Google has made a subtle addition to Youtube. Now users have the option of hearing an audio preview of their comment before posting it. The audio preview feature, apparently, has nary a practical purpose to serve, but the possibility of some people puffing up with vanity after hearing their insightful comments can not be ruled out. The origins of the useless feature can be traced back to a XKCD cartoon by Randall Munroe. Hopefully the audio preview feature will stir the conscience of spammers and make them reach for the backspace key.
In what may be the biggest thing to happen to cryptography in a very long time, the world’s first computer network built with working quantum encryption technology has been demonstrated in Vienna. The network connects six locations with a total 200 km of fiber optic cable and the encryption system is said to be completely unbreakable, according to the BBC.
The network transmits a stream of millions of individual photons a second through the cable, and can detect if anyone has attempted to listen in on the stream.
Gilles Brassard, of Montreal University explained to the BBC how the system can be unbreakable: “All quantum security schemes are based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, on the fact that you cannot measure quantum information without disturbing it. Because of that, one can have a communications channel between two users on which it’s impossible to eavesdrop without creating a disturbance. An eavesdropper would create a mark on it.”
If an intrusion is detected, the data transfer is immediately rerouted through different nodes.
Pretty cool, huh? Let us know what you think of this new technology after the break.
Research In Motion, maker of the Blackberry, is in a bad way. The recent economic crisis has seen their stock fall from $148 to $60 in just 4 months, Reuters reports, leaving the company on shaky footing.
At the same time, Microsoft is looking to strengthen its presence in the handheld market, an arena recently invaded by two of the Redmond giant’s key rivals: Apple and Google. There have been rumors of Microsoft’s interest in RIM for years, but the Blackberry maker’s present financial situation has renewed and reinvigorated talk of a Microsoft takeover.
Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams has said “RIM is a massive strategic fit [for Microsoft]. I’m fairly certain they have a standing offer to buy them at $50.”
It’s unknown how strongly the co-CEOs of RIM would oppose such a deal. If they resisted strongly, it’s considered unlikely that Microsoft would attempt a hostile takeover.
By now it should be clear that the netbook craze isn't going away, at least not any time soon. Intel, who has a vested interest in the netbook market with its Atom processor line, has seen the writing on the wall and has picked up the netbook.com domain.
Right now the URL redirects visitors to Intel's product page for its Atom processor, but eventually it could morph into a fully fledged portal into the Atom-powered netbook world, particularly as more manufacturers continue to jump on the bandwagon.
For you budding entrepreneurs out there who are now kicking themselves for not picking up the domain name on the cheap, don't be too hard on yourself. Netbook.com wasn't available when Intel purchased it, and instead the chip maker bought it from the site's previous owner for an undisclosed sum, according to Notebooks.com.
It would take three hands with all digits intact to match the number of buttons on SteelSeries' new World of Warcraft MMO mouse. That's right - 15 programmable buttons grace the rodent's funky cyborgish exterior, and each one of them was designed in conjunction with Blizzard specifically with WoW addicts in mind.
The new mouse level's up its macros skillset by affording macros up to 160 characters long, with over 130 predefined commands for drag-and-drop macro creation in place. But you might find yourself spending the majority of your time grinding away at the light scheme. The world's first WoW mouse boasts no less than 16 million illumination choices with 3 intensity and pulsation levels.
Dedicated MMO players can preorder the mouse now for $99.99, with shipping slated for November 13, 2008.
Update: Press release and another image after the jump!
We can already hear the moans and groans, but nevertheless, a Yahoo investor has proposed a new deal today to sell the search company to Microsoft for $22 a share. That figure represents a 74 percent premium on the company's current stock price.
The proposal calls for Microsoft to "unload Yahoo's Asian assets and non-search businesses, extract $3 billion worth of cost savings, and receive $2.8 billion of tax benefits," Reuters reports. All tallied up, the deal would have Microsoft paying $10.3 billion for Yahoo's search business.
Mithras Capital, the investment fund who came up with the proposal, owns a 14 percent stake in Yahoo (1.9 million shares) and said in a press release that if approved, Microsoft would be buying Yahoo's search business for $2 billion less than what it offered in July.
Whether or not anything comes out of this remains to be seen, but it's worth noting that Yahoo today fell into the $12 per share range for the first time.
Those kooky hackers, what will they think of next? The latest fad sweeping the underground community involves a new type of attack (new in how it's being used, anyway) dubbed 'clickjacking,' whereby surfers click on seemingly harmless websites only to end up unknowingly forfeiting control of their webcam and microphone.
So far, clickjacking has been confirmed to affect Adobe's Flash player and for every major browser, such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, and yes, it affects Google's Chrome browser too.
"It is a very serious problem," said Giorgio Maone, author of the NoScript Firefox extension. "Clickjacking is a very simple attack to build, and now that the details are out, any script kid can try it successfully. There's no estimate to the number of trap sites."
Maone went on to warn that clickjacking is impervious to signature-based scanning. Adobe has recognized the threat as being "critical" and is instructing users on how to turn off Flash access to webcams and microphones. But is it a cure all? According to Robert Hansen, CEO of SecTheory, Flash clickjacking represents but a single variant of what could turn out to be a widespread threat, and that the only real fix will be in changing existing web standards, not the individual applications themselves.
Find out how the latest version of NoScript helps Firefox users fight back against clickjacking after the jump.
AMD earlier this week announced plans to split into separate design and manufacturing companies. As part of the split, AMD will retain 44.4 percent ownership in the spinoff of its manufacturing plant - temporarily called The Foundry - with the Abu Dhabi government-formed Advanced Technology Investment Company owning the rest.
Just hours after the announcement was made, Intel said it was investigating whether or not the new company violates a chip licensing agreement it has with AMD. Under terms of the original agreement, AMD has been allowed to use Intel's x86 chip instruction set in exchange for paying Intel a royalty. According to AMD, nothing has changed that would invalidate the cross-licensing.
"We are completely confident the structure of this transaction takes into account our cross-license agreements," Phil Hughes, and AMD spokesman, wrote in an email. "Rest assured - we plan to continue respecting Intel's intellectual property rights, just as we expect them to respect ours."
Not all financial experts agree with AMD's assessment. Hans Mosesmann, a financial analyst with Raymond James, believes AMD probably is violating the cross-license agreement, but doesn't necessarily believe Intel would turn it into a legal matter. Instead, Mosesmann writes that Intel may choose to use it as leverage to "entice AMD to drop the anti-trust suits against Intel in return for this altruistic gesture."
Cheap memory prices are taking a toll on chip manufacturers, with Micron last week reporting a $344 million fourth quarter loss, the seventh quarter in a row the company has been in the red. The fallout of another quarterly loss was to fall on the shoulders of executives, who Micron said would see a 20 percent pay cut. Now it appears it won't be enough.
In addition to the high level pay cuts, Micron now says it plans to reduce its global workforce by about 15 percent. The job reduction is part of a restructuring plan and will be rolled out over the next two years with most of the cuts taking place in Boise, Idaho.
"The combination of declining customer demand and product oversupply in the marketplace has driven selling prices for NAND flash memory significantly below manufacturing costs," Micron said in a statement.
Because of this, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), which is a joint venture between Micron and Intel, will stop producing NAND flash memory from Micron's Boise facility, a move that will reduce IMFT's flash production by about 35,000 wafers per month.
Certain legislations like the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have made e-mail archival very important for business enterprises. Furthermore, the whole business of e-mail retention is theoretically poised to benefit from the current financial crisis.
Google has announced that business users of its “Google Message Discovery” will now have the option of retaining their emails for up to 10 years for $45 per person per year – probably having sensed the boom. Hitherto, it only offered e-mail archival, retention for up to one year and charged $25 per user per year. The service is compatible with Microsoft’s Exchange and IBM’s Lotus Domino email systems.