After Larry Page bowed out from some public appearances, reader Pigskin-Referee writes with the news that "Google Inc Chief Executive Larry Page has reassured employees about his health, but the company on Friday shed little additional light on an unspecified condition affecting his voice that will sideline him from two high-profile events in the coming weeks. Page told employees in an email on Thursday that there was 'nothing seriously wrong with me,' according to a source who had seen an internal staff memo. The 39-year-old Google co-founder sat out his company's annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday because he had 'lost his voice,' according to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who informed attendees of the news at the start of the event."
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Techdirt has a story about statements from Congressional staffer Stephanie Moore, who had some interesting — and somewhat insulting — things to say about the 'net-wide protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). "Netizens poisoned the well, and as a result the reliability of the internet is at risk," she said. Moore went on, "Congress was criticized for not being tech savvy, but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did." The article also points out comments from Steve Metalitz, a lawyer who represents members of the entertainment industry: "Most countries in the world already have this option at their disposal to deal with this problem. If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken."
An anonymous reader writes "Growing up in the digital age, 18 – 25s may appear to be a more tech-savvy generation, but that does not translate into safer computing and online practices. A new study reveals that they are the most at-risk group, and prone to cyber-attacks. That makes this group even more vulnerable to online security threats. Younger users tend to prioritize entertainment and community over security, perhaps due to overconfidence in their security knowledge. For example, they're more concerned about gaming or other social activities than their online security. They also have less sophisticated security software, and hence, have reported more security problems than other groups."
Trailrunner7 writes "PayPal is the latest company to join the ranks of software vendors and Web properties that offer bounties to security researchers who privately disclose new bugs to them. The company isn't saying how much it will pay for each bug, just that its security team will determine the severity of each flaw as well as the ultimate payout. PayPal's decision to offer financial incentives to researchers follows the establishment of similar programs by companies including Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Barracuda and others. Google's bug bounty program may be the most well-known and comprehensive, as it includes bugs not just in its software products such as Chrome, but also its Web properties. The company has paid out more than $400,000 in rewards to researchers since the program began and researchers who consistently find bugs in Google's products can make a nice side income off the program."
sean_nestor writes "Back in October, an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal with the headline 'Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need.' It noted that even with millions of highly educated and highly trained workers sidelined by the worst economic downturn in three generations, companies were reporting shortages of skilled workers. Companies typically blame schools, for not providing the right training; the government, for not letting in enough skilled immigrants; and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages. The author of the article, an expert on employment and management issues, concluded that although employers are in almost complete agreement about the skills gap, there was no actual evidence of it. Instead, he said, 'The real culprits are the employers themselves.'" The linked article is an interview with Peter Cappelli, author of the WSJ piece, who has recently published a book on the alleged skills gap.
YokimaSun writes "Following on from the news that RIM's partner was pulling the plug on its BlackBerry phones, RIM announced it was discontinuing the 16GB version of its playbook, PC Gaming News are reporting that the PlayBook is being discounted down by as much as 66% which is adding to the demise of RIM's attempt at the tablet market. Can anything stop the all conquering iPad?"
McGruber writes "Jonathan Corbett, the subject of the earlier Slashdot Story: 'The Ineffectiveness of TSA Body Scanners,' has an update for us. His video showing him wandering through a nude body scanner with undetected objects is now complete with the feeds from TSA's security cameras at the checkpoint."
Hodejo1 writes "[Tuesday] morning we learned that Google fired the first volley against YouTube conversion sites by blocking YouTube-MP3.org's servers from accessing its service and sending a letter threatening legal action. It looks like the fast growing Clip.dj also got the letter based on the note posted on the site: 'We're sorry to announce this, but Clip.dj has shut its service down for good.'"
retroworks writes "Bloomberg News makes the case that when the federal government offers tuition assistance, students apply to more expensive colleges, giving the institutions an incentive to raise tuition and a disincentive to lower it. (The Wall Street Journal has a similar article, but it's paywalled.) This reminds me of the debate over President Reagan's cuts to the Pell Grant program in the 1980s. MIT's Campus Paper 'The Tech' quoted the MIT administration as saying it had 'no idea what really will occur' when Reagan's proposal to cut Pell came to Washington. So the question is, 25 years later, do we know now? Did cuts to federal tuition assistance hurt the education of the lower income students? Did increases to Pell grants create more opportunity? Or is federal money the milkshake, and students are just the straw?"
An anonymous reader writes "Do you remember when Microsoft tried to claim that Internet Explorer was still the most-used browser by accusing StatCounter of using a flawed methodology? Well, StatCounter has just posted a response that walks through a number of errors and omissions in Microsoft's reasoning. They (rather politely) explain the importance of sample size, discuss the value of page view counts versus unique visitor counts, and explain the difference between their methodology and that of Net Applications."
An anonymous reader writes "CNN reports that younger listeners are increasingly opting to stream music rather than own it. If their music is constantly available anywhere on any device, then 'what's the difference?,' ponders the article. The distinction between streaming music and owning music is starting to blur. From the article: 'But Van Buskirk also suggests another reason for streaming, not acquiring music. It's liberating. "There is a certain relief with not having to own music. It is a lot of work," he said. ... Porter says the way people own music is transforming. He believes the cloud model is where the state of music is heading, and for many people ownership is not essential. "I think ownership is access, you don't have to have music on your local hard drive to own it," he said.' Will the concept of ownership of music and software fade as cloud based services become the way people expect to access media and software?"
mikejuk writes "Andrew Gallagher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York has improved the standard approach to automated jigsaw solving by copying what humans do in finding groups of pieces that best match and working outwards from there. With a speed of 10,000 pieces per 24 hours, it can solve large puzzles. Not only that, but the type of jigsaw it solves is more difficult than the usual in that the pieces are square and can be placed in any orientation. It is so good it can even solve problems consisting of a number of mixed up pieces without being told how many or their dimensions. Of course, as well as having fun beating humans at another recreational pastime, the technique could be used to unscramble shredded documents, as per the recent DARPA challenge."
AZA43 writes "Tokyo police have arrested six men, including two IT executives and one former tech exec, in connection with an Android malware campaign that netted $265,000. The men created a piece of Android malware that they disguised as a video player and distributed through an adult website. The app stole personal information and attempted to extort money for data 'protection services.' The malware doesn't appear to be particularly sophisticated, but it convinced more than 200 horny Japanese dudes to shell out $1200 each. And the arrests are one of, if not the, first time a major police force brought down criminals who used Android malware to extort a significant chunk of cash."
An anonymous reader writes "Sometimes, it's the oldest machines that are the most fascinating. PC & Tech Authority has posted this gallery of photos of the first automatic electronic stored-program computer in Australia and one of the first in the world — CSIRAC. The photos show a machine massive in size — the main system comprised nine steel cabinets containing 2000 valves that weighed over 7000kg. Using valve technology and World War II radar systems as a starting point, the machine was used for various purposes including weather forecasting, forestry, loan repayments and building design. It boasted a 1000Hz memory clock and a serial bus that transferred one bit at a time. The system generated so much heat, cool air needed to be blown up through the cabinets from the basement below. In addition to being Australia's first computer, it is also said to have been the first computer to play digital music anywhere in the world. When CSIRAC was turned off for the last time, a witness described it as 'like something alive dying.'" Museum Victoria has some short but informative pages about CSIRAC, too, including this one about programming the thing, and another about the dangers and annoyances of working on it.
OverTheGeicoE writes "Over a month after Sen. Rand Paul announced his desire to pull the plug on TSA, he has finally released his legislation that he tweets will 'abolish the #TSA & establish a passengers "Bill of Rights."' Although the tweet sounds radical, the press release describing his proposed legislation is much less so. 'Abolition' really means privatization; one of Paul's proposals would simply force all screenings to be conducted by private screeners. The proposed changes in the 'passenger Bill of Rights' appear to involve slight modifications to existing screening methods at best. Many of his 'rights' are already guaranteed under current law, like the right to opt-out of body scanning. Others can only vaguely be described as rights, like 'expansion of canine screening.' Here's to the new boss..."