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Former HostGator employee allegedly installed backdoor on over 2,700 servers

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 6:30 pm

This morning TechSpot broke news that during 2011 and 2012 over 2700 servers hosted with HostGator were compromised when an employee installed backdoors on the machines. Prosecutors say that 29 year old Eric Gunnar Gisse of Texas was responsible for the inside hacking.




Gisse was employed by the company between September of 2011 and February 2012 as a medium level systems administrator. HostGator says that Gisse went to great lengths to hide the backdoor as a common Unix admin tool, which he renamed "pcre", which is a common system file.


No evidence was presented as to whether or not Gisse ever used the backdoor to access any of the servers remotely, but as the meme goes, "One simply does not install a backdoor onto 2700 servers without the intent to use them."


Gisse is scheduled to be arraigned next month. It's unclear if he has entered a plea as of this writing. He is being held on $20,000 bond at the Harris County Jail in Houston, TX.

SpaceTT: Mars One officially announces astronaut search for one-way trip to Mars

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 5:31 pm

This afternoon Mars One officially announced the opening of its search and application process for the first manned mission to the planet Mars. Mars One is looking for two men and two women from different nationalities to man a one-way trip to Mars in 2023.




The trip to Mars is not for the light hearted, or those who are not willing to give up everything they have known. "While it is possible that, within the lifetime of the early settlers on Mars, there will be opportunity to bring one or more back to Earth, it cannot be anticipated nor expected", reads part of the mission briefing on the website.



While I fully support this endeavor, and am immensely excited about humans leaving the planet Earth and populating another world, I still feel that a colonization mission is nothing more than suicide and will remain so until we develop a form of terraforming that would render the Martian atmosphere more hospitable for human life. I think a more technology appropriate approach would be for an orbital mission where we send explorers on a mission to orbit the planet before returning home.

Continue reading 'SpaceTT: Mars One officially announces astronaut search for one-way trip to Mars' (full post)

Google hit with $190,000 in fines over illegal WiFi snooping via Street View cars

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 4:32 pm

Google has been using its Street View cars to snoop WiFi for years and today Germany has said enough is enough. The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection has just hit the search giant with a fairly large fine of $190,000.




While that fine may seem astronomical to us, Google will treat it as nothing more than a pin-prick in its deep pocketed leather skin. The fine comes three years after an investigation in which Google was found guilty of pulling WiFi data from open networks that were discovered by its Street View cars.


Personal data including emails, passwords and pictures were all recorded, but Google says that all of the data has since been deleted. While I see where this invasion of privacy is a big deal, with more and more people using Gmail, Google+, Google Drive and Android, Google already has all of our private data stored on its servers anyway.

Acer alludes to "revolutionary new notebook" in Star Trek Into Darkness teaser

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Laptops | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 3:34 pm

This morning Acer launched a new teaser video that featured glimpses of a new "revolutionary notebook" that appears to have some sort of uni-hinge design that allows the screen to flip over. The teaser is paired up with a Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, and quite well I might add.



The video concludes with a link to Acer's "Explore Beyond Limits" website which features two more Star Trek / Acer product integrated teaser videos as well as some high resolution desktop wallpapers. The new laptop looks interesting and you can expect full coverage on the device at Acer's launch event on Friday May 3rd.

Continue reading 'Acer alludes to "revolutionary new notebook" in Star Trek Into Darkness teaser' (full post)

LeakedTT: Specifications surface on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan LE and Titan II video cards

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 2:47 pm

This morning rumors of two new NVIDIA GeForce Titan GPU's have made their way to our ears. Website is reporting that NVIDIA is planning to launch two revisions of its flagship Titan GPU, the Titan LE and Titan II.




The new models will bring the Titan lineup to three different units that all share the same GK110 processor with the Titan LE being a slightly underclocked model, that uses marginal chips that didn't make the grade for full-fledged Titan performance. The LE will feature 2,495 CUDA cores across 208 texture mapping units, 5GB of GDDR5, and a peak power consumption rate of 190W, according to the leak.


The GTX Titan II is an upgraded model to the now famous GTX Titan and unlocks more of the GK110's power than the stock Titan. The Titan II name is said to change to Titan Ultra on launch and will feature 2,880 CUDA cores across 256 texture mapping units. Clock speed is boosted to 950MHz with RAM staying the same as the stock Titan at 6GB.


NVIDIA did not have any comments on the rumors.

Apple to post record sales numbers amidst first profit loss in 10 years

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 2:15 pm

It has been an awesome year so far for Apple if you only look at their sales numbers, but if you take a step back and let the entire picture come into focus you will see that things are not looking so good for the once largest company in the world.




This year we have already seen Apple's stock drop below $400 from a record high of over $700, a difference of 44-percent. While Apple is expected to post its strongest second quarter sales in its history, the company will report its first decline in profits in over ten years.


Analyst are forecasting iPhone sales of around 35 million units during the first quarter of 2013 with iPad sales in the 17 million range. Mac sales are hovering around 4 million units. Apple is expected to report that the gross margin on these products to be around 47.4-percent which is much higher than the expected 37.5-percent the company was hoping for.

Continue reading 'Apple to post record sales numbers amidst first profit loss in 10 years' (full post)

Microsoft to resurrect the Windows Start button in Windows 8.1

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 1:31 pm

When Microsoft killed the start button with Windows 8, many long time users were appalled, and cried foul. This morning the Verge is reporting that we will see a reappearance of the start button in the Windows 8.1, but don't get too excited yet.




If you were hoping for a start menu along with the revived start button, you will be sadly disappointed, the new start button is essentially a reskinned copy of the charm that appears when you mouse over to the right hand side of the desktop. Clicking the new start button will open the live tile interface.


News of this addition comes shortly after the announcement that Windows 8.1 will include a "boot to desktop" mode that will let users log directly into the desktop interface and forgo ever having to look at live tiles again.

Continue reading 'Microsoft to resurrect the Windows Start button in Windows 8.1' (full post)

Western Digital now offering their SAS-based Xe drives in 3.5-inch form factor

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Storage | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 12:00 pm

Western Digital have just unveiled their latest storage device, a new 3.5-inch SAS-based solution for legacy data center storage systems. The release of their WD Xe, a 2.5-inch, 10,000 RPM, SAS-based HDD, is now available in a 3.5-inch WD performance adapter.




The new drive is shipping immediately, offering best-in-class performance, low power consumption, and a simple upgrade path for existing 3.5-inch storage systems. WD have cited the slowing demand for 3.5-inch, high-performance enterprise-class drives, but there is still a need for an alternate high-performance device as a transitional solution for legacy systems.




WD's 3.5-inch SAS WD Xe drive arrives with a SATA 6Gbps standard, and a sequential data rate of 204MB/sec. The 3.5-inch SAS drive can deliver up to 67% lower power versus 3.5-inch 15,000 RPM drives, which dramatically reduces cost and heat output. The new WD Xe SAS drives will arrive in 300GB, 600GB and 900GB and are priced from $229.99 to $599.99.

Continue reading 'Western Digital now offering their SAS-based Xe drives in 3.5-inch form factor' (full post)

Facebook are building their latest data center in Iowa

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 10:34 am

It looks as though Facebook are the ones behind the huge data center construction project which is taking place in the town of Altoona, Iowa. This new data center will be the fourth company-owned data center.




The remaining three are in Prineville, Ore., Forest City, N.C., and Lulea, Sweden. The news comes from a report in the Des Moines Register, who says the data center will span 1.4 million square feet. There's no news on whether the social network would see any tax breaks or incentives for building in Iowa.


Facebook are also said to want some tax credits for using wind power, something that will require a vote by the state legislature. State officials have been quiet about the whole ordeal, but there was some large competition between Iowa and Nebraska to win the deal.

Nintendo's digital sales are 'soaring' according to Nintendo executive

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 22, 2013 9:24 am

According to Nintendo of America's chief executive, Reggie Fils-Aime, digital downloads are soaring. The executive adds that digital downloads are also becoming a "notable contributor" to Nintendo's bottom line, something he thinks will continue. Fils-Aime says:




We have 15 Nintendo-published titles available, both physically and digitally [on the 3DS]. So far in 2013, of those 15 available in this format, 11 percent of sales have come through full digital downloads of those games.


The Nintendo 3DS has been popular in the US, selling 8 million units in the first two years of being available. The Nintendo exec revealed that the 3DS smash hit Fire Emblem alone has seen digital sales of around 80,000 copies.