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Category Archives: Technology

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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Google Gives Back by not Hogging Good Employees

According the Google, the company removes from consideration one of its superhuman job candidates every now and then, in an effort to avoid an over-concentration of brilliance. Bradley Horowitz, Google Vice President, explained this concept at the annual Supernova conference in San Francisco this week. He claimed that the company may intentionally leave some brainpower outside its walls, in an effort to improve the market landscape as a whole and keep things balanced. This is very a very generous position for Google to take, especially given that they hire "the world's best engineers" using a grueling interview process, complete with quizzes. Some of its most valuable employees had to short-circuit the system for their jobs, but that might just only makes it more perfect. Thankfully, Google seems to be using their system for good rather than evil,... --
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Government Agencies Use Social Sites for Investigations

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and UC Berkeley's Samuelson Center filed suit yesterday in California's Northern District, requesting that the court force a number of government agencies to release any documents they may have concerning the use of social networking sites as part of their investigative procedures. The two groups had previously sent a number of Freedom of Information Act requests to the branches of a half-dozen federal agencies starting in early October. But all they have received in return is an acknowledgement that the requests were received by one agency, the IRS, who proceeded to request a 10-day extension. Since the FOIA requires that a response be made within 20 days, the suit ultimately requests that a legal order be issued for the release of the desired information.The requests went out to everyone from the... --
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Is the ‘Black Screen of Death’ Plaguing Windows 7?

Today, Microsoft confirmed that it has been investigating a problem deemed the "black screen of death" by users, which affects its latest operating system, Windows 7. The error causes users of Windows 7 to see a completely black screen right after logging on to the system.

The firm said that it was looking into reports that suggest its latest security update, issued on November 10, somehow caused the problem. These reports also show the flaw affecting Vista, XP and other systems. Software firm Prevx, which recently issued a fix for the problem, claims "millions" of people may be affected. David Kennerley of Prevx wrote in a blog post that "users have resorted to reloading Windows as a last ditch effort to fix the problem." Mr Kennerly also shared that the firm had identified "at least 10 different scenarios which will trigger... --
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Aussie Kids Get Internet Panic Button

In Australia, children who are being bullied, harassed online will be able to call for help instantly using a "panic button" on their PCs. This is a plan being considered by the Australian Federal Government's cyber-safety working group. Parents would be offered a downloadable free "widget" for their children's computers and, if the kids ever encounter serious trouble online, clicking the button could connect them instantly to police or child protection groups. The panic button idea has also been gaining ground in Britain, while it is a definite future plan for the Australian government. Bebo, a popular social networking site, recently implemented a similar button on its website, offered for free to web companies by the British group Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop). But other sites like Facebook and MySpace have so far resisted Ceop's calls for... --
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The FTC Finally Puts a Stop to the BlueHippo

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had it with BlueHippo, which offers computers on layaway to consumers too poor to buy one outright. Buyers put up $99 to $124 in down payments, and then make regular payments of $36 to $88. After 13 of these payments have come in on time, the company claims it will send out a computer, while the payments continue until the machine is completely paid off. Unfortunately for BlueHippo, the FTC smelled a scam. People were simply not getting machines, and BlueHippo's "cancellation policy" required people to send in prepaid money orders first, even if their account contained enough money to cover the necessary fees, something not allowed under FTC consumer protection rules. In 2008, BlueHippo settled with the agency, however and under the terms of the deal, BlueHippo would pay... --
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Entire Town’s Network Punished for One Download

The MPAA has just successfully shut down an entire town's municipal WiFi network because a single user was caught downloading a copyrighted movie. This gross example of collective punishment in Coshocton, OH, a practice actually outlawed in the Geneva Conventions, was emabarrassing in generous terms, but the MPAA's spokesman decided to cry poor, despite the studios bringing in record box-office and aftermarket numbers. Coshocton's IT Director, Mike LaVigne, said that the number of people who access the Internet using this specific connection varies widely, from approximately a dozen people a day to 100 during busy times, such as First Fridays and the Coshocton Canal Festival. It's also used by Coshocton County Sheriff's deputies who can park in the 300 block and complete traffic or incident reports without leaving their vehicle. Out-of-town business people can park and... --
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