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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spanish Police Arrest Hackers

Five hackers being described as "being among the most active on the internet" have been arrested by Spanish police. The BBC is reporting that "Police say they co-ordinated attacks over the internet and hacked into 21,000 web pages over two years." Two of those arrested are said to be 16 years of age. The arrests took place in Barcelona, Burgos, Malaga and Valencia, the result of an inquiry that began in March after a Spanish political party's site was disabled.

CRTC Tells Bell To Prove Traffic-shaping Is Necessary

After turning down the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) appeal for interim relief of Bell's practice of traffic-shaping earlier this week the CRTC has now put the ball back in Bell's court. The CRTC has now ordered Bell Canada to provide "full rationale and evidence" to support its claim that 95 per cent of its users were negatively impacted by peer-to-peer traffic and to describe where congestion is occurring, according to the Globe and Mail. "CAIP looks forward to providing the commission with additional information regarding the impact of traffic shaping on our customers and the other types of applications that our customers have indicated are being negatively impacted," CAIP spokesman Tom Copeland said in a statement. While a Bell spokes person said Bell is looking forward to dealing with the application and "getting the facts out on the table." Circle the wagons, the net neutrality debate is heating up in Canada.

Friday, May 16, 2008

CNET To Be Acquired By CBS

It's not quite Microsoft / Yahoo! but it's the largest acquisition of a web company in some time. CBS announced Thursday that it would pay $11.50 a share in an all-cash tender offer for CNET. The deal is worth $1.8 billion and vaults the company forward in it's vision of becoming a bigger Web player. "There are very few opportunities to acquire a profitable, growing, well-managed Internet company like CNET Networks," CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said in an interview. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. The LA Times has more here.

RIM To Launch Touch-Screen Device?

According to the CBC, a Wall Street Journal Report yesterday has Research In Motion (RIM) launching a new touch-screen version of it's popular Blackberry device by the third quarter of '08. "The device, known as Thunder, will be sold exclusively in the U.S. through Verizon Wireless and Vodaphone PLC abroad, according to the Journal, which cited sources familiar with the matter." writes the CBC. On Monday RIM announced it's latest device the Blackberry Bold which uses third-generation wireless technology and improved Wi-Fi capability but has the same familiar qwerty keypad. Shares of the company closed up $1.60 to $140.99 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday. This and the rumors of a next gen iPhone make those of us who might be contemplating a smart phone want to hold on just a little longer...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CRTC Sides With Bell On Traffic Shaping But Will Launch Probe Into The Practice

Bell has won the first battle, but the war on traffic shaping is not over. The CRTC has rejected a request made in March by The Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) to end Bell Canada's throttling practices, saying the companies had failed to demonstrate that their businesses will be irreparably harmed. The companies had sought an injunction against Bell for it's practice of throttling bandwidth to high consumption users but the CRTC cited two previous Supreme Court of Canada decisions that spelled out criteria for proving irreparable harm.

Tom Copeland, chair of CAIP, said "They didn't consider the public good simply because they felt we didn't meet the test for irreparable harm," and that "The public good in this case is stronger than most regulatory issues they take up." University of Ottawa internet law professor Michael Geist says "The issue of net neutrality will be put on the table from a broadcast perspective. This decision puts it on the table from a telecom perspective as well," he said. "It's clear that many groups were seeking to jump in on this issue, and many more will come to the fore."

The first battle may be over but the war has just begun...

Electrifying Bra On Display

Looking for a new way to keep that cell phone or iPod charged? If you are of the female persuasion, or enjoy wearing ladies underwear, you might just be in luck. Germany's Triumph International has unveiled it's “Photovoltaic-Powered Bra” in Tokyo, the under garment comes equipped with a solar panel capable of producing enough power to charge your gadgets battery It has to be exposed to the light which might not be acceptable in all situations, and you'll have to shy away from the rain... check out this Reuters video.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Android Scan - A Practical Android Application

Android Scan is an application developed by Jeffery Sharkey for the Android Developers Challenge. The application was one of 50 winners of 1,700 total entries in the challenge and is a great example of the type of practical applications that can be developed with the emerging technology. Using a mobile phone's camera to scan a products barcode and then searching the Internet for data related to that product such as price, availability, product reviews, etc. Sharkey's Android Scan website has a great 3 minute video that describes some of the uses. This is the first application that I've seen using the Android platform and I'm impressed! Hope to see more.

IRS Workers Charged For Snooping

Five workers at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) return processing center in Fresno, California, were charged with computer fraud and unauthorized access to tax return information on Monday for allegedly peeking at taxpayers' files for their own purposes. "The IRS has a method for looking for unauthorized access, and it keeps audit trails, and occasionally it will pump out information about who's done what," says assistant U.S. attorney Mark McKoen. The number of such incidents is apparently on the rise, or the IRS is getting better at sniffing out the perpetrators as there were 430 known cases in 1998, and 521 last year. In these recent charges 13 taxpayers were compromised with each worker allegedly peeking at one to four tax returns, the incidents are from 2005 through 2007. Wired's Threat Level blog suggests "The age of some of the incidents suggests the Inspector General's office is breaking out new algorithms to find anomalies in audit trails going back years."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Spider Species Named After Canadian Rocker

East Carolina University biologist Jason Bond is a Neil Young fan. So much so that when he discovered a new species of trapdoor spider last year in Alabama he named the species Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi. "I really enjoy his music," Bond explained in a press release, "and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice." Wired's Listening Post Blog has the story here.

Google Aims To Be Hub Of Social Networks

Google has announced a new service, "Friend Connect" with the intent on being at the heart of social networking. "Google Friend Connect is about being the 'long tail' of sites becoming more social. Many sites aren't explicitly social and don't necessarily want to be social networks, but they still benefit from letting their visitors interact with each other. That used to be hard." said Google's director of engineering David Glazer in a call with reporters. With Friend Connect, any website owner can add a bit of google's code to their site and get social features running right away without any programming. Features such as invitations to member's gallery, message walls, and reviews. "Social networking is going mainstream. It used to be proprietary, but now it's going to be open and baked into the infrastructure of the net, not just one site or one source," says Mr Glazer. The BBC has more here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

RIM, RBC and Thomson Reuters Create $150 Million BlackBerry Partners Fund

Research in Motion (RIM), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and Thomson Reuters have announced the creation of a $150 Million venture capital fund, to invest in mobile applications and services for the BlackBerry and other mobile platforms. "The mobile world has evolved well beyond phone calls and simple messaging to require more empowering and liberating solutions that connect people to everything that matters most to them, wherever and whenever they want," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, Research In Motion. "RIM, RBC and Thomson Reuters share the common belief that mobile applications and services will propel the industry forward and the BlackBerry Partners Fund is being formed to help fuel innovation and activity in the mobile ecosystem." John Albright, Managing Partner of JLA Ventures who will co-manage the fund says "Whether it's access to corporate data or the latest craze in mobile entertainment, we want to fund companies that are forerunners in driving adoption and further enriching the mobile experience."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sneak Peak At Gears of War 2

Here's a sneak peak at the highly anticipated sequel, Xbox 360 only title - Gears of War II. Enjoy!

Disk Drive Data Recovered From Columbia Disaster

A Minnesota data recovery company, Kroll Ontrack, has been able to recover 95% of the data recorded on a disk drive that fell from the sky when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated in 2003. The drive's metal and plastic elements where scorched and the seal on the side that keeps dirt and dust out had melted. The company was fortunate that the drive was not full and the spinning metal platters that store the data were not warped. It turns out that because the computer housing the disk was running DOS and not a more modern operating system, the data was not scattered across the platters but rather bunched together and while they where not entirely intact most of the data was recoverable. The disk contained information from a scientific experiment, much of which had already been sent back to earth when the disaster took place, but the recovery of the missing data has enabled researchers to publish their findings. Amazing! CNN has the story here.