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The Internet

Submission + - Banlgladesh blocks Facebook (skunkpost.com)

crimeandpunishment writes: Bangladesh has now joined Pakistan in blocking Facebook because of the conroversial page urging people to draw images of the Prophet Muhammad. The government said Sunday that Facebook has been "temporarily" blocked...but that access would be restored if the offending material is removed.
Sony

Submission + - Sony Refuses to Sanction PS3 Other OS Refunds (thinq.co.uk)

Stoobalou writes: Sony says that it has no intention of reimbursing retailers if they offer fat PS3 users partial refunds.

Last week, the first PS3 user successfully secured a partial refund from Amazon UK as compensation for the removal of the ability to run Linux on the console.

The punter quoted European law in order to persuade the online retailer that the goods he had bought in good faith were no longer fit for purpose because of the enforcement of firmware update 3.21, which meant that users who chose to keep the Other OS functionality would lose the ability to play the latest games or connect to the PlayStation Network.

Privacy

Submission + - Google backs Yahoo in privacy fight with DOJ (cnet.com)

suraj.sun writes: Google and an alliance of privacy groups have come to Yahoo's aid by helping the Web portal fend off a broad request from the U.S. Department of Justice for e-mail messages, CNET has learned.

In a brief filed Tuesday afternoon, the coalition says a search warrant signed by a judge is necessary before the FBI or other police agencies can read the contents of Yahoo Mail messages--a position that puts those companies directly at odds with the Obama administration.

Yahoo has been quietly fighting prosecutors' requests in front of a federal judge in Colorado, with many documents filed under seal. Tuesday's brief from Google and the other groups aims to buttress Yahoo's position by saying users who store their e-mail in the cloud enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

"Society expects and relies on the privacy of e-mail messages just as it relies on the privacy of the telephone system," the friend-of-the-court brief says. "Indeed, the largest e-mail services are popular precisely because they offer users huge amounts of computer disk space in the Internet 'cloud' within which users can warehouse their e-mails for perpetual storage."

CNET news : http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20002423-38.html

Microsoft

Submission + - Hotmail hacked, Account Contacts being spammed (tomshardware.com)

An anonymous reader writes: This morning I received an email (from a friend) which appeared a bit suspicious, but because this friend has a habit of being brief and not following email etiquette, I figured it was legitimate. I clicked the link and after being redirected to some sketchy/malware website, I wished I hadn't.

I contacted my friend who confirmed that he did not send the email. He mentioned that hotmail was recently hacked in February and he figured that must be part of the fallout from that.

I did a bit of googling, and it looks like a number of folks have been affected.

This seems like it could be a pretty big problem, and there doesn't seem to be much publicity on it. When twitter goes down for 5 minutes, it's headline CNN news, but somehow this event wasn't newsworthy?

We're all used to living in a world of spam, 419 scams, viagra emails, phishing attacks, etc., but this hack caught me slightly offguard, and it seems particularly dangerous because users (myself included, apparently) are inherently trusting of emails that come from (or seem to come from) a friend.

Security

Submission + - What security policy and processes do you use? (slashdot.org) 1

EvilMonkeySlayer writes: Recently we had a big multi-billion dollar four letter Japanese company install some very expensive software and hardware on our premises. Unfortunately the engineers who did the installing also brought a virus in and managed to install that onto their very expensive server.

Through processes i'd put in and a bit of luck the server that they installed was the only thing infected. I'd like to say this was the first time this has occurred but this has happened in the past where a third party who installed a piece of hardware has brought in a virus. I've got a decent security in depth set-up so much so that none of our machines has never been infected either through employees or cracking attempts on our public/private servers and workstations. However, it seems once every so often when we have a third party bring in their own server/machine that we've purchased they will inevitably infect said machine.

I have pressed managers in the past at our company to inform any engineers that they must pass any laptops, flash drives etc by me before connecting them up to our network or to another pc. However, they have typically neglected to inform them. Case in point an engineer decided to connect an infected flash drive to one of the workstations which is how I found out about the virus in the first place since the workstation AV blocked the virus and informed me immediately at which point I rushed over and forbid him from using it.

I have been talking to the company MD and he's talking of getting any engineers who come on site to sign a document stating that their computers are virus free etc.

I am wanting to literally make it very much clear to everyone and any third party that if they bring in a computer/flash drive it MUST pass by me first.

Unfortunately I can't always hold the hands of these engineers as I'm the only IT guy in the entire company, so often I may not be available or in a different part of one of our two buildings.

Also, the engineers installed a web server so customers can login remotely for the system. However, the web server is an older version of Apache (2.2.9) running on windows. I have forbidden this machine from having external access until in the words of the account manager for the four letter company "we're waiting to hear back from Japan because the software needs to be updated from them" which doesn't fill me with confidence especially for something that needs to be updated relatively frequently. (contractually wise me updating Apache on this windows server is in a grey area...)

What policy or methods do you guys use to enforce the rules?

I've talked of sending a very clear letter to all the managers from the MD that if they do not inform any third party that they must pass any computers/flash drives through me first that there will be serious consequences. (for example docking of wages, sacking etc)

Patents

Submission + - Facebook patents the news feed (thenextweb.com)

daedae writes: It seems Facebook has been granted a patent for the news feed, as a method of monitoring activities, storing them in a database, and displaying an appropriate set of activities to an appropriate set of users.
Privacy

UK Gov't To Require ID Cards For Some Foreign Residents 216

craigavonite, writing "It's looking like the UK is in for biometric ID cards within the next few years, despite widespread protest from groups such as 'NO2ID,'" excerpts from an article at the BBC describing a UK identify card to be issued starting later this year: "The biometric card will be issued from November, initially to non-EU students and marriage visa holders. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the cards would allow people to 'easily and securely prove their identity.' Critics say the roll-out to some immigrants is a 'softening up' exercise for the introduction of identity cards for everyone."
Software

Submission + - Virtual circuit kit building

Frank123 writes: "When I found a free and time unlimited circuit simulation program, I had to try it out. It has a steep learning curve, has some limits compared to the commercial version, but is great for beginning experimentors. I created a free 10 circuit kit tutorial to help users scale the steep learning curve, and posted it on my web site, www.tier-2-innovation.com. Too often, people interested in science and engineering are confronted at first with dull, tedious busywork. My tutorial and the simulation program lets users enjoy easily building and testing a simple electronic circuit."
United States

Submission + - Bill proposes to ban touch screen voting (capitolenews.com)

El Cubano writes: "Senator Bill Nelson (R-FL) has proposed a bill which would ban the use of touch-screen voting machines in federal elections. From the announcement:

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 would require all voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper trail by next year's presidential election and provides up to $1 billion for states to use for new voting equipment. But most importantly, the bill would phase out the use of touch-screen voting machines in federal elections by 2012, a measure Browning said he supports.
This seems like exactly the sort of thing that the Slashdot crowd has been clamoring for. Time to write your congress people and tell then to throw their support behind this bill."

Biotech

Submission + - New results from Fight AIDS@Home (isgtw.org)

An anonymous reader writes: New results from the Fight AIDS@Home project allow faster and more reliable classification of molecules potentially able to bind to the HIV virus, and should speed the goal of finding new HIV therapeutics effective in the face of drug resistance. FightAIDS@Home is the first biomedical distributed computing project ever launched. It is run by the Olson Laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. We provide free software that you download and install. The software uses your computer's idle cycles to assist fundamental research in discovering new drugs, building on our growing knowledge of the structural biology of AIDS.

Feed Engadget: The CyrusLink LinkMini Two iPod speaker system (engadget.com)

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Portable Audio

UK-based CyrusLink has released a few iPod speaker systems, but we hadn't heard anything about the outfit's latest effort, the LinkMini Two, until the crew at ShinyShiny spotted its nondescript Amazon page. Featuring a 10-watt sub and two five-watt satellites with aluminum cones, the Two probably won't win any design awards any time soon, but Cyrus is known for solid audio and the £61 ($126) pricetag seems fairly reasonable. Available now to our British friends, but there's no word if we'll see this bad boy in the States.

[Via Shiny Shiny]

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


Feed Engadget: Hands-on with the CES 2008 RFID badge (engadget.com)

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets, Wireless


As if the beginning of November wasn't reminder enough that CES 2008 is a scant two months away, we also happened to get greeted by our press badge and associated admission tickets when we opened the mailbox today. Normally we'd just toss the envelope aside and pretend that our week of living hell wasn't nearly upon us, but with this year's badges sporting an unusual high-tech attachment, we thought we'd snap a few pics before tucking it away. As you can see, the RFID tag attached to the back of our paper badge is no thicker than than the badge itself, with the circuitry actually printed onto an identical piece of card stock. Be sure to check out a few more shots after the break, and tune in for all the excitement when we stick 20 of these tags onto our intern and trick the Man at CEA into thinking that Team Engadget roams the show floor as an intimidating pack from dawn till dusk.

Continue reading Hands-on with the CES 2008 RFID badge

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


The Almighty Buck

EA Boss Says Games Too Expensive 139

EA's John Riccitiello has been shaking things up at EA lately, with everything from layoffs to the purchase of BioWare. Now he's suggesting the company take some really drastic measures: make their games less expensive. "Riccitiello says the $31 billion gaming industry will suffer if it doesn't start to reevaluate its business model. Game executives at Sony, Microsoft and Activision must answer some tough questions in the coming years, like how long they can expect consumers to pay $59 for a video game. Riccitiello predicts the model will be obsolete in the next decade. 'In the next five years, we're all going to have to deal with this. In China, they're giving games away for free,' he says. 'People who benefit from the current model will need to embrace a new revenue model, or wait for others to disrupt.' As more publishers transition to making games for online distribution, Riccitiello says he expects EA will experiment with different pricing models."

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