Archive for March, 2013


The problem with most ebooks is you can’t exactly give them with a friends or pass them onto your children when you’re done. But Amazon might actually address that with a new patent to sell used ebooks. Unfortunately you can’t just buy an ebook and own an ebook and do what you want with it. So basically the patent means Amazon could own the rights to letting people resell the digital pages or audio files they have stored in their tabler or e-reader. You know, like Craigslist for your old Kindle copy of The DaVinci Code (50 cents or best offer!) Or a garage sale for 50 Shades of Grey on your iPad. (Sorry, I want at least $1.17 for that, but I’ll throw in these gardening gloves.) Except you’d have to go through Amazon, rather than selling digital books in your own digital yard sale, so to speak.

Read the full story at Gizmodo.

Two thirds of Facebook users have taken a voluntary break from the site for several weeks or more, citing reasons ranging from “excessive gossip or drama from their friends” to “concerns about privacy”, according to new research. But much as its critics might like to think otherwise, the world’s most popular social network is showing no signs of losing its audience. The most common reason stated for taking a break is that users are too busy, following by “just wasn’t interested” and that it’s a “waste of time”. According to a new survey published by the US Pew Research Center, only 4% of Facebook users cited privacy issues, with just 1% saying they did not like to share their lives via Facebook. Only 2% said they preferred to communicate face to face.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Microsoft and Symantec take down Bamital

Bamital wasn’t the biggest botnet around, but its operators were still up to no good — and that ultimately put it in the crosshairs of both Microsoft and Symantec.

The two companies decided to partner up and take action, raiding locations in New Jersey and Virginia. Several servers that were believed to be issuing commands to zombie systems were taken offline, including one that had been pinpointed in The Netherlands.

Just prior to the takedown, Microsoft and Symantec estimate that Bamital was in control of somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million computers. Users of compromised systems were then hijacked while browsing the web — redirected away from legitimate websites like Symantec’s own products pages and deposited instead on sites pushing fakeAV software and other malware.

Now that the servers in charge of those redirects have been shut down, users will be sent to a Microsoft alert page instead. The page provides links to two cleanup tools (one from Microsoft and another from Symantec) to help users get rid of the malicious Bamital code that’s still residing on their systems.

This is just the latest victory in a series of strikes against major botnets. Microsoft has participated in a half dozen such actions in recent years, helping to shut down nasty networks like Zeus, Rustock, and Waledac.

Richard Boscovich of Microsoft’s digital crimes unit believes that the Bamital operation was a complete success, but notes that “only time will tell.” The criminals behind Bamital may not have shown all their cards yet, and it’s possible that the botnet could rise from the ashes. The good guys will be waiting and watching, however, and they’ll surely strike again if that happens.

Ouya console

After breaking a funding record on Kickstarter last year the team behind the $99 Ouya console has been hard at work getting the tiny games console manufactured and shipped to backers. Come June, over 68,000 of them should be in the hands of Kickstarters, and a number of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, and Target, will be more than happy to sell you one.

That’s not the end of the Ouya, though. Julie Uhrman, Ouya founder and CEO, is already looking to the future and has made a bold promise: every year we will see the hardware used inside the Ouya refreshed in order to take advantage of the latest components. At the same time, the $99 price point will be kept.

The first Ouya uses a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, but with a yearly refresh that could be replaced with a Tegra 4 twelve months after launch. Depending on prices, even the Tegra 4 may be overlooked for an even more powerful processor by then.

Ouya mainboard (no case)

As the Ouya has a board that just slides out of the case, it seems likely an upgrade program will also be put in place. Existing owners could save a bit of money and just purchase the new board for their existing case rather than a whole new unit, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

Yearly updates is certainly a different approach to a gaming platform, but it’s one that will remove uncertainty for developers at least. If popular, the Ouya will be an ever-present platform, that regularly supports the latest hardware while continuing to support all games that have gone before.

As for the games and their promotion, Ouya is also taking a different approach. The app store will be curated not by sales, but through engagement. So while Angry Birds might sell millions, if a less popular game is played more regularly by its gamer base, it will appear higher in the charts on Ouya and receive more promotion. By doing this, the Ouya team will highlight games people enjoy above those that are marketed heavily and get picked up by everyone.

“Marco Rubio is the Republican Party’s hottest politician,” Brett LoGiurato reports for Business Insider.

 
“He’s on the cover of Time Magazine as ‘The Republican Savior,’” LoGiurato reports.

 
“He will deliver the response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union next week,” LoGiurato reports.

 

TIME Magazine: Marco Rubio, February 18, 2013

 
LoGiurato reports, “And now, he says in a tweet that he’s thinking about leaving Apple.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)’s tweet:

Why do I have to get so many different chargers for #apple? I am edging closer to #samsung with each passing day.

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 7, 2013

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll rephrase the same general criticism we doled out to the BlackBerry-toting Obama years ago:

A U.S. Senator should support U.S. companies, especially over derivative, foreign-based, convicted patent infringers. Not to mention that Apple makes superior products and choosing inferior knockoff wares brings into question the Senator’s basic decision-making abilities.

We responded as such to Senator Rubio via Twitter here.

Related article:
Photos of Mitt Romney with his Apple iPhone and iPad at his Lake Winnipesaukee home – July 15, 2012
Republican candidate Mitt Romney confirmed Apple iPad user (with video) – March 19, 2012
Steve, buy that man an iPhone: Obama vows to keep his Blackberry despite security, legal concerns – January 8, 2009
John McCain: Confirmed Mac user, Barack Obama: Confirmed Mac user (and BlackBerry sufferer) – July 21, 2008
Karl Rove loves his Apple iPhone and MacBook Air – March 22, 2008
Rush Limbaugh’s on-air appeal to Apple CEO Steve Jobs – February 13, 2008
President Bush’s Senior Advisor Karl Rove confirmed Apple iPhone user (with image) – August 06, 2007
President Bush shows off his Apple iPod (link to video) – December 16, 2005
U.S. President George Bush a confirmed Apple iPod user (images included) – December 22, 2004

“An activist investor wants Apple Inc. to distribute more of its ballooning cash hoard to shareholders,” Barbara Ortutay reports for The Associated Press.

“Greenlight Capital said Thursday that it is suing Apple in a New York federal court over the company’s proposal to eliminate preferred stock,” Ortutay reports. “David Einhorn, who heads Greenlight, said the proposal would prevent Apple’s board from unlocking shareholder value.”

Ortutay reports, “Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is drawing increasing criticism from investors who are pushing the company to do more with its enormous pile of cash – $137 billion and growing. Einhorn told CNBC on Thursday that Apple has a Depression-era mentality. He compared Apple to his grandmother ‘Roz,’ who grew up during the Great Depression. She was so careful about saving money, Einhorn said, that she never left messages on his answering machine out of concern that she’d be charged for the call. People who’ve experienced trauma, he said “sometimes feel like they can never have enough cash.””

Read more in the full article here.

Liberty Global has announced they are purchasing Virgin Media in the UK, Virgin Media provides Pay TV that rivals Sky here in the UK, as well as ultra fast broadband and also telephone services.

Liberty Global will pay a total of $23.5 billion in cash and stock to acquire Virgin Media, and the purchase will give the new company over 25 million customers and will serve 47 million homes in 14 countries.

Virgin Media

Microsoft is about to release their new Windows 8 tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro, which retails at $899 for the entry level model and will go on sale this Saturday the 9th of February.

The Microsoft Surface Pro features an Intel Core i5 processor and it will allow users to run desktop applications, and comes with more features over the Surface, which is a Windows RT based device.

Surface Pro Review

Even if you’re roasting a chicken, or just heating up a can of beans over an oil bin fire, it’s ok to use this adorable duck-shaped kitchen timer that Finnish designer Eero Aarnio created for Alessi. It’s a humorous take on the traditional egg timer that hints at the longtime chicken vs. egg debate.

You just twist the top half of the duck to set how many seconds you need, and the remaining time will be displayed on a simple LCD as it counts down. But is it adorable enough to warrant a $53 price tag? That’s a tough sell.

Duck Doesn't Have To Be On the Menu To Use This Adorable Kitchen Timer

[Alessi via designboom]

It sounds like the plot of movie: two major software corporations join together to shut down an evil global cyber crime operation and engage in wacky hijinks along the way. While the latter can be neither confirmed nor denied, according to an exclusive report by Reuters, Microsoft and Symantec did shut down servers that had been controlling hundreds of thousands of PCs without their users being any the wiser.

Bamital botnet’s—the major cyber crime operation’s—main attack involved hijacking search results, among other schemes, that would allow them to fraudulently charge businesses with online ad clicks. The over 18 ringleaders from around the world registered websites and rented servers using pseudonyms. This allowed Bamital to redirect users’ search results to the fraudulent websites, where they would be able to benefit from any subsequent clicks.

Technicians raided data centers with US federal marshalls in tow and were able to persuade operators to take down a server all the way in the Netherlands. According to Microsoft’s and Symantec’s estimations, somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 were carrying the malware that tethered them to Bamital botnet.

Of course, shutting down the servers meant that infected PCs were temporarily unable to surf the web, but free tools to clean out the malware are automatically being sent to the infected machines along with the following message:

You have reached this website because your computer is very likely to be infected by malware that redirects the results of your search queries. You will receive this notification until you remove the malware from your computer.

And both companies lived happily ever after. [Reuters]

Image: Shuttershock/lolloj

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