10 tech things we didn't know a week ago

10 tech things we didn't know a week ago

Summary: Behind on the news and hungry for more? Here's what we learned this week — including the 'easter eggs' in early Microsoft code, and how the U.S. will treat Bitcoin.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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  • 6. Bitcoin is property, not currency, according to the U.S.

    The U.S. government will not treat the Bitcoin cryptocurrency as currency — instead it shall be considered property, which makes it the first substantive ruling by the U.S. tax authority. According to experts speaking to Bloomberg, the ruling is not as good for consumers, and some are already asking the Internal Revenue Service to change its mind.

    Image: stock image

  • 7. Early Microsoft code included f-bombs and bad jokes

    Microsoft programmers developing the first versions of MS-DOS and Word were not afraid of throwing in the occasional joke line of code or "easter egg." In some lines of code, expletives and fart-jokes were included. Granted, the code was written more than 30 years ago and so a bunch of mostly in their early-20s can be mostly excused. 

    Image: Leon Zandman/Twitter

  • 8. Government data requests to Google have more than doubled in 4 years

    Google's latest transparency report shows that requests by governments have gone up by 120 percent since 2009. The search, cloud, and mobile giant has been pushing back against the U.S. Justice Dept. for months in efforts to try to release more information about the data requests made by the U.S. in the wake of the National Security Agency surveillance leaks.

    Image: ZDNet/Google

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • 95% of ATMs run WindowsXP embedded, which is supported until 2016

    and accessing the USB port requires physically breaking into the ATM and then requires the ATM to have a number of other security flaws to work.

    I like this article series, but leaving out important details (or just getting them wrong) really devalues the service you are trying to provide.
    Emacho
  • Image #7 is in Assembler language

    MS DOS was written in Assembler?
    And Zack just learned that not all variable names are fit to print?

    I guess numbers #7-9 are here just to bring the total number to the respectable 10 :-(
    ForeverSPb
  • ATMs run on Windows XP

    NOT

    If they run on XP, they run on the Pro version, not anything else, and definitely NOT the embedded version. STOP spreading FUD!!!

    And the machines don't have any USB ports.
    bart001fr
  • Let me just plug this USB device into the ATM, and... bingo!

    Seriously, you're still repeating that rubbish about ATMs? Pretty much any IT environment can be broken into if you have physical access to the right input ports. Strangely, I don't remember ever seeing an ATM with clearly accessible USB ports.

    In other words, you need the kind of access to the ATM that would already permit you to steal all the money. And then get busted because the banks know exactly who has that access. If you have decided to steal from an ATM, you would be better off grabbing the whole machine. Or standing in line and pointing a gun at the guy who just withdrew $500.

    This is yet another scare from a company that thinks it can drum up business by scaring bank customers (no point scaring the bank, they already know how moronic the idea is).

    Banks do not make their ATMs accessible to the Internet. You can't just browse to one and hack in. There is absolutely no compelling argument for upgrading ATMS from a stable Windows XP installation - regardless of it not receiving patches that it doesn't need to address security issues to which it is not exposed.
    Postulator