Tech News Today 459

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Tech News Today
Episode 459

Tech News Today 459: Don't Panic They're Tiny

New sneak peek at Office 15, how NPR lied to you about FoxConn, what's good for NSA is not good for Google, and more.

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Top Stories

  • Microsoft Office 15 Preview
  • Site provides sneak peek at Microsoft Office 15
    • Paul Thurrott showed off some screenshots of Microsoft Office 15 and dropped some details about each application
    • He ran it on Win8 CP
    • Acc'g to Paul the installation: standout: MS My Site Documents option, which he understands will eventually replace SharePoint Workspace
    • After install, the Start screen had a bunch of new Office 15 tiles.
  • Apps
    • Word: had a "decidedly friendlier face" than the previous version, minimized ribbon by default, new full screen mode.
    • Paul confirmed the touch mode
    • New: MS ID integration
    • Office also allows you to save right to Skydrive
    • Just tons of screenshots
    • Big takeaway: it looks like Metro, but it's not, skydrive integration = snazzy
  • 'This American Life' retracts episode about Foxconn's iPad factories, says it was 'partially fabricated'
    • This American Life has retracted an episode that focused on working conditions inside a Foxconn iPad factory, calling the source material "partially fabricated."
    • The episode was partially based on the work of artist Mike Daisey, who apparently lied to fact-checkers.
    • Some of the lies were discovered during an interview with Daisey's Chinese translator, who disputed the facts as presented.
    • Daisey seems to argue his perspective was poetically true: "What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic ­- not a theatrical ­- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations."
    • Fabricated a moment about n-Hexane poisoning which did not happen in Shenzen but in Suzhou 1,000 miles away --- also entirely fabricated a story of giving an iPad to a worker with a mangled hand.
    • A new episode of This American Life detailing the issues and what happened airs later today, with an MP3 of the broadcast available Sunday. Host Ira Glass is taking full responsibility for the error, saying that he's "horrified to have let something like this onto public radio."
    • actor, author, commenter, playwright "MR. DAISEY AND THE APPLE FACTORY"
    • His latest work, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, was called “the best new play of the year” by the Washington Post, and was recognized as one of the year’s best theater pieces by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, among others

Discussion Stories

  • Google in New Privacy Probes
  • Google Faces New Federal Investigation Over Safari Hack (REPORT)
  • US, Europe investigate Google's bypass of Safari privacy settings
  • 18 Firms Sued for Using Privacy-invading Mobile Apps - includes Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Yelp
    • WSJ reports people familiar with the investigations say Europe and US regulators are investigating Google over the Safari cookie blocking bypass.
    • The investigations span U.S. federal and state agencies, as well as a pan-European effort led by France
    • "We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions," a Google spokeswoman said. "But it's important to remember that we didn't anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers."
    • A group of 13 individuals in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas filed suit against 18 companies including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Yelp for surreptitiously gathering data from the address books of tens of millions of smartphone users.
    • U.S., the Federal Trade Commission is examining whether Google's actions violated last year's legal settlement with the government--A group of state attorneys general, including New York's Eric Schneiderman and Connecticut's George Jepsen, are also investigating--French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL, has added the Safari circumvention technique to its existing pan-European investigation into Google's privacy-policy changes
  • The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
    • Wired magazine's James Bamford has a long and oft-time poetic article up about the Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. being built in Bluffdale, Utah
    • The article details the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program in AT&T and now Verizon offices.
    • William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network.
    • Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.”
    • The article also details efforts to break AES, and attributes secret work at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to that effort.
  • Proof of Concept Exploit code for Windows Remote Desktop Protocol posted to Chinese website. Metasploit founder H.D. Moore offers bounty. ~dk
  • Pastebin
  • Suspicions aroused as exploit for critical Windows bug is leaked
    • Tuesday, March 13th, Microsoft issued patch ms12-020 which addresses what it classifies as both a moderate and critical vulnerability in Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
    • Vulnerability was cooperatively disclosed to Microsoft in November by Italian security researcher Luigi Auriemma
    • Microsoft figured the vulnerability would take independent researchers around a month to exploit independently, but then Auriemma's code was leaked
    • There are many cooks in the kitchen who could have leaked the code including 30+ partners, one of which pays researchers cash for code, though most have denied involvement.
    • RDP is used by millions of desktops and servers world wide for remote administration, potentially including ATMs and Point of Sale devices
    • This vulnerability is less effective against machines running Network Level Authentication (NLA)
    • Microsoft's patch is a one-click, no-reboot hot-fix that enables NLA as a workaround. Patch found at
    • A $1500 bounty for a working metasploit module has been posted to, a site metasploit founder H.D. Moore reportedly funds.
    • Code that causes unpatched machines running RDP to crash or BSOD is circulating

News Fuse






"Hi TNT Crew,

As a Canadian I also feel the pain expressed by Wil Harris on Episode 458 of no easy access to Kickstarter. To create a Kickstarter a project you have to be a US citizen and have a US checking account. It's my understanding that this is mostly due to the fact that credit card transactions and payment delivery for Kickstarter projects are processed through Amazon.

There is an alternative to Kickstater for non-US folks called RocketHub at It operates in much the same way with a few key and unfortunate differences. The biggest of these occurs when a project on RocketHub does not reach it's funding goal. Not only does the money still change hands (which is baffling) but in addition to the credit card processing fee of 4% RocketHub doubles their fee on failed projects from 4% to 8%.

A non funded Kickstarter project has zero risk and no fees. It's no wonder that RocketHub doesn't have the popularity and success of Kickstarter.

Come on Kickstarter, the rest of the world is waiting!

As always, you guys do a great job on the show.

Cheers from Halifax,

Joel Duggan

PS: It's worth noting that some international Kickstarter projects have been successful. They simply have a US partner involved in the project willing to participate."

"Hey Guys,

When talking about the Nokia Design Chief dedicating one third of his time to the Nokia tablet, Will Harris suggested that only one third of anyone's attention would result in a substandard product. I am an Industrial Design student and one of the most important parts of the creative and design process, is time away from your given project. Within the design cycle, it is known as ""incubation"". My lecturers have been know to pretty much insist that students step away from a project, especially when it is particularly taxing, and go to the pub for a beer or two. Heck, in some cases, the staff join us! So dedicating one third of ones time is probably the best amount to give in order to make the best design decisions. Just a thought, especially for Liquid Friday.

Nice to hear some design related chat on the show.

As I said before, see you at the end of May!

Fred From Glasgow, Scotland"

"Hey TNT crew. I just finished listening to episode 458 where you talked about the laser un-printer. I work for a company that services & repairs laser printers and the talk about reusing ""cleaned"" paper made me cringe a little. The more times a sheet of paper is used, the more likely it is to jam somewhere in a printer. Factors that include static, moisture, physical damage and general wear and tear on the paper can cause major headaches. I'm also sure that everyone can think of at least one person who would forget about an errant staple or paper clip that would make a costly call to us necessary. So in short, new paper good, used paper bad. Just make sure to stick the old stuff in the recycle bin.

Keep up the good work.

Sean, Apple Valley, MN"



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Production Information

  • Edited by: Jason
  • Notes:
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