12th > March > 2008 Archive

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Democrats refuse immunity for warrantless wiretappers

Democrats in the US House of Representatives defied President Bush on Tuesday by refusing to pass an overhauled surveillance law that shields telecommunication companies from lawsuits alleging they aided government eavesdropping without the required court order.

Microscope-wielding boffins crack Tube smartcard

Security researchers say they've found a way to crack the encryption used to protect a widely-used smartcard in a matter of minutes, making it possible for them to quickly and cheaply clone the cards that are used to secure office buildings and automate the collection of mass transportation fares.

Steve Jobs rescues freetards from BBC iPlayer wilderness (for now)

Enterprising Linux hackers have built a new way to download BBC iPlayer programmes that lets online viewers store shows indefinitely - and it's all thanks to Steve Jobs.

Mac security site littered with malware

A Mac security site has a forum full of links to actual malware which targets Apple computers.
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Home Sec: British rings to be tightened against intrusion

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday announced the hiring of 39 new policemen for border-protection duties.

Triple play puts iPhone ahead of Android

Make no mistake, Apple's iPhone SDK is a big deal. Finally, developers can get serious about a device stealing the hearts and minds of business and consumer end users.
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Notts police seize mobile phone stun gun

Notts police are in a state of semi-shock after seizing a "potentially lethal" stun gun disguised as a Sony Ericsson W700.
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Rugby lock gets early bath for YouTube punch

The Rugby Football Union has banned Bristol lock Gareth Llewellyn for three weeks after he admitted whacking Bath prop David Barnes during Bath's 19-9 defeat of Bristol on 2 March - an incident rather ill-advisedly posted on YouTube by a delighted Bristol fan:

iPod Nano electrical discharge sparks new battery fear

An original first-generation iPod Nano shot out sparks while being recharged in Japan back in January, the country's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revealed today.

Thumb-ring accessory points to handset harmony?

If the condom-like iPhone Phone Finger passed you by then check out the latest phone-oriented finger-enhancing accessory, the TAD.

iPhone emulator firmware jailbroken

Apple iPhone owners worried that the release of an official software development kit (SDK) for the handset will mean an end to attempts to 'jailbreak' the device need fear not. Hackers have opened up version of the iPhone firmware that comes with the SDK.

Boffins demo OLED-on-a-roll production process

General Electric scientists have worked out how to manufacture OLED displays on a roll, a process that they hope will one day allow panels to be punched out cheaply and cut to size like cloth.

Northamber announces £2.94m cash return

Computer distie Northamber intends to return £2.94m, or ten pence a share, to shareholders because it is surplus to working capital requirements.

Critical Outlook and Excel bugs star in March Patch Tuesday

Microsoft released four updates on Tuesday as part of its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle.
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MoD loses 11,000 ID cards

The Ministry of Defence has lost 11,000 military ID cards in the last two years, the government has admitted to parliament.
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John Denver classic provokes Thai karaoke gun massacre

A Thai rubber tapper who got rather tired of his neighbours' karaoke version of John Denver's Country Roads resolved the noise pollution problem by shooting eight of them dead, the Telegraph reports.

1&1 says sorry to one in ten

Web hosting outfit 1&1 suffered another outage yesterday, but told us this time it only affected ten per cent of customers.
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American-German biometric database share deal inked

The United States and Germany have announced they will share access to national criminal biometrics databases. A bilateral agreement between the two nations was intialled in Berlin yesterday.

Palm Centro smartphone

Review Palm's been making its smartphones less like a clunky PDA and more like a regular, slim handset with each new model. The big step forward was the Treo 600. Now comes the latest version, this time with a new name as well as a new look.

Hacking attacks can turn off heart monitors

American researchers have proven it's possible to maliciously turn off individuals' heart monitors through a wireless hacking attack.

Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

I blogged a while back on how a Vista upgrade effectively rendered my old desktop machine useless for business purposes (see Retiring Leonardo from last year). I got a lot of feedback at that time as many people out there were obviously trying to get a handle on the viability of upgrading older kit.
Dale Vile, 12 2008
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Bill Gates goes to Washington, again

Bill Gates is expected to testify before the US House Committee on Science and Technology later today, giving Microsoft’s view on the need for education and immigration reform.
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Foreign losses jack UK plastic fraud up to £535.2m

Fraud abroad has pushed up losses on UK credit and debit cards following a two year fall, according to the latest stats from UK payments association APACS.
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Qualcomm buys into Phorm-alike firm

The ad-fatigued may groan at the news that Qualcomm has splashed out $32m on data-gathering outfit Xiam. The Irish company specialises in analysing the habits of mobile phone users in order to target advertising at them, and has customers including Orange UK.
Bill Ray, 12 2008
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Poland's ex-PM condemns online polling

A former Polish prime minister has poured scorn on the idea of the country’s citizens voting online, claiming net users are too busy boozing and surfing porn.
Joe Fay, 12 2008

Nyko beats Sony to PS3 rumble controller release

The impending Western release of Sony’s DualShock 3 controller has been overshadowed by accessory maker Nyko, which has unveiled a shockingly similar looking rumble controller for the PS3 just weeks before Sony’s official offering goes on sale in the US.

Samsung kills second-gen Blu-ray, HD DVD combo player

Samsung has knocked its dual-format HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc player line on the head. In a statement, the Korean consumer electronics giant said: "In light of recent announcements, Samsung will not introduce the BD-UP5500 Duo HD Player."
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Wider London c-charge mooted as road pricing bounces back

London Mayor Ken Livingstone is secretly planning to roll congestion charging out across London, claims the Times , citing a source "close to Mr Livingstone." Livingstone's manifesto for the upcoming mayoral election makes no mention of such a plan, but it does refer to a "new, hassle-free system for paying the congestion charge, which will enable drivers to choose to have payments automatically debited when they enter the charging zone."
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Darling talks, UK growth slows

Budget 2008 Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, forecast slower economic growth in the UK this year when he delivered his first Budget speech in the House of Commons.

KontrolFreek pimps up Xbox 360 controller thumbpads

If you’re constantly crashing into barriers driving Project Gotham Racing 4 for example, then perhaps your Xbox 360’s dual thumbpads just aren't right for your particular opposable digits.
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Chancellor props up SMBs with loans, gov work

Budget 2008 The UK government will temporarily increase Small Firms Loans Guarantee funds by 20 per cent in the next year to help small businesses (SMBs) that are feeling the pinch from tightening credit conditions.
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Northrop: battlefield rayguns to demo this year

US weaponry goliath Northrop Grumman says it has achieved the "first major building block" necessary for manufacture of a 100 kilowatt solid-state laser - that is, a viable battlefield raygun.
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Darling budget fails to paint Brown government green

Budget 2008 Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling outlined several green-pleasing moves in today's budget, but postponed a fuel-duty increase which had been strongly supported by environmental campaigners.

Beeb's DAB failfest 'costs £25 per set'

The New Year has seen another BBC TV campaign to persuade radio listeners to move to digital. This means moving to DAB, the obsolete broadcasting technology the world has snubbed, and Britain has, too.
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Work and pensions IT projects £315m over budget

An MP has revealed that a single Department for Work and Pensions project is responsible for £169m cost overruns.
Kablenet, 12 2008
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Afghan networks start nightly shutdown

Mobile phone companies in Afghanistan have started shutting down their networks at night in response to attacks from the Taliban, who believe the masts are being used to locate their bases and guide night-time attacks.
Bill Ray, 12 2008
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Top security firm: Phorm is adware

In a fresh blow to its hopes of winning consumer acceptance, a top three anti-malware firm has said it will very likely include Phorm's targeting cookies in its adware warning database.

Devolo preps satellite TV-over-mains kit

Networking specialist Devolo has come up with a new gadget that'll let you stream a satellite TV feed around your home's mains wiring to TVs and PCs in other rooms.

Camera gets camcorder, MP3 player features and more

Carrying a number of devices will stretch your pockets, so manufacturers have begun incorporating devices into single gadgets. Korean firm Digix is the latest and has created the multi-function Picto DigiArt i90.

IBM buys Encentuate to accumulate

IBM today snapped up privately-held security software firm Encentuate for an undisclosed sum.
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Hulu says hello

Hulu, the US online video effort set up as a joint venture by NBC and News Corp, launched in full today.

Apple fans roast Apple fans

Apple has issued a software update for the MacBook Air, following reports of overheating. The update, released on Monday, "fine tunes the speed and operation of the internal fan" in the MacBook Air models.
Warning: slippery road

Unpatched RealPlayer bug paves way for drive-by downloads

An unpatched bug in RealPlayer leaves the media player open to drive-by-download attacks, which hackers use to trick prospective marks into visiting maliciously constructed websites.
MS Windows Vista logo

Microsoft buys virtualization tot for help with Vista

Microsoft has tapped into its vast cash reserves and found some coin to drop on Kidaro - a young desktop virtualization software maker.
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Nine Inch Nails slam Radiohead's 'bait and switch'

Trent Reznor has taken a swipe at English whingers Radiohead for using the internet as a cynical marketing stunt. Like Radiohead, Reznor has released a digital version of his new album first, following it up with a physical release. Like Radiohead too, you can legally download the music for free. And it's brought Reznor immediate payback - the limited edition "deluxe" CD of Nine Inch Nails' Ghost sold out almost instantly, grossing $750,000 - although he hasn't revealed digital sales yet.

HP punches reseller for lying over customers

HP has administered a public thrashing to a computer dealer for lying over where the vendor's kit was going to gain bigger reseller discounts.
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Skype blames eBay for killing 'our innovation buzz'

eComm Skype has admitted that eBay put a cramp in its style. But it also wants you to know that those days are over.
Cade Metz, 12 2008
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Wikileaks exposes Scientology's zeal to 'clean up rotten spots of society'

Talk about commitment. A former Church of Scientology investigator was required to contract himself to a group linked with the organization for one billion years, according to documents recently posted to whistleblower website Wikileaks.
spring logo

Back to batch with Java

QCon 2008 SpringSource has talked up some early user experiences with its Spring Batch framework ahead of next week's launch.
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New NetApp logo already used by lubricating genie shop

Workers at Novatio stores throughout Holland may have been perplexed this week, as flocks of heavyset punters wandered inside to inquire about the latest in NAS boxes.

Desktop Support: The Hub of IT

Webcast Desktop Support. There it is. We said it.
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Twittercide results in banality bloodbath

eComm Earlier this week, the Twitter sickness made a mockery of one tech conference. And now it's made a mockery of another.
Cade Metz, 12 2008