Friday, June 6, 2008


Not published on April 1, but nonetheless a worthy contender.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Calling Carla: Brown enlists first lady to give Britain style

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the first lady of France, has been appointed by Gordon Brown to spearhead a government initiative aimed at injecting more style and glamour into British national life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New color Kindle

In a surprise move that left Kindle owners speechless, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, announced today that the new SuperKindle will be available only as a free upgrade for Kindle early adopters. Optional features include a dishwasher attachment and DVD player.


Device-free state-of-the-art wireless technology in your hand.

Naked Security News

Join the Club. Club membership has its perks!

A slap in the face for hackers and virus writers

SophosLabs is today announcing ground-breaking technology that detects hackers using facial recognition. By identifying and stopping the virus writer, we can stop malware from even being written, tested and released.

Utilizing the webcams built into many modern computers, SophosLabs is able to produce a real-time forensic analysis of a PC user’s facial features to determine if they are exhibiting hacker-like characteristics. Current tests have shown that, with a clear background and face void of any obstructions, such as hats, moustaches or glasses RAPIL has a success rate of 97.78%.

NASA robot turns on crew

New space station robot asks to be called "Dextre the Magnificent."

Unusual banking trojan found

Now, the really surprising part is what the trojan does. Normal banking trojans would insert extra transactions or change the deposit account numbers on-the-fly. However, Win32.Pril.A doesn't withdraw money from you - it actually inserts money TO your account. This looked so weird we had to test it several times, on all of our accounts.

An Inconvenient Truth About Privacy

One of the lessons we’ve learned from Al Gore is that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. We all like to tool around in our SUVs, but too much driving leads to global warning. We must all take responsibility for our own carbon emissions.

The same goes for online privacy, except that there the problem is storage rather than carbon emissions. We all want more and bigger hard drives, but what is going to be stored on those drives? Information, probably relating to other people. The equation is simple: more storage equals more privacy invasion.

That’s why I have pledged to maintain a storage-neutral lifestyle. From now on, whenever I buy a new hard drive, I’ll either delete the same amount of old information, or I’ll purchase a storage offset from someone else who has extra data to delete.

Adios iPhone

I was flying back from California last week, watching a video on my iPhone, and next to me was this guy who kept glancing at me and smirking. "Is that an iPhone?", he finally asked. I nodded. "Humph," he grunted and assumed an air of superiority. I was a bit taken aback so I asked him why he didn't like iPhones. "Oh," he said, "they're okay, I guess," and then he mumbled under his breath "if you are into that sort of thing."


Each year WCRS (BMW's advertising agency) produces a tactical April Fool's day advert which appears in the broadsheet press on April 1st only.

  • BMW ensures the cameras always lies (2000)
  • SHEF Technology (2001)
  • Marque Wiper (2002)
  • Tyre Pressure (2003)
  • No Flies (2004)
  • Midnight in the City (2005)
  • BMW uninvents the wheel (2006)
  • BMW Instant Messaging (2007)
  • Canine Repellent Alloy Protection (2008)

Announcing Google Weblogs (Beta)

Google Weblogs, or “GWeblogs,” or “Gblogs,” which will launch later this year in a public beta, is the next revolution in personal publishing. Here’s what you can expect:
  • Don’t limit yourself to “reverse chronological” publishing. Our advanced Google algorithms put your best content at the top of your blog. Even if your later work goes downhill your previous posts will still shine.

And there's more from InfoWorld

Dell, Intel to team on low-cost laptops
Companies will build hardware to foster education in the developing world

IBM targets Global Services customers with System z
New mainframe product automates accounts payable, invoice fulfillment for Global Services engagements

Apple's plans for iPhone Enterprise Server revealed
Bootleg download from anonymous source provides details of centralized management server for the popular Apple handset

Google to acquire U.S. government: What this means for IT
President Bush and CEO Schmidt outline the benefits of the takeover to citizens and shareholders

Hewlett-Packard unveils new green server partnership
Hosted "Windy" servers convert hot air into CPU cycles for small and midsize businesses

Cringely: So long and thanks for all the dish
It's kind of a bittersweet day here in Cringeville. The end of a long wild ride and, hopefully, the start of something better

Security study: You will be owned

Enterprises seeking a modicum of certainty in the ever-evolving threat landscape finally have it: No matter how much human, technological, and financial resources you commit to securing your enterprise, you're hosed.

In a recent paper published by the Foundation of Underground Developers (FUD), an all-star team of high-ranking experts assembled from a collection of the industry's leading anti-malware labs contends that despite continued investments made in a wide range of security technologies, nearly all businesses remain utterly helpless in defending themselves from external attacks.

From botnets to spear-phishing, to cross-site scripting and DDoS (distributed denial of service) threats, there are no shortage of attacks that will "summarily exploit companies' ubiquitous vulnerabilities" and "expose their most sensitive data to any half-baked thieves with Internet access," said the FUD researchers who authored the paper.

Product review: Two routers make their mark

It was with great anticipation that I unboxed two new routers in the lab a few days ago. Both Cisco and Black & Decker had sent me their best entrants in the hotly contested medium-workload router market. Both had promised the sun, the moon, and the skies above, claiming that their product was simply the best available. I was anxious to put these claims to the test.

Study: Don't Know tops IT's to-do list

Organizations seeking to leverage cutting-edge technology in service of business goals, look no further: Don't Know is fast shaping up as the long-sought-after paradigm shift to competitive advantage, one that has tech departments across all sectors scrambling to implement Don't Know into every facet of the enterprise.

OLPC offshoring trend

If your last customer service call sounded as if it were fielded by an 8-year-old, it probably was. Outfitted with technology donated by the One Laptop Per Child program, overseas firms -- spearheaded by a new breed of young, ambitious technologists -- are bent on filling what some are calling a growing offshore void.

Long the bread and butter of major Indian and Chinese outsourcers, back-office "commodity" skills such as customer service, help desk processing, and data entry are fast phasing out of India and China, as traditional offshore firms ride the KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) wave toward the enterprise core. No longer content to sit in classrooms informing Internet denizens of the travails of daily life in the Third World via lightweight blogging tools, children from Montevideo to Addis Ababa to Kabul are banding together to capitalize on the newfound opportunity.

"The educational push of the OLPC program was a phenomenal first step. But this, the introduction of children to the lucrative IT market, will likely be the game-changing business trend of the century," said Robert Munson, chief staffing analyst at The Red Hill Group and author of the research report "The Children Are Our Future: The Low-Cost Laptop Staffing Revolution."

Google buys Facebook

In a move that stunned Silicon Valley, Google announced it will purchase popular social network Facebook in a cash and stock deal valued at $25 billion.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a hastily arranged press conference where they outlined the key elements of the agreement.

Technically, Zuckerberg explained, Google is purchasing 98.4 percent of Facebook, leaving Microsoft with 1.6 percent ownership.

“We feel this accurately reflects Microsoft's market share in the Web 2.0 economy,” Schmidt said.

Steve Jobs "miracle" in the Valley

They came alone or in groups, giddy with excitement or hushed with awe. They brought flowers and ribbons and broken-down PowerBooks. They lined the sidewalks of this quiet suburban neighborhood, patiently waiting to see what everyone had been talking about.

There, on the wall of the garage where it all began more than 30 years ago, stood a six-foot-tall slime mold in the shape of Steve Jobs.

Angus McDongle noticed the growth as he skateboarded to work this morning.

"I was like, whoa," said the 37-year-old, who works as a copy technician at a nearby Kinkos. "It was unmistakable. The glasses, the turtleneck, the whole 'screw you I'm Steve Jobs' attitude. And when I remembered Apple Computer was incorporated on April 1, 1976, I had a total Mulder moment."

Microsoft, Yahoo agree on buyout price

After much internal debate and industry speculation, Yahoo today agreed to be acquired by Microsoft, adding $2.6 billion to Redmond's original offer of $44.6 billion on Jan. 31.

The agreement was reached near midnight last night, thus closing a contentious quarter for the Web company, one rife with in-fighting and power jockeying since Microsoft's initial offer.

Of the agreed $47.2 billion, $10 billion is in cash and the rest in stock, with $1.12 of Microsoft stock being swapped for each share of Yahoo stock, roughly a 12-cent-per-share premium over Yahoo’s $29.05 closing stock price on Monday.

The final price -- $33 per share vs. the original $31-per-share offer -- was less than Yahoo’s board wanted, sources said, but its recent “poison pill” actions such as providing all employees with four to 24 months of severance, based on their level in the company, should they be laid off in an acquisition, limited its ability to obtain a higher offer from either Microsoft or another firm such as Google, said Arbor Research analyst Jane Simons.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Six best downloads of 2008

On the first day of the new quarter, it's a good time to take a look back at the first three months of 2008 and expose some of the coolest software downloads that you might not know about. From innovative new games for your PC or mobile devices to creative accounting tools and invaluable utilities for Windows Vista 64-bit users, there's something in this list for all of you friendly PC users.

DCI - The Dog Computer Interface

One of the great perks of working at Amazon is that you get to work with a bunch of great people and also with their dogs!

Apple reveals Mac OS XI specs - based on iTunes

Apple CEO Steve Jobs broke his time-honored mold today, quietly announcing the framework for the much-anticipated Mac OS XI, an iTunes-based operating system that, as he said to a small audience of industry pundits, "really sings between system calls."

ThinkGeek: USB Pregnancy Test

One line or two. Yes or no. Pregnancy tests are binary by their very nature. So when we found p-Teq's USB Pregnancy Test Kit that's chock full of extra scientific information, we knew we had to get this geeky goodness to our potentially spawning fans.

Virgle - Virgin and Google head for Mars

For thousands of years, the human race has spread out across the Earth, scaling mountains and plying the oceans, planting crops and building highways, raising skyscrapers and atmospheric CO2 levels, and observing, with tremendous and unflagging enthusiasm, the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply across our world's every last nook, cranny and subdivision.

An invitation.

Earth has issues, and it's time humanity got started on a Plan B. So, starting in 2014, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.

TechCrunch acquires Tiger Beat, will rename it CrunchKids

In a stunning move that caught the blogosphere off-guard, TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington announced Monday that his fast-growing blog empire is acquiring the venerable teen magazine and Web site Tiger Beat from the magazine's parent company, Laufer Media.

Exact terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Arrington made it clear he intends to shut down the magazine and go online-only with Tiger Beat, which tech reporters covering the news Monday discovered is actually called Bop Tiger Beat. Within the next 30 days, the site will be renamed CrunchKids.

gDay with MATE

Search tomorrow's web today! [...] Google spiders crawl publicly available web information and our index of historic, cached web content. Using a mashup of numerous factors such as recurrence plots, fuzzy measure analysis, online betting odds and the weather forecast from the iGoogle weather gadget, we can create a sophisticated model of what the internet will look like 24 hours from now.

11 True Stories That Sound Like April Fool's Jokes

Michael Dell: We'll Be A Strong Channel Partner, Microsoft To Open Source: Let's Be Friends, AMD Begs Market To See Forest For The Quads, Best Buy Sued For $54 Million For Missing Laptop, Intel Breaks Up Its Channel Team, Lenovo Pledges Safety First After ThinkPad Fire, Apple Quietly Launches New MacBook Notebooks, CDW Bought By Private Equity Firm, Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion For Yahoo, Symantec Says Worst Is Over, CompUSA To Close Up Shop

UN to ban "unnecessary" languages

CAMBRIDGE, UK ( Tuesday April 1, 2008 — The United Nations is to hold its first debate on language redundancy amid warnings that the problem is “a major contributor” to climate change, a “massive threat” to international security and the cause of “rifts and divisions” within society.

Clinton Surprise: “I’m Stepping Aside for Obama”

Hillary Clinton shocked the nation by announcing early this morning that she was pulling out of the Democratic presidential race and throwing her support to Barack Obama. “I cannot in good faith continue my candidacy when the math says I cannot win,” Clinton stated, surprising a crowd of supporters at a breakfast event in Philadelphia.

Microsoft buys Yahoo so Google buys Microsoft in hostile takeover

Microsoft finally acquired Yahoo. All the silence we have been hearing was confidential discussions between Yahoo's executive team and Microsoft's executive. It really didn't even take that long, but most of us expected that Microsoft would own Yahoo in the long run.

At this point, Microsoft tells us that they will leave Yahoo as a standalone property. They did not yet decide if they will consolidate their efforts on the search front. But I suspect they will group the two search teams together and join forces in building out an engine that can seriously compete against Google.

Of course, Google is not happy. Google, in fact, is taking the Microsoft approach and placed a bid of $50 per share for Microsoft. Google is going to use the hostile take over approach to buyout Microsoft, Google's biggest ever acquisition.

Microsoft's $1 Million Guarantee Program To Win Searchers

Microsoft executives, worried that the plan to acquire Yahoo for an estimated $40 billion might not happen, have hatched an alternative plan that might bring about success over Google at a much cheaper cost. To win in search, Microsoft may pay people not to use Google. And pay a premium, up to $1 million per year, over the next three years, to anyone within the United States.

Called the "$1 Million Guarantee Program," the initiative will reward anyone within the United States that agrees to have web surfing monitoring software hooked to their computer. To allay privacy concerns, the software will watch for only one thing -- use of Google and other non-Microsoft search engines.

Bush to Science: "Let's be friends"

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Struggling to put his presidency in a favorable historical light, U.S. President George W. Bush has announced a dramatic shift in his attitude toward science. "Critics have accused my Administration of ignoring scientific advice and even of twisting science to suit its own political agenda," Bush said at a speech today at the National Center for Biochemical Medicine here. "Today, I say to those in the scientific community: 'Let's be friends.' "

As a gesture of reconciliation, Bush offered a $10 billion boost to the National Institutes of Health. That is a marked change from November, when he vetoed a spending bill that would have added more than $1 billion to the institute's budget, calling it fiscally irresponsible (ScienceNOW, 13 November 2007). "It turns out, the only thing that was irresponsible was my belief that scientific advances could be made on a shoestring," Bush told reporters today.

The return of MOSAIC

And you thought that MOSAIC lost out to Netscape, which lost out to...

U.S. Federal Court Declares Email Bankruptcy Illegal

In a move that could affect as many as 20 million Americans, the U.S. District Court for New York has ruled that a Poughkeepsie man will need to retain all the email in his inbox, and must respond to it with all due haste. The man, 37-year-old Bob Sneed, a sales executive at a local ISP, was intending to delete over 7,500 unread email messages until halted by a court order.

iPhone Goes International with Iridium

Apple's iPhone has proven wildly popular around the world, even in countries where there's no official carrier (see "iPhone the Hot Ticket Item in... Syria?," 2008-03-24).

Although Apple will continue to negotiate deals with carriers in larger countries, we've learned that the company has quietly been working on an innovative plan that will enable the iPhone to work literally anywhere in the world.

Build your very own Google airplane

If you create a new document in Google Docs, you’ll see a number of options in the “File” pull down menu. One of those options, which as far as I can tell wasn’t there yesterday, is “New airplane.” It’s right there after “New document.”

Choosing it opens a new file with folding instructions to build a paper airplane.

Custom time for GMail

How do I use it?

Just click "Set custom time" from the Compose view. Any email you send to the past appears in the proper chronological order in your recipient's inbox. You can opt for it to show up read or unread by selecting the appropriate option.

RFC 5242: A Generalized Unified Character Code

Abstract: Many issues have been identified with the use of general-purpose character sets for internationalized domain names and similar purposes. This memo describes a fully unified coded character set for scripts based on Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Chinese (CJK) characters. It is not a complete specification of that character set.

RFC 5241: Naming rights in IETF Protocols

Abstract: This document proposes a new revenue source for the IETF to support standardization activities: protocol field naming rights, i.e., the association of commercial brands with protocol fields. This memo describes a process for assignment of rights and explores some of the issues associated with the process. Individuals or organizations that wish to purchase naming rights for one or more protocol fields are expected to follow this process.

The Earth is drifting away from the Sun

As if there aren't enough problems in the world, we are now on the verge of a phenomenon that will dwarf the projected scenarios of global warming. The cause is the alarming and accelerating loss of Earth's weight and mass by the burning of fossil fuels.

Every year that goes by, millions of tons of coal and millions of barrels of oil are burned. Nothing is left but ashes, soot, and gases, and there is nothing to replace it. Once burned, it's gone forever.

It began with the invention of the steam engine, when mankind became addicted to the use of fire to create energy. One can only imagine how much of our planet has been lost since that invention gave rise to the Industrial Revolution. Nevertheless, it is an indisputable fact that our world is getting smaller and lighter every day.

Wikipedia triggers sports melee

The Daily Telegraph sensationally reveals, on this sensational day, that a fantastic episode of belligerent combat erupted early this morning on the streets of Kings Cross, right outside a Hungry Jack's, where the NRL holds its informal 5am league meetings.

The fight began when a booth of footy players at the restaurant started arguing about whose name appeared most on the Wikipedia entry "List of rugby league incidents".

A Modest Improvement in Daylight Savings Time

Tony Finch notes:

DST is beneficial provided it is applied consistently over a reasonably large area. However it is a crude and arbitrary mechanism. It offends those who think time should be a matter of natural philosophy, not of politics. It is a great inconvenience to us technologists when the politicians cannot stop themselves from messing around with the schedule. It causes many problems when the clocks suddenly jump by an hour twice a year.

... There is a way to enjoy the benefits of DST while avoiding these drawbacks. The essential idea is that our clocks should be set using sunrise as a benchmark instead of noon.

A Current Affair

Lauren Weinstein comments on the Congressionally-ordered Development Initiative for Return to Edison Current Technology (DIRECT), and its core requirement for all public and private power grids in this country to be converted from AC to DC systems by 2020, with all new consumer and business devices using electricity to be capable of operating directly from these new DC power grids without transitional power conversion adapters by no later than 2030.

Apply for membership in CPfAF.