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Showing posts from March, 2012

Firefox survives first round of surgery

Mozilla's three months into an ambitious plan to bolt a long list of features into its browser. Competitors left it no choice.
by Seth Rosenblatt  March 30, 2012 7:49 PM PDT Firefox to change its look--again
After years of tough competition from dominance-seeking Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, Mozilla faces a second year in a row of forced adaptations. Its aggressive Firefox 2012 development plan calls for surgeries both minor and radical to integrate many new pieces into the browser, but it may not survive post-op. At least, not as you know it.
So far, the changes have resulted in a Firefox which, simply put, runs better. Two of the most tangible new tools have changed add-on behavior. The addition of add-ons to Firefox Sync let you mirror the same add-ons at work and at home, and you won't have to reinstall them manually if your computer crashes.
A second add-on change marks around 80 percent of add-ons as compatible by default with each new version of Firefox. This preve…

Apple gadget maker has 'significant' labor issues: audit

AFP – 8 hours ago
Workplace abuses were uncovered in an audit that equated to "a full body scan" of three Chinese factories pumping out coveted Apple gadgets, independent investigators reported on Thursday.
Employees at each of the factories exceeded a work-week limit of 76 hours set by Chinese law and, in some cases, worked more than seven days straight without a required 24-hour break, according to the Fair Labor Association.
"The Fair Labor Association gave Apple's largest supplier the equivalent of a full-body scan through 3,000 staff hours investigating three of its factories and surveying more than 35,000 workers," said FLA president Auret van Heerden.
"Apple and its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions, and we will verify progress and report publicly."
Along with excessive overtime and not always compensating workers properly for extra hours that were put in, the nearly month-long investigation uncovered health and safety risks and &quo…

The future of the PC

By Kevin FogartyMarch 28, 2012 06:00 AM ET Computerworld - For the first time since computers became a normal part of office life, end users won't be able to predict what their "PC" will look like in 10 years. That's partially due to the expansion of IT-as-a-service technologies that are making it possible to give users secure, reliable access to data and applications no matter where they are or what device they're using. But it's mostly due to increases in the power, connectivity, ease of use and stylishness of a whole range of nontraditional computing devices -- primarily smartphones and tablets -- and to heavily networked applications such as social networking, software as a service and cloud computing services that are easy to get, easy to use and often free to consumers. Clouds, virtual servers and SaaS are the kinds of infrastructure technologies that would normally be invisible to end users. Five years ago, few commercial applications were available by sub…

Govt to keep info on Americans with no terror ties

Mar 22, 9:36 PM (ET)
By EILEEN SULLIVAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. intelligence community will now be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.
Until now, the NationalCounterterrorismCenter had to immediately destroy information about Americans that was already stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.
Giving the NCTC expanded record-retention authority had been called for by members of Congress who said the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies leading up to the failed bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.
"Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information," Director of National Intelligence Jam…

Sarkozy: Jail those who browse terror websites

Mar 22, 3:00 PM EDT
By RAPHAEL SATTER Associated Press
PARIS (AP) -- France's president proposed a sweeping new law Thursday that would see repeat visitors to extremist web sites put behind bars - one of several tough measures floated in the wake of a murderous shooting spree.
The proposed rules, unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy after the death of an Islamist fanatic wanted for a horrifying series of execution-style murders, have alarmed journalists and legal experts, who say they risk pulling the plug on free expression.
Sarkozy, who is only a month away from an election, argued that it was time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography.
"Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison," he told a campaign rally in Strasbourg, in eastern France. "Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terro…

NetZero 4G HotSpot

March 19, 2012 · ·Pros Cost effective data plans for smaller amounts of data. Long battery life. Large, informative LCD. Speed management option. ·Cons Larger amounts of data are less expensive from other carriers. Limited network availability. Bulky. ·Bottom Line The NetZero 4G HotSpot offers a couple of appealing plan options, but if you use a lot of data, you can get better deals elsewhere. Alex Colon
Junior Analyst, Mobile
·Net Zero, the free ISP you may remember from back in the dial-up days, is back, and this time it's bringing the broadband. And yes, there is still a free option, as you surely must be wondering. The NetZero 4G HotSpot is a solid cellular modem, and features good data speeds and a few tiers of pricing that will satisfy the contract-free mobile broadband needs for some. But overall, you can find better deals elsewhere.

The CIA wants to spy on you through your TV: Agency director says it will 'transform' surveillance

Devices connected to internet leak information CIA director says these gadgets will 'transform clandestine tradecraft' Spies could watch thousands via supercomputers People 'bug' their own homes with web-connected devices
By ROB WAUGH PUBLISHED: 08:20 EST, 16 March 2012 | UPDATED: 08:55 EST, 16 March 2012
When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.
Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home - the rise of 'connected' gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people 'bug' their own homes, says CIA director David Petraeus.
The CIA claims it will be able to 'read' these devices via the internet - and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.
Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps - and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in ever…

With tech breakthrough, Seagate promises 60TB drives this decade

Laptop hard drives could have up to 20TB of capacityByLucas Mearian March 20, 2012 10:58 AM ET
Computerworld -Seagateannounced it isthe first hard drive maker to achieve a density of 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per square inch on a disk drive platter.
The technology used to achieve the benchmark, which Seagate said it would introduce in products later this decade, will also lead to the production of 3.5-in. hard drives with up to 60TB of capacity. Seagate reached the areal density milestone by usingheat-assisted magnetic recording(HAMR), which the company patented in 2006.
At the most basic level, HAMR adds a laser to the hard drive head and uses nanotube-based lubrication to allow the read/write head of a disk drive to get closer to the surface of a spinning platter in order to be able to write and read more bits of data. A chief advance with HAMR is the switch from a cobalt platinum alloy, the coating used on today's disks for data bit recording, to iron platinum, a much stronger magn…

Sweden moving towards cashless economy

March 18, 2012 5:09 PM (AP) STOCKHOLM - Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661. Now it's come farther than most on the path toward getting rid of them.
"I can't see why we should be printing bank notes at all anymore," says Bjoern Ulvaeus, former member of 1970's pop group ABBA, and a vocal proponent for a world without cash.
The contours of such a society are starting to take shape in this high-tech nation, frustrating those who prefer coins and bills over digital money.
In most Swedish cities, public buses don't accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.
"There are towns where it isn't at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash," complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden's National Pensioners' Organiz…