of Afghanistan on the hunt for enemy activity when the crew received a request for assistance from a joint terminal attack controller on the ground. US Soldiers were taking fire from enemy combatants, the Air Force said. The local operator provided targeting data to the pilot in Nevada and the bombs were targeted and dropped. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/21744"
Patents

Submission + - Amazon Patents Including a String at End of a URL

theodp writes: "On Tuesday, Amazon search subsidiary A9.com was awarded U.S. patent no. 7,287,042 for 'including a search string at the end of a URL without any special formatting.' In the Summary of the Invention, it's explained that 'a user wishing to search for 'San Francisco Hotels' may do by simply accessing the URL www.domain_name/San Francisco Hotels, where domain_name is a domain name associated with the web site system.' Here's the flowchart that helped cinch the deal."
Communications

Submission + - Chemical Industry:Greenpeace Iphone report is BS (wired.com)

mytrip writes: "In round three of Apple vs. Greenpeace, the Cupertino company gets the backing of (surprise, surprise) a major chemical company trade body. On Monday, the Bromine Science and Evironmental Forum (BSEF) joined Apple's corner and claimed that much of the Greenpeace IPhone report was either exaggerated or misstated. First and foremost, the BSEF says that none of the chemicals used in the iPhone are banned under any environmental laws, and further argues that the brominates in the phone are actually essential in protecting against fire. "The Greenpeace report does not say which brominated flame retardants are present in the iPhone because it does not know," the group said in a statement. "Therefore, the report speculates about what substances might be present, and raises an alarm without any basis for doing so.""
Encryption

Submission + - GnuTLS Removes TLS Auth Due to Patent Issue (blue-gnu.biz)

halfloaded writes: "From: Blue-GNU
GnuTLS, which released version 2.0.2 last week, removed the TLS Authorization capability, due in part to an effort to circumvent the IETF standardization process. Simon Josefsson, posted on the gnu.announce newsgroup that GnuTLS has been updated, and that, among the changes, TLS authorization support was removed. According to the post, "This technique may be patented in the future, and it is not of crucial importance for the Internet community. After deliberation we have concluded that the best thing we can do in this situation is to encourage society not to adopt this technique. We have decided to lead the way with our own actions."

Blue GNU previously reported that the FSF has issued a call for people in the community to send comments to the IETF by Tuesday, Oct 23rd."

Security

Submission + - Homeland security's tech wonders (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: "The multi-billion dollar budget of the Department of Homeland Security has spawned a myriad of new, whiz-bang technology that includes things like keychain-size, remote-controlled aerial vehicles designed to collect and transmit data for military and homeland security uses. It also includes infrared cameras that capture license plate images to match them in milliseconds to police records. "Seventy percent of all criminal activity can be tied to a vehicle," says Mark Windover, president of Remington ELSAG Law Enforcement Systems, which is marketing its product to 250 U.S. police agencies."
Space

Submission + - Solar plane stays aloft 54 hours (bbc.co.uk)

kwerle writes: "From the BBC News

A solar powered plane built by a UK defense company successfully stayed aloft through 2 nights (54 hours total). An unspecified fault cut it's flight short. A second flight of 33 hours was cut short by threatening thunderstorms.

The Zephyr is not the first solar-powered plane to fly through the night (SoLong: http://www.acpropulsion.com/solong/48_hour_flight. htm), but it claims to be the first that remained powered the whole time — as opposed to gliding occasionally.

The Zephyr has a 59' wingspan, and reached an altitude above 58,000'."

AMD

Submission + - AMD Launches Barcelona Native Quad-Core Opteron (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "AMD has officially launched their new Barcelona core Opteron quad-core processors today and specific model numbering details as well as speeds and feeds have emerged. These new, native quad-core AMD processors have 2MB of shared L3 cache on board, in addition to their individual 512KB per-core L2 caches and a top core speed currently at 2GHz. Also, in a move reminiscent of their campaign from long ago to debunk the "megahertz myth" with processor performance rating-type model numbers, AMD is announcing a new power consumption metric called "ACP" or "Average CPU Power". Finally, details of next generation AMD 45nm Shanghai quad-core and Sandtiger octal-core CPUs are listed here as well."
Businesses

Submission + - The Corporate Tech Support Divide

theodp writes: "Even as they outsource IT, BusinessWeek reports that top execs still enjoy 24/7 in-house tech concierge assistance while the rank-and-file have to call India, fomenting help-desk rage. While lower-ranking employees fume about losing productive hours, CEOs have elite tech squads at their beck-and-call even on weekends to buy a replacement for that malfunctioning Blackberry or to set up equipment — including the kids' — at the house in the Hamptons."
AMD

Submission + - AMD NDA Scandal (techarp.com)

crazyeyes writes: "Just two weeks ago, a Thai journalist walked out of the hush-hush (AMD event in Singapore over a controversial NDA that required him to "send any stories to the vendor before his newspaper can publish it".

AMD categorically denied it happened, but today, we not only have proof that it happened, we also have the sordid details of the entire affair. Here's a quote from the editorial :-

"First off, the non-disclosure agreement covered everything confidential said or written over the next two years on the product, and had a duration of five years, during which anything published or used in marketing would have to receive written approval from AMD before it could be used. Worse, at the end of the five years, all copies of the information made would have to be returned to the chipmaker."
"

Patents

Submission + - House Passes Patent Overhaul Bill (itworld.com)

narramissic writes: "ITworld reports that the House of Representatives has passed a 'bill to overhaul the nation's patent system, overcoming objections by many Republicans, small inventors and some labor unions.' From the article:

The Patent Reform Act, supported by several large tech vendors including Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp., would allow courts to change they way they assess damages in patent infringement cases. Currently, courts generally consider the value of the entire product when a small piece of the product infringes a patent; the bill would allow, but not require, courts to base damages only on the value of the infringing piece.
"

Security

Submission + - Multiple .gov web sites hacked, serving exploits (blogspot.com)

cottagetrees writes: Security researcher Roger Thompson has discovered at least a dozen freshly hacked .gov web sites — all cities — hosting driveby-downloaded exploits and malware. Thompson blogged about his discovery here: http://explabs.blogspot.com/ and he posted a YouTube video documenting the hack here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_jh8lHb49w "The attacking pages seem to try one of three things. First they try an exploit to install their malware, and if that doesn't work, they try to trick you into installing a fake codec, and if that doesn't work, they run a fake antispy scan, and try to convince you that your machine is already compromised, but their software can fix it... just click the install button." According to the video, updated security patches will protect you from the driveby downloaded exploit, but won't protect victims of the social engineering ploy that tries to get them to download the fake codec, or install the fake anti-spyware.
Graphics

Submission + - AMD Launches New ATI Linux Driver (phoronix.com) 1

Michael Larabel writes: "AMD has issued a press release announcing "significant graphics performance and compatibility enhancements" on Linux. AMD will be delivering new ATI Linux drivers this year that offer ATI Radeon HD 2000 series support, AIGLX support (Beryl and Compiz!), and major performance improvements. At Phoronix we have been testing these new drivers internally for the past few weeks and have a number of articles looking at this new driver. The ATI 8.41 Linux driver delivers Linux gaming improvements from the R300/400 series and the R500 series. The inaugural Radeon HD 2900XT series support also can be found in the new ATI Linux driver with "the best price/performance ratio of any high-end graphics card under Linux." While this new driver cannot be downloaded yet, AMD has also eluded to accelerating efforts with the open-source community. Will AMD's announcement be enough to rectify their troubled Linux past?"
Robotics

Submission + - Robotic Fruit Pickers: Revolution in Harvesting (associatedcontent.com)

MarkWhittington writes: "The latest industry to be automated may well be the agricultural sector, specifically the hitherto labor intensive harvesting of our food. This development is particularly interesting because of current debates over illegal aliens, many of whom are employed in harvesting food and the development of a guest worker program to handle the same task. Due to increased enforcement on the southern border and the existence of better jobs in construction and service industries, farmers have discovered an increasing shortage of available workers to harvest their products. Some farmers have actually opted to move part of their operations to Mexico, where cheap labor is available. Another solution in the works appears to be the development of robotic harvesters. The California Citrus Research Board is funding a project by a company called Vision Robotics to create a machine to pick oranges."

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