16th > February > 2011 Archive

Humans shamed in round two of Jeopardy! showdown

The second round of the Jeopardy! showdown pitting humanity against IBM's Watson supercomputer did not go so well for the carbon-based lifeforms, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. If the IBM machine was capable of diabolical laughter, it would have let out a rather lengthy cackle.
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AdBlock Plus: Open source for fun (not funds)

Open...and Shut Even as open source has become big business, some of the world's most popular open-source projects remain labors of love for a growing body of developers. Such developers invest years of their lives writing code and fielding complaints from free riders, and they actually seem to like it.
Matt Asay, 16 2011
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Vodafone Aus off the hook, kind of

The Australian Privacy Commissioner has delivered a 50-50 verdict in his report on breaches of customer privacy in Vodafone’s computer system.
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Man pockets $8m running computer fraud ring

A New Hampshire man has admitted pocketing almost $8 million in a scheme that infected people's computers with software that forced their modems to surreptitiously dial premium phone numbers.
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Rackspace promises 'big name' OpenStack power shift

Rackspace will help create a new advisory board for the OpenStack project, the year-old open source effort to build Amazon-like "infrastructure clouds". This board will include "big backers and enterprise users" and "open-source" thought leaders, and it will drive the overall vision of the project.

Dell to buy AMD?

With Intel and Advanced Micro Devices both cranking the clocks on their respective Xeon and Opteron server processors this week and Dell admitting that it's on the prowl for acquisitions, tongues have started to wag about the possibility of PC and server maker Dell snapping up AMD.
Xtreamer iXtreamer
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iXtreamer dock with IPTV

Review If you’re an iDevice owner and fancy hooking it up to your telly – but would rather not pay £80 for the rather basic combination of Apple’s Universal Dock equipped with component or composite cables – then the iXtreamer is one option that stands out from the multitude of iThing third party docking systems.
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Texas antitrust investigators request Google 'ad rate formula'

Texas antitrust investigators have asked Google to turn over its formula for setting advertising rates and documents that show "manual overriding or altering of” its search rankings, according to a report citing a letter from the Texas attorney general's office.
Cade Metz, 16 2011
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London councils reveal joint IT jobs cut plan

Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Kensington & Chelsea have said they will save £400,000 annually by axing a number of IT posts
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Coming soon: Die Hard 5 - The Zimmer Frame

Since he's no longer required to save Earth from asteroid armageddon, Bruce Willis has been checking out potential helmsmen for Die Hard 5 - The Zimmer Frame.
channel

Micro Focus shares drop on update

Micro Focus shares lost a quarter of their value yesterday as the software company warned markets it was unlikely to hit sales or profit targets for the year.
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Schmidt promises to get 'permission' before taking over our world

MWC Eric Schmidt wants us to love the Earth more, and tells us that the more information we share with Google the easier that will be – all with our permission of course.
Bill Ray, 16 2011
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HTC shuns Honeycomb for Android tablet debut

Smartphone maker HTC's upcoming Android tablet, Flyer, will run the Gingerbread version of the operating system, not the tablet-centric Honeycomb.
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LG claims 'flicker free' 3D TV first

LG has taken the wraps off what it claims is the world's first 3D TV to be independently checked and approved for lack of flicker.
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RSA pushes single sign-on into the clouds

RSA has launched a set of services designed to foster trust between business and cloud service providers.
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Rhapsody bristles at Apple subscription grab

Apple's subscription scheme, introduced yesterday, extends to all online content, not just newspapers. Movie and music services and ebooks must pay a tithe to Apple, if they're deemed to be bringing in new customers via the Jobsian platform. Those customers pay a recurring fee.
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Microsoft loses global ad head to Facebook

Microsoft went to a lot of effort to find the right person to head up its global advertising unit last summer, but after less than a year Carolyn Everson has quit Redmond for a job with Facebook.
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NASA's Stardust braves cometary flak

NASA's Stardust spacecraft has survived a close encounter with comet Tempel 1, during which it took a few substantial hits from cometary flak.
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Gov will pay £2.25m compo to ID card suppliers

The cost of compensating suppliers after the scrapping of the ID card scheme is likely to hit £2.25m, Home Office Damian Green has confirmed.
Joe Fay, 16 2011
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Acer taps out yet more tablets

MWC 2011 Acer's 10.1in Iconia Tab A500 wasn't the only tablet the PC giant announced this week: it also took the wraps off a 7in Android-based alternative and a second ten-incher, this one running Windows.
Hard Reg, 16 2011
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Dinky Florida machine 'could whup world No 1 computer's ass'

Which is the most powerful computer in the world? Easy: the Tianhe-1A at Tianjin in China. Just ask the chaps at the TOP500 supercomputer list – or President Barack Obama.
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Dissenting Nokia shareholders stop throwing toys from pram

The anonymous Nokia investors who boldly launched a "Plan B" for the company are giving up after just 48 hours.
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IT grad claims £5m for crap degree

A graduate from the University of Bradford has had his case to get his degree upgraded thrown out of court.
AluPen
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Just Mobile AluPen metal iPad stylus

Txt Take Product reviews in 140 characters.
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Freedoms Bill good for CCTV, not for privacy

The Protection of Freedoms Bill promotes efficient CCTV surveillance, but not effective privacy. The hype surrounding the CCTV/ANPR provisions in the Protection of Freedoms Bill is misplaced. In fact, I would argue the bill’s provision for a Statutory Code of Practice in the CCTV area represents little change on the privacy front, but a huge change in the potential for enhanced surveillance.
cloud

Startup offers penalty-free file data reduction

Swiss startup balesio, staffed by all of nine people, has devised a penalty-free way of reducing unstructured data file sizes without altering the original file format, meaning no rehydration or decompression is needed to read the reduced size files.
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UK Border Agency: Good at making cash, crap at making decisions

The UK Border Agency is failing to show consistency when making decisions about intra-company transfers and is more focused on making money, the organisation's chief inspector has said.
Steelseries WoW Cataclysm Mouse

Steelseries World of Warcraft mouse and keyboard

Review During the knuckle-grinding twilight hours spent levelling my Worgen warrior chick in World of Warcraft Cataclysm I had been pondering when I would get a go on some dedicated peripherals. Lucky for me Steelseries has seen fit to supply some goodies.
Lucy Orr, 16 2011
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Census threatens spies' cover

The first casualty of next month’s 2011 census could be the secret identities of Britain’s top spies – not to mention the location of senior police officers, judges and intelligence eavesdroppers as well.
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Watchdog turns a blind eye to Danish fu*king

The Advertising Standards Authority has turned a blind eye to Danish "fucking" after ruling the word isn't particularly offensive in the land of Carlsberg, bacon and Lego.
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US Secret Service tabletop training toytown goes virtual

You know the US Secret Service? Famously it isn't actually the secret service of the USA; that's the CIA. What the Secret Service mainly does is investigate financial and computer crimes, though it is much better known for providing bodyguards and security teams for the President, vice-president and other major US public figures.
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MS fesses on silent security fixes

Microsoft has explained its rationale for quietly fixing some security vulnerabilities without issuing an associated bulletin.
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Knife-waving knob nabs fat stack of jazz mags

A small hamlet in Surrey has been left reeling after a knife-wielding thief stole a whole top shelf's load of adult magazines.
Joe Fay, 16 2011
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Nvidia pledges to pass water on Core 2 Duo this summer

MWC 2011 Two cores is not enough for chip maker Nvidia, so today it demo'd 'Project Kal-El' - aka Tegra 3 - its first quad-core processor for mobile devices.
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Telcos plan to capitalise on the data explosion

MWC Barcelona is abuzz with predictions for the forthcoming explosion in mobile data, but more interesting are the predictions about how users are going to pay for it.
Bill Ray, 16 2011
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Storm brews over Chinese synchronised goldfish

Chinese animal rights activists are up in arms over an impressive synchronised goldfish magic trick, due to hit TV screens tomorrow in one of the variety programmes marking the end of the new year holiday.
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Nvidia four-core chip to power quad-res Apple iPad

Comment Nvidia's move to go public on its four-core processor plans come, some readers will recall, just a month or so after it was claimed Apple's second-generation iPad will sport just such a chip, and weeks after it was suggested the iPad 3 will be out as early as the autumn.
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Sex offenders will get a review – after 15 years

Government ministers are bracing themselves for a storm of protest today, as the Home Secretary announced plans in the Commons to grant sex Offenders the right to appeal against a continued obligation to notify the authorities of their whereabouts.
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Virgin tempts Brits with fee-free TiVo

Virgin Media has offered 1000 customers one of the first of its new TiVo boxes and a free annual subscription to the PVR service to go with it - possibly even free usage for life.
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Google undercuts Apple in publisher revenues dash

Google has undercut Apple by releasing a web-based billing system for publishers, just one day after the Jobsian outfit unveiled its own 30 per cent subscription model.
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Airport face-scanning robots switched off

Updated: Facial recognition scanners at Manchester Airport have been switched off after an incident in which the robot guard let a couple through the gate even though they had swapped passports.
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Winamp advises forum password reset after mystery hack

Winamp is advising users of its media player software who frequent its forum to change their passwords after a security breach resulted in the disclosure of thousands of email addresses.
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Gadget makes bombs, mines go off 'on average' 20m away

Colombian and Swiss boffins say they have developed a cunning electromagnetic device which can make landmines or terrorist bombs explode from a distance.
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What sealed Nokia's fate?

"Nokia and Symbian was the last of the European software business, it's gone overnight. That's depressing," an industry veteran told me on Friday afternoon.
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Sun spews out massive solar flare

The Britsh Geological Survey yesterday issued a space weather warning following the ejection of three substantial solar flares from the Sun's surface.
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Windows 0day could allow complete hijacking

Security researchers have warned of a new vulnerability afflicting older versions of Windows that could allow attackers to take complete control of machines running the operating systems.
globalisation

Apple rips mobile PC crown from HP

Apple has vaulted to number one in worldwide mobile-computing market share in the fourth quarter of 2010 – leapfrogging both HP and Acer – thanks to the surging popularity of its "magical and revolutionary" fondleslab, the iPad. At least that's the word from one research outfit.
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RIM boss: 'Our PlayBook shames the You Know What'

MWC 2011 Never has anyone spent so much time talking about Apple without saying the ‘A’ word than RIM CEO Jim Balsillie as he showed off the company's upcoming PlayBook tablet at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
channel
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Cloud to 'shrink channel'

The cloud-computing boom is bad news for channel organisations, according to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.
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Hostworks in NSW Food Authority win

Broadcast Australia-owned Hostworks has won a government contract with The NSW Food Authority to manage digital media operations for its online presence.
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Botnets claim 7-fold increase in victims

Botnets used in banking credential theft and other criminal enterprises made huge gains in 2010, claiming more than seven times as many victims as the previous year, according to a report issued by a security firm that follows the large networks of infected machines.
cloud
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Make it Intel: CSIRO needs new kit to replace supercomputer

Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO (Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation), has issued a tender to replace its Silicon Graphics Altix 4700 systems with Linux x86-based kit.
arrow pointing up

IBM tweaks blade and network gear

IBM this week made good on its promise of delivering another appliance server for the blade chassis bolt-on for its System zEnterprise 196 mainframe, while also slapping some labels and new prices on the top-of-rack switches that it controls through last year's acquisition of Blade Network Technologies. IBM is also offering a price break on the switches it resells.
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Oracle floats Java EE for cloud

Oracle has begun pushing another new version of Java while planning to shake up the group responsible for Java whose rules it has ignored in the past.