8/9/2006

Wired News pulls freelancer’s stories

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Online technology publication Wired News removed three articles from its Web site Wednesday after editors couldn’t confirm the authenticity of at least one source.

All three stories were written by freelancer Philip Chien, a Florida author and space enthusiast who quoted and cited Robert Ash. In the articles, published in June and July, Chien described Ash as a “space historian” and an “aeronautical engineer and amateur space historian.”

When a Wired News senior editor telephoned Ash to verify the quotation, Ash said he was not a space historian and never conducted an interview with Chien.

Source: AP

Symantec Report IDs Holes in Vista Kernel Security

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Anti-virus market leader Symantec has published its third and final report in a series of studies meant to examine the security improvements being made by Microsoft in early versions of its Vista operating system; while lauding the software maker’s efforts to lock down the kernel of the next-generation Windows OS, the security company did find several shortcomings.

As with Symantec’s two previous reports, researchers at the company dissected portions of the beta versions of Vista already shared with the public by Microsoft.

The earlier reports, which studied networking and account privilege management features of Vista, respectively, broadly questioned Microsoft’s ability to execute some of its security-oriented development efforts.

The third report provides mainly positive feedback for the software giant, but still includes a pair of criticisms.

Source: eWeek

Movie transfers to DVDs to become easier

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A film industry group is set to remove some of the procedural hurdles that prevented the legal recording of movies onto blank DVDs in a further sign that Hollywood studios are preparing to expand what consumers can do with downloadable movies.

Under rule changes expected to be finalized soon by the DVD Copy Control Association, retailers could create movie jukebox kiosks with which customers can select, say, an obscure title and burn it to a DVD on the spot.

Online merchants, like Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store, could start to allow video downloads to be transferred onto DVDs.

Source: AP

Homeland Security: Fix your Windows

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In a rare alert, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has urged Windows users to plug a potential worm hole in the Microsoft operating system.

The agency, which also runs the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), sent out a news release on Wednesday recommending that people apply Microsoft’s MS06-040 patch as quickly as possible. The software maker released the “critical” fix Tuesday as part of its monthly patch cycle.

“Users are encouraged to avoid delay in applying this security patch,” the Department of Homeland Security said in the statement. The patch fixes a serious flaw that, if exploited, could enable an attacker to remotely take complete control of an affected system, the agency said.

Source: ZDNet

Viacom to buy Atom Entertainment

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks on Wednesday said it would buy Internet video and games company Atom Entertainment Inc. for $200 million amid a rush by big media companies to compete with upstart online video leader YouTube.com.

MTV Networks hopes to grow its main audience of young viewers with Atom’s portfolio of online videos created by Internet users, short independent films and casual online games, said Chairman and Chief Executive Judy McGrath.

Source: Reuters

Programming From A&E Now Available on iTunes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A&E Television Networks and Apple today announced hit television programming from A&E Network, The Biography and History Channels is now available for purchase and download on the iTunes Music Store. The new content features popular series such as “Criss Angel: Mindfreak,? “Driving Force? and “Inked? from A&E Network, “The Revolution? and “Modern Marvels? from The History Channel, and selections from the Emmy Award-winning “Biography? series from The Biography Channel. iTunes offers over 200 TV shows for $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod.

40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Having treated all types of addictions for more than 15 years, Dr. Maressa Orzack says there’s little difference between drug use, excessive gambling and heavy game playing. And with millions of gamers hooked on mega-popular massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), she believes the problem is growing rapidly. In fact, Orzack says as much as 40 percent of World of Warcraft players are addicted to the game.

Source: twitchguru

Microsoft to Tighten the Genuine Advantage Screws

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In a further expansion of its anti-piracy program, Microsoft is building more ‘Genuine’ checks directly into Windows Vista, and is expanding the program to target not just consumers, but PC makers and system builders.

To date, with its Genuine Advantage anti-piracy programs, Microsoft has targeted consumers. Windows and Office users have been required to validate their products as “genuine” before being able to obtain many downloads and add-ons.

Come this fall, however, the Redmond software maker is planning to turn up the Genuine Advantage heat in two ways: By baking more Genuine Advantage checks directly into Windows Vista, and by taking aim at PC makers, system builders, Internet cafes and other sources of potentially pirated software.

Source: microsoft-watch.com

AOL Introduces A Free Search Engine for Homework Help

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

AOL today announced the launch of StudyBuddy.com , a free search engine built just for homework for grades K through 12 and available to all Internet users. Featuring advanced search tools and extensive content from trusted references and educator-screened Web sites, StudyBuddy.com delivers information customized to each student’s grade level and homework needs.

Unlike other free educational offerings on the market, the StudyBuddy.com search engine anticipates the information needs of students and breaks results down into grade-appropriate groups: kindergarten to second grade; third to fifth grade, sixth to eighth grade; and ninth to twelfth grade. While students can enter a word or two as regular search engines require, StudyBuddy.com also allows them to enter sentences to find the most relevant information for homework help. Powered by technology partner blinkx, StudyBuddy.com’s unique search functionality also organizes results by media type to best meet assignment source requirements.
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A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Buried in a list of 20 million Web search queries collected by AOL and recently released on the Internet is user No. 4417749. The number was assigned by the company to protect the searcher’s anonymity, but it was not much of a shield.

No. 4417749 conducted hundreds of searches over a three-month period on topics ranging from “numb fingers? to “60 single men? to “dog that urinates on everything.?

And search by search, click by click, the identity of AOL user No. 4417749 became easier to discern. There are queries for “landscapers in Lilburn, Ga,? several people with the last name Arnold and “homes sold in shadow lake subdivision gwinnett county georgia.?

It did not take much investigating to follow that data trail to Thelma Arnold, a 62-year-old widow who lives in Lilburn, Ga., frequently researches her friends’ medical ailments and loves her three dogs. “Those are my searches,? she said, after a reporter read part of the list to her.

Source: New York Times

Cuba targets illegal TV dishes as US weapon

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Cuba’s Communist government has signaled a crackdown on the use of black-market satellite dishes, just over a week after ailing leader Fidel Castro temporarily relinquished power to his brother.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma on Wednesday warned that the dishes, which many Cubans use to watch Spanish-language television programs from Miami, could be used by the U.S. government to broadcast subversive information.

“They are fertile ground for those who want to carry out the Bush administration’s plan to destroy the Cuban revolution,” said the newspaper, the official voice of the government. Such an article in Granma usually signals that action is on the way.

The article also decried the “avalanche” of capitalist advertising in commercial television programs.

Source: Reuters

How Hizballah Hijacks the Internet

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hackers from the militant Lebanese group are trolling the Internet for vulnerable sites to communicate with one another and to broadcast messages from Al-Manar television, which is banned in the U.S. In the cyberterrorism trade it is known as “whack-a-mole” — just like the old carnival game, Hizballah sites pop up, get whacked down and then pop up again somewhere else on the World Wide Web.

“As the Israelis tighten the noose on Hizballah in Lebanon, these communication nodes become critical,” said Fred Burton, a former U.S. counterterrorism official and now vice president of Stratfor, a security consulting and forecasting company in Austin, Tex. In today’s asymmetrical warfare, the Internet is vital to groups like Hizballah who use it to recruit, raise money, communicate and propagandize, Burton said, including transmissions from Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Source: TIME.com

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