US Says North Korea Responsible For Sony Hack
Dec18

US Says North Korea Responsible For Sony Hack

ABC News Those who hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment – releasing a trove of emails and stealing personal data from company executives – were directed to do so by North Korean officials, a senior administration official told ABC News. The hackers have also threatened to attack theaters screening “The Interview” – a fictional comedy about two Americans who are asked to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – leading several major chains to pull the film from their lineups and Sony to cancel its Christmas Day release date. The U.S. used painstaking cyber-sleuthing to piece together what happened, the official said, noting that the individual or group behind the hack were not in North Korea. The official said U.S. intelligence and the FBI pulled all the stops out given the unprecedented nature of the attack that destroyed files, shut down work stations and exploited company secrets and strategy. “Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business,” Sony said in a statement provided to ABC News. “Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like.” Last week, the FBI held a private meeting in New York with reps from across the entertainment industry to brief them on cyber-related threats against them. The Sony hack was not the only topic discussed, but it was a major one, sources said. On Tuesday, Guardians of Peace, the group that has claimed responsibility for hacking Sony, posted a warning to theaters showing the movie and for the first time discussed “The Interview” by name rather than relatively vague references. “We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ [will] be shown, including the premier, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the note released by the group of hackers reads. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.” The post adds that people should stay away from places where the movie is shown and “whatever comes… all the world will denounce the SONY.” A spokesperson for the National Security Council said it has offered assistance to Sony. “The U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice, and we are considering a range of options in weighing a potential response,” said NSC spokesperson Bernadette Meehan. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past an exterior wall to Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles,...

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Google Pulls Amazon App From Play Store Listing
Dec14

Google Pulls Amazon App From Play Store Listing

Try searching for Amazon’s app in Google’s Play Store. You won’t find it. CNN Google (GOOGL, Tech30) is typically lax about the kind of apps that live in its app store, avoiding the standoffs with app developers that Apple (AAPL, Tech30) is so well known for. But Amazon’s addition of its own app store within its main Android app appears to have ruffled Google’s feathers. In September, Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) began allowing customers to download apps from within its Android application. Essentially what Amazon was trying to do was infiltrate the Google Play store with its own app store. That’s a no-no in Google’s playbook. Normally, Google makes customers jump through hoops in order to install apps from rival app stores. Amazon’s workaround — by including its app store from within its own app — led Google to pull Amazon’s app from its Play Store search listings. Related: Google shuts news service in Spain Strangely, Amazon’s app is still in the Google Play Store — you just can’t find it by searching for it. Android customers can still get there from a direct link. They can also download Amazon’s app on from the Amazon app store. Replacing Amazon’s app in Google Play is a new app called Amazon Shopping. It’s essentially identical to the main Amazon app, except it doesn’t include access to Amazon’s app store. German tech blog Caschys first reported the story. Google and Amazon did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Amazon told Caschys that Google changed its agreement with developers on Sept. 25, a few weeks after Amazon added its app store within its main Android...

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Facebook: Would Take To Make A ‘Dislike’ Button Work On Facebook
Dec12

Facebook: Would Take To Make A ‘Dislike’ Button Work On Facebook

  ABC News There are some times when clicking “like” on a friend’s Facebook status doesn’t feel appropriate. A bad day. A loved one lost. A break up. It only seems natural that a “dislike” button could solve the conundrum of wanting to empathize but not seem inappropriate by clicking “like.”The idea has been on Mark Zuckerberg’s radar for a while, he said. In 2010, he told ABC News’Diane Sawyer that that Facebook would “definitely think about” adding a dislike button. “People definitely seem to want it,” Zuckerberg said. Four years later — Zuckerberg says Facebook is still “thinking about” adding the oft-requested button. At a town hall meeting on Thursday, the CEO revealed he has some reservations about the feature. “There are two things that it can mean,” Zuckerberg said of the potential button, which could be used in a mean spirited way or to express empathy. Finding how to limit it to the latter is the challenge. Zuckerberg said he doesn’t want the button to turn into a “voting mechanism” or something that isn’t “socially valuable.” “Often people will tell us they don’t feel comfortable pressing ‘like,'” Zuckerberg said. “What’s the right way to make it so people can easier express a wide range of emotions?” One suggestion percolating online: Roll out the feature under a different name. However, an “empathy button” just may not have the same ring to it as...

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LCC Instructor Stays At The Forefront Of Technology
Nov13

LCC Instructor Stays At The Forefront Of Technology

Special to The Laredo Sun LAREDO, TEXAS – Enrique Garcia’s computer technology classroom at Laredo Community College seems to be ahead of its time. With his unique approach to technology, Garcia is breaking away from the traditional classroom set-up. “I haven’t written anything on my whiteboard since the beginning of the semester,” said Garcia. Instead, the veteran instructor uses his Microsoft Surface Pro tablet for all of his lectures. With just a click of his stylus pen, Garcia is able to immediately transfer all of his notes from his device onto the projector screen wirelessly, where students can see his lectures and even interact with the screen without leaving their seats. According to Garcia, the technology in his classroom goes much further. “I film all my lessons directly from my tablet, as well as live stream my classes for my online students,” said Garcia. “Both my face-to-face and online students can access previous class lessons, which I upload to the cloud so they can be accessed at any time. Everything I do in my tablet, as well as my reactions to the lessons are recorded and stored digitally for the convenience of my students.” “Additionally, all my classes have the ability to interact with one another and to see each other through the video set-up. I can see what my students are doing in their computers and can take control of their devices when they need help. It’s truly fascinating,” Garcia added. The technology in Garcia’s class is possible thanks to a $3.2 million Tittle V grant from the Department of Education to improve academic quality in the classrooms. Now in its fifth and final year, the grant continues to ensure student success by providing training and facilitate the enhancement of distance education courses using advanced technology. “We are seeing a trend that students taking online classes are starting to do better and I really do believe that it is due to the innovative strategies that are being implemented,” said LCC Distance Learning Director Gerardo Sifuentes. “Student retention was one of the goals of the grant and I think we are achieving it.” Perla Canales, technology specialist for the Distance Learning Department, said she is pleased with Garcia’s online presence. “We provide all the training needed for the faculty to use the different tools available in our Learning Management System (LMS). This enables instructors to be creative in the creation of their online approach. Mr. Garcia has set the bar really high and it’s incredible how he has been able to use the system and add dynamic applications for the success of his students.” Garcia said that without the...

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LCC To Host STEM Transfer Fair This Thursday
Nov12

LCC To Host STEM Transfer Fair This Thursday

Special to The Laredo Sun LAREDO, TEXAS – Deciding where your future lies after graduating from Laredo Community College is going to be made a little easier thanks to the STEM Scholars Program Transfer Fair on Thursday, Nov. 13. Representatives from numerous Texas universities will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kazen Student Center at the Fort McIntosh Campus to provide students with all the information they need to successfully transfer to the university of their choosing. Hosted by LCC’s STEM Scholars program, the event is free and open to all LCC students and the community. Whether you are a high school student or a current LCC student looking to pursue a four-year degree, the transfer fair has the information you need to succeed regardless of whether or not you are pursuing a degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM)-related field. During the fair, students can visit with each university to learn more about what programs of study are available at each school, as well as the admission processes, financial aid and scholarships opportunities for transfer students. Among the schools participating in the fair are the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University San Antonio, University of Houston- Conrad H. Hilton College-San Antonio, University of the Incarnate Word, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Texas A&M International University. For more information about the STEM Scholars Program Transfer Fair, contact LCC’s STEM Articulation Office at...

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If You Had A Verizon Family Plan In The 2000s, There’s Some Cash Coming Your Way
Nov02

If You Had A Verizon Family Plan In The 2000s, There’s Some Cash Coming Your Way

The Huffington Post Verizon agreed to a proposed settlement last week under which it would pay $64.2 million to settle claims that it overcharged customers who signed up for family plans. Family SharePlan customers were allegedly billed for in-network calls that were supposed to be free, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in 2006 in a New Jersey federal court. Customers with that plan were also allegedly billed more than the advertised rate for additional minutes they used over their monthly allowance. The alleged overcharges happened between 2002 and 2006, at the height of so-called “family share” plans’ popularity with customers. Under the terms of the settlement, which has yet to be approved by the court, Verizonwould pay $36.7 million into a settlement fund, according to court filings obtained by Consumerist. Once lawyer fees and other expenses have been deducted — $19.26 million alone will be paid to plaintiffs’ attorneys, Law360 reports — Verizon would pay the remaining amount in cash and bill credits to affected customers. Verizon would then pay out another $27.5 million in the form of credits for free phone calls, the court documents state. When asked whether Verizon had deliberately overcharged people with Family SharePlans, or whether it was merely a mistake, Peter Bezek, one of the attorneys who filed the class-action suit, said he believed it was “primarily an oversight.” “I assume they legitimately believed in the billing practices they had,” Bezek told The Huffington Post. “Ultimately, when they were shown there were, in fact, billing problems, they acted responsibly and settled the case.” Verizon declined to comment for this story. Of course, we don’t make phone calls today nearly as much as we used to, opting instead to send text messages and emails. As a result, cell phone providers now offer plans with unlimited talk time, meaning this problem is unlikely to happen on a large scale again. But just because charging for “minutes” isn’t as common now doesn’t mean that Verizon — and companies like it — won’t overcharge you in other ways. Verizon and AT&T have both been accused of other types of improper billing, and have had to pay out substantial sums of money in order to make such cases go...

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