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Posts posted by x_6985381

  1. Safari and Opera also set records, all at IE's expense

      Mozilla Corp. used the launch of Firefox 3.0 last month to boost its browser market share to over 19%, an Internet measurement company said today.

    Most of Firefox's overall gains appeared to come from rival Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer (IE), according to data from Net Applications, although the newest version's growth was primarily because of users updating from Firefox 2.0.

    Other browsers, including Apple Inc.'s Safari and Opera Software ASA's Opera, also gained ground in June.

    Firefox closed the month with a 19% share, up 0.6% over May, while IE slipped 0.7% to 73%. Safari, meanwhile, was up 0.06% to 6.3%, while Opera increased its share by 0.02% to 0.7%.

    Most of Firefox's increase came during the week following Version 3.0's release, when the combined share of Firefox 2.0 and 3.0 jumped from 18.2% before the June 17 launch to 18.6% immediately after. In the last week of the month, however, the two browsers' combined share increased only by 0.02% over the week prior.

    And as Net Applications noted shortly after Firefox 3.0's debut, June's data showed that much of that version's growth came from upgrades rather than users switching from rival browsers. In the first full week following Firefox 3.0 going final, Firefox 2.0's share dropped 1.57 percentage points, nearly identical to the 1.59 points gained by Firefox 3.0.

    As was the case last month, Firefox's June share was a new record for the open-source browser, which has been on a two-month climb after being interrupted in April when its share slipped somewhat. Last month's increase was nearly equal to the increase of the month before, which in turn had been the largest for Firefox since December 2007.

    Safari and Opera also posted record market shares in June, reported Net Applications, while IE reached a record low last month.

    Based on trends, Net Applications has projected Firefox will break the 20% share bar sometime in July.

    Net Applications' browser share and trend data is available online

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106058&intsrc=hm_list

  2. Problem found in packaging material of chips, plus thermal design of some laptops

      Nvidia Corp. has uncovered a problem with some older graphics chips that shipped in "significant quantities" of laptop PCs, the company said yesterday.

    Nvidia hasn't determined the cause of the problem but said it relates to a packaging material used with some of its chips, as well as the thermal design of some laptops. Modern processors generate considerable amounts of heat.

    To tackle the problem, the company is releasing a software driver that will cause system fans to start operating sooner and reduce the "thermal stress" on the chips. The driver has been provided to laptop makers directly, said Derek Perez, a spokesman for Nvidia.

    Nvidia will take a charge against second-quarter earnings of $150 million to $200 million to cover the expected cost of repairing and replacing the products, which include graphics processing units and media and communications processors. It didn't say which of its products were affected.

    The products have been failing in the field at "higher than normal rates," Nvidia said. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it was talking to its supply chain about getting reimbursed for some of the costs.

    The company also had other bad news on Wednesday. It said it was lowering its revenue forecast for the second quarter because of pricing pressure and delayed product ramps. The company now expects revenue to be between $875 million and $950 million.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106398&intsrc=hm_list

  3. They claim U.S. attorneys bypassed court-ordered warrants

    WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are asking a federal court to order the U.S. Department of Justice to turn over records about the agency's tracking of mobile phone users.

    The two civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, saying U.S. residents should have a right to know the extent of mobile phone tracking done by U.S. attorneys offices.

    In the past year and a half, multiple news reports and court cases have revealed that some U.S. attorneys were claiming not to need probable cause of a crime in order to track people using mobile phones, the groups say in their complaint. In some cases, U.S. attorneys have bypassed court-ordered warrants, with law enforcement agents obtaining "tracking data directly from mobile carriers without any court involvement," the complaint says.

    "The information now in the public domain suggests that [the DOJ] may be engaging in unauthorized and potentially unconstitutional tracking of individuals through their mobile phones," the ACLU and EFF said in their complaint. "Information pertaining to the DOJ's procedures for obtaining real-time tracking information is vital to the public's understanding of the privacy risks of carrying a mobile phone and of, more generally, the government's expansive view of its surveillance powers."

    The ACLU filed a request for information on the tracking program under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act in November, but the DOJ has not delivered the documents requested, the group said.

    "This is a critical opportunity to shed much-needed light on possibly unconstitutional government surveillance techniques," Catherine Crump, a staff attorney at the ACLU, said in a statement. "Signing up for cell phone services should not be synonymous with signing up to be spied on and tracked by the government."

    A DOJ spokesman declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, but he seemed to dispute the reports that DOJ officials were requesting tracking information without court orders.

    "It is important to remember that the courts determine whether or not cell site data or more precise cell location data can be turned over to law enforcement in a particular case," said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the DOJ's National Security Division. "Law enforcement has absolutely no interest in tracking the locations of law abiding citizens. Instead, law enforcement goes through the courts to lawfully obtain data to help locate criminal suspects, sometimes in cases where lives are literally hanging in the balance, such as a child abduction case or a serial murderer on the loose."

    The ACLU request for information includes documents, memos and guides related to the policies and procedures for tracking people through their mobile phones. The ACLU also wants to know the number of times the government has applied for mobile phone location information without establishing probable cause.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106078&intsrc=hm_list

  4. IBM and Swiss scientists build intricate simulations using venerable BlueGene/L system

      IBM and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology researchers are using an IBM BlueGene/L supercomputer to build intricate simulations of human bones, which could lead to earlier diagnoses of osteoporosis.

    Osteoporosis, which literally means "porous bone," is a disease that affects one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50. Caused by a loss of bone density, osteoporosis puts its victims at a high risk of bone fractures or breaks and is a major cause of pain, disability and death in the elderly.

    According to Alessandro Curioni, manager of computational sciences at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, osteoporosis racks up health costs second only to cancer.

    Curioni told Computerworld that researchers are closing in on being able to make crucial early diagnoses because of the work they've been doing with the supercomputer.

    "It's something quite important, especially because it impacts so many older women," he said. "Doctors need early diagnosis. Then they can try to slow down the process. The problem is that it's difficult to diagnose until it's advanced. To understand if you're at risk in the early stages is relatively difficult."

    Traditionally, doctors often use special X-ray machines to diagnose the disease. They're only moderately accurate because bones have a sponge-like center, so it's difficult to determine their strength.

    To devise a better method, scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich teamed up with researchers at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory. Using complex and massively parallel simulations, researchers were able to get a clear image of a dynamic "heat map" of strain, which changes with the load applied to the bone. The map shows the doctor exactly where the bone is the weakest and where it is likely to fracture.

    "We're not just looking at density, but [also] at the strain distribution in the bone," said Curioni. "You put a weight or stress on the bone, and if the bone accumulates a huge amount of stress in one place, then there is a good chance it will break."

    Using BlueGene/L, the research team was able to conduct the first simulations on a 5-by-5-millimeter piece of real bone. In just 20 minutes of computing time, the supercomputer simulation generated 90GB of data, according to IBM.

    The supercomputer is giving scientists the computational power to take their simulations from small pieces of bone to a full bone structure. "The added computational power is really needed to have a good description of the strain distribution for the whole structure. This is the first step to better diagnose [osteoporosis] at the early stage," said Curioni.

    He estimated that within 10 years, desktop computers will have the power of today's supercomputers, making it easy for doctors to do bone-strength simulations in their offices.

    Curioni also noted that the improved diagnosis techniques can help patients who already have a broken bone, by helping doctors to find the strongest areas to place screws or pins when repairing the break

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106178&intsrc=hm_list

  5. California man admits downloading images to government computer while on job

    A former NASA engineer today was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possessing child pornography on his government-owned computer.

    Christopher Burt Wiltsee, 57, of Morgan Hill, Calif., was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine, be on supervised release for seven years following his release from prison and to register as a sex offender.

    He had pleaded guilty on March 19 and was remanded into custody on March 19.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office reports that Wiltsee was working as an engineer at NASA's Ames Research Center when he was charged in in Moffett Field, Calif., in June 2005. He is no longer employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    According to Wiltsee's plea agreement, he admitted that while he was working at NASA, he used his government computer to download images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Wiltsee admitted to possessing more than 600 images of child pornography.

    U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel handed down the sentence in U.S. District Court in San Jose on Wednesday.

    The investigation was conducted by the NASA's Office of the Inspector General.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106298&intsrc=hm_list

    This stuff, makes me sick to my stomach.

  6. Rival chip makers both gain momentum with first-quarter market share gains

      Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. both gained momentum in the first quarter of this year as the longtime price war between the rival chip makers slowed.

    This week, iSuppli Corp. reported that average selling prices for both AMD and Intel wares held steady between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008. "This price stability is another indication that price pressure has decreased and the price war between the two microprocessor suppliers has abated," reported iSuppli.

    The research firm also noted that both companies showed some slips in the first quarter but registered enough gains to put them on the plus side of growth charts.

    "Intel was the short-term winner in the first-quarter microprocessor market," said Matthew Wilkins, an analyst at iSuppli, in a statement. "AMD's PC microprocessor product portfolio has become much stronger during the last year, particularly on the desktop side. Customers clearly are responding to AMD's moves. At the beginning of the year, we saw AMD add the quad-core Phenom microprocessors to its desktop portfolio, which it has since built on with tricore and dual-core flavors, for the prosumer and business markets."

    Wilkins also noted that about half of AMD's long-term growth came at Intel's expense. The remainder came out of smaller suppliers' market share.

    According to iSuppli, Intel accounted for 79.7% of global microprocessor revenue in the first quarter of this year. That's up 1.2% from the fourth quarter of last year. However, compared to the first quarter of last year, Intel's revenue market share actually is down by 0.7%.

    On the other side of the rivalry, AMD's first-quarter global revenue market share of 13% was down from the fourth quarter in 2007 when it came in at 14.1%, iSuppli reported. But AMD did increase its year-over-year revenue market share in the first quarter by 2.2%.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106038&intsrc=hm_list

  7. After leaving job at IBM, Malhotra allegedly sent confidential info to HP senior execs

    A former Hewlett-Packard Co. vice president was indicted by a federal grand jury last week for allegedly stealing trade secrets from his former employer, IBM.

    Atul Malhotra is charged with allegedly e-mailing confidential IBM information to two senior vice presidents at HP. HP terminated Malhotra, who worked at the company for four months, and reported the incident to law enforcement and to IBM, according to a statement from Emma McCulloch, a spokeswoman for HP.

    "The activity with which Malhotra is charged was in direct violation of clear HP policies, including HP Standards of Business Conduct," according to the statement. "HP has cooperated fully with the government's investigation."

    McCulloch declined to disclose any further details about the case.

    Malhotra was employed at IBM from November 1997 to April 2006, noted a federal charging document. He served as a director in the company's global services department. The U.S. Attorney's office in California asserted that in March of 2006, while still employed at IBM, he requested and received "trade secret" information about calibration metrics. Each page was reportedly marked "IBM Confidential."

    The charging document also notes that a pricing coordinator at IBM Global Services warned Malhotra that "given the sensitive nature of the material, please do not distribute."

    In May 2006, Malhotra was hired by HP as vice president of imaging and printing services, according to the papers filed in federal court in San Jose. Late in July of that year, he allegedly sent an e-mail to an HP senior vice president. The e-mail, which had the subject line "For Your Eyes Only," had an attachment that contained IBM's calibration metrics. Two days later, Malhotra sent an e-mail with the same attached information to another HP senior vice president, according to the documents.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106280&intsrc=hm_list

  8. It also sets end of support for mid-December

    After patching its older Firefox 2.0 yesterday to quash 13 bugs, Mozilla Corp. announced that it would end support for the browser in mid-December.

    Mozilla last patched Firefox 2.0 in April.

    Firefox addresses 13 vulnerabilities, five of which the open-source company rated "critical," according to advisories posted on Mozilla's site Tuesday. Of the remaining bugs, four were labeled "high," two as "moderate," and two as "low."

    Three of the five critical flaws could be exploited by attackers to execute malicious code, said Mozilla, while the last two, involving JavaScript and pegged by the developer as "crashes with evidence of memory corruption," might lead to code-execution exploits.

    Interestingly, one of the critical vulnerabilities isn't within the browser per se, but crops up only when one or more add-ons, dubbed "extensions" by Mozilla, are also installed. "Firefox itself does not use this feature in a vulnerable way, and users who have not installed any add-ons are not at risk," read the advisory. "We have, however, identified popular add-ons using this feature whose users are at risk, and there are no doubt others."

    Among the extensions called out by Firefox programmers in the writeup on Bugzilla, Mozilla's bug tracking and management system, was Google Inc.'s Google Toolbar.

    All 13 vulnerabilities patched yesterday in Firefox had been fixed before Mozilla rolled out the final version of its new browser on June 17, a company spokeswoman said today. "Some were fixed months ago by nature of [Firefox's] re-architecture, others were fixed before release of Firefox 3 final," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

    Firefox can be downloaded from the Mozilla site in versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Users running Firefox 2.0 can call up the browser's built-in updater or wait for the automatic update notification, which typically appears within 24 to 48 hours after Mozilla posts a new version.

    Mozilla also noted on its Web site today that Firefox 2.0 would roll off its support list in the middle of December 2008, approximately six months after the release of Firefox 3.0.

    "Firefox 2.0.0.x will be maintained with security and stability updates until mid-December 2008," the company said. "All users are encouraged to upgrade to Firefox 3."

    Mozilla's standard policy is to support older software for only six months after the release of a major update. Last year, however, the company extended the support lifespan of Firefox 1.5 by about a month, saying it needed more time to craft one last security patch for the browser.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106278&intsrc=hm_list

  9. Slates anti-malware, cross-site scripting defenses in August's IE8 Beta 2

    Microsoft Corp. today outlined new security features that it plans to add to Internet Explorer (IE) next month, including anti-malware protection to match tools similar to those offered by its rivals and a filter the company said would block most cross-site scripting attacks.

    Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, which Microsoft has slated for release sometime in August, will include two new security tools, said Austin Wilson, the director of Windows client product management.

    One, dubbed "SmartScreen Filter" by Microsoft, adds malware blocking to the antiphishing protection already embedded in IE7. The new feature, which will resemble the defenses already used by rival browsers Firefox 3.0 and Opera 9.5, will warn users when they're about to visit a site known or suspected of spreading malicious code and then block any download from that site.

    Unlike Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox, which retrieves a blacklist several times daily, then stores it locally to compare against Web site addresses, IE8 will dynamically determine whether a site is potentially dangerous by pinging remote servers each time a user tries to reach a page.

    Microsoft will use multiple third-party sources to compose the blacklists for both phishing and malware-hosting sites, said Wilson. It will also draw on data gathered by Windows Defender, the company's free antispyware tool. Wilson would not disclose the third-party information providers, however.

    "We get the data feeds and update our lists multiple times a day," he said. "And IE8 makes the call to the URL reputation service servers, and if it's a phishing or malware site, the browser navigates away from the page and displays a warning."

    He denied that the process would have a noticeable effect on IE8's performance. "Our choice was to make sure that the user has the most recent data possible," he said. "We do an asynchronous call, so the page rendering takes place while the call is made to the reputation servers."

    Also to debut next month in IE8 Beta 2 is an integrated filter that Microsoft said would prevent most cross-site scripting attacks. "Today, the end user can be doing all the right things, checking the URL to make sure it's legitimate, only going to trusted sites, but because of vulnerabilities on the Web server side, they can still be compromised," said Wilson, referring to cross-site scripting attacks, which are most commonly used by identity thieves and have been on the upswing.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9106238&intsrc=hm_list

  10. For more than six months, a list ranking the top supercomputers in China has been floating around, but no one has managed to solve its riddle.

    The list begins much like any other supercomputer ranking. IBM built the top system, which is a cluster of servers running on Xeon chips from Intel. An oil company - China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. - owns the machine. The next system, also built by IBM, belongs to the China Meteorological Administration. The third machine, a cluster made by Dawning, sits at the Shanghai Supercomputer Center, and the fourth system again belongs to the China Meteorological Administration. So, that's oil and gas exploration, some weather modeling and serious science work. Very standard stuff in the so-called high performance computing market.

    The systems ranked 5-10, however, prove more curious. These identical 1950-core clusters built by HP belong to "Gaming Company."

    It's almost a sign of disrespect to have such a prominent position on a list of top supercomputers and remain shrouded in anonymity. No self-congratulating, red-blooded US company would dare turn down the marketing opportunity presented by owning six of the country's fastest computers. What, after all, is the point of even having lists if comparisons against rivals and bragging can't occur from time-to-time?

    But try as it might to remain secret, the true identity of "Gaming Company" has been discovered. Our sources in China have revealed that the these six systems belong to The9 - a famous video game distributor and the Chinese proprietor of World of Warcraft.

    The9 owns at least 12 of the Top 100 machines in China and may have up to 16 systems on the list. (We've not been able to confirm four of the anonymous machines, although they're all also made by HP and belong to an anonymous gaming company. And, despite repeated attempts, The9 has declined to return our requests for comment.)

    Taking just the 12 machines, The9 has at least 18,032 cores of processing power - a mix of Xeons, Opterons and even Itaniums - dedicated to distributing games throughout mainland China.

    It's true enough that China's supercomputer list reflects a nation that's still in the early stages of building out its computing infrastructure. Only 12 of the top Chinese systems rank among the 500 fastest machines on the planet, according to the most recent Top500 supercomputer list. Meanwhile, the US claims 257 of the top machines, the UK 53, Germany 46 and France 34.

    In addition, the Chinese list is filled with systems from mainstream industries such as oil and gas, entertainment and telecommunications. By contrast, the top Western machines tend to reside inside of government-funded laboratories and universities. (Part of this discrepancy may result from the fact that many foreign government bodies like to boast about their computing giants, while the PRC appears to keep many government systems hidden. In addition, Western companies tend not to bother with benchmarking their business clusters, while the Chinese seem eager to do so.)

    Regardless of how you examine the trends affecting the lists of supercomputing machines, The9's story stands out as something rather remarkable. This one company aims more than 10 per cent of China's top computers at the singular task of sending out video games to the millions of local players.

    Source: http://guru3d.com/news.html#7270

  11. Apple's iPhone 3G goes on sale July 11, 8 a.m. local time

      AT&T Inc. today said it will sell Apple's iPhone 3G to customers without requiring a two-year contract sometime "in the future" at marked-up prices of $599 for the 8GB model and $699 for the 16GB device.

    When asked for more information, an AT&T spokesman said today that the company is not yet sharing details about the no-contract deal or laying out a timetable.

    Less than two weeks before the launch of Apple Inc.'s new iPhone, AT&T did spell out pricing for the iPhone and related service plans in a statement posted on its Web site.

    AT&T reiterated that the iPhone 3G will be available for discounted prices of $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB) to certain customers starting July 11, and it clarified which customers will be able to buy it at those prices. "These prices require two-year contracts and are available to the following customers," said AT&T, citing "iPhone customers who purchased before July 11, customers activating a new line with AT&T [and] current AT&T customers who are eligible, at the time of purchase, for an upgrade discount."

    The mobile operator, which is Apple Inc.'s exclusive network partner in the U.S., also explained how it will determine whether a customer qualifies for the subsidized prices. "Eligibility for the upgrade discount typically involves a number of factors, including how long you have been in your current service agreement, your payment history, for example, prompt payment of bills, and more," said AT&T spokesman Wes Warnock in an e-mail today. "In general, you are more likely to qualify if you are at or near the end of your current service agreement and pay your wireless bills promptly."

    Customers not eligible for the discounted prices will have to pay $499 for the 8GB iPhone 3G or $599 for the 16GB model, and they will still be required to ink a two-year contract with the carrier.

    The $300 and $400 differences between the iPhone 3G's subsidized prices and those offered to ineligible AT&T customers and buyers who don't sign a contract are in line with estimates analysts have made about how much the carrier is paying Apple for each device.

    AT&T outlined iPhone service plans that include $69.99, $89.99, $109.99 and $129.99 schemes offering 450, 900, 1,350 and unlimited minutes, respectively. As expected, those plans do not include text messaging. To add texting to their plans, iPhone 3G users will have to pay a minimum of $5 monthly -- for 200 messages -- to as much as $20 monthly for unlimited messaging.

    AT&T included 200 text messages in the plans for last year's first-generation iPhone, but it has stopped that practice.

    AT&T also said that it would start selling the iPhone 3G July 11 at 8 a.m. local time, and it said current iPhone owners with AT&T contracts will be charged an $18 upgrade fee when they signed up for another two-year deal. Warnock said the upgrade charge is standard practice for AT&T; it covers administrative and technical costs, he explained.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9105558&intsrc=hm_list

  12. It seems that AMD is gearing up for the launch of a special Radeon HD 4800 card designed explicitly to push past the GeForce GTX 280 in sheer performance. The TBA hardware would use the extra energy headroom of the card along with a custom water cooling system to clock the card well above the company's best individual card, the 4870: the core would reach 950MHz or more, while the video memory would be pushed to a 1.2GHz actual speed (4800 MHz effecive).

    The upgrade would give the RV770 chip, which sits at the heart of the AMD card, a 150GB per second transfer rate that would be just enough to edge out the NVIDIA-made GeForce card and eliminate one of the few weaknesses of the current Radeon platform.

    Diamond is already said to have delivered a rough version of the technology with its Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition card, which underclocks AMD's official version slightly but is otherwise identical. The official release, however, would give PC builders a drop-in option either for their own stand-alone cards or for manufactuers designing complete systems. Release dates haven't been made official but are expected soon from card designers such as ASUS and Sapphire.

    My question here would be .. considering the RV770 is all about price vs. performance ... how much would this cost ?

    Source: http://guru3d.com/news.html#7269

  13. Chili-hardware posted an interesting roadmap from AMD today. It includes an overview of official chipsets up-to 2009. It includes new RD890 and RS880 chipsets, both of which utilize DDR3 memory, as well as the new SB800 Southbridge.

    The SB800 series southbridges for example, are more than nine months away yet the sliding slide below is detailing AMD's plans for them and the improvements they are set to contain.

    The interconnect between the SB and NB will receive an upgrade towards PCI-Express 3.0, though the graphics card will have a 'dedicated' PCIe 2.0 connection. The SB800 chip will feature support for something called the Swift Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) which is part of the Fusion project, integrated Gigabit Ethernet, optional SATA 6.0 Gbps connection support, and improved hardware monitor. We can't wait.

    Source: http://guru3d.com/news.html#7267

  14. Spam filters of Blogger subsidiary erase posts by accident, stirring up a political uproar

      Google Inc. has found itself immersed in a blogger brouhaha after its Blogger subsidiary shut down the postings of several political bloggers opposing the election of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.

    At least seven bloggers who use the Google self-publishing blog service noted that their sites were shut down last week. The blogs were reinstated by Monday, and some of the bloggers posted an e-mail apology from Google.

    Carissa Snedeker, who blogs about her support for Sen. Hillary Clinton for president at a site called Blue Lyon, posted the e-mail apology sent to her by Google. In the note, Google said that the Blogger spam filters caused some accounts "to mistakenly be blocked from creating new posts."

    Google went on to note that the company believes that the mistake may have been caused by mass spam e-mails mentioning the Just Say No Deal network of anti-Obama blogs, which caused Blogger's system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam.

    "Well, don't you think your system should be able to tell a blog with nearly 700 posts and that's been around for oh, say, three years, from a 'spam' blog?" Snedeker noted in her post, which she moved from Blogger to competitor WordPress after the incident. "And in the absence of that sort of flagging on your end, how's about a little benefit of the doubt for the next set of bloggers that get caught in your 'automated spam detection' maze?"

    Snedeker went on to note that whenever the Just Say No Deal group sends out e-mail, it doesn't list all of the blogs, but merely directs people to the Web site where all the blogs are listed.

    In a statement sent to Computerworld, Google echoed the reasons noted above for shutting down the blogs, noting that the spam e-mails from the Just Say No Deal network of blogs caused its system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam.

    "We think blog spam is a serious problem and we have spam detection software to try to eliminate it," the statement said. "We have restored posting rights to the affected blogs, and it is very important to us that Blogger remain a tool for political debate and free expression."

    Other political blogs using the Google service that were shut down and subsequently restored include Hillary Or Bust, McCain Democrats, No Obama and Come a Long Way.

    Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of blog Search Engine Land, which follows Google, said that the incident shows that Google probably needs to do more to ensure its Blogger spam reporting tools are not being abused, "especially given how it says these can't be manipulated by angry mobs. Right now it looks like they can."

    He went on to note that it is unusual that seven different sites on the anti-Obama topic were frozen. However, because Google's e-mails did not say that the blogs were shut down for their political bent, there is no "smoking gun" linking the move to political motivation, Sullivan noted.

    However, he added that the company would not likely make these same types of mistakes with its search tools.

    "In part, Google has more signals to help keep it straight on the Web search side," he noted. "Plus, you've got different teams looking into different spam reports. Just because Blogger's spam tool might be messed up doesn't mean the Web search tools are. But still, a valid point to raise."

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9105418&intsrc=hm_list

    Oh wow, LOL. Now were monitoring blog posts.


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