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Security

Submission + - Wordpress.org Warns of Active Worm Hacking Blogs (wordpress.org)

Erik writes: "Wordpress, the popular open-source Content Management System (CMS) for many thousands of bloggers worldwide, is under attack from a "clever" worm that automatically compromises unpatched versions of the Wordpress system. The particularly nasty bug crawls the web for vulnerable Wordpress installations, installing malware, deleting content, and generally wreaking havoc wherever it can. Today, Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg eloquently implored Wordpress bloggers to update more frequently. Originally, updating the Wordpress system was a rather laborious process, however newer versions offer fast and simple one-click upgrades. The two most recent versions of Wordpress (2.8.3 and 2.8.4) cannot be attacked by the worm discovered this week, and blogs hosted at Wordpress.com are also apparently immune."

Feed Engadget: Controversial Palm Pre ads judged to be effective, still creepy (engadget.com)

Palm's slightly disturbing Pre ads continue to make news, putting to rest any doubts about their effectiveness. Hot on the heels of ad agency Modernista totally loving that you're "creeped out" by them, analyst MediaCurves has done a little online study --"little" meaning a small sample group of only 305 viewers. Still, the results are interesting, with half of all respondents feeling inspired or happy after viewing the commercial, nine percent feeling disturbed. Sixteen percent were, however, confused, but that didn't stop 21 percent from saying the commercial was "extremely effective," and 46 percent indicating "somewhat effective." At the read link you can watch the ad with a line graph drawn over it rating peoples' interest realtime, generally going up when the phone is shown (the "bing, bing, bing" segment) and down the rest of the time, perhaps inspiring a new series of Pre adverts with more time for demos and less for dazed-sounding, tight-haired, 60-foot-tall women.

[Via everythingpre]

Filed under: Cellphones

Controversial Palm Pre ads judged to be effective, still creepy originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 11 Aug 2009 09:22:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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XBox (Games)

Submission + - In the Underworld, the game plays you! (www.itu.dk)

togelius writes: "Whenever you play a game of Tomb Raider: Underworld, heaps of data about your playing style is collected at Eidos' servers. Researchers at the Center for Computer Games Research have now mined this data to find out who you are! Using self-organizing neural networks, they classified players as either Veterans, Solvers, Pacifists or Runners. It turns out people play the game for very different reasons and focus on different parts of the game, but almost everyone falls into one of these categories. These neural networks can now instantly find out which of these you belong to based on just seeing you play. In the near future, such networks will be used to adapt games like Tomb Raider while they are played (e.g. by removing or adding puzzles and enemies), so you get the game you want."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft refuses to kill off IE6 over personal ch (itpro.co.uk)

nk497 writes: "Microsoft has said it will keep supporting IE6, despite a campaign to rid the web of the ancient browser. An IE GM said techie folks might like using the latest upgrade, but not everyone wanted to take that route. "The choice to upgrade software on a PC belongs to the person responsible for the PC," said Dean Hachamovitch, adding that, as engineers, they rather hoped people would upgrade but had no intention to cut support. "Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product," he said. "We keep our commitments." While that might apply to browsers, users of XP — which had full support yanked this April and will see just security updates until 2014 — might beg to differ."
Cellphones

Submission + - AT&T makes its terms of service even worse 1

techmuse writes: AT&T has changed its terms of service (including for existing contracts)to prevent class action suits. Note that you are already required to submit your case to arbitration, a forum in which consumers are often at a substantial disadvantage. Now you must go up against AT&T alone.
Earth

Submission + - Dogs as Intelligent as Average Two-Year-Old Child

Ponca City, We love you writes: "The Telegraph reports that researchers using tests originally designed to demonstrate the development of language, pre-language and basic arithmetic in human children have found that dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures, can count up to five and can perform simple mathematical calculations putting them on par with the average two-year-old child. While most dogs understand simple commands such as sit, fetch and stay, a border collie tested by Professor Coren showed a knowledge of 200 spoken words. "Obviously we are not going to be able to sit down and have a conversation with a dog, but like a two-year-old, they show that they can understand words and gestures," says Professor Stanley Coren, a leading expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Coren has also found that dogs can count using established tests developed for young children. and when something unexpected happens with an object, children and dogs will stare at it for a longer period of time. "Dogs can tell that one plus one should equal two and not one or three.," says Coren adding that dogs "can also deliberately deceive, which is something that young children only start developing later in their life." Coren believes centuries of selective breeding and living alongside humans has helped to hone the intelligence of dogs. "They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought.""
Television

Submission + - Linux-friendly and Internet-enabled HDTVs?

mrchaotica writes: I'm in the market for a new HDTV (in the $1200-or-slightly-more range, as I won the extended-service-plan lottery and have a Sears store credit). Several of the TVs I've looked at have various "Internet TV" features (here are Samsung's and Panasonic's). Some manufacturers appear to be rolling their own, while others are partnering with Yahoo (maybe in an attempt to create a "standard?"). Moreover, these TVs also tend to run Linux under the hood (although their GPL compliance, such as in Panasonic's case, may leave something to be desired). Finally, it's easy to imagine these TVs being able to support video streaming services (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) without a set-top box, but I don't know the extent to which that support actually exists.

Anyway, here are my questions:
  1. Is this "Internet TV" thing going to be a big deal going forward, or just a gimmick?
  2. Which manufacturers are most [open standard|Linux|hacker]-friendly?
  3. Which TV models have the best support (or best potential and community backing) for this sort of thing?

Thanks for your insight!

Television

Submission + - Shaw Cable Blocks Firewire on Set-Top Boxes Again 1

WestCoastSuccess writes: A year and a half ago, Canada's Shaw Cable began encrypting channels with the "0×02"; flag. This flag has the effect of making the IEEE1394 (firewire) output useless to customers who use third party PVRs (such as the excellent MythTV, for example). After complaints to the CRTC and Industry Canada about this practice, the encryption flag was dropped on most channels and the firewire connection again functioned. Until last night, that is.

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