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RMS Protest Song On Gitmo

PetManimal Re:Score 1 for the Islamic extremists! (500 comments)

I used to think Dead Kennedys lyrics were over the top, even when Reagan was still president, but not anymore. Jello saw it coming ...

more than 7 years ago

Submissions

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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Computerworld has published an analysis of Microsoft's challenge to Adobe's suite of Web-design and development software. The MS products are part of the $600 Expression Studio, which includes a bunch of different tools such as the successor to FrontPage (Expression Web) and a competitor to Adobe Illustrator (Expression Design). The reviewer found the functionality of the individual tools to be "not bad", and the price is great, but pointed to two major shortcomings: A lack of an image editing program and the failure of the Expression Studio products to really work together:

It's hard not to see Expression Studio as less a true 'suite' than a collection of products that have been co-branded after the fact — partly because Microsoft's other suite, Office, is so tightly knit in comparison. It's tough to see how the products in Expression Studio fit into a single integrated workflow or how they can all be used together, aside from creating XAML applications for Web sites.
The review also notes that these programs support Silverlight, the partially open-source technology that is meant to go up against Flash."

Link to Original Source
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "David Ulevitch, the founder of OpenDNS, claims that Google and Dell have placed 'spyware' on Dell computers. Ulevitch made the claim based on his observation of the behavior of the Google Toolbar and homepage that comes preinstalled on IE in new Dell machines. He says that a browser redirector sends users who enter nonexistent URLs to a Dell-branded page loaded with Google ads. Another observer, Danny Sullivan, says that this is a different result than what happens on PCs without the redirector. However, the original article notes that Ulevitch has a vested interest in the results of mistyped URLs:

Ulevitch's complaint also stems from the fact that the error redirector breaks some of OpenDNS's functionality. If an OpenDNS user types "digg.xom" by mistake, their browser pulls up the correct "digg.com" instead. But the redirector breaks the free service's typo correction — as well as the browser shortcut feature it unveiled last month. "Google's application breaks just about every user-benefiting feature we provide with client software that no user ever asked for," Ulevitch said.
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Downloading music to iPods via USB cable is how most people get their music now, but Napster is betting its future on smartphone downloads over wireless networks, claims Napster's CTO, William Pence. However, he says that one of the main obstacles to Napster's plans are the large data fees that U.S. carriers charge for multimedia files, and the worries by U.S. carriers that music downloads will swamp mobile networks. The answer may be subscription plans and advertising, he says."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "The IDG News Service reports that the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama had to be manually shut down after networking problems 'caused two water pumps to fail and threatened the stability of the plant.' The issue was 'excessive traffic' on the closed Ethernet network, which a consultant believes was caused by a known bug involving faulty networking code that's commonly used in industrial facilities. However, two U.S. congressmen, in a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, have raised the possibility that the failure may have been caused by an outside attack:

... According to the Notice, "the licensees could not conclusively establish" whether the network malfunction was caused by a network disruption within the plant or the malicious activity of an external source. Conversations between the Homeland Security Committee staff and NRC representatives suggest that it is possible that this incident could have come from outside the plant. Unless and until the cause of the excessive network load can be explained, there is no way for either the licensee or the NRC to know that this was not an external distributed denial of service attack. Without a thorough, independent review of the logs and associated data, the assumption that this incident is not an outside attack is unjustifiable.
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "The Slashdot Firehose is a 'bad metaphor and a bad idea,' or so says Computerworld's Joyce Carpenter, who has been using the user-directed submission rating system since it was introduced a few months ago. She points to an increase in unworthy submissions — some of which seem to be part of 'viral marketing scams' — and says that they make Firehose unpleasant for everyone:

The increased number of unworthy submissions makes more unpleasant work for the editors as well as members of the community. A bigger hose with more crap in it just means that the editors have to read all that crap — and so do the voting members of the community. That's just more work for everyone.
She also questions whether Zonk and Co. are even using the recommendations that make it to the top of the Firehose ratings:

So far as I can tell, the editors still make the decisions. Good for them. I have no need for democracy in the selection of stories at a site that has done an excellent, if elitist, job of using editorial judgment. That's what makes it such a good site. Drain the hydrant and throw away with the hose.
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Computerworld has reviewed the Palm Treo 755p, the last Palm device with the Palm OS, and concludes that the OS is going out with a whimper, rather than a bang. The article says there are some useful improvements (better integration with Exchange and IM, limited speech recognition, etc.) but 'nothing that will make you sit back and say "wow."' Palm already has at least one device with Windows Mobile (the 700w) and soon will make a big push to Linux devices, maybe by the end of the year. But the Palm OS, which was top dog for a while back in the 1990s, and is still used by many people who own Palm Pilots or Treos, is going to quickly fade, it seems"
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "The University of Michigan has released its annual American Customer Satisfaction Index, an annual survey of 80,000 Web users that assesses customer views of well-known corporations. Microsoft scored 70 out of 100 in the survey. That's ahead of Cingular Wireless, Comcast, and almost every airline, but behind the average approval rating for all software vendors, which was 75. Claes Fornell, the University of Michigan professor who directed the survey, says that the launch of Vista and Office 2007 during the survey period may have brought down Microsoft's ranking:

That's not actually because a majority of respondents had tried either software and found it lacking, he said. Rather, Microsoft's need to hype the two products through marketing and advertising may have created a backlash among some jaded consumers, he said. Fornell also said that customers have higher expectations for market-leading companies such as Microsoft. 'Microsoft is such a dominant company that economic theory predicts that their customer satisfaction would not be all that high, anyway," he said. "For them to come in at 70 is not all that bad.'
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "As discussed on Slashdot back in December, there's been a lot of business interest in WiMax, a wireless broadband technology that established players and startups think will become a powerful alternative to DSL, cable, and wi-fi. However, David Haskin warns that Sprint, the leader of the WiMax pack in the U.S., may be risking its very existence on its $3 billion WiMax investment:

... If Sprint's shareholders panic and Wall Street analysts become too demanding, Sprint could be forced to take the steps demanded by two groups aimed at making the WiMAX investment pay off quickly. If it succumbs to that pressure, Sprint could blow it. That's because the pressure would lead Sprint into demanding too much from its customers, which is the norm in the cellular industry. If Sprint overcharges and requires multi-year contracts for mobile WiMAX as it and all other cellular carriers do for voice service, Sprint's WiMAX effort will be sunk. That's because, for most individuals and enterprises, the compelling nature of fast nationwide wireless access will diminish significantly as prices and complications increase. This isn't cellular service where there's limited competition. Most people can simply wait until they reach a Wi-Fi hotspot or return home or to the office.
Sprint says it will start offering WiMax service in Chicago and Washington, D.C., later this year."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "IT 'whitepapers,' put out by corporations and organizations including Microsoft, IBM, and Red Hat, are in-depth reports used to promote technologies and products. There's no pretense of objectivity in these documents, but what about sponsored whitepapers that are produced by independent technology research companies? Computerworld's Don Tennant describes an IDC whitepaper called "Russia as Offshore Software Development Location: Should You Consider This Your Next Move?", which was sponsored by Russoft, the association of software development companies from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. He says that the Russoft sponsorship is very obvious, but wonders about the value of these whitepapers, compared to ones that are written by the vendors themselves:

IDC is making it very clear what you're getting and is leaving it up to you to decide what it's worth. That, indeed, is my question. What are these white papers worth to you? There's no doubt that readers find value in white papers prepared by the vendors themselves, because many are downloaded from our Web site every day. Is it in that context that these vendor-sponsored IDC white papers are read, or do they carry some premium of neutrality in spite of the vendor sponsorship?
This ties into the larger question of the value, believability, and quality of other types of documentation produced by hardware, software, and services vendors — ad copy, press releases, manuals, etc. I know it's hard to generalize, but what are the rules of thumb you use when evaluating the trustworthiness and accuracy of such information?"
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Mike Elgan has had it with useless lights on gadgets and computers. He singles out the Palm Treo and the Dell XPS gaming laptops as being particularly bad with the use of unnecessary lights, and also cites the plethora of LEDs on desktop PCs and peripherals:

My PC and other computing equipment make my office look like a jet cockpit. I have two LCD monitors, each of which has two indicator lights that flash even when the PC is turned off. The attached sound control has a light on it. My keyboard has multiple lights. The power cord has lights, the printer has lights, and the power button is illuminated. My cable modem and Linksys router flash like crazy all the time. Together, these useless lights create a visual cacophony of blinking, multicolored lights that make me feel like I'm taking part in a NASA stress test for astronaut candidates.
Elgan calls on manufacturers to respect his "Gadget Bill of Lights" to restrict the use of nag lights and allow users to turn them off. He also says the industry should pay more attention to industrial design when creating new products."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Motorola CEO Ed Zander suggests that next month's release of the Apple iPhone won't cause him to lose any sleep, because it will stimulate the market for other high-end devices, reports Computerworld. Zander also says Motorola will a high-end mobile phone in Europe this month that is a "media monster." TechCrunch has more details about the phone, which it says is based on 3G technology, and will deliver 30 FPS movies — but apparently on SD cards, rather than over the network."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Computerworld reports that the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), which Windows Update uses to deliver patches to XP, Vista, and Windows Server 2003, is being used by Trojan makers to bypass firewalls and install malware on target systems. Symantec, which is the source of the news, described the exploit in its group blog:

Using BITS to download malicious files is a clever trick because it bypasses local firewalls, as the download is performed by Windows itself, and does not require suspicious actions for process injection. In fact, the malicious Downloader sample in this case gets access to the BITS component via the COM interface with CoCreateInsance(), and it uses CreateJob() and AddFile() methods to configure the file to download and the destination path.
Unfortunately, there's no way to get around this BITS flaw, but Elia Florio, the Symantec researcher who described the exploit, says "... The BITS interface should be designed to be accessible only with a higher level of privilege, or the download jobs created with BITS should be restricted to only trusted URLs.""
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Brian Krebs of the Washington Post has a very interesting article about the credit industry's fight against consumer rights measures that would force credit bureaus, credit card companies, retailers, banks and even private investigators to protect citizens from having their credit data accessed, by taking measures such as restricting access to credit reports and freezing new lines of credit. While several states have tried to enact consumer-friendly laws, the industry has lobbied hard on the state and national level to water down, eliminate, or reverse them and keep open access to easy credit.

'The banks, the insurance companies, credit bureaus and retailers really came out of the woodwork and fought hard against it,' [activist George Fitzgerald] said. 'I thought it was good for them and the banks. I thought with all the ID theft going on, people might even get to the point where they'd be afraid of using the [banking] system. I thought that since the credit bureaus were making a bundle of money off of trading consumers' information ... that they should offer a way to protect that information.'
The article says that the industry has backed down in some states and some credit-freeze laws have passed, but with conditions and business-friendly exceptions — for instance, Delaware had to eliminate a provision that included fines for merchants that failed to secure customer data, before the law could be passed."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 6 years ago

PetManimal writes "Dell's announcement that it will preinstall Ubuntu Linux on some of its desktops and laptops was based in part on feedback from its new ideastorm website, which lets members of the public and customers express the features they'd like to see in Dell computers. Computerworld has also noted that the website includes more than 70,000 votes for the company to preinstall Firefox as well. This is partially related to the Mozilla spread Firefox campaign, apparently, but Dell isn't commenting on it, says Computerworld. By comparison, under 7,000 votes have been made on the Dell site for preinstalling Opera, and there are negative 440 votes for preinstalling Epiphany."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 6 years ago

PetManimal writes "Computerworld has published a list of the top eight corporate sites in Second Life. A lot of the article talks about kewl corporate marketing efforts there, but at least one of the companies mentioned — Sun — is cautious about some of the limitations of the virtual world:

The company has no plans to sell products directly thought Second Life, however, noting that the platform is not reliable or scalable. Game servers can only hold about 70 people at once, according to Linden Labs. And, there's no file encryption. In fact, to run a Second Life server, companies have to open multiple ports in their corporate firewall — which tells hackers exactly how to break into company resources.
Problems with SL's infrastructure have actually prompted an open letter to Linden Lab, demanding that the company put off new feature enhancements until stability and performance issues are worked out. Phillip Rosedale and other Linden executives say they are addressing concerns about the architecture, but also say they are pushing ahead with features that will make the world more business-friendly — such as as adding 3D audio."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "The Radio Data System standard, used in Europe and North America to send warnings to users of consumer satellite navigation systems, isn't authenticated or encrypted, and could potentially be hacked or used to sow confusion, according to an engineer and "hardware hacker":

Through trial and error, they discovered that transmitting certain code numbers translates into certain warnings that are displayed on the satellite navigation system. Some were amusing. One code number alerts users that there's a bull fight in progress. Another one indicates delays due to a parade. But some weren't so funny. One tells users that there has been a terrorist incident. Another indicates a bomb alert and another an air crash.
It's uncertain what the fix is for this for people who already use satellite navigation systems in their cars. The article notes that most devices aren't easy to upgrade."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "It's natural to blame Microsoft for PC bloat, but manufacturers share a large degree of blame for unwanted applications that come preloaded on most PCs. Computerworld documents some of the bloat, ranging from the redundant to the plain useless, such as multiple mp3 players, browser toolbars, adware, and trial versions of software. The article also points to several utilities and processes that can help decrapify a new laptop or desktop PC. Apple, of course, has been making fun of PC bloat, but Macs have been known to have their own bloat issues — the iMac's "included software" list names OmniOutliner, Comic Life, and trial versions of Microsoft Office and iWork, among others."
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Computerworld's security reporter describes a strange experience involving his online credit card statement displaying Skype hyperlinks to international telephone numbers for local U.S. businesses with whom he had done business. His bank had no idea what was going on (the telephone numbers were associated with transaction IDs) and almost all of the security experts he contacted suspected a Trojan was at work. Turns out they were wrong. The culprit? Skype's hyperlinking feature, which automatically assumed that the transaction numbers were British telephone numbers:

'Skype intercepts the HTML before it is actually displayed on the browser and then changes the HTML dynamically' to add the link, [SecureWorks researcher Joe] Stewart said. That can sometimes create confusion, he added. ... 'Unfortunately, Skype doesn't have a lot of logic in it that can always figure out when something is a phone number and when something might be an account number.'
This reporter had contacts in the industry, which enabled him to identify the problem. I wonder how many ordinary consumers have had similar experiences, and have wasted their time and that of their banks trying to track down the cause of the problem?"
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PetManimal PetManimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

PetManimal writes "Apple's former CFO Fred Anderson has released a statement saying that Steve Jobs ordered him to backdate stock options. It looks like this is part of a plea deal with the SEC. From the article:

Anderson was told by Jobs in late January 2001 that Jobs had an agreement with the board of directors to grant stock options on Jan. 2, according to the statement from Anderson's attorney. Anderson "cautioned" Jobs that the grant for executives would have to be priced based on the date of the board agreement "or there could be an accounting charge," and also told Jobs the board would have to confirm it had given prior approval for the grant dates "in a legally satisfactory method." Jobs assured him that the board had given approval and Anderson "relied on these statements by Mr. Jobs and from them concluded the grant was being properly handled," the statement said.
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