2007: A year in review, August

It was Facebook that had a hotter than hot summer, with constant stings and court cases.

First up, it was Vodafone and First Direct that took a pop at Zuckerberg and his crew.

Both companies opted to pull their adverts from Facebook after these were shown near the British National Party's (the controversial, racist "political party") Facebook content.

Next up was round two of the "you nicked our idea Facebook" saga in the US.

Founder Zuckerberg had been accused by three ex-uni friends of stealing the premise of the social network site, whilst working on their site ConnectU.

Zuckerberg has always denied these claims and had asked that the case be dismissed which was what the previous hearing was to consider.

The judge said he needed more information (and, crucially evidence) about the allegations.

Meanwhile, yet another lawsuit was filed accusing Facebook of patent infringement.

And, when the Facebook team probably thought things couldn't get any worse, some of the site's source code was leaked on to the Internet.

The leak, thought to be a server misconfiguration rather than a hack, meant that Facebook, a closed source application, could potentially be open to future vulnerabilities.

The source code, for the main page of the site, was quickly published to "Facebook Secrets", a blog that seems to have been set up purely to distribute the code.

Facebook claimed it was not a security breach and "did not compromise user data in any way".

And while we were all huffing and puffing about how the Facebook management could let this happen, a Sophos sting revealed that Facebook users ain't much smarter.

The IT security firm invented a Facebook profile, "Freddi Staur" (an anagram of "ID fraudster" - the wits) who was in actual fact a small green plastic frog, and then randomly selected 200 Facebook users to target.

They asked invited the users to befriend Freddi - which would give them access to the users' profiles - and 87 accepted.

Of those 87 who granted Freddi full access to their profile, Sophos analysed the potentially dangerous information that these people revealed about themselves, to a complete stranger.

72% of respondents divulged one or more email address, 84% listed their full date of birth, 87% provided details about their education or workplace, 78% listed their current address or location, 23% listed their current phone number and 26% provided their instant-messaging screen name.

One brain box even let slip his mother's maiden name - which is a common security question for online and telephone banking.

"It certainly doesn’t bode well when you’re talking about privacy concerns", said a senior security analyst at Sophos. Ooops.

Far funnier was the ongoing mystery of the identity of the blogger Fake Steve Jobs.

For a year, the secretive writer had been parodying the Apple CEO's rantings about the industry.

Favourite for some time was Andy Ihnatko, who had written for MacWorld. He was fingered as a possibility when the folks at Sitening sent a trap, a specially created link to FSJ, that when clicked on meant they could track his IP.

The Boston address seemed to point to Ihnatko, but he denied the charges and the hunt resumed again, with many protesting that FSJ should not be outed as it would spoil the mystery.

While many had hoped that the Fake Steve Jobs, was actually the real Steve Jobs parodying himself, it turned out to be just another journalist.

Dan Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes, admitted to writing as Fake Steve after a New York Times reporter found resemblances between the blog and Lyons' published work and asked him whether he was behind the long-running satire.

"I was hoping to stay anonymous for a while longer but on the other hand I knew I couldn't stay anonymous forever. It had to happen at some point", Lyons said.

Forbes.com decided to back the site, which had built up legions of fans.

Meanwhile the real Steve Jobs launched a new range of Apple iMacs.

The 20 and 24 inch models featured Firewire connectivity, USB, and iSight camera and a microphone; and were available with a new keyboard - rumours of which had been circulating before the launch.

And, we'd had a little time off from the wrangling, but then all hell broke loose in the DVD format battle.

In an announcement that stunned the industry, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation announced that they were to exclusively support the HD DVD next-gen format on a worldwide basis.

The exclusive HD DVD commitment would include all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed exclusively by Paramount Home Entertainment.

The exclusive HD DVD-only programme kicked off with the release of the comedy hit "Blades of Glory" on 28 August and follow with two of the biggest grossing movies of the year "Shrek the Third" and "Transformers".

But there would, as a result, be no "Transformers 2".

Director Michael Bay stated that he will not sign up to direct the sequel because of Paramount's move to only support HD DVD.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For them to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They were progressive by having two formats. No Transformers 2 for me!" Bay said in a forum posting on his official website.

The month ended with a raft of DSLRs launches.

First was the Canon EOS 40D with its 10.1-megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, DIGIC III image processor, completely redesigned autofocus sensor and fast, 6.5 frame-per-second (fps) continuous shooting capability.

Days later, Nikon came in with two new models unveiled to the world in Tokyo.

The pro-end D3 is built around a 12.1 effective megapixel D3 FX-format CMOS sensor.

Nikon boasted that the camera has the fastest startup time, shortest viewfinder blackout time, and shortest shutter lag of any DSLR camera as well as the capability to shoot up to nine frames per second at full FX-format resolution.

And its baby brother, the D300, was also presented offering a 12.3 megapixel sensor, EXPEED Image Processing System, 51-point auto focus system with Nikon’s 3D Focus Tracking feature and two new LiveView shooting modes that allow users to frame a photograph using the camera’s high-resolution LCD monitor, all for around £1299.99.


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