Quick Hits

Fired pizza-loving programmer wins prize

Employees be forewarned: grabbing that leftover snack could lead to getting the sack. James Garrison, previously a software developer for a mortgage firm, recently won an Internet contest for the most outrageous job dismissal. “One day I saw that a different group in my company had just finished up a pot-luck and had some pizza left over,” Garrison writes. “I thought they would probably end up throwing it away and I was kind of hungry so I went for it…I took a slice of pizza.” But the other employees were less than enthused over Garrison’s actions and reported him to the vice-president. He was let go shortly after. Garrison submitted his tale of woe to SimplyFired.com. Run by U.S. recruitment firm SimplyHired.com, the SimplyFired.com contest solicits stories about outrageous dismissals and offers ill-fated ex-workers “15 minutes of fired fame” and the opportunity to win a assortment of prizes. Grand Prize “Loser” Garrison won a week-long trip to the Caribbean for his troubles.

Microsoft to launch Xbox 360 on Nov. 22

Microsoft Corp. will launch its Xbox 360 games console on Nov. 22 in North America, the company announced at a news conference in Tokyo earlier this month. The Xbox 360 will launch in Japan in one version only –that differs from the U.S. and European markets, where two versions will be available: a basic version for US$300 and a premium edition for $400. In Canada, the base system starts at $399. The Japanese version will be almost equivalent to the premium edition. It will include the console and several accessories, including a 20G-byte hard-disk drive, wireless controller and wireless remote control. A limited-edition launch package will also include a headset, Sony said.

Paris Hilton hacker gets sentence

A Massachusetts juvenile has pleaded guilty to a January 2005 attack that ultimately exposed the cell phone address book of U.S. socialite Paris Hilton to the Internet, according to T-Mobile USA Inc., the mobile phone provider whose servers were compromised in the attack. The juvenile, who was not identified because of his age, has been sentenced to 11 months’ detention, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for a series of hacking incidents and threats made over a 15-month period beginning in March 2004. He is also prohibited from using computers, cell phones or any device capable of accessing the Internet during the period of this sentence. A copy of Hilton’s cell phone address book was posted to the Web in February of this year, giving millions of Internet users access to private phone numbers and e-mail addresses for celebrities such as Eminem and Anna Kournikova. The juvenile in question was able to obtain this information by tricking T-Mobile employees into revealing sensitive information, a hacking technique called “social engineering,” and by exploiting a flaw in T-Mobile’s Web site, according to Peter Dobrow, a T-Mobile spokesman. “The main issue here was social engineering,” he said.

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