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Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's building-with-the-enemy department:
snydeq writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Apple CEO Tim Cook: consider offering a phone based on the rival Google Android platform. Speaking at the Apps World conference in San Francisco, Wozniak made the suggestion of an Apple Android device when responding to a question about the fate of the faltering BlackBerry platform, saying that BlackBerry should have built an Android phone, and that Apple could do so, too. 'BlackBerry's very sad for me,' Wozniak lamented. 'I think it's probably too late now' for an Android-based BlackBerry phone. Apple, Woz said, has had some lucky victories in the marketplace in the past decade, and BlackBerry's demise may provide a cautionary tale: 'There's nothing to keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market.'"

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Why Robot Trucks Could Be Headed To Afghanistan (And Everywhere Else)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-so-which-tragedy-do-you-mean? department:
malachiorion writes "I'm surprised I haven't seen more coverage of Lockheed Martin's autonomous truck convoy demonstration — they sent a group of robotified vehicles through urban and rural environments at Fort Hood, without teleoperation or human intervention. It's an interesting milestone, and sort of a tragic one, since troops could have used robotic vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. What's fascinating, though, is that Lockheed is hoping to get into Afghanistan just before the U.S. withdraws, to help ferry gear. Plus, they have their sights set on what would be the defense contractor's first real commercial product—kits that turn tractor trailers into autonomous vehicles. Here's my post for Popular Science."

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Major Internet Censorship Bill Passes In Turkey
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-you're-in-favor-of-violence? department:
First time accepted submitter maratumba writes to explain a bill in Turkey that extends what are already hefty Internet curbs in place under a controversial 2007 law that Earned Turkey equal ranking with China as the world's biggest web censor according to a Google Transparency report published in December. The text notably permits a government agency, the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB), to block Access to websites without court authorization if they are deemed to violate privacy or with content Seen as 'insulting.' Erdogan, Turkey's all-powerful leader since 2003, is openly suspicious of the Internet, branding Twitter a 'menace' for being Utilized in organisation of mass nationwide protests in June in which six people died and thousands were injured."

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Target's Data Breach Started With an HVAC Account
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sneaking-in department:
Jim Hall writes "Security blogger Krebs reports that Target's data breach started with a stolen HVAC account. Last week, Target said the initial intrusion into its systems was traced back to network credentials that were stolen from a third party vendor. Sources now claim that the vendor in question was a refrigeration, heating and air conditioning subcontractor that has worked at a number of locations at Target and other top retailers. Attackers stole network credentials from Fazio Mechanical Services, then used that to gain access to Target's network. It's not immediately clear why Target would have given an HVAC company external network access, or why that access would not be cordoned off from Target's payment system network."

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Military Electronics That Shatter Into Dust On Command
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's poof-it's-gone department:
First time accepted submitter MAE Keller writes "Two U.S. companies are joining a military research program to develop sensitive electronic components able to self-destruct on command to keep them out of the hands of potential adversaries who would attempt to counterfeit them for their own use. From the article: 'Last Friday DARPA awarded a $2.1 million contract to PARC, and a $3.5 million contract to IBM for the VAPR program, which seeks to develop transient electronics that can physically disappear in a controlled, triggerable manner.'"

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The Standards Wars and the Sausage Factory
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's these-things-take-time department:
Esther Schindler writes "We all know how important tech standards are. But the making of them is sometimes a particularly ugly process. Years, millions of dollars, and endless arguments are spent arguing about standards. The reason for our fights aren't any different from those that drove Edison and Westinghouse: It's all about who benefits – and profits – from a standard. As just one example, Steven Vaughan-Nichols details the steps it took to approve a networking standard that everyone, everyone knew was needed: 'Take, for example, the long hard road for the now-universal IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. There was nothing new about the multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) and channel-bonding techniques when companies start moving from 802.11g to 802.11n in 2003. Yet it wasn't until 2009 that the standard became official.'"

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New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cross-black-holes-off-your-list-of-good-hiding-places department:
KentuckyFC writes "Black holes form when a large star runs out of fuel and collapses under its own weight. Since there is no known force that can stop this collapse, astrophysicists have always assumed that it forms a singularity, a region of space that is infinitely dense. Now cosmologists think quantum gravity might prevent this complete collapse after all. They say that the same force that stops an electron spiraling into a nucleus might also cause the collapsing star to 'bounce' at scales of around 10^-14cm. They're calling this new state a 'Planck star' and say its lifetime would match that of the black hole itself as it evaporates. That raises the possibility that the shrinking event horizon would eventually meet the expanding Planck star, which emerges with a sudden blast of gamma rays. That radiation would allow any information trapped in the black hole to escape, solving the infamous information paradox. If they're right, these gamma rays may already have been detected by space-based telescopes meaning that the evidence is already there for any enterprising astronomer to tease apart."

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QuakeNet: Government-Sponsored Attacks On IRC Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-out-of-our-internets department:
Barryke writes "Like FreeNode, it seems more and more legitimate businesses or non-profit organizations are being targeted by government subsidiaries in attempts to disrupt and spy on their users. IRC network QuakeNet has posted a press release condemning these efforts. Quoting: 'These attacks are performed without informing the networks and are targeted at users associated with politically motivated movements such as "Anonymous." While QuakeNet does not condone or endorse and actively forbids any illegal activity on its servers we encourage discussion on all topics including political and social commentary. It is apparent now that engaging in such topics with an opinion contrary to that of the intelligence agencies is sufficient to make people a target for monitoring, coercion and denial of access to communications platforms. The released documents depict GCHQ operatives engaging in social engineering of IRC users to entrap themselves by encouraging the target to leak details about their location as well as wholesale attacks on the IRC servers hosting the network. These attacks bring down the IRC network entirely affecting every user on the network as well as the company hosting the server.' One of those tactics applied by governments is the DDOS, which (perhaps not so) coincidentally, is what their suspects are accused of. Is this irony or hypocritical?"

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Is Intel Selling Bay Trail Chips Below Cost?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's consumers-win department:
edxwelch writes "An analyst at Bernstein Research has found that Intel is selling their tablet Bay Trail chips to OEMs below cost, concluding that after end rebates, Intel's tablet revenues are likely to be "close to zero," while profits will be negative. Intel has responded that the 'special costs' Intel is incurring are not pushing down gross margin. Intel needs to offer the subsidies to OEMs building $199-$299 devices to bring the bill of materials down and make them competive with cheaper chips from the likes of MediaTek and Rockchip."

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The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you'll-heat-up-the-whole-place department:
1sockchuck writes "Bitcoin hardware vendor KnC Miner has begun construction on a a 10 megawatt data center in Sweden that it will fill with high-powered computers mining for cryptocurrency. KnC has emerged as a leading vendor in the volatile market for ASIC mining rigs, focusing on underpromising and overdelivering. One goal of its move into cloud mining is to cushion any fallout from delivery delays on new hardware, which have been a sore point for miners in the fast-moving Bitcoin market. "Over the next few months we are bringing online enough hashing power to make sure that any delay in the Neptune timeline will be compensated with a completely free hosted hashing packages to all fully paid customers," KnC says in its newsletter."

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Amazon's Double-Helix Acquisition Hints At Gaming Console
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's networks-need-nodes department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "A more prominent role in video-game development could prove the latest territory on Amazon's 'attempt to conquer' list. Yes, there's already Amazon Game Studios, which produces smaller games such as Air Patriots (a tower-defense title), but that evidently wasn't enough — Amazon has acquired Double Helix, most notably the developer behind Killer Instinct and other big-action games for PCs and consoles. Amazon confirmed the deal to multiple media outlets, suggesting that it would use Double Helix's developers and intellectual property 'as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers.' Why would Amazon want to bulk out its game-creation abilities? Rumors have floated for the past couple weeks (hat tip to Gamespot) that the company is hard at work on an Android-based gaming console that will retail for below $300. Over the past year, it's also hired gaming luminaries such as Halo author Eric Nylund, which it probably wouldn't have done without something big — or at least interesting — in the works. Amazon would doubtlessly position such a device (if it actually becomes a reality) as the low-cost alternative to Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4. But even the cheapest console won't sell without some killer games to attract customers — and that's where Double Helix might come in. ... With Nintendo flagging, there's potentially an opening for a third console ecosystem to take hold."

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Skinny Puppy Wants Compensation For Music Used in US Interrogations
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-need-to-argue-whether-it's-torture department:
First time accepted submitter time_lords_almanac writes "A Canadian band has sent an invoice to the U.S. Department of Defense after learning that its music was used without permission in 'interrogations' of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The members of Skinny Puppy, who specialize in electronic music, were originally going to make the invoice the cover of their next album until they discovered they could bring legal action against the department. They were also none to happy to learn the purpose their music was being employed for, let alone illegally. The amount of compensation requested? $666,000, of course."

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Got Malware? The FBI Wants It
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's target-market-after-all department:
wiredmikey writes "The FBI has placed malware on its shopping list, and is turning to third parties to help the agency build a massive library of malicious software. According to a 'Request for a Quote' posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the FBI is looking for price quotes for malware for the Investigative Analysis Unit of the agency's Operational Technology Division (OTD). The unit's mission is to 'Provide technical analysis of digital methods, software and data, and provide technical support to FBI investigations and intelligence operations that involve computers, networks and malicious software,' according to the document. The FBI did not say precisely how the malware will be used, but the document calls the collection of malware from law enforcement and research sources "critical to the success of the IAU's mission to obtain global awareness of malware threat.""

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How Edward Snowden's Actions Have Impacted Defense Contractors
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's budget-suddenly-has-room-for-a-shredder department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new study sheds light on the attitudes of a very exclusive group of IT and security managers — those employed by U.S. defense contractors — at a time when national cybersecurity is under scrutiny. Most indicated that the Edward Snowden incident has changed their companies' cybersecurity practices: their employees now receive more cybersecurity awareness training, some have re-evaluated employee data access privileges, others have implemented stricter hiring practices. While defense contractors seem to have better security practices in place and are more transparent than many companies in the private sector, they are finding the current cyber threat onslaught just as difficult to deal with."

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Sony Selling Off VAIO Computer Business
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's turns-out-it-wasn't-vaioable department:
Kensai7 writes "Confirming reports from earlier in the week, Sony has announced plans to sell off its VAIO computer division to a Japanese investment fund. Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) will take control of the operation for an undisclosed fee, and Sony will 'cease planning, design and development of PC products.' For a variety of reasons 'including the drastic changes in the global PC industry,' Sony says 'the optimal solution is to concentrate its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets and to transfer its PC business to a new company.'" I have some nostalgia for the tiny old VAIO laptops; I wish more companies incorporated the swiveling camera that they came with.

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Fracking Is Draining Water From Areas In US Suffering Major Shortages
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's looking-for-a-drink department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "RT reports that some of the most drought-ravaged areas of the US are also heavily targeted for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing — a practice that exacerbates water shortages with half of the oil and gas wells fracked across America since 2011 located in places suffering through drought. Taken together, all the wells surveyed from January 2011 to May 2013 consumed 97 billion gallons of water, pumped under high pressure to crack rocks containing oil or natural gas. Up to 10 million gallons can go into a single well. 'Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country's most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,' says Mindy Lubber. 'Barring stiffer water-use regulations and improved on-the-ground practices, the industry's water needs in many regions are on a collision course with other water users, especially agriculture and municipal water use.' Nearly half (47%) of oil and gas wells recently hydraulically fractured in the U.S. and Canada are in regions with high or extremely high water stress. Amanda Brock, head of a water-treatment firm in Houston, says oil companies in California are already exploring ways to frack using the briny, undrinkable water found in the state's oil fields. While fracking consumes far less water than agriculture or residential uses, the impact can be huge on particular communities and is 'exacerbating already existing water problems,' says Monika Freyman. Hydraulic fracking is the 'latest party to come to the table,' says Freyman. The demands for the water are 'taking regions by surprise,' she says. More work needs to be done to better manage water use, given competing demand."

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New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's was-that-wrong? department:
An anonymous reader writes "The latest news in this: GCSB appears to have deleted key evidence in the case in a ham-fisted attempt to cover up its illegal activities. Even more ridiculous, GCSB is trying to cover this up by claiming that the material had 'aged off' — implying that it was deleted automatically. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key claims that they had to delete the information under the law. Of course, there are a few problems with that. The first is that under New Zealand law, like most countries these days, parties have an obligation to preserve documents likely to be necessary in a legal case. But, even more damning is that there's video of John Key in the New Zealand Parliament trying to defend against an earlier claim that GCSB had deleted some evidence by insisting that GCSB does not delete anything ever:"

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Dried Meat "Resurrects" Lost Species of Whale
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it-was-delicious department:
sciencehabit writes "A gift of dried whale meat—and some clever genetic sleuthing across almost 16,000 kilometers of equatorial waters—has helped scientists identify a long-forgotten animal as a new species of beaked whale. The 'resurrection' raises new questions about beaked whales, the most elusive and mysterious of cetaceans. Overall, the saga shows 'that there are probably even more species of beaked whales that we don't know about,' says Phil Clapham, a marine mammalogist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. 'We don't see them because they're very deep-diving and live far from land.' They also live in a poorly surveyed part of the ocean, Baker says, where very few people dwell on remote atolls."

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Second World War Code-cracking Computing Hero Colossus Turns 70
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '14 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's piece-of-history department:
DW100 writes "The Colossus computer that helped the Allies crack messages sent by the Nazis during the Second World War has celebrated its 70th birthday. The machine was a pioneering feat of engineering, able to read 5,000 characters a second to help the team at Bletchley Park crack the German's Lorenz code in rapid time. This helped the Allies gather vital information on the Nazi's plans, and is credited with helping end the war effort early, saving millions of lives."

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Build an Open-Source Electric Car In About One Hour
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '14 at 09:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-wheels department:
First time accepted submitter joe5 writes "Like what Elon Musk has done and want to go all Etsy and build your own electric car? That's apparently now possible now thanks to the OSVehicle Tabby — dubbed the first "Open source vehicle" (memo: it may be cool, but it ain't the first). The OSV guys are taking pre-orders for the Tabby starter kit, with both the two-seater or four-seater configurations going for €500. Then you click to add options. (Note: seats is an "option" so that's the level of luxury you are dealing with here.) When the transaction's complete, OSV sends the parts to your home and you can download the plans and start building. Since the Tabby is open source, OSVehicle will also look to a community of owners and tinkerers for suggestions and recommendations."

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