It’s Atari’s 40th anniversary.

The first computer I ever used was an Atari 400 with a blazing fast 1.8MHz CPU, 8K of RAM and a cassette drive. The keyboard was not its best feature.

Atari 400

Vatican still hates women

Vatican labels the ordination of women a ‘grave crime’ to be dealt with in the same way as sex abuse.

The new rules mean that priests can be defrocked or excommunicated for paedophile offences, sexual abuse of mentally handicapped adults or attempting to ordain women.

One of these things is not like the others.

Twitter responds to its massive outage

Twitter’s response about their outages yesterday:

A “cascading bug” is a bug with an effect that isn’t confined to a particular software element, but rather its effect “cascades” into other elements as well. One of the characteristics of such a bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today. As soon as we discovered it, we took corrective actions, which included rolling back to a previous stable version of Twitter.

Overall, the response is excellent. Mazen Rawashdeh resists the temptation to go into excessive technical detail, but provides a high level summary that is understandable to any reader. There’s no bluster and no defensiveness. Well done.

Scottish data breach 24 hours after new data protection policy

Dumfries and Galloway Council is investigating a data breach less than 24 hours after approving a new data protection policy, following two other high profile breaches in the last year.

The authority said its new policy would provide extra safeguards for the information which it holds.

The social work files were found by tourists who handed them in to police.


Reasonable password advice

Passwords: LinkedIn And Beyond

“It’s typically more important not to re-use passwords across accounts than it is to change them.”

I need to change my password on a couple of dozen random sites that I haven’t visited in months. On a positive note, the LinkedIn breach has prompted me to improve my passwords to random 16-character sequences. (This is practical thanks to 1Password.)

Airport surveillance in Canada

Sections of the Ottawa airport (and other undisclosed airports in Canada) are now wired with microphones to eavesdrop on travelers’ conversations within designated areas. No conversations are recorded. Yet. What could go wrong?

Once the Ottawa equipment is activated, signs will be posted referring passersby to a “privacy notice” that will be posted on the CBSA website, and to a separate help line explaining how the recordings will be used, stored, disclosed and retained.

You’ve read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV.

UPDATE: Ottawa has put the brakes on a high-tech eavesdropping program that would allow authorities to listen in on conversations taking place at border crossings and airports.

Mozilla’s concept browser for iPad eliminates the address bar

In the interest of simplicity, Mozilla is planning to remove the address bar from its upcoming browser for iPad.

Junior is not fully gesture-based, and has two buttons on the left and right side of the screen that are operated by the user’s thumbs when the iPad is held in portrait mode, the video shows.

Both buttons can be pulled into the screen to reveal four sub-buttons. Behind the back button users can find a reload and a forward button; behind the plus buttons users find a share and a print option. “With those six functions you cover everything I use the browser for, at least,” said Limi.

I realize that a relatively small percentage of users looks at the address bar, but removing it altogether would make it even easier to make malicious websites appear legitimate.

Skype’s insane positioning of new ad units

I understand that freemium services like Skype have to generate revenue. Yesterday, Skype announced that they’re going to start including “conversation ads” in free calls. I don’t have a problem with that. But their positioning of the new ads is insane.

While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about.

I find it hard to believe that Skype’s marketing executives truly believe that people want ads inserted in their calls to “generate fun interactivity.” People can see right through that kind of bullshit. I’d prefer to see a more honest approach. They need to sell adds to support their free service. Just tell it like it is.

UPDATE: I can imagine it being like this.