Windows XP users in Germany’s third largest city are being offered free upgrades to Ubuntu ahead of termination of Microsoft support for the OS next Spring.
Administrators in the City of Munich have distributed 2,000 CDs carrying Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to libraries across the City, for users to borrow and download the Linux distro.
The Ubuntu OS is also being made available for download, with a link to the website.
The CDs in Munich are targeted at those members of the Munich citizenry who are unable or not skilled enough to install Ubuntu via a download, the City said.
The City stressed it would not be supporting converts, though, and you’re on your own once you switch.
Munich said it wanted to support customers of Microsoft who’d be affected by the end-of-support deadline for Windows XP next April.
If the pattern of Windows XP’s usage in Munich reflects the rest of the world, then that would mean about a third of desktop machines are still on Microsoft’s dated operating system.
Windows XP is the world’s second most popular OS after Windows 7, with users showing little sign of budging – despite the fact there will be no more security updates from Microsoft after 8 April, 2014.
Tempting users to Ubuntu would throw a spanner in the works of Microsoft's plans for Windows XP users to adopt Windows 8.1. Failing that, Windows 7, which most – especially in business – are doing in large numbers.
Munich is something of an advocate of Linux and open systems.
The City has spent years migrating 15,000 PCs in 22 departments at 51 locations from Microsoft’s Windows and Office. The City’s installing its own brand of Linux, an Ubuntu and Debian flavour it's calling LiMux, and has moved from Office to OpenOffice. The project, begun in 2007, was due for completion this year.
The City officially parted ways with Microsoft 10 years ago, in 2003, with a council vote to switch. The vote was at the height of Microsoft’s war with Linux and industry battle over document formats, with the rise of ODF suddenly challenging the use of Office’s closed file extensions.
The move towards open began among governments and local authorities, charged with spending tax-payers' money and suddenly concerned about maintaining open systems.
Munich elected to end its use of Microsoft to stop its reliance on a single company for its technology needs, which it called a "monopoly-like position".
Microsoft fought hard to retain Munich, offering deals and discounts and with chief executive Steve Ballmer interrupting a skiing holiday in Switzerland to pop across the border and personally lobby for the German city to stay in the Windows camp.
Noah Kravitz built up quite a following at PhoneDog, a mobile-phone news and reviews website. By late 2010 his @PhoneDog_Noah Twitter account had amassed more than 17,000 followers. That was all well and good, until Kravitz resigned and went to work for a competitor.
Kravitz took his followers with him, changing the name on his account to @noahkravitz. And that's when PhoneDog, which was unwilling to let 17,000 fans go that easily, filed a lawsuit against him.
The question of who owns an employee's social networking account when it's used for work-related posts is a legal grey area, as more companies are discovering when they wind up in court trying to keep readers, business contacts and other social connections within the fold. Read more...
The Purple Palace's CEO Marissa Mayer announced the latest makeover in a blog post on Wednesday that was peppered with words netizens might normally associate with Facebook.
Mayer, who took to the helm of Yahoo! after quitting her high-ranking job at Google, has slapped on the Web2.0rhea paint by integrating the site more closely with Mark Zuckerberg's free content ad network. Read more...
Secure.me has developed a website and a browser plug-in designed to make Facebook users aware of the personal information that gets harvested by third-party applications.
The App Advisor Security Network website has profiles on more than 500,000 third-party Facebook applications that describe the user data they collect, what actions they can take and whether they are considered unsafe. The application profiles also display user ratings.
Meanwhile, the App Advisor browser extension, which works with Safari, Firefox and Chrome, gets activated when users visit either application sites or call up an application's page in the Facebook App Center. Read more...
Lately, I've heard a lot about a new website that shows what percentage of someone's Twitter followers are "fake," "inactive" and "good."
If the Fake Follower Check site is accurate, some of the biggest Twitter users, including President Obama, Lady GaGa and Justin Bieber, have thousands or even millions of "followers" who aren't real people.
I've been looking into this phenomenon, and I've been shocked by what I've found. There is, apparently, a massive lies-for-sale industry made up of services that either offer tools to help people lie, or tell lies directly on behalf of their customers.
How much does it cost to fake popularity? On the cheap side, you can buy 1,000 Twitter followers for $14 on a site called InterTwitter; 5,000 followers cost $43; 100,000 cost $487. Read more...
Sprint has cut the price of the 16 GB iPhone 4S by $50 to $149.99.
The move comes about five weeks ahead of Apple's expected launch of the next-generation iPhone on Sept. 12.
Sprint is also offering free activation when buying the 16 GB iPhone 4S online, an added savings of $36, according to its website.
A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman said she didn't have anything to share on reducing the iPhone 4S price. AT&T said it has a refurbished iPhone 4S for $149, but nothing further to announce. Both carriers offer the same model for $199.99. All three carriers require a two-year service plan. Read more...
When a political rival sets up a website demanding your recall as mayor, what do you do? Well, if you're Felix Roque, the 55-year-old mayor of West New York, New Jersey, you have your son Joseph hack the recall site and then threaten the creator. That, at least, is what U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman is alleging today following the arrest of both the mayor and his son. Read more...
The Court of The Hague has handed down another ruling that restricts access to The Pirate Bay website. The Court has forbidden the Dutch Pirate Party from linking to, operating or listing websites that allow the public to circumvent a local Pirate Bay blockade. The political party is further ordered to shutdown its reverse proxy indefinitely and block Pirate Bay domains and IP-addresses from its generic proxy.
After two Dutch ISPs were ordered to censor The Pirate Bay earlier this year there was an influx of visitors to Pirate Bay proxy sites.
In an attempt to take these proxies offline the Hollywood funded anti-piracy group BREIN obtained an injunction against one of the sites and used this to convince others to shut down as well. Read more...
HTC Droid Incredible 4G unveiled; 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4, 4-inch qHD display, NFC and 8MP camera
Already teased on the Verizon website via a promotional page, HTC has today confirmed the launch of the Droid Incredible 4G at CTIA Wireless, becoming the 23rd 4G LTE device to be offered by big red in the US.
The smartphone features a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, a 4-inch super LCD qHD display with an 8-megapixel snapper ( f/2.2 and 28 mm lens) and a 1,700 mAh removable battery. Read more...
There's a website that claims to predict your future tweets based on past ones. Unfortunately, it doesn't always produce the most coherent results. What it does consistently do is spit out hilarious combinations of your favorite phrases and words. Read more...
Britain's Home Office confirmed Sunday that its website was attacked overnight after hackers claimed responsibility for shutting it down.
The hackers also claim they attacked the Justice Ministry website and warned of further attacks every Saturday on U.K. government websites.
The alleged hackers — who claim ties to Anonymous, the hacker collective — said on Twitter they launched Saturday's denial-of-service attacks and brought down the websites to protest "proposed draconian surveillance measures," Britain's extradition policies and "derogation of civil liberties." Read more...
Many companies that rely on OLSB (Office Live Small Business) for their email and website hosting are complaining that a required transition to Office 365 or to a third-party hosting provider is too complicated for them to carry out and that Microsoft could be doing more to help them out as OLSB's closure date fast approaches.
A cloud-hosted service, OLSB, will close on April 30, and customers have the option to move to Office 365 or to another hosting provider, but discussion forums and blogs are lit up with posts and comments from stressed-out users who are having a hard time carrying out the transition.
For these customers, the issue is critical because it involves their business' website and email communications.
Asked for comment, a Microsoft spokeswoman pointed out that the company announced that Office 365 would replace OLSB in October 2010, and that it is actively communicating with OLSB users via email and official discussion forums and websites, like this official "transition center." Read more...
A researcher at website categoriser zvelo has discovered Google Wallet's PIN protection is open to a brute-force attack that takes seconds to complete. And Google is powerless to fix the problem, it seems.
The attack is limited to instances where physical access is available, or the phone has been previously "rooted" by the user. Once the assault succeeds the attacker can read the contents of the wallet including credit card numbers and other details such as the transaction history. Worse still, Google can't address the flaw without shifting responsibility for the PIN onto the banks, who might not want it. Read more...
Browser ID offers a decentralized system for user identification and authentication along the same lines as OpenID. To use BrowserID users first have to create an account with Mozilla. After this users would be able to use the technology to enter websites that support BrowserID simply by entering their email address.
Online shoe and apparel shop Zappos.com is advising over 24 million customers to change their passwords following a data breach, but its website is currently inaccessible to people outside the U.S.
Zappos employees received an email from CEO Tony Hsieh on Sunday, alerting them about a security breach that involved the online shop's customer database.
"We were recently the victim of a cyber attack by a criminal who gained access to parts of our internal network and systems through one of our servers in Kentucky. We are cooperating with law enforcement to undergo an exhaustive investigation," Hsieh said in the email.
Even though he assured everyone that no credit card details had been compromised, Hsieh revealed that the attacker had accessed customer records including names; email, billing and shipping addresses; phone numbers, and the last four digits of their credit card numbers.
The hacker also gained access to password hashes for the accounts registered on the website, prompting the company to reset everyone's access codes. Zappos is currently in the process of emailing its 24 million customers in order to notify them about the security breach and advise them to change their passwords. Read more...