A bumper Tech Brief today, including stealth job advertising, mapping the web and the supercomputer in your pocket.
• We've reported before on the UK law firm ACS:Law which has sent thousands of letters to people it claims have downloaded illegal content. Many of those that have received letters protest their innocence. Now, the consumer group Which? reports that the firm is to face a disciplinary body.
"The move follows a decision by the solicitors watchdog to pursue a complaint lodged by Which? in May 2009 that while acting on behalf of a number of copyright holders, including Reality Pump and Topware Interactive, ACS Law engaged in 'bullying' and 'excessive' conduct."
• On Monday, eight tourists were killed in Manila after a gunman took their bus hostage. Within hours, a game called Bus Hostage by Policeman had appeared on the Newgrounds website. And just as quickly, ABS-CBN news reports commenters told the developer exactly what they thought of it.
" The game drew flak not only for its 'awful graphics' and 'sucky gameplay.' but also for 'making fun of' an event that claimed innocent lives."
• Earlier this month Russian hacker BadB - real name Vladislav Horohorin - was arrested on a trip to France. Andrew Kramer at the New York Times describes him as "a disembodied criminal flitting from one server to another selling stolen credit card numbers". His arrest, Mr Kramer says, shines a light on the shadowy world of cyber-criminals.
"Law enforcement groups in Russia have been reluctant to pursue these talented authors of Internet fraud, for reasons, security experts say, of incompetence, corruption or national pride. In this environment, BadB's network arose as 'one of the most sophisticated organizations of online financial criminals in the world'."
• Two things we have all got used to: the ever increasing power of gadgets and the fact that there seems to be a phone app for everything these days. Now researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments have created an Android app that can help solve simulations from a supercomputer, reports Priya Ganapati at Wired. Their motivation, supposedly, is that supercomputers are still a previous resource.
"Researchers have to book time on them and they aren't available for computations that need to be done quickly. Supercomputers also can't be carried into field experiments. Having a device in hand that could help solve a problem quickly can be handy."
• The web loves to speculate on the next gadget from Apple. Now, the team at Patently Apple have dug up a patent which suggests that the Cupertino based firm plan a touch-screen iMac desktop computer with swivelling display.
"Imagine having an iMac on your desktop one minute and a gigantic iPad the next."
• Finding a job that fits your skills exactly can be a difficult task. But, according to blogger Malcolm Coles, UK newspaper The Daily Mail seems to have hit on a clever ruse to find the ideal candidate for the role of search engine optimisation expert. They hid the job advert in the robots.txt file. Mr Coles explains:
"For those who don't know, the robots.txt file is how you tell search engines which pages they can and can't crawl on your site to include in their index. In the past it was worth occasionally checking out newspapers' robots.txt files as they listed the URLs of stories that they've had to withdraw for legal reasons (or joke Polish editions). Sadly, they don't seem to do that so much these days. "
• The Nmap project recently rose to prominence after it was revealed that a developer for the project harvested and published the personal details of 100m Facebook users. Now, the project has produced a graphic of the top million web sites on the web, sorted by their icons.
• And finally, Maria Popova - known as Brainpicker on Twitter - highlighted these animations of complicated machines. Tech Brief particularly likes the one showing how a sewing machine works. No words needed. Just enjoy.