Mozilla has long considered itself a champion of the free and open Web, and plans to walk the walk as much as it talks the talk. The company's latest and best foot forward in that direction: Lightbeam for Firefox.
This Firefox add-on shows, graphically, how the sites you visit interact with other sites -- and how tracking information may be gathered in the process, often from multiple sites at once without your knowledge.
Many of us know casually that browsing a given site also means interacting invisibly with a whole slew of other sites. Facebook, for instance: there's barely a site that doesn't invoke code from Facebook's servers for the sake of the Like button, Comment forms, and so on. Lightbeam aims to make it clearer how all that works. Read more...
The Internet Archive's new Historical Software Archive brings old software to your browser through the magic of JSMESS emulation.
The Internet Archive has protected and preserved old software for a while now; archivist Jason Scott claimed back in April that the organization possessed the largest historical software collection in the world.
Software is so transient, though. It's sometimes hard to get a program from 2003 to run on a modern machine, let alone a program from 1983. For most people it wouldn't be worth the trouble to, as the Internet Archive puts it, "track down the hardware and media to run [old software], or download and install emulators and acquire/install cartridge or floppy images as you boot up the separate emulator program, outside of the browser." Read more...
Some people think a lot can go wrong if you have your emails pass through LinkedIn's servers with the company's new Intro technology.
Earlier this week, the company released LinkedIn Intro, a plug-in for the iPhone's native email app that attaches people's LinkedIn profile information to their emails. The service is meant to add more professional context to emails, but it does that at the expense of users' private data, some security experts say.
By transmitting sent and received emails through LinkedIn's servers, which then scrape and analyze them for data, the service essentially amounts to a "man-in-the-middle attack," security consulting firm Bishop Fox wrote in a staff blog post.
"The introduction of new data sources into a medium rife with security issues such as email is a dream for attackers," Bishop Fox wrote, noting that it could only be a matter of time before someone uses the service to launch a phishing attack. Read more...
The outbound exec of Wikipedia's tin-rattling nonprofit has admitted the organisation wastes public donations – and says procedures should be fundamentally changed to avoid corruption and self-interest.
In a candid statement, Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, says she wants the worker bees rewarded – the editors who spend hours of unpaid time on Wikipedia – instead of the local chapters of bureaucrats who receive the money today.
"I wonder whether it might make more sense for the movement to focus a larger amount of spending on direct financial support for individuals working in the projects," she wrote.
Gardner was instrumental in raising Wikipedia's warchest and WMF's staffing. In 2011/12 - the last year for which figures are available - the Foundation raised $38.4m, up from $5m in 2007/08. Read more...
With its apps, sensors and devices, Nike is increasingly becoming a technology company.
It has developed running apps for Apple and Android devices, and Kinect training video games for Microsoft's Xbox. The company needs app developers, and like many companies, it has turned to offshore outsourcers for help.
But Nike found that offshore outsourcer developers don't understand some of the products that Nike is trying to produce.
The idea of wearable technology, having your active life recorded in one place, "didn't make sense to the people doing the work," said Christopher Davis, engineering director at Nike+ Running. The developers "didn't fit into the Nike culture."
This culture problem, as it is known in offshore outsourcing circles, was impeding Nike's agile development work, so the company shifted gears. It hired a small onshore developer, Catalyst IT Services, which has development centers in Baltimore Md., and Beaverton, Ore. Read more...
The ongoing government shutdown could leave desktop and server systems in many federal agencies vulnerable to new threats disclosed Tuesday by Microsoft in its latest round of security updates.
Many federal agencies are operating with skeletal IT staff. All IT systems deemed non-essential have been shut down, making the installation of Microsoft's latest patches, especially on desktop and notebook systems, very difficult for federal agencies, say security analysts.
"The October Windows critical vulnerabilities go across PC and server operating systems," said John Pescatore, director of emerging technologies at the SANS Institute.
"While most of the government security staff was deemed essential, it is likely that many of the employee PCs and laptops were turned off, so it will be hard to patch them," Pescatore noted. So, when the standoff is over and government workers return, a lot of their PCs could be missing critical patches. Read more...
Netlfix is a big company, and a big cloud user. With 38 million members across 40 countries, it streams a billion hours of content per month.
Almost all of the Netflix's customer-facing services like a massive database that creates personalized content recommendations based on prior viewing history are run in Amazon Web Service's public cloud.
The company has a content-delivery platform named Open Connect that it manages with partnering ISPs to actually stream movies to users.
As one of the biggest cloud users in the world, the company has gleaned lessons from its operations. Below are three takeaways of how the company approaches using the cloud from Ariel Tseitlin, director of cloud solutions for Netflix, who spoke at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership's Cloud Summit on Tuesday. Read more...
Microsoft has asked HTC to install Windows Phone as a user-selectable option on its Android handsets, according to a recent report.
The news comes from Bloomberg, which has been chatting to the omniscient "people familiar", who reckon Redmond was prepared to sacrifice its licence fee if HTC would include the OS as an option on its flagship hardware.
Microsoft is struggling to match the breadth of Google's offering and needs to work hard to convince the world that Windows Phone isn't just a Nokia thing.
HTC launched its last Windows Phone in June, and is expected to have another Redmond-mobe-OS-running handset on the shelves later this year, but it’s the Android-based HTC One which remains HTC's flagship. It's also the kind of kit which Microsoft execs would like to see running Windows Phone. Read more...
As Twitter gears up for an initial public offering, its executives should study Facebook's path to an IPO to learn what not to do.
Twitter made its IPO plans official last week by filing S-1 documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The social network is now preparing for its financial roadshow, where it hopes to woo skeptical Wall Street investors.
The frenzy that initially surrounded Facebook's initial public offering in May of 2012 quickly cooled once trading began -- the share price ended the day as it started. In the days and months that followed, the first day's result would have been adequate as the share price sank well below its initial offering price of $38 a share over time.
The world's largest social network hit its low point last September when the stock hit $17.55 per share Read more...
Adobe on Thursday admitted that hackers broke into its network and stole personal information, including an estimated 2.9 million credit cards, illustrating the lucrative target that software-by-subscription providers have become to cyber criminals, analysts said today.
"Even before they went to the cloud, bill-you-monthly firms have been a target," said John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at the SANS Institute, and formerly a Gartner analyst focused on security. "This has been an issue for [Web] hosting providers for years. There are two reasons why. First, they have a trove of credit cards. And second, you know that the cards are good."
Adobe, long a powerhouse in the software industry, has been aggressively promoting Creative Cloud, its software-by-subscription offering, a shift it hopes will "transform our business model and drive higher revenue growth," according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this year.
Like all software-as-a-service (SaaS), Creative Cloud relies on recurring payments -- monthly or annually -- which for most customers, means providing a credit card. The provider stores that card information so it can charge the customer without sending a traditional bill, and most importantly, waiting for payment. Read more...
Following mounting pressure from data protection agencies (DPAs) in different European countries, Google has started offering so-called data processing agreements to websites using its Google Analytics suite in the European Union, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland.
Up to now Google did not provide such contracts because it maintains that it does not process personal data. Since 2011 it has offered such agreements only in Germany, after demands from the German DPA.
In October last year the European Union's council of DPAs, the so-called Article 29 Working Party, asked Google to make the agreements available E.U.-wide. The issue is part of a wider ongoing investigation into Google's privacy policies by DPAs in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. Read more...
Windows 8 powered almost 10% of all devices running Microsoft's OSes last month, even as its uptake pace slowed, according to analytics company Net Applications today.
Meanwhile, Windows XP's decline continued as customers, prodded by the upcoming April 2014 support deadline, again ditched the veteran operating system in droves.
Windows 8's user share of all computing devices running Windows, a tally that includes Windows 8.1, the update slated to ship in two weeks, jumped to 9.8% in September, Net Applications said. The 1.4-point gain was down from the record one-month increase set in August, but nearly double the OS's 12-month average.
The August-September surge of Windows 8 may have been driven by sharp back-to-school sales of touch-based notebooks, which accounted for a quarter of all sales from June 30 through Sept. 7, the NPD Group said last week. Read more...
Google is closing in on a deal with competition officials in the European Commission which stops far short of formal sanctions, after the EU's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said today that he was negotiating a settlement agreement with the ad giant.
Almunia's office is working on "the precise drafting of the proposed commitment text" with Google over the next few weeks.
The commissioner told the European Parliament this morning that he had concluded that the ad giant's revised offer of concessions on its search biz had "more appropriately” addressed "the need for any commitments to be able to cover future developments". Read more...
SSNDOB, the Russian hacker group that over the course of many months stole massive amounts of personal data from firms like LexisNexis and Dun & Bradstreet, apparently also infiltrated the servers of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), according to security researcher Brian Krebs.
Last week, Krebs reported how SSNDOB broke into a number of business data brokers and set up botnets to look up customers' personal data, which it then sold via its own Web portal.
On Tuesday Krebs followed up that story with more details about how SSNDOB exploited unpatched server software to perform a similar digital ransacking on the NW3C, which Krebs describes as "a congressionally-funded non-profit organization that provides training, investigative support and research to agencies and entities involved in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime." Read more...
Reactive programming, in which programs react to events, is gathering steam as a mechanism for programming on multicore processors and for Web development. The concept is growing in importance in the Java realm, in particular. Typesafe, which has built its Akka middleware stack around the Scala language and reactive programming, is an advocate, and Netflix has been touting functional, reactive programming with its RxJava library for asynchronous and event-based programs, based on Microsoft's Reactive Extensions project.
InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill met with Typesafe Senior Software Engineer Josh Suereth at the recent JavaOne technical conference in San Francisco to talk about reactive programming. Suereth also commented on the importance of Lambdas in the upcoming Java Standard Edition 8 release. Read more...