Day: October 15, 2011
In this episode:
* Australian bomb hoaxer tracked via information hedidn’t intend to share.
* UK bank account holders ripped off via data theydid intend to share.
* An educational look at ATM skimming.
* Twitter edges towards HTTPS by default.
* Google agrees to cough up an enormous fine.
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Millions of BlackBerry owners around the world have been feeling the pain this week as messaging and email systems collapsed in a service outage.
With many turning to social networks to vent their anger, and even newspaper cartoonistsmaking fun of the situation, bosses at Research in Motion (RIM) have clearly been feeling the heat.
RIM founder Mike Lazaridis has appeared on video explaining that although services are “approaching normal BlackBerry service levels in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa” the company can not give an estimated time for systems to have recovered globally.
Lazaridis has also warned that there could be more instability to come. Clearly BlackBerry users aren’t entirely out of the woods yet.
Things aren’t helped, of course, when nonsensical BlackBerry-related hoax messages are spread. A message has been distributed via BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) claiming that users have to forward the message to all of their contacts, or else their BlackBerry account will be disabled.
Broadcast this message to every single contact on your BBM to reset your display picture, sorry for any inconvenience. This message is to inform all of our users, that our servers have recently been really full, so we are asking for your help to fix this problem. We need our active users to re-send this message to everyone on your contact list in order to confirm our active users that use BlackBerry Messenger, if you do not send this message to all your BlackBerry Messenger contacts then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts Symbol will automatic update in your BBM ,when you broadcast this message. Your blackberry will be updated within 24 hours it will have a new lay out and a new color for chat.
Of course, the message is nonsense – and it should not be forwarded.
If you need some cheering up, and want a more humorous take on a blackberry not working, check out this sketch by British comedy veteran Ronnie Corbett:
Update: RIM is now reporting that its services are “fully restored.” The BBCreports that at a press conference, RIM said they would begin a full investigation into what went wrong and caused the biggest crash in the company’s history. SRC
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Occupy Wall Street has an IT department. The movement’s technologists, like their park-squatting counterparts, are a decentralized group. But they’ve independently started hackathons this weekend in New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Even before the first protester showed up at Wall Street on Sept. 17, a group of people had started working on the movement’s technology components . The so-called Internet working group has held meetings that covered how to edit the site openly, how to run the Twitter account and what server space to use. It’s not necessarily the most organized operation, but it’s becoming more so.
“I think we’re going to see a few people leading the helm really soon and saying this is what we need, this is what we’re working on right now,” says Occupy Together NYC Hackathon creator Andrew Gwozdziewycz, who is a casual member of several listervs that discuss the movement’s technology needs. “So far that doesn’t seem to be happening yet. … They are taking over the main website and centralizing control of it.”
Meanwhile, hackathoners like Gwozdziewycz are hoping to build better technologies that aid the movement and its on-the-ground protesters. He, for instance, plans to build a group messaging app that sends text messages to groups members that are in a similar location.
“Right now they’re using the people’s microphone to broadcast the fact that there’s a working group meeting at the library,” Gwozdziewycz says. “And that’s a lot of noise for no reason when people could be coordinating on their phone.”
A hackathon at Meetup headquarters on Friday aims to build programs that aid the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Gwozdziewycz is a Meetup employee and is hosting the hackathon at the group meeting platform’s Broadway-Avenue office on Friday. About a dozen hackathon participants are there working on communication platforms, media aggregation tools or even, in one case, a “distributed decision making platform.” Aaron Williamson is working on an ongoing project that aims to preserve privacy online. He, like most of the people who are running and participating in the Occupy Wall Street hackathons, has not been very involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests.
“Honestly I haven’t even gotten down to the movement,” he says, “mostly because I have a full-time job.”
“I don’t really know a whole lot about what is going on down there,” says Cameron Cundiff, who was thinking about building a tool that could sort which Tweets are most relevant to protest activities. “I’ve only seen what I’ve been able to gleen in popular forms, but I wanted to learn more and I also think it’s an interesting design challenge because you don’t want to screw that up, helping someone who is under pressure and the risk of being arrested. It gives you constraints that are pretty hard.”MORE
California’s governor has chosen a day to dub as Steve Jobs Day: Oct. 16, the same date Apple will hold a memorial at Stanford University.
In a tweet sent to his more than 1 million followers Friday night, Gov. Jerry Brown said, “This Sunday will be Steve Jobs Day in the State of California.”
Jobs died Oct. 5 and was buried two days later during a small private funeral. Since his passing, the world — including U.S. President Barack Obama, Microsoft’s Bill Gatesand Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — has mourned his passing and celebrated his achievements.MORE
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The death yesterday of the technologist and inventor Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, has roused a torrent of tributes from friends, colleagues, politicians and even his firm’s regular adversaries in the patent courts.
Jobs was an unstinting promoter of technology that is both easy and compelling to use, and famously intolerant of any product ideas that got in the way of that basic tenet. From the Macintosh computer to the iPod, iPhone and iPad, his insistence on usability at all costs has made Apple the watchword for friendly tech: as his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the BBC.
“He knew what made sense in a product,” said Wozniak.
The White House concurs.
“By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible but intuitive and fun,” US president Barack Obamasaid today.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, Jobs’s 1980s rival who later invested in Apple when it hit trouble, described working with him as “an insanely great honour”. “The world rarely sees someone who made such a profound impact.”
At movie studio Pixar, chief creative officer John Lasseter said: “Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of computer-animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply, ‘Make it great’… He will forever be part of Pixar’s DNA.”
Another firm Jobs founded, Next Computer, released a powerful, multimedia-enabled UNIX workstation in 1990 – and it was the machine on which Tim Berners-Lee wrote the software behind the world wide web. In a web posting, Berners-Lee reveals just what a user-friendly machine the Next machine was. “A big thing Steve Jobs did for the world was to insist that computers could be usable rather than totally infuriating,” he says.
Tributes to Jobs continue to pour in – including one from Samsung, a firm with which Apple is currently embroiled in a bitter patent lawsuit.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs had a liver transplant in 2009 – and in gratitude to the young donor, who had been killed in a motorbike accident, he afterwards urged that everyone should consider joining organ donor programmes.SRC