Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yooouuutuuube Puts YouTube on LSD

YouTube LogoThere are some pretty cool add-ons and tools for YouTube: in fact we wrote about more than 100 of them in our YouTube Toolbox. Some are fun, some useful and some - like the tools to download YouTube videos - aren’t necessarily legal.

But the YouTube tool that’s got people buzzing this week is just plain out of this world. lets you put tens, even hundreds, of YouTube videos into rows and columns, creating an utterly trippy experience. Just enter a YouTube (YouTube reviews) video ID and frame width for each “piece” of the mosaic, and Yooouuutuuube will generate a video grid.

The best example: view this 36 by 36 column Alice in Wonderland masterpiece…and be warned that either your computer, mind, or both may be pushed to the max.

See also: Top YouTube Videos


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Report: AT&T to cut iPhone service plan by $10

by Marguerite Reardon

AT&T may slash the price of its iPhone service plan by $10 when a new version of the touchscreen smartphone is launched this summer, according to a story on

The article cited analyst Michael Cote of Cote Collaborative saying that there is a "strong possibility" that AT&T will drop the entry-level price of its service plan to $59 from $69. Apple is expected to unveil the latest iPhone on June 8 during the company's World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

(Credit: Apple)

AT&T declined to comment for this story, and Michael Cote did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview.

The price cut would likely help make the iPhone, which now retails for $200 with a two-year service plan with AT&T, more appealing to more mainstream customers. I've been saying for quite some time that the biggest hurdle to widescale adoption of the iPhone or any other smartphone in the mainstream market is the high price tag of the service contracts.

Consumers have shown that they are willing to pay anywhere between $100 and $200 for a sophisticated smartphone device. But the monthly service charge, which starts at $69 for the iPhone, is much harder to swallow.

It puts the real cost of the iPhone 3G over the life of the two-year contract at a whopping $1,856, which includes the price of the 8GB phone and 24 months of the most basic iPhone voice and data plan. It doesn't include the activation fee or taxes and other fees associated with the account. For subscribers who need more voice minutes or unlimited texting, the price tag is even higher.

Still, a $240 reduction in the overall cost of the phone over the life of the contract could entice some cost-conscious consumers.

AT&T and Apple have slashed the price of the iPhone twice already. The first version of the device introduced nearly two years ago was originally priced at $599 for the 8GB version. A couple months after the release, Apple reduced it to $399. When the new iPhone 3G was introduced, AT&T subsidized the cost of the phone and offered it for $199 with a two-year contract. The price cut likely helped the companies sell about 17 million iPhones last year, compared to about 4 million devices in 2007.

For the most part, Apple and AT&T have managed to keep the subsidy and sale price of the iPhone constant over the past year, while other carriers and smartphone makers have been forced to slash prices to attract customers.

Only a month after it hit the market, T-Mobile's G1 started selling for $148 from Wal-Mart. And three months after it launched the Storm, Verizon Wireless started offering a special buy-one-get-one free promotion that allowed customers who bought any BlackBerry device, including the Storm, to get another one free.

But as competition heats up in the smartphone market, AT&T and Apple could be forced to address the affordability issue to gain new customers. This is especially true as Research In Motion's consumer-focused BlackBerry Curve surpasses the iPhone in sales. And with the Palm Pre also set to launch in early June on Sprint Nextel's network, Apple and AT&T will face even more competition.

Marguerite Reardon has been a CNET News reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate, as well as the ongoing consolidation of the phone companies. E-mail Maggie.

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Pirate Bay Founder Devises DDo$ Attack

Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm (aka anakata) recieved a bill for the 30 million SEK that he, along with Peter Sunde (aka brokep), Fredrik Neij (aka TiAMO), and Carl Lundstrom, was fined in the verdict of the Pirate Bay trial just over three weeks ago. The bill inspired anakata to devise a plan involving sending money to Danowsky’s law firm, but not to pay the fine of course which they say will never be payed. Anakata’s clever plan is called internet-avgift, internet-fee in English. Anakata encourages all Internet users to pay extremely small sums around 1 SEK (0.13 USD) to Danowsky’s law firm, which represented the music companies at the Pirate Bay trial. The music companies will not benefit from this, instead it will cost them money to handle and process all the money.

The plan can be called a Distributed Denial of Dollars attack (DDo$). The plan is an away-from-keyboard DDoS attack. DDoS attacks involve lots of users overloading the victim with internet traffic damaging their ability to provide services. Money, instead of Internet traffic is used in this case. The victim is Danowsky’s law firm which represented the IFPI at the Pirate Bay trial.

A friend of anakata told Blog Pirate that the bank account to which the payments are directed has only 1000 free transfers, after which any transfers have a surcharge of 2 SEK for the account holder. Any internet-fee payments made after the first 1000, which includes the law firm’s ordinary transfers, will instead of giving 1 SEK, cost 1 SEK to the law firm. Since Danowsky & Partners Advokatbyrå is a small firm, all the transactions are handled by hand. Handling all payments will be time consuming, costing the law firm in productivity. Maybe it will even affect their success in other cases.

Make direct payments to
Danowsky & Partners Advokatbyrå KB. Plusgiro 79 31 21-5.

Additionally if after paying the internet-fee you determine that your payment was erroneous, Swedish law states that you can request the money back, putting an additional load on Danowsky’s law firm.

Since the Pirate Bay crew was provided with such clear, logical, and well explained methods for calculating the damages in the trial, an explanation on how the internet-fee was calculated is provided. Use the formula below, substituting anything anywhere, to check that the internet-fee really is 1 SEK.formel

The name internet-avgift, as well as the layout of the site is based on tv-avgift and they layout of its site. Radiojanst, a state owned company, is responsible for collecting TV license fees in Sweden.

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10 Free Linux Ebooks For Beginners

Last time we did a free book collection 2 years ago it was a hit among Linux users and rightfully so, who doesn’t like free books? No matter how experienced you are with Linux systems, there is always something new you can learn from a good book that focuses on specific aspects of a Linux system. While our old list was an ‘OK’ list, it wasn’t structured properly and most of the links are broken by now. This time we tried to make a list of free books by categories. “Beginners”, “Advanced” and “Administrators”.

This is the first part of the series, in the near future we will have a list for “Intermediate and Advanced Linux Users” and “Linux System Administrators”. If you have any suggestions feel free to share them with us in the comments.

1) Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide

Author: Machtelt Garrels
Format: HTML

2) Bash Guide for Beginners

Author: Machtelt Garrels
Format: HTML

3) Rute User’s Tutorial and Exposition

Author: Paul Sheer
Format: HTML

4) The Linux Starter Pack

Author: Paul Hudson
Format: PDF

5) FLOSS Manuals

Author: FSF
Format: HTML & PDF

6) The Easiest Linux Guide You’ll Ever Read

Author: Scott Morris
Format: PDF

7) Linux Knowledge Base and Tutorial

Author: James Mohr
Format: PDF

8) Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

Author: Keir Thomas
Format: PDF

9) Linux Newbie Administrator Guide

Author: Peter and Stan Klimas
Format: HTML

10) Slackware Linux Basics

Author: Daniël de Kok
Format: HTML

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15 things you need to know about Windows 7


Windows 7 provides various ways to help reduce the number of UAC alerts

Windows 7 has been making headlines for a few months now. If you've read one or two of the stories and reviews dedicated to it, you might think that you know about all that it contains: new touchscreen features, a revamped taskbar with larger thumbnail previews, Internet Explorer 8, easier networking and so on.

While that sounds reasonable enough, it's not exactly exciting. It might even have given you the impression that Windows 7 isn't very different from Vista. That assumption, however, would be a mistake.

The reality is that Windows 7 is packed with new developments – it's just that most people aren't talking about them.

Would you like to be able to defrag multiple hard drives at the same time, or create a sandboxed PC user account for your kids so that they won't be able to mess up your Windows or program settings any more?

What about working with – and even booting from – virtual hard drive (VHD) files, the ability to encrypt USB flash drives to protect the data you're carrying, and tools for calibrating your display to ensure that you're seeing accurate colours and crisp, clear text? Windows 7 has all these features, and a whole lot more.


1. Keep your PC clean

If you share your PC with less experienced computer users then you'll know the problems that can arise as they mess up your settings and unknowingly install dodgy software. Windows 7 can help you to avoid these problems.

Enable PC Safeguard on the kids' account and they'll be able to log on and play as normal – but when they log off , any settings they've changed are reversed, files they've saved are deleted and your hard drive is returned to its original state.

2. Restrict other users

If Safeguard isn't enough, try AppLocker. It gives you even more control, restricting users to only the programs you specify. It's able to automatically create rules for your installed programs, and other rules can be added in seconds.

3. Action Center

Windows 7 replaces the Security Center with the more all-purpose Action Center, which warns you of PC maintenance and back-up issues as well as potential security problems. It's prone to complaining if your security settings don't meet its approval, but at least now there's an effective solution.

If you regularly see messages telling you that you've turned the Windows firewall off , say, then you can choose to disable just those while leaving the more useful alerts active.

4. Tone down UAC

User Account Control irritated many Windows Vista users with its constant warnings that 'Windows needs your permission to continue'. Windows 7 improves the situation by displaying fewer warnings and providing additional UAC tweaks.

Tell the system not to raise warnings if you change Windows settings and you'll be able to use the Control Panel without any prompts. Alerts will only appear if a program tries to perform a similar action.

5. BitLocker to go

Encryption isn't just for hard drives anymore: the Windows 7 version of BitLocker can protect removable (and easily lost) devices such as USB flash drives, too.

Right-click the device in Explorer, select 'Turn on BitLocker' and then enter and confirm a password to protect your data from snoopers.

6. 'Run as' returns

Right-click a program in Windows XP and you'll see a 'Run as' option that allows you to run the program as a different user. This is very useful if you'd like to run an app that requires different privileges to your current account.

The option disappeared in Vista, but Microsoft has relented: hold down [Shift] while right-clicking a shortcut and you'll see that the 'Run as' option has returned.

7. Find and fix problems

Windows has always had plenty of troubleshooting tools, but they've been scattered around many different places. Windows 7 brings order to this situation by placing all of the most important troubleshooters in the new Find and Fix Problems applet, located in the Control Panel.

These fix common problems, check for incorrect settings, clean up your PC and more. Developers can create additional troubleshooters, too. You can read more about that at Within Windows.

8. The Problem Steps Recorder

As a knowledgeable PC user, it's likely that you're called upon to troubleshoot friends' computer problems, which can be tricky if they find it difficult to describe what's going on. Windows 7 has a handy tool to solve this problem.

If an application is misbehaving under Windows 7, all the flummoxed PC user needs to do is launch the Problem Steps Recorder, click 'Record' and work through whatever task they're trying to complete.

Every click and keypress that they make will be recorded, packaged up with screen grabs and saved into a single zipped MHTML file, ready for emailing to you. It's a simple tool that's going to save many people hours of time.

9. Extended System Restore functionality

System Restore has always been a very handy troubleshooting tool, and Windows 7 extends it in a couple of useful ways. A single click will now tell you exactly which programs and drivers will be restored or deleted if you choose a particular restore point, and there's now an interface that lets you configure the amount of disk space allocated to System Restore.

You can also decide not to back up Windows settings. This means that only files will be backed up, so you'll be able to squeeze more restore points into the available disk space.

10. Discover bottlenecks

If your Windows 7 PC seems sluggish, the new and extended Resource Monitor should help you to sort things out. It's like a more powerful version of Task Manager that not only shows you the processes running on your PC, but also reveals how they're using your CPU, RAM, hard drive and network.

A couple of clicks can show you who the biggest resource hogs really are.

11. DIY system discs

Windows 7 includes a new option to burn a bootable system repair disc. If your PC won't start, pop in the repair disc and it'll do its best to restore normal operations. There's no new technology involved – it's just a CD version of the Start-up Repair tools on your Windows Vista disc – but this functionality will be useful for people who never get a full Windows 7 DVD.

It's also safer to carry one of these around with your laptop rather than risk damaging or losing your original Windows disc.

12. Faster IE startups

Some heavyweight Internet Explorer add-ons can take a while to start. IE8 can help you spot the worst off enders.

Click 'Tools | Manage Add-ons', peruse the Load Time column and you'll immediately see which extensions are putting a brake on your browsing.

13. Simultaneous disk defrags

Ever wondered why you can't defrag both your hard drives at the same time? There's no reason why not – and now in Windows 7 you can through the command-line defrag tool. Other new switches run the defrag at a higher priority and provide regular progress reports. Enter 'defrag /?' in a command-line window to fi nd out more.

14. Multithreaded Robocopies

The command-line Robocopy tool also sees new optimisations, including an '/MT' switch that can improve performance by carrying out multithreaded copies (you can specify up to 128 threads).

Enter 'robocopy/?' at the command line for the full details, though Robocopy newbies should be aware that there are an enormous number of switches to examine.

15. Search connectors

Windows 7 adds support for search connectors. These are small configuration files that extend the Windows Search tool to include online resources. To add Flickr support, for example, visit search to download and open the connector.

This will add a Flickr Search option to your Searches folder, and you'll be able to search the site from within Explorer.

Original here

Researchers hijack botnet, score 56,000 passwords in an hour

By Jacqui Cheng

Researchers hijack botnet, score 56,000 passwords in an hour

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have published a paper (PDF) detailing their findings after hijacking a botnet for ten days earlier this year. Among other things, the researchers were able to collect 70GB of data that the bots stole from users, including 56,000 passwords gathered within a single hour. The information not only gave them a look at the inner workings of the botnet, they also got to see how secure users really are when it comes to online activities. (Hint: they aren't.)

The botnet in question is controlled by Torpig (also known as Sinowal), a malware program that aims to gather personal and financial information from Windows users. The researchers gained control of the Torpig botnet by exploiting a weakness in the way the bots try to locate their commands and control servers—the bots would generate a list of domains that they planned to contact next, but not all of those domains were registered yet. The researchers then registered the domains that the bots would resolve, and then set up servers where the bots could connect to find their commands. This method lasted for a full ten days before the botnet's controllers updated the system and cut the observation short.

During that time, however, UCSB's researchers were able to gather massive amounts of information on how the botnet functions as well as what kind of information it's gathering. Almost 300,000 unique login credentials were gathered over the time the researchers controlled the botnet, including 56,000 passwords gathered in a single hour using "simple replacement rules" and a password cracker. They found that 28 percent of victims reused their credentials for accessing 368,501 websites, making it an easy task for scammers to gather further personal information. The researchers noted that they were able to read through hundreds of e-mail, forum, and chat messages gathered by Torpig that "often contain detailed (and private) descriptions of the lives of their authors."

(Comically, the report notes that 0.1 percent of Torpig victims love "exchanging insults" online, with another four percent spending their time looking for sex online. The rest are doing relatively mundane things like worrying about grades, looking for advice from doctors and lawyers, looking for jobs, and playing video games.)

Of course, the primary goal of Torpig is to steal financial information like credit card numbers and bank logins. In just ten days, Torpig apparently obtained credentials of 8,310 accounts at 410 financial institutions, including PayPal, Capital One, E*Trade, and Chase. The researchers noted, too, that nearly 40 percent of the credentials stolen by Torpig were from browser password managers, and not actual login sessions, and that the Torpig controllers may have exploited these credentials for between $83,000 and $8.3 million during that time period.

Interestingly, a large number of the financial institutions that had been breached required "monumental effort" in order to notify the victims, according to the report. In fact, financial institutions weren't the only ones—interacting with registrars, hosting facilities, and law enforcement were all "rather complicated," indicating that there's a long way to go in order to make notifying botnet victims easier.

Not becoming a victim in the first place is the most ideal situation, however. The researchers concluded that victims of botnets are usually those with poorly maintained machines and who choose "easily guessable" passwords. " This is evidence that the malware problem is fundamentally a cultural problem," reads the report. "Even though people are educated and understand well concepts such as the physical security and the necessary maintenance of a car, they do not understand the consequences of irresponsible behavior when using a computer."

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Firefox to get Multi-process Support?

Firefox to get Multi-process Support?

Firefox, the world's second most used browser, by the looks of it will soon receive an update that will add multi-process support.

By multi-process support we re talking about the similar feature seen in Google Chrome and IE8 that runs multiple, separate processes for each tab, which allows the browser to function without issues even when one tab has stopped responding or has crashed. This method of splitting processes increases stability and offers performance improvements as well.

As for why the speculation regarding multiprocessor support arose, that is because of a recent project that the Mozilla has initiated. The project is being co-coordinated by Benjamin Smedberg, who is a long time supporter of Mozilla. While little is known abut the project itself, we have a roadmap which suggests that we should be seeing a simple implementation of this in action by July this year.

That being the first phase, there will be three other phases post this, which will deal with the interactions between process types. The third phase will comprehensively test APIs for extensibility, accessibility, and performance. The fourth phase will deal with the final implementation and sandboxing.

Looking at how things are moving now, it would be at least an year from now when we would see a final release version of Firefox with multi process support.

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Windows 7 RC1: 10 Things You Need to Know

By matt buchanan

Windows 7's about ready to come out of the oven, and now everybody can shove their hands in the warm OS pie. And really, you should. Here's everything you need to know to dive in.

1. Where Do I Get It?
Right here! If you're at work, don't worry, you have until July to download it. From there, you'll need to burn the disc image to a DVD or copy it to a flash drive. From there, you can follow our guide to installing Windows 7 pain-free (or Lifehacker's, though I hear they smell like nerd feet). There's a guide for doing it on a Mac too.

2. Will It Run on My Computer?
Probably. It's run fantastically on netbooks for us, if that tells you anything. But here are the hard minimum specs:

• 1 GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
• 1 GB of RAM (32-bit); 2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
• 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit); 20 GB of available disk space (64-bit)
• DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

3. Wait, Can I Upgrade My Current Windows Install?
If you're running Windows Vista, you sure can—it's designed to be easy to go from Vista to Windows 7, actually. It's a little more complicated with other types of Windows. You can upgrade your Windows 7 Beta install if you've got one, but it's not recommended, and takes a bit of skunkwork. You're out of luck with XP and any other older version of Windows, which is how it's gonna be with the retail version of Windows 7 too—though Microsoft has some tools to make it less painful, or you could take the long way around, just to say you did it.

4. Is It Safe?
It's very safe. Unlike Google, Microsoft seems to be using product cycle terms in their traditional sense, so the designation "release candidate" means it's a version that's got the potential to go final—as long as nothing majorly FUBAR is discovered—with just a few little bugs left for squishing. Besides, the Windows 7 Beta was pretty damn solid to begin with. And if you follow one of our guides to dual-booting it, then you've really got nothing to worry about.

All of your hardware should work just fine, especially if it worked alright on Vista, since we're talking mostly the same OS guts here, and Microsoft bent over backward to make stuff backward compatible with Vista. It's possible you'll need to grab drivers for your hardware or gadget straight from the manufacturer—or in the case of graphics cards from Nvidia or ATI, you'll want to for the best possible performance—but you should be able to just plug and play.

Still, back your stuff up! That's just common sense.

5. How Long Can I Keep It?
Depends on what you mean by that! It goes completely poof on June 1, 2010. But on March 1, it becomes basically unusable—it starts automatically shutting down every two hours like a dbag.

6. How Is RC1 Better Than the Beta?
Lots of stuff, actually. Just for starters, Aero Peek is better, and works with Alt+Tab now when you're flipping through programs. Windows Key shortcuts are more logical, so pressing Windows Key + [number key] switches between apps pinned to the taskbar, rather than just launching 'em. And things just feel smoother—more fade transition effects sprinkled throughout, for instance, and there seems to be a bit more snap to everything, like a carrot. If you like carrots.

7. What's This I Hear About XP Mode?It's true, Windows 7's secret new feature is XP Mode. It's a virtual Windows XP machine—complete with a fully licensed copy of Windows XP SP 3 installed on the virtual machine—that you can download which runs seamlessly in Windows 7, so you can do crazy things like run IE6 side-by-side with IE8. It's meant for businesses who need compatibility for mission critical XP-only apps.

Really, don't get too hung up on it—it's only for the Enterprise, Professional and Ultimate versions of Windows 7, not the Home Premium version you'll probably be running one day. (The release candidate is Ultimate, so you can toy around with it after downloading it here.) You also need a processor with either Intel Virtualization Technology or AMD-V and 2GB of RAM. And you can't really do anything intense like gaming inside of it. Oh, and fair warning, it's also probably one of the release candidate's glitchiest features. Image via Wikipedia.

8. Holy Crap, Microsoft Is Tripping on Acid!Yes.

9. What's Still Glitchy?
Uh, the aforementioned Windows XP Mode, for one. Some of our Steam games are still acting a little bit weird, notably with audio. Coming out of sleep can be wonky for OpenGL with UAC turned on. Occasional taskbar weirdness if you play around with the positioning. But all in all, fairly minor stuff, so far.

10. Why Should I Go Through All This Trouble?
Simply put, Windows 7 has been awesome. Whatever bad things you felt toward Vista—hate, fear, rage, apathy, bi-curiosity—Windows 7 probably solves your issue. The UI's evolved more than it has in years, you don't need to download a bunch of stupid codecs, it makes plugging in gadgets kind of fun, it's more secure and generally, life's just a lot better for anyone on a PC. While Microsoft says a pre-release shouldn't be your main OS, we're pretty sure it will be, almost instantly.

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