Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Google Mobile App

I can't say I have been through a lot of Google updates with their mobile product, but their most recent update was quite amazing. You can see in the picture the notes that Google posted for the update. I can't help but laugh.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hackers Hit Time Magazine

Time magazine's website was hacked by an underground group of hacker punks earlier this week. The hacker group, known as Anonymous, has been behind other attacks against online entities. In one low blow, they put flashing pictures up on a forum for epilepsy. There attack against Time, changing the results of a poll to spell out "Marblecake also the game" with the first letter of each name, is the first that has been relatively harmless as far as hacker pranks go. It's good to see them starting to steer clear of their cruel jokes into lighter, more acceptable territory.

Check it out here.

Speaking of hacking, another attack was made against a fairly prominent web site last week. A major law firm who prosecuted the four men from Pirates Bay recently was recently vandalized by hackers as well. The MAQS law firm faced the wrath of the hacker community for putting away the notorious Pirate Bay operators. A denial of service attack was launched against there website, causing the server to crash. Although no lasting harm happened, the financial cost and labor required to fix it must be taken into account. Especially since it's the third attack against prosecutors of the Pirates Bay Crew.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Piractes Bay Update - Possible Mistrial?

Interesting turn of events in the Pirate Bay trial. Judge Tomas Norström, from Stockholm, who resided at the trial has recently come under fire from several of the "staff" members of Pirate's Bay. Norström is, apparently, a rather avid yay-copyright, nay-pirates kind of guy. He was part of two different copyright groups, which clearly could be basis for a conflict of interest. And we all know that conflict of interest in the courthouse is a very bad thing.

The decision should be made sometime within the next week or so, so I will try to keep you updated with what happens. To read Wired's coverage of the possible mistrial, go here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Hey everyone, I just wanted to apologize for the lack of posts I've had lately. Unfortunately my hard drive got eaten by a virus, so I don't have much computer access. I'm typing this post from a friends laptop because I don't want to leave you all in the dark for longer than I already have.

I hope to have my computer up and running again soon, but until then, keep your computers out of the way of evil, hungry little virus. Sorry again if any one actually reads this blog to see my posts... which is probably no one... :P

-Sum Deos

Friday, April 17, 2009

Apple Counts Up to 1 Billion

This is your chance to win a free MacBook Pro, 10,000 to the iTunes store, an iPod Touch, or a time capsule, completely free.

I mean, if you are one of the few people chosen to win that.  But you can sign up for free!  If you download an app from the app store (Free ones too), your iTunes account is automatically registered.  However, if you don't want to do that you can use the alternate form (found here) to sign up without an actual iPod touch or iPhone.  I don't get it either, but sign up quickly!

Knowing my terrible luck, I won't win.  Maybe you will!  (Here is the prize list, it looks like you get all of these:  Prizes.  One (1) winner will receive one (1) 17” MacBook Pro; one (1) iPod Touch 32GB; one (1) US$10,000 iTunes Gift Certificate; and an Apple Time Capsule. Total US Retail Value of all prizes is US$13,746.)

Sweden Makes Pirates 'Walk the Plank'

Ok, not really. But they have convicted some of the most notorious scoundrels ever to loot the cyber-sea's. Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom, and Peter Sunde, operators of The Pirate Bay have been found guilty of copyright infringement.

The pirate's arguments against their charges were simple. They gave an infrastructure of torrents, but never hosted any of the pirated materials themselves. What does this mean? Basically, Pirate Bay users kept all of their media files on their own computers, and allowed The Pirate Bay and its other users to access and download their stored files directly from personal computers. Torrenting is very popular amongst internet users, but this is the first time it has resulted in actual jailtime for the owners of the torrenting site.

This is going to b a political hotspot now. By convicting the Pirate Bay operators, the internet pirating community is going to be pretty pissed. It will be interesting to see how this develops, because Pirates don't go down that easily. We'll try to keep you posted on the important events concerning the Pirate Bay trial as they happen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little Known Fact

Mountain View, in California, home of Google, is completely covered with free Wifi.  I wonder how long it will take for the rest of the world to do the same.

The GDrive - What it Should Be

The rumors are coming out again.  Goolge is hinting, or playing us, with its new GDrive, or Google Web Drive.  You can find a lot of other resources telling you what it is, but a short recap may be in order.  The GDrive is Google's rumored drive that would allow you to store information "in the cloud."  In short, an online Hard Drive.  There are many other services that allow you to store information on the internet, such as Adrive.  However, the GDrive could be so much more.  While the rumors are still flying about, I might as well toss in my own 2 cents.

  • The GDrive should hold everything.  There are already some sources which say that the GDrive would hold music files, something that Google has stayed away from before.  GDrive should hold everything, that way there is no excuse to have your own Hard Drive.  Everything could be in the cloud.
  • Fast transfer rate.  Of course, this is obvious, but Google should never limit people in their download speed or upload speed.
  • Infinite Space.  Of course, infinite space would require some money, but Adrive offers 50 GB free, so Google should start out with at least that.
  • No file size limit.  Users are uploading and moving huge files.  Saving ISO's and movies that are 4 GB in size, or even as big as 10 GB.  There should be absolutely no limit on how big a file can be to be uploaded.
  • Remote booting.  This could be interesting.  Even if everything is "in the cloud," your computer still needs and Operating System.  Imagine a Google built OS that would be small, and would boot from a remote Hard Drive off in Google Land.  It would automatically connect to your own GDrive, and so you could save and work with programs.  You could install programs to your GDrive.  The GDrive would act as a "Network Drive" and the OS itself would never change.  This means your computer, hopefully, would remain virus free.
  • Access Everywhere.  Yes, everywhere.  On your cell phone, on your iPhone, on your computer, on your friend's computer, on that sketchy Hotel Computer that has 13 different viruses.  Everywhere.
  • File Sharing.  In one form or another, it will happen.  The GDrive should take this into account and allow files to be shared.  Perhaps this will make the MPAA and the FIAA really angry, but I think that Google could fight them off.
  • Music Streaming.  Why not?
These are just some ideas that Google should incoporate into their GDrive.  In general, it should be Free (up to a level) and really, really big.  

Firefox: The Ultimate Hacking Tool

Okay, Firefox is probably not the ultimate hacking tool, but in certain situations it does have a lot going for it. One such example is at my High School. It took them some odd two years to finally install Firefox on the school computers, and I often wondered why they were so hesitant. Now I may know.

At least at my school, the IT officials had IE pretty well locked down, even to the extent of reduced functionality. No tabs, no touching, no Options, no browsing local drives, almost nothing. However, they haven't done the same thing to Firefox yet, making it a much more powerful hacking tool.  You can change most of the options in Firefox, you can have tabs (thank God), and you can browse local drives.  What this means is I was able to browse around on the local C drive on the computers, which you usually don't have access to.  I was also able to poke around in a few other interesting places.  It was pretty simple, all I had to do was type in the Drive letter in the address bar I wanted to see like this:


And I was brought right there.  D drive and other drives were just as easy.  It was pretty awesome, try it out on your own computer!

Bluetooth for the iPod touch

According to a few different sources, the iPod touch will soon have Bluetooth capabilities. A long time ago, when hackers were still interested in taking apart the little gadget, they stumbled upon the Bluetooth reciever. Of course, at the time most people thought that it could only communicate with the Nike+iPod thingy.

However, this changes with the new 3.0 OS. The new operating system will unlock the iPod touch's Bluetoothing capabilities for everyone.

What does this mean? Well, not only does it allow for peer to peer connections and inter-iPod gaming, but there is a possibility that one could tether their iPod to their cell phone ( if both had Bluetooth) and get Internet through that. The ideas are endless.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

DIY Multitouch Computer

How many of us have been dieing to get our hands on one of those hardcore microsoft touchscreen tables just to futz around with it? I know I have wanted one. Unfortunately for me, however, I don't happen to have 12 grand lying around to pay for one. I'm sure I'm not the only one in that boat.

Have no fear though! The folks over at Maximum PC have managed to find a way to build a cost effective alternative to Microsoft's table. You'll have to have a look for yourself to see how the responsiveness of each table is, but in my opinion, for the price, you can't go wrong with Maximum PC's rendition.

Microsoft Surface:

Maximum PC DIY Surface:

Maximum PC's Multitouch Surface Computer from Maximum PC on Vimeo.

As you can see, Maximum PC's table works exceptionally well, and is soooo much cheaper than Microsofts. Maximum PC's table is made with fairly easy to obtain materials, and is actually simpler to build than one might think. If you are interested in building one for yourself, check out there article here. I know I'm taking notes so I can build one when I get to my college dorm :P.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vista and iTunes and Firefox

You know, I've noticed something.

Vista Sucks.

Okay, moving on.  I've actually noticed something else, and I am wondering if it is my computer, or if it actually is a bigger problem.  But when I am running Firefox and iTunes on Vista, Firefox constantly freezes, crashes, and glitches.  Yes, all of the above.  And it is every time, constantly.  If I close iTunes, the problem goes away.  If I close Firefox, the problem goes away.  If I run a different browser (I only have 4 others), the problem kind of goes away.  So I really do this is an issue with iTunes and my internet.  There have been reports earlier of iTunes network problems, but I never thought it would affect Firefox so badly.  So tell us, do you have a similar problem?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Conficker Payload Launched

So the mastermind of the April 1st Doomsday virus has finally delivered a payload to his zombie bot network of millions of computers. And how devastating an attack it is! Except not really. The new Conficker payload is fairly mundane, and certainly not worth the hype that was given to it.

Conficker has turned its zombie network into a giant spam network. The worm tries to get users to pay $49.95 for non-existent virus and malware removal tools. It is a very common use for virus's and worms. Conficker also downloads another worm that steals passwords and sends more spam through email accounts.

So, now that cyber dooms day has come and gone, all we have is a very sophisticated, top-notch spam bot network. Because sometimes, theres just not enough spam on the internet...

iTunes New Pricing Hierarchy

No more 99 cents per song at iTunes. As of 2 days ago, iTunes changed it's pricing system for songs. Now, instead of a nice 99 cents for every song you want, you have to pay 79 cents for older songs, $1.29 for new popular songs, and 99 cents for everything in between. Amazon and Wal-Mart quickly followed suit, as is only to be expected in the business world.

The music industry has been asking iTunes to change their pricing scheme for a while to motivate the sale of older songs as well as gaining a larger profit for newer songs. It's a good plan for getting more money for the artists, in theory. Too bad it ends up costing us more money for that new song we've absolutely got to have. I sense a rise in piracy in the future...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Britain: Land of the Hackers?

A recent survey conducted by Trend Micro, an Internet security firm, showed some disturbing results. The survey interviewed 1000 British children and adults about their "emorals", or their hacking ethics, and found that hacking is much more common than most people realize.

Apparently, 1 in 7 children aged 12 to 13 have posed as someone else online, and 40% of the interviewed kids have posed accessed someone else's social networking profile. And get this - another 40% have accessed someone else's online banking account without the owners knowledge or permission. And guess what? It's not only boys who are teh 1337 h4x0rs now. The survey found that girls are 3 times as likely as boys to use someone else's shopping and banking accounts.

Kids in Britain aren't the only problem. We all know that kid's learn from the influence of their parents. Well apparently 1 in 3 parents have ALSO hacked into someone else's online account. So much for a good influence.

So if you're computer or online account are hacked into, remember. It's the new generation of hackers that are being bread throughout the world. Lol, you have to love all the media hype about the underworld of the "hackers". aka - script kiddies. Moral of this post - watch your back, because someone out there is trying to break into your account. Moral of the story part B - what the media calls hackers are not really hackers. There crackers and script kiddies. It's a pet peeve of mine to see people like that compared to the real hackers out there.

The original story can be found here: Britain Breeding a Generation of Computer Hackers.

I suggest also that you look up the true meaning of a hacker. Learn the truth about these things - don't just accept what the media tells you about what a hacker is and does. Sorry that there's so many rants like this in this post, but like I said. It's a pet peeve of mine and I'm tired of people confusing hackers with all the different branches of cyber criminals out there.

Skype for iPod Touch - Is It Worth It?

Well, I say yes.

It started out with me buying a Skype subscription for unlimited calling in US and Canada.  This was shortly after I got my second generation iPod touch for my birthday, and was working on on turning in into an iPhone.  I had to buy headphones from the Apple store, and so I bought these. I used Fring at that point, and to my amazement, it worked!  I could make calls via my Skype account to the world.  However, there was quite a bit of lag, and that made it less than ideal.  So for a while I gave up.

But now, with the official Skype app out in the App store, I have returned to this idea.  So far, from what I have seen, it works well, but not as well as it could.  The Skype app does allow you to use subscriptions with it, not just Skype Credit.  This is a huge boon, because with a subscription comes voicemail and a cheaper online number.  The online nunber, once set up (which I have), means people can call you back, if you are in the Skype app.  However, you still cannot check your voicemail when you are in the Skype app.

I like the Skype app because it works with Backgrounder (thanks to an update to the Mobile Substrate), it has very little lag, and it has more in-call options.  The update by Saurik to Mobile Substrate is probably the most exciting thing for the Jailbroken community.  Because we can have Skype run in the background, that means we can recieve calls when not in the app itself.  This, combined with Keep Awake or Insomnia, means the iPod touch can almost be an iPhone.  I've had some trouble however, with the other person hearing me, but I can't hear them.  In Fring, I would just have to call them again and hope it worked - however, with the Skype application, 4 in call options come up, one of which is "Speaker."  I don't know why, but hitting that option generally gets ride of the wierd echo and allows me to hear them too.

Unfortunetly, you can't do some things which I would love to see.  You cannot check your voicemail yet, which would be the best new feature.  Having more integration with the contact list would be appreciated, but is not truly necessary.  Because Skype requires the +COUNTRYCODE, thing, it may be nice not to have integration so you wouldn't have to change all the numbers.

My last wish is for the Jailbroken community to start integrating this app with the iPhone OS.  It would be beautiful if it always ran in the background, and when you were connected to wifi, the wifi would never turn off so you could always recieve calls.  This integration would make it almost identical to official calling app in the iPhone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

conficker.c - Did it kill the internet?

Nobody panic! If you are reading this post, then rest assured that conficker.c did NOT kill or destroy the internet.

Indeed, I am typing this post on a still working internet, so clearly conficker.c didn't do what it was supposed to. Right?

Wrong. The conficker worm did exactly what it was supposed to do today. On April 1, 2009, conficker came "online" and called home very ET-like. The master computer, however, didn't have any commands for conficker worms out there except to stay put until they receive further instructions. The moral of the story? conficker may not have done anything noticeable today (although it did increase the random URL's from 250 to 50000 as we said it would), but it is all set up to do something at some point in the future. So if you have conficker Strain C, it would most definitely behoove you to get rid of it as soon as possible. If you want to check to see if you have conficker, simply go to Microsofts website and try to update your computer. Conficker's a nasty little bugger and will block you from updating your computer, so if you have trouble updating, use the conficker removal tool.

So I hope your all glad to know that your still safe from conficker for another day. You don't have to worry about a multimillion zombie-computer assault tonight, and probably not tomorrow either. After that, though, it's anyones guess...

Skype for iPhone and iPod Touch Is Here!

It's true!  It finally came on March 31, 2009.  The official Skype Application has landed in the Apple App store.  And while you can read what it includes almost anywhere, allow me to tell you once again.
  • Free Skype to skype calls
  • Calling Landlines, Mobile Phones, and other users!
  • IM built in.
  • Calling only works over Wifi, IM works anywhere
  • See who is online anywhere
While it sounds too goo to be true, there are a few things that should be noted.
  1. Some users are complaining about problems with the Skype application on their iPods or iPhones.  Well, yes, there actually is one.  If you jailbroke it.  The package installed upon Jailbreaking your iDevice "Mobile Substrate" causes Skype to crash repeatedly.  The solution?  Open Cydia and update Mobile Substrate.  Saurik already has a new version out which disables Mobile Substrate for Skype.  After updating that, your Skype application will work much better.  So go do it.
  2. Skype for iPhones doesn't work with subscriptions.  Wait... what?  Yeah, that is what I said.  You need to have Skype credit to call people, you cannot simply be using a subscription.  This is undoubtably a purposeful move done by Skype for business purposes, but it is still ridiculous I think.  Now, I need to get credit as well as my subscription?  Or should I just ditch the subscription?  But wait, there goes my voicemail, and money off the online number.  I seriously believe that Skype should rethink their decision and open the program up for their many subscription users.  Edit:  Within the last few hours I have gotten the application to work with my Unlimited US and Canada plan.  Make sure you type in the number correctly!
  3. EDITIt also appears that Skype cannot be run in the background using Backgrounder on a jailbroken phone.  I do not know why, and I am hoping there will be a workaround if this is true.
  4. Editing the Edit:  Saurik released a new update today that gets around Skype's DRM.  All Mobile Substrate programs work with it again after the update via Cydia.  My iTouch is getting more and more like an iPhone.
Edit Edit:  I contacted Saurik, the developer of Mobile Substrate, and he said that backgrounder will work once he enables the Mobile Substrate to work with Skype.  I am sure he is working on such an update!