Weekend tech reading: Grandma threatened over torrent download

By on July 17, 2011, 3:11 PM

70 year-old grandma threatened over BitTorrent download As the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits continue to pile up in U.S. courts, more stories of what appear to be wrongfully accused persons hit mainstream media. A 70 year-old retired widow from San Francisco falls into this category. The grandma was recently ‘caught’ sharing porn on BitTorrent and was offered a $3,400 settlement, or the option to risk a $150,000 fine in a full court case. TorrentFreak

Verizon tells customer she needs lawyer & subpoena for itemized bill, judge disagrees Earlier this year, a woman in Pennsylvania contacted Verizon to find out more information about the $4.19 she was being charged on her home phone bill for six, unspecified local calls. Big V told her it would provide the itemized information, if she got a lawyer with a subpoena. Several months later, and without an attorney, she finally got a judge to agree with her. Consumerist

Microsoft contributes a lot of changes to Linux kernel 3.0 The 343 changes made by Microsoft developer K. Y. Srinivasan put him at the top of a list, created by LWN.net, of developers who made the most changes in the current development cycle for Linux 3.0. Along with a number of other "change sets", Microsoft provided a total of 361 changes, putting it in seventh place on the list of companies and groups that contributed code to the Linux kernel. The H

Hotmail banning common passwords to beef up security Passwords are a perennial problem in computer security. We all know that we're meant to pick "secure" passwords and never reuse them, but few of us actually bother. One consequence this can cause is losing access to our accounts; some bad guy figures out the password to our World of Warcraft, Steam, or e-mail account, and then proceeds to trash it. Ars Technica

EA to shut down online servers for 13 of its games Brace yourselves, EA gamers. Electronic Arts is up to its old tricks. The publisher has announced that it will be shutting down multiplayer servers for more than a dozen of its action and sports games. These games either have low multiplayer traffic or are sports games that are being replaced with new versions. Yahoo

high-bandwidth interplanetary connection If your slow Internet connection has you frustrated, just be glad you don't have to communicate with a probe on Mars. Even with new technology, scientists will be able to transmit only about 270 megabits per second between the two planets, not a lot of information when you're talking about superhigh-resolution photos. Science

Download better, stronger, faster Over the years, Steam has delivered a lot of bits to a lot of people. Delivering content is really at the core of Steam, and we have been working on improving that core. As of today, you can download some of the content on Steam using all-new server and client code to get the job done. Steam

Rumor about NSA-Google alliance to stay just that The National Security Agency does not have to disclose its relationship with Google amid press reports that the two partnered up after hackers in China launched a cyber attack on the U.S. government, a federal judge in Washington ruled. Courthouse News

Teeny-tiny antennas Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have found a way to mass-produce antennas so small that they approach the fundamental minimum size limit for their bandwidth, or data rate, of operation. Michigan Today

CSI smartphone Where you’ve been, who you’ve talked to, who you’ve been sleeping with – secrets that people wouldn’t even share with their closest friends are being spilled into a device that knows you better than any confidant. ProPC

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