9/29/2006

The Gif Format is Finally Patent-Free

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Not many people noticed that the GIF file format is only now free from patents, as of the 1st of October 2006. Quick recap: first in 1999 Unisys tried to extort money from users and developers. Then, in 2003 the world hoped that the saga would finally be over. Then, in 2004, it was IBM’s turn. Now, the SAGA seems to be over for real!

Source: Slashdot

Microsoft To Patch Newest IE Flaw

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft admitted that an ActiveX control–WebViewFolderIcon, also called “Web View”–exposes a vulnerability in the Windows Shell that can be exploited by attackers to hijack PCs. A fix is promised on Oct. 10.

Source: InformationWeek

Cable Channel To Allow Video, Photo Sharing

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Simple Star Inc. and Time Warner Cable are testing photo and video sharing over a dedicated digital cable channel.

Time Warner Cable subscribers in Hawaii are the first to test the service, with other states, such as New York and California, to roll out soon, said Simple Star Manager Lynn Bruni.

“People are creating cooking and other types of shows,” Bruni said. “All the content created and uploaded to the site can be viewed by anyone who can access channel 917, a local channel in Hawaii.”

Source: InformationWeek

Laptops Content may be Subject to Inspection upon Entering the United States

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A recent and controversial decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California held that the United States (U.S.) Customs Officials may seize and search travelers’ laptops upon entering the U.S. even in the absence of search warrant or probable cause.

The traditional 4th Amendment protection offered by the U.S. Constitution does not apply to airport searches, held this Court.

This decision was reached in U.S. v. Romm, No. 04-10648, a child pornography case. The Customs Officers seized and searched Romm’s laptop, even though Romm had no been issued a search warrant or had any probable cause of been committing a crime. After a careful search, the Customs Officers found that Romm had recently visited some child pornography websites and this evidence was used in Court in the State’s case against him.

Some experts argue that this case represents judicial approval of a far-beyond invasion of privacy, even though its facts do not provide the best example of an innocent defendant. Commenting on Romm’s case, Shaun Martin, a Law professor at the University of San Diego, said: “It is one thing to turn on your computer in the airport to make sure it is not a bomb. It is another thing for customs officials to turn on your computer and to read everything you ever wrote and to look at everything you ever downloaded.”

Source: ibls.com

Google Talk Open To Everyone

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Last year, Google launched Google Talk, a free service for making voice calls and sending instant messages. It used to be that only Gmail users could use Google Talk but Google opened up Google talk to everyone and all you need to sign up for Google Talk is a Google account which can be obtained freely.

Sony to Initiate Global Replacement Program for Notebook Battery

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Corporation will initiate a global replacement program for certain battery packs that utilize Sony-manufactured lithium ion cells used by notebook computer manufacturers in order to address concern related to recent over-heating incidents.

This announcement came after a slew of recalls from notebook manufactures like Dell, Apple, IBM, Lenovo and Toshiba which overall recalled over 5 millions Notebook Batteries.

Sony is discussing this plan with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and will coordinate with other government authorities as required. We will announce details of the program in the near future.

On rare occasions, microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a possibility of short circuit within the cell. Typically, a battery pack will simply power off when a cell short circuit occurs. However, under certain rare conditions an internal short circuit may lead to cell overheating and potentially flames. The potential for this to occur can be affected by variations in the system configurations found in different notebook computers. Sony believes that this engineering analysis remains valid.

Sony will consult with its OEM customers that utilize these battery cells and work with those that choose to participate regarding quantity and the scheduling of replacement battery packs.

Intel Previews Potential Replacement for Flash

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel literally has, in hand, the first prototype of a new type of nonvolatile memory chip that its executives think could someday supplant flash memory and thus change the face of the industries such as cellular phones, music players and possibly even PCs.

Intel, as part of a lengthy joint venture with ST Microelectronics, has produced the first Phase Change Memory or PCM chips—nonvolatile memory chips that work well for both executing code and storing large amounts of data, giving it a superset of the capabilities of both flash memory and dynamic random access memory.

This means it can both execute code with performance, store larger amounts of memory and also sustain millions of read/write cycles.

Source: eWeek

Exploit Code Published for Unpatched IE Vulnerability

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Malware researcher H.D. Moore, co-founder of the Metasploit Framework, has published software exploit code meant to prove that a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser that he first publicized in July remains unpatched and capable of being attacked.

According to Moore, and other security researchers including Copenhagen, Denmark-based Secunia, the IE-borne vulnerability has been confirmed as legitimate on Windows computers running Internet Explorer 6.0 and Microsoft’s Windows XP Service Pack 2.

The glitch can be exploited to corrupt a computer’s memory using a malicious Web site, and could allow execution of arbitrary code if taken advantage of, the security company said.

Source: eWeek

Toshiba Recalls 830,000 Laptop Batteries

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Major Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. said Friday that it is recalling 830,000 batteries made by Sony for its laptops, the latest in a growing global recall involving Sony batteries.

The latest announcement brings the tally of recalled batteries to about 7 million worldwide.

The recall involves Dynabook, Qosmio, Satellite Portege and Tecra models, but regional breakdowns and dates of manufacturing weren’t immediately available, said Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Omori.

Fujitsu, another major Japanese company, also will be making a decision soon about its laptops using Sony lithium-ion batteries, said spokesman Masao Sakamoto.

Source: AP

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