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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Apple Pushes More Unneeded Software

While using any Apple programs on Windows recently, an odd Apple Software Update dialog box has been popping up, informing users that they need the iPhone Configuration Utility 2.1. But the iPhone Configuration Utility is actually a tool for system administrators to set up and configure corporate iPhones. It's been discovered that the completely unnecessary for most software installs more than just a configuration program. If this program is downloaded, the Apache web browser will appear right along with it. It's well known that having a Web server on your PC is a gross and inadvisable security risk. Keeping Windows secure is enough of a task, but adding a totally unregulated Web server into the equation is just a cruel joke. Always sticking with strictly needed programs on any system is the safest bet for any user.... --

Hacker Expected to Pay For His Crime

Apparently the US, having not taken reasonable steps to protect its security, is now McKinnon, a hacker, to pick up the bill. A professor of security at the London School of Economics, Richard Sommer, said that damage assessments of computer security breaches should always consider "whether the victims have taken reasonable steps to limit the damage". McKinnon used Remotely Anywhere to hack US military computers in search of UFO secrets. The 42-year-old is facing extradition after being accused of hacking into 97 US computers and thus causing $700,000 in damages. Sommer said hackers should not be held accountable for the "consequential loss" resulting from their intrusion into systems unprotected by "preventative measures for reasonably foreseeable hazards". But security experts in the US say McKinnon should defnitely be liable for the full $700,000 of security... --

Mozilla Moves the Open Source Movement

Numerous export controls from the Commerce and Treasury departments have recently cast a shadow over the software industry,  proving that while the internet may know no borders, the U.S. government does. Luckily for them, Mozilla has managed to secure a critical exemption that could have a broad impact on the open source movement. Mozilla General Counsel Harvey Anderson explained that there are export and sanction rules prohibiting the export and sharing of certain technologies. Vendors working with normal software containing encryption are required by law to file for a license exception, but that regulation offers an exemption to open source vendors like Mozilla. But that exemption will be nullified if source code is distributed to any of the countries on the U.S embargo list, such as Cuba, Iran or North Korea. Mozilla recently discovered it supports a... --

Google Backs Espresso Machine Publishing

On Thursday, Google announced that it is opening up part of its index to the maker of a high-speed publishing machine that manufactures 300 page paperbacks in under five minutes. The new service implies a tacit acknowledgment that the internet leader understands that not everyone wants their books served up on a computer or an electronic reader. The "Espresso Book Machine" has been around for several years, but it's rapidly becoming a much hotter commodity now that it will have access to so many books scanned from some of the world's largest libraries. On Demand Books, the Espresso's maker, might get access to even more hard-to-find books, but that's only if Google can win court approval of a class-action settlement giving it the right to sell out-of-print books. The paperbacks will have a recommended sales price of $8, but the ultimate price will be left... --

Windows 7 Update Can Take 2 Days

As is always the case with a new operating system, many different performance tests were run by Microsoft to make sure Windows 7 was actually something better than anything else on the market. One of these tests had a focus on upgrade performance. Microsoft technicians used the metric of total upgrade time across different user and hardware profiles. And according to the test results that a Microsoft Software Engineer posted on his blog, Microsoft met their goal of bringing Windows 7's upgrade time to a place faster or equal within the five percent threshold to the Vista SP1 upgrade time. The broad range of upgrade times in the test is the most interesting characteristic of the data. From 30 minutes on a system with high end hardware and a lower amount of programs installed to 1,220... --

IBM Suddenly Switches to Symphony

The Handelsblatt, a German economic newspaper, reported with an insider quote that the staff at IBM have been given ten days to change to Symphony, IBM's in-house Lotus software. In the future, any use of Microsoft Office will require approval from a manager. Effective immediately, the Open Document Format will rule at IBM, while the .doc file will soon belong to the past. Lotus Symphony is an office software package that incorporates huge majorities of customized Open Office without a databank module, and the free software download provided by IBM is a definitive attempt to lure customers away from Microsoft software. IBM's recent cooperation with Linux distributors like Red Hat, Novell and Canonical was designed from the start to strengthen the software's chances in the market. In a surprising move, IBM's management seem to have settled on... --

Possible Terrorists Had Email Intercepted

In the United Kingdom on Monday, three men were convicted for organizing a plot to bomb several transcontinental flights. According to Britain's Channel 4, the men were prosecuted in part using crucial e-mail correspondences intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency. Several of the emails have been reprinted by the BBC and other publications, and contain coded messages, according to prosecutors. The interception by the NSA occured n 2006 but were not included in evidence used in the first trial against the three last year in 2008. The trial resulted in the men being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder; but a jury could not be  convinced that they had planned to use soft drink bottles filled with liquid explosives to blow up seven trans-Atlantic planes — the charge for which they were convicted this week, in a second trial. It is still unclear... --

AIM Finally Returns the Favor

AOL Instant Messenger finally made the change this July with a new beta for both Windows and Macs that began a move beyond simple IMs. Now, users can view their Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as AIM buddy updates and feeds from other services. The problem was always that the Facebook and Twitter feeds only travelled one way. Updates couldbe read, but they couldn’t be sent from AIM to other services. People with an AIM account can set their preferences to use AIM status as updates in Facebook and Twitter as well. There's also a fairly unpredictable feature that offers a way to comment or respond to friends' messages. This move has morphed AIM into a full-fledged Twitter/Facebook client. his is a big deal for AIM, as it can now be used as both a private and public IM client. TweetDeck, Seesmic and their fellows already have two-way messaging capabilities with Twitter and Facebook, while... --

Internet Security Turns the Tables

People have tried to hack their way into the computers of others since the introduction of the internet. But as hacking has grown from a way for geeks to impress each other, to a means for criminals to steal and blackmail, computer security strategies have remained largely the same: Companies and consumers erect the thickest firewalls imaginable around computers so that the bad guys can't get in. Luckily, security experts are realizing they're losing the battle. Their new approach involves a plan to recruit victims and other computer users to help them go on the offensive, finally hunting down the hackers. Symantec is one of several companies trying to turn the tables. Involving PC users has its risks, however. Hackers who come across novices may infiltrate their computers or steal their identities as punishment. But the idea is something new, a reversal from... --

YouTube Finally in the Black?

YouTube, the net’s original house of viral videos, is looking to go pro with new major studio films, according to The Wall Street Journal. Most of these videos will cost money, unlike all the other content on the site, and will only be available to rent. YouTube smartly avoided confirming everything in the news breaking article, instead hinting that it’s largely accurate. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Sony Corp., and Warner Bros. are all in talks with YouTube about offering premium movie rentals on a time-limited, streaming basis. The price of a new movie rental will likely be $4 in order to compete with Apple's prices, but in contrast, iTunes customers can download movies and watch them without a broadband connection. In addition to this plan, You Tube wnats to offer some movies for free viewing with ads. Considering all these planned changes and... --

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