Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hey, Baby Bells: Information Still Wants to Be Free

Randall Stross writes in The New York Times:

The digital lifestyle I see portrayed so alluringly in ads is not possible when the Internet plumbing in our homes is as pitiful as it is. The broadband carriers that we have today provide service that attains negative perfection: low speeds at high prices.

It gets worse. Now these same carriers - led by Verizon Communications and BellSouth - want to create entirely new categories of fees that risk destroying the anyone-can-publish culture of the Internet. And they are lobbying for legislative protection of their meddling with the Internet content that runs through their pipes. These are not good ideas.

More here.

In Bahrain, The Web Takes On The Ruling Elite

Neil MacFarquhar writes in The New York Times:

Ali Abdulemam, this country's most notorious blogger, sat in the boxlike reception room of his father's house in a cramped Shiite village dotted with raw cinder-block houses, trying to log onto the widely popular Web site that he founded.

The government on this flyspeck of an island nation, home to an American Navy base, recently renewed its effort to block dozens of opposition Web sites. So Mr. Abdulemam, 28, a computer engineer, had to spend about 10 minutes whipping through various computer servers around the world before finally pulling up his Web site,

More here.

Doctor Bans Boy From Playstation To Stop Head Twitching

Via Local6 News. (Central Florida)

A 9-year-old boy in California who suffered from uncontrollable head jerking movements after long hours of video game playing stopped the twitching after his doctor banned him from playing PlayStation, according to a report.

Nicholas Lavin said that he played PlayStation constantly over the holidays at his home in San Diego and began to notice that his head would jerk back and forth.

"I would do funny things with my head," Nicholas said.

Lavin's mother said her son began to twitch so badly that she took him to the family's pediatrician.

The doctor told her he was not allowed to play PlayStation anymore. Once he stopped playing PlayStation, the twitching stopped, according to the report.

Flu Viruses Becoming Resistent to Antiviral Drugs

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

The government, for the first time, is urging doctors not to prescribe two antiviral drugs commonly used to fight influenza because of concerns about drug resistance, officials announced Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recommendation covers the drugs rimantadine and amantadine during the current flu season.

"Laboratory testing by CDC on the predominant strain of influenza (H3N2) currently circulating in the United States shows that it is resistant to these drugs," according to a CDC statement.

User Friendly: Pablum for the Masses


Click for larger image.

Wal-Mart Employees Expose Terror Cell's Bulk Phone Purchase

Evan Blass writes over on Engadget:

ABC News is reporting on several incidents around the country wherein retail employees have been notifying local and federal authorities about bulk prepaid cellphone purchases (which, as in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, can be used as detonators). After the December 18th purchase of some 60 prepaid handsets by six individuals, Midland, TX Wal-Mart employees decided to call the local po-po, who turned the case over to the Feds when the men began acting suspiciously in custody.

The six were later linked to a Metroplex-based sleeper cell, although their current status and whereabouts are unknown. A similar case at a California Target store (man buys 150 cheapo prepaids) turned out to be on the level- the buyer was just purchasing the handsets for legitimate resale.

Google's Most Popular and Least Popular TLDs

William Slawski writes on his SEO by the Sea blog:

What are the most popularly used top level domains, or at least, which are the ones that show up on pages indexed in Google?

I wondered this yesterday after seeing a news article stating that the registration of .cn (china) top level domain names topped 1 million for the first time ever by the end of 2005. The seed for my wonderment was probably planted when EGOL, at Cre8asite Forums, asked about using a .info top level domain earlier that day.

So I decided to check to see which were the most popular in Google, since that was the easiest place to get some statistics.

More here. Ads Appear on MSN


Verizon's wants to send more traffic to its local advertisers. MSN has the traffic, but it wants more local ad content.

In the ongoing drive for local advertising dollars, a $100 billion market by some estimates, this is how deals are born.

Looking at the WMF Issue: How Did it Get There?

Stephen Toulouse writes on The Microsoft Security Response Center blog:

Now that the monthly release has passed and people are deploying the updates I wanted to take a moment to discuss some things related to questions we’ve been receiving on the recent WMF issue. (Which was addressed in MS06-001).

One question we’ve gotten is about SetAbortProc, the function that allows printing jobs to be cancelled.

Specifically people are wondering about how the vulnerability was present. Bear with me, I’m going to get rather technical here in the interests of clearly pointing it out. The long story short is that the vulnerability can be triggered with either correct OR incorrect metafile record size values, there seems to have been some confusion on that point.

More here.

UK: NTL Under Fire Again for Poor Customer Service

William Eazel writes on

NTL has admitted providing "unacceptable " levels of customer service. The cable company was targeted by the BBC’s Watchdog consumer affairs programme this week, following the receipt of a further 1,700 complaints from its cable TV, broadband and telephony customers.

In a reply to the Watchdog website, NTL acknowledged that “the standard of service experienced by the customers featured on your programme is unacceptable,” but claims that out of its 3.3m residential customers the number of complaints has been reduced to 0.31 per cent over the past four months. It added that the number of complaints received directly by NTL falling by over ten per cent during 2005.

Iraqi Telecom Chief Seeks to Build From Scratch

Arshad Mohammed writes in The Washington Post:

U.S. telecom regulation is not so different from Iraq's except for one fundamental thing.

"As I was telling the FCC, if you refuse somebody a license, at least they don't come and shoot at you," Siyamend Z. Othman, Iraq's top telecommunications regulator, said in an interview in Washington this week. "It comes with the job."

ShmooCon: Covert Crawler Descends on Web

Quinn Norton writes on Wired News:

Websites get looked at by two different kinds of visitors: the human ones who peer around, look at the graphics, think about the links and click slowly; and the spiders, those automated scanners that come in from search engines like Google, or, more ominously, from malicious attackers, competing businesses and spammers looking for e-mail addresses.

Fortunately, it has always been pretty easy to tell the difference between the two in server logs, and block unwanted or anti-social crawlers. But research presented at the Shmoo Con hacker conference here Friday may change that.

NSA's Web Site Rendered Inaccessible for Several Hours Friday

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

The Web site for the National Security Agency, which has been under scrutiny over domestic wiretaps it conducted without warrants, was inaccessible for more than seven hours Friday.

A spokesman, Don Weber, declined to say whether the site suffered an attack by hackers or a technical glitch. Speaking shortly after the site went back online, he said only that employees had worked to restore access.

U.S. Agencies Probing Sales of Cellphone Data

Jeremy Pelofsky and Sinead Carew write for Reuters:

A U.S. Congressman said on Friday that federal agencies were looking into whether telephone companies were sufficiently protecting consumers' records amid concerns that Internet sites were selling cellphone call information.

Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told him the agency was investigating whether phone companies were adequately protecting consumer records. He said in a statement "the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission were coordinating efforts to combat this rising fraud."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tension Grows Between Labels and Digital Radio

John Borland writes on C|Net News:

The entry of satellite and digital radio into the technological mainstream is increasing tension with the record industry, which wants new rules governing how consumers can make digital copies of songs from the airwaves.

At issue are new devices that can record and save high-quality digital copies of tunes as they're being broadcast by these new networks. Recording executives are worried that consumers might increasingly opt to make such copies instead of purchasing the music on a commercial CD or from a download store like Apple Computer's iTunes.

The ToiletPod

Image source:

Texas Transit System Smart-Card Deal Awarded to ACS

William Welsh writes on

The fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States will deploy a smart-card transit system to be installed by Affiliated Computer Systems Inc.

ACS of Dallas has won a $14 million contract from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, to implement a contactless ticketing system for the area’s bus and light-rail transportation network.

Former Enron CEO Ken Lay Takes Case to the Internet

That headline should probably read "Former Enron CEO Ken Lay (soon to be Federal Inmate Number 3483478)..." or something to that effect.

A Reuters newswire article by Anna Driver, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

People sell everything from antique china to chihuahuas on the Internet, but former Enron Corp. chief executive Kenneth Lay's legal defense team wants Web surfers to buy his credibility.

Like media-savvy Martha Stewart and HealthSouth Corp.'s Richard Scrushy before him, Lay has set up a Web site designed to bolster his image as his trial is set to begin in Houston on conspiracy and fraud charges.

Attorney General to Testify on Domestic Spying

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has agreed to testify at a Senate hearing on the Bush administration’s domestic spying program, a Justice Department official said Friday.

Gonzales will discuss the legal authority for the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping on telephone conversations between suspected terrorists and people in the United States, the official said.

The attorney general will not talk about operational aspects of the program at the hearing, which is expected to take place early next month, the official said.

Toon: Lying Western Dogs!

Click for larger image.

Qwest Surrenders After Broadbanders Revolt Over Spam AUP

Via eMail Battles.

A few days ago, broadband users went ballistic when they discovered language in Qwest's Acceptable Use Policy and High-Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement that appeared to:

  1. bar usage of servers, even though the accounts had been clearly set up for use by servers, and;
  2. charge account holders "U.S. dollars ($5.00) for each piece of Spam transmitted from or otherwise connected with your account."

To many, Qwest's lawyers had cast a net wide enough to put virtually any customer, commercial or residential, in a precarious position should any disputes should arise. Indeed, the "otherwise connected with your account" language left users incredulous. After all, isn't spam you receive "otherwise connected to your account?"

While Qwest defenders cried that "other kids do it, too," Email Battles pointed to a couple of fierce Qwest competitors, AT&T and Mediacom, who clearly do not serve up such odiferous porridge.

NZ Telecom Pays $12M to Telstra Over Pricing Dispute

A UPI newsbrief, via, reports that:

New Zealand Telecom said Friday it will pay about $12 million to settle a pricing dispute with Australian rival Telstra.

Last month Telecom was ordered to provide Telstra with access to its broadband services in order to increase competition in New Zealand. The latest agreement will give Telstra further discounts to use its networks as well.

Dilbert: The Sweet Nectar of Freedom

Click for larger image.

Steve Gibson: MS WMF is a Backdoor, Not a Coding Mistake

Via Groklaw.

Those of you using Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP will want to follow this story: Steve Gibson has examined WMF and he now believes it was deliberately coded. It looks to him that Microsoft put a backdoor into Windows, which can be triggered even if Active X is turned off and security is at high. It could be a renegade coder, he says, but it's not, in his view, bad design or a mistake.

I can't evaluate what he says, but if it's true it is so serious to your privacy and security, I would feel irresponsible not to point you to his podcast, so you can evaluate for yourself. So the podcast is here. Also, there are a number of Sony lawsuits going on, and some are considering settling. They also might like to know about this issue.

He is still testing, so this is a preliminary finding. It's possible that in a week he'll have more answers or a different explanation. Microsoft has yet to speak. Gibson is not an Open Source advocate, but he says he's gravitating toward it now.

More Freakish Friday the 13th News: Vampire Candidate 'Won't Hide Evil Side'

Tech Angle: None. Just having some fun with the day.

An AP newswire article, via Fox News, reoprts that:

One gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota is giving a whole new meaning to the "dark side" of politics. A man who calls himself a satanic priest plans to run for governor on a 13-point platform that includes the public impaling of terrorists at the state Capitol building.

Jonathon Sharkey, also known as "The Impaler", plans to launch his gubernatorial campaign on — when else? — Friday the 13th. He'll make the announcement in Princeton.

"I'm going to be totally open and honest," said the 41-year-old leader of the "Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party."

"Unlike other candidates, I'm not going to hide my evil side," he said.

Digital DJs 'Unaware of Copy Law'

Via The BBC.

Many DJs are still unwittingly breaking the law by playing unlicensed digital copies of tracks months after a new permit scheme began, the BBC has found.

The £200 annual licences were introduced by royalty collection organisation PPL in September.

DJs who copy tracks onto computers or MP3 players without one are breaking copyright law, the agency says.

But Radio 1 DJ Fergie told Newsbeat he did not know about the licences and doubted many other DJs did either.

Heh heh.

Friday the 13th: What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Greenpeace shocker. 'Nuff said.

Lester Haines provides a pointer over on The Register:

It's Friday the 13th - day of ill omen and inauspicious portent. It's also a really bad day to take your kids walking on a beach next to one of the UK's nuclear power stations. Click here to find out why.

Wow. Talk about scare tactics.

UK: CCTV Peeping Toms Jailed

Lester Haines writes in The Register:

Two members of a trio of municipal "Peeping Toms" from Merseyside have been jailed for training a street safety CCTV camera on a woman's flat in Liverpool's Bootle district in November 2004. Over several hours, the BBC reports, she was filmed from the Sefton CCTV centre - which controls 70 such cameras - "cuddling her boyfriend before undressing, using the toilet, having a bath and watching television dressed only in a towel".

Mark Summerton, 37, of Kirkdale, Liverpool, admitted voyeurism and attempted voyeurism at Liverpool Crown Court. He was sentenced to four months' prison and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register. Kevin Judge, 42, from Waterloo, admitted misconduct in public office and received a two-month jail sentence, having already been cleared last month of voyeurism.

The third man - team leader Vincent Broderick, 52, of Bootle, Merseyside - "admitted misconduct in public office on the grounds that he did not see the woman when she was naked, but knew the cameras were being misused and failed to report it". He was sentenced to 200 hours' community service.

European Political Blogs Lagging Behind U.S.

A UPI newswire article, via, reports that:

Blogging in America has been transformed into a political watchdog post shaking up today's political and journalistic worlds; however, the same effect hasn't made a significant stir in European affairs.

A panel of American and British media professionals discussed reasons behind the blogosphere phenomenon in the U.S. vs. its small influence in Europe Wednesday at the Hudson Institute in Washington.

Web Site of Agency Is Called Insecure

John Markoff writes in The New York Times:

The General Services Administration has shut a Web site for government contractors after a computer industry consultant reported that he was able to view and modify corporate and financial information submitted by vendors.

The security flaw, which could have permitted contractor fraud, was reported to the agency's inspector general on Dec. 22, but almost three weeks passed before the system was taken offline Wednesday afternoon.

The General Services Administration is the federal agency responsible for procuring equipment and services, including computer security technology, making the lapse all the more striking.

Friday the Thirteenth

Everything you ever wanted to know about Friday the 13th but were afraid to ask. Enjoy.


Where did the superstition of Friday the 13th come from?

It appears that the superstition stems from the events that took place on Friday, October 13, 1307. On that day, the Pope of the Roman Catholic church, along with the King of France, sentenced the "the Knights Templar" to death and ordered the torture and crucifixion of their leader.

Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor. It is though that If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names to name a few).

In North America and Europe, a significant portion of the population behaves very strangely on Friday the 13th. They won't fly in airplanes, host a party, apply for a job, get married or even start a new project. Some people won't even come into work. In the United States, roughly 8 percent of the population is afraid of Friday the 13th, a condition known as paraskevidekatriaphobia. "Friday the 13th" as we know it has its roots in many traditions and cultures.

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is actually a combination of two separate fears -- the fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, and the fear of Fridays. The most familiar source of both these phobias is Christian theology. Thirteen is significant to Christians because it is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper (Jesus and his 12 apostles). Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive.

Much, much more here.

Kudos to the USPS : Team Effort in Detroit Spamming Arrest

Brian McWilliams writes over on the Spam Kings blog:

You hear a lot about antispam lawsuits led by U.S. government agencies like the FTC and FDA, or by big Internet providers such as AOL and Microsoft.

But the U.S. Postal Inspection Service gets credit for helping to send Michigan pill spammer Daniel Lin to prison. According to a story in yesterday's Detroit News, Lin will be in court next Tuesday to plead guilty under a deal that could send him away for over four years. (Three other men affiliated with Lin -- Chris Chung, Mark Sadek and James Lin -- are still under investigation.)

More here.

User Friendly: Illegally Annoying Silence


Click for larger image.

Microsoft Plans Launch of Search Ad System

An AP newswire article by Allison Linn, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Microsoft Corp. plans to launch its system for selling advertising alongside regular search results by June in the United States, giving the company its next piece of ammunition in the battle with rivals including Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Microsoft has been testing its ambitious new platform for selling all kinds of online advertising, called adCenter, since last spring. Right now, the company said about 25 percent of the sponsored links that accompany regular search results on its MSN Search site are from adCenter, but that will grow to 100 percent by the time the company's fiscal year ends in June.

Pentagon Grilled Over Database on War Critics

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, report sthat:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday asked for answers on an obscure Pentagon agency that included reports on student anti-war protests and other peaceful civilian demonstrations in a database meant to detect terrorist activities.

“Under what circumstances can peaceful protests at universities or by anti-war groups be monitored?” Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

“What authorities, and under what regulations, do military counterintelligence units have to conduct investigations on U.S. persons?” she wrote.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Get Popular, Get Targeted: DDoS Attack Cited in Million Dollar Homepage Outage

Via Netcraft.

The company hosting the Million Dollar Homepage says an electronic attack was responsible for the extended outages earlier today. The distributed denial of service (DDoS) occurred as college student Alex Tew sold the final 1,000 pixels if his innovative ad service in an eBay auction for $38,100. The attack left the site unreachable for large portions of the day, as seen in a performance chart for the site.

"The site received a major DDoS attack, and DDoS protection/prevention was not included in the customer's plan," Russell Weiss of InfoRelay Online Systems, Inc. wrote in an e-mail to Netcraft. "That said, we voluntarily took a number of steps to alleviate this attack while working within the appropriate budget." InfoRelay is the owner and operator of Sitelutions, which hosts the Million Dollar Homepage.

The Real Mark of The Beast: New Zealand's Rakon Develops World's Smallest GPS Receiver

Image source: Engadet

Wow -- I'm not sure whether I'm just utterly impressed, or completely shook-up, wicked-scared.

And people think RFID is the Mark of The Beast... this would change everything. *shudder*

Marc Perton writes over on Engadget:

So you think today's handheld, SDIO and cellphone-based GPS units are small? Get ready for a new generation of even smaller GPS devices, ranging from wristwatches to slim cellphones to -- and we just know this is coming -- implants.

That's the promise held forth by what is being billed as the world's smallest GPS receiver, which was developed by New Zealand-based Rakon, a company affiliated with GPS-make Navman. According to Rakon, the chip is about the size of a baby's fingernail, and should be available in a range of devices within the next two years.

In Northern California, A Fault Line for 'Intelligent Design'

Pastafarians, Unite!

Louis Sahagun and Eric Bailey write in The LA Times:

The TV news crews and their satellite trucks began prowling the rugged hills not long after word spread of a lawsuit filed Tuesday by 11 parents against El Tejon Unified School District, the first legal challenge to the teaching of intelligent design in California.

At the district office, secretaries say at least three dozen interview requests have poured in for Supt. John Wight, who was at a conference and unavailable for comment.

The hullabaloo erupted after disgruntled parents joined with Americans United for Separation of Church and State to challenge a course at Frazier Mountain High School that they consider a minimally disguised endorsement of intelligent design.

Congress to Examine Tech Firms That Enable 'Great Firewall of China'

Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache write on C|Net News:

After hearing reports that American tech giants like Microsoft and Yahoo are abiding by Chinese law mandating Internet censorship, some irritated U.S. politicians are threatening to pass laws restricting such cooperation.

Rep. Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, said Thursday that the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights, which he heads, will hold a hearing in early to mid- February. Smith has invited representatives from the U.S. State Department, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, Google, and the international watchdog group Reporters Without Borders to speak.

NASA's Comet Hunter on Final Approach for Sunday Landing

Artist's concept of Stardust approaching Earth.
Image source: NASA / JPL


NASA's Stardust mission return capsule will land Sunday, Jan. 15, at approximately 2:12 a.m. Pacific time (3:12 a.m. Mountain time) on the Utah Test and Training Range. Stardust is completing a 2.88 billion mile round-trip odyssey to capture and return cometary and interstellar dust particles to Earth.

The spacecraft performs its last maneuver to put it on the correct path?to enter Earth's atmosphere on Friday, Jan. 13, at 8:53 p.m. Pacific time (9:53 p.m. Mountain time). The speed of the sample return capsule as it enters Earth's atmosphere at 46,440 kilometers per hour (28,860 miles per hour) will be the greatest of any human-made object on record. The previous record was set in May 1969 by the returning Apollo 10 command module.

Music Stops for Mac Windows Media Player

Ina Fried writes on C|Net News:

Microsoft has officially halted development of its Windows Media Player for the Mac and plans no future Apple Computer versions of its music-playing software, CNET has learned.

"We have no plans to provide future updates or product support for Windows Media Player for Mac," Adam Anderson, Microsoft public relations manager, said in an interview Thursday.

UnReal ID: Frustration Over Driver's License Law

This seems like like a good time to mention, once again,

An AP newswire article, via CBS News, reports that:

An anti-terrorism law creating a national standard for all driver's licenses by 2008 isn't upsetting just civil libertarians and immigration rights activists.

State motor vehicle officials nationwide who will have to carry out the Real ID Act say its authors grossly underestimated its logistical, technological and financial demands.

SEC Opens Formal Investigation of IBM

An AP newswire article by Brian Bergstein, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Federal investigators have racheted up their probe of how International Business Machines Corp. advised Wall Street about stock option expenses in the first quarter of 2005, the technology giant disclosed Thursday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission opened an informal investigation of the matter last June, but Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM said the agency had informed the company Wednesday that the probe is now formal.

That means the SEC can issue subpoenas for documents rather than just requesting them. The step often occurs in the course of an agency investigation.

Wal-Mart Wins Back Chinese Domain Names


A Beijing court has ordered Nanjing Zhongtie Technology Development Company to return to the global retailing giant four Chinese domain names Zhongtie had earlier registered. The purchased domain names were special Chinese character representations of many of Wal-Marts trademarked brands.

According to a representative from Wal-Mart Beijing, the four Chinese domain names related to Wal-Mart were registered by Nanjing Zhongtie in July 2003.

Wal-Mart complained about Nanjing Zhongtie's behavior at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center in August 2004 when it initially identified Nanjing Zhongtie. Since then the two sides had raised a series of lawsuits against each other regarding the domain names.

The court believed that because Nanjing Zhongtie's behavior had constituted improper competition, it ruled in Wal-Mart's favor.

Beijing To Lift Operation Limits On Internet Cafes


Sun Anmin, vice major of the Beijing Municipal Government, spoke on a local radio program this week and said that Beijing would loosen the limits on Internet cafe' operation times and allow them to open after midnight.

Sun, who suggested that time limits should only be lifted from those cafes who have clean business records, said that this is a new measure approved by the State Council and will be implemented as a pilot project in Beijing.

Though the district cultural departments have not received official notice on the changes, Chinese netizens have been raving about the new policy in Chinese online chatrooms. As soon as the cultural departments receive word about the alterations, the new policy will be implemented.

H5N1 News: Genetic Change in Bird Flu Sample Detected

Uh oh.

An AP newswire article by Emma Ross, via ABC News, reports that:

Analysis of samples of the H5N1 bird flu virus from two of its victims in Turkey has detected a change in one gene in one of two samples tested, but it is too early to tell whether the mutation is important, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The mutation, which allows the virus to bind to a human cell more easily than to a bird cell, is a shift in the direction of the virus being able to infect people more easily than it does now. However, that does not mean the mutation has taken root.

"We assume this could be one small step in the virus' attempt to adapt to humans," said WHO virologist Mike Perdue. "But it's only seen in one isolate and it's difficult to make sweeping conclusions. We just have to wait and see what the rest of the viruses (from Turkey) look like."

$1.1B Settlement Between Microsoft, California

Ed Oswald writes over on BetaNews:

A $1.1 billion settlement against Microsoft was allowed to proceed earlier this week after a California appeals court dismissed a challenge by a plaintiff in the case. Under the settlement, a third of the unclaimed vouchers would be returned to Microsoft, while the rest would be given to California schools.

The original ruling was handed down by a San Francisco Superior Court in July 2003, and found Microsoft guilty of overcharging California consumers for its Windows operating system. Vouchers ranging from $5 to $29 were to be distributed among those who made a claim.

U.S. Military Clamping Down on Security

Ellen Messmer writes on NetworkWorld:

Amid growing concern about hacker infiltrations into military computers, the top commander for the Department of Defense network operations has ordered a crackdown on security.

Lt. General Charles Croom, commander of the Joint Task Force on Global Network Operations and director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), last week said a sweep is underway of all Defense Department networks to uncover security holes amid a get-tough policy.

Sicko Using Kids Site to Download Spyware and Porn

Someone track these fuckers down and lock 'em up.

Thanks to Alex Eckelberry, who writes over on the Sunbelt Blog:

Until Jan 6, 2006, Corypaints(dot)com was a kids site. The whois on Jan 1, 2006 shows it was a pending delete. It was taken over by a spyware gang that deals with porn.

Let’s take a look at the front page:

Until Jan 6, 2006, Corypaints(dot)com was a kids site. The whois on Jan 1, 2006 shows it was a pending delete. It was taken over by a spyware gang that deals with porn.

Let’s take a look at the front page:

If you type the same search in, but instead with “”, you get links to corypaint(dot)com directories with really sick links (not for the faint at heart):

Private familysex video download
Free dad & daughter f----
schoolgirl rapecom
Mother and teen son porn
Real rape scenes and stories

Clicking on these links results in an attempted WMF exploit to infect you with spyware.

The lengths these slimeballs will go to to infest a machine just boggle the mind.

FCC to Auction Internet Wireless Airwaves on Planes

A Reuters newswire article by Jeremy Pelofsky, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

U.S. regulators plan to sell airwaves starting May 10 to provide communications services like high-speed Internet to U.S. air travelers.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday it plans to auction airwaves now used by phones embedded in airplane seats. Those phones, operated by a Verizon Communications unit, are not used regularly because of the high cost.

U.S. Army Releases SatCom RFP

Frank Tiboni writes on

The Army issued a solicitation today for the five-year, $5 billion World-Wide Satellite Systems contract.

The contract will provide a vehicle for the military and government agencies to buy commercial terminals and services for satellite communications. The Army will award as many as six indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deals in late spring 2006, with the intent for two to go to small businesses.

The six commercial satellite terminals offered on the contract are very small-aperture terminals (VSATs) for combat service support, flyaway VSATs, deployable satellite Earth terminals, fixed-station terminals, military-certified terminals and prime mover/trailer-mounted terminals. They might be required to operate with military or commercial satellites in the C-, Ku-, X- and Ka-bands.

Proposals are due March 13 at 10 a.m.

Find NPR Coverage Using Google Maps

Very cool!

Via Boing Boing.

NPR has a nifty service that lets you enter a zip code to see coverage area and signal strength of NPR stations.

IRS Tracked U.S. Taxpayers’ Political Affiliation

Via (Tacoma, Washington)

As it hunted down tax scofflaws, the Internal Revenue Service collected information on the political party affiliations of taxpayers in 20 states.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of an appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the IRS, said the practice was an “outrageous violation of the public trust” that could undermine the agency’s credibility.

IRS officials acknowledged that party affiliation information was routinely collected by a vendor for several months. They told the vendor last month to screen the information out.

Court Dismisses Yahoo! Free Speech Suit

An AP newswire article by David Kravets, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

A federal appeals court on Thursday skirted answering whether Yahoo Inc. was liable to pay a fine of about $15 million to a Paris court for displaying Nazi memorabilia for sale in violation of French law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by Yahoo in California challenging the fine levied five years ago for allowing French users to buy and sell the memorabilia banned in France.

Yahoo asked the court to rule that the judgment could not be collected because it violated the company's free speech rights in the United States.

F-Secure: The 'Symantec Rootkit'

Image source: F-Secure

Mikko writes over on the F-Secure "News from the Lab" Blog:

There has been quite a bit of media coverage on the "Symantec rootkit".

We were the ones that discovered this issue and informed Symantec about it last year - in fact this is nicely attributed in the Symantec advisory.

But we want to be clear on this: what Symantec was doing here was not nearly as bad as what Sony was doing with their rootkit.

Norton Systemworks has a feature called "Protected Recycle Bin". This feature is intended to enable the user to recover deleted files that would otherwise be unrecoverable. These files are stored in a folder typically called C:\Recycler\Nprotect - and this folder is hidden with rootkit-like techniques. There's nothing inherently wrong in this.

More here.

Sprint Employee Refuses to Divulge Kidnapped Baby's GPS Info

In a bizarre story, Ryan Block writes over on Engadget:

In what seems to be more a case of an uninformed CSR blindly abiding by his/her training manual than an institutional hatred of babies by Sprint, sheriff's deputies in Eastvale, CA were unable to coax a Sprint employee to divulge the GPS coordinates of a cellphone that was traveling in an stolen SUV containing a 10-month-old baby boy.

After strapping little Wade into his car seat, Jason Cochran went back inside the house to fetch his 3-year-old, and returned to find the SUV gone. When they called 911 and informed them that their Sprint phone with GPS was in the car, Jason and his wife Stephanie assumed that sheriffs would easily be able to track down Wade with help from Sprint. The Sprint employee who spoke with the officers, however, told them that they would need to fill out some forms, pay a $25 subpoena fee, etc., etc. in what was obviously a case in which speed was of the essence.

More here.

Toon: Alas, Poor Yorick...

3 Out of 4 Adults Registered for Do-Not-Call Registry

Ed Oswald writes over on BetaNews:

Three out of every four adults are now registered on the Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call list, with a large majority saying they have seen a noticeable decrease in telemarketing calls. From January 2004 to the present, the number of adults registered climbed from 57 to 76 percent, a Harris Poll indicated.

18 percent of these registrants say they have received no calls since registration, with a majority, 61 percent, saying they receive far fewer calls. Only 7 percent say they either receive the same or more telemarketing calls since adding their names to the list.

Japanese Software Bugs Bite Back

Christian Caryl writes in Newsweek:

For 2006, the Tokyo stock exchange has decided to supplement its computer systems with an exotic new backup technology: people.

In December an employee at the Japanese investment firm Mizuho entered a mistaken sell order into the TSE's computerized trading system, which didn't allow the trade to be canceled once the mistake was noticed. The result: a transaction that ended up costing the company about $346 million. Earlier, on Nov. 1, another computer glitch had shut down the entire bourse for four hours.

Hence the announcement, just before Christmas, that a group of select officials who monitor trading at the exchange would henceforth be allowed to suspend transactions that look like mistakes—something that wasn't permitted under earlier rules.

UK: Computer Problems Driving People to Drink (and Smoke)

A UPI newsbrief, via, reports that:

A British survey says stress over work and computer-related problems is driving people to cigarettes and alcohol.

The poll by the group Developing Patient Partnerships showed more than a third of men and a quarter of women have a drink to cope with stress, the BBC reported.

Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point Memory Exhaustion Vulnerability

Via Cisco.

A vulnerability exists in Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Points (AP) running IOS which may allow a malicious user to send a crafted attack via IP address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to the Access point which will cause the device to stop passing traffic and/or drop user connections.

Repeated exploitation of this vulnerability will create a sustained DoS (denial of service).

Cisco has made free software available to address this vulnerability for affected customers. There are workarounds available to mitigate the effects of the vulnerability.

Nikon to Stop Making Most Cameras That Use Film

Martin Fackler writes in The New York Times:

The Nikon Corporation, the Japanese camera maker, said Thursday that it would stop making most of its film cameras and lenses in order to focus on digital cameras.

The company, based in Tokyo, is the latest to join an industrywide shift toward digital photography, which has exploded in popularity. Rivals like Kodak and Canon have already shifted most of their camera production into digital products.

Dilbert: Free-Range Newbies

Click for larger image.

Can ISPs Recover Data Retention Costs in the UK?


ISPs today welcomed a commitment from Home Secretary, Charles Clarke MP, to work with the internet industry to implement the Data Retention Directive into UK law, but expressed concern as to how industry costs would be reimbursed.

The Directive will force ISPs and telcos to retain phone and internet records for up to two years for use in investigation of criminal and terrorist offences.

Nortel Centrex IP Client Manager Multiple Vulnerabilities

Via Secunia.

Nortel Networks has acknowledged multiple vulnerabilities in Centrex IP Client Manager, which can be exploited by malicious, local users to gain escalated privileges and by malicious people to view potentially sensitive information, to trick users into downloading and executing arbitrary programs, and to compromise a user's system.

Space Tornado! Cosmic Front Packs a Punch

The Herbig-Haro object 49/50 looks like a tornado in space.
Image source: NASA / Spitzer / CfA

Ker Than writes on

High-energy particles spewing out of a young star in a nearby stellar nursery are plowing through interstellar clouds and creating a giant spiral structure in space that looks like a glowing, rainbow-colored tornado, scientists said today.

The star spewing the particle jet lies 480 light-years away in a star-forming region known as Chamaeleon I.

In a photograph taken with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, that star is actually not visible because it is located off the upper edge of the image.

The luminous tornado-shaped structure is known as a Herbig-Haro object and estimated to be about 0.3 light years, or nearly 2 trillion miles, long and shows up in the infrared.

Firefox Restricted by Incompatible Websites

Nothing really new here, but at least this frustrating issue is getting more press.

Matthew Broersma writes on TechWorld:

Firefox may have ended 2005 with nearly 10 percent of total browser market share, but new users are in for a nasty shock, according to recent research, which claims one in 10 websites don't allow full access to Firefox users.

The research, from UK site testing firm SciVisum, was based on tests of 100 leading UK consumer websites. The firm found three percent turned away users of browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer, while another seven percent used code that could only be rendered in Explorer.

Dell Alleges Firm Falsely Invoiced Its Customers

Via The Inquirer.

A FILING made in a Northern California district court by Dell, alleges a firm misappropriated the names and addresses of some of its customers and sent them invoices for shipping products when it didn't ship them at all.

Dell is suing American Motor Lines Inc and a number of other unknown companies and individuals. It said in its filing that it sent Dell customers invoices for shipping products on its behalf. But Dell never authorised such shipments.

It said Dell has no connection or affiliation with the defendants or their shipping services and they didn't send products or render services described in the invoices.

No XP on Intel Macs, But Vista is Good to Go

Image source: Engadget

Marc Perton writes over on Engadget:

If you've been counting on being able to run Windows on those new Intel-based Macs, Apple's not about to make it easy for you -- at least not if you're attached to Windows XP. According to Apple SVP Phil Schiller, the new Macs announced yesterday (those being the Intel iMac and MacBook Pro) may not be able to run current versions of Windows due to the fact that the computers will boot using the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), rather than a traditional BIOS (current Power PC Macs use Open Firmware). EFI was developed by Intel and allows a number of advanced features, including the ability to connect to the Internet from a command shell before the OS is loaded.

Since EFI was developed after the rollout of Windows XP, it's not supported by the current or earlier version of Windows (it is, however, supported by 64-bit versions, but the new Macs are 32-bit, so it's back to square one). However, all is not lost: Windows Vista will support EFI, and Apple has said it has no plans to directly block Windows from working on the new boxes. So, if you're a Vista beta tester and have ordered a new iMac or MacBookPro, get those install CDs out; the rest of you will have to wait for the official Vista release, or find a way to hack XP to boot using EFI (which we're sure is about to become a major priority of some of you at this very moment).

February Meeting on Internet Governance

Kieren McCarthy writes on The Register:

The first steps toward the new Internet Governance Forum, which will take a lead role in how the internet will be run now and in the future, have been taken.

A website for the IGF has popped up on the net, and the first official convening meeting has been scheduled for 16-17 February at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. Invitations to interested parties were sent out yesterday.

The establishment of the IGF was decided on at the World Summit in November, where UN secretary general Kofi Annan was asked to "to convene a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue".

User Friendly: The Heat of the Game


Click for larger image.

Anonymity Won't Kill the Internet

Bruce Schneier writes in Wired News:

In a recent essay, Kevin Kelly warns of the dangers of anonymity. It's OK in small doses, he maintains, but too much of it is a problem: "(I)n every system that I have seen where anonymity becomes common, the system fails. The recent taint in the honor of Wikipedia stems from the extreme ease which anonymous declarations can be put into a very visible public record. Communities infected with anonymity will either collapse, or shift the anonymous to pseudo-anonymous, as in eBay, where you have a traceable identity behind an invented nickname."

Kelly has a point, but it comes out all wrong.

Vietnam to Privatize Two Largest Mobile Phone Companies

An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Vietnam's two biggest mobile phone companies will be partly privatised soon, a move likely to attract all the telecom majors in the world.

Vinaphone and MobiFone, both 100 percent subsidiaries of state-owned giant Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corp (VNPT), will be open to private money.

German Cannibal Back on Trial for Eating Internet Volunteer

Image source: Yahoo! News / AFP / DDP

An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

The retrial of a self-confessed cannibal began in Germany as prosecutors sought a murder conviction for the man who killed and ate an apparently willing victim he met on the Internet.

In a lurid case that shocked the country, Armin Meiwes is being retried after a federal judge threw out a January 2004 manslaughter conviction on the grounds it was too lenient, despite the victim's purported "death wish".

Cannibalism in itself is not outlawed in Germany but if it can be proven Meiwes killed to fulfill sexual desire or in order to commit another crime, in this case "disturbing the peace of the dead", he could face life in prison.

Students Use Web to Unmask Sex Offender

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

He posed as a prospective student and tried to pass himself off as a member of a royal family from Europe — until some student journalists uncovered his past.

The 22-year-old man told students he was 17 and that he was "Caspian James Chrichton Stuart IV," the "Fifth Duke of Cleveland."

"He was pretty quiet. But he seemed to talk with a little bit of an accent," sophomore Frank Carlson told KARE-TV for a story that aired Wednesday night.

Blackberry to Get Google Talk and Google Local

Via Reuters.

Blackberry mobile email devices will be equipped for instant messaging, local search and maps from Google, Google and Blackberry producer Research In Motion said on Thursday.

Google Talk allows users to send and receive instant text messages with other Google Talk members. The service will be available for download onto a Blackberry device this spring. Raises Odds Against Web Attacks

Daniel Thomas writes on

The internet has created a profitable marketplace for bricks and mortar retailers and spurred many new ventures that would not exist in the physical world.

One such company is online gaming firm Betfair, which handled one billion bets in 2005 and claims to process twice as many credit and debit card transactions as any other European web site.

But with the growth of ecommerce has come an influx of criminals looking to get rich through exploiting the internet.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who's on First: New Doubts Are Cast on Einstein's Cosmological Constant

Dennis Overbye writes in The New York Times:

Einstein was wrong.

Einstein was right.

He was wrong about being wrong.

An astronomer from Louisiana State University said yesterday that a new analysis of cosmic history cast doubts on Einstein's cosmological constant, the leading explanation for the mysterious force that appears to be pushing apart the universe.

Sure, We Believe Ya, Georgie...

(I'm allowed to at least one political jab a day -- it's my blog.)

Safety and Reliability Questions About DRM

Victor Yodaiken, President and CEO of FSMLabs, has an excellent summary of the DRM evils over on Groklaw:

DRM is a potentially dangerous and intrusive licensing technology that is being pushed into production before safety and reliability issues have been addressed. The widespread use of standard computer products to control all sorts of important systems is being ignored and DRM is being introduced as if there was no role for computers except as personal entertainment devices and as if computer users were purely consumers of prepackaged “content”. This approach seems sure to create more problems as time goes by.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies are supposed to protect digitized “content”, like movies and musical performances from being illicitly copied or used. DRM technology is sometimes described as security technology when it is really licensing technology –- something very different. In fact, DRM may decrease security and reliability.

More here.

U.S. Army Set to Cancel Lockheed Spy Plane Project

A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

The Army is set to cancel a spy plane project worth up to $8 billion with Lockheed Martin Corp. due to budget issues and development problems, according to a story on the Wall Street Journal Web site Wednesday.

Citing unnamed industry and government sources, the story said the Army may announce that it would end the program as soon as Thursday.

FBI Warns of Mining Accident e-Mail Scam

Martyn Williams writes on InfoWorld:

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is warning Internet users to be on the look out for a fraudulent e-mail soliciting money for a survivor of a mine accident in the U.S. last week.

The e-mail purports to be written by a doctor at the hospital where the miner is being treated and describes the condition of the survivor and the financial assistance that is needed for a full recovery.

Evil Bert Model Rocket Drag Race

I don't when this happened, how, or why, nor do I care about any other details surrounding the event.

All I can say is: Cool.

Props to John Paczkowski over on GMSV for providing a pointer, tho.

Five G-cluster rockets all constructed out of vintage Muppets puppets purchased on eBay. The winner was the first off the pad, with extra points awarded for innovative design.

.CN Domain Name Registrations Break 1 Million


According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China's .cn domain name registration has reached 1.09 million, an increase of 150% compared with the same period last year.

CNNIC is responsible for domain name management and IP allocation operations in China.

This dramatic increase has also made .cn domain names the top domain name country extension in Asia, and sixth in the world.

China was ranked thirteenth in the world at the beginning of 2005.

MasterCard Kicks Off Data Security Push

Joris Evers writes on C|Net News:

MasterCard International launched an initiative on Wednesday to help credit card-accepting merchants tighten up their protection of sensitive consumer data.

The credit card association is working with merchants to provide them with information, tools and support to help safeguard consumer data, Chris Thom, MasterCard's chief risk officer, said in a statement. It is part of a broader effort by MasterCard to safeguard payment systems and to improve security in commerce.

'Naked News' Lifts Kimono on Japanese Plans

A Reuters newswire article, via C|Net News, reoprts that:

"Naked News," which features anchors and reporters who disrobe during newscasts, launched its risque take on current affairs in Japan on Tuesday.

Beneath a banner proclaiming "Naked News" as "The program with nothing to hide," Sunrise Corp. CEO Takuya Uchikawa described the service as "a unique concept for the Japanese market."

Sunrise, which specializes in sales of goods and services via the Internet, and Naked News owner eGalaxy Multimedia have set a target of 10,000 mobile subscribers in the first year.

People's Bank Tape Lost With Data on 90,000 Customers

Stephen Lawson writes on InfoWorld:

A computer tape from a Connecticut bank containing personal data on 90,000 customers was lost in transit recently, the bank reported Wednesday.

People's Bank, based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is sending letters to the affected customers, it said in a press release. The tape contains information such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers and checking account numbers. It was bound for the TransUnion LLC credit reporting bureau, based in Woodlyn, Pennsylvania, via United Parcel Service of America Inc. (UPS), the release said.

UPS is investigating the incident along with all involved parties, said UPS spokeswoman Heather Robinson. She would not disclose when the package was lost.

Symantec Caught in Norton 'Rootkit' Flap

Ryan Naraine writes on eWeek:

Symantec Corp. has fessed up to using a rootkit-type feature in Norton SystemWorks that could provide the perfect hiding place for attackers to place malicious files on computers.

The anti-virus vendor acknowledged that it was deliberately hiding a directory from Windows APIs as a feature to stop customers from accidentally deleting files but, prompted by warnings from security experts, the company shipped a SystemWorks update to eliminate the risk.

Colin Farrell's Sex Tape Pops Up on Internet Despite Ban

Big surprise here.

An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Hell-raising movie star Colin Farrell has forced the shutdown of a website after it offered viewers a peek at his home-made sex video in violation of a court order banning its release.

The Internet site that boasted the steamy fare on Tuesday was not accessible Wednesday and Farrell's publicist revealed that an Internet site carrying an "unauthorized tape" of Farrell had been shut down.

The website had reportedly made available footage from video featuring the 29-year-old Irish heartthrob in bed with his then girlfriend, former Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain, despite a judge's order in July banning its circulation.

Sunbelt: Anatomy of a Malicious Host File Hijack

Alex Eckelberry writes over on the Sunbelt Blog:

Just for kicks and giggles, Patrick Jordan took apart a host file hijack that resulted in an obscenely accurate spoof of a Bank of America site — and a large number of other financial institutions.

Here’s how the Bank of America site looks like before the hijack:

...and it looks the same after it was hijacked.

More here.

Democracy Isn't Always Free Online

An AP newswire article by Mark Johnson, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

You can watch meetings of the state utilities commission online — but you'll have to pay as if it were WrestleMania or Tyson vs. Holyfield.

Meetings of the state Public Service Commission have become pay-per-view events, with the Texas company that provides live and archived webcasts charging $200 a month — just as it does with other riveting sessions of agency meetings in Texas and California.

"It smacks of pay-per-view democracy," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "The governor should put the public back in the Public Service Commission."

Directed-Energy Weapons Almost Ready for Prime Time

A laser fires from space toward Earth in this artistic rendering.
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate
is conducting research in a wide variety of laser weapons technologies.

Image source: MSNBC / AFRL

A article by Leonard David, via MSNBC, reports that:

There is a new breed of weaponry fast approaching — and at the speed of light, no less. They are labeled "directed-energy weapons," and they may well signal a revolution in military hardware — perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.

Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves and particle beams. Their adoption for ground, air, sea, and space warfare depends not only on using the electromagnetic spectrum, but also upon favorable political and budgetary wavelengths too.

Apple Applies for Trademark on 'Mobile Me'

Ina Fried writes on the C|Net Apple Blog:

Apple Computer has applied for a trademark on the term "Mobile Me," according to a recent filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

No word on how Apple might use the term, though it does now have a speedier laptop in its lineup. The company filed four separate applications last week, covering a wide range of potential uses.

New iTunes Release Prompts Privacy Concerns

Ed Oswald writes on BetaNews:

Web sites and Internet forums are abuzz with news that a new feature recently added in version 6.0.2 may be communicating information on the song you are listening to Apple, raising privacy concerns from some users.

A "Mini Store" pane has been added to the main iTunens window that provides more information on the song being played, as well as additional available tracks from the artist, and a list of other songs that users who own the track have bought.

Norway Building 'Doomsday Vault' to Warehouse Seeds

A developing story, true enough.

An AFP newswire article, via, report sthat:

Norway is to build a "doomsday vault" in a mountain close to the North Pole that will house a vast seed bank to ensure food supplies in the event of catastrophic climate change, nuclear war or rising sea levels, New Scientist says.

Built with Fort Knox-type security, the three-million-dollar vault will be designed to hold around two million seeds representing all known varieties of the world's crops.

They are the precious food plants that have emerged from 10,000 years of selection by farmers.

The facility "would essentially be built to last forever," according to a feasibility study.

XP Won't Run on Intel MacBook, iMac

Nate Mook writes over on BetaNews:

With the announcement of the first Intel based Macs yesterday, many users have rejoiced in being able to dual-boot both Mac OS X and Windows. Unfortunately, this is not the case; due to Apple's use of the extensible firmware interface (EFI) rather than BIOS, current Windows releases will not run on the systems.

On Tuesday at Macworld, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said the company would not specifically block the use of Windows on Mac hardware. Instead, limitations in Windows itself will prevent its use on the new MacBook Pro laptop and iMac.

Virgin Aussie Unit Bought Out by Optus

Via Red Herring.

Singapore Telecommunications’ Australian mobile unit, Optus, acquired a remaining 74.15 percent stake in Virgin Mobile Australia on Wednesday for AUD 30 million ($22.6 million).

The acquisition brings Optus’ stake in Virgin Mobile Australia (VMA) to 100 percent. Optus and the Virgin Group launched VMA as a 50-50 joint venture in 2000. Virgin Group later increased its shareholding to 74.15 percent during 2002.