Tech News Today 299

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Tech News Today
Episode 299

Tech News Today 299: Sea Monkeys On Mars!

Microsoft and Google in slapping fight, facial recognition gets scary, AT&T trying to kill any competition and more.

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Top Stories

  • Germany Investigating Facebook Tagging Feature
  • Report on Facial recognition tech from Carnegie Mellon to be released at Black hat today
    • A German regulator said Wednesday that he had asked Facebook to disable its new photo-tagging software, saying he was concerned that its facial recognition feature amounted to the unauthorized collection of data on individuals.
    • European Commission’s data privacy advisory panel would determine whether tagging itself violated a user’s privacy.
    • A study presented today at Black Hat, authored by Alessandro Acquisti, Ralph Gross and Fred Stutzman from Carnegie Mellon University show ho easy it is to derive personal info from your profile pic. Used PitPatt software now owned by Google.
    • 1st experiment: collected images from 5,000 anonymous profiles on dating site and cross-referenced them with Facebook got 10% right
    • 2nd experiment: Took Webcam photos 93 CM students and identified 1/3.
    • 3rd experiment: By mining public sources, including Facebook profiles and government databases, the researchers could identify at least one personal interest of each student and, in a few cases, the first five digits of a social security number.
  • Sony’s Debut of PlayStation Vita Player in U.S., Europe to Miss Christmas
    • Kaz Hirai told reporters that the Vita would launch in Japan before the end of December followed by launches in Europe and the United States early next year.
    • Sony will miss out on Christmas shoppers in two markets where the company generated more than 40 percent of its revenue last fiscal year.
    • The Vita, equipped with a 5-inch display and touch pads at the back, will be offered from $249 in the U.S., Sony said in June. That’s $80 more than Nintendo’s 3-D portable player after the price cut.

Discussion Stories

  • Sharp and Pioneer resurrect Elite with line of LED LCD TVs, pricing starts at $6,000
  • Sharp Elite LED LCD TV hands-on (video)
    • New Elite TV's from Sharp and Pioneer resurrect some of the old Kuro
    • 60 and 70-inch LED LCDs
    • Elites will only be available through high-end retailers, and will be priced at $6,000 and $8,500, respectively. The Pro-60X5FD will ship in the US next week, and the Pro-70X5FD will hit stores later this month.
    • Claims frame rate of "about 720hz," thanks to 240Hz quadrupling and scanning backlight technology.
    • Sharp's Quad-pixel (4th yellow pixel OH MY!)
    • Internet connectivity, with pre-loaded Netflix, Vudu, and social media apps.

News Fuse




"There is something that can only ever be done on a virtual segway tour,

The virtual segway tour of the canals of Venice.

Even WOZ can't do that in real life.

Frank Daniels "

"Hey TNT,

I can confirm that after you buy Lion from the Mac App Store and it downloads that “Install Mac OS X” file/folder to your Applications folder that there’s NO DRM associated to that installer. I can tell you this because I’ve successfully used that Installer to install Lion onto my Dell Hackintosh (it works well on there).

That’s probably one of the reasons that after you install Lion, it deletes that Installer, so you can’t copy it to a USB to give to your friend (& also probably because it does take up 4GB of space).


"Hi TNT Crew,

I noticed that Chrome 13 has gone "stable" now and with that release, the pre-rendering feature is automatically turned on.

The rule used to be that you had to be careful what you clicked on when surfing the web, but with pre-rendering, I'm wondering if we're going to see an increase in the number of machines inadvertently infected with malware due to pre-rendering.

Pre-rendering automatically fetched documents, images and scripts as well as actually rendering pages in an ""invisible"" tab for links specified with the <link rel=prerender> tag, wouldn't it be possible for some sneaky webmaster to infect someone's computer with malware when the unsuspecting user visits a page that just tells chrome to pre-render another page? And since I believe that Google also uses this technique on their search results page, could it be possible to infect someone's computer just by getting your malware site listed as a search result?

I know that the Chromium specification says that rendering should be cancelled if ""Any of the resources on the page are flagged by Safe Browsing as malware or phishing"" (, but you'd think that getting a site flagged in a database that your browser can use would take some time. So, between the time when a site is infected and the time it gets listed as an infected site, it seems like any search result the infected site pops up in would cause a problem without a user even clicking on anything links.

Maybe I'm wrong about all of this, but I just thought it might be something for TNT listeners to think about and decide whether they want to turn off the pre-rendering feature of Chrome.

Thanks for the great show. I listen every day and I love the new TWIT Brick House.'

-- Del Putnam"

  • "We've thought hard about this issue, and we don't believe there is any additional risk to users," a Google spokesman explained.

"Sites marked as potentially harmful by our Safe Browsing technology will not be pre-rendered, nor will sites that Chrome detects as suspicious. We also exclude sites with SSL certificate issues and those that try to download files or display popup alerts."

  • Google added that search engine poisoning to promote scareware sites and the like is an industry-wide problem. ®



  • ad times: 0:33-0:46 and 16:44-18:00

Production Information

  • Edited by: Tony
  • Notes:
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