Sony hacker Recursion, jailed for year

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The Lulzsec hacking group used this distinctive character as its mascot
The Lulzsec hacking group used this distinctive character as its mascot
A 25-year-old man known online as Recursion has been sentenced to a year in jail for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Cody Kretsinger pleaded guilty last April, and admitted being part of an infamous hacking group known as Lulzsec.

After his jail term, Kretsinger will be required to do 1,000 hours of community service, a Los Angeles judge ruled.

Sony said the hack caused more than $600,000 (£392,000) in damage.

Not to be confused with the attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network, the Sony Pictures hack in July 2011 involved breaching the company’s website and accessing a database of customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

Around 50,000 of the names were later posted online.

Kretsinger pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy and unauthorised impairment of a protected computer.

Prosecutors declined to say if Kretsinger was also co-operating with authorities in exchange for leniency.
Lulzsec in the dock

It follows guilty pleas last week from other hackers involved with Lulzsec.
Ryan Ackroyd Ryan Ackroyd pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court last week to hacking

At Southwark Crown Court in London, 26-year-old Ryan Ackroyd, from South Yorkshire, admitted to being part of the group that targeted the NHS and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

He is to be sentenced next month with three others: Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, from Peckham, south London, Jake Davis, 20, from Lerwick, Shetland, and Ryan Cleary, 21, of Essex.

Kretsinger’s guilty plea came a month after it was revealed that another prolific hacker, known as Sabu – real name Hector Xavier Monsegur – had been co-operating with US authorities to provide information on people suspected of being part of Lulzsec.
Murdoch and CIA targeted

The group emerged as a splinter group of the Anonymous hacking collective in May 2011.

The name stood for Lulz Security – in which “Lulz” is derived from the popular internet term “lol”, meaning “laugh out loud”.

Members employed techniques to flood websites with high traffic – known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks – in order to render them unusable.

Lulzsec claimed to have attacked the Sun newspaper’s website, on which a false story was planted suggesting that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of its News Corporation parent company, had died.

In the US, the group was credited with attacking the website of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Lulzsec had previously posted a story on American broadcaster PBS’s website, suggesting that the dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive.


Does technology hinder or help toddlers’ learning?

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tabletChildren under five years old have an uncanny knack of knowing how to master new technology.

From smart phones to tablet computers and game consoles, it is not unusual to see toddlers intuitively swiping screens and confidently pressing buttons.

Even if parents enjoy the momentary peace that comes with handing a small child a gadget to play with, parents secretly worry that this screen time is damaging their brains.

But it appears that screens can be beneficial to learning – and the more interactive the experience the better.

Research from the University of Wisconsin, presented at a meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development this week, found that children aged between two and three were more likely to respond to video screens that prompted children to touch them than to a video screen that demanded no interaction.

The more interactive the screen, the more real it was, and the more familiar it felt from a two-year-old’s perspective, the study suggested.
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“Start Quote

Kids who are interacting with the screen get better much faster, make fewer mistakes and learn faster”

Heather Kirkorian University of Wisconsin

Heather Kirkorian, assistant professor in human development and family studies, carried out the research and says touch screens could hold educational potential for toddlers.

When she did another test on word learning, the results were repeated.

“Kids who are interacting with the screen get better much faster, make fewer mistakes and learn faster.

“But we’re not turning them into geniuses, just helping them get a little more information.”
Helpful tools

So breathe more easily parents, your toddler is just doing what comes naturally and interacting with the world.

In any case, technology, in the form of phones and tablets, is here to stay. Many primary schools and some pre-schools have introduced iPads into the classroom to facilitate learning. Technology, understanding how things work, and ICT are part of the curriculum.

“I’m not one of those people who think we shouldn’t expose children to mobiles, tablets etc,” says Helen Moylett, president of Early Education, a charity that aims to improve teaching practice and quality for the under-fives.

“They can be really helpful and interesting tools if used in the right place to help us learn – and not all the time, or instead of other things.”

However, her main concern is that parents are not always good role models.
Toddler playing “I’ll just do this headstand, then I’ll go and play on mummy’s phone”

“I see parents texting while they walk. Often they are so plugged into their device that it becomes a barrier to communication with their child.”

A recent study from Stirling University’s school of education found that the family’s attitude to technology at home was an important factor in influencing a child’s relationship with it.

It concluded: “The experiences of three to five-year-olds are mediated by each family’s distinct sociocultural context and each child’s preferences.

“The technology did not dominate or drive the children’s experiences; rather their desires and their family culture shaped their forms of engagement.”

Christine Stephen, study author and research fellow at Stirling, says most parents understand the dangers of addiction and passivity, and set up rules on screen time to make sure that children do a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities.
Bad habit

But there are other experts in the field who disagree.

Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman has regularly said that children are watching more screen media than ever, and that this habit should be curbed because it could lead to addiction or depression.
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“Start Quote

We can get in a terrible panic about [screen time], but toddlers are very curious and savvy”

Helen Moylett Early Education charity

He calculates that children born today will have spent a full year glued to screens by the time they reach the age of seven.

If true, few people would argue that this fact is scary.

Yet, if only 9% of UK children do not have access to a computer at home or school, as studies suggest, then screens are pervasive. There is no going back.

The key must be for children to use their time in front of them to best advantage by downloading the best apps and the right software to aid their learning.

Jackie Marsh, professor of education at the University of Sheffield, says there needs to be more research done in this area.

“We are going to outline what we feel should be the principles for good apps because there is a lack of a central resource for teachers.

“It’s not just a case of giving them the iPad,” she says.

“It’s finding the right quality of apps that’s important.”
Develop skills

She also maintains that good-quality programs and particular software can help children with learning difficulties develop the skills they are lacking.

Online environments can also provide children with a virtual space to develop in confidence – something they might not be able to do in the home or the classroom, she says.

Her message to parents is that two hours of screen time each day is enough for children aged six and under.

Although there is a minority who consider screens not to be healthy, there is no evidence to suggest they are detrimental, Prof Marsh adds.

Children quickly get bored with one type of media, research suggests, and tend to combine screen time with playing with toys and running around in circles outdoors.

“We can get in a terrible panic about this, but toddlers are very curious and savvy,” Ms Moylett says.

“Children are going to be exposed to all sorts of things.”

Perhaps, in the end, they just want to enjoy technology the way adults do

Windows 8 lifts Microsoft’s profit 19%

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In the face of a badly slumping PC market, Windows 8 sales proved a hit.

Microsoft Windows sales spiked 23% in the company’s fiscal third quarter. Even if you exclude sales deferrals carried over from earlier in the year, Windows sales were essentially flat — that’s pretty good in a PC market that is in rapid decline.

Shares of Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) rose 2% after hours.

The company said it was satisfied enough with the performance of Windows, which boosted profit 16% in the wake of Windows 8’s launch. Yet it seemed more excited about the performance of its other services, including Office and Xbox.

Microsoft said that its Office 365 cloud-based productivity suite was on pace to generate a billion dollars this year in revenue. The company also expressed satisfaction with the 46% growth of Xbox Live. Microsoft got a big boost from the Xbox and Kinect, sales of which grew a surprising 56% over last year.

Microsoft is so pleased, in fact, that Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein pledged the company would stay the course on its recent strategy shift, even though that includes soft-selling tablets like the Microsoft Surface and the the Windows Phone mobile platform.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in long-term growth opportunities to drive our devices and services strategy forward and deliver ongoing value to shareholders,” Klein said in the company press release.

Related story: Don’t blame Windows 8 for slumping PC sales

Yet Klein won’t be sticking around to see that pay off. Microsoft announced the CFO will be stepping down in June, and his replacement will be named at some point over the next couple of weeks.

Overall, things are looking OK for Microsoft. After a pretty drastic reinvention of its company identity, it is not only growing again, but meeting Wall Street’s expectations. It acknowledges it has a long road to travel, but surely this has to be a boost for the software giant.

“While there is still work to do, we are optimistic that the bets we’ve made on Windows devices position us well for the long term,” said CEO Steve Ballmer.

Going forward, Klein says the public should expect to see smaller third-party devices powered by Windows. Presumably, that means more Surface-like machines. Klein said that as Microsoft moves to increase its share in the tablet market, we should expect Windows revenue from third-party PC manufacturers to be “impacted by the declining PC market.” Not exactly a vote of confidence for the traditional laptop.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said operating income in its fiscal third quarter rose 19% to $7.6 billion, or 72 cents per share, for the period ended March 31. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings of 68 cents per share.

Revenue rose 18% to $20.5 billion, meeting analysts’ forecasts.

Windows 8 says goodbye to the Start button
Windows 8 says goodbye to the Start button
Sales of Windows 8 boosted Microsoft's bottom line
Sales of Windows 8 boosted Microsoft’s bottom line

Aside Posted on

Mkurugenzi Mkuu wa Mamlaka ya Mawasiliano Tanzania (TCRA ), Profesa  John Nkoma, akizungumza kwenye mkutano wa pamoja na viongozi wa Kampuni za Simu kuhusu usajili wa laini za simu Dar es Salaam jana. Image


Ufafanuzi wa TCRA umekuja baada ya kuwapo malalamiko ya watu wa kada mbalimbali kwamba mawasiliano yao ya simu yanaingiliwa na kuchapishwa katika vyombo vya habari.



Ni kauli ya TCRA ikinukuu sheria ya mawasiliano. Lengo ni kudhibiti matumizi mabaya ya simu.

Dar es Salaam. Mamlaka ya Mawasiliano Tanzania (TCRA) imesema kisheria mtu anayetumia simu isiyosajiliwa akikamatwa anaweza kutozwa faini ya Sh500,000 au kwenda jela miezi sita.

‘‘Kwa mujibu wa kifungu cha 131 cha sheria ya mawasiliano   mteja au muuzaji wa namba ya simu ambayo haijasajiliwa atatozwa faini ya Sh500,000 au kifungo cha miezi mitatui’’ ilielezwa jana.

Mkurugenzi Mkuu wa TCRA, Profesa John Nkoma alisema hayo alipokutana na wadau wa mawasiliano jijini hapa jana. Profesa Nkoma alisema namba za simu ni lazima zisajiliwe kwa mujibu wa sheria ya mawasiliano ya elekroniki na Posta (EPOCA) ya mwaka 2010.

Ufafanuzi wa TCRA umekuja baada ya kuwapo malalamiko ya watu wa kada mbalimbali kwamba mawasiliano yao ya simu yanaingiliwa na kuchapishwa katika vyombo vya habari.

Katika maelezo yake ya jana, Pofesa Nkoma alisema kwa mujibu wa kifungu cha 130 cha sheria ya EPOCA ya mwaka 2010, mtu ambaye atauza au kutoa namba za simu bila ya kusajiliwa atachukuliwa hatua za kisheria na adhabu yake ni faini ya Sh3 milioni na kifungo cha miezi 12.

“Katika vikao vya pamoja vilivyofanyika Aprili 4 na Aprili 11 mwaka huu Mamlaka ya Mawasiliano Tanzania na kampuni zinazotoa huduma za simu za mkononi, zimekubaliana juu ya hatua za kumaliza tatizo la usajili wa namba za simu na utaratibu wa kufungia namba zote ambazo hazikusajiliwa,”alisema Profesa Mkoma.

Profesa Nkoma alisema kwa kushirikiana na kampuni za simu na vyombo vya usalama imeanza kampeni endelevu ili kuwabaini wanaohusika na uvunjifu wa sheria kwa lengo kuwalinda watumiaji wema, jamii kwa ujumla kwa ajili ya kuimarisha usalama na kuleta maendeleo na usawa katika  jamii.

Pia alisema mikakati iliyopo ya TCRA simu ambazo hazijasajiliwa hazitafanya kazi, hivyo watu  ambao hawajajisajili waanze mchakato huo.

Alisema namba za simu zilizosajiliwa ni asilimia 93 na asilimia 7 hazijasajiliwana kwamba asilimia iliyobaki inatakiwa kuondoka haraka.

Fulham v Arsenal

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images;;Fulham v Arsenal

Arsenal need a win at Fulham if they are to keep their late-season charge for a Champions League berth going strong.