We'd be remiss to claim that the tide is turning in the war against spam, but that doesn't stop us from getting excited at seeing the scumbags responsible suffer setbacks. Such was the case last month when the FTC said it had shut down one of the largest global spam networks allegedly responsible for sending billions of unsolicited emails. Now, less than one month later, a web hosting firm believed to be responsible for hosting roughly 75 percent of the world's spam has gone offline.
With servers housed in a 30-story office tower in downtown San Jose, California, hosting service McColo Corp. was shut down when two internet providers, Global Crossing and Hurricane Electric, cut off service after receiving reports about McColo's activities. Following the termination of service, security companies noticed an immediate drop in spam volumes, with email security firm IronPort claiming spam levels fell by about 66 percent for the 24 hour period ending Tuesday. Unfortunately, the drop isn't expected to last.
"We're seeing a slow recovery," said Nilesh Bhandari, product manager with IronPort. "We fully expect this to recover completely, and to go into the highest ever spam period during the upcoming holiday season."
Classmates.com user Anthony Michaels must have felt like he really left an impression on his former friends from school. After all, the social network service was emailing Michaels to let him know his past acquaintances were viewing his profile and trying to get in touch in with him, only he'd need to upgrade his membership to find out who and to be able to email these individuals. Fair enough, he thought, but after dropping $15 on a Gold Membership, Michaels claims the whole thing was a scam and in fact no one from his past was either viewing his profile or trying to contact him.
"Upon logging into his Gold Membership profile in order to view the classmate contacts … Plaintiff discovered that in fact, no former classmate of his had tried to contact him or view his profile," the complaint reads. "Of those www.classmates.com users who were characterized ... as members who viewed Plaintiff's profile, none were former classmates of Plaintiff or persons familiar with or known to Plaintiff for that matter."
Sad for Michaels? Yes. But did Classmates.com break any laws? Several, according to the San Diego resident's lawsuit, in which Classmates.com is being accused of intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, fraudulent concealment, and violation of California business and professions code. Not to mention being a meanie head.
The suit alleges that there are hundreds of thousands of users just like Michaels who have been tricked into purchasing a membership to Classmates.com. The lawsuit asks the court to both refund millions in subscription feesand fine the company for its alleged deceptive advertising.
Does this lawsuit have merit? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Sharp, LG, and Chunghwa have each agreed to plead guilty to a price-fixing conspiracy related to LCD display panels and will pay $585 million in criminal fines, the Justice Department said. The plea agreements were filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California.
"These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of America consumers who use computers, cell phones, and numerous other household electronics every day," said Thomas Barnett, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Justice Department n Washington.
The extent of the losses as a result of the alleged price fixing conspiracy remains unknown, but Barnett said he expected to outline the damages at the time of sentencing. According to the Justice Department, LG Phillips, who plead guilty to participating a conspiracy from 2001 to 2006 to set LCD panel pricing worldwide, will be hit the hardest and ordered to pay $400 million. That ranks as the second highest criminal fine ever imposed for price fixing.
Sharp will pay $120 for its alleged role in three separate conspiracies with unnamed partners who sold price-fixed panels to Dell for monitors and laptops, Motorola for Razr phones, and Apple for use in iPods. Chunghwa will pay $65 for participating with LG and other unnamed co-conspirators.
The Justice Department warned that the investigation is ongoing, meaning more charges could be brought against individuals from each firm or from other firms.
Wrath of the Lich King may barely be ripe for the picking, but Blizzard's already hard at work on its next attempt at supplanting real life. Blizzard COO Paul Sams recent spoke with VG247 about the second generation of its MMO monarchy, and long-time WoW players will be both happy and relieved to hear that this game certainly isn't WoW 2.0.
“We want to create a great game,” Sams said. “Something that’s cool, and new, and different, and kind of next generation in terms of look and feel and gameplay. That’s a challenging endeavour.”
But as a dab of disappointment for WoW players' flagon of infinite joy, the new Blizzard MMO is still deep in the grimy pits of development, with no release date in sight.
“We’re definitely at the beginning, in the first half of development,” Sams continued.
“When we’re building a new game from the ground up, what happens is that it’s slow going for the first bit, while the team goes round and round and round figuring out how it’s going to look and feel, what the player experience is and what the differentiators are, and then the speed at which we then bring in the content and polish and actually get to the finish line…"
"I think the second half of the process is always substantially faster than the first half of product development,” he added.
Find out why it'll be quite some time before Blizzard gives fans an eyeful of its new MMO after the break.
Hitachi’s latest, the Travelstar 5K500.B mobile hard drive is next in line to offer built-in data encryption. With the increasing popularity of this trend, the big H has also managed to make it relatively easy to encrypt any valuable data you might have laying around. Thanks to a private security key, the user can encrypt and decrypt data as they see fit.
The new drives also include TCG Storage Security, which supports pre-boot authentication, and up to four different data ranges with multiple user and administrative authentication options.
And while the data encryption options are certainly nice, what really ices the cake is the drastically lowered power consumption. Using only 1.4 watts during various read/write processes, the drive will only consume 10% of the power that an average 3.5” 500GB drive does.
The Travelstar is reportedly going to be shipping worldwide in December, with an enterprise focused version designed for applications that run 24x7 shortly after.
InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy has put Windows 7's Milestone 3 pre-beta build 6801, a freebie from last month's Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference, through a variety of benchmark tests, and isn't all that impressed:
As I reported on my Enterprise Desktop blog, the more I dug into Windows 7, the more I saw an OS that looked and felt like a slightly tweaked version of Windows Vista.
Just as slow as Vista...Just as consumer-focused as Vista...Just as confusing as Vista...
Kennedy cites these similarities:
The number of execution threads in key subsystems is almost the same in Windows 7 as in Vista
Benchmarks of Windows 7 and Vista Ultimate SP1 using the DMS Clarity Studio tools suite show almost identical results
Similar amounts of RAM are used by Windows 7 and Windows Vista
From these facts and visual similarities between Windows 7 and Vista, Kennedy concludes:
Bottom line: So far, Windows 7 looks and behaves almost exactly like Windows Vista. It performs almost exactly like Vista. And it breaks all sorts of things that used to work just fine under Vista. In other words, Microsoft's follow-up to its most unpopular OS release since Windows Me threatens to deliver zero measurable performance benefits while introducing new and potentially crippling compatibility issues.
Is Kennedy right, or is he missing a big difference between Windows 7 and its predecessor? For my take, join me after the break.
Nearly a quarter century ago, a young, pinup version Bill Gates released Microsoft’s first operating system, Windows. While the announcement was made in 1983, and the boxes wouldn’t see store shelves until 1985, Gates’ debut at New York’s Helmsley Palace Hotel was a notably ambitious one.
Gates stated that his fledgling operating system would be powering 90% of IBM’s computers by 1984. This didn’t come true initially (read: missed release date by a year), but it has managed to come to fruition as a number that’s near Windows’ market share today.
While Windows 1 was a short-lived ride, being made obsolete only two years later by Windows 2, it was a great start for Microsoft. Using a brand new graphical interface, it certainly made an impact on computing, as we know it today.
After banning the troops from YouTube in 2007 for bandwidth and security issues, the Military is attempting to turn a quagmire into something positive.
The attempt, better known as the US Military’s new video sharing site, aptly named TroopTube, is already up and running. Potential members can register as a member of one of the three braches of the armed forces, a family member, or a civilian. Once registered, users can upload personal videos. But instead of being simply processed, this time the video is screened by a Pentagon employee to ensure that there isn’t anything naughty.
“A lot of people are excited … to be doing something for the people who make sacrifices,” said Alex Castro, the Chief Executive on the project. “We're proud of this.”
PC builders continue to jump for joy at the rock bottom prices of memory, leading to an easy decision to go with a 4GB kit in lieu of a 2GB kit of RAM. Never has memory been so cheap, and some say the market for memory makers is the worst it has been in 15 years.
And therein lies the problem. While end users are celebrating low prices, DRAM makers have been cutting back production, reducing workers' hours, and laying off employees all in an attempt drive prices back up and cope with decreased revenue. But it isn't enough, and now it appears that memory makers have reached a crossroads.
"We believe that the DRAM industry has entered the key adjusting stage of 'reduce or retire,'" DRAMeXchange stated. "The big scale reduction is now in progress and even some DRAM vendors will be out of the DRAM market in 2009. This adjusting wave will continue until the demand and supply come to balance."
According to DRAMeXchange, the cash cost of the market's 70nm technology is between $1.3 and $1.5 and is expected to drop to $1.0 to $1.2 as DRAM makers migrate to the 6x nm process. Total 12-inch wafer output continues to fall, with the reduction for November expected to be 125,000 less wafers, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the total 12-inch wafer output. The situation looks to get even worse in December, with another 17,000-wafer reduction expected, with more reductions possible in January.
"We expect the oversupply situation will be eased starting from the end of Q1 2009," DRAMeXchange said. "Therefore, the DRAM price may have a chance to rebound at the end of Q2 09 and Q3 09 with the rising demand of PC OEMS."
The question is, which memory makers will be left standing by then?
Pocket-sized HD camcorders appear to be all the rage lately, and Pure Digital looks to answer the question of 'how small can you go' with its new Flip Mino HD. From the same maker of the Flip Video, Pure Digital's new camcorder checks in at just 3.3-ounces, which the company claims is the "world's smallest HD camcorder."
"Consumers have embraced Flip Video because it delivers on the promise of making video simple, affordable, and fun," said Jonathan Kaplan, Pure Digital's chairperson and CEO. "Flip Mino HD, along with FlipShare software, now make it easy for anyone to capture and share their stories in stunning HD quality."
We'll reserve judgment on the quality of its HD video, but at least on paper, the Flip Mino comes prepared to shoot up to 60 minutes of 720p HD content. Other notable specs include a 1.5-inch anti-glare LCD display, one-touch recording with 2x digital zoom, touch-sensitive buttons, 4GB of internal memory, integrated video publishing to YouTube, MySpace, and AOL Video, and the ability to capture still photos from video.