Penguinisto writes: Recently, Microsoft put an AI experiment onto Twitter, naming it "Tay". The bot was built to be fully aware of the latest adolescent fixations (e.g. celebrities and similar), and to interact like a typical teen girl. In less than 24 hours, it inexplicably became a neo-nazi sex robot with daddy issues. Sample tweets from it proclaimed that "Hitler did nothing wrong!", then went on to blame Fmr. President Bush for 9/11, stated that "donald trump is the only hope we've got", and similar. As the hours passed, it all went downhill from there, eventually spewing racial slurs and profanity, demanding sex, and calling everyone "daddy".
The bot was quickly removed once Microsoft discovered the trouble, but the hashtag is still around for those who want to see it in its ugly raw splendor.
Penguinisto writes: According to Ars Technica, Windows 10 will still send telemetry and other data to Microsoft-owned domains — no matter how tightly you crank down the privacy settings. Even with everything buttoned down, Cortana, OneDrive, and Web Search from the Star Menu disabled, the OS still phones home, using a random system ID that persists across reboots... (it apparently also tryies to bypass proxies to do it.)
Penguinisto writes: According to a scan by Qualys, Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server, which has lately generated more than a little controversy in US political circles, has earned an "F" rating for security from the security vendor. Problems include SSL2 support, a weak signature, and only having support for older TLS protocols, among numerous other problems.
Penguinisto writes: A new article up on Bloomberg shows that in at least two hospital chains, your doctor can know more about you than you may want them to: "Information compiled by data brokers from public records and credit card transactions can reveal where a person shops, the food they buy, and whether they smoke. The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data."
Question is, how soon before your health insurance broker demands/contracts and gets that kind of information, and what privacy can you expect in the future?
Penguinisto writes: Researchers have recently gotten a cool idea: If you want to prove how a dinosaur walked, why not test the theory on today's birds? They decided to test things out by putting prosthetic tails on chicks to provide the same balance issues that a T-Rex (and similar bipedal dinosaurs) faced. The prosthetic tails were periodically replaced with larger versions as the chicks grew. The results were astonishing: After 12 weeks, the chickens' legs were measured, and were discovered to have decreased range-of-motion in the knees while their femurs grew longer... just like the T-Rex. You can also see a nifty video of how they did this.
Penguinisto writes: The America's Cup hopeful and Ellison's favorite $8 million racing yacht Team Oraclecapsized today underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. (video). They were testing out a new $2 million sailing wing when the boat suddenly "pitch-poled", capsizing immediately. 14 people were aboard, though no one was hurt. The 13,000 lb boat was pulled four miles offshore by currents before it could be recovered. According to the crew, the boat can be salvaged, but the new multimillion-dollar sailing wing was a "total loss" as it broke up in the bay.
Penguinisto writes: According to the BBC, Segway UK owner Jimi Heselden died yesterday in a Segway accident. No word yet if the device malfunctioned, or exactly how (or why) Mr. Heselden and his device fell off of a cliff and into the river Wharfe in Yorkshire.
Penguinisto writes: In a move almost designed to shock the geek world, Seth McFarlane of Family Guy (and Robot Chicken, American Dad, etc) fame has agreed to help Microsoft sell Windows 7. The combination of the two will see a pitch for Windows 7 featuring McFarlane's voice and the crew of the Fox television comedy 'Family Guy'.
Penguinisto writes: According to CNET, a request for information by Knowledge Ecology International about a pending copyright treaty was denied. Even stranger, the Freedom of Information Act request was denied for "national security" reasons (PDF). While it is not unusual for the White House of any administration to block FOIA requests for national security reasons, One would think that a treaty that affects civil interests alone wouldn't qualify for such secrecy. Not exactly sure what involvement the former RIAA mouthpiece Donald Verelli (a recent Obama pick for the DOJ) may have in this...
Penguinisto writes: It seems that after Comcast has successfully imposed a 250GB/mo. bandwidth cap on its users, AT&T wants to give it a try, starting in Reno, Nevada. However, they intend to have lower caps, based on your rate plan. For lower-end users (768Kb DSL),this means you only get 20GB/mo. max, while the highest-paying users (10Mb DSL) get 150GB/mo. at the most (compared to Comcast's across-the-board 250GB/mo. cap). Initially, AT&T will only impose this on new customers, or existing customers who break the 150GB/mo. limit, but expect to impose this to all customers. The relatively good news? Instead of being cut off, users who reach 80% of their caps will be contacted, then pay $1/GB for every GB used over the limit once it is reached.
Penguinisto writes: Microsoft and Nikon had launched a recent competition called Iconic Britain", but had actively encouraged participants to scrape images off of the Web, and to submit the ones they thought best represented the UK. Problem is, this encouragement fell a bit short in the 'respecting others' copyrights' department... there has been a discussion thread on Flickr expressing various proofs and shades of outrage by users at having their photos ripped off. CNET News reports that they had contacted Microsoft and was told that Microsoft is currently "obtaining the rights", but does not have them yet (but still displays the images). Competition partner Nikon has pulled themselves out of the promotion entirely.
Penguinisto writes: According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platimum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand it's Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to "Shared Source") interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community.
Penguinisto writes: "A US Senate panel approved a bill, setting up $1bn USD to help federal, state, and local police forces create special software that will track P2P networks in an attempt to catch child pornographers. Given the foibles and follies of MediaDefender, coupled with the possibility of criminal charges (instead of civil lawsuits) hinging on a similar application's results, this may prove to be sticky indeed with any innocent party who winds up getting accidentally fingered... Nothing yet on how they intend to address the conceptual and technical flaws that Media Defender have been shown to exhibit. Other provisions of the bill include closing existing potential loopholes in how child porn is generated and disseminated (e.g. altering an innocent image to make it look sexual in nature, etc). While I doubt that anyone would defend someone who actually engages in child exploitation and abuse, the technical underpinnings could have wider future implications as to how governments track and prosecute computer crimes."
Penguinisto writes: According to C|NET news, Martin Buckley, who was a product manager for Novell's Systems and Resource Management products (e.g. Zenworks), has quit. Buckley confirms it on his blog. He only cited "certain principles" in doing so. No word on whether those principles involves Zenworks possibly getting killed, or...?