Out of Scope: Hot Bots

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2007-10-03 Print this article Print

Hot Bots

We couldn't help but chuckle at an e-mail from an alumni listserv asking members to vote for a particular DC-area TV reporter in a "Battle of the Media Hotties" contest. Then another note came across, this time linking to an article in the online magazine Salon, about how bots rigged a similar online beauty contest on the popular media Web site Fishbowl. Turns out the winners, Kriston Capps and Catherine Andrews—both Capitol scribes, housemates and bloggers—had a number of online buddies who built bots that voted for each thousands of times, according to Salon. We've all heard worse—bots have infiltrated major corporations and even started a "cyberwar" in Estonia this spring— but this incident shows just how versatile those pesky drones can be. To those who competed fairly, we offer our condolences.

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Hacked iPhone = New Car

Apple's decision to go with a sole service provider may have been smart business, but a Glen Rock, N.J., teenager thought otherwise. Seventeen-year-old George Hotz dismantled his iPhone in August and inserted a T-Mobile SIM card, unlocking the endlessly hyped device from AT&T's network. (For the skeptics out there, Hotz promptly documented the evidence on YouTube.) And while many questioned the legality of Hotz's hack, CertiCell, a Louisville, Ky., mobile phone repair company, rewarded him: in exchange for the phone, CertiCell gave him a Nissan 350Z, three 8-GB iPhones and a paid consulting gig, according to the Associated Press. "I leave for college, and this has been a great end to a great summer," Hotz wrote on his blog after claiming his prizes. What happens from here is unclear: BusinessWeek.com reports that iPhone hackers may have legal protections, but not if Apple and AT&T—who have dispatched their attorneys—have anything to say about it.

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