New submitter k(wi)r(kipedia) writes "A BBC investigation has found evidence of fake users skewing the results of Facebook's 'Like' recommendation system. The BBC set up a Facebook page for a fake business called VirtualBagel and invited users to 'like' it. The page reportedly attracted 'over 1,600 likes' within twenty-four hours. The test appeared to confirm the claims of a social media marketing consultant who contacted the BBC after he noticed a disparity in the distribution of users 'liking' the products of his clients. 'While they had been targeting Facebook users around the world, all their "likes" appeared to be coming from countries such as the Philippines and Egypt.'"
Check out SlashCloud for the latest in cloud computing.
judgecorp writes "Mobile operator O2's network crashed on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. In the aftermath it has emerged how other services rely on mobile networks. Law enforcement agencies were unable to track some convicted criminals wearing electronic tags, and the crash also disabled parts of London's network of 'Boris Bikes' — public hire bikes."
An anonymous reader writes "Cloud-based personal data management is pretty cool... if you don't mind entrusting the entirety of your personal data to a gigantic corporation. Apart from the risks of their doing unseemly things with your data, also the security of your data is entirely in their unreliable hands. So, is it possible to build my own personal data repository, where for example, I can store my contacts and calendars to sync to multiple devices? This could be hosted on any third party hosting service assuming also that all of my data was encrypted at the data level. So even if the host wanted to look at my data, all they'd see is 1s and 0s. What are the options for the tinfoil hat wearing FOSS folks that want to participate in the cloud age?"
Freshly Exhumed writes with this excerpt from Space Weather: "Big sunspot AR1520 unleashed an X1.4-class solar flare on July 12th at 1653 UT. Because this sunspot is directly facing Earth, everything about the blast was geoeffective. For one thing, it hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward our planet. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend."
scibri writes "Chemists have proved that a smelly rock is the only known place on Earth where fluorine exists in its elemental form, F2 (Abstract). The rock is antozonite, a calcium fluoride (fluorite) mineral that is dark violet or even black in colour, also known as fetid fluorite or stinkspar. Needless to say, this rock stinks. The pungent smell is given off when antozonite is crushed, and chemists and mineralogists have argued over the origin of the stench since the early nineteenth century. It turns out French chemist Henri Moissan, who first isolated fluorine in 1886, was right. The rock contains pockets of fluorine that are released on crushing."
Jack Spine writes "The Raspberry Pi is likely to be blasted into space, according to project founder Eben Upton. The $35/$25 credit-card-sized single-board educational computer could be used in sounding rockets, satellites, and high altitude balloon tests, according to Upton. Raspberry Pi has proved wildly popular since its launch, with one developer planning to build into a model boat to sail it across the Atlantic."
benfrog writes "Tridium's Niagra framework is a 'marvel of connectivity,' allowing everything from power plants to gas pumps to be monitored online. Many installations are frighteningly insecure, though, according to an investigation by the Washington Post, leaving both public and private infrastructure potentially open to simple hacks (as simple as a directory traversal attack)."
jbrodkin writes "The e-mail client in Windows 8 is the shell of a potentially good application — but Microsoft hasn't given it the proper care it deserves. With less than a month before Windows 8 hits RTM, Mail is a mess that doesn't support IMAP, can't connect to servers with self-signed certificates, and lacks basic features like flagging messages for followup. Metro Mail is feature-deficient compared not just to other desktop and tablet apps — it's behind Microsoft's own phone platform. Whether used on a tablet or desktop, this in-depth look concludes that Metro Mail in its current form will have users pining for a real desktop application."
Comic-Con 2012 got underway yesterday, and some interesting bits of news have been filtering out. Digital comic sales boomed over the past year — something to be expected given the trend with ebooks and newspapers. But oddly, print comic sales are up as well, to the tune of 18%. At a Firefly panel, Joss Whedon spoke briefly about how the series would have ended if he could have done it on his own terms. "I don’t think I would have killed anybody," he said. TV shows are a strong theme this year, which much discussion around The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. All in all, about 80 television programs are represented at Comic-Con. The show is also highlighting the recent trend away from strict superhero stories. "Image Comics is indeed banking on 'superhero-ed out' readers, not only with Kirkman's The Walking Dead, (Kirkman has been called the 'unofficial mayor of Comic-Con') but with books like the spy-fi The Activity. The title's second issue, out next week, was co-plotted with actual Navy SEALs."
An anonymous reader writes "On July 11th in Calgary, Canada, a fire and explosion was reported at the Shaw Communications headquarters. This took down a large swath of IT infrastructure, including Shaw's telephone and Internet customers, local radio stations, emergency 911 services, provincial services such Alberta Health Services computers, and Alberta Registries. One news site reports that 'The building was designed with network backups, but the explosion damaged those systems as well.' No doubt this has been a hard lesson on how NOT to host critical public services."
darthcamaro writes "On Monday of this week, the primary servers that kept those infected with the DNSChanger malware were taken offline. It's a story that sparked lots of media hype with people claiming that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their Internet access. As it turns out, major U.S. ISPs including Verizon, Cox, AT&T and CenturyLink all kept their own DNSChanger servers online, protecting any users from losing their access."
An anonymous reader writes "In an editorial at Penny Arcade, Ben Kuchera writes about how Microsoft's subscription-based Xbox Live platform has become an advertising cash cow — to the detriment of users who already pay for the service. Quoting: 'People who don't play video games would be forgiven if they turned on an Xbox 360 and didn't realize it was a device used to primarily play games. The first screen you see on the Xbox 360 Dashboard is often a mixture of ads for all sorts of goods and services, and many times games are in the minority of ad slots. The latest redesign increased the ad space that can be sold to advertisers, and that in turn increased this problem. Let's be clear, it is a problem. Game discovery is terrible in the current design of Xbox Live, and the usability of a system that used to be about games is suffering in order for Microsoft to make money on ads. Sadly, this issue isn't going away: Ad sales simply bring in too much money to ignore, and revenue is growing. ... I contacted Microsoft and asked how much advertising revenue impacted the profitability of the Xbox 360. "We don't share this information publicly but we can tell you that, since 2010, the advertising business has grown 142%," I was told.'"
You asked questions of Bas Lansdorp, who's behind a project to send a quartet of astronauts to Mars — on a one-way trip. Lansdorp provides below his answers to inquiries about food, fuel, suicide, privacy, and more. So whether you're curious enough to put in for a Mars-bound ship or skeptical that this enterprise will get off the ground, read on.
benfrog writes "The developers of jQuery recently announced in a blog entry that jQuery 2.0 will drop support for legacy versions of Internet Explorer. The release will come in parallel with version 1.9, however, which will include support for older versions of IE. The versions will offer full API compatibility, but 2.0 will 'benefit from a faster implementation that doesn't have to rely on legacy compatibility hacks.'"
An anonymous reader writes with a followup to news from last weekend that Apple had turned its back on the EPEAT hardware certification standard. After hearing criticism from customers, the media, and governmental organizations that Apple wasn't being environmentally friendly, the company's Hardware Engineering VP, Bob Mansfield, wrote today that its earlier decision was a mistake, and all of Apple's eligible products are back on EPEAT. (EPEAT welcomed Apple back with open arms.) Mansfield repeated an earlier statement from Apple that EPEAT does not measure all the ways in which the company's products are environmentally friendly. Mansfield said, "For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting. Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world and our entire product line exceeds the stringent ENERGY STAR 5.2 government standard. No one else in our industry can make that claim."