Earlier this month, Google blamed a bug for causing an "isolated incident" which resulted in some users of Google Docs having their word-processing and presentation documents inadvertently shared. According to Google, the mishap only affected 0.05 percent of documents stored at the site, but that's enough to have privacy advocates turning to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to shut down all of Google's online services until government-approved "safeguards are verifiably established."
"If we were talking about a child safety seat that could not be securely attached to a car passenger seat, the commission in that instance would say to the company, 'Look, you've got to fix that problem,'" Marc Rotenberg, a lawyer and adjunct law professor, said in a telephone interview with CNet on Tuesday. "Consumers are at risk when that product is in the marketplace. We have a similar view of cloud computing at this point: people are at risk."
Leading the charge is the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), who submitted a letter to the FTC asking that all Google cloud-computing services be halted, including Gmail. In addition to shutting everything down, EPIC also wants Google to pay $5 million into a "public fund" to benefit advocacy groups.
Is EPIC asking for too much? And equally important, can you manage without Gmail? Hit the jump and sound off.
Discovery Communications, The Discovery Channel’s parent company, is currently locked in a legal battle with Amazon over the Kindle 2, claiming that it violates some of their very own patents.
The lawsuit, which claims that Amazon violated their patent for an Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System, was filed all the way back in 1999 and was issued on November 20, 2007. Discovery is asking Amazon for an unspecified amount of cash.
Evidently Discovery’s founder, John Hendricks, is a pretty well known inventor, and back in the 1990’s was working on the technology to digitize content. His patents for digitizing TV were sold, but the e-reader patents were kept.
With IBM having moved away from hardware in the past few years in lieu of focusing more on services business, it might seem odd that Big Blue would be interested in acquiring Sun Microsystems. But analysts say it's Sun's software that IBM really has its eye on.
"The technologies of greatest interest to IBM are Java and Solaris, and those are notably not hardware technologies," said David M. Smith, an analyst at Gartner.
According to The New York Times, the dollar amount being discussed comes close to $7 billion. That breaks down to about $10 per share, or twice Sun's closing price a day before news of the negotiations broke out. Immediately following, shares of Sun shot up just shy of 79 percent on Wednesday to close at $8.89.
Should the merger take place, IBM and Sun would account for about 65 percent of the market for server computers running Unix and 42 percent of the total server market. Citing "a person involved in the discussions," NYT reports an antitrust review would be forthcoming, with the issue being how regulators define the server market. When viewed by numbers of server computers sold, the playing field looks a lot more even, as IBM and Sun would only account for 18 percent of the market.
Shuttle recently announced the latest addition to their nettop line, the 15.6-inch X50, which features a touchscreen.
The Intel Atom 330 powered nettop will be the first of their X Vision line of computers. What exactly will keep these machines all in line with each other isn’t clear just yet. The X50 will measure in at just 1.4-inches thick, and will be powered by Intel’s GMA 950 graphics. Sadly, it’ll only come with 1GB of RAM – relatively low for a desktop.
It’s expected that this little machine will run roughly $499, but no word on when the street date will be.
The promise of hosted application "cloud computing" platforms is the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the latest storm to obscure the promise of hosted applications hit its Windows Azure development platform last weekend. It was unavailable for 22 hours on March 13 and 14, eWeekreports.
It should be noted that Windows Azure, introduced at last October's Professional Developer's Conference (PDC), is still in its test phase. It's due to become generally available before the 2009 PDC in November, according to eWeek. Although it's still in testing, an essentially day-long outage isn't good news for Azure.
Is Azure the only cloud computing provider to have had problems from time to time? How reliable should cloud computing be? For your chance to sound off, join us after the jump.
Cybersquatting, which describes trying to profit by registering a domain name that uses a trademarked name or word to either attract visitors to the website and/or sell the site to the trademark owner, has been illegal for a decade now, but that doesn't mean the practice is slowing up. On the contrary, more complaints and legal action were filed in 2008 than ever before.
And it's not just businesses that are being targeted, either. In addition to the likes of Google, Nestle, and Ebay, complaints resonated from the likes of actress Scarlett Johansson. Going forward, some feel the problem will only worsen once ICANN launches new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
"The creation of an unknowable and potentially vast number of new gTLDs raises significant issues for rights holders, as well as internet users generally," World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) director-general Francis Gurry said in a statement.
Gurry went on to say that his U.N. agency was working with ICANN on "pre- and post-delegation procedures" to look over proposed suffixes and prevent disputes.
If laptops keep getting bigger, we may need a new term for these gigantic portable PCs. Such would be the case if rumors of ViewSonic releasing a 22-inch notebook turn out to be true.
The rumor comes courtesy of news site DigiTimes. Citing those always un-named "industry sources" in Taiwan, DigiTimes says ViewSonic is looking to have a bigger presence in the Chinese market, a goal it literally plans to follow through with by developing a 22-inch laptop to be released in China. The company also plans to push its full product line, from LCDs to netbooks, in China as well.
Earlier this year ViewSonic jumped into the netbook and nettop sectors with the VieBook and ViePC, respectively. The all-in-one ViePC comes with an 18.5-inch display, which means the low-power desktop would be trumped in size by the rumored 22-inch laptop.
No other details are yet available on the upcoming notebook, including price and whether or not ViewSonic also plans to release it in the U.S. market.
It was a year ago that security researcher Charlie Miller walked away with $10,000 for hacking into a MacBook Air with Safari in just two minutes during the annual Pwn2Own competition, and earlier this month Miller predicted Safari would be the first to fall at this year's event. Miller made good on that promise this week by using a prepared exploit to gain full control of the device in about 10 seconds.
"It's not easy, but this worked with one click [from the Safari browser]", Miller said.
Miller had discovered the exploit last year, which allows a remote attacker to take over a machine if a user clicks on a malicious URL. Details of the exploit, which Miller isn't allowed to divulge, will be shared with Apple from contest sponsor TippingPoint so that Apple can develop a patch.
On the same day, a 25-year-old computer science student at the University of Oldenburg in Germany demonstrated exploits in IE8, Safari, and Firefox, earning him a cool $15,000 ($5,000 per exploit), along with getting to keep the Sony Vaio P series notebook he used (Miller pocketed $5,000 and a MacBook Air).
While three major browsers succumbed to hacking attempts on day one, no mobile exploits have yet been successful. Mobile exploits carry the biggest reward for contest participants, with TippingPoint offering $10,000 for each successful exploit in the major smartphones.
Windows 7 is already feeling the love from both graphics camps. Earlier this month, Nvidia released a specialized Forceware driver for the beta OS along with the promise of regular updates, and now AMD has followed suit with its new ATI Catalyst 9.3 driver this week. However, the new Catalyst driver rolls both Windows 7 and Vista support into a single download, allowing the company to lay claim as offering the "first unified driver installation package to incorporate Windows 7 support." AMD says future Catalyst releases will also be unified for both the current and upcoming Windows OSes.
"AMD's expertise in visual computing shines through in the combined experience of Windows 7 and ATI Radeon graphics," said Anantha Kancherla, group manager responsible for Windows graphics, Microsoft. "With today's release of a Windows 7 unified driver, AMD once again demonstrates its ability to deliver perfromance and cutting-edge driver support."
Hit the jump to find out what else to expect from the new Catalyst 9.3 unified driver.
As children, we were always taught that ingesting red and/or blue fluids – generally those found in that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil otherwise known as “the cabinet under the sink” – wasn’t among the better choices we could make, no matter how devilishly tempting it might’ve been.
Only now, however, do we fully comprehend the breadth of our parents’ bounteous wisdom.
For some maniacal reason, Blizzard has decided to pair its uber-successful World of Warcraft franchise with another one of man’s more inexplicably addictive creations: Mountain Dew. The result: a taste bud-burning crusade of what some might even venture to call “flavor.”
The drink comes in two varieties: Alliance Blue (“with a punch of Wild Fruit Flavor”) and Horde Red (“with a blast of Citrus Cherry Flavor”).
Both flavors will attempt to give Bawls – and other gamer-centric energy drinks -- a thorough licking this summer. We'll probably end up downing a bottle or two ourselves in penance for that terrible joke.