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'Weak passwords' blamed for the fake zombie EAS message that went out Monday

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 9:03 pm

Proving that everyone is susceptible to weak passwords, the hoax zombie alert that went out across multiple stations' emergency alert system is being blamed upon the stations not changing the default password to the system. This allowed the still-unnamed prankster to hack into the system and send out the fake alert.




Most people weren't too concerned with the fake alert. In fact, it seems that the stations are more concerned with the fact that the system was able to be compromised. According to Cynthia Thompson, station manager for Michigan's ABC 10 affiliate, "the nature of the message Monday night was not necessarily dangerous, but the fact that the system was vulnerable to outside intrusion IS a danger."


If the prankster had wanted to cause more panic, a fake terrorist attack message or natural disaster message would have likely proved more effective. This is where the real concern comes into play as someone wanting to cause real issues could display a message such as that. Reportedly two products from one of the main EAS vendors is susceptible to compromise even after the default password has been changed.

Ubuntu Mobile OS developer preview to be released on February 21, will be compatible with Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 8:30 pm

Ubuntu Mobile OS will be made available for developers to install on their Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 devices on February 21. The new mobile operating system by the creators of the Ubuntu Linux distribution will be compatible with those two devices and Canonical will be at Mobile World Congress flashing compatible devices for users who want to check it out.




The new operating system is sleek. This is partly due to the fact that the OS will be launching without an app store, something that seems like it would make the operating system dead on arrival. However, Canonical says they are looking at going after users who want to use a core set of applications.


Come February 21, we should start seeing more information about the operating system including more hands-on time and thoughts regarding how it works.

SpaceTT: Asteroid 2012 DA14 to make closest pass to Earth today at 2:24 PM US EST - hope it doesn't screw with us

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 7:01 pm

Asteroid 2012 DA14, a chunk of space rock roughly the size of a football field, will make the closest pass to Earth ever recorded of a previously known object. At around 2:24 PM US EST the asteroid will pass Earth within 17,200 miles of our atmosphere.




This close pass comes hot on the heels of an unrelated massive meteorite exploding over Russia yesterday. The meteorite passed over a remote part of Russia and exploded over the town of Chelyabinsk, and injured 500 people when its shock wave shattered the glass in surrounding buildings. You can hear the massive explosion in the video below.



NASA scientists say that the two events are most likely unrelated, and there is zero chance of Asteroid 2012 DA14 hitting Earth. Those interested will be able to observe tonight's flyby by watching a series of webcasts being held by NASA and broadcast on (Source #2). Personally I will be outside with my 10" Schmidt Newtonian telescope trying to get a fleeting glimpse of the object.

Continue reading 'SpaceTT: Asteroid 2012 DA14 to make closest pass to Earth today at 2:24 PM US EST - hope it doesn't screw with us' (full post)

GameStick Android-powered gaming console pre-orders available now

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 6:11 pm

The highly anticipated Android powered GameStick is now available for pre-order through GameStick's online store for $79 today. The base price will land you the USB drive sized GameStick as well as a single Bluetooth controller.




The online store which appears to be powered by is also offering up a multi-functional docking station which is used to wirelessly charge the controller and also serves as an additional external storage device for the GameStick. The dock can be had for a mere $24.99 and includes an Ethernet port, HDMI port and three USB ports.


PlayJam, the creators of the GameStick, already finished up a very successful Kickstarter campaign to the tune of $647,658 back in the beginning of this month. The company says that they are working with more than 250 developers to bring you a wealth of games configured just for the device.

Microsoft to force all Windows Live / MSN Messenger users over to Skype starting April 8th

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 5:07 pm

We have been hearing rumors of Microsoft's plans to transition users of its MSN / Live Messenger service over to Skype for a while now, and today it appears that we have an official date. The transition will begin taking place on April 8th of this year.




The upgrade will target English users first and then trickle down to the rest of the world, over the rest of the month. This news comes shortly after a confusing email which alluded to all Live Messenger services shutting down on April 15th, which is not true.


"The upgrade process itself has been going really well, we've had millions of customers move over", said Skype's Parri Munsell. The transition process begins when existing Live Messenger users are greeted with an upgrade notification. The upgrade will prevent users from signing in to the messaging service using the existing Live Messenger application. Microsoft is pre-caching existing machines with the Skype installer so that the upgrade will appear seamless.

Limited Edition Sega-branded notebooks hit the shelves in Japan

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Laptops | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:47 pm

Ex-console manufacturer Sega has teamed up with Japanese retailer Enterbrain to release some nostalgic Sega branded notebooks that will be sold for a limited time in Japan. The laptops feature removable lids that mimic classic Sega gaming consoles.




The lids showcase design elements as well as logos from Sega's popular Saturn, Dreamcast, Mega Drive, with a fourth sporting the Sega logo and a bright blue paint job. Before you get your hopes up, the laptops will not come loaded with classic Sega games, but will include exclusive wallpapers and custom sounds. The themed lids can also be purchased separately, so you can change out your retro experience at will.


The laptops come in four flavors of hardware specifications: Light, Standard, High-Spec and Premium. The Light version sports a 2.5GHz Intel Processor and 4GB of RAM, while the Premium version includes a 2.4GHz i7, 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA 650M. All four levels include Windows 8, 15.6" HD screen and USB 3.0.

Artists point fingers at CBS and CNET for rise in BitTorrent popularity and Piracy

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 2:59 pm

Billionaire FilmOn founder Alki David, along with a number of film and music artists, are accusing CBS and CNET for the rise in piracy through BitTorrent programs. The accusations are based on the fact that provides BitTorrent programs for download as well as giving each program a review.




In the past year, David and his unnamed group of artists have achieved several minor victories in court with one judge stating that can be held liable as they distribute and promote torrent clients through review ratings. He said that the review, if favorable, was encouraging the use of said software.


CNET's counter claims that BitTorrent is also used to distribute unique content that is approved by the creator. According to the artists, this is irrelevant. The plaintiffs go on to state: "The fact that other entities such as the torrent publisher or a torrent website like the Pirate Bay might be jointly and severally liable for this infringement does not affect CBSI's inducement."

LeakedTT: HTC One (formerly M7) smartphone photo leaked, much clearer than previously released video

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 2:19 pm

A few days ago I wrote about the latest video from HTC that showcased some nice lens flairs along with a few fuzzy shots of the upcoming HTC M7 smartphone, now known as the HTC One. We really didn't get much from the video other than a blurry metallic looking edge shot and some indication of a white case.




The website UnwiredViews has just posted a full picture of the upcoming flagship smartphone device from HTC. The model leaked in the photo shows a black case instead of white, and it is hard to tell if the metallic edging is still there. Nonetheless, the new HTC One looks sexy.


An impressive list of hardware backs up those good looks as well. The HTC One will feature a 4.7-inch screen with a pixel density of 468 pixels per inch, a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU and a 13Mp rear camera. Sources have confirmed that the HTC One will launch on ATT, Sprint and T-Mobile on March 22nd with Verizon getting theirs later. MSRP is $199 with a two-year contract.

Facebook wins case over Real Names policy in Germany, body set to appeal stating privacy concerns

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 2:01 pm

Last year I reported on the German Data Protection Body, Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz ULD, ruling that Facebook's Real Name policy violated German data protection laws. This was a major blow to Facebook's long standing policy of users only being able to create profiles with their real name.




Today a German court ruled that the data protection laws aren't applicable as Facebook has its European headquarters in Ireland. The court said that only Irish data protection laws could apply. Not one to back down, the ULD says that it is planning an appeal, and still believes that the method of forcing users to use their real name breaks privacy laws.


The head of the ULD, Thilo Weichert, said that the ruling was "more than amazing," and "contradictory". Personally I have no issues with Facebook requiring me to use my real name. If I do not want my real name used, I do not have to use the social network.

Continue reading 'Facebook wins case over Real Names policy in Germany, body set to appeal stating privacy concerns' (full post)

Rhino Shield acts like a power up for Gorilla Glass, makes it up to five times stronger

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 12:34 pm

If you thought Corning's Gorilla Glass was strong, it can still lead to cracked displays, which means there's always room for someone to make improvements here and there. This is exactly what two students from Cambridge University have done.




The students' product supposedly boosts the impact resistance of Gorilla Glass by up to five times, their product is called Rhino Shield, and is a new screen protector you install on top of your smartphone's display. Rhino Shield features a specific blend of patent-pending polymer, which gives your device more protection from shock, scratches and fingerprints.


There are countless other screen protectors on the market, but the developers assert that Rhino Shield is unique thanks to its impart dispersion and dampening layers that help diffuse blows against the device.

Continue reading 'Rhino Shield acts like a power up for Gorilla Glass, makes it up to five times stronger' (full post)

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