Marc Andreesen on outsourcing

Submitted by Karthik on 11 April, 2004 - 23:57

Marc Andreesen of Mosaic/Netscape fame, has come out strongly in favour of outsourcing.

Outsourcing, says Andreessen is the natural progression of a capitalist society. As employers hire overseas, they free up capital to invest in higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs back home. As US outsourcing helps create consumer classes in places like China and India, US companies benefit from expanded markets for their products.

Andreesen, who is a major contributor to the Democratic campaign, has decided to withhold funds until the party changes it's stand on outsourcing. Andreesen is currently on the board of Opsware Inc. which helps companies manage their outsourcing programs.

This story is available here [Economic Times] and here [The New York Times - free membership required].

Green Hills calls Linux 'insecure' for defense

Submitted by Karthik on 11 April, 2004 - 22:09

A new debate is raging in the open-source community after a speech delivered by Dan O'Dowd, CEO of Green Hills Software, branded Linux insecure for defence applications. His argument primarily revolved around the open nature of the Linux community, where programmers from around the world contribute to code used in the operating system; this code could easily mask malicious trojans and back-doors that could compromise an entire country's defences..

However, he was not taking a stab at Linux or open-source software per se, but rather at a competitor - MontaVista Software, who are outsourcing defence application development to China and Russia.

"MontaVista is outsourcing their development to Russia and China. That's not wrong if you're building toaster ovens," O'Dowd said in an interview. "If you're building national security applications, that's a different story. Nobody's even checking if there's anybody putting anything [dangerous] into Linux."

In response, MontaVista CEO Jim Ready said Linux constituted a threat to vendors of proprietary software, because of its robustness, cost-effectiveness and its security.

EETimes is carrying this article.

OSX trojan == Publicity stunt

Submitted by Karthik on 11 April, 2004 - 21:08

Reports of a Mac OSX trojan have been confirmed to be vastly exaggerated, and attributed to a publicity stunt by antivirus firm - Intego.

"They gave the impression that this is a threat, but it isn't," said Dave Schroeder, a systems engineer with the University of Wisconsin. "It is a benign proof of concept that was posted to a newsgroup. It isn't in the wild, and can't be spread in the wild. It's a non-issue."

"They are spreading FUD to sell their software," said Ryan Kaldari, a programmer from Nashville, Tennessee, referring to the shorthand for fear, uncertainty and doubt.

DVD player with built-in parental controls

Submitted by Karthik on 10 April, 2004 - 21:07

The BBC notes that "American cinephiles will soon be able to enjoy their movies without sex, violence, swearing - indeed, without any of the interesting bits. Like some kind of electronic air freshener, a new generation of DVD players is poised to clear the smut, violence and bad language out of living rooms all across America."

The bad bits of the movies are all censored by hand and programmed into the player manually; so I don't know how they plan to enforce this for more than the 500 titles indexed so far..

'Sub-BPOing' is fast catching on

Submitted by Karthik on 9 April, 2004 - 22:05

The Economic Times is carrying a story on something called 'sub-BPOing'. This is when an outsourcing company, outsources it's business to another outsourcing company :S

"Everybody is looking for top quality, at the best price, in the shortest time. Wherever we don't have expertise we outsource the work," explains Dias.

This is just getting sillier every day..

Search for a perfect cellphone muffler

Submitted by Karthik on 9 April, 2004 - 21:54

The International Herald Tribune is carrying a story on advances in technology that muffles/blocks cell phone signals and ringtones.

Methods include jammers that interfere with the phones' frequencies, routing systems that mute their ringers in specific places, sensors that detect active cellphones and building materials that block cellphone waves.

Now, if they can only extend this to block crinkly wrappers and wailing babies, I might consider frequenting movie theatres once again :S The entire article is available here.

Adrian Lamo's sentencing postponed

Submitted by Karthik on 9 April, 2004 - 21:40

Security Focus has a report which notes that infamous hacker Adrian Lamo's sentencing has been postponed to June 16th. Lamo is charged with unauthorized access to protected computers at the New York Times, amongst other things, and has plead guilty. A background story on Lamo can be found here. Recent interviews with Lamo can be found here (audio - Real), here (text), and here (audio - MP3).

Trojan Horse in a Mac?

Submitted by Karthik on 9 April, 2004 - 08:46

I'm sure that a few Macheads' Macjaws would have dropped at the use of 'trojan horse' and 'Mac' in the same sentence; but it's true ;P Wired is carrying a story on the new MP3Concept or MP3Virus.gen trojan that masquerades as a MP3 file, and is triggered when the file is played. While the Wired article downplays the trojan as benign, this TechTV article provides a less sanguine report.

The MP3Concept trojan masquerades as an MP3 file. Once clicked, malicious code in the MP3 file's ID3 tag is executed, code that has the potential to delete files from a user's hard drive.

The trojan then spreads by emailing itself to other addresses in the user's address book. In addition to MP3 music files, MP3Concept can also infect image files such as JPGs and GIFs, and MOV QuickTime movie files.

Intego, (an antivirus company) who discovered the flaw, have already readied an update for the vulnerability. You will however need to use their product VirusBarrier to get the update ;) The Intego 'security alert' can be read here.


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