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Monthly Archives: December 2009

India Censored For Sex

While the Kama Sutra and the Bollywood wet sari scene have been imported from the country, it seems that India is not yet ready to be exposed to the delicate subject of sex on the internet. An investigation has uncovered that several internet companies have very quietly introduced filters, in order to prevent Indian users from accessing sexual content. Yahoo search engine and the Flickr photo-sharing site, which is owned by Yahoo, altered their sites earlier this month, preventing users in India from switching off their safe-search function. The block also applies to users in Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. Microsoft's Bing has also barred Indian users from searching for sexual content. Users who try immediately receive a notice informing them that their "country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that... --
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Google Moving YouTube Toward Gaming?

A patent application from Google has been raising eyebrows today. The application is titled Web-Based System for Generation of Interactive Games Based on Digital Videos. Filed February 19, 2009, it was only published earlier this month, and describes a way to provide “the collaborative generation of interactive features for digital videos, and in particular to interactive video annotations enabling control of video playback locations and creation of interactive games.” When you read through the description, it also becomes clear that the games could and will be built atop videos submitted to a hosting site. This makes it sound as though Google plans to extend their YouTube site into an associated gaming site. This development could mean two very different things. The creation of games that can move in and out of popular videos, or a... --
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Amazon’s Tax Avoidances Shirk Civic Duties

BEFORE finally settling on Seattle as the home of Amazon.com,  founder Jeff Bezos briefly considered placing it on an Indian reservation near San Francisco to avoid collecting taxes. But Mr. Bezos learned that the reservation couldn’t be used as a sales-tax haven after all so he had to look elsewhere. Offering prices free of sales tax to customers in California, the most populous state, was the goal, and that would be possible only if the company were placed elsewhere. Today, Amazon manages to collect sales tax in only five states, which gives it a continuous advantage over companies who have to collect them in all or most states. And competitors aren’t the only ones damaged by Amazon’s stance on sales taxes. Such a stance also means the loss of considerable revenue to states and localities that... --
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Microsoft Loses to i4i

After a three-judge panel on Tuesday upheld patent-infringement charges alleged by a small Canadian company, Microsoft has been ordered to pay more than $290 million in fines, and either stop selling Word or strip its custom-XML editor. The company lost its appeal of an August district court decision which had previously awarded i4i Inc. $200 million and slapped Microsoft with an injunction on selling Word in its current form. Toronto-based i4i manufactures and sells custom-XML add-ons to the ubiquitous word-processing software. It's highly unlikely that Microsoft will stop selling Word, so it must at least alter the software in order to comply with an injunction that will take effect Jan. 11. It also has to pay i4i more than $290 million after additional fees and interest that fattened up the jury-awarded legal penalty. Tuesday's ruling has put an... --
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DECAF renders Microsoft’s COFEE Obsolete

In retaliation against Microsoft's Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), which frequently helps law enforcement officials extract data from password-protected or encrypted sources, two talented developers have created what they call "Detect and Eliminate Computer Assisted Forensics" (DECAF), to be used as a counter intelligence tool. It was specifically designed to thwart the Microsoft forensic toolkit. DECAF works by monitoring the computer it's been installed on for any indications that COFEE may be operating on the machine and does everything in its power- which is quite a bit- to stop COFEE from getting through. More specifically, the program goes about deleteing COFEE's temporary files, killing its processes, erasing all COFEE logs, disabling USB drives, and even contaminating or spoofing a variety of MAC addresses in order to muddy its own forensic tracks. DECAF can be directed... --
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Intel’s Anti Competitive Consequences

In an unsurprising move,  the FTC has sued Intel for anti-competitive practices this morning.  It has been a bittersweet year for Intel, but their December has turned into a month many INTC investors would rather forget. The year's highlights include having the fastest CPUs on the market with the Nehalem based i5/i7 processors, Core 2 series still running strong in both desktops and notebooks, and Atom helping to cement their product line in thin and lights. But there were just as many negatives this year for Intel.  The EU fined them a whopping $1.45 billion for anti-competitive practices this Spring, and while Intel is appealing this fine, they still had to fork over the scratch to cover the fine. Adding insult to injury, NVIDIA has also leveled charges against Intel for unfair business practices. Intel has... --
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Facebook’s New Privacy Means Meeting Mark Zuckerberg

This past year has been riddled with mistakes for Facebook, most of them having to do with policy changes the site's users disagree with, but the company has managed to squeezo one more, especially embarassing one in at the very last. As a result of a new policy that by default makes users' profiles, photos and friends lists completely available on the web and viewable by anyone, approximately 300 personal photos of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg became publicly available. According the the new privacy controls, all user profiles are exposed to the web unless users are proactive about limiting such access. These kinds of mix ups strongly suggest that user concerns about the new settings are justified. Mark Zuckerberg's... --
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Wi Fi Standard is Finally Set

For a technology that's main draw is being fast, 802.11n Wi-Fi was extremely slow in becoming a standard. It took so long that it wasn't a standard at all until September 2009. That fact didn't stop vendors from implementing it for several years beforehand however, which caused confusion and major upsets when networking gear that used draft standards from different suppliers wouldn't necessarily work at the fastest possible speed when connected. The process was never supposed to happen that way. But for years, the leading Wi-Fi hardware companies fought endlessly over the 802.11n protocol, which resulted in it taking five dramatic years for the standard to even come to fruition. The delay was never caused by the technology. Instead, the reasoing is a familiar But at long last, we will finally see interoperable 802.11n Wi-Fi access... --
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IBM’s New Server Made for Linux

IBM has just announced the expansion of its server lineup, with a new mainframe system designed specifically for Linux that may be aimed, in particular, at higher-end x86 systems. This new system uses IBM's specialty Linux processor and can run either Novell SUSE or Red Hat systems. It does not support the mainframe operating system z/OS but it includes mainframe management software in addition to IBM's z/Virtual Machine system. Together, they make up the company's latest "solutions edition," or what IBM calls lower-cost, integrated stacks for the mainframe. There are two servers in this new Enterprise Linux Server line, and the starting price on the lower-end model, with its two processors, is $212,000. The system is intended to be competitive with large multicore systems used for virtualization consolidation. This Linux-specific line is IBM's best and latest... --
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Craigslist and eBay Get Their Day in Court

Meg Whitman, former eBay chief executive, took the witness stand today to make her case that Craigslist unfairly denied the Internet auction giant a seat on its board. Whitman, currently running for the seat of governor of California, spent several hours detailing the negotiations that led to her company's investment in Craigslist, and the eventual falling out that occurred between her and the classified ad company’s top executives. The founders of Craigslist and eBay, Craig Newmark and Pierre Omidyar, will be called soon after to give their accounts of the events. EBay claims to want to shed light on the “coercive plan” that it believes Newmark hatched with Craigslist Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster in order to dilute eBay’s ownership stake, which ultimately stripped eBay of its seat on the Craigslist board. In response, Craigslist... --
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