3/22/2006

Laptop with HP employee data stolen

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A laptop with information on almost 200,000 current and former Hewlett-Packard employees was stolen last week, putting them at risk of identity fraud.

The stolen computer belongs to Fidelity Investments, which provides services to HP, a representative for the Palo Alto, Calif., technology giant said Wednesday. The laptop was being used by several Fidelity employees in an off-site location, said Anne Crowley, a spokeswoman for Fidelity, which is based in Boston.

The portable PC contains information on 196,000 current and former HP employees, Crowley said. The data includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other employment-related information, but not the personal identification numbers required to log on to Fidelity services, she said.

Source: News.com

Game Provider Adopts Arcade-Like Payment

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Remember how easy it was to spend a roll of quarters on arcade games? Soon, some online gamers will be able to similarly play “Bejeweled” or “Zuma” at 25 cents a pop.

WildTangent Inc. introduced on Wednesday its “WildCoins” currency system for online game play. The Redmond, Wash.-based company will use the new micropayment method for its own WildGames.com gaming site; PopCap, HipSoft and other sites that also specialize in casual online games have signed up, too.

Instead of paying, say, $20 to WildGames, to download and own one of its games, users could just drop in and play the game online, using a 25-cent WildCoin.

Unlike the arcade games, though, a token will keep the game going as long as the player keeps playing — even if the game ends and the player starts over.

“It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, per game,” said Alex St. John, CEO and co-founder of WildTangent.

St. John predicts the system, to be available late spring, will open new revenue streams for online game sites and game developers. Although many users play free demos of games offered online, usually only 2 percent of the visitors are willing to pay a lump of money to own the game, he said.

Source: AP

Dell to Buy Alienware

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dell Inc., the world’s largest computer maker, said Wednesday it would buy Alienware Corp., whose high-ends PCs are widely acclaimed by video gamers for their fast performance and sleek, UFO-themed looks.

Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, didn’t announce terms of the deal, which will help expand its offerings for the lucrative gaming and multimedia market. Dell said Alienware would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and will keep its brand name and its own product development, marketing, sales, technical support and other operations.

Source: AP

Mozilla plans to fund developer community

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Mozilla Foundation is planning to use some of its millions of dollars in revenues to fund active members of its developer community, the organization said Tuesday.

The foundation made $5.8 million in 2004 and is thought to have made tens of millions of dollars last year, predominantly from partnerships with search companies, such as Google and Yahoo. Though much of its money has gone toward increasing its head count, some has been used to bulk up its reserve fund.

Mitchell Baker, the chief executive of the Mozilla Corporation, the commercial subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, said Mozilla plans to put some of its excess revenues back into the community.

“The Mozilla Group–the foundation and the corporation–has a set of employees that provide a critical mass where things can happen, but it is only a piece of the project. There are vast numbers of things that happen outside our employee base,” she said. “We have a commitment that while we have funds beyond our operating levels, some of it should to go to community members. We want to do that in a way that promotes the community.”

Baker said she doesn’t yet have a date for when this will happen but is currently working on a model for how the funds will be distributed and hopes Mozilla will be able to start pouring money into the community “soon.” The Mozilla community will also be given a chance to comment on the model, according to Baker.

Source: News.com

Sony to launch online service with PlayStation 3

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Corp.’s top video game studio executive on Wednesday announced a new online service that will debut with the PlayStation 3 console in early November.

The service will let users buy game downloads and communicate and compete with other players via the Web.

The basic level of service, known internally as PlayStation Network Platform, will be free, said Phil Harrison, president of worldwide studios for Sony Computer Entertainment, during a conference for game developers.

Source: Reuters

Microsoft Comments on “Hacked” Xbox

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Gamerscoreblog got Microsoft’s response for the XBox 360 hack:

The core security system has not been broken. However, it is reported that the authentication protocol between the optical disc drive and the console may be attacked, which if accurate could allow people to play illegally copied games. Our security team is aware of this and we are investigating potential solutions to this issue. The Xbox 360 platform was designed to be updated, and we are prepared to respond appropriately should any unauthorized activity be identified.

Firefox 2.0 alpha debuts online

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Preview versions of Firefox 2.0 have been posted on the the Mozilla Foundation’s website. Although Firefox 2.0 “Bon Echo” alpha isn’t out officially yet developers can already obtain Windows, Mac OS X and Linux versions of the code.

Users hoping to get a glimpse of the improved anti-phishing, session restoration and management features promised in Firefox 2.0 are likely to be disappointed. This pre-feature alpha version of Firefox 2.0 is aimed squarely at developers working on the internals of the software and making sure the code is compatible with Firefox 1.5. Expect many sites that render normally with Firefox 1.5 to misbehave under Firefox 2.0 until this basic work is completed.

Source: The Register

Sun Releases Open-Source Processor

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Making good on a promise made last year, Sun Microsystems announced the release of open-source hardware and software specifications for its multi-threaded UltraSparc T1 (Niagara) processor, now called OpenSparc T1, Tuesday (March 21) at the Multicore Expo here.

The OpenSparc T1 is a 64-bit, 32-thread processor design free of any royalty or licensing fees. Sun announced its intent to provide open-source hardware specifications for the processor last December.

Specifically, Sun released Verilog RTL code for the processor design, a verification suite and simulation models, an instruction set architecture specification, and the Solaris 10 operating system simulation images. These specifications are available at the OpenSparc web site.

Source: InformationWeek

BEA Systems Announces AquaLogic Data Services Platform 2.1

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

BEA Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS), announced today its new AquaLogic Data Services Platform 2.1 (ALDSP).

ALDSP 2.1 is designed to help application developers and SOA architects automate the process of service-enabling their data to build composite applications such as Web applications and portals. The product now features support for Microsoft ADO.NET, providing tooling and runtime support designed for transparent interoperability with .NET applications. This new feature gives users the ability to access (read) and update data through the ADO.NET standard to multiple back-end data sources.

With .NET support now built into ALDSP, BEA can help increase an enterprise’s ability to enable data access across its heterogeneous IT infrastructure. The ability to access data from a centralized service layer has become an important driver in the adoption of SOA. According to a recent International Data Group (IDG) survey, nearly half of those deploying SOA (49 percent) named data access as a key driver in their company’s decision to adopt SOA.

Some New York FBI agents don’t have e-mail accounts

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Budget constraints are forcing some local FBI agents to operate without e-mail accounts, according to the agency’s top official in New York.

“As ridiculous as this might sound, we have real money issues right now, and the government is reluctant to give all agents and analysts dot-gov accounts,” Mark Mershon said when asked about the gap at a Daily News editorial board meeting.

“We just don’t have the money, and that is an endless stream of complaints that come from the field,” he said.

FBI officials in Washington denied that cost-cutting was putting agents at a disadvantage.

Spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan said e-mail addresses are still being assigned, adding that the city bureau’s 2,000 employees would all have accounts by the end of the year.

Mershon, the assistant director in charge of the agency’s New York City office, also said that 100 city agents have been given Internet-ready phones such as BlackBerry devices.

Christine Monaco, a spokeswoman for the FBI in New York, said Monday that all FBI agents can communicate with each other via a secure internal e-mail system and about 75 percent of the New York office’s employees have outside e-mail accounts. “The outside e-mail accounts have to be separately funded,” she said.

Source: AP

StopBadware First Report - Kazaa Is The Worst Badware

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The StopBadware.org coalition, funded by Google Sun Microsystems and Lenovo has listed the Kazaa file-sharing application at the top of a list of noxious software programs that present a threat to business and consumer users.

The coalition recommends in its Badware Report that users stay away from Kazaa and three other programs that can be combined with Trojans and bots for use in data theft attacks.

StopBadware.org finds that Kazaa is badware because it misleadingly advertises itself as spywarefree, does not completely remove all components during the uninstall process, interferes with computer use, and makes undisclosed modifications to other software.

The Kazaa analysis: (more…)

Microsoft Offers Rivals Technical Support

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday offered “free, unlimited technical support” to rivals interested in making their software work with Microsoft servers, saying it wanted to comply with a landmark EU antitrust ruling.

“We are committed to doing everything in our power to address the (European) Commission’s concerns,” Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.

A spokesman for the EU’s antitrust office said the Microsoft offer “seems to be a constructive proposal,” but said the company needed to make more efforts to fully fall in line with the EU’s 2004 ruling.

“Microsoft will naturally be well placed to answer questions from licensees on specific points of the technical documents,” EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said.

He insisted, however, that even two years after the ruling that forced Microsoft to share technical details with rivals, Microsoft’s efforts remained insufficient.

“The Commission’s preliminary view is that the technical documentation still does not comply with the requirements of the March 2004 decision,” he said. The EU has threatened Microsoft with 2 million euros ($2.4 million) in daily fines, backdated to Dec. 15, and said it would make its final decision after Microsoft pleaded its case at a hearing next week.

“Microsoft will have the opportunity to explain how this technical support is relevant to the March 2004 decision,” Todd said.

Source: AP

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