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Jonathan Fildes | 15:10 UK time, Wednesday, 29 September 2010


On Tech Brief today: pay to play, and the BBC News website reimagined.

• Last week, security researchers shared with the BBC their thinking about the Stuxnet worm, a complex piece of malicious code which may have been aimed at Iranian industrial facilities. The worm was known to use some clever tricks. But now Gregg Keizer at ComputerWorld reports that it may be more difficult to get rid of an infection than previously thought. He quotes a Symantec researcher who has found the worm can re-infect machines that have already been cleaned of the malware.

"'You could imagine the scenario where someone had cleaned the computer of Stuxnet, but before they did that, they backed up the project," he said. "When the project was later restored [to the now-clean] PC, it would be re-infected.'"

• High profile Tech blog TechCrunch revealed yesterday that it had been sold to AOL. Its founder Michael Arrington said talks of the sale first started in may after he met with the firm's CEO Tim Armstrong.

"Tim asked me how things were going at TechCrunch. I told him I was exhausted after five years but that a recent move to Seattle made it easier to balance my life. I joked that I was half retired. 'That's too bad, he said, we'd love to acquire you but we'd need to know you would stick around'."

• Yesterday Tech Brief highlighted Malcolm Gladwell's latest column in thw New Yorker suggesting that internet activism - especially via tools such as Twitter - had been overhyped. Blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash replies with a criticism.

"The problem with Gladwell's premise, though, is that it's wildly anachronistic to think that the only way to effect social change is to assemble a sign-wielding mob to inhabit a public space."

• Gamer stereotypes abound: young, male, socially awkward; stuck in their bedrooms. Of course, the game's world is not like that at all, but a new venture - called Gamescrush - may not help dispel those myths. The site allows gamers to pay to play against other gamers, who are mostly women says Anthony Ha at Gamesbeat.

"On the site, men connect with 'PlayDates', namely female gamers. They play video games together on the site - right now there are seven or eight casual games, but the PlayDates can also share games on their own computers. They can also talk to each other using webcams. "

• And finally, we very much like the bbcx365 project by designer Johnny Selman, who aims to create a poster based on a BBC News website headline every day for a year. Our personal favourite is the Twitter worm. On his blog, he explains the genesis of the project.

"The project began on April 12 with the headline, 'Thailand PM faces rising pressure'. The story of a clash between government troops and anti-government protesters that resulted in 21 deaths. In this poster I used the 'tail' of Thailand to represent the trigger on a handgun. I then put the Prime Minister's name under the word 'Pressure' to show that Vejjajiva was under pressure."

If you want to suggest links or stories for Tech Brief, you can send them to @bbctechbrief on Twitter, tag them bbctechbrief on Delicious or e-mail them to

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