? Episode 299
 all tech radio show
 
 
  • Online dating has no shortage of superficiality. But there's superficial, and then there's BeautifulPeople.com -- a dating site where users rate the physical attractiveness of applicants and if the consensus is "ugly," the user isn't granted access. BeautifulPeople.com reported that due to a recent hack, some 30,000 "less than aesthetically pleasing" people had their profiles approved even though they weren't on par with existing registrants. The virus, which was supposedly perpetrated by a "disgruntled former employee," was given the name "the Shrek virus." So BeautifulPeople.com kicked them out -- or did they? Reading comments by the managing director of BeautifulPeople.com, Greg Hodge, to The Guardian, one can't help but assume that this hack is a PR campaign.
  • Here's a taste of Hodge's statements:
  • " When asked why he exiled the mistaken members, he said: "We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet."
  • " He claimed to feel "very sorry" for the "unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and believed, albeit for a short time, that they were beautiful."
  • " Hodge added that BeautifulPeople.com will set up a helpline with counselors to help the rejected cope with the discovery that they aren't as breathtaking as some dopey-eyed silver-haired foxes.
  • Another iPhone killer is coming to the market, but this one does have some neat new features. The Nexus 4G has all the bells and whistles of an iPhone but also has some new ones. Nexus 4G is expected to have 3D features, Open GL head tracking for facial expressions and sensing. Meanwhile, the open source OS can allow developers to sync up various devices ranging from remotes, controllers, to bikes. This opens a huge door of opportunities for apps running on the next generation Nexus 4G.
  • Redbox launches its video game rental service. It offers seven unique titles for all platforms. The company promises to add more titles soon but the slots are limited. It costs $2.00 a night plus tax where applicable. To rent a video game from Redbox, you can either reserve a title from its web site or choose on the spot in front of the kiosk. Then just swipe your credit card and the game disk will pop out of the machine.
  • Apple's iPad 2 challenger Samsung's "thinner and lighter" Galaxy Tab 10.1 is now available with retailers in the U.S. The ultra-thin tablet from Samsung, which brings the goodness of Google's tablet-specific OS Android 3.0 or Honeycomb is on a 10.1-inch display. However, just as Galaxy Tab 10.1 potential customers get ready to lay their hands on the thinnest tablet, it is reported that Apple has upped its legal ante against Samsung. Apple has refurbished its earlier patent lawsuit filed against Samsung. The Cupertino company had filed a patent infringement case against Samsung in April, charging it of infringing patents related to the rectangular design of iPhone and iPad and the use of gestures on the touch-screen. The complaint included charges of patent encroachment.
  • Many regulators are fighting back against Facebook's facial recognition feature. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), in a complaint file to the FTC, called it a "biometric data collection" scheme that violates privacy and adversely impacts consumers. There are two major issues at hand. The first is user opt-in. Critics, including the Connecticut AG, contend that the feature should require "users to affirmatively consent." Currently, Facebook only provides options for users to opt-out. The second is the inherent "biometric data collection." EPIC points out that Facebook has the largest private database of labeled facial photographs. In all, EPIC thinks Facebook has 60 billion photos on over 500 million users around the world. The big question is if it's really a good idea for a private company to possess biometric data that can identity at least 500 million people from their faces.
  • A day after a pair of hacker groups promised to step up their attacks against government Web sites, one of them claimed to have knocked the U.K.'s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) offline. LulzSec today announced today that it had brought down SOCA. "Tango down -- soca.gov.uk -- in the name of #AntiSec," the group said on its Twitter account Monday around noon ET. LulzSec has claimed responsibility for a large number of recent database breaches and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, including against Sony and other gaming companies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Senate. "Welcome to Operation Anti-Security (#AntiSec)," the LulzSec statement read. "We encourage any vessel, large or small, to open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path. We fully endorse the flaunting of the word 'AntiSec' on any government website defacement or physical graffiti art." LulzSec also said it was joining forces with Anonymous, another hacking group that last December led attacks against companies that had withdrawn payment and hosting services from WikiLeaks.
  • Despite Apple's long-standing war of attrition over Flash, Adobe is making it easier for Flash and Flex developers to target Apple's mobile platform. The company announced on Monday that the latest versions of Flash Builder and Flex both support building apps for the iPhone and iPad in addition to supporting Android and RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook. Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 now include tools to specifically target the iOS platform. This builds on Flash CS5's ability to compile and package a Flash project into a "native" iPhone application. In particular, Adobe highlights the fact that Flex and Flash Builder can be used to develop apps for sale via Android Market, BlackBerry App World, and the iOS App Store "using one tool chain, programming language, and code base." Such a strategy may not have been possible had Apple stuck to its plans to ban non-native code from its mobile platforms. Before launching iOS 4, the company had revised its developer agreement to forbid using anything outside of Apple-supplied APIs written in Objective-C, C, or C++ in apps destined for the App Store. Amid furious protests, Apple eventually backed down and relaxed the restriction, allowing essentially any tool that generated native, executable code. Interpreted code could be shipped as part of a finished, signed binary, but downloading additional code would be verboten.
  • The Internet's governing body on Monday approved a plan to increase the number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs), which could significantly increase peoples' options when it comes to domain names. At this point, there are 22 gTLDs, including .com, .org, and .net. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), however, have approved a plan that would allow people to apply for new gTLDs, like .pcmag, for example. "Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors, said in a statement. "We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration." That creativity won't come cheap, however. Applicants must pay a $185,000 evaluation fee, with $5,000 upfront. They might also be required to pay even more "in certain cases where specialized process steps are applicable," in addition to business startup costs, ICANN said. ICANN will soon kick off a global campaign publicizing the new gTLD option, and will accept applications between January 12 and April 12. When the application period closes, ICANN will publish a list of all requested gTLDs, at which time people can file objections.
  • MTGox, the biggest Bitcoin exchange platform by volume, has temporarily shut down after a Sunday night breach resulted in the theft of nearly $9 million worth of Bitcoins. The breach caused the value of the nascent, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency to crash from $17.50 on Sunday night. The exchange will re-open on Tuesday morning, Japan time, at $17.50, MTGox owner Mark Karpeles wrote in a blog post. "Apart from this no account was compromised, and nothing was lost. Due to the large impact this had on the Bitcoin market, we will rollback every trade which happened since the big sale, and ensure this account is secure before opening access again," he wrote. Supposedly the database originated from a Hong Kong-based IP address, possibly belonging to one of the exchange's auditors whose computer system was compromised. A rival Bitcoin trading exchange founder says the MTGox crash points to the need to legitimize Bitcoin exchanges. "The currency works, the problem is with negligent exchanges," said Amir Taaki, co-founder of the London-based Bitcoin Consultancy and operator of an emerging Bitcoin exchange, Britcoin.co.uk.
  • Sega on Monday confirmed that a recent hack of its system affected almost 1.3 million customers. Hackers who infiltrated the Sega Pass system last week gained access to 1,290,755 customer accounts, which included Sega Pass members' names, email addresses, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords. "We express our sincerest apologies to our customers for the inconvenience and concern caused by this matter," the company said in a statement. "Sega Pass is the service used to provide information about our new products to registered members and does not hold any customer financial information." Sega said it checked its other services and "can confirm there are no other verified incidents." After the intrusion was detected, Sega took its Sega Pass service offline and "took emergency action to prevent further damage," the company said. "This action included immediately contacting all our registered SEGA Pass users. We are now fully investigating the cause of the incident." Sega promised that network security will be a "priority issue" going forward.

Email from listeners

  • Eve from Seattle asks "Will 3d damage my eyes?"