By all accounts, most folks should be chilling out and winding down right about now. We’re smack-dab in the midst of the holidays, it’s Friday, and even if you don't care about Christmas, the imminent vanishing of dozens of overly festive TV commercials should bring a smile to your face. Speaking of commercials, did you see Best Buy’s “Game On Santa”? As it turns out, Santa won in the end – and you lost. Best Buy recently began notifying some customers that their online orders – even ones made as far back as November – won’t be fulfilled. To quote the lady in the commercial, it’s awkward.
A quick consult of the Chinese calendar says that we’re knee-deep in the Year of the Rabbit, but it seems a lot more like the Year of the Hacker to us. Fortunately, most of the LulzSec and Anonymous bru-ha-ha that dominated the summer seems to have died down, but Square Enix is delivering a hacktastic lump of coal to its customers just in time for Christmas. Yesterday, the company revealed that its servers had been breached an up to 1.8 million member accounts may have been compromised.
When you work on a major project for an extended amount of time – be it an awesome new piece of software or some sort of newfangled gadget – you can’t help but become emotionally attached to it. Some even go so far as to call their projects their babies. Well, let’s be blunt: there are some ugly babies out there. And while you might not tell a proud new mother her newborn’s a hideous freak, we’re going to call out some of the worst tech “babies” of all time, be they simple disastrous flops or actual tech-related disasters. Somewhere, coders are covering their faces in shame.
And hey, we’re not just poking fun at these failures; we’re also remembering them, lest they be forgotten and repeated. Because who wants a Virtual Boy 4S?
This just in from the “Isn’t it ironic?” department: IP addresses from some of the top content creation companies, including Fox, Sony and Universal, have been caught red-handed downloading torrents of movies, music and TV shows. That’s the claim from TorrentFreak, at least, who sifted through data from YouHaveDownloaded, a Russian site that logs – and exposes! – IP addresses downloading many of the public torrents you can find out there. TorrentFreak did some digging and managed to match several infringing IP addresses to IP addresses registered to the aforementioned companies.
Time to start firing the PR guys! As is the case with all technical products these days, AMD used a lot of lofty-sounding numbers and specs to make its new 8-core Bulldozer chips sound friggin’ awesome in the company’s press releases. Eight cores, four modules, a 315mm die area, two billion transistors – actually, scratch that last one. Over the past weekend, AMD contacted several publications and said that, um, somebody screwed up. Eight-core Bulldozer chips actually only have 1.2 billion transistors. Oops.
The poorly named Cyber Monday may be a great time to cash in on online deals and discounts, but your chance to grab some criminally low-priced items may have been snatched away today by the US government. Last year, the DOJ and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency caused a big online stir when they joined forces for “Operation In Our Sites” (har, har) and seized the domains of 82 different sites that sold counterfeit goods on the Web. Today, one year to the day after last year’s announcement, the agencies announced that they’ve seized yet another 150 counterfeit sites.
In case you missed it the first time around, research has already proved that your password probably sucks. That research, by Microsoft MVP Troy Hunt, was based on a sampling of roughly 37,000 leaked Sony Pictures passwords leaked by LulzSec earlier this year. 37,000 password is chump change to Splashdata, the makers of a password management app, who sifted through millions of passwords that were dumped online during the hacktastic year that was 2011 and came up a list of the 25 passwords used most often by hacking victims. Is yours on the list?
Occupy Wall Street’s protestors have moved on from Oakland and NYC parks; they’ve packed up their beef and taken it to the ‘Net, too. Just one day after Google+ launched its new “Page” functionality for businesses, the Bank of America found its virtual territory occupied by a false profile designed to make them look very, very bad to anybody who happened upon the Page.
Can’t wait for the October 25th launch of Battlefield 3? Neither can a lot of other people – and some of them aren’t waiting. As can only be expected for such a high-profile title, a leaked copy of the PC version of the game has worked its way onto the Internet in the form of – you guessed it – a torrent. Aspiring pirates shouldn’t rush out to download the torrent, though. You still won’t be able to play Battlefield 3 even with those illegal disc images in hand thanks to EA’s always-on DRM.
An apple a day may keep those pesky, prodding doctors at bay, but apparently, the odor from an Apple supplier’s factory is all it takes to keep nearby residents away. Catcher Technology builds those oh-so-sleek aluminum cases that give Apple’s laptops their distinct look, but Chinese citizens near the company’s Fenghuang City factory say they stink. In fact, things got so bad that officials recently temporarily shut the facility down.