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Computer Tech News – June 14, 2011

Cyber-attack on the IMF. Facebook bleeds North American subscribers. Dell getting cold feet about Android tablets. These and other stories from the world of computers and technology in this week’s COMPUTER TECH NEWS.

International Monetary Fund Hacked

IMFAlthough early reports have been sketchy, it appears that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world’s largest bank, was hacked over the weekend. The cyber-attack may have been the work of a foreign government and not just unaffiliated mischief-makers, according to some sources. This attack is just the latest in a growing series of cyber-assaults on major businesses and government agencies. Recent targets included Google, Sony and defense contractor Lockheed-Martin.

Facebook Numbers Up Globally, Down in North America

FacebookSocial-networking giant Facebook continues to grow with 11.8 million new users added worldwide in May. However, not only has the service’s growth rate slowed significantly in recent months, but it’s losing users by the millions in North America, according to the company’s own data. Nearly 6 million U.S. subscribers left Facebook in May, as did 1.52 million Canadians, the company reports. Privacy fears appear to be fueling many of these desertions, according to industry experts.

Dell Delaying Android Tablet Release in the U.S.

DellDell has announced an indefinite delay in the U.S. release of its Android-based tablet, which is just causing more problems for Android’s entry into the consumer market. According to industry numbers, Motorola has so far shipped just 250,000 copies of its Android-based Xoom tablets to U.S. retailers, while Samsung has shipped about a million units of its product. By comparison, Apple has sold more than 25 million iPads to date — and sold about a million iPad2’s in just its first week of release.

IBM Produces 1-Atom Thick Microchip

IBMIBM reports it has successfully created an integrated circuit made of graphene, a sheet of carbon mesh just one atomic thick. Transparent and flexible, graphene is being studied as a possible replacement to common silicon-based microchips, which are quickly approaching their limit for miniaturization. It is likely to be many years before graphene is ready for commercial use, according to IBM, although research into its capabilities will continue.

Microsoft Windows 8 Has Developers Up in Arms

Windows 8Microsoft recently unveiled its new tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system, and while it appears to offer consumers many benefits, including touch-screen capabilities, it has programmers ready to march on Microsoft’s HQ with torches and pitchforks. Why? Microsoft is all but abandoning the programming platform it has used for nearly two decades in favor of a new one based on HTML5 and JavaScript. Companies that have spent decades developing expertise in the old Windows platform are not happy with the change, to put it mildly. As a result, Windows 8 may not prove as useful — or popular — as Microsoft clearly intends.

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