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Marc Andreessen has been going crazy on Twitter lately after a long time away.

His latest outburst is a humorous take on people's reaction to Silicon Valley since 1993.

Andreessen, for those that don't know, is a board member at Facebook, HP, eBay, and a lot of other places. He's co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He also created the Netscape browser, which helped kickstart the dot com boom.

He's wildly optimistic about technology. And he's making fun of everyone that is a worrywort or skeptic with these tweets.

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By DAVID GONZALEZ

The makers of a documentary about the life of Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, were concerned that they had few pictures of the famously anonymous man. But a tantalizing auction on eBay changed that.

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Aaron Souppouris

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When Cards Against Humanity saw its $4,000 Kickstarter campaign successfully raise almost four times its original goal, its makers were ecstatic. Two years later, the cards-based party game, which is available as a free PDF download or for $25 as a ready-made package, has generated an estimated $12 million in revenue, and in the past year alone was downloaded 1.5 million times from its website. It's also spawned a reseller culture, with frequent stock shortages leading opportunists to sell the game for as much as $100 on sites like eBay. Despite that, its makers have stayed true to their cause, and have refused several investment and merchandising offers, preferring to go it alone. A profile from Chicago Grid looks at how the game came...

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samzenpus

itwbennett writes "Contrary to recent reports, data broker Acxiom is not planning to give consumers access to all the information they've collected on us. That would be too great a challenge for the giant company, says spokesperson Alexandra Levy. Privacy blogger Dan Tynan recently spoke with Jennifer Barrett Glasgow, Chief Privacy Officer at Acxiom (she claims to be the very first CPO) about how the company collects information and what they do with it. This should give you some small measure of comfort: 'We don't know that you bought a blue shirt from Lands End. We just know the kinds of products you are interested in. We're trying to get a reasonably complete picture of your household and what the individuals who live there like to do,' says Glasgow."

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Original author: 
Russell Brandom

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If you've spent any time flipping gadgets, you've probably noticed that they're much easier to buy than to sell. One can buy a used iPhone from half-a-dozen places at this point, often with no more than a few clicks — but try to sell one, and you're stuck with either eBay or a hodgepodge of forums and mini-marketplaces.

A new iOS app, launching today, claims to fix that, offering a streamlined path from listing to payment. It's called Sold, and it serves as photographer, broker and banker for each item, finding a price and a seller for you automatically, and collecting its fee from arbitrage. If the system works, all you'll have to do is snap a few pictures and pack a single box — as long as you're willing to let Sold set the price...

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Nate Anderson


The ghost of Steve Jobs will not be pleased to see this.

Zack Henkel

Robert Silvie returned to his parents' home for a Mardi Gras visit this year and immediately noticed something strange: common websites like those belonging to Apple, Walmart, Target, Bing, and eBay were displaying unusual ads. Silvie knew that Bing, for instance, didn't run commodity banner ads along the bottom of its pristine home page—and yet, there they were. Somewhere between Silvie's computer and the Bing servers, something was injecting ads into the data passing through the tubes. Were his parents suffering from some kind of ad-serving malware infection? And if so, what else might the malware be watching—or stealing?

Around the same time, computer science PhD student Zack Henkel also returned to his parents' home for a spring break visit. After several hours of traveling, Henkel settled in with his computer to look up the specs for a Mac mini before bedtime. And then he saw the ads. On his personal blog, Henkel described the moment:

But as Apple.com rendered in my browser, I realized I was in for a long night. What I saw was something that would make both designers and computer programmers wince with great displeasure. At the bottom of the carefully designed white and grey webpage, appeared a bright neon green banner advertisement proclaiming: “File For Free Online, H&R Block.” I quickly deduced that either Apple had entered in to the worst cross-promotional deal ever, or my computer was infected with some type of malware. Unfortunately, I would soon discover there was a third possibility, something much worse.

The ads unnerved both Silvie and Henkel, though neither set of parents had really noticed the issue. Silvie's parents "mostly use Facebook and their employers' e-mail," Silvie told me, and both those services use encrypted HTTPS connections—which are much harder to interfere with in transit. His parents probably saw no ads, therefore, and Silvie didn't bring it up because "I didn't want [them] to worry about it or ask me a lot of questions."

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A representation of how TLS works.

Nadhem J. AlFardan and Kenneth G. Paterson

Software developers are racing to patch a recently discovered vulnerability that allows attackers to recover the plaintext of authentication cookies and other encrypted data as they travel over the Internet and other unsecured networks.

The discovery is significant because in many cases it makes it possible for attackers to completely subvert the protection provided by the secure sockets layer and transport layer protocols. Together, SSL, TLS, and a close TLS relative known as Datagram Transport Layer Security are the sole cryptographic means for websites to prove their authenticity and to encrypt data as it travels between end users and Web servers. The so-called "Lucky Thirteen" attacks devised by computer scientists to exploit the weaknesses work against virtually all open-source TLS implementations, and possibly implementations supported by Apple and Cisco Systems as well. (Microsoft told the researchers it has determined its software isn't susceptible.)

The attacks are extremely complex, so for the time being, average end users are probably more susceptible to attacks that use phishing e-mails or rely on fraudulently issued digital certificates to defeat the Web encryption protection. Nonetheless, the success of the cryptographers' exploits—including the full plaintext recovery of data protected by the widely used OpenSSL implementation—has clearly gotten the attention of the developers who maintain those programs. Already, the Opera browser and PolarSSL have been patched to plug the hole, and developers for OpenSSL, NSS, and CyaSSL are expected to issue updates soon.

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