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Apple

Submission + - FTC will investigate Apple (cnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Federal Trade Commission will open an investigation into whether Apple is illegally using its position in the mobile software market to harm competitors, according to several published reports.

On Friday afternoon, both Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC had opened a formal probe.

At issue is Apple's recent tweaking of its App Store rules. In May, Apple made changes that prohibit certain developer tools from being used to create applications for the iPhone and iPad, and on Monday effectively blocked Google's AdMob and other non-independent mobile ad networks from accessing applications on the iPhone.

Comment Re:Completely useless (Score 1) 224

you might want to read up on smart meters and studies associated with them. they can help reduce your energy usage (together with near real time feedback provided by the meter) and change the usage distribution. i don't think i have to tell you why it's a good thing, for you and our whole energy/climate situation, to decrease your overall usage. flattening down the distribution away from the peaks we see today will help stabilizing and securing the grid (and reduce costs for the utility). obviously that doesn't excuse security problems in the system and they have to be addressed immediately.

energy theft has been a rather big problem in some countries and was an easy thing to accomplish. go ask italy why enel introduced smart meters back in 2001, even though they still don't profit of any userfeedback or newer billing plans. the main goal of introducing smart meters from the point of utilities is exactly to reduce energy theft, you think they're introducing flaws on purpose because they want to loose money?

Security

Submission + - Poor security of UK wifi hotspots

Tasha26 writes: BBC's Watchdog programme has an interesting investigation of the appalling state of Wifi security at Hotspots such as those found at coffe shops, burger places or even on trains. The video report shows live hacking minus the how-to, obviously, but you can see bits of linux shells (@1m08) and what appears to be Wireshark as tools used. The hack involved taking control email accounts of unsuspecting people to (1) send bogus emails as identity theft (@1m43) and (2) hijack email session so the user wouldn't be able to log out (@3m43). The programme carried out tests on UK's top 3 hotspot providers (BT Openzone, The Cloud and T-Mobile) and all revealed the same flaw. So people, be warned!
Games

Submission + - OpenGL vs. Direct3D (tomshardware.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: I'm working for a gaming company that is creating simple games like slot and card games, we are also controlling the hardware to run these games. Until recently we used our own propriety game engine on Windows XP, and within couple of months manage to convert it to Direct3D. I'm now checking the alternative to switch to Linux and OpenGL. Reading the review at Tom's Hardware gives the impression that it is not such a good idea. I'd like to learn from the experience of other developers regarding driver's support, ease of development (C++) and other such factors.

Submission + - French Branch of Scientology Is Convicted of Fraud (nytimes.com) 1

lugannerd writes: The French branch of the Church of Scientology was convicted of fraud and fined nearly $900,000 on Tuesday by a Paris court. But the judges did not ban the church entirely, as the prosecution had demanded, saying that a change in the law prevented such an action for fraud. The church said it would appeal.

The verdict was among the most important in several years to involve the controversial group, which is registered as a religion in the United States but has no similar legal protection in France. It is considered a sect here, and says it has some 45,000 adherents, out of some 12 million worldwide. It was the first time here that the church itself had been tried and convicted, as opposed to individual members.

Enlightenment

Submission + - Scientology Protests (clevelandleader.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Cleveland Leader reports that the Internet group called "Anonymous" has kicked of it's day of global protests against the Church of Scientology. Protests have happened in several countries with 200 gathering in Australia, and up to 1000 gathered in London. Several more are planned in the United States and Canada. The group has called for protests to be non-violent, and so far no incidents have been reported. The incident that sparked the protests originated with the removal of a YouTube video of Tom Cruise talking about the "religion's" views on psychiatry and other subjects.
Microsoft

Submission + - SP1 brings with it a softer, gentler, naggier WGA (zdnet.com)

DaMan writes: ZDNet takes a look at the changes that Microsoft have made to the Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy mechanism in Windows Vista and discovers that the draconian features present in Vista RTM have been replaced by nag screens and annoyances such as changing the desktop background to black.
Linux Business

Submission + - Desktop Linux Gets Business Thumbs Up

An anonymous reader writes: This is a long feature but if you look close enough, there's a great case study in here for Linux suppliers and those pushing the agenda. By using Red Hat Desktop Linux, car rental company Europcar has saved 70% in cost over Windows. This has come up to "hundreds of thousands of dollars", the company tech boss says.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - XO Laptop Despised by Intel and Microsoft (wsj.com)

gregsim writes: "The Wall Street Journal today reports that the new XO laptop, the brainchild of Mr. Nicholas Negroponte, a professor on leave from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is stimulating an active response from both Intel and Microsoft which evidently feel threatened by the little upstart, intended to help third world children. Microsoft has cut their software to $3 each and Intel has designed their own laptop called the Classmate to sell between $230 and $300, nearly double that of the XO. Rather than defend the relative merits of his creation, professor Negroponte is crying foul and (if the article is to be believed) not even arguing the technical merits. The initial demand for the XO has fallen well below Mr. Negroponte's projections as Intel and Microsoft have successfully argued that their entries are superior. 45,000 have been ordered through the Give One, Get One campaign. I am happy that I ordered mine — it will be a landmark model in any case."
Privacy

Submission + - MPAA Toolkit Raises Privacy, Security Concerns

An anonymous reader writes: The Motion Picture Association of America last month sent letters to the presidents of 25 major universities, urging them to download and install a "university toolkit" to help identify students who were downloading/sharing movie files. The Washington Post's Security Fix blog reports that any university that installs the software could be placing a virtual wiretap on their networks for the MPAA and the rest of the world to listen in on all of the school's traffic. From the story: "The MPAA also claims that using the tool on a university network presents "no privacy issues — the content of traffic is never examined or displayed." That statement, however, is misleading. Here's why: The toolkit sets up an Apache Web server on the user's machine. It also automatically configures all of the data and graphs gathered about activity on the local network to be displayed on a Web page, complete with ntop-generated graphics showing not only bandwidth usage generated by each user on the network, but also the Internet address of every Web site each user has visited. Unless a school using the tool has firewalls on the borders of its network designed to block unsolicited Internet traffic — and a great many universities do not — that Web server is going to be visible and accessible by anyone with a Web browser.
Security

Submission + - Security exploit in Flash Player 9 (blogspot.com)

SadSoupDragon writes: Through general code-hackery, I have stumbled upon a nasty little bug in the most recent version of Flash Player (and every other version I've tried so far). This happened when I made a mistake in creating an in-memory SWF file, loaded it via flash.display.Loader, and extracted an asset from it as a Sound object. The sound plays, but the Flash Player audio engine keeps playing past the end of the sound — As a result, you actually hear a buffer overflow. The usual result is nasty bleeps and bloops (not unlike loading a Spectrum or C64 game) coming out of your speakers, which you can even record and save as a raw sound file to view the data. My browser usually crashes seconds later, yet another symptom of buffer-related security badness.

It's bad enough that a simple SWF file can bring the browser down, but the really scary thing is what could be done with the data accessed (I know that at least a SWF program could analyse the spectrum of this data and send it back to a server) — or worse still, if an in-memory SWF could be crafted in such a way that it overruns the buffer with executable code, as many of the worst software exploits do.

I've written a proof of concept which you can download the source of here, or try the compiled nastiness for yourself.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - Not the best parenting? (cnn.com)

tonyreadsnews writes: Ok, this CNN story is pretty bad about a mom buying guns for her kid to "indulge" him.
The part about the DA saying "This is not the best parenting I've ever seen, obviously...", I think could qualify for understatement of the year.

The kid had a "rifle, about 30 air-powered guns, swords, knives, grenades" among some other stuff.

It's not tech, but I'll bet if the kid had done anything, they'd have blamed it first on videogames.

The Courts

Submission + - Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat

1shooter writes: In the article titled "Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat & Novell- Just Like Ballmer Predicted" are details the first lawsuit against Linux vendors Red Hat and Novell. Groklaw link to article: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071011205044141

The patent appears to cover the use of multiple virtual desktops like in KDE and Gnome. Lots of prior art and surprise, Microsoft finger prints discovered behind the scenes.

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