Friday, September 16, 2011

Technical News - 16 september 2011

  • UBS trader charged with fraud after $2 billion loss
    September 16, 2011
    LONDON/ZURICH (Reuters) - British police charged UBS trader Kweku Adoboli with fraud on Friday, a day after the Swiss bank said it had lost about $2 billion in unauthorized trades.

  • Obama To Sign 'America Invents Act of 2011' Today
    September 16, 2011
    ideonexus writes "President Obama will be signing the 'America Invents Act of 2011' into law today at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. The bill will transition America from a 'first-to-invent" to a 'first-to-file" country, but critics argue that the bill fails to address the more important problem that 'nobody can tell what a patent covers until they've spent months or years working it out, often in the courts.'"
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Wall Street fades as financials weigh (Reuters)
    September 16, 2011
    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 12, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidReuters - Stocks pared early gains on Friday, with each of the major indexes turning negative, weighed down by weakness in financials.


  • No, Faking Your Name On Facebook Will Not Be A Felony
    September 16, 2011
    In order to step up the prosecution of hackers and scary cybercriminals, the feds are changing a law to make unauthorized access to a computer system a felony rather than just a slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanor. That means making a change to something called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Currently, that law includes criminal penalties for "exceeding authorized access" on a computer. The Justice Department has interpreted that to mean violating a website's "terms of use" or breaking your work's rules about how you use your computer. Yes, that law meant that checking your fantasy football scores at lunch or using a fake name on Facebook equaled criminal activity (the latter was one of the charges prosecutors levied at Lori Drew in the MySpace-suicide case).
  • Weak Capabilities Doom Netflix Stock
    September 16, 2011
    Just because you succeed in your first business, there's no guarantee you'll win in your second one. This comes to mind in considering the sorry fate of Netflix (NFLX) and its poor shareholders.
  • Libyan government fighters move on besieged towns
    September 16, 2011
    BANI WALID/SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - The forces of Libya's new leaders attacked two besieged towns on Friday, storming into Bani Walid and pushing forward at Sirte, as they tried to finish off resistance from diehard supporters of Muammar Gaddafi.

  • Mister Softee's Windows 8 Could Bite Into Apple's iPad Sales
    September 16, 2011
    Yesterday at its BUILD developer event, Microsoft unveiled a detailed preview of the next major release of its next version called Windows 8. Windows 8 seems to have a radically different look and feel, and the most attractive aspect of Windows 8 would be the flexibility to accommodate new tablet devices as well as more traditional desktop PCs that rely on keyboards and mice, which could give Apple’s iPad a run for its money in a few years.
  • eBay: Wedbush Upgrades; Sees Mobile Payments Play
    September 16, 2011
    eBay shares are getting a boost Friday morning from Wedbush analyst Gil Luria, who raised his rating on the company's shares to Outperform from Neutral, setting a new price target of $48, up from $35.
  • Microsemi to fight Zarlink shareholder rights plan
    September 16, 2011
    TORONTO (Reuters) - U.S. chipmaker Microsemi Corp is challenging a shareholder defense adopted by Zarlink, the Ottawa-based rival it is trying to take over with a hostile bid valued at C$550 million ($561 million).

  • Consumer sentiment up, expectations at 31-year low
    September 16, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer sentiment inched up in early September, but Americans remained gloomy about the future with a gauge of expectations falling to the lowest level since 1980, a survey released on Friday showed.

  • Microsoft Office likely to get the Metro treatment
    September 16, 2011

    This week, Windows president Steven Sinofsky reiterated what we already knew: Windows 8 PCs and tablets running on ARM chips won’t be able to load applications originally built for Intel-based computers. While this is no surprise, Microsoft did also say that applications using the Windows 8 Metro interface will be easily ported to ARM platforms and that Microsoft Office will likely be given the Metro treatment.
    In a call with financial analysts Wednesday, Sinofsky was asked if Microsoft will use an emulator or application virtualization to bring current applications to Windows 8 on ARM chips.
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  • RIM's Product Failure is Also a Marketing Failure
    September 16, 2011
    RIM yesterday reported quarterly results that were nothing short of abysmal: profit down 58.7%; revenue down 10%; BlackBerry sales almost 10% short of analyst expectations; PlayBook tablet sales were less than 50% of what analyst had expected.
  • Fresh iPhone Apps for Sep. 16: Band of the Day, Final Fight, Monsters Ate My Condo (Appolicious)
    September 16, 2011
    Appolicious - Ease into the weekend with three awesome Fresh Apps today. Band of The Day offers a new way for you to discover a different band every single day of the year. Meanwhile, Capcom has released classic scrolling beat-'em-up action game Final Fight as a standalone app. Finally, there’s Monsters Ate My Condo, a fun new game from Adult Swim which should keep puzzle fans happy all weekend.
  • Adobe: JMP Downgrades
    September 16, 2011
    Adobe Systems shares are trading modestly lower this morning after JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens this morning cut his rating on the stock to Market Perform from Market Outperform.
  • Smartphone Battery Life Could Be Dramatically Improved in "Subconscious Mode"
    September 16, 2011
    Researchers propose a new mode to boost your phone's battery life by about 50 percent by putting it in an "almost totally asleep" mode.

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  • What If the Moon Didn't Exist: The Fun of Counterfactuals in Science
    September 16, 2011
    On the razor edge between reality and fiction, there is a realm in which worlds we have never seen could, indeed might, exist. [More]

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  • Mandatory PS3 update removes right to join in a class-action lawsuit
    September 16, 2011
    Sony has been hit with a number of class-action lawsuits since the launch of the PlayStation 3, mostly due to the decision to retroactively remove Linux support from the console and losing the data of users due to questionable security practices. Sony has a solution to this problem, and it's not beefing up security or retaining the features you paid for: if you accept the next mandatory system update, you sign away your ability to take part in a class-action lawsuit. The only option left for consumers if they agree is binding individual arbitration.
    The Examiner caught the fine print in the latest system update, which states:
    ANY DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEEDINGS, WHETHER IN ARBITRATION OR COURT, WILL BE CONDUCTED ONLY ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND NOT IN A CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION OR AS A NAMED OR UNNAMED MEMBER IN A CLASS, CONSOLIDATED, REPRESENTATIVE OR PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL LEGAL ACTION, UNLESS BOTH YOU AND THE SONY ENTITY WITH WHICH YOU HAVE A DISPUTE SPECIFICALLY AGREE TO DO SO IN WRITING FOLLOWING INITIATION OF THE ARBITRATION. THIS PROVISION DOES NOT PRECLUDE YOUR PARTICIPATION AS A MEMBER IN A CLASS ACTION FILED ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 20, 2011.
    You can opt out of this by sending a letter to Sony, and if you go this route I would suggest you ask for signature upon delivery, track the letter, and keep records. All this will come in handy just in case Sony decides to claim the letter never arrived. Here's what you need to say, and where it needs to go:
    IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE BOUND BY THE BINDING ARBITRATION AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER IN THIS SECTION 15, YOU MUST NOTIFY SNEI IN WRITING WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE DATE THAT YOU ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT. YOUR WRITTEN NOTIFICATION MUST BE MAILED TO 6080 CENTER DRIVE, 10TH FLOOR, LOS ANGELES, CA 90045, ATTN: LEGAL DEPARTMENT/ARBITRATION AND MUST INCLUDE: (1) YOUR NAME, (2) YOUR ADDRESS, (3) YOUR PSN ACCOUNT NUMBER, IF YOU HAVE ONE, AND (4) A CLEAR STATEMENT THAT YOU DO NOT WISH TO RESOLVE DISPUTES WITH ANY SONY ENTITY THROUGH ARBITRATION.
    There is no way to opt out of this electronically, because it's not in Sony's best interests to give you an easy way to do so. This bit of fine print will go unread by most gamers, which means they'll be signing away their rights to join in class-actions without even realizing what they've done. If you decide not to agree to the new agreement, you simply won't be able to play games online.
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  • Can pumping too much groundwater raise sea level?
    September 16, 2011

    The overuse of groundwater is a concern that looms over discussions of water supply in many regions around the world. Many groundwater aquifers are pumped more quickly than they can be replenished, meaning wells have to be drilled deeper and deeper to reach an ever-diminishing resource.
    The Ogallala Aquifer, which extends from Nebraska to Texas, is a prime example. There, groundwater irrigation has made productive agriculture possible in an otherwise dry region. The rate of water use, unfortunately, is not sustainable. In some places, groundwater is pumped over 20 times faster than it is recharged by precipitation, and water levels have steadily dropped. Some refer to this as “groundwater mining” because it took some 30,000 years to fill the aquifer—once it’s pumped dry, it won’t soon refill.
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  • Track your family with a new app
    September 16, 2011
    An app from SecuraTrac allows parents to monitor their children's whereabouts, set up virtual zones that they have to stay in, and restricts usage when in a car.
  • British Schoolkids To Be Taught Computer Coding
    September 16, 2011
    An anonymous reader writes "The UK government has finally decided to do something about the dire state of IT and computer science teaching in the country: it will create a new 'IT-centric' General Certificate of Secondary Education that will cover computational principles, systemic thinking, software development and logic. The current ICT GCSE has been lambasted for boring kids to death with lessons on using Word and Excel, rather than teaching computer programming."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Sony asks gamers to waive rights
    September 16, 2011
    Sony prepares to ban gamers from the PlayStation Network (PSN) unless they waive the right to collectively sue it
  • Rooftop solar prices fall 'precipitously'
    September 16, 2011
    And the trend shows no sign of stopping. That's good news if you're thinking about making solar power part of your household energy setup.
  • Chinese company to have biggest Web IPO ever?
    September 16, 2011
    Jingdong, which operates the Chinese equivalent of Amazon.com, is reportedly eying an IPO that would be bigger than Google's $1.9 billion public offering in 2004.
  • IE browser to drop Flash support
    September 16, 2011
    Microsoft is to drop support for Adobe's Flash software in some versions of Internet Explorer for Windows 8.
  • IDF 2011: Intel makes the case for more cores
    September 16, 2011
    On the final day of the Intel Developer Forum, CTO Justin Rattner made the case for more powerful PCs and servers with tens or even hundreds of processing cores.
  • Oracle: Security Flaw Could Bring Down App Servers
    September 16, 2011
    Oracle has issued an emergency patch to fix a vulnerability it says could bring down HTTP application servers it sells that are based on Apache 2.0 or 2.2.

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  • Yikes! ISS crew endures comms blackout during re-entry
    September 16, 2011
    Russian space officials offer no immediate explanation for a nail-biting communications glitch during the landing of the Soyuz capsule.
  • Google Reportedly Working on a Rival to the Flipboard Social Magazine App
    September 16, 2011
    The social tablet magazine for iPad and Android may be called Propeller.

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  • Oracle security flaw could bring down app servers
    September 16, 2011
    Oracle has issued an emergency patch to fix a vulnerability it says could bring down HTTP application servers it sells that are based on Apache 2.0 or 2.2.
  • Microsoft: No Windows 8 ARM Support For x86 Apps
    September 16, 2011
    jcombel writes "It turns out Microsoft's app compatibility will be limited to one architecture or another. Yes, Windows 8 will run on your ARM tablet, but your x86 Office 2003 will not. In his explanation, Steven Sinofsky reasoned, 'If we allow the world of x86 application support like that, or based on what we call desktop apps in our start yesterday, then there are real challenges in some of the value propositions for system on a chip,' he said. 'You know, will battery life be as good, for example? Well, those applications aren't written to be really great in the face of limited battery constraints, which is a value proposition of the Metro style apps.'"
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity
    September 16, 2011
    Here are some homebrew patches that make core apps on the HP TouchPad work better by adding cool options.
  • 'Subconscious mode' extends handset battery life
    September 16, 2011
    A professor at the University of Michigan has developed a new technology that can apparently extend a handset's battery life up to 54 percent.
  • Could Facebook really make HP's webOS work?
    September 16, 2011
    It's debatable whether webOS's third owner---potentially Facebook after HP and Palm---would be the charm for the orphaned mobile operating system.
  • Anonymous Kills Websites, Cartels Kill Bloggers
    September 16, 2011
    An anonymous reader writes "While drug cartels in Mexico are disemboweling people they accuse of blogging about drug violence, Anonymous busies itself taking down Mexican government websites. With all the problems facing people in Mexico right now, including drug cartels extorting teachers for 50% of their pay and killing schoolchildren (thus shutting down the school system), Mexico's biggest oil field in terminal decline and drug cartels kidnapping busloads of people and forcing them into gladiator-style contests to the death, Anonymous' actions appear particularly petty."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • RIM's market share slipping faster than expected
    September 16, 2011
    (Reuters) - Research In Motion is losing market share much faster than expected to rivals Apple and Google, amid mounting concerns over its cash flow and ability to meet its outlook, analysts warned on Friday.

  • Nonsense: Of Course the PS Vita's Not Hitting the U.S. on December 31
    September 16, 2011
    Tech news site sees a late 2011 retailer release date for Sony's PlayStation Vita, speculates baselessly.

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  • Silver Lake considering Yahoo bid, report says
    September 16, 2011
    The investment firm is one of potentially several companies that could be planning to acquire Yahoo.
  • EU probing if Google dominates Internet search
    September 16, 2011
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators are still undecided whether Google dominates in Internet search and if it has abused rivals in breach of competition rules, the EU's antitrust chief said on Friday.

  • Building a broadcast-quality video studio for Skype in a 10x9 foot space
    September 16, 2011
    One of the most exciting projects ZDNet columnist David Gewirtz has been working on is building a broadcast-quality video studio for Skype in a 9x9 foot space. Here's the story behind that project.
  • Friday Poll: Favorite new Facebook feature?
    September 16, 2011
    Facebook is getting friendlier with subscriptions to profile updates, Smart Lists for organizing friends, and Skype getting its Facebook on for Mac. Which of these new kids on the block is your favorite addition?
  • News Scans
    September 16, 2011
    Scientists find more proof that sex is good.  Worms that mate rather than reproduce asexually mix genes, which allows them to adapt quicker to environmental changes.
    A major study conducted on twins shows that environmental factors may be at least as important as genes in causing autism.
    [More]

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  • Rights wrangles dog online plans
    September 16, 2011
    The cultural life of Europe will suffer unless more effort is made to clarify what libraries can do with so-called orphan works, says a study.
  • Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry chiefs quizzed by Parliament over riots
    September 16, 2011
    Over 3,300 people were arrested, some charged and many jailed after the England riots in August. Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry were called to parliament to give evidence.
  • Mitsubishi Electric eyes overseas shift to fight yen rise
    September 16, 2011
    TOKYO (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Electric Corp will need to shift a great deal more production and procurement overseas if the yen continues to rise, the industrial conglomerate's president said on Friday.

  • Scientists view 'natural killer' cells in super 3D
    September 16, 2011
    Researchers in England are able to see in greater resolution than ever before exactly how white blood cells, called Natural Killers, target and kill diseased tissue.

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