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The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Fired IT workers claim discrimination (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Eighteen IT employees of Molina Healthcare Inc. who were laid-off after their jobs were offshored, have filed a lawsuit in California claiming they are victims of discrimination after they were replaced with foreign nationals, Indian workers from a outsourcing company. As the company's offshore engagement increased, Indian workers dominated the IT shop so much so that meetings sometimes shifted to an Indian language, which added to a growing sense of isolation among the Molina IT employees. When the IT workers were informed of their layoff at a mass meeting, they went on the attack. "We were being quite confrontational about why they are laying us off and keeping all these H-1B workers," said one of the fired IT professionals.
Advertising

Submission + - Digital Tech and the Re-Birth of Product Placement (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "When you think of product placement on television you tend to think of cumbersome 1950s examples where the actor would cheesily turn to camera and hold up say a bar of soap—where do you think the sobriquet soap opera came from—to deliver his line. Perhaps to save all of us the artistic murder, the practice was prohibited in Europe, but recently the prohibition has been relaxed and a U.K. start up is offering digital producers the chance to inject products realistically in post production with full directorial control. The problem with existing physical product placement is that there are no clear business plans, and the process is incredibly slow. In Europe, legal constraints prohibit directors from re-writing scripts to include products, so any placement has to be done at the creative stage. “This means 9-12 months to get the result from the idea of introducing a brand into a show to broadcast,” says Mark Popkiewicz, CEO of MirriAd.
For three of its four years, says Mr. Popkiewicz, the company was building and perfecting the technology that allows it to process, in quicker than real time, video to identify opportunities to inject products after shooting, and the parallel technology to scan the product and inject it into the video unobtrusively. The key to success is two fold: artistically how well the products blend into the movie, and commercially, how successful it is for the advertisers."

Data Storage

Submission + - Five-dimensional glass disc storage (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Researchers from the University of Southampton, England, have successfully recorded, read, and erased data from a clear piece of nano-structured glass. This technique could revolutionize microscopy in general, and medical imaging in specific — and, perhaps more importantly for computing, it could also be used to store binary data, like an optical disc. Beyond the standard three dimensions that are used by optical disc storage — vertical and horizontal positions on the piece of glass, and varying depths — wavelength and polarization can also be used to carry data. Ta'da, five dimensions."
Transportation

Submission + - EV travels a record 1,000 miles+ on single charge (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: The “Schluckspecht E” electric vehicle built by a team at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenberg, Germany has broken the world record for the longest distance traveled on a single charge. The world record attempt was made at the Bosch test track in Boxberg with the vehicle traveling a total distance of 1631.5 km (1,013.76 miles), breaking the previous record of 1,003 km (623 miles) set by the Japan Electric Vehicle Club last year.
Science

Submission + - Data leak: galaxy rich in Earth-like planets (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A leak from an Oxford conference about the Kepler satellite mission reveals that out of approximately 265 planets represented on a particular graph, about 140 were labeled "like Earth"--having a radius smaller than twice Earth's radius. So the unauthorized presentation of preliminary results would seem to confirm that Kepler has succeeded in showing that Earth is no fluke.
Security

Submission + - WiFi WPA2 vulnerability found (networkworld.com)

BobB-nw writes: Perhaps it was only a matter of time. But wireless security researchers say they have uncovered a vulnerability in the WPA2 security protocol, which is the strongest form of Wi-Fi encryption and authentication currently standardized and available.

Malicious insiders can exploit the vulnerability, named "Hole 196" by the researcher who discovered it at wireless security company AirTight Networks. The moniker refers to the page of the IEEE 802.11 Standard (Revision, 2007) on which the vulnerability is buried. Hole 196 lends itself to man-in-the-middle-style exploits, whereby an internal, authorized Wi-Fi user can decrypt, over the air, the private data of others, inject malicious traffic into the network and compromise other authorized devices using open source software, according to AirTight.

"There's nothing in the standard to upgrade to in order to patch or fix the hole," says Kaustubh Phanse, AirTight's wireless architect who describes Hole 196 as a "zero-day vulnerability that creates a window of opportunity" for exploitation.

News

Submission + - Deepwater Horizon had BSOD issues (nytimes.com)

Ecks writes: The testimony has started in the Deepwater Horizon case and in addition to other problems it looks like they had major BSOD issues with their computer system. The whole thing article is an interesting read. It's on the NY Times site so registration is required.

"Problems existed from the beginning of drilling the well, Mr. Williams said. For months, the computer system had been locking up, producing what the crew deemed the “blue screen of death.”

“It would just turn blue,” he said. “You’d have no data coming through.”

Submission + - Embedding A/V Commentary into Geotagged Bike Tour (treehugger.com)

charliesfreehweels writes: This weekend marks what should have been my friend Charlie's 26th birthday. Sadly, he was killed three years ago when a car veered off the road and abruptly ended his cross-continent Bike Tour. During his journey, he geo-tagged and blogged each stop along the way. In his memory, teens from a charity (which runs free after-school earn-a-bike mentorship programs — see video) started in his honour are going to be conducting their own bike tour of a historic part of town where both they and Charlie grew up. Just like Charlie geo-tagged his adventure, we'd like to be able to enable people who miss our original tour the opportunity to recreate the experience using nothing but a bike and a smartphone (and a helmet!).

I've tried to reach out to the FourSquare team but have not received any response. We're desperately looking for eloquent ways to create a geotagged path that cyclists can easily follow while also experiencing the original audio and/or video commentary containing the teen residents' unique perspective on living in Regent Park.

I'm comfortable with basic coding, mobile site design and implementing OSS and am looking for alternative software that can cost-effectively capture the tour stops (with commentary) and allow user-friendly access in the future.

Security

Submission + - Critical Safari AutoFill Flaw Steals Data (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: A prominent security researcher is urging users of Apple’s Safari browser to immediately turn off the AutoFill feature to block hackers from stealing sensitive information. According to Jeremiah Grossman, founder and Chief Technology Officer of WhiteHat Security, the AutoFill Web Forms feature can be hacked to steal data from the computer’s address book.

“Right at the moment a Safari user visits a website, even if they’ve never been there before or entered any personal information, a malicious website can uncover their first name, last name, work place, city, state, and email address,” Grossman said.

Iphone

Submission + - iPhone Tethering Hidden Inside Flashlight App (geekvine.net)

strestout writes: Handy Light may seem like just any other flashlight application for the iPhone, so spending the $0.99 to download it seem pointless, but the app hides a secret. It’s actually an application which lets you tether your iPhone’s 3G connection to your computer in order to get free internet access on AT&T’s network!
Microsoft

Submission + - New Token Attack Owns All Windows Versions (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: Microsoft's problems with Token Kidnapping [.pdf] on the Windows platform aren't going away anytime soon. More than a year after Microsoft issued a patch to cover privilege escalation issues that could lead to complete system takeover, a security researcher plans to use the Black Hat conference spotlight to expose new design mistakes and security issues that can be exploited to elevate privileges on all Windows versions including the brand new Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.
Researcher Cesar Cerrudo said the vulnerabilities can be exploited to bypass new Windows services protection to help in post-exploitation scenarios too where an attacker is able to run code after exploiting a vulnerability in a Windows service but he is not able to compromise the whole system due to these protections. One of the issues Cerrudo plans to present at Black Hat even allows him to bypass one of the Microsoft's fixes for previous Token Kidnapping vulnerabilities on Windows 2003.

The Military

Submission + - Obama internet 'kill switch' bill approved (brisbanetimes.com.au)

CuteSteveJobs writes: The new "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act" has been unanimously approved by the US Homeland Security committee and will be put to a vote on the Senate floor shortly. The act grants the US government powers to seize control of and shut down the Internet under a new bill that describes the global internet as a "US National Asset".

The act stipulates internet firms and providers must immediately comply with instructions by a new section of the US Department of Homeland Security, dubbed the "National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications". The bill was introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman who argues that US economic security, national security and public safety were under threat from cyber-terrorists. Critics have called it an "Internet Kill switch" and said it is irresponsible for any one country to wield such power. Given how heavily business relies on the net, is this reasonable? Will other countries use this as cue to develop their own internet infrastructure?

Encryption

Submission + - The HTTPS Everywhere Firefox Extension (eff.org)

Peter Eckersley writes: EFF and Tor have announced a public beta of HTTPS Everywhere, a Firefox plugin that automatically encrypts your Google searches as well as requests to several other sites, including Wikipedia, Twitter, Identica, Facebook, some major newspapers, and a number of smaller search engines. This plugin makes it much easier to use encryption with sites that support it, but not by default.

For us, this is part of an ongoing campaign to turn the unencrypted web of the past into the encrypted web of tomorrow.

Editorial

Submission + - Beef TACO forks TACO (theregister.co.uk) 1

rtfa-troll writes: Beef TACO is a Firefox extension which allows a mass opt out from tracking and targeted advertising by many ad networks. The Register reports that the original system TACO has become proprietary and has added new "features" best described as bloatware. I guess this should serve as a warning for users to always prefer software under a copyleft license where possible and best if any company involved has handed it over to a foundation such as the FSF or KDE e.V or Apache foundation which will guarantee that future releases will maintain their F/OSS character. If Google had chosen a license with better protection, such as the GPL, when they released their opt out tool this problem would have been much less likely. This also shows why forks are so important when software development begins to get messy.

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