Day: June 14, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, IBM!

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IBM will celebrate its centennial anniversary this week by having up to 400,000 employees worldwide skip the usual office work in order to donate time to charitable causes and schools.

This “Celebration of Service” will take place on June 15, one day before the actual IBM anniversary.

Happy 100th Birthday, IBM!

IBMers are being encouraged to pick projects that use their technical skills — and some charitable organizations say they know exactly how they plan to put them to work.

Family Services of Westchester, for instance, expects two dozen IBMers to march into the not-for-profit private agency’s headquarters this week to work on programming a website and database.MORE

Steve Jobs Set To Become Comic Book Hero

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If you already have the Steve Jobs action figure, it’s possible that you’ve been lusting after an Apple-flavored comic book for a while now. Well, lust no longer.

This August, Bluewater Productions will be shipping a new comic book, Steve Jobs: Co-Founder of Apple, which will be on sale at comic book stores and via Amazon for $3.99.

According to CNET, the book will run 32 pages, and will detail Jobs’s “legendary drive to the top and his continuing fight to stay there.”

If you recall, Bluewater Productions also penned a comic book bio of Mark Zuckerberg — that one runs a whopping 48 pages.

Bluewater’s version of Job’s life isn’t the only tome about the entrepreneur set for release. iSteve: The Book of Jobs is slated for publication on March 6, 2012, and will be written by former Timemagazine and CNN boss Walter Isaacson. The book has the distinction of being an official biography, which is significant because Jobs is famously guarded about his private life.

We wonder how the two works will compare.

1,600 Michael Jackson Fans Come Together for Interactive Video

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1,600 Michael Jackson Fans Come Together for Interactive Video

Michael Jackson may have died almost exactly two years ago, but his legacy lives on — as evidenced by an epic crowdsourced music video out Tuesday from Jackson’s Estate, Sony Music and @radical.media.

“Behind the Mask” is a song off of Michael, an album that posthumously dropped in December and was teased extensively on both Jackson’s website and on Ping pre-release.

As you may recall, the “Behind the Mask” video project launched in March, at which time fans were asked to contribute dance moves, lyrics and crowd reactions to the video via a dedicated website. Using a split-screen template, fans could upload their clips at the exact moment that move, lyric or reaction occurred in the video. Together, all of these fan-sourced snippets were woven into one, cohesive video.

Back then, the team behind the video said that it would be released in April, but due to the overwhelming fan reaction — thousands of submissions from 103 countries — director Dennis Liu says it took a bit more time to churn out the final product.

Liu says that the range of submissions was truly staggering. “There was a flash mob from Russia that did a Michael Jackson dance that they created for the video. And on the smaller side, there was a girl who had taken a long time to draw MJ in the snow. It must have been freezing out. It wasn’t filmed brilliantly, but it really captured what the project is about,” he says.

Liu says that they also received tons of submissions from Japan after the earthquake in March. Many of them featured messages asking viewers to pray for Japan.

“There is no artist who has such an international reach as Michael Jackson,” says Liu. The final video includes 1,600 fans.

Liu and his team at @radical.media have been involved in a growing pool of interactive videos in the past year or so — from Arcade Fire’s HTML5 experiment, “The Wildness Downtown,” to the Grammy-nominated “Johnny Cash Project,” to the WebGL-packed “3 Dreams in Black.”

Still, unlike the aforementioned videos, “Behind the Mask” isn’t exactly interactive — at least in the sense that it doesn’t require a lot of clicking around to view.

“We’ve really been trying to push the technological boundaries of interactive music videos,” Liu says. “In terms of the tech aspect of it, I think the goal is to have interesting content that’s really watchable. You need to view it multiple times in order to see everything. I still think that’s a really interactive experience.”

The video premieres today on Jackson’s Facebook Page, but you can watch a preview HERE as well.

New MacBook Air Coming Late June [REPORT]

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A new version of Apple’s MacBook Air is coming in late June, Taiwan’s Economic Daily said, quoting sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The report does not bring any new specifics about the Air itself, but it says that Apple plans to sell 380,000 units of the new Air in the first shipment. This confirms (or recycles, if you will) an earlier report fromApple Insider that also claimed the new Air is coming by the end of June.

The Economic Daily also reintroduces rumors about the retina display on the iPad. Its sources claim that the next version of the device, expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2011, will have resolution five to six times higher than the iPad 2.

[via Reuters]

Turkey Arrests 32 Suspected Hackers After Protests Against Government Internet Filters

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Turkish police have arrested 32 people that they believe played a role in taking down government websites on Thursday.

A loosely affiliated group of hackers known as Anonymous attacked the websites in response to Internet filters that Turkey plans to implement in August, The Wall Street Journal reports. Government officials say the mandatory filters are intended to protect web users, but many consider the filters to be a censorship effort.

Websites claiming to represent Anonymous, which is known for launching coordinated cyberattacks oncorporate and government websites, announced plans to “fight” the Turkish government in response to the filters.

The 32 arrests were made on Sunday, the day of Turkey’s national elections, in 12 different cities. Eight of the people arrested were minors and one was a lawyer, according to Turkish news outlet Anadolu Ajansi.

Turkey isn’t the only country cracking down on hackers.

On June 10, police in Spain arrested three people described as members of Anonymous after they found evidence suggesting that the suspects were involved in attacks on numerous government websites, as well as the cyberattack that shut down Sony’s PlayStation Network for more than a month.

Nuance Talks to the Social Networks

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Responding to some people’s seemingly insatiable need to share their thoughts online, Nuance has updated its Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software so users no longer need to type to post updates to Facebook or Twitter.

“We’re seeing a strong user interest in interacting with social media sources,” said Peter Mahoney, Nuance senior vice president and general manager of Dragon.

The newly released Dragon 11.5 also allows the iPhone to be used as an input microphone.

First released in 1997, the Dragon line is one of the most widely used speech recognition software programs in use today. The company, which holds about 1,000 patents on speech recognition-related technology, offers the technology for personal, mobile and corporate use.

Version 11.5 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking comes with a number of updates that bring the software into the mobile and social-networking age.

For instance, the software comes with a set of widgets for entering status updates into Facebook and Twitter, via the user’s own voice.

With the Dragon software running, a user simply utters the command for the computer to open Facebook or Twitter. A widget appears, which will then transcribe the message the user subsequently intones. The user is given the opportunity to edit the message. Once editing is complete, the update will be posted to that user’s account.

“This makes it very easy to interact with social media in a very spontaneous way,” Mahoney said.

Another new feature is an optional iPhone app, available on the Apple iTunes store, that can turn the phone into a dictation machine.

The use of the iPhone will eliminate the need to buy an external microphone for the user’s computer. Dragon typically works by transcribing the user’s voice into text as the user speaks into a microphone attached to a computer (though it can also transcribe a known user’s voice on a digital recording). This app uses a Wi-Fi connection to convey the voice into the PC.

Version 11.5 comes with a number of other improvements and bug fixes as well. The user interface has been improved. Some additional improvements have also been made to accuracy of the speech recognition, following dramatic improvements that came with version 11, released last August, Mahoney said.

The software, available now, will cost US$99 for the basic home version, $199 for the premium home version, $599 for a professional edition and $799 for the version customized for the legal profession. Current users of Dragon version 11 will be able to download version 11.5 at no cost, beginning in a few weeks, Mahoney said.

Dad walks in on Daughter Facebook clickjacking attack helps scammers earn money

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Once again, scammers are running rings about Facebook’s built-in security measures by spreading a clickjacking scam between users’ accounts.

The latest attack poses as a link to a video of a dad walking in on his daughter.

Dad walks in on daughter.. embarrassing!

Dad walks in on Daughter.. EMBARRASSING!
[LINK]
This really must have been an awkward moment.

We’ve seen scams which use language like this before, of course, and sometimes they’ve been used to trick you into installing software onto your computer.

Interestingly, on this occasion, the image used in the messages is the same as that used in the recent “Baby born amazing effect” scam which has spread with similar ferocity in the last couple of weeks on the social network.

Clicking on this latest link takes users to a webpage, where it looks as though you need to press the “Play” icon to watch the video.

Dad walks in on daughter video

However, clicking the icon secretly tells Facebook that you “Like” the page (via the use of a clickjacking exploit), helping the scam to perpetuate.

Dad walks in on daughter survey

It will be no surprise at all to regular Naked Security readers that the scam is designed to drive traffic to online surveys – which earns commission for the scammers behind the attack.

When I tried it, the surveys claimed that I could receive a free iPad or MacBook or even a flat-screen television.

Dad walks in on daughter survey

If you’ve been hit by a scam like this, remove the messages and likes from your Facebook page – and warn your friends not to click on the offending links. Clearly there’s much more work which needs to be done by Facebook to prevent these sorts of messages spreading so rapidly.

If you use Facebook and want to learn more about spam, malware, scams and other threats, you should join the Sophos Facebook page where we have a thriving community of over 90,000 people.