John Lister

Wed
04
Jun
Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft 'Open' Format Slammed On Three Continents

Officials in India, Brazil and South Africa have all filed official protests against an international decision backing Microsoft's controversial 'open' document format. Office Open XML (OOXML) is Microsoft's own invented format where documents (such ... as those created in word processors or spreadsheets) are designed to work on all computers regardless of what software is being used. The problem is that there's already an open format named OpenDocument which was created by an independent organisation. Critics say it's redundant to have a second open format -- by definition there only needs to be ... (view more)

Thu
29
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Game Consoles 'A Toxic Menace'

Environmental campaigners have said the three leading video games consoles all contain dangerous chemicals. According to Greenpeace, the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360 each contain substances which could affect human memory ... and reproductive development. The tests found the presence of phthalates, beryllium and bromine, all of which have been linked to health concerns. The phthalates are used in games consoles to soften cable coatings and wiring. Because of safety worries, the substance is banned in toys in Europe, with California planning a similar ban next year. ... (view more)

Thu
29
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Security Boss Tempts Fate, Pays Price

A criminal has successfully answered a security firm chief's challenge to steal his identity -- and it could be a particularly costly defeat. Todd Davis of Californian company LifeLock was so confident of his fraud prevention service that he ... published billboards and filmed TV adverts displaying his own social security number. (It's 457-55-5462 in case you were wondering.) At least 87 people have attempted to steal his identity; at one stage people were trying to use his social security number under the names 'Joe Blow' and 'Jabba The Hutt', while another would-be criminal listed his address ... (view more)

Wed
28
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft Tries Buying Search Loyalty

As technology doesn't seem to be helping Microsoft in the search engine wars, the firm is resorting to a tactic that predates computing itself: bribery. Registered users of Live.com will be paid every time they visit a dedicated 'Live Search ... cashback' site, click on a search result to a participating website and then make a purchase. The amount they'll 'earn' will be a portion of the sale price set by the retailer and, once the user has racked up $5, they'll be paid through Paypal, online bank account, or check. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) In most cases, customers will earn money for every product ... (view more)

Tue
27
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook Gets Facelift

Facebook has unveiled a new look for profile pages in an effort to avoid the clutter that some analysts say hurts rival social networking site MySpace. The main change, which will take effect next month, is that pages will be reorganised into four ... tabbed 'folders' rather than having all the information in one long and unruly list. The four folders are: Feed, which will be the page that appears by default. This contains all the updates relevant to that person such as adding new friends, changing status updates or being tagged in a photograph. Info, which has all the profile details such as ... (view more)

Mon
26
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Cisco Denies Aiding Chinese Web Censorship

Cisco has denied a human rights activist group's claims that the company is helping China's government censor access to websites among its population. The claims came after the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (a group which campaigns against ... Internet censorship and produces tools for getting round government firewalls) published a leaked slide from a 2002 Cisco presentation about potential business in China. The group claims the slide, which refers to China's Internet monitoring scheme being used to combat Falun Gong (an outlawed spiritual group the slide describes as "an evil cult"), ... (view more)

Fri
23
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Phishing a High Stakes Game

More than three dozen people around the world have been charged with stealing personal information from Internet users through a 'phishing' scam. That's where criminals trick people into revealing information by posing as staff from online banks or ... other organisations, usually sending emails asking customers to confirm details for 'security reasons'. The arrests come following a Justice Department investigation that wound up in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Of the 38 people busted, more than half were Romanian, with the rest hailing from the United States, Canada, Portugal and Pakistan. ... (view more)

Thu
22
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Supreme Court Makes Even Offering Explicit Images of Children Illegal

The Supreme Court has ruled that merely offering to give someone else explicit images of children is illegal, even if the pictures or videos don't actually exist. The ruling applies to all means of communication, but obviously most cases today ... involve the Internet. The specific case in question involved the crime of "pandering" images of children, defined as promoting material (real or 'purported') in a way designed to convince people that it is explicit. In this case, a Florida man named Michael Williams had been arrested after using an Internet chat room and offering to trade nude pictures ... (view more)

Fri
16
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Schools Agency Plans To Teach Microsoft A Lesson

Microsoft could be in even more trouble with European Union competition regulators after a complaint by a British government agency. The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), which oversees computer purchasing in schools ... and colleges, says Microsoft Office doesn't work smoothly enough with other programmes. They argue that Microsoft should use the independent OpenDocument format which makes it easy to transfer files such as spreadsheets or word documents between rival software packages. Microsoft has its own 'open' format, Office Open XML, but critics say it's too ... (view more)

Thu
15
May
Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft-Google Battle Goes Galactic

Microsoft is launching an online service giving users access to images from space telescopes. It could mean yet another battle with Google, which has its own service, Google Sky. Bill Gates says the WorldWide Telescope project should be online by ... the end of the month. The free service is based on Microsoft's Visual Experience Engine, the same technology which runs the Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping software. By combining this software with thousands of images taken from space cameras, the service effectively acts as an interactive telescope. Where appropriate there will also be links to ... (view more)

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