>> Conficker morphs and spreads. Amazon is homophobic. And Facebook could lower your GPA. It's Monday, April 13th. I'm Natali Del Conte, and it's time to get Loaded.
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The Conficker worm is not only spreading, it is morphing. It now parades as an anti-virus program called Spyware Protect 2009. It takes users to a fake security website and asks them to $49.99 for software. I them takes their money, their credit card info, and to add insult to injury, infects their computer. It's reportedly spread by at least 4 percent, including roughly 700 computers at the University of Utah.
Another worm spread over Twitter this weekend. It was reportedly created by a sneaky 17-year old boy from Brooklyn who admitted to creating it out of shear boredom. It's called StalkDaily.com, and it directed users to a Twitter page that was infected. It you go the virus, your Twitter ID would start out sending out tweets such as, "Dude, StalkDaily is awesome." Mickeyy Mooney, the teenager mastermind behind this, said in an email to BNO News, "I usually like to find vulnerabilities within websites and try not to cause too much damage, but start a worm or something to give the developers an insight on the problem. And while doing so, promoting myself or my website." Kids these days.
Is Amazon homophobic? It looks like the company just might be. This weekend, the site removed sales rankings of gay or lesbian literature because the content was considered "adult." As you can imagine, this did not go over well. Mark Probst, a gay romance novelist, noticed his books had lost their sales rankings. He wrote to Amazon and got this response. "In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude adult material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult material must also be excluded from that feature." Probst said his books are not judged on the same criteria as heterosexual romance novels, and is taking an issue with that. It seems as though he would have a point, but I am not a consumer of homosexual or heterosexual romance novels, so I really can't quantify based on experience. You're free to do that, though, and get back to me. Loaded@cnet.com.
>> The Wall Street Journal is reporting that we could see a new larger screened Kindle by the end of the year. The paper cited people who said that they had actually seen a version of it. The device would launch just before the holiday shopping season. The extra screen real estate would help newspapers and magazines advertise to you. We don't have a price or release date just yet, so put this one on the back burner for now.
Billboards in Japan will soon be able to guess your age and advertise to you accordingly. Yahoo worked with a company called Comel to make these digital ads. They take photos of people walking, analyze the image using facial analysis, and guess the age of the subject. Based on this information, it will advertise appropriately. It's supposed to dump the image once the passerby leaves the area. This is interesting, but dangerous. I suspect that women, at least, won't want computers guessing their age in public.
Gmail now lets you insert an image into your email. This is a New Labs feature called "inserting images." If you turn it on, you get a toolbar icon that lets you put a photo right into the body of your email. This one is a long time coming and barely news at all, but I thought you might find it convenient.
This story is very "Batman." How would you like to control your car with a PlayStation portable? You may soon be able to do that. Sony has reportedly filed a patent for a remote control car that uses the PSP as the remote. It has a camera that feeds the video back into the device, and lets you upload the footage of your joyrides to the web. It sounds pretty awesome, except when some teenage boy starts to remote control your car. That would not be so awesome.
Facebook may lower your GPA. Researchers at Ohio State University studied the social networking site, and found that users regularly do worse in school tests, sometimes by an entire letter grade. The study tracked 219 students and found that 68 percent of them had a significantly lower GPA than those who did not Facebook. Okay, so a 219-person study is hardly reliable or valid. This is just one study that shows what most of us already know, obsession with Facebook could make you stupider.
Those are all your headlines for today. I will see you here tomorrow with more. Thank you for watching. I'm Natali Del Conte with CNET TV, and you've just been Loaded.
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