Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Sony to Resume PlayStation Network Services, Says “No Evidence” Credit Card Info Stolen”

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Sony to Resume PlayStation Network Services, Says “No Evidence” Credit Card Info Stolen”

Sony to Resume PlayStation Network Services, Says “No Evidence” Credit Card Info Stolen

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 10:51 PM PDT

Sony will resume some PlayStation Network services and beef up its security nearly two weeks after a hacker attack forced Sony to shut it down.

The company made the announcements during a press conference in Tokyo. Kaz Hirai, Sony’s executive deputy president and the likely successor to CEO Howard Stringer, started by offering “our deepest and sincerest apologies” for the outage of the PlayStation network, as well as apologizing to customers whose personal information has been compromised. Hirai and two other Sony executives bowed deeply, a Japanese custom for apologizing.

Hirai confirmed that lots of users account information was stolen as the result of a hacker attack that has forced Sony to shut down PSN and Qriocity services for the last two weeks. Sony says that it was first alerted to the attack on April 20 and has been working with authorities and two security firms to investigate.

“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers but our entire industry,” Hirai said. “These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security.”

The big question though is whether or not credit card data was stolen, a possibility that has raised questions from the U.S. Congress. Hirai and two other Sony executives repeatedly asserted that they have found “no evidence” that credit card data or billing information has been stolen. Hirai wouldn’t rule out the possibility, however, which likely explains why Sony is asking customers to check their credit card statements just in case.

To prevent an attack like this one from happening again, Sony says it has moved PSN and Qrioicity services to a new data center and implemented new security measures, including additional firewalls, enhanced encryption and automated software monitoring. The company has also created a new position: Chief Information Security Officer, a senior executive who will report to Sony Chief Information Officer Shinji Hasejima. In addition, Sony will require all users to change their passwords, but with additional security measures to verify identity.

Sony says it will resume some PlayStation Network services in the next week as a result. This includes restoration of online gameplay, Qriocity music services, friend lists, chat functionality and movie rental services. It is also launching a “Welcome Back” campaign as an apology to users for what has transpired. Sony is offering affected users a 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus and some free software downloads. Qriocity customers will be receiving 30 additional days of service for free.

More About: hacker, playstation network, PS3, Qriocity, security, sony, sony playstation, trending

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Review: Rugged Android Smartphone Takes a Licking [VIDEO]

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 04:02 PM PDT

Attention adventurers: Your smartphone has arrived. The hardened Casio G’zOne Commando is so tough, the company says it can withstand 30 minutes under three feet of water. Oh really? Let’s put it to the test:

Look at that — it emerged unscathed.

Casio‘s made tough “feature phones” before, including the other members of the G’zOne family, the Ravine and Brigade. But this is the G’zOne family’s first smartphone, a relatively slim and compact Android 2.2 handset ($199.99 on Verizon with a new two-year agreement) that offers a variety of features to roughnecks both real and imagined.

As you can see in the video above, this bruiser can take a beating, surviving a half-hour of immersion, even in a whirlpool. Although we didn’t drop it 26 times from a height of 4 feet, Casio says it can handle that too. It can withstand saltwater spray and 95% humidity for 24 hours, as well as 15,000 foot altitude for an hour, unbearably high and low temperatures and even dust storms. See the gallery below for the full list of indignities it can allegedly withstand.

The result? This is a smartphone that you can either take on any adventure, or place in the hands of your slightly uncoordinated daughter (sorry, honey).

Holding this phone in my hands, it reminds me of a little Jeep. Not only did it hang tough in my testing, it looks tough with its four exposed “tough-look” screws on each side and hard plastic encasement.

Even though this is a smartphone that’s obviously looking for adventure, it still packs the niceties of most Android 2.2 smartphones, including a decent 5-megapixel autofocus camera, Bluetooth and GPS. Oh, and its sound quality on cellphone calls is just as good most other cellphones. But if you’re looking for the latest 4G technology, this is not your phone — it only supports 3G/EV-DO data capability. That might not matter to you if Verizon’s 4G service hasn’t made it into your area yet.

Beyond its Android 2.2 features, the Commando gives you a variety of outdoorsy and athletic features. Go into its G’z Gear menu, and you’ll see eight apps that are tailor-made for fitness buffs and outdoorsy types. Most are useful, and all are interesting. On board is a compass that shows you distances to national parks and landmarks, a pedometer, trip memory, indicators of tides and moon phases, a thermometer and even a star finder to help you point out constellations as you sleep under the stars.

I like the Casio G’zOne Commando, and those who drive jeeps, climb mountains, and even those who navigate around cities in SUVs even though they rarely leave their desks will probably like it too.

Rugged Back

It's built to take a beating. I especially like the red trim.

Top View

That red trim runs deep, unifying the design in front and back.

Left Side

Controls feel solid, construction quality is excellent.

Right Side

You must make sure these doors are tightly closed before you submerge the Commando.


The bottom looks a lot like the top.


Slide to the battery door into the "lock" position before exposing this baby to the elements.


Beyond its basic compass functions, there's a layered mode that shows you how far it is to national parks, mountains and other adventurous landmarks.

Virtual Trek

Go on an imagined adventure without even leaving your neighborhood. Fun!

Punishment Menu

Look at all the hideous things this phone can withstand.

More About: android, Casio G'zOne Commando, review, Rugged phones, smartphones, Torture test, trending

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4 Lessons for Parents in a Constantly Connected World

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 02:55 PM PDT

Soren Gordhamer is the organizer of the Wisdom 2.0 Conferences. Along with their annual event, they are also holding a Wisdom 2.0 Youth Conference for parents and others focused on supporting young people in the digital age. You can follow him at @SorenG on Twitter.

Parenting in the age of social media is no easy endeavor.

On the one hand, the web has allowed thousands of parents greater flexibility, either by working in traditional jobs from their home or starting and promoting their own businesses with the help of Facebook and Twitter. No longer needing to "go to work," parents can be at home and conduct business in their free time, while still being available to their kids.

On the other hand, living "constantly connected" as many of us do can result in less quality time with one's kids. While parents may physically be in a room, often their attention is elsewhere. In one tragic case, a 13-month old boy died in the bathtub while his mom was distracted playing games on Facebook. While this an extreme case, more parents are continuously pulled away by their ringing phone or the latest posts on Facebook or Twitter, resulting in less attention to their kids.

How do we find this balance of introducing children to the benefits of new technology, while maintaining and harnessing the power of direct human contact that no technology can replace? As a half-time single dad and social media professional, this is a huge challenge for me. Here's my take.

1. Share in the Game: "Dad, check this out!"

I realized recently that my son was often playing online games of which I was largely unaware. He would go to his computer, and me to my laptop (to have our designated “computer time”), without much contact. Not only was I oblivious to the game’s content (and age-appropriateness, for that matter), but it also gave us very little to discuss later in the day.

I learned that the more I played or watched the game with him, the more context I had for discussing the game later that evening, including strategy, challenges and applications of the game to daily life. It then went from a distancing activity he did all by himself to an opportunity for dialogue and engagement.

2. Schedule Uninterrupted Time: "Mom, can you ever just focus on me?"

The challenge of living in an age of constant connectivity is that children often know that their parents’ attention may be taken away at any moment. They start telling us an important event that happened at school that day, and in the middle of it our phone rings, and we immediately answer it, leaving them feeling uncared for and unacknowledged. While many of us need to be reachable via technology much of the day, it helps to set a time just for our children, when we put aside all text messages, phone calls and other communication.

MIT technology and society specialist Sherry Turkle has suggested that one of the best things you can do is to leave your cell phone at home every now and then so your children know your attention is directed toward them. One father at a technology company I visited some time back said that the most profound change he has made to deepen his connection to his kids was to not answer email, texts, or phone calls between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. each night. His kids know that time is for them.

3. Unplug Before Bed: "Dad, why are we both so tired?"

Most of us need to be connected for much of the day, but a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation indicates that engaging with technology late at night right before bed is harmful to both adults and children. In fact, 63% of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week.

This is in part due to screens. Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital explains, ”Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour — making it more difficult to fall asleep.”

The lesson: Engage in technology with your child early in the evening and leave the last hour to board games, reading and other activities. You will both have more energy and vitality the next day.

4. Start a Shared Technology Project: "Mom, let's do something together!"

One activity I have not done regularly — but that I know other parents have and spoken highly of — is to start a technology project with a child. This could be designing a website together, either for oneself or a particular cause that is important to the child, or developing a game on a site like Scratch from MIT.

This then makes technology a shared learning experience. Both parent and child get the experience of balancing one-on-one interaction with technology to create something together.

So, how much screen time is too much for children? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day.

Yet I know many parents who believe that more is fine. They realize that while none of us knows what our children will do for work in the future, we can be pretty sure of this: It will involve technology. Kids today will likely be creating apps and websites that we cannot even imagine.

Finding this balance with technology is no easy task, and many parents I know feel a certain guilt that they are not more fully present with their kids amid a continually connected lifestyle. Yet technology offers engagement and learning for young people like never before — whether that be through social media, unfettered access to knowledge or sites like Khan Academy, which provides more structured math and science lessons to anyone who wants them, free of charge.

I haven’t met anyone who has truly achieved this balance, but it is a noble endeavor. In the end, the real challenge is less about technology and more about ensuring quality time with children. If we don’t achieve this, we may wake up one day and realize that our children are all grown up and that the opportunities to engage, live and learn with them are largely gone.

Interested in more Social Media resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, aphrodite74

More About: family, List, Lists, parenting, social media, trending

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46 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 01:38 PM PDT

icons image

Congratulations everyone, we officially made it through a royal wedding. Anyone with access to a computer inevitably heard about Prince William and Kate Middleton (finally) getting hitched. With all the hubbub, we understand if you had to miss one or two resources.

We’re back with another roundup of tools and resources published over the past week or so. We have stories on Amazon’s hiring spree, the new SEC regulations, a PR pro’s guide to blogging, and even a look at the next breed of robotic pets.

Looking for even more social media resources? This guide appears every weekend, and you can check out all the lists-gone-by here any time.

Editors’ Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

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Business & Marketing

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Image courtesy of WebTreats Etc.

More About: business, facebook, Features Week In Review, gadgets, List, Lists, Mobile 2.0, social good, social media, tech, technology, twitter

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Comic: Sony’s Apology for PlayStation Network Takes a Surprising Turn

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 12:23 PM PDT

It’s been almost two weeks since hackers broke into Sony’s PlayStation network, and now rumors are swirling, alleging those miscreants swiped 2.2 million credit card numbers.

Sony predicts the PlayStation Network will return by May 4, but hasn’t confirmed that any credit card numbers have fallen into the wrong hands. In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for this hilarious “apology” in the form of a comic from our friends at Geek Culture:

Comic courtesy Geek Culture

More About: apology, comic, humor, Sony PlayStation network, trending

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Seven Ways to Help Tornado Victims

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 11:18 AM PDT

Google supplied these before and after pictures of the storm's devastation.

The death toll from the catastrophic tornadoes in the South has climbed to more than 340, with thousands injured, homeless, without power or clean water. How can we harness the power of social media to help?

One of the best things you can do is use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about places to donate and how to help. Here’s a list of ways to help get you started:

The Red Cross has two shelters set up in Tuscaloosa, temporary homes to 240 people so far. The relief organization provided meals for more than 600 people on Friday and is requesting more financial support. Donate to the Red Cross online, text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10, or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) to give money or schedule a blood donation.

The Salvation Army has spread out all over the South, helping with sustenance for tornado survivors in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Donate on the Salvation Army’s website at Text “GIVE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation, or you can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) and designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak”.

Save the Children is providing food, doctors and education for kids, and the organization is accepting donations at the Save the Children website. The organization will also accept donations by phone at 800 728-3843 during business hours.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian group, focuses on children, aiming to lessen the emotional shock from the devastating tornado outbreak. Find out more or donate at the World Vision website, or call 1-866-56-CHILD (24453).

Catholic Charities are accepting donations for tornado victims at the Catholic Charities website, or you can donate by calling 1-800-919-9338.

Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund is accepting donations on its website, requesting donations by credit card or check.

Post found items to Facebook: Patty Bouillon started a Facebook page containing found pictures and items that were blown by the tornadoes. She started that page after finding pictures and documents in her neighborhood that were blown all the way from Smithville, Mississippi, a town located 100 miles to the Southwest of her home. If you live near the disaster area and find photos, mementos or other items, scan them or take photos of them and post them to the Facebook page she created specifically for this purpose, entitled “Pictures and Documents Found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes“. There are now more than 600 photos and items on the page, with 40 of them already identified.

Please, pick your favorite charity, let us know in the comments of other organizations that are helping the South’s tornado survivors, and post on Facebook and tweet the information of your choice far and wide. This is the second-worst storm in recorded history, and people are suffering right now. We need to help them.

More About: Alabama, help, red cross, salvation army, Tornado, trending, Tuscaloosa, Victims

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This Week’s Top Funding and Investment Stories

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 09:51 AM PDT

Welcome to the first edition of "Top Funding Stories," a weekly series where we summarize the big startup funding and investment stories of the week. Starting next week, you can check out this series every Friday.

Here’s what crossed our radars this week:

Visa Invests in Square

Visa has made a strategic investment in mobile payment startup Square. Visa’s investment provides a stamp of approval for Square, which provides business owners a credit card reader for their mobile phones. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Digg Co-founder Raises $1.5 Million for New Company

Digg co-founder Kevin Rose raised $1.5 million in angel funding for Milk, an incubator and development lab for mobile app ideas. Rose has amassed an all-star list of investors, including Tony Hseih (CEO, Zappos), Joshua Schachter (Co-founder, Delicious), Ev Williams (co-founder, Twitter), Ashton Kutcher, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dave Morin (Facebook), Mike Maples (Floodgate Fund) and David Sze (Greylock Partners).

99designs raises $35 million round led by Accel Partners

99designs, a marketplace for graphic design, raised a whopping $35 million first-round investment. The round was led by Accel Partners and included angel investors such as Dave Goldberg (CEO, Survey Monkey), Stewart Butterfield (co-founder, Flickr) and Micheal Dearing (former SVP of eBay).

Further News

Royal Wedding Snapshot: Who Got the Most Buzz? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 08:46 AM PDT

The Royal Wedding participants have all put away their tiaras, swords and spurs, and now it’s time to see who created and received the most social media buzz during the gigantic worldwide celebration.

This was undoubtedly a big deal, important enough to get millions of wedding watchers on the U.S. West Coast to wake up at 3 a.m., and here’s the proof. Thanks to Webtrends, now we can see precisely how social media reacted to the glittery nuptials, showing us the key stats of social media buzz from Noon PST on April 28 until 24 hours later.

Check out the infographic below, where you’ll see some surprises. And no, the star of the show was not Pippa Middleton.

How about you? Did you get up in the middle of the night to watch all that traditional pomp and pageantry?

Infographic courtesy Webtrends

More About: facebook, infographic, pippa middleton, royal wedding, trending, twitter, webtrends

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Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Posted: 30 Apr 2011 07:31 AM PDT

Twitter Chart Image

Nothing gets Twitter in sync quite like a holiday, especially one that’s celebrated the world over. Easter (and its related observations) took the crown on this week’s list of top trends list.

The Bieb is back this week as well. The addition of his 9 millionth follower (which, for those keeping score at home, is roughly 9 million more followers than I have) prompted an outpouring of Twitter fandom, and kept the boy wonder’s name in the top trends for another week, this time coming in at number two.

And of course, the Royal Wedding took a large chunk of the social buzz, coming in at number three on our list. This aggregate cuts off on Thursday, so we expect to see the wedding at the top of next week’s list, which will incorporate trends from the day of the big event.

To see the full list, check out the chart below. Because this is a topical list, hashtag memes and games have been omitted from the chart. The aggregate is based on Twitter’s own trending algorithm, and does not necessarily reflect raw tweet volume.

You can check past Twitter trends in our Top Twitter Topics section.

Top Twitter Trends This Week: 4/22 – 4/28

Christians around the world observed Good Friday and celebrated Easter last weekend.
Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber’s account reached 9 million followers so
his fans retweeted him: @justinbieber: WOOOHOOOO…BIEBER GONE WILD!!!! Also , tens of thousands of Indonesians went to Sentul International Convention Center (SICC), where Bieber performed.
Royal Wedding
Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton were married on April 29 at Westminster Abbey. Users also shared songs that should be played at their wedding and made puns out of popular movie titles with the royal couple’s names.
NBA Playoffs
Basketball fans are talking about Kobe Bryant dunking over Emeka Okafor, LeBron James ("LeBrick") and also a game the New York Knicks lost against Boston Celtics at the Madison Square Garden.
People are sharing what has happened to them because of Facebook and also discussed "Facebook Deals."
Georgios Samaras scored two goals as Celtic defeated the Glasgow Rangers, 2-0 in the "Old Firm Derby" in the Scottish Premier League. Football fans also talked about a Manchester United vs. Schalke and Bolton vs. Arsenal matches.
Chemical Romance
Fans of the band My Chemical Romance worked overtime to get every band member to appear in Twitter’s top 10 trends.
The Jude
The Jude is a London-based band and their fans got their latest single, "Ha Ha Goodbye" into the trending topics.
Harry Potter Movie Series
A photo circulating supposedly features Harry Potter star Rupert Grint smoking a bong. Representatives for Grint have clarified that the person in the picture is an impersonator or a lookalike.
It’s time for the playoffs in the National Hockey League. The NHL also fined Andrew Ference $2,500 for a gesture after his second period goal, though he claims it was misinterpreted.

Data aggregate courtesy of What the Trend.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render

Interested in more Twitter resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

More About: Easter, Holidays, List, Lists, social media, Top Twitter Topics, trends, twitter, twitter trends

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