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The Internet

Ship Anchor, Not Sabotaging Divers, Possibly Responsible For Outage 43

Nerval's Lobster writes "This week, Egypt caught three men in the process of severing an undersea fiber-optic cable. But Telecom Egypt executive manager Mohammed el-Nawawi told the private TV network CBC that the reason for the region's slowdowns was not the alleged saboteurs — it was damage previously caused by a ship. On March 22, cable provider Seacom reported a cut in its Mediterranean cable connecting Southern and Eastern Africa, the Middle East and Asia to Europe; it later suggested that the most likely cause of the incident was a ship anchor, and that traffic was being routed around the cut, through other providers. But repairs to the cable took longer than expected, with the Seacom CEO announcing March 23 that the physical capability to connect additional capacity to services in Europe was "neither adequate nor stable enough," and that it was competing with other providers. The repairs continued through March 27, after faults were found on the restoration system; that same day, Seacom denied that the outage could have been the work of the Egyptian divers, but said that the true cause won't be known for weeks. 'We think it is unlikely that the damage to our system was caused by sabotage,' the CEO wrote in a statement. 'The reasons for this are the specific location, distance from shore, much greater depth, the presence of a large anchored vessel on the fault site which appears to be the cause of the damage and other characteristics of the event.'"
The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."
Social Networks

Submission + - The Twitter fraudsters (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "PC Pro has a feature examining the psychology and motivation of people who create fake or parody Twitter accounts. The feature reveals how people behind some of the most popular parodies — such as @MrsStephenFry — have gone on to earn commercial success, while others are altogether more sinister. The man behind @Lord_Credo managed to convince many that he was a personal adviser to British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and wormed his way into political circles. He allegedly conned some out of money, took advantage of the hospitality of others, and left the professional reputation of at least one “in tatters”. He even fabricated a malignant brain tumour, leaving one young member of the group “utterly distraught”."
Android

Submission + - Android to overtake Apple in app downloads! (blogspot.com)

quantr writes: ""Android is expected to surpass Apple in application downloads for the first time, according to research firm Ovum.
Android could notch 8.1 billion app downloads this year, compared with 6 billion for Apple's iOS devices. That marks an explosion of growth for both platforms; Apple had 2.7 billion downloads and Android recorded 1.4 billion last year. The total number of application downloads is expected to grow by 144 percent this year, Ovum said in a report issued today.""

Privacy

Submission + - Filesharing on a Shared Connection 5

An anonymous reader writes: I have a roommate that insists on using BitTorrent without taking any kind of precautions. He has an affinity for downloading material that is extremely popular and high-risk. He's received a warning from a well-known media giant in the past about his file sharing, but hasn't been sued. We've recently begun living in an apartment together (with one other person) and share our Internet connection and IP address. If his p2p activity leads to someone attempting to take legal action, could I be held liable? How would our accusers differentiate between our computers if we all share the same IP address? Would they just sue the lot of us?
Education

350,000 Linux (Virtual) Desktops Land In Brazil 109

xufem writes "Millions of Brazilian schoolchildren will soon be 'brought up right' running Linux on over 350,000 seats each using PC sharing hardware and software from Userful and KDE. This is world's largest virtual desktop deployment and probably also the world's largest Linux deployment, and seems to have been selected over OLPC by Brazil. Definitely a moment to celebrate — and just in time for Brazilian Carnival which starts tomorrow!"
Windows

Average User Only Runs 2 Apps, So Microsoft Will Charge For More 842

Barence writes "Microsoft's decision to limit Windows 7 Starter Edition to running only three concurrent applications could force up the price of netbooks as many manufacturers opt for the more expensive Home Premium. The three-app rule includes applications running in the background but excludes antivirus, and the company claims most users wouldn't be affected by the limit. 'We ran a study which suggested that the average consumer has open just over two applications [at any time]. We would expect the limit of three applications wouldn't affect very many people.' However, Microsoft told journalists at last year's Professional Developers Conference that 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time."
Security

Largest Data Breach Disclosed During Inauguration 168

rmogull writes "Brian Krebs over at the Washington Post just published a story that Heartland Payment Systems disclosed what may be the largest data breach in history. Today. During the inauguration. Heartland processes over 100 million transactions a month, mostly from small to medium-sized businesses, and doesn't know how many cards were compromised. The breach was discovered after tracing fraud in the system back to Heartland, and involved malicious software snooping their internal network. I've written some additional analysis on this and similar breaches. It's interesting that the biggest breaches now involve attacks installing malicious software to sniff data — including TJX, Hannaford, Cardsystems, and now Heartland Payment Systems." One bit of good news out of this massive breach is that, according to Heartland's CFO, "The nature of the [breach] is such that card-not-present transactions are actually quite difficult for the bad guys to do because one piece of information we know they did not get was an address." Heartland just put up a press release on the breach.
Books

Tech Publisher O'Reilly Slashes Jobs 207

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, geeky tech publisher O'Reilly Media has slashed 14% of its workforce, or 31 people. Founder and tech pundit Tim O'Reilly comments on the layoffs by exhorting people to 'get more with less.' According to the article, 'Just this week... both tech giant Google and book retailer Barnes & Noble announced their first layoffs ever. Other publishing houses, including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Random House, and Simon & Schuster have frozen salaries or cut jobs, or both.'"
Space

First Earth-Sized Exoplanet May Have Been Found 222

Adam Korbitz writes "New Scientist is reporting the extrasolar planet MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb — whose discovery was announced just last summer — may actually be the first truly Earth-sized exoplanet to be identified. A new analysis suggests the planet weighs less than half the original estimate of 3.3 Earth masses; the new estimate pegs the planet's size at 1.4 Earth masses. The planet orbits a small red dwarf star, some 3,000 light-years from here, at an orbital distance of 0.62 astronomical units, about the same distance as Venus from our sun. One significance of the planet's discovery is that it points to the probable ubiquity of smaller terrestrial planets in somewhat Earth-like orbits around red dwarf stars, the oldest and most numerous stars in the galaxy. Here is a video report from the discoverers."
Communications

Presidential Inauguration Hardware and Other Challenges 176

holy_calamity writes "The FBI has released images of some of the kit that will be deployed to safeguard Obama's inauguration, including mine-proof armored trucks like those used in Iraq to protect against IEDs, and a large armored chamber that any bombs will be shoved inside to be transported away and perhaps detonated inside. Interesting, even though the really good stuff is presumably being kept under wraps." Relatedly, necro81 writes "The Inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow is expected to put considerable stress on the cellphone network around Washington, DC. The expected crowd could top two million people, and many of them are expected to call, text, tweet, photo, and blog their way through the event. In response, the major wireless carriers in the area have spent millions of dollars upgrading their local networks and will bring in extra 'cells on wheels' (COWs) and 'cells on light trucks' (COLTs). They are also requesting that attendees limit their usage during the event, and avoid bandwidth-heavy activities — like uploading photos — until afterward."
Bug

Hope For Fixing Longstanding Linux I/O Wait Bug 180

DaGoodBoy writes "There has been a long standing performance bug in Linux since 2.6.18 that has been responsible for lagging interactivity and poor system performance across all architectures. It has been notoriously difficult to qualify and isolate, but in the last few days someone has finally gotten a repeatable test case! Turns out the problem may not even be disk related, since the test case triggers the bug only by transferring data either between two processes or threads. The test results are very revealing. The developer ran regressions all the way back to version 2.6.15 that demonstrate this bug has more than doubled the time to run the test in 2.6.28. Many, many people working at improving the desktop performance of Linux will be very happy to see this bug die. I know that I, personally, will find a way to send the guy that found this test case his beverage of choice in thanks. Please spread the word and bring some attention to this issue so we can get it fixed!"
Debian

Ubuntu 9.04 Daily Build Boots In 21.4 Seconds 654

Pizzutz writes "Softpedia reports that Ubuntu 9.04 Boots in 21.4 Seconds using the current daily build and the newly supported EXT4 file system. From the article: 'There are only two days left until the third Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) will be available (for testing), and... we couldn't resist the temptation to take the current daily build for a test drive, before our usual screenshot tour, and taste the "sweetness" of that evolutionary EXT4 Linux filesystem. Announced on Christmas Eve, the EXT4 filesystem is now declared stable and it is distributed with version 2.6.28 of the Linux kernel and later. However, the good news is that the EXT4 filesystem was implemented in the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 3 a couple of days ago and it will be available in the Ubuntu Installer, if you choose manual partitioning.' I guess it's finally time to reformat my /home partition..."
Power

DC Power Poised To Bring Savings To Datacenters 287

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Logan Harbaugh follows up his '10 IT Power-Saving Myths Debunked' to argue in favor of using DC power in the datacenter. The practice — viewed as a somewhat crackpot means for reducing wasteful conversions in the datacenter just a few short years ago — has gained traction to the point where server vendors such as HP, IBM, and Sun are making DC power supplies available in their server wares. Meanwhile, Panduit and other companies are working to bring down another barrier for DC to the datacenter: a standardized 400-VDC connector and cabling solution. And with GE working to list 600-VDC circuit breakers with the Underwriters Labs, DC's promise of reduced conversion waste could soon be commonly realized."
Medicine

3 Cups of Coffee Increases Hallucinations 628

PearsSoap writes "The Telegraph and other sources are pointing out a study on 200 students which has found that a high caffeine intake can cause visual and auditory hallucinations, and can make people think that others are 'out to get them.' The abstract (and full version if you have access) is available. 'The volunteers were questioned about their caffeine intake from products including coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate bars and caffeine tablets.'"

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