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Author Topic: Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09  (Read 3657 times)

Ehtyar

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Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09
« on: October 18, 2009, 05:50:43 AM »
The Weekly Tech News
TNWeekly01.gifHi all.
Enjoy :)
As usual, you can find last week's news here.


1. Google Shares Malware Samples With Hacked Site Admins
Spoiler
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/13/google_webmaster_malware_notification/
Hopefully this won't result in too many heart attacks among dc members, but this is a pretty cool move by Google. In order to aid webmasters in the cleanup of infected websites, Google are now providing samples of material they find objectionable on a website.

Quote
Google has rolled out a feature that provides webmasters of compromised sites with samples of malicious code and other detailed information to help them clean up.

The search giant has long scanned websites for malware while indexing the world wide web. When it detects outbreaks, it includes language in search results that warns the site may be harmful and passes that information along so the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari browsers can more prominently warn users. Google also provides administrators a private list of infected pages so they can be cleaned up.

2. EFF Challenges Texas Instruments Over Calculator Mods
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/10/bloggers-fight-tis-dmca-takedown-over-calculator-hack.ars
Ever since their code signing keys were broken a few months back, TI have been watching out for anyone posting them as the hacking community gets to work. In a spectacular display of misunderstanding, TI have sent DMCA takedown notices to a handful of bloggers linking to the keys. Bad TI, bad!

Quote
Texas Instruments has been making programmable calculators for longer than most companies have been making computers, and the company's current line of calculators uses a chip—the Zilog Z80—that once appeared in personal computers. So it's not surprising that a modding community has taken up the task of replacing the OS that runs the calculators. TI isn't pleased by the modders' efforts, though, and the company recently sent DMCA takedown notices to a group of bloggers who linked to information about the encryption keys needed to validate a new OS. But unfortunately for TI, it appears that the DMCA does not apply, since the keys aren't used to protect the existing OS.

3. Wi-Fi Direct Protocol to Ease Peer-to-peer WiFi Connections
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2009/10/wi-fi-direct-protocol-to-ease-peer-to-peer-wifi-connections.ars
I really don't understand what all the fuss is about here, but apparently this is big news. The Wi-Fi Alliance have announced a new standard that will permit devices to communicate between one another to be called "Wi-Fi Direct". Seems to me this space is already covered either by ad-hoc wireless connections or bluetooth (quite effectively I might add), but we'll see.

Quote
The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new way for WiFi-enabled devices to connect to one another, even in the absence of a WiFi base station. The new protocol, dubbed "Wi-Fi Direct," will allow any device that implements the standard to connect directly to another device to send and receive data.

Previously codenamed "Wi-Fi peer to peer," the technology allows any device with WiFi to easily connect to another, such as a cell phone or camera to a printer, or even a keyboard or mouse to a computer. Devices can connect one-to-one or in a group. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, devices implementing the new standard will even be able to connect to legacy WiFi devices in most cases.

4. Secret ACTA Treaty Can't Be Shown to Public, Just 42 Lawyers
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/10/these-42-people-are-shaping-us-internet-enforcement-policy.ars
I actually thought we'd heard the end of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but apparently not. It seems that the lack of the possibility for public scrutiny of the legislation will be offset by the investigation of the document by 38 corporate and 4 public interest lawyers.

Quote
Turns out that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will include a section on Internet "enforcement procedures" after all. And how many people have had input on these procedures? Forty-two.

ACTA has worried outside observers for some time by threatening to delve into issues not normally covered by "trade agreements." Topping the list are concerns about ACTA's possible use as a Trojan horse to shove tough Internet controls onto countries like the US at the behest of Big Content. It's been hard to tell exactly what ACTA will include, though, because the process has taken place in such secrecy and even when information has been released, the section relating to the Internet has been empty.

5. Microsoft's Danger SideKick and Cloud Computing (Thanks 40hz)
Spoiler
https://www.infosecisland.com/articleview/1409-Microsoft%27s-Danger-SideKick-and-cloud-computing.html
CLOUD FAIL! (disclaimer: this statement in no way implies that I give any credence whatsoever to the term "Cloud Computing") A Microsoft subsidiary "Danger" made a whoopsie in the "cloud" this week, losing the address book data (which is apparently stored only in the "cloud") for each and every user of a SideKick mobile device. They've since made some headway in recovery of the data. I found it most interesting how MS was so happy to release details of the faul, blaming Oracle databases and Sun hardware/OS.

Quote
Microsoft has demonstrated that the dark side of cloud computing has no
silver linings. After a major server outage occurred on its watch last
weekend, users dependent on the company have just been informed that their
personal data and photos "has almost certainly been lost."

While occasional service outages have hit nearly everyone in the business,
knocking Google's Gmail offline for hours, plunging RIM's BlackBerrys into
the dark, or leaving Apple's MobileMe web apps unreachable to waves of
users, Microsoft's high profile outage has impacted users in the worst
possible way: the company has unrecoverable lost nearly all of its users'
data, and now has no alternative backup plan for recovering any of it a week
later.

6. Illegal Downloads 150x More Profitable Than Legal Sales
Spoiler
http://torrentfreak.com/illegal-downloads-150x-more-profitable-than-legal-sales-091009/
Torrent Freak certainly can't be considered impartial in this arena, but this could be an interesting insight into why the RIAA so readily backpedaled on their "we won't sue" policy.

Quote
TorrentFreak has reported before how pirates have been turned into cash cows by the copyright mafia. However, reliable statistics on how much money the entertainment industry and anti-piracy outfits make from illicit downloads have not yet been disclosed, until now.

The German-based anti-piracy outfit DigiRights Solutions (DRS) recently published an interesting PowerPoint presentation (in German) which shows how copyright holders can make millions from pirates. The document reveals some rather shocking statistics that show how illicit downloads are more profitable than legal downloads.

7. Facebook Now Has 30,000 Servers
Spoiler
http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/10/13/facebook-now-has-30000-servers/
Wow, that's some pretty sweet hardware there Facebook.I found it most illuminating where, toward the end, the article mentioned Facebook generated approximately 25 terabytes of logfiles...daily.

Quote
How many servers does Facebook have? For some time now, the stock answer has been “more than 10,000 servers,” a number the company began using in April 2008. Facebook has continued to use that number, even as it has soared past 300 million users and dramatically expanded its data center space.

We now have an update: Facebook has 30,000 servers supporting its operations. That number comes from Jeff Rothschild, the vice president of technology at Facebook, who discussed the company’s infrastructure in a presentation last week at UC San Diego.

8. Judge: Ringtones Aren't Performances, So No Royalties
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/10/judge-ringtones-arent-performances-so-no-royalties.ars
Fortunately we got a judge with half an ounce of sense. So far, at least, ringtones will not be considered a "performance", and thus will not require the player to pay royalty fees.

Quote
If you have been blessing everyone around you with cell phone "performances" of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," rest assured that your cell phone provider won't have to pay royalties on it. A federal court has ruled that ringtones played aloud in public are not infringing on the content owners' copyrights because they don't constitute a true performance. (In other news, children are still allowed to sing songs without paying royalties.)

Joking aside (actually, that's less of a joke than you might think), the ringtone argument was made by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) earlier this year when it sued certain mobile carriers in the US in an attempt to force them to fork over royalties every time a customer's ringtone is played. Even though the carriers were already paying for download rights to the songs, ASCAP argued that each ring was a "performance" and therefore those download payments weren't enough.

9. Checking Twitter/Facebook: the New Post-coital Cigarette?
Spoiler
http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/10/checking-twitterfacebook-the-new-post-coital-cigarette.ars
This can hardly be called "news", but I thought it might illicit a few LOLs from DC.

Quote
That was good for me—was it good for you? Hang on, I need to tweet this.

If you have heard or uttered some variation of the above phrase anytime recently, you might be a social media user under the age of 35. Shopping site Retrevo.com recently investigated the grip that sites like Twitter and Facebook have on Internet users' lives and found that the under-35 crowd in particular is on the verge of needing social media rehab.

Retrevo discovered that those under 35 took the opportunity to tweet, text, and post to Facebook at times that might be considered inappropriate to an older generation. The most amusing statistic from this is, of course, the "after sex" column—36 percent of under-35 users admitted to checking Twitter/Facebook/texts immediately after getting it on, while only 8 percent of those over 35 fell into this category.

10. WarGames: Alternate Ending
Spoiler
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIkfq1kEUBw
A very un-newsy clip to end this week, but good for a laugh I hope :)

onion.jpg


Ehtyar.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 11:17:29 PM by Ehtyar »

4wd

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 08:09:00 PM »
6. I sense conspiracy here, (like how the anti-virus software vendors are the creators of most virii), I now realise that the MPAA/RIAA are really the operators of most illegal P2P sites................thank god for SSL + newsgroups!

3. "...permit devices to community between one another..." - I know what you're trying to say but you're in serious violation of colloquial Australian English grammar1.


1. Unless you're using some foreign form of techie micro-speak....in which case you may clobber me with a suitable smiley.

Ehtyar

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 05:20:13 AM »
Two typos in as many weeks, oh noes!! Ty 4wd :)

Ehtyar.

app103

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 10:43:40 AM »
6. The more I watch these groups the more they resemble the copyright enforcers in K.W Jeter's Noir.

To make a long story short, eventually the penalty of copyright infringement is a fate worse than death. To have your consciousness inserted into an electronic device which would be turned over to the copyright holder as a gift. If you steal his intellectual property, he gets yours...your whole mind. You'll be trapped in a toaster forever & ever, fully aware, and this is done without a trial.

This fate is pretty scary and is quite effective at eliminating copyright infringement. But since it is now eliminated, there is no need for copyright enforcers any more. But if you eliminate the enforcers, then copyright infringement will begin again. So there came a need to justify the existence of the enforcers, by framing innocent people for copyright crimes. As long as they kept up their quota of "infringers", they guaranteed themselves a job, perpetually.

4wd

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 10:31:53 PM »
6. The more I watch these groups the more they resemble the copyright enforcers in K.W Jeter's Noir.

To make a long story short, eventually the penalty of copyright infringement is a fate worse than death. To have your consciousness inserted into an electronic device which would be turned over to the copyright holder as a gift. If you steal his intellectual property, he gets yours...your whole mind. You'll be trapped in a toaster forever & ever, fully aware, and this is done without a trial.

This fate is pretty scary and is quite effective at eliminating copyright infringement. But since it is now eliminated, there is no need for copyright enforcers any more. ...

Hang on, if there was no copyright cops what would stop the copyright holders from copying the copyright infringers?

If the copyright holder is now a copyright infringer and the original copyright infringer is now the copyright holder whose rights have been infringed:

If subsequently caught, would the original copyright holder's mind be then downloaded into the device that the original copyright infringer resides in?

Do you copy?

* Edited for clarity.

app103

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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 42-09
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 04:35:17 AM »