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Tech News Weekly: Edition 48-09

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The Weekly Tech NewsHi all.
Enjoy :)
As usual, you can find last week's news here.
1. Mininova Deletes All Infringing Torrents and Goes ‘Legal’
Mininova has finally complied with an earlier court decision and deleted all the illegal torrents from their site. There are roughly 8,000 left.

Mininova’s decision to delete all infringing torrents from its index marks the end of an era that started five years ago.

In December 2004, the demise of the mighty Suprnova left a meteor crater in the fledgling BitTorrent landscape. This gaping hole was soon filled by the dozens of new sites that emerged to fulfil the public’s increasing demands for torrents. Mininova became the most successful of all.

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2. "Duh" Latest IPhone Worm
This is a write-up on the first of the actually harmful "iKee" variants, if you can call them that, that can infect jailbroken iPhones in their default configuration.

“Duh” is the latest iPhone worm that was recently spotted by Dutch ISP XS4All. Unfortunately, the advent of publishing “iKee” source code and its subsequent spread has led to this.

“Please be aware that publishing such malicious code may attract more evil fingers to play around!”

From my previous blog post, I’ve warned about “iKee” and “Iphone Info Stealer” source code being published as it poses serious threat since anyone from wannabe “lamers” to script kiddies could take advantage of it.  

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3. Facebook Friend Turns Into Big Brother
I really would have thought this was entrapment, but apparently in the USA cops are well within their rights to send a friend request to you on Facebook, then pillage your profile for evidence of illegal activity should you accept.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Adam Bauer has nearly 400 friends on Facebook. He got an offer for a new one about a month ago. “She was a good-looking girl. I usually don’t accept friends I don’t know, but I randomly accepted this one for some reason,” the 19-year-old said.

He thinks that led to his invitation to come down to the La Crosse police station, where an officer laid out photos from Facebook of Bauer holding a beer — and then ticketed him for underage drinking.

The police report said Bauer admitted drinking, which he denies. But he did plead no contest in municipal court Wednesday and will pay a $227 fine.

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4. Superconductor Forcefield to Shield Re-entering Spacecraft?
Oh. My. God. Cool!! And it looks like a largely international effort as well.

Space boffins have hatched a plan to test their radical new superconductor magnet forcefield re-entry heatshield technology by firing it into space from a Russian submarine.

Flight International reported on the scheme yesterday, describing cooperative efforts by German space agency DLR (Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt), the European Space Agency and Euro aerospace megacorp EADS Astrium.

The proposed test module would use a magnetic field generated by superconducting magnets to deflect the superhot plasma which results when a spacecraft re-enters Earth's atmosphere at the tremendously high speeds required by space missions. Normally the heat is resistant by super-tough but troublesome insulating materials, as in the space shuttle, or by one-shot ablative coatings which burn off as a spacecraft descends.

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5. Panic Button Plan to Beat Cyber-predators
Just when you think those crazy Aussies just can't get any more f**ked in the head, something like this comes along. Imagine a giant red button next to your computer that your child could push if they encountered any correspondence they believed to be inappropriate online. Then imagine, that a bunch of Aussies (being paid by tax payers no less) concocted this idea, and you'd have this story. Why am I funding these people?!?!

Children who feel they are being bullied, harassed or groomed online could call for help instantly using a "panic button" on their PCs under a plan being considered by the Federal Government's cyber-safety working group.

Parents would be offered the ability to download and install the "widget" on their children's computers and, if the kids encounter serious trouble online, pushing the button could connect them instantly to police or child protection groups.

"The decision hasn't been made - it's still in the discussion stage - but I think we're getting pretty close," said Hetty Johnson, chief executive of Bravehearts, which supports survivors of child sexual assault.

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6. Two Circulating Beams Bring First Collisions in the LHC
The LHC has finally commenced collisions. The first beams were fired at 13:22 on Monday the 23rd.

Today the LHC circulated two beams simultaneously for the first time, allowing the operators to test the synchronization of the beams and giving the experiments their first chance to look for proton-proton collisions. With just one bunch of particles circulating in each direction, the beams can be made to cross in up to two places in the ring. From early in the afternoon, the beams were made to cross at points 1 and 5, home to the ATLAS and CMS detectors, both of which were on the look out for collisions. Later, beams crossed at points 2 and 8, ALICE and LHCb.

“It’s a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time,” said CERN1Director General Rolf Heuer. “But we need to keep a sense of perspective – there’s still much to do before we can start the LHC physics programme.”

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7. Hacked Darwin Kernel Available for 10.6.2 On Atom Netbooks
Since Apple decided to release the 10.6.2 update without support for the Atom CPU, a hacker has released a patched kernel that puts it back in. Anyone see a game of cat-and-mouse coming?

First the 10.6.2 update to Snow Leopard wasn't compatible with Intel Atom processors. Then it was. Then it wasn't again when it was finally released to the masses. Fortunately for the netbook-loving Mac OS X fans out there, the OSx86 scene is only too happy to offer a patched version of mach_kernel to enable booting 10.6.2 on netbooks once more.

The kernel is the deep-down part of Mac OS X that generally handles direct communication between the OS and hardware. Speculation swirled that Apple was actively trying to keep Mac OS X from being installed on inexpensive Atom-based netbooks. However, chances are it was more likely a result of optimizations that didn't take into account Atom processors, since Apple doesn't use them in any shipping products.

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8. Emblaze's First Else Unveiled in London, Promises to Be a Game-changer
The First Else, running the Access Linux Platform, is a new smartphone unveiled by Blame Else this week. This could be very interesting, be sure to check out the videos at the end of the article.

Folks, today might be the day when you start to notice how ancient our smartphones have become, even if they only came out in last few months. Blame Else (formerly Emblaze Mobile) for its confusingly-named First Else, a phone "built from scratch" over the last two years and now powered by Access Linux Platform (ALP) 3.0 -- a mobile OS thought to have quietly died out since our last sighting in February. Until today's London launch event, the last we heard of this Israeli company was from October's Access Day in Japan where it previewed the Else Intuition OS, which we like to think of as inspired by Minority Report. While it's still too early to tell whether the First Else -- launching in Q2 next year -- will dodge the path of doom, we were already overwhelmed by the excellence of the device's user experience, both from its presentation and from our exclusive hands-on opportunity. Do read on to find out how Else is doing it right.

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9. Leaked 9/11 Text Messages
I'm not sure I quite understand their reasons for it, but Wikileaks have leaked 500,000 text pager intercepts from the 24 hour period surrounding the September 11, 2001. Bruce Schneier has some good links and clips of the gems.

WikiLeaks released half a million US national text pager intercepts. The intercepts cover a 24 hour period surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Text pagers are usualy carried by persons operating in an official capacity. Messages in the archive range from Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults at investment banks inside the World Trade Center.

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10. Lego Matrix Trinity Help
This is a terrific Lego stop-motion of the rooftop shootout scene between an agent and Neo in the first Matrix film. Enjoy :)


#3 huh??!!
have they nothing better to be doing :tellme: and a 19 year old at that, sad.

#10 very nice :-*
have you seen the White Stripes video Fell in Love with a Girl

Re #3:
I really would have thought this was entrapment, but apparently in the USA cops are well within their rights to send a friend request to you on Facebook, then pillage your profile for evidence of illegal activity should you accept.
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FWIW, the police in the USA are not within their rights to do any such thing -as long as you don't allow them to do it to you. This kid let himself be set up.

To demonstrate how dumb this kid is, ask why did he plead "no contest?"*

There was a picture of him holding a beer can. So what? Holding a beer can is not an illegal act under any statute in the USA. Who is to say the beer can wasn't merely a prop in a posed picture designed to create the impression they were drunk for the amusement of visitors to their webpage? Simply holding a beer can does not prove it contains any beer at the time the picture was taken - nor does it prove he was drinking beer even if it did. And that's assuming the beer can wasn't 'photoshopped' to replace a can of cola.

Heck, even if the people in the photo could be described as "intoxicated" that does not prove that they actually were.

Any attorney would have made mincemeat out of the police if this kid didn't panic. Not that he would have needed an attorney. Almost any judge would have thrown his ticket out if he denied he was drinking and challenged it. I'm also fairly sure the local State's Attorney wouldn't have even considered bringing the case to court since there was absolutely no concrete factual evidence to support an underage drinking charge. All the defense would need to request at trial was the results of the blood alcohol tests the police should have had in their possession before they brought charges against anybody in the picture.

Big Brother may be watching you. But it's (still) not enough to get a conviction. Or isn't as long as you're not stupid enough play along with an overzealous cop out on a fishing expedition.

Alright, ignoring for the moment this guy's apparent lack of knowledge regarding his rights, how is this not entrapment? If a cop can't run around trying to sell you drugs then arrest you if you accept, how come they can run around friending you then arrest you if you accept?


how is this not entrapment
-Ehtyar (November 29, 2009, 01:33 PM)
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Hiya Dr.E!

It all comes down to who was responsible for initiating the action.

Entrapment is when the authorities provide the person they're charging with the motive and (optionally) the methods to commit the illegal act in question.

It's a subtle legal distinction, but a very important one. And it's also one of the reasons why US law enforcement agencies seldom try to entrap people. It's too easy for the defense to get an acquittal. Especially since most juries don't cotton too kindly to a prosecutor making an argument that basically says:

"Of course he's guilty. The police planned the crime; showed him how to do it; gave him the resources he needed - and then caught him red-handed!"

Either way, you're absolutely right. The charge against that kid was complete BS. And it's so full of holes that it would have lasted less than 5 minutes in court if it got there. Too bad he waived his rights by making his plea.


As far as "sting" operations are concerned, those usually don't play out too well for the police either, unless the person who got stung had enough 'prior history' with the law to convince a jury he was probably guilty of something.

If a cop can't run around trying to sell you drugs then arrest you if you accept
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Umm..over here they can.

Guess it depends on where you live. :tellme:



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