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Scarier Than CyberTerrorists? Sucky Software

Band-Aids on creaky infrastructures can hold them together for only so long

(Newser) - "Don't be scared. Don't even be worried." That was Felix Salmon's advice on Fusion after computer glitches darkened the New York Stock Exchange , took the Wall Street Journal offline, and grounded United flights . But today on Medium , Zeynep Tufekci writes that while she gets Salmon'... More »

Without French Teacher, School Uses Rosetta Stone

Parents in Quebec district aren't thrilled

(Newser) - A Quebec mom recently noticed her 11th-grade son hadn't had any French homework lately, and when she asked him what was up, she was more than a little surprised at his reply. "Of course we don't have homework, we don't even have a teacher," Andrew... More »

Stephen Hawking's Computer Gets 1st Upgrade in 20 Years

World-famous physicist had 'embarrassing' software

(Newser) - Think Stephen Hawking has killer computer software to help him communicate from his wheelchair? Apparently not—he couldn't even add attachments to emails. So the brainy folks at Intel and SwiftKey have upgraded his system for the first time in 20 years, Fast Company reports. "It wasn't... More »

John McAfee's Bizarre Life on the Run

Software pioneer might as well be in a spy novel: Jon Swartz

(Newser) - John McAfee is leading a relatively public life—he's often on Fox, and he's running a Montreal-based startup—even as he lives in hiding. The software developer believes there's a $650,000 contract on his head, though that's down from $2 million, he tells Jon Swartz... More »

Snowden Used Cheap Software to Rob NSA

He pilfered top-secret documents using something like Googlebot

(Newser) - Well, this is embarrassing: Edward Snowden stole NSA documents using widely available software that "scraped" the agency's computer networks, the New York Times reports. "We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence," a top intelligence... More »

Cellphone Tracking Just Got Even Scarier

New software can identify all of your devices—even if they're not connected

(Newser) - It isn't just the NSA we have to worry about snooping on our cellphones now: several new start-ups are sneaking software into apps that builds individualized profiles of users' spending, browsing, and travel habits, then sells the info to advertisers. The new tech is way more advanced than old-fashioned... More »

Treat Your Marriage Like Software Code

Says David Auerbach, a married software engineer

(Newser) - No software code is free of bugs, and no marriage is free of hitches. Fortunately, in both cases, those issues can be addressed—using techniques that are surprisingly similar, writes David Auerbach at Slate . He should know: He's a software engineer, and so is his wife. A few of... More »

Microsoft, McAfee Exchange Data With Feds: Sources

In exchange, they receive classified intel

(Newser) - Thousands of US companies—including banks, and software, internet, and telecommunications firms—are exchanging information with national security agencies, according to anonymous sources in a new Bloomberg report. Only, they aren't sharing your personal info or browsing data with the NSA, FBI, and CIA, but rather things like software... More »

Defense Firm's Software Can Track You Online

Raytheon's 'Riot' program combs through social media

(Newser) - Hope you haven't been kidding around about al-Qaeda on Facebook, because new software may have already spotted it. A Massachusetts-based security firm has secretly invented a program called Riot—or Rapid Information Overlay Technology—that can track people on social media and predict their future activities. The multi-billion-dollar company,... More »

You Can Rent the Latest Microsoft Office

And feedback is generally positive

(Newser) - It's hard to get excited about Microsoft Office, but you may at least feel somewhat enthusiastic over the latest version out today : You rent it instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for it. You can pay $10 per month or $100 for a full year for an Office... More »

Computer Program Catches Chess Cheaters

Professor aims 'to model how people make decisions'

(Newser) - Cheaters beware: A chess wiz has developed a program to catch you. Potential cheating has become a noted problem in chess, the New York Times reports. Alleged text messaging prompted a five-year ban on a trio of players in 2010; in 2006, a player was accused of using a computer... More »

Hacked Home Security Cams Link to Bedroom Scenes

Web users accessing Trendnet cams without passwords

(Newser) - Feeds from an extensive network of home security cameras have been breached, and videos, including scenes from children's bedrooms, are being watched and linked to online. "Someone caught a guy getting naked in Denmark," noted one blogger. Another remarked: "Baby spotted. I feel like a pedophile... More »

Man Charged With Stealing $9.5M of Computer Code

Bo Zhang accused of pilfering Treasury software

(Newser) - A Chinese computer programmer has been charged with stealing software code worth $9.5 million while working at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Prosecutors say Bo Zhang, a Chinese citizen who worked for a technology firm contracted to work on code at the New York Fed, copied a... More »

Apple Releases iOS 5 Battery Fix

Software update designed to correct weak battery life in iPhone 4S

(Newser) - The battery troubles of the iPhone 4S may be over. After acknowledging that “a small number of users” were having issues with their batteries when using iOS 5, Apple has produced a new version of the operating system, iOS 5.0.1, aimed at fixing the bug. The source... More »

Computer Visionary Dennis Ritchie Dead at 70

He created UNIX, C programming languages

(Newser) - Dennis Ritchie, who invented the C programming language and helped create the UNIX operating system, died last weekend at age 70. His death after a long illness was first reported by Google engineer Rob Pike . Obituaries popping up on tech sites hail his work, vision, and legacy:
  • “Ritchie's
... More »

Calif. School First to Ban Dissections in Software Deal

Students to use free anatomy software instead of frogs

(Newser) - A California high school has put down its scalpels and become the first school in the nation to accept a software offer from an animal rights group. Rancho Verde High School will drop frog dissections in exchange for free "Digital Frog" anatomy software provided by the Animal Welfare Institute... More »

Mideast Regimes Use US Software to Censor Web

Firms cite lack of control over how products are used

(Newser) - Behind Middle Eastern governments' censorship of the Web, an uncomfortable reality—US products help do the dirty work. Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia use filtering programs by McAfee; other US and Canadian firms have sold Web-filtering technology to Yemen and Qatar, among other countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. The... More »

Bad Reviews Delay Latest Google TV Debut

Search giant must improve inter-company relations: analysts

(Newser) - Google has delayed the grand unveiling of its new TV software, after a spate of less-than-stellar early reviews. Toshiba, LG Electronics, and Sharp were all planning to debut their versions of Google TV at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, but Google surprised them by asking them to hold off... More »

Lego Robot Builds Stuff—With Legos

Machine could theoretically self-replicate, make Lego-Terminators

(Newser) - Could this be the first step toward a robotic apocalypse? A software engineer has created a machine made of Legos that builds objects made of Legos, based on 3D models. The MakerLegoBot (see video in gallery) takes advantage of the brand's new Mindstorms set, which incorporates motors and moving parts.... More »

Google Pulls Plug on Wave

Too few users caught communication platform

(Newser) - Google is pulling the plug on its ambitious "Wave" communication project just over a year after its launch. The tool—which combined email, instant messaging, and social networking features to help users work together—was launched in beta mode last year with much fanfare. Invitations were selling for up... More »

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