Technology News for November 9, 2007

Block Facebook Beacon So here I am, burning some brain cells and taking some time to relax playing a game on Kongregate, when a little window pops up in the corner of my screen and says “Kongregate is sending this to your Facebook profile: Nate played Desktop Tower Defense 1.5 at Kongregate.” Which immediately elicited a “Hellll no” from my mouth.

Review: The Sweet Agony That Is Nokia N81 It has been nearly 65 days since I went without a phone set change, leading to snide remarks from my co-workers about my fidelity to Apple’s iPhone. Despite getting frustrated with frustrations with iPhone’s Email application (I carry a Blackberry to get some serenity), and poky Edge connections, I avoided the hassle of switching to another phone.

Are Facebook’s Social Ads Illegal? Mark Zuckerberg promised no less than a revolution with his idea that ads you see on Facebook will be attached to the names and photos of your friends who like the products being advertised. There is at least one problem with this idea: It may be illegal under a 100-year-old New York privacy law.

Prosecutor Announces Charges Against The Pirate Bay Prosecutor Håkan Roswall announced that he plans to press charges against 5 people involved with The Pirate Bay before January 31, 2008. The 5 are suspected of facilitating copyright infringement.

The World’s Biggest Botnets You know about the Storm Trojan, which is spread by the world’s largest botnet. But what you may not know is there’s now a new peer-to-peer based botnet emerging that could blow Storm away.

“We’re investigating a new peer-to-peer botnet that may wind up rivaling Storm in size and sophistication,” says Tripp Cox, vice president of engineering for startup Damballa, which tracks botnet command and control infrastructures. “We can’t say much more about it, but we can tell it’s distinct from Storm.”

OMG!!! The end of online stupidity? Internet veterans have long complained about the steady erosion of civility — and worse, intelligence — in online discourse. Initially the phenomenon seemed to be a seasonal disorder. It occurred every September when freshmen showed up for college and went online. Tasting for the first time the freedom and power of the Internet, the newbies would behave like a bunch of drunken fraternity pledges, filling electronic bulletin boards with puerile remarks until the upperclassmen could whip them into shape.

Things took a dramatic turn for the worse in 1993, when AOL (Charts, Fortune 500) loosed its tens of thousands — and then millions — of users onto the Net. The event came to be known as the Endless September, and true to its name, it continues to this day.

IE Automatic Component Activation (Changes to IE ActiveX Update) Back in April 2006, we made a change to how Internet Explorer handled embedded controls used on some webpages. Some sites required users to “click to activate” before they could interact with the control. Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing the “click to activate” requirement in Internet Explorer. Because of this, we’re removing the “click to activate” behavior from Internet Explorer!

Radiohead: comScore totally inaccurate A New Music Express piece on Radiohead brings with it a rather large knee to the goolies for comScore, which came out with some numbers on downloads of the band’s “pay what you want” album In Rainbows (I wrote about comScore’s results here). ComScore said that its survey showed less than 40 per cent paid for the album, and most paid less than $4. There was quite a bit of skepticism about the results, however, since — as Ethan Kaplan of blackrimglasses.com pointed out — it was based on just a few hundred people.

Radiohead Deny Reports That 60 Percent Of Fans Paid Nothing For In Rainbows The physical version of Radiohead’s In Rainbows won’t be ready for your holiday stocking, but it will be released this year.

Radiohead announced Thursday (November 8) that the vinyl and CD version of their much-vaunted new album will be released internationally December 31. No information was given on whether the physical release will differ from the 10-track download released last month.

Live Search gets gimmicky: taps prizes to lure search engine users, data How do you win in the search engine wars? Two approaches suggest themselves: 1) build a better search engine or 2) bribe users. Microsoft is trying option two in hopes of gathering enough data to make option one a reality.

Video Rentals Coming Soon to iTunes? Before installing any iTunes upgrade, I dump the strings from the old iTunes binary. Once the new version has installed, I diff the new version’s strings against the old’s, to see what shows up.

Sony CEO sees ‘stalemate’ in disc fight The head of Sony Corp., Howard Stringer, said Thursday that the Blu-ray disc format the company has developed as the successor to the DVD is in a “stalemate” with the competing HD DVD format, chiefly backed by Toshiba Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

Nigeria favors Linux vendor Mandriva over Microsoft once more Microsoft may not have beaten French Linux vendor Mandriva in a large deal to supply Nigerian elementary schools with laptop computers and software after all.

Mandriva had closed a deal in mid-August to provide a customized Linux operating system and support for 17,000 Intel Classmate PCs intended for Nigerian schools, but found out last week that the company deploying the computers for the government, Technology Support Center (TSC), planned to wipe the computers’ disks and install Windows XP instead.

DivX and Xbox 360: A Potential Win-Win For Everyone DivX (DIVX) followed up Tuesday night’s earnings report with a presentation at the JP Morgan SmMid cap conference. After having just undergone their quarterly confessional, I didn’t expect to hear any new information, but wanted to tune in anyway.

Attack of the Splogs—One Of Our Posts Copied 152 Times Without Attribution Here at TechCrunch, there is nothing we love more than when one of our posts gets linked to and talked about. And like the majority of other blogs out there, we try to be good citizens by linking back to any source from which we excerpt. But there is a growing minority of spam blogs, or splogs, that indiscriminately take entire posts from other blogs and present them as their own.

Windows Live Translator For Your Website Last week, the Translation team blog posted about an add-in for your website or blog that uses the Windows Live Translator. In their post they show you exactly how to use this add-in.

Microsoft’s Surface taking a while to, you know, surface While the tech demos are always sure to draw a crowd, Microsoft’s Surface is still having trouble making it past the prototype stage. Originally slated to show up in a few commercial venues this year, applications of the tech have been pushed back to next spring at the earliest.