Titus Andronicus writes “Professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford University announced a major expansion in the catalog of free, massive, open online courses being offered by the company they founded, Coursera. The subject areas include computer science, mathematics, and business. The providers include Stanford, Princeton, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. Even more courses are expected to be announced by competitors such as Udacity, MITx, Minerva, and Udemy — perhaps soon. Is this the future of education?” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Archive for April 20th, 2012
A finance technology manager named Khosrow Zarefarid discovered a critical flaw in Iran’s online banking systems. He extracted 1,000 account details (including card numbers and PINs) and emailed them to the CEOs of 22 Iranian banks along with detailed information about the vulnerability. A year later, nothing had been done. Zarefarid extracted 3 million accounts’ details from the bank’s systems and posted them to ircard.blogspot.ca . Many Iranian banks have now frozen their customers’ accounts and are only allowing PIN-change transactions at ATMs. Some banks have texted their customers to warn them of the breach. The Central Bank of Iran has published an official notice of the breach, but the notice does not say that the underlying vulnerability has been fixed, or even whether it is being addressed. Zarefarid is said to have left Iran, though his whereabouts are not known, at least to Emil Protalinski, who wrote about the breach for ZDNet: It does not appear as if Zarefarid stole money from the accounts; he merely dumped the account details of around 3 million individuals, including card numbers and PINs, on his blog: ircard.blogspot.ca. I found the link via his Facebook account, along with the question “Is your bank card between thease 3000000 cards?” …Zarefarid previously worked as a manager at a company called Eniak, which operates the Shetab (Interbank Information Transfer Network) system, an electronic banking clearance and automated payments system used in Iran. The company also manufactures and installs point of sale (POS) devices. In other words, Zarefarid worked for a firm that offered services to Iranian banks for accepting electronic payments. 3 million bank accounts hacked in Iran ( via /. )
Black boxes aren’t just for airplanes anymore, it seems. Though car companies have been installing the devices at their discretion since the early aughts , a new bill, ominously entitled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century , has just passed Senate approval containing a provision that would mandate the inclusion of these Event Data Recorders in all automobiles produced from 2015 and on. Privacy fans may already be reaching for those protesting pitchforks, but keep in mind this legislation still needs to pass the House of Representatives on its way to becoming law. And given its other, more controversial elements (i.e. revoking passports for unpaid back taxes), it could still head back to the recycle bin. If it does pass Congressional muster, you’ll still have ownership of any collected data, so long as the court doesn’t require you to hand it over. Regardless of the outcome, we wouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet — your car might be snooping on you as we speak. Just check your owner’s manual . Senate black box bill could see 2015 car models ship with data recorders originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 20 Apr 2012 13:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink PCWorld | InfoWars | Email this | Comments
sunbird writes “At 16:00 ET on April 18, federal agents seized a server located in a New York colocation facility shared by May First / People Link and Riseup.net. The server was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe. The server was seized as a part of the investigation into bomb threats sent via the Mixmaster anonymous remailer received by the University of Pittsburgh that were previously discussed on Slashdot. As a result of the seizure, hundreds of unrelated people and organizations have been disrupted.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Sprint has been slapped with a $300 million lawsuit by New York state for tax fraud, the NY attorney general’s office announced Thursday. The carrier allegedly submitted false records that allowed it to underpay taxes, in the interest of keeping its monthly charges low to “obtain an advantage over its competitors.” While Sprint doesn’t top the charts for customer satisfaction, it has long offered cheaper service plans than its larger competitors: AT&T and Verizon. According to Eric Schneiderman, NY attorney general, Sprint failed to correctly collect and pay taxes on the monthly access charges its customers paid. “Sprint concluded that this practice would position its calling plans as cheaper than competitors’ plans by $4.6 million per month, collectively, because of sales taxes not collected and paid,” states the attorney general’s press release. Schneiderman asserts that Sprint’s competitors, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, have all managed to pay their taxes correctly. Sprint is the holdout. According to the attorney general’s math, Sprint’s underpayment of taxes is increasing by $30,000 each day. The statement goes on to say that the lawsuit will attack Sprint for the taxes owed, not its customers. It was the company that allegedly failed to correctly collect the funds and pay the state. Reached for comment, a Sprint representative gave the following statement: This complaint is without merit and Sprint categorically denies the complaint’s allegations. We have collected and paid over to New York every penny of sales taxes on mobile wireless services that we believe our customers owe under New York state law. With this lawsuit, the Attorney General’s office is claiming New York consumers, who already pay some of the highest wireless taxes in the country, should pay even more. We intend to stand up for New York consumers’ rights and fight this suit. Read the comments on this post
By rights, Brammo’s street-fighting Empulse should have gotten here quicker , but at least we now have a firm launch date. Sporting an all-new six-speed gearbox in place of the one-speed original, Brammo’s spec sheet shows a 121-mile city range (or 56 miles on the highway), 100+ MPH maximum hustle and a re-juicing time of 3.5 hours in fast-charge mode. We’re not sure if the price has budged from the original $14,000 estimate, but if you want to see what that ballpark sum might get you, the video after the break is all yours. Continue reading Brammo’s 100MPH Empulse coming May 8th, spooks electrons with six-speed gearbox Brammo’s 100MPH Empulse coming May 8th, spooks electrons with six-speed gearbox originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | Autoblog Green | Email this | Comments
Translation apps aren’t exactly the newest or sexiest thing in the world of technology, but we’ve got to hand it to AT&T for whipping up a rather impressive demo. The company showed off a next-gen version of its AT&T Translator app, which may one day allow people to communicate in real time regardless of their spoken language. The app uses the carrier’s new Watson Speech API , in this case via a VoIP call on a pair of iPads, to not only transcribe dialog, but translate it from English to Spanish (and vice-versa), then play it back in the target tongue using a computer generated voice. This isn’t like the Google Translate app on your phone — the translation happens in near real time, with only a slight latency as your words are fed through the system. The demo wasn’t without its hitches (the room was noisy and filled with bloggers totting wireless devices), but it went more or less as planned, and our gracious hosts were able to complete a call requesting a taxi cab. One day AT&T hopes to make this a standard feature of its services, eliminating the language barrier once and for all. To see the app in action check out the video after the break. Continue reading AT&T Translator app hands-on: smashing the language barrier (video) AT&T Translator app hands-on: smashing the language barrier (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | AT&T Innovation Space | Email this | Comments
Dave sez, “Want to watch your HBO subscription on DirecTV over HDMI? Good luck with that. Without any proactive customer outreach, DirecTV rolled out a misguided anti-piracy update last week that now requires an encrypted connection between the set-top and television to view HBO. In theory only very old HDTVs lack this ‘HDMI Copy Protection’ (HDCP). However, DirecTV’s implementation appears flaky as some newer, capable sets are also impacted and no longer able to display HBO over HDMI. DirecTV’s response to customers: switch to component cables. Which, incidentally, are easier to capture content from.” I reached out to both HBO and DirecTV for comment. HBO indicates their copy protection policies haven’t recently changed, while DirecTV’s rep confirms a HDCP requirement for premium channels when using HDMI connections and suggests customers with older TVs switch to component cables. I’d say this is anti-consumer and a misguided approach to reducing piracy as it’s much easier to archive video traveling via an analog component connection. Unless DirecTV or HBO’s ultimate intent is to provide lower resolution 540p video over component… What makes this move particularly offensive is, unlike Blu-ray’s analog sunset, DirecTV’s lockdown is occurring on deployed hardware – with no outreach, knowledge base articles (that I can find), and essentially breaking formerly working customer configurations. Impacted subscribers can give up HDMI for component clutter or buy new televisions. Nice? DirecTV Blocks HBO Over HDMI (without HDCP) ( Thanks, Dave ! )