By timothy from Slashdot's thinkgeek-had-something-funnier-years-ago department
An anonymous reader writes with s snippet from Ars Technica that should make you (even more) skeptical about plugging in random USB drives, or allowing to persons unknown physical access to you computer's USB ports : When creators of the state-sponsored Stuxnet worm used a USB stick to infect air-gapped computers inside Iran's heavily fortified Natanz nuclear facility, trust in the ubiquitous storage medium suffered a devastating blow. Now, white-hat hackers have devised a feat even more seminal—an exploit that transforms keyboards, Web cams, and other types of USB-connected devices into highly programmable attack platforms that can't be detected by today's defenses. Dubbed BadUSB, the hack reprograms embedded firmware to give USB devices new, covert capabilities. In a demonstration scheduled at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a USB drive, for instance, will take on the ability to act as a keyboard that surreptitiously types malicious commands into attached computers. A different drive will similarly be reprogrammed to act as a network card that causes connected computers to connect to malicious sites impersonating Google, Facebook or other trusted destinations. The presenters will demonstrate similar hacks that work against Android phones when attached to targeted computers. They say their technique will work on Web cams, keyboards, and most other types of USB-enabled devices.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's things-you-want-to-see-folded-in department
writes with this excerpt from an IDG story about the creation of an Android fork
made just for Google's modular cell-phone project
: A special edition of Android had to be created for the unique customizable design of Project Ara, said George Grey, CEO of Linaro. ... Android can already plug and play SD cards. But Grey said additional OS functionality is needed for storage, cameras and other modules that are typically inside smartphones, but can now be externally added to Project Ara. A lot of work is also being done on UniPro transport drivers, which connect modules and components in Project Ara. UniPro protocol drivers in Android will function much like the USB protocol, where modules will be recognized based on different driver "classes," such as those for networking, sensor, imaging, input and others. Some attachable parts may not be recognized by Android. For those parts, separate drivers need to be developed by module makers through emulators. "That will be need to be done in a secure system so the device can't do damage to the system," Grey said. Project Ara is a very disruptive concept, and it turns around conventional thinking on how to build phones, Grey said.Read Replies (0)
Amazon's eBook Math
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '14 at 02:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there's-one-for-you-nineteen-for-me department
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has waged a constant battle with publishers over the price of ebooks. They've now publicly laid out their argument and the business math behind it. "We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000." They argue that capping most ebooks at $9.99 would be better for everyone, with the money split out 35% to the author, 35% to the publisher, and 30% to Amazon.
< article continued at Slashdot
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Is the App Store Broken?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '14 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's honeymoon-is-over department
A recent post by Instapaper's Marco Arment suggests that design flaws in Apple's App Store are harming the app ecosystem
, and users are suffering because of it. "The dominance and prominence of 'top lists' stratifies the top 0.02% so far above everyone else that the entire ecosystem is encouraged to design for a theoretical top-list placement that, by definition, won’t happen to 99.98% of them." Arment notes that many good app developers are finding continued development to be unsustainable, while scammy apps are encouraged to flood the market.
"As the economics get tighter, it becomes much harder to support the lavish treatment that developers have given apps in the past, such as full-time staffs, offices, pixel-perfect custom designs of every screen, frequent free updates, and completely different iPhone and iPad interfaces. Many will give up and leave for stable, better-paying jobs
. (Many already have.)"
Brent Simmons points out the indie developers have largely given up the dream
of being able to support themselves through iOS development. Yoni Heisler argues that their plight is simply a consequence of ever-increasing competition within the industry
, though he acknowledges that more app curation would be a good thing. What strategies could Apple (and the operators of other mobile application stories) do to keep app quality high?Read Replies (0)