Roundup: August 9, 2012

Good morning! It’s a great day to be a Doctor Who fan, except for the fact that we’re all waiting for this next season to start. I’m getting antsy.

Samsung wants nothing to do with RIM.

Surprise! Samsung, super successful Android and Windows Phone handset maker, wants nothing to do with RIM. Apparently some rumors were spreading that Samsung was going to buy the company, or even license BBX, the update that is supposed to “wow” the phone world. Analysts pondered whether RIM would be a good target for Sammy, due to their patents and security technology, but Samsung said “No way, Hose A.” It should be noted, however, that RIM isn’t against licensing their new OS to try and pay their bills.

Google puts Gmail results into regular search results.

When Gmail started putting ads in their inboxes, people were worried that the search giant was spying on them. Their woes slowly shrank as they forgot about it, although lawsuits still pop up from time to time about it. Now, Google is testing a feature that allows your Gmail results to appear among regular results when you search on Google. That sounds like a whoppingly bad idea. It’s not every single email, just important ones, like flights, restaurants, people in your contact list, etc. As shown in this article on PCWorld, the Gmail results come up to the side, allowing you to remember you’ve talked about this before.  If you want to try it, sign up here.

Lenovo’s second ThinkPad will be Windows 8.

Lenovo, the successor to IBMs laptop line, will be releasing the second iteration of their ThinkPad tablet with Windows 8 Pro instead of Android. Since Lenovo’s products are still mostly aimed at the enterprise, this comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. Android may be great, but for business, a full version of Windows 8 Pro makes much more sense. Running on an Atom processor, the tablet will still have front and rear cameras, as well as wireless broadband options, but now you’ll have the (fairly impressive) power of Windows 8 to let you smartly edit spreadsheets on the go with Office, instead of mobile OS based Office tools, which always lack something.

OSX Mountain Lion screwing with battery life.

Mountain Lion, the expensive service pack/patch for Apple’s desktop OS, has had a few people in a tizzy over battery life. Apple likes their long battery life, and this could be a major concern for those who have not yet upgraded and keep their computers away from the cord for long periods of time. Reports of battery life being halved have cropped up, some attributing the issue to Spotlight, others blame idling apps. Whatever it is, Apple is looking into the issue, and asking for detailed reports, so hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Social Engineering is severely powerful, so be wary.

Social engineering is almost always ignored when people discuss ‘hacking,’ and it bothers me. Mat Honan, the reporter who had his digital life erased, wasn’t hacked in the sense that someone pounded out a GUI interface in visual basic to track his information down. His accounts were accessed via social engineering: someone sat and talked their way into his accounts. Any Information Security expert will tell you the biggest hole in your system is the human factor, and the linked story proves that. Shane MacDougall a researcher for Tactical Intelligence, sat in a soundproof booth for 20 minutes and talked his way into stealing the identity of a WalMart supervisor, all while in front of a DEFCON crowd that could hear the entire conversation. This is an important reminder to everyone to be wary of who you’re speaking to; phishing isn’t just an email scam.

Amazon puts shipping lockers in convenience stores.

Amazon, wrecker of brick-and-mortar, is moving into your local gas station. In select locations, they’ve placed large lockers into which they lock your package. You are emailed, notifying you that your package is ready, and giving you a unique unlock code. Entering that unlock code into the device will grant you access to your goodies. This comes soon after Amazon started their Same Day Delivery, allowing you to order as late as noon in some cities, and receive it the next day. Brick and mortar stores should be shaking in their boots, and maybe that’s why Best Buy wants to go private.

Anonymous goes after Ukrainian government.

Obviously angry with the takedown of Demonoid as a gift to the US, online vigilantes Anonymous have targeted the Ukranian government. OpDemonoid, as it’s known, has begun with attacks on National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Agency for Copyright and Related Rights, and the Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association websites, with larger goals in mind, such as the defacement of the President’s page. The ultimate goal is to get Demonoid back up, no matter the cost.

Body Hacking: It’s the new fad.

This lengthy, yet very interesting article discusses the current trend of body hacking. It starts out with the increasingly popular surgical procedure which implants neodymium magnets under the skin of your fingertips, allowing you to ‘feel’ electrical fields around you. Following in the wild and crazy footsteps of early biohackers like Lepht Anonym, biohackers are using modern tools and materials to improve themselves. It’s not all magnets and anesthesia-free surgeries (without licenses, they can’t buy it) though; biohackers work to perfect bio-resistant coatings, which prevent the body from rejecting the implants and discuss genetics.

[pullquote_right]This is just a decaying lump of flesh that gets old, it’s leaking fluid all the time.[/pullquote_right]Other biohackers work to improve deficiencies in humans like Neil Harbisson, who was born without color vision. He’s since developed the eyeborg, a device with sits in front of his eye and translates colors to vibrations which are transmitted via the bones in his skull. He has learned to interpret the sounds as color, which has helped the trend by bringing an air of respectability to what many consider a hack-n-slash hobby. To be honest, I can’t properly summarize the article. It’s amazing, so sit down and read it.

New virus spies on financial transactions.

A new virus discovered in the Middle East can spy on financial transactions, Kaspersky Lab said in a press release. The virus has been named Gauss, can also steal login credentials for social media and messaging sites as well as banking credentials. A mysterious node of Gauss, named Godel, copies highly encrypted packages onto thumbdrives that are plugged in to infected computers, but only released the code on pre-determined machines. This seems to support guesses that Gauss is part of another industrial sabotage campaign, releasing the warhead only on certain types of computers, but helping itself to banking info and passwords in the meantime. In July, however, the C&C servers were shut down so that data is being harvested uselessly, but infected drives may still exist, waiting to hit their final targets.

FINALLY! Pintrest goes invite-free.

Have you been lamenting to your knitting circle about your lack of invite to Pintrest, the increasingly popular social media site that allows you to ‘pin’ links and share them with friends and other users? Well lament no more, saddened housewife! Pintrest has done away with invites, becoming free for all to post and re-pin. Head on over to sign up, choose either Facebook, Twitter or email log in method, and pin, pin, pin the night away! Ray will be very interested.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: August 9, 2012”

  1. Anyone here had any experience with the curent generation of Atom processors? I still have my original two going N270-Dell Mini 9 and dual core 330 in HTPC but they were pretty weak when released and definitely show their age now.

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