PATH: BS | Technology | Computers | Software

The Truth About Why Videogames Are Male-Centric

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Have you ever wondered why the computer/console video game industry is so male-dominated? Are computer games inherently "male" in design and appeal? It wasnt always this way, and the story about how the gender bias happened is fascinating...

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Apple's SIRI System Stores And Shares All Your Queries

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It came as a surprise to some folks at a recent SXSW talk that Apple’s Siri “personal assistant” isn’t just working for us, it’s working full-time for Apple too by sending lots of our personal voice and user info to Apple to stockpile in its databases. Take a peek at Siri’s privacy policy (which, by the way, is pretty difficult to find) and you’ll realize what’s happening behind the scenes.

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Symantec Asks Users To Disable Their Products For Protection

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Symantec, one of the world's largest purveyors of "security software" asked its users to disable pcAnywhere, unless it is needed for business-critical use, because malicious users with access to the source code could identify vulnerabilities and launch new exploits.

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Latest Windows Update Adds Vulnerability To Firefox

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In an incredible act of hubris, the latest Windows Update patch secretly installs a plug in to Firefox what implements the exact kinds of vulnerabilities that prompted users to abandon Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser!

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Will Wright's Spore Gets Rule 34'd

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[Vanity]
We're making up a new word: SPORN

We've been reporting on the evolution of Sims creator Will Wright's mega-epic game, SPORE for some time now. While still not released, this week they did make the character creator available, and in record time, the Internet community Rule 34'd SPORE. If you don't know what that means, read further...

READ MORE | 4 comments since 2008-08-18 11:01:35 | Comment on this Article

Minesweeper, The Movie

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[Movies]
What else can they make into a movie these days? How about the Windows game, Minesweeper?

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When does 77.1 * 850 not equal 65,535?

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When you're using Microsoft Excel.

It seems recently, a flaw has been found in Microsoft Office Excel, in which certain calculations don't produce the right answers. Open up Excel and put the value '=77.1*850' into A1, and I'm sure you will be surprised to find Microsoft doesn't seem to think the correct answer is 65535. In Excel, it shows up as 100,000.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-18 15:54:03 | Comment on this Article

Microsoft Quietly Offers Vista-To-XP Downgrade

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You know your latest operating system is a real dog when you're forced by your customers to give them an option to use the previous version.

Microsoft has reportedly begun offering a downgrade option to PC makers who want to allow their customers to have the option of using XP over the pre-installed Vista software.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-17 19:21:33 | Comment on this Article

Oklahoma Video Game Violence Law Struck Down

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Oklahoma is the latest state to have a video game law permanently thrown out. Following a preliminary injunction against the unconstitutional law last year, the court has issued a new decision to permanently enjoin Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry's law, which singled out video game companies for games with "inappropriate violence" while not putting such restrictions on other media.

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2009-10-27 13:48:09 | Comment on this Article

NJ Teen Unlocks iPhone From AT&T

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[Get-Rich-Quick]
A 17-year-old from New Jersey has managed to unlock the iPhone and allow it to be used on different cellular providers. Remember that whole spiel about the Telco Act in the 1990s offering more competition and cheaper prices for consumers? No, it never happened, but the closest we come is when enterprising young kids thwart corporate mafia who lock down the latest technology.

Unlike other sites, we have all the details, including a DIY on unlocking the phone and a link to the eBay auction where the unlocked phone is up for sale... check it out before "the man" starts making this stuff go poof.

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Windows Vista Slows Down When You Play Music

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It's no secret many users have complained that Vista is slower than XP but now users are reporting an unusual "feature" of Microsoft's new Vista version of Windows: apparently when you play music on your computer, your Internet/network performance is severely degraded!

READ MORE | 6 comments since 2008-08-19 09:09:12 | Comment on this Article

Will The New Spore Game Be Bundled With Duke Nukem Forever?

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[Biotech]
Will Wright, developer of The Sims series gives another demo of the upcoming evolution-type sim game, "Spore" that has been promoted as coming now for no less than three years. Maxis' response? It's in ALPHA stage. What? Originally the game was going to be released in 2007. Now they're talking about 2009. Here's a collection of recent videos on the game's progress.

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Symantec: Our Software Screwed Up Your PC? Here's Another Copy!

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One month after tens of thousands of PCs in China were disabled by a bug in its Norton antivirus software, Symantec has offered to compensate the owners. However, the compensation – more copies of the software that caused the problem – has sparked outrage.

Imagine that.

At this point, even if you reject the local Geek Squad's invitation to watch the Star Wars Trilogy at their parents' house, they still wouldn't recommend using Symantec security products.

READ MORE | 5 comments since 2008-08-19 01:59:44 | Comment on this Article

Windows Vista Protection System Doesn't Offer Much Protection

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Microsoft Windows latest version, Vista, supposedly provides a "much more secure" environment to make using your computer safer. In Vista, MS has created a new scheme where Microsoft-approved applications are "protected" and cannot be altered or tampered with by other applications. You might think this is a nice security feature, but many feel this was done mainly as a way to integrate DRM (digital rights management) to keep people from playing songs and movies without proper rights.

In any case, Microsoft is playing Vista up as a big, more secure version of Windows.

There's only one problem... Hackers have already figured out how to circumvent Microsoft's security, and they can make their own malware run in protected mode so software like Antivirus programs can't remove it. Oh Goody! Microsoft's new feature can actually make it even harder to remove bad software from your system.

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Unpatched Microsoft Security Hole Being Exploited Online

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Reason # 45,234,101 to switch to Firefox: Yet another major vulnerability in Windows which affects Internet Explorer and Outlook. Users can become infected by merely visiting the wrong web site -- no interaction necessary, or under Outlook, viewing a message. Beware!

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Cats and Dogs Protect Web Sites From Spammers

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[Eureka!]
If you've been online for any length of time you know that many web sites now have a system called CAPTCHA which is a "human recognition system" that tries to stop automated programs from posting messages online. This is usually done by tossing up an annoying image with distorted numbers and letters and asking a user to repeat the phrase. Sometimes even humans can't read the stupid images.

Enter Microsoft with their Asirra project. They're working on a new human-detection technology which also has the added benefit of promoting animal adoption. In combination with Petfinder, they display images of animals and ask the user to identify the difference between cats and dogs. This system is apparently much harder to defeat than regular CAPTCHA, and you could end up with a fuzzy new companion in the process!

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-18 16:18:40 | Comment on this Article

MPAA Caught Pirating Software

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The Chairman of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). You remember the MPAA right? This is the high-and-mighty organization that is in charge of convincing and threatening people with legal action if they violate copyright or licensing terms of movies and music.

It turns out the MPAA blog is run by a piece of software called "Forest Blog" - a Freeware blog, and one of the few things the author asks is that if you use the software in a commercial environment, pay about $40 for the registration, and don't remove the links to the author's original site.

Of course, the MPAA apparently installed the software, didn't register and removed the links and credits from it before they let their executives use the blog software to rant and rave about the evils of piracy.

To make matters worse, the MPAA ignored the author's initial requests to legitimize the software, until it became public, then they pulled the site and sent him a letter saying the blog they installed was a "proof of concept" and didn't have its own domain, so therefore it wasn't an issue. Even though then, they didn't pay for the software!

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Microsoft Windows Vista May Destroy iPods

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If you have an iPod, Apple is now recommending that upgrading to Microsoft's new Windows Vista may be a big mistake -- aside from the previous rants about the software nerfing your XP license, not allowing downgrades and other issues, the latest is, according to Apple, Vista could destroy your iPod!

READ MORE | 11 comments since 2008-08-18 18:06:44 | Comment on this Article

Adobe PDF "features" Leave Users Vulnerable

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[Faulty Products]
A British security researcher has figured out a way to manipulate legitimate features in Adobe PDF files to open back doors for computer attacks.

David Kierznowski, a penetration testing expert specializing in Web application testing, has released proof-of-concept code and rigged PDF files to demonstrate how the Adobe Reader program could be used to launch attacks without any user action.

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Microsoft Dares Hacker Community To Expose Vista

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After suffering embarrassing security exploits over the past several years, Microsoft Corp. is trying a new tactic: inviting some of the world's best-known computer experts to try to poke holes in Vista, the next generation of its Windows operating system.

I'm not sure this means much, considering Microsoft has already issued several security patches to vista over the last six months, and it's still probably a year or more away from release. Chances are it'll take the hacker community about six seconds to divulge vulnerabilities. Our guess here at BSAlert is that Microsoft is asking the tech community at large to help it solve it's own security problems.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-19 02:22:31 | Comment on this Article

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