Social networking giant Facebook have been hit by what it describes as a "sophisticated" hacking attack through a previously unknown loophole in its systems. Though the company insists that none of the personal data belonging to its 1 billion+ users…
Last.fm has had rather a bad day for PR, making two very big, very bad announcements for its consumers. First of all, the company announced in a forum post they’re removing access to their API for third party mobile applications. That means that users of Mobbler on S60, Pocket Scrobbler on Windows Mobile, and FlipSide on BlackBerry devices will soon find themselves without a way of listening on the go.
The ‘official’ applications for the iPhone and Android will remain in action, which seems a little odd. If this is a licensing problem, surely the same rules are in place for whatever platform the content is delivered on? Relatedly, the service will also be stopping non-subscribers from accessing the radio APIs, simply because Last.fm wants more money.
Secondly, the company also announced in a blog post that it will begin charging for its previously free service outside of three countries – the UK, the USA and Germany. Customers anywhere else will be charged a fairly slim €3 per month for the service.
The company admits that the reason for this change is because it’s having trouble selling ads outside of these markets. The UK, USA and Germany all have relatively mature ad markets, where funding the service through advertising alone is possible. Outside of these countries, though, the company is having trouble.
What will remain free for all users is the scrobbling aspect of the site – where it charts your music taste and allows you to compare taste with friends and other users, as well as the social network that sits on top of everything. Although I’ve never pushed very hard to fill out my friends list on Last.fm, it’s grown incrementally over the years and now it’s not too bad.
I’m deeply disappointed that I’ll be losing access to Mobbler, even if it was a little rickety and didn’t work properly on the bus. Let’s hope that services like Slacker make their way over this side of the Atlantic sooner rather than later.
In the first reported orbital collision ever, a US and a Russian communications satellite have accidentally collided 780km above Siberia. A “massive cloud of debris” has been produced, and NASA is tracking the hundreds of bits resulting from the crash, in the hope that they won’t interfere with the ISS and the shuttle, which is due to launch later this month.
It’s comprehensively answered the question of “how much stuff can we stick up there without it hitting each other?”, as 6,000 satellites have been sent into orbit since the first in 1957. Only about half are still in use, with the others having become defunct over the years.
The satellites in question belong to Communications firm Iridium, based in Bethesda, Maryland, and Russia’s civilian space agency, Roscosmos. The former was launched in 1997 and only weighed 560kg, so probably came off rather worse in the collision than its one-tonne Russian rival from 1993.
Place your bets in the comments below as to when the second collision will occur. The closest wins a bit of charred satellite, dug out of the tundra of Siberia.
Although we’ve seen some whoppers in the UK, you can always count on the Yanks to do things bigger and better. One payment processing company, the brilliantly-named “Heartland Payment Systems” processes transactions for a quarter of a million businesses in the USA and has found some monitoring software on its servers, sending data to an external machine.
“We found evidence of an intrusion last week and immediately notified federal law enforcement officials as well as the card brands. We understand that this incident may be the result of a widespread global cyber fraud operation, and we are cooperating closely with the United States Secret Service and Department of Justice.” said Heartland president Robert Baldwin
In the USA, unlike the UK, companies have to disclose when data breaches occur. It’ll be interesting to see if Europe implements a similar law, but the UK government is opposed to such a move.
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