Around the IT Industry 4/22-4/26

by Modis on April 26, 2013

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CISPA Stalls in the Senate

After passing a House vote by a margin of 288 to 127, CISPA is languishing on the shelves of the United States Senate. CISPA is clearly not a priority at this time, with the majority of the Senate’s attention being focused on issues such as gun control and immigration. Companies such as Time Warner and Verizon have funneled over $84 million dollars toward support of CISPA–a bill that threatens the privacy of everyone on the Internet with its vague language and smoke and mirrors stipulations. Facebook renounced its support for the bill, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) remains as a bastion against CISPA, despite their “attempts” to clean up the terms outlined in the bill. The President of the United States has stated that he would veto CISPA in 2012, and as of 2013 his stance remains unswayed regarding CISPA.

ISPs: Ignoring Google Fiber? One Foot in the Grave.

Google Fiber brings Americans 1GB/s speeds to their Internet browsing and downloading, offers 1 terabyte of free Google Drive services, and hundreds of television channels to choose from. At the price point of $120 a month, the service is a bargain not many would refuse. Unless, of course–you happen to be a traditional ISP. Time Warner Cable has made claims that its customers don’t want 1GB/s Internet speeds, and some in the tech world still see Google Fiber as a program in its pilot stage. Netflix in particular praises Google Fiber, and the service plans to roll out in Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah later this year. While ISPs are putting their heads in the sand and hoping that Google Fiber will disappear, customers around the nation are rejoicing at the new alternative to their traditional ISP.

Spammers Use Tragedy to Spread Malware

The Boston Marathon Bombing and the plant explosion in West, Texas were two tragedies that occurred last week. Unfortunately, some see these events as a way to spread misery to others in the form of malware. Malwarebytes.org reports that malware bot sites Kelihos and Cutwail are responsible for both sets of spam emails that have been sent out. These emails claim to showcase the marathon bombings and the explosions in West, Texas. They do as they claim–whilst a Trojan horse infects an unsuspecting user’s machine. The ZeroAccess trojan virtually slows an infected user’s PC to a crawl, and attempts to get them to purchase services they do not need in order to “repair” the damage done. Another sad state of affairs is a Boston bombing memorial page which is, according to Boston magazine–currently on sale for $1,000 USD. If you know someone who has a habit of forwarding emails, or simply may not know any better–pass this information along.

HBO? No Thanks. We’ll Take Netflix.

Netflix subscriptions have surpassed those of its main competitor, HBO. Reporting a total of 29.17M subscribers to HBO’s 28.7M–the top spot belongs to the television and film streaming giant. Netflix ended 2012 with 27.15M subscribers, seeing a 2M increase. Despite its popularity in the United States, Netflix has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to be the best worldwide. HBO still reigns supreme outside of the US, sporting a hefty 114M subscribers, whereas Netflix has only 7.14M. The heated rivalry between the two services will continue to gain momentum throughout the year, and without each staying one step ahead of the game–the battle could be long and bitter.¬† Do you prefer Netflix, or is HBO where your viewing hours are spent?

3D Printer Creates the Tiniest Human Liver Ever–And it Actually Works.

Lab grown organs have come a step further with the creation of a human liver by the company Organovo. The catch? It’s printed. These miniature livers are a half millimeter deep and 4 millimeters across, but can perform many functions a full sized liver can. Eventually, the company wishes to use this technology to craft pieces of human liver for transplant services. To create these livers, the printer builds up layers of cells, and even blood vessels. These mini livers can be used to assess a drug’s particular level of toxicity, and also produce albumin–a crucial protein which ferries hormones, blood, and other substances throughout the body. These minuscule livers even produce cholesterol, as well as detoxification enzymes the body needs to survive. This technology marks a serious turning point for those awaiting liver transplants throughout the world. The next goal for Organovo is to create human sized organs to use in transplant.

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