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February 1, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Feb. 1, 2013

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NY Times Hacked By Chinese

The New York Times was the victim of repeated hacks over a four-month period in connection with stories being written about China’s prime minister.

The hacking began in September when the stories by Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza detailing the colossal wealth of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his family were being prepared, the Times revealed this week.

Although the Times said it managed to ward off the hackers after hiring an outside security firm, the hackers gained access to the passwords of every employee and perused the files of 53 people.

The Times said it believes the hackers were “looking for … the names of people who might have provided information to Mr. Barboza” — information they were not able to retrieve.

“Computer security experts found no evidence that sensitive e-mails or files from the reporting of our articles about the Wen family were accessed, downloaded or copied,” said Jill Abramson, executive editor of The Times.

The Times website was blocked in China when the stories on Jiabao were published. Also, some of the Times reporters in China did not have their visas renewed.

Sales Slow for Microsft’s Surface Tablet

Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is off to a slow start.

According to HIS iSuppli, sales of the tablet were significantly below the one million mark and return rates were high.

The Surface hit store shelves last fall.

Shipments sat at about 1.25 million, but sales “were significantly lower, maybe on the order of 55 to 60 percent of that figure,” Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at market research firm iSuppli told CNet.

According to the article, that would put sales in the range of between roughly 680,000 and 750,000.

Alexander said such “sales out” percentages are not unusual, adding she has seen similar percentages with newly introduced Android devices.

The article also pointed out most manufacturer’s sales-out figure don’t stand up to Apple’s, “the gold standard, where the percentage is typically in the mid to high 90 percent range or even 100 percent. Apple sold 22.9 million iPads in its most recent reported quarter.”

Twitter Suffers Second Outage In Month

Some Twitter users were unable to access the social network Jan. 31 — the second time this month the site has suffered an outage.

Twitter said on its blog its engineers were working to resolve the issue.

“We experienced intermittent issues affecting web and mobile users, globally, between approximately 7 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. PST,” the blog post reads.  “This incident has now been resolved. We apologize to users who were affected by this, and we’re working to ensure that similar issues do not occur.”

According to Compuware’s Outage Analyzer, users across North America and Europe may have been affected by the outage although it is not known how many of the site’s estimated 200 million active users were unable to use Twitter.

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