DigitAl56K writes "Do you ever find it surprising that large companies still can't get down the basics of privacy and security on the web? Today I went to enter a competition from Duracell to win a Nintendo Wii by filling out an online form that requires entering your full name, address, and date of birth, and then proceeds to submit it via an unencrypted HTTP POST. The ultimate irony? The message at the bottom of the page that reads,
"Trust is a cornerstone of our corporate mission, and the success of our business depends on it. P&G is committed to maintaining your trust by protecting personal information we collect."
DigitAl56K writes "NewScientist is reporting on a US company, Sierra Nevada Corporation, that is ready to produce a crowd-control device which uses microwaves to heat the tissues inside your head so rapidly that the shockwaves resulting actually create sound. The device is named MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) and can be targeted using broad or narrow beams. From the article:
MEDUSA involves a microwave auditory effect "loud" enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. Sadovnik says that normal audio safety limits do not apply since the sound does not enter through the eardrums.
A member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois in Chicago who has also worked on the technique has commented that while feasible, attaining the necessary volume might involve power levels that could cause neural damage.
DigitAl56K writes "The Register is reporting that AVG 8 includes as part of its anti-virus scanner Linkscanner, technology acquired by the company that scans results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search before you visit them. This apparently has resulted in traffic for some sites to increase by as much as 80%, confusing web analytics because real visits may not have increased at all. Approximately 28% of AVG users worldwide are now using AVG 8, so this problem has plenty of scope for growth.
How will analytic services react to the effects of prescanning, and what benefits does prescanning hold over real-time transport scanning? Further, even if prescanning protects your computer does it ultimately pose a risk to your personal security? In May Slashdot informed us that the FBI had raided homes of people who had merely clicked links to illegal pornography. When your computer is automatically clicking search results for you maybe you had better be careful what search terms you use." Link to Original Source top
DigitAl56K writes "The Washington Post reports that, "The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon" and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said that "Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement". Last year CNET reported on at least one county in North Carolina already using a UAV to "monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air — close enough to identify faces".
Discovery Channel's Future Weapons has provided insight into numerous UAVs, including the Fire Scout, Global Hawk, Predator 2, and the Dominator, their coverage of the Predator 2 particularly demonstrating surveillance and tracking capabilities of these units.
According to DefenseNews the US Air Force just announced the purchase of 28 Predators as part of a contract awarded to General Atomics. The US Air Force has just begun running ads on cable TV as part of their "Above All" campaign that feature the UAVs (sorry, no online video yet).
Initially, it appears that the administration plans to leverage conventional satellites for domestic surveillance purposes.
DigitAl56K writes "Being a foreigner in the US has its ups and downs. One of the downs I face stems from the music industry's obsession with territory restrictions. Not only am I unable to purchase certain UK releases online despite being able to import CDs, but I also can't listen to most of the webcasting radio stations near my home because they've had to implement IP->Geo lockouts. This leads to a cultural disconnect for me that the Internet really ought to solve. If you've ever graced the forums of an online music store you have likely seen dozens of users around the globe with similar complaints, and in general the only solution is to find an open proxy in another country to bypass the artificial barriers.
Unfortunately many open proxies are not intended for medium-high bandwidth applications, and may be unknowing victims of malware designed to sniff and steal information. Are there any reputable secure and/or trustworthy commercial proxy/tunneling services designed to provide end-points in specific countries?" top
DigitAl56K writes "When my old no thrills voice-only handset finally began giving up the ghost last week I decided it was time to join my colleagues and jump on the smart phone bandwagon. Mobile IM, web, GPS and music downloads all beckoned. Then I totaled up the cost of my new wireless plan. Ouch!
The offerings from the leading US wireless providers are incredibly expensive. A typical voice plan coupled with basic personal Blackberry service can easily cost over $100 and depending on the network other basic features push the monthly rate higher still. Limited or unlimited messages, M2M messages, and night or weekend calling often cost extra. Users buying handsets advertised as having GPS may be unpleasantly surprised to find additional monthly service subscriptions are required to use all or some parts of these services, such as voiced directions. In the end you're likely to pay more for a cellphone with basic smart phone functionality than you do for digital TV and high speed Internet combined, even without high-tech features like GPS included, and most of the service agreements although offering unlimited data for what are clearly multimedia-enabled devices prohibit medium-high bandwidth applications regardless.
How long must we wait for todays smart phones to become the norm and for some level of sanity to take hold in wireless plan rates?" top
DigitAl56K writes "Star Wars fans rejoice! Four years after their original fan film saw them picking up light sabers and taking to battle, Ryan Wieber and Michael Scott have published RvD2. The choreography and attention to detail strongly rival the best efforts of Lucasfilm, as does the sound track.
DigitAl56K writes "Brian Transeau (BT) is a pioneer of the electronica genre who helped to define trance in the early '90s. His career is diverse with a background in classic music and long history of film scoring, but it is arguably his pursuit of using new technology in music that distinguishes him as an artist. He's a recognized master of audio synthesis and engineering, he writes his own software instruments and effects, and he's famous for his live shows — which he often plays real-time from a laptop computer.
His latest album, This Binary Universe, is released on CD+DVD and mastered in DTS digital surround, accompanied by visuals ranging from CGI to watercolors produced by artists who participate on deviantART. One track on the album is written entirely in Csound, a synthesis scripting language and renderer where the instruments, effects, and score are composed using only a text editor.
BT is currently on tour with electonica veteran Thomas Dolby. The shows not only feature visuals from the album rendered live, but also artwork from members of deviantART local to each area, and a full surround sound audio environment.
The DivX Stage6 team interviewed BT to discuss his career, latest album, use of technology in music, mathematics in music and in nature, and more. We also asked him how he feels about people who download music. The response was both interesting and honest, and gave significant insight into the ethical views of a real artist, as well as dispelling some of the common myths around the effect of piracy on artists large and small.
The complete interview is available from the BT channel on DivX Stage6, including the video for track 4 from his album, entitled "1.618" after the golden ratio, in DivX HD with MP3 Surroud."