Buzz Out Loud 1461: Sony, you're killing us. (Podcast)

Every company can be hacked, but we didn't expect Sony to tell us that an additional 24 millions users and over 12,000 credit cards were acquired. It's not looking good for you guys.Microsoft and RIM are new BFFs in the mobile space and they need each other, plus new iMacs! Just like we predicted.

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MIT software could bring 'DNA origami' to the masses

DNA molecules are not merely carriers of information. They are also highly stable and programmable, which is why researchers have been working so feverishly on a design strategy called DNA origami.

And now a team at MIT is developing a program that makes the game playable by more than just a select few.

DNA origami--constructing specific 2D and 3D shapes out of DNA strands--could prove to be a highly effective means of developing nanoscale tools, such as synthetic photocells that perform artificial photosynthesis and highly targeted drugs (think of sending a cancer drug to hunt down a specific tumor).

But it's still young. Paul Rothemund of CalTech first introduced DNA origami in 2006 (thereby making the cover of Nature and delivering a TED Talk showing tiny DNA smiley faces), and William Shih's lab at Harvard Medical School was able to up the game from 2D to 3D a few years later.

The result is that today a small number of brilliant and highly specialized minds are bent over a nanoscale game of origami, playing with various sequences to try to build specific shapes for specific tasks. Imagine a room of highly sophisticated gamers playing with building blocks in a world without Tetris; if they had the game, they'd be able to work faster.… Read more

Ready, aim, fire!

Bowmaster HD is the iPad adaptation of Bowmaster for the iPhone and iPod Touch, in which you fire arrows from a virtual bow at moving targets while competing against Robin Hood's "Merry Men."

Bowmaster's 3D, first-person arrow-firing interface works fairly well: you control the position of your bow with your left thumb, pull back on the string with your right thumb (lifting to release an arrow), and adjust your view up, down, left, and right by tilting your device. The game's premise is that you're trying to win a series of archery competitions against … Read more

How-to: Boot commands for Mac OS X

Many users are aware of some boot commands for Mac OS X that provide different functionality for your system. The following is a more comprehensive list of the keyboard commands you know and many you may not.

A recent tweet from @superfetz reminded me of several boot commands I've learned over the years, so I thought a more comprehensive list would be useful for MacFixIt readers.

While you cannot run any code from Terminal or otherwise to set an order of boot devices, you can easily control where your Mac boots via keyboard commands. The following key combinations can … Read more

The 10 worst proposed Internet laws?

The latest list of the 10 worst Internet laws is out, and topping it are proposals to restrict targeted online advertising.

NetChoice, a Washington, D.C. coalition that includes AOL, eBay, VeriSign, and Yahoo as members, today released its updated "iAWFUL" list of misguided, nutty, or simply counterproductive laws.

Topping them is a bill introduced last month by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), which would require the Federal Trade Commission to regulate targeted Internet ads. Last year's iAWFUL list was led by proposals to regulate the data collection and use practices of many Web sites.

"Their favorite … Read more

Get a no-contract LG Optimus V Android smartphone for $129.99

Smartphones rock. Smartphone service plans? Not so much. Whether it's an iPhone or an Incredible or a Droid X you buy, you're on the hook for two years at around $70 per month, minimum.

There are a handful of exceptions, usually from regional carriers, but I've yet to find a better deal than the one offered by Sprint-owned Virgin Mobile: no contracts, no obnoxious fees, no activation charge, and voice/data service plans that start at just $25.

Late last year, I bought Virgin's Samsung Intercept for Mrs. Cheapskate. The service has been great, but the … Read more

Symantec report focuses on threat of targeted attacks

In the world of security, targeted attacks should be a real concern--and extremely worrisome--to organizations around the world, Symantec said in a new quarterly report on attacks on critical infrastructure.

"The customization of targeted attacks can make them more dangerous than non-targeted attacks because they are tailored explicitly to affect a target group," Symantec wrote in its quarterly report (PDF). The company said that targeted attacks are currently being used to take data from companies, steal information for financial gain, or to simply cause "mischief."

Targeted attacks have been gathering some notoriety over the past couple … Read more

Quick! Behind you!

Clay Shooter Mania is a clay-pigeon shooting game that uses the iPhone 4 accelerometer and gyroscope features to make for a unique gaming experience, but you're going to need room to move around to play it.

One of the more-amazing features of the iPhone 4 when it came out was the gyroscope, which enabled users to move the device and view an object as though the iPhone screen were a window into a different world. There have only been a few apps so far at the iTunes App Store that take advantage of this feature (Eliminate: GunRange, for example).… Read more

Black Friday's online sales rise over last year

This year's Black Friday saw a healthy rise in online sales, according to stats out today from ComScore.

Cybershoppers collectively plunked down $648 million online on Friday, a gain of 9 percent over the same day last year. Thanksgiving, a day where people typically spend more time filling their bellies than emptying their wallets, saw a solid 28 percent rise in cybersales from last year, hitting $407 million.

Overall, the online holiday shopping season has been robust so far, according to market researcher ComScore, with $11.64 billion spent at e-commerce outlets from November 1 to 26, a gain … Read more

Facebook applies for ad-targeting patent

This is interesting: Earlier this month, Facebook filed for a patent to further hone its ad-targeting technology so that ads can be based on what a user's friends interests may be. The reason for this, it appears, is so that Facebook can better serve ads toward users who have not filled out their profiles with enough information for traditional ad targeting.

Facebook calls this second-degree targeting "inferential."

"Members of social networks often do not populate their profiles to include all of their interests and other personal information," the patent application explains. "As a result, … Read more