Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak Blames Recent Toyota Brake Issues on “software” says “everything will fail”

Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs at AppleSAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on Friday held firm to his love for Prius cars despite what he suspects is a Toyota software problem behind sudden spikes in acceleration.

“I love my Prius,” Wozniak said during on-stage banter with AT&T Tech Channel’s Hugh Thompson during a geek talk show at the closing of an RSA computer security conference here.

“It’s just like all the other gadgets we have… Everything today has a computer in it, so everything will fail.”
Wozniak said he has bought nine Prius cars and even drove one from the Silicon Valley city of San Jose to San Francisco that day.

He said he conducted his own tests of Prius acceleration, taking his car to an open stretch of highway at dusk and then incrementally notching up the speed using the cruise control mechanism.

At “some number over 72″ the car accelerated and kept picking up speed, Wozniak said.

“I wanted to see how high it would go,” Wozniak said. “It wound up being unlimited so I hit the brake. The problem had to be in the software.”

Wozniak advised treating cars like any other computer-based mechanisms by shutting them down at signs of trouble and then restarting them to essentially reboot systems.

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Oracle to buy Sun for $7.4 Billion

Oracle to Buy Sun for $7.4 BillionOver the past 13 years, Sun Microsystems’ Java language has become one of the computer industry’s best known brands—and underappreciated assets.

The tension wasn’t lost on Sun’s new owner, Oracle, which on Apr. 20 said it will purchase Silicon Valley pioneer Sun for $7.4 billion in cash. If Oracle has its way, which they most likely will, Java will emerge not only as a strong revenue source but also a key component of plans to keep customers loyal for years to come.

During a conference call with analysts on Apr. 20, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison called Java “the single most important software asset we have ever acquired.” It’s a bold statement from a chief executive who has spent in excess of $40 billion to buy more than 50 software companies since 2005. The acquisition of Sun Microsystems adds perhaps the biggest piece to Ellison’s ever-growing portfolio and plan dominate the software industry.

Ellison is willing to make that call because the Java programming language, widely used to write much of the world’s software, is a key ingredient in Oracle’s recipe for ensuring the many products it has already acquired work smoothly together. Java also runs on 800 million PCs and 2.1 billion mobile phones. Dozens of PC makers and cell-phone vendors, including Nokia, pay royalties to license the software.

Oracle hopes to wring value from the deal in part by cutting costs to make Sun’s hardware and software businesses profitable. Oracle also wants to sell Sun’s Solaris operating system and servers in tandem with its market-leading database software. Citigroup Analyst Brent Thill estimates Oracle could cut between 40% and 70% of Sun’s roughly 33,000 employees. Excluding restructuring costs, Oracle expects Sun to add $1.5 billion in profit during the first year after the acquisition closes this summer, and another $2 billion the following year. Oracle executives declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated.

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IBM in Discussions with Sun for Possible Buyout


Sun Microsystems, Inc. is reported to be in negotiations for a possible $6.5 billion sale to IBM, a deal that would shake up the global tech industry and spell the end of an esteemed but now-struggling Silicon Valley pioneer.

The talks were reported this morning by the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter. A Sun spokeswoman declined comment on the report; an IBM spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment.

Sun’s stock immediately surged to close at $4.97 on Tuesday, and ended the day closing at $8.89 - the highest the stock has been for the past 6-months. Frankfurt-listed shares of Sun also surged 61 percent in wake of the report.

Speculation about a possible sale of Sun has swirled since last summer, as the company was struggling with slipping sales even before the recession hit other tech companies last fall. Sun, which is known for its Java programming language and has lately made a push into database programs and other open-source software, was seeing sales drop off in its core business of selling high-end computer servers and storage business.

IBM would effectively widen and increase their market share in the increasingly competitive $53.1 billion server market with rivals Hewlett-Packard, Dell and even Cisco announcing their entrance in the server market in ‘09.

The buyout of Sun Microsystems would signal the end of  one of the most respected companies in Silicon Valley. Sun was founded in 1982 by Stanford graduate students Scott McNealy, Andy Bechtolsheim and Vinod Khosla with Bill Joy from Berkeley, the primary developer of BSD, joining Sun soon after.

Aussie Man Builds $300K Flight Simulator

Earning Matthew a Guiness world record during his decade long journey, his Boeing 747-400 flight simulator has cost him over $300,000 and probably given him countless hours of pure joy in the flight deck.Australian flight enthusiast and flight simulator guru Matthew Sheil has finally built what is probably one of the coolest toys on the planet. But it’s so much more than that.

Earning Matthew a Guinness world record during his decade long journey, his homemade Boeing 747-400 flight simulator has cost him over $300,000 and probably given him countless hours of pure joy in his virtual flight deck.

Sheil’s sim is almost identical to the $60+ million professional simulators used by pilots around the world. It features breathtaking graphics, the ability to fly to and from 27,000 different airports around the world and real world weather conditions with stunning accuracy. Of course, all with the help of 14 different computers running 45 different software applications. (You thought you were cool because you had Flight Simulator X running on your Quad-Core and some rudder pedals?)

To add more ingenuity to the mix, Sheil’s simulator features full-blown advanced hydraulics. “When you taxi out on the runway you feel it bumping on the cracks in the pavement, you feel it when the wheels touch down,” said Sheil.

But what makes his sim even more special is that anyone with a copy of Flight Simulator X and a joystick can join him in his digital travels from the comfort of their own home. By joining VATPAC (VATPAC is the home of live simulated flying and air traffic control for thousands of VATSIM members in the Australia-Pacific area) you can be one the many pilots to join Sheil in his 14+ hour nonstop flights.

Every year, Sheil and dozens of other enthusiasts from all over the world participate in an event called Wordflight to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. “It’s all done in real-world conditions - Qantas sponsors us and they provide airline food for a week.”

Truly amazing news from down under showcasing one man’s passion for aviation and technology. We look forward to joining you in-flight soon Mr. Sheil!

New Study: Antivirus Software Misses 15% of Malware

New Study: Antivirus Software Misses 15% of MalwareSecurity company Damballa reported that about 3 to 5 percent of all systems in an enterprise network are infected with bot-related malware — even within organizations running up-to-date anti-malware tools.

Damballa protects businesses from targeted attacks used for organized, online crime. Their global approach rapidly isolates the command-and-control needed to launch multi-network attacks.

Antivirus software discovered only 53 percent of malware samples, according to data gathered by Damballa in a six-month case-study that used McAfee Scan Engine v5.3.00 to scan more than 200,000 malware samples. Another 32 percent were found later on, and 15 percent were not detected at all. The average delay in detection and remediation was 54 days.

“The window of catch-up is 54 days…that’s a long delay,” says Bill Guerry, vice president of product management for Damballa. “So if you’re relying on AV, it’s able to detect a little over half of malware immediately.”

Damballa stated that the malware gap with today’s antivirus products is a contributing factor to the enterprise bot problem. “One of our clients said it’s not unusual for them to see 100 new [botnet] compromises in a day [in its environment],” Guerry says.

In connection with its study, Damballa also rolled out its first hardware product, the Failsafe 3.0 security hardware appliance, which detects targeted, bot-driven attacks. Damballa traditionally has offered a “cloud” or software as a service approach to bot detection and protection services, focusing on botnet command and control infrastructure to detect malicious activity within an organization.

Failsafe 3.0 includes a management console and will ship this month, with pricing starting at $100,000 for 10,000 nodes. It’s aimed at organizations that prefer to keep their botnet-detection “locally in the cloud,” Guerry says. “This is sensitive information to these clients,” he says.

Damballa has also invested in building a prototype, host-based botnet-remediation tool that it hopes to release this year. The so-called Remediator will let organizations handle remediation on a host-by-host basis. “It’s not an AV agent running all the time…you can load and remove it,” Guerry says.

Steve Linowes, CEO at Damballa, says the goal of Remediator is not to replace AV tools, but to assist the help desk. “Companies we work with have defined processes in place already to handle incidents like this,” he says. “They have help desk support and processes for remediating their compromised assets. Our desire is to fit into those processes they have in place.”

No Change in Steve Jobs’ Return to Apple


Apple, Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs still expects to return from his medical leave of absence at the end of June, according to an Apple director who responded to an investor at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.

The investor - who was the only one to ask for details on Jobs’ health - had asked when the board knew Jobs planned to step away from his daily duties. Apple director Arthur Levinson responded that since Jobs announced Jan. 14 that he needed to go on leave, “nothing has changed.”

Jobs, who turned 54 on Tuesday, was not at the meeting. At one point, investors stood up and sang “Happy Birthday” to him, at the urging of one shareholder.

Jobs, a survivor of pancreatic cancer who looked very thin last year, said Jan. 5 that he had a treatable hormone imbalance and would continue to run Apple. But the following week he went on leave to treat medical issues that he said were “more complex” than he had believed. Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, took over daily duties.

Despite questions about how Apple’s board handled the disclosures about Jobs’ health, all the directors were re-elected, including former Vice President Al Gore, Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt and Levinson, who is the chairman and CEO of Genentech Inc.

Jobs’ health especially concerns investors because of the huge influence he has had in shaping Apple’s products and design initiatives since he regained control of the company in 1997.


Online Gamers Remain Top Malware Target

Online Gamers Remain Top Malware Target

The Internet has always had its share of malware, spyware, viruses and many other malicious tools created by the many darksiders that roam the free-Web. What’s the most common type of malware on the Internet you ask? Well, it’s not Viruses or even Botnet code. Maybe password-stealing worms designed to victimize online gamers?

Microsoft said Thursday it had removed nearly 1 million samples of a particularly virulent password-stealing worm identified in the first half of February. The company’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) rooted out more than 900,000 copies of a family of programs called Win32/Taterf, commonly known as a program for stealing usernames and passwords for games such as World of Warcraft and Legend of Mir.

Taterf has been especially widespread for months now but there’s an even nastier worm sliming through holes in the Windows RPC Server Service. Known variously as “Conficker” or “Downadup,” it’s been infecting an average of one million machines a day. At this point 10 million machines have been compromised, but potential victims could total more than 300 million, according to the specialist at Secureworks. 

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Zero-day Attack Found In Adobe Acrobat

Critical Level Zero-day Attack Found, Affects All Versions of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader

Zero-day Attack Found In Adobe Acrobat

Adobe and others have warned against a critical-level security flaw affecting all recent versions of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader for all platforms including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

The attack is known as a zero-day attack because it takes advantage of computer vulnerabilities that do not currently have a solution, making it even more dangerous. In this case, all versions of Acrobat and Reader are vulnerable. Attackers are going after the vulnerability by sending infected .pdf e-mail attachments to various users.

Adobe engineers will not be able to come up with a patch until March 11 for Acrobat Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 with earlier versions to follow.

We highly recommend that users of Mac OS X use the Preview application to view their PDF files. We’ve included a brief how-to on this at the end of the post.

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HP Posts Negative Q1 Earnings, Sour Outlook

HP Posts Negative Earnings, Sour Outlook

Hewlett-Packard reported a dismal quarterly profit that dropped 13 percent while sales increased by  just 1 percent as even the Palo Alto tech company’s profitable printer ink business was shaken by a devastating time in the economy.

HP shares fell $2.03, or 6 percent, to $32.05 in extended hours trading, after closing down 26 cents during the regular trading session, before earnings were reported.

Crippled technology spending amidst a rapidly declining economic situation affected all but one of HP’s major business lines, including PCs and servers. Only HP’s services division saw an increase.

Services have also been solid for rival IBM Corp., since corporations are trying to save money by outsourcing some of their technology positions.

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Major Charges Dropped in Pirate Bay Trial

Major Charges Dropped in Pirate Bay Trial

Half of the charges against the world’s biggest bit torrent file-sharing service, The Pirate Bay, were dropped on Tuesday leaving The Pirate Bay’s four defendants on trial for “assisting making available copyright material,” a significantly less severe charge than the dropped “assisting copyright infringement.”

The plaintiffs are being led by the IFPI or International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and include  industry entertainment industry giants Universal, Warner Bros., MGM, EMI, Sony BMG, 20th Century Fox and others. They claim compensation of about $16.6 million.

In what some consider a blow to the major labels, the prosecution was unable to prove that the .torrent files they are using as evidence actually used The Pirate Bay’s tracker. Many of the screenshots evidenced in court clearly state there is no connection to the tracker.

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