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Showing posts from November, 2010

More employers offering paycards to workers instead of checks

Payroll debit cards can be a cheap alternative to issuing paper checks to employees who don't have bank accounts. But there can be downsides for recipients.

Scott Leighton, controller at Helpmates Staffing Services in Irvine, says the firm started using the paycard program about four months ago, with about 17% of its workforce choosing that payment method.

By Cyndia Zwahlen

November 28, 2010|7:50 p.m.

Paper or plastic - it's not a question just for the grocery store checkout line anymore. Now some employers are facing it when figuring out the most efficient way to pay workers.

These companies are trying to eliminate paper paychecks for employees who don't do direct deposit, and instead issue them payroll debit cards, also called paycards.

The cards, which are loaded electronically with workers' pay, are designed for employees who don't have bank accounts. About 8% of U.S. households don't have accounts in financial institutions, according to the Federal Deposi…

Web delivery firm says Comcast taking toll on data

By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer Joelle Tessler, Ap Technology Writer
- Mon Nov 29, 8:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON - Level 3 Communications Inc., an Internet backbone company that supports Netflix Inc.'s increasingly popular movie streaming service, complained Monday that cable giant Comcast Corp. is charging it an unfair fee for the right to send data to its subscribers.

Comcast replied it is being swamped by a flood of data and needs to be paid.

Level 3 said it agreed to pay under protest, but that the fee violates the principles of an "open Internet." It also goes against the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rules preventing broadband Internet providers from favoring certain types of traffic, it said.

"Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content," said Level 3's chief legal officer, Thomas Stortz, in a statement.

Com…

'Fourth generation' Internet arrives in Hong Kong

Nov 26 02:50 AM US/Eastern

The latest generation of wireless Internet that will allow people to watch a crystal clear movie or live sporting event on the street or atop a hill is being deployed throughout Hong Kong.

The Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will give super high speeds across the city and could mean the end of computers ever needing to be plugged into a wall for a connection to the net.

The so-called "fourth generation" system is being rolled out by Hong Kong mobile network operator CSL in partnership with telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corporation.

"The first launch of an LTE network any place in Asia is truly historic,"
Joseph O'Konek, CSL's chief executive, told AFP.

"For a lot of people, this will be their first experience of the Internet.
They are at a huge advantage to previous Internet generations because they are leapfrogging all those fixed line technologies.

"It is truly going to unleash the power of human networks as this kind…

US shut down 75+ web sites that facilitate copyright infringement....

U.S. Government Seizes BitTorrent Search Engine Domain and More

Written by enigmax on November 26, 2010

Following on the heels of this week's domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it's clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.

While complex, it's still possible for U.S. authorities and copyright groups to point at a fully-fledged BitTorrent site with a tracker and say "that's an infringing site." When one looks at a site which hosts torrents but operates no tracker, the finger pointing becomes quite a bit more difficult.

When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somew…

Oracle awarded $1.3 billion in SAP lawsuit

Update: Oracle awarded $1.3 billion in SAP lawsuit SAP vows to 'pursue all its options,' including post-trial motions and an appeal, to reduce award to Oracle By James Niccolai November 24, 2010 06:45 AM ET

IDG News Service - A jury has awarded Oracle $1.3 billion in damages in its corporate theft lawsuit against SAP.

The award is a blow to the German applications vendor, which had argued it should pay just $40 million for the software stolen by its TomorrowNow subsidiary.

Oracle called it "the largest amount ever awarded for software piracy."

Members of Oracle's legal team embraced each other as the verdict was read in the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, according to a person in the courtroom.

Closing arguments had been presented Monday afternoon, so the jury took less than a full day of deliberations to reach its decision.

It was not the full amount Oracle had asked for, but still considerably more than SAP had said it should pay.

Oracle CEO Larry E…

Attachmate buying Novell for $2.2 billion

Attachmate buying Novell for $2.2 billion Novell also selling certain intellectual property assets to Microsoft-led CPTN Holdings By Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service November 22, 2010 09:01 AM ET

Novell announced Monday it has agreed to be acquired by Attachmate for $2.2 billion, ending months of speculation over its future. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

The company has also agreed to sell certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings, a technology consortium led by Microsoft, for $450 million in cash, a payment "reflected in the merger consideration to be paid by Attachmate."

Attachmate is backed by private equity firms Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo. It sells software for terminal emulation, fraud detection and other purposes. The company shares many customers with Novell and its product portfolios are complementary, according to a statement.

Novell is known for SUSE Linux, data center management and virt…

China Hijacked Internet Traffic From Federal Sites

For 18 minutes in April China Telecom re-routed traffic from .gov, .mil and other sites through Chinese servers, according to a Congressional commission.

By Elizabeth Montalbano , InformationWeek November 18, 2010 07:00 AM

A state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm "hijacked" Internet traffic in April, affecting traffic from U.S. government domains and raising serious implications for Internet safety, according to a report by a Congressional commission.

For about 18 minutes on April 8, 2010, China Telecom diverted U.S. and other foreign Internet traffic through servers in China, according to an annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released Wednesday.

Affected was traffic going to and from U.S. .gov and .mil sites, including sites for the Senate, the four main armed services branches, the office of the Secretary of Defense, NASA, the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others, according to the …

Apple Co-founder Wozniak: Android Eclipses iPhone

By: Nicholas Kolakowski
2010-11-18

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told a Dutch newspaper that Google Android devices will beat the iPhone in market share over a longer time horizon.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak had some kind words for the iPhone in a recent interview with a Dutch newspaper, while also suggesting that Google Android smartphones would eventually eclipse it in market share.

"When it comes to quality, iPhone is leading," De Telegraaf quotes Wozniak as saying in its Nov. 18 article. However, he added, "Android phones have more features." (Take into account that all Woz quotations here come courtesy of Google Translate.)

Wozniak claims that Apple developed a smartphone in conjunction with a Japanese company in 2004, but canceled it due to quality concerns. "If Apple comes with a new product, it must have a real breakthrough," he said. "Companies need to wait to capture a market until they have something extremely strong." Chronologi…

FCC chief working on net neutrality proposal

By: Kim Hart
November 18, 2010 04:54 PM EST

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is putting together a net neutrality proposal and plans to take action on the controversial issue as early as next month, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation.

Details of the proposal being developed by Genachowski's office are unclear, but sources say it could be similar to the deal stakeholders tried to reach with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) earlier this fall.

The long-running net neutrality debate centers around rules that would require Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Internet companies like Google and Skype want net neutrality rules applied to both wireline and wireless networks, but network operators including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast say they need flexibility to manage web traffic on their lines.

President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to implement net neutrality rules. Genachowski's plans to carry out…

How China may spur U.S. supercomputing

Global race picks up speed, just in time for a conservative cost-cutting Congress By Patrick Thibodeau November 16, 2010 07:03 AM ET

Computerworld - NEW ORLEANS -- U.S. supercomputing dominance is being challenged in ways not seen before, and that may be the best thing to ever happen to this field, particularly in Washington's climate of cost-cutting.

Of the top four systems on the semi-annual Top500 list of the world's leading supercomputers, which was released this week, two are in China: the top-ranked Tianhe-1A, at 2.5 petaflops, and the No. 3 Nebulae system. Japan has the No. 4 system. The U.S. is in second place with the Cray XT5 Jaguar system at 1.75 petaflops. The announcement came as experts in supercomputing were gathering in New Orleans for the SC10 conference.

Addison Snell, CEO of InterSect360, a high-performance computing research group, said Asia's showing in supercomputers will get the attention of political leaders.

"When it's all over the popular…

Exclusive: Microsoft Altered Windows Sales Numbers

Internal bookkeeping change handed $259 million in additional revenue to Redmond's OS unit.

By Paul McDougall, InformationWeek
Nov. 12, 2010

Microsoft's most recent Windows sales totals got a boost from the fact the company quietly added revenues previously assigned to other groups to its operating systems unit, a bit of accounting legerdemain that, along with other bookkeeping moves, helped the Windows group post big gains in the past quarter, according to an InformationWeek analysis of the software maker's SEC filings.

Microsoft's latest quarterly report shows the company bolstered revenues in its Windows, Server & Tools, and Office units in part by shifting money from other internal organizations--mostly the Entertainment and Devices Division, which sells the Xbox.

A Microsoft spokesperson denied any financial shenanigans, but would provide few other details.

Windows group sales alone may have benefited by as much as $259 million or more, just from the bookkeep…

Swedes' emails to be stored for six months

Published: 11 Nov 10 11:12 CET | Double click on a word to get a translation

Emails and mobile phone text messages would be stored for six months by internet service providers (ISPs), according to a bill presented by the Swedish government on Thursday to bring the country in line with EU data retention rules.

Critics have come down hard on the proposal, which would compel telephone and broadband providers to retain electronic data for six months, the shortest possible time in accordance with EU directives.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask explained that the bill is concerned about privacy when she presented the legislative proposal on Thursday.

"The proposal means that the information can only be disclosed for crime-fighting purposes," Ask said a news conference.

The government has proposed that the law come into force on July 1st, 2011. It is part of the introduction of the disputed EU Data Retention Directive.

The directive would force member states to legislate the storage o…

Losses double for U.S. Postal Service

By Aaron Smith, staff writer November 12, 2010: 12:46 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The U.S. Postal Service more than doubled its losses in fiscal year 2010, despite cutting billions of dollars in expenses and trimming its staff.

The Postal Service said its net loss totaled $8.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That compares to a loss of $3.8 billion the prior year.

The Postal Service blamed the deeper losses on the recession and on the continuing growth of e-mail. A change in the interest rates affecting the Postal Service's workers' compensation liability also played a role, the organization said.

Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said the losses were worsening despite cuts that generated cost savings of $9 billion over the past two years. Those savings came primarily from the elimination of 105,000 full-time positions -- "more than any other organization, anywhere," Corbett said.

As more communications go electronic, mail volume keeps dropping.…

Five password-security myths dispelled

By Roger A. Grimes
Created 2010-11-09 03:00AM

Over the past few years, companies have increasingly adopted considerably stronger password policies. Unfortunately, there's still ample confusion in how to strengthen password policies and to mitigate password-focused attacks. I found dozens of mistakes in various security portals'
password-hacking whitepapers, seen respected security vendors recommending incorrect mitigations to conflated attacks, and took note of highly knowledgeable security teams operating on mistaken assumptions.

I understand the confusion: There are many different types of password attacks (and defenses) and so much incorrect information on the Internet.
The following are a few myths about password security that often surprise even the most seasoned security admins.

[ Master your security with InfoWorld's interactive Security iGuide [1]. | Stay up to date on the latest security developments with InfoWorld's Security Central newsletter [2]. ]

For star…

Rival calls foul over Microsoft's delivering Security Essentials via Windows Update

Rival calls foul over Microsoft's delivering Security Essentials via Windows Update Trend Micro says Microsoft's offer of free antivirus software in update service may be unfair competition By Gregg Keizer November 5, 2010 06:49 AM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft this week began offering U.S. customers its free antivirus program via Windows' built-in update service, a move one major security firm said may be anticompetitive.

Last Monday, Microsoft started adding Security Essentials to the optional download list seen by U.S. users running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 when they fired up the operating system's update service. The move followed an Oct. 19 kickoff of a similar program in the U.K.

"Commercializing Windows Update to distribute other software applications raises significant questions about unfair competition," said Carol Carpenter, the general manager of the consumer and small business group at Trend Micro, on Thursday.

"Windows Update is a de fa…

Google Apps Gets the Government Shaft to Microsoft's Benefit

By: Clint Boulton
2010-11-02

When Google sued the Department of the Interior for allegedly choosing Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite with nary a glance at Google Apps, it revealed an onion layered with irony.

Google, often the target of scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission for collecting too much data or growing too large, is suing the DOI for preventing it from securing a major government contract.

This deal would help Google's relatively small Google Apps business as it seeks to challenge Microsoft in collaboration software.

Google's gripe is that the DOI unfairly limited its consideration of a $59 million contract to serve 88,000 workers' e-mail and other collaboration software tools for the next five years.

The company claimed in this suit that the DOI showed no interest in looking at Google Apps, the cloud collaboration suite the company hosts on its servers and offers for $50 per user, per year.

When Google tried to m…

Blekko: The Newest Search Engine

By: John C. Dvorak

Yes, Google is great, but Blekko, which relies on human input, may be better.

Blekko.com, a new search engine that uses human input to help it sort out the world, is getting a lot of press today, including a lot of "Another search engine, who needs it? Google is better." send-offs. Yes, Google is the greatest search engine as of now, but that doesn't mean it cannot be beaten by some new algorithm or a better idea. Blekko is going for a better idea.

Blekko, in fact, adds so much weird dimensionality that out of all the recently hyped search engine ideas, such as www.cuil.com, I find it the most interesting. I do not say this often.

The first thing I do, of course, with a new engine is search for myself. I do not do this because I'm vain, but because I know exactly what should appear and in what order. Most writers, like myself, with a high-profile on the Internet use this same trick to see if a search engine is any good.

Blekko nails the search. Whe…

Android phones outsell iPhone 2-to-1, says research firm

Android phones outsell iPhone 2-to-1, says research firm Google's OS powers 44% of smartphones sold in U.S. last quarter; Apple's iOS far behind By Gregg Keizer November 1, 2010 04:15 PM ET

Computerworld - Android-powered smartphones outsold iPhones in the U.S. by almost 2-to-1 in the third quarter, a research firm said today.

Analysts explained the Android boom by pointing out the plethora of manufacturers that equip their smartphones with Google's mobile operating system, and highlighting their availability on all the major U.S. carriers.

"We started to see Android take off in 2009 when Verizon added the [Motorola] Droid," said Ross Rubin, the executive director of industry analysis for the NPD Group. "A big part of Android success is its carrier distribution. Once it got to the Verizon and Sprint customer bases, with their mature 3G networks, that's when we started to see it take off."

According to NPD's surveys of U.S. retailers, Android pho…

Apple Sues Motorola Over Multi-touch Phone Infringement

By: Leslie Horn 10.31.2010

Apple has filed infringement suits against Motorola, saying that Multi-Touch smartphone uses Apple-owned intellectual property.

Patently Apple was the first to report that Apple two separate suits against Motorola that include six different patents. The suits mostly pertain to Motorola's next generation smartphones, specifically the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BakFlip Devour A555, Devour i1, and Charm.

We like competition as long as they don't rip off our IP," Tim Cook, chief operations officer for Apple said last year at a financial conference.
"Obviously Apple thinks that Motorola has crossed that line."

What Apple is saying is that Motorola basically copied the iPhone. Court documents said Apple has a problem with "smartphones and associated software, including operating systems, user interfaces, and other application software designed for use on, and loaded onto such devices."

It's likely Motorola saw thi…

Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company

Our columnist argues that Steve Ballmer needs to pull out all the stops now and instill radical change, because Microsoft remains stuck in the PC era.

By Paul McDougall , InformationWeek
October 30, 2010 04:00 AM

I believe that Microsoft as we know it may not be around in another decade--maybe not even in five years. There's hardly a single tech industry trend line pointing in Redmond's favor right now, and some of those curves are about to get a lot steeper, real fast.

So it's hardly surprising recent Microsoft-related news has been pretty much on par with where things stand for the company these days-mostly all bad.

Explorer's market share has fallen below 60% for the first time in recent memory, the software maker has largely conceded the only way it can compete in smartphones is through the courts, and so it sued Motorola (and, by proxy, Android developer Google), and Microsoft's board deemed CEO Steve Ballmer's performance over the past fiscal year so medi…

SAP Admitting Infringement In Oracle Case

The admission means SAP will likely be liable for big damages--and possible further investigation--in the suit filed against it by Oracle, which alleged that the SAP-acquired TomorrowNow operation improperly accessed Oracle code.

By Fritz Nelson , InformationWeek
October 28, 2010 07:03 PM

In a shocking last-minute move, SAP has admitted contributory liability in a court filing posted Thursday in the case Oracle has brought against it for copyright infringement involving its now-defunct TomorrowNow acquisition.

Earlier this year, SAP admitted only vicarious liability, meaning it admitted wrongdoing on TomorrowNow's part, but not its own, claiming TomorrowNow's illegal practices didn't occur with SAP's knowledge or involvement, as Oracle had claimed and upon which it had based hefty damage requests.

This new information could delay the Oracle vs. SAP trial, which has been scheduled to start Monday, Nov. 1, as late as Thursday, November 4 at the behest of Oracle. The venu…