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Steve Wozniak's Biographer Pranked By Woz's Mom?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 04:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's runs-in-the-family department:
An anonymous reader writes:
Gina Smith is the co-author of Steve Wozniak's 2006 biography. On the day that Steve Jobs died, she posted a poignant story Woz had shared about their early days in Silicon Valley, remembering how Jobs sold his Volkswagen van while Woz sold his calculator to raise funds to build the first Apple 1 computer kit.

The post includes a picture of 22-year-old Steve Jobs standing next to young Steve Wozniak. But there's also an unexpected figure in the background wearing a black ski hat and glasses. It's "tourist guy," the figure from a 9/11 meme whose stoic face was spliced into the background of everything from the explosion of the Hindenburg to the Kennedy assassination, and even into the original Star Trek and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. The picture is attributed to Margaret Wozniak. So does that mean Steve Wozniak's biographer got pranked by Woz's mom?
Interestingly, in 2011 the tourist guy actually apologized for creating the original fake World Trade Center image. "I assumed my friends would recognise me and call me to see if I was alright, but they didn't, they posted it on to other friends and suddenly it was all over the world... I am ashamed that even now the police still get calls about it."

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Connecticut May Become First US State To Allow Deadly Police Drones
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's death-from-above department:
According to Reuters, Connecticut lawmakers are considering a new bill that would allow police to equip drones with potentially lethal weapons. The bill, which was approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday, actually aims to ban weaponized drones, but exempts the ban from law enforcement agencies. From the report: Connecticut would become the first U.S. state to allow law enforcement agencies to use drones equipped with deadly weapons if a bill opposed by civil libertarians becomes law. The legislation was introduced as a complete ban on weaponized drones but just before the committee vote it was amended to exclude police from the restriction. "Data shows police force is disproportionately used on minority communities, and we believe that armed drones would be used in urban centers and on minority communities," said David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut. "That's not the kind of precedent we want to set here," McGuire said of the prospect that Connecticut would become the first state to allow police to use lethally armed drones. If Connecticut's Democratic-controlled House passes the bill it will move to the Senate, which is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

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Trump Extends Obama Executive Order On Cyberattacks [Flagged]
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 01:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's political-retox department:
"U.S. President Donald Trump is extending by one year special powers introduced by former President Barack Obama that allow the government to issue sanctions against people and organizations engaged in significant cyberattacks and cybercrime against the U.S.," according to InfoWorld. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Executive Order 13694 was introduced on April 1, 2015, and was due to expire on Saturday, but the president sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday evening informing it of his plans to keep it active. Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," Trump wrote in the letter. "Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13694 with respect to significant malicious cyber-enabled activities."
The executive order gave the U.S. new powers to retaliate for hacking of critical infrastructure, major denial of service attacks or large scale economic hacking. It was expanded in December 2016 to include election-related systems and used to sanction Russian agents and organizations for their alleged role in a series of attacks during the presidential election.

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Flatbed Scanners Used As Relay Point For Controlling Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 01:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's security-scan department:
An anonymous reader writes:
"Scientists from two Israeli universities have come up with a way to use flatbed scanners as relay points when sending commands to malware installed on an air-gapped computer," reports BleepingComputer. "Further research also revealed the scanner could also be used to relay stolen data to a nearby attacker. The technique they came up with revolves around the idea that a beam of light could be interpreted as a binary 1 and the lack of visual stimulant can be considered a binary 0."

The attacks can be carried out with lasers mounted on drones, on fixed stands, or by hacking smart light bulbs present near the targeted computer. Attack distances can go up to 900 meters (0.56 miles). During their tests, researchers sent various commands to the PC, such as "d x.pdf" (delete file x.pdf) and "en q" (encrypt folder q). Relaying such commands took between 50 to 100 milliseconds. This research was done by the same team that created methods to steal data from PCs using a hard drive's LED, fan heat, sounds emanated by a computer's GPU fan, electromagnetic signals given out by the GPU, and electromagnetic signals given out by an USB bus.
Here's a PDF of the report, which is titled "Oops!...I think I scanned a malware."

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Google Maps Adds 'Ms. Pac-Man' Feature
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 12:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka department:
An anonymous reader quotes a blog post by Google Maps:
Starting now until April 4, you can chomp fruit, avoid ghosts, and collect PAC-Dots along city streets in Google Maps worldwide -- all as Ms. PAC-Maps. Just tap on the Ms. PAC-Maps icon on iOS and Android, or click the Ms. PAC-Maps button at the bottom left on desktop, to enter the maze and start chompin'. Sign in to save your top score on the leaderboard and share with friends.
A playable Google doodle commemorated Pac-Man's 30th anniversary in 2010 -- and was estimated to have cost the IT sector (and other workplaces)4.8 million hours in lost productivity.

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Ask SN: Seen Any Good April Fool's Pranks Today?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 11:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's OMG-ponies department:
An anonymous reader writes:
It's that special time of year where sites around the net celebrate April Fool's Day with parodies of their own product offerings. Google Home announces a new companion service for smart yards called Google Gnome. Stack Overflow announces Dance Dance Authentication. The Russian foreign ministry changed their voicemail to include new menu options like "Press 2 to use the services of Russian hackers," and "press 3 to request election interference." And in what's either a really good prank or a horrific piece of bad timing, Phrack.org announces that they've been seized by the FBI. Has anybody else noticed anything funny today?

The internet has a long history of April Fool's Day pranks, and it looks like 2017 is no exception. So use the comments to share what you're seeing around the web today. Seen any good April Fool's Day pranks today?

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Someone on Medium Just Said C++ Was Better Than C
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 11:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unhappy-Medium department:
Developer David Timothy Strauss is publishing a call to code "straightforward, easy-to-reason-about approaches" -- in an essay titled "Choosing 'Some C++' Over C". (Alternate title: "C++ for Lovers of C."
The problem with just picking C++ is that most criticism of it is legitimate. Whether it's the '90s-era obsession with object orientation and exceptions or the template errors that take up an entire terminal window, there have been -- and remain -- rough edges to C++. But, these rough edges are avoidable, unlike the problems in C that get worse with modern event and library programming.
The opinionated essay calls for "adopting a subset of C++ to smooth out C's rough edges," arguing that C++ offer a better, type-safe approach for event-driven design (as well as destructors to avoid memory allocation leaks). Are there any readers who'd like to weigh in on the advantages of C versus C++?

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Robots Could Solve the Lionfish Ecological Disaster
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 09:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Robots-In-Service-of-the-Environment department:
"Lionfish are an invasive species that are destroying our coral reefs and fisheries," writes SkinnyGuy. "The non-profit RISE (from iRobot's Colin Angle) has a plan to use robots to fish these Lionfish and serve them up to us on a delicious, golden platter." Mashable reports:
This was not as crazy of an idea as it sounds and Angle had already been wondering "if there was still a way to use robot technology to solve larger environmental problems and maybe more proactively than merely sending our defense robots to natural disaster zones"... Could, Angle wondered, a robot even do the job and could it do it at scale? "Spending half a million dollars to build a robot that kill 10 lionfish is absurd," he told me...

They started with fresh-water electro fishing technology and adapted it for salt water. The robot stuns, but doesn't kill the lionfish and then it sucks them into the robot. It does this over and over again, until full of unconscious fish and then rises to the surface where a fisherman can unload the catch and deliver them to waiting restaurants and food stores. "Ultimately, the control of this device is like a PlayStation game: you're looking at screen and using a joystick controller. Zap it, catch it, do it again, said RISE Executive Director John Rizzi who told me that a team of unpaid volunteers have been working on the prototype for over a year."

The fish-killing robot will launch in Bermuda at the America's Cup festivities on April 19th, where there'll also be a celebrity chef lionfish cook-off and other events to help raise money "to further developer, build and deliver these robots to commercial fishermen and women."

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There's A New New JavaScript Framework
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 09:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's external-libraries department:
An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
Mithril, an open source JavaScript framework for single-page applications, is looking to best Facebook's React, Google's Angular, and Vue JavaScript tools in performance and ease of use. The framework is small and fast, and it provides routing and XHR (XMLHttpRequest) out of the box. Mithril also offers benefits in relative density, lead developer Leo Horie said. "It's possible to develop entire applications without resorting to other libraries, and it's not uncommon for Mithril apps to weigh a third of other apps of similar complexity." Horie said that the framework feels closer to vanilla JavaScript.
Mithril's website features a comparison to Angular, React, and Vue. Mithril, for example, offers much quicker library load times and update performance than React, and it has a better learning curve and update performance than Angular. Compared to Vue, Mithril supposedly offers better library load times and update performance.
Since its initial release, version 1.0.1 has added performance improvements in IE, while 1.1.0 added support for ES6 class components and support for closure components.

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OS/2-Based 'Arcanos 5.0' Has Finally Been Releas -- Oh Wait, No It Wasn't. Never Mind.
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 09:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's see-you-in-two-weeks department:
"Because we want ArcaOS 5.0 to be the best that it can be, Arca Noae has made the difficult decision to delay release two weeks, with a new projected delivery date of April 15, 2017," reads a new announcement on the Arca Noae web site.
Because we don't believe in selling anything we are not ready to ship, we will not be taking pre-orders for ArcaOS 5.0. Please be patient while we get the last few things as they should be, so that your experience installing and using ArcaOS 5.0 is as smooth as possible.
One of last week's most popular stories was about the upcoming release of this x86 OS/2-based operating system (codenamed "Blue Lion") which will offer full backward compatibility with legacy OS/2, DOS and Windows 3.1 applications, as well as "ported Linux applications." It's still on its way, the developers explain, but "Finishing touches can often take longer than expected."

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Show SN: I Wrote A CGI Script
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 06:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's thunderous-applause department:
An anonymous reader writes: I wrote a CGI script that displays a random Slashdot story! Every time you refresh the page, it displays a different story from the year 2016. And you can also just load stories from a specific editor -- whipslash, BeauHD, msmash, and EditorDavid.

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Telcos Gear Up To Fight Facebook and Google Over How You Log Into Websites
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 06:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's picking-a-fight department:
Mashable has an interesting article that talks about the penetration of "social authentication" services: There are two ways to log in on websites: try to recall the email address and password you registered with -- or simply hit the "Facebook Login" button. The convenience of the latter underscores the popularity of social authentication options. You'll see Facebook and Google login buttons on popular sites including Netflix, Uber, Spotify, Imgur and Linkedin, just to name some. Facebook itself estimates that some 350 million people log into a new app or site with their Facebook credentials every month. Olga Kuznetsova, Engineering Manager at Facebook told us that the Facebook Login button ranks in the top three of consumer account creation and sign-in preferences worldwide. More than 85 of the top 100 apps in the U.S. market use Facebook's Login gateway as a login, she added. For years, Google and Facebook have assumed control over the social authentication space, the article adds, citing numbers from companies and analysts. But interestingly, telecom operators are prepping to fight for a slice of the space. So-called mobile identity is one of several projects being developed in the industry to reinforce the position of network operators, which have already suffered an erosion of their traditional communications businesses by the rise of large US technology groups such as Facebook and Google, analysts say. The article adds: Mobile Connect is an authentication solution that the GSMA, the global telecoms industry trade organisation, has been working on for over three years. Through Mobile Connect, GSMA is offering users a much more convenient and "more secure" sign-in option, Jaikishan Rajaraman, global head of technology at GSMA said. The authentication service only requires users to enter their phone number when signing in. There is no password box. When a customer enters her phone number, her carrier (telecom operator, in this case) vouches for her identity. Incredibly, over 42 operators in 22 nations are on-board with Mobile Connect, and the service is already live to over 3.1 billion people. The article adds that GSMA is in talks with governments to add Mobile Connect on their websites and apps. Interestingly, banks, that have long resisted the idea of having Google's and Facebook's authentication service, are also showing interesting.

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Simulation Suggests 68 Percent of the Universe May Not Actually Exist
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 02:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's figment-of-your-imagination department:
boley1 quotes a report from New Atlas: According to the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) model, which is the current accepted standard for how the universe began and evolved, the ordinary matter we encounter every day only makes up around five percent of the universe's density, with dark matter comprising 27 percent, and the remaining 68 percent made up of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force driving the expansion of the universe. A new study has questioned whether dark energy exists at all, citing computer simulations that found that by accounting for the changing structure of the cosmos, the gap in the theory, which dark energy was proposed to fill, vanishes. According to the new study from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary and the University of Hawaii, the discrepancy that dark energy was "invented" to fill might have arisen from the parts of the theory that were glossed over for the sake of simplicity. The researchers set up a computer simulation of how the universe formed, based on its large-scale structure. That structure apparently takes the form of "foam," where galaxies are found on the thin walls of each bubble, but large pockets in the middle are mostly devoid of both normal and dark matter. The team simulated how gravity would affect matter in this structure and found that, rather than the universe expanding in a smooth, uniform manner, different parts of it would expand at different rates. Importantly, though, the overall average rate of expansion is still consistent with observations, and points to accelerated expansion. The end result is what the team calls the Avera model. If the research stands up to scrutiny, it could change the direction of the study of physics away from chasing the ghost of dark energy. "The theory of general relativity is fundamental in understanding the way the universe evolves," says Dr Laszlo Dobos, co-author of the new paper. "We do not question its validity; we question the validity of the approximate solutions. Our findings rely on a mathematical conjecture which permits the differential expansion of space, consistent with general relativity, and they show how the formation of complex structures of matter affects the expansion. These issues were previously swept under the rug but taking them into account can explain the acceleration without the need for dark energy." The study has been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. You can view an animation that compares the different models here.

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New UBI Program Launches In Canada To 'Define Our Future'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 11:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Y-Combinator-did-it-first department:
As automation continues to replace human workers, a universal basic income program will begin paying $1,689 per month to select Ontario residents later this year, as Canada joins other countries testing a UBI (which include America, Scotland, the Netherlands, Finland, India, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda). An anonymous reader quotes the Toronto Star:
Public support in Ontario for the province's three-year UBI project to be launched this spring in three Ontario communities is remarkably strong. The 35,000 Ontarians canvassed by Queen's Park for their input were near-unanimous in supporting the UBI projects. And they insisted that a UBI augment, rather than replace, existing welfare, medical and other social supports...

A well-designed UBI equates to freedom. Freedom from exploitative employers. Freedom to launch a small business or develop an invention despite a lack of employment income. Liberation from the "poverty trap," where taking a paying job means surrendering welfare and other benefits... Fact is, job scarcity in traditional vocations is acute, worsening and permanent. In 2013, two Oxford professors forecast that about 45 per cent of U.S. jobs could be eliminated by automation within the next 20 years. And a more recent report by researchers at Indiana's Ball State University found that 88 per cent of U.S. job loss has been caused by automation, not globalization.

Interestingly, the U.S. launched a Universal Basic Income pilot program which ran for three years starting in 1968. It was run by 36-year-old Donald Rumsfeld (who would later become Secretary of Defense) working with special assistant Dick Cheney (who went on to become America's vice president from 2001-2009). U.S. representatives even voted to replace welfare with a UBI, but the measure ultimately failed in the Senate.

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Y Combinator-Funded Startup To Do Quantum Computing -- Only Better
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 08:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's because-everything's-better-in-the-cloud department:
An anonymous reader writes:
A "spaceshot" company that emerged from Y Combinator three summers ago and is targeting a revolutionary change in the way computers work has landed $64 million to help it in the race against much bigger tech giants. Rigetti Computing, which operates out of Berkeley and Fremont, is tackling quantum computing and going up against research being done by the likes of IBM, Intel, Microsoft and others... Rigetti is building a cloud quantum computing platform for artificial intelligence and computational chemistry. It recently opened up private beta testing of 'Forest', its API for quantum computing in the cloud. It integrates directly with existing cloud infrastructure and treats the quantum computer as an accelerator.
"The potential to make a positive impact on humanity is enormous," said Chad Rigetti, the startup's founder and CEO -- who declined to say whether the company is actually earning any revenue yet.

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Net Neutrality Is Trump's Next Target, Administration Says [Flagged]
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 08:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's list-of-to-dos department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fierce Telecom: During a press event yesterday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that next up on President Trump's telecom agenda is to roll back the FCC's 2015 Open Internet net neutrality rules. However, according to some reports, that might not happen as quickly as Congress' recent move to rescind rules that prevented internet service providers from selling users' data. As noted by the New York Times, Spicer said that President Trump had "pledged to reverse this overreach" created by net neutrality. He said the FCC's net neutrality rules, passed in 2015, are an example of "bureaucrats in Washington" placing unfair restrictions on internet service providers, essentially "picking winners and losers" in the telecom market. In comments aimed at the wider telecom market, Spicer said Trump will "continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth." However, as the NYT reports, the process to repeal net neutrality likely won't follow the same procedure as Congress' recent vote to remove broadband privacy rules -- since those rules were only a year old, Congress was able to use the Congressional Review Act to move forward with its action. The FCC's net neutrality rules, however, are more than two years old and so can't be reviewed by that same act. Thus, it may fall on newly installed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to rescind the FCC's Open Internet rules, which he voted against when he was a commissioner at the agency under former chief Tom Wheeler.

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Net Neutrality Is Trump's Next Target, Administration Says
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's list-of-to-dos department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fierce Telecom: During a press event yesterday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that next up on President Trump's telecom agenda is to roll back the FCC's 2015 Open Internet net neutrality rules. However, according to some reports, that might not happen as quickly as Congress' recent move to rescind rules that prevented internet service providers from selling users' data. As noted by the New York Times, Spicer said that President Trump had "pledged to reverse this overreach" created by net neutrality. He said the FCC's net neutrality rules, passed in 2015, are an example of "bureaucrats in Washington" placing unfair restrictions on internet service providers, essentially "picking winners and losers" in the telecom market. In comments aimed at the wider telecom market, Spicer said Trump will "continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth." However, as the NYT reports, the process to repeal net neutrality likely won't follow the same procedure as Congress' recent vote to remove broadband privacy rules -- since those rules were only a year old, Congress was able to use the Congressional Review Act to move forward with its action. The FCC's net neutrality rules, however, are more than two years old and so can't be reviewed by that same act. Thus, it may fall on newly installed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to rescind the FCC's Open Internet rules, which he voted against when he was a commissioner at the agency under former chief Tom Wheeler.

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Study Shows Laptop Batteries Often Don't Last As Long As They Say
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's false-advertising department:
A new study conducted by Which? magazine has found that "the battery life claimed by laptop manufacturers rarely lives up to reality. "Although Apple's battery life claims were the closest to reality, in the case of some other manufacturers, their laptops lasted hours less than the stated time," reports Digital Trends. From the report: In its testing, Which looked at the battery life claims of 67 different laptop models from manufacturers as diverse as Asus, Apple, Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba -- some of the world's most popular laptop makers. It found that while Apple's average claim of 10 hours was proven correct -- and was even slightly better in some cases -- Dell's claims were overstated by more than four hours, and HP, close to five. The times listed in the header image are the average claimed battery life for all of the laptops Which? has tested over the past year versus the times it recorded in its internal testing. That involved charging the laptops to full, then running them down to nothing three times, using online web browsing via Wi-Fi or watching local videos to do so. Out of all laptops tested, the only manufacturer to understate battery claims was Apple. In one case, it claimed that its MacBook Pro 13 could achieve 10 hours of usage, while tests suggested it could go for as long as 12 hours. At the other end of the spectrum though, there were some really egregious overstatements. The Lenovo Yoga 510 has a claimed battery life of five hours -- it only lasted two hours and seven minutes. The HP Pavilion 14-al115na is supposed to be able to run for nine hours, but was only capable of four hours and 25 minutes. The Acer E15 claimed six hours but ran for just under three hours.

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USB Canary Sends An SMS When Someone Tinkers With Your USB Ports
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tinker-toys department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: A new tool released on GitHub last week can help paranoid sysadmins keep track of whenever someone plugs in or disconnects an USB-based device from high-value workstations. Called USB Canary, this tool is coded in Python and currently, works only on Linux (versions for Windows and Mac are in the works). The tool works by watching USB ports for any activity while the computer is locked, which generally means the owner has left his desk. If an USB device is plugged in or unplugged, USB Canary can perform one of two actions, or both. It can alert the owner by sending an SMS message via the Twilio API, or it can post a message in a Slack channel, which can be monitored by other co-workers. USB Canary can prove to be a very useful tool for large organizations that feature strict PC policies. For example, if you really want to enforce a "No USB drives" at work, this could be the tool for the job. Further, with modifications, it could be used for logging USB activity on air-gapped systems.

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Oculus Co-Founder and Rift Creator Palmer Luckey Leaves Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's internal-personnel-matters department:
bongey writes: Palmer Lucky has left Facebook, which bought Oculus for $2 billion. The anti-Hillary memes controversy led to the resignation. UploadVR reports: "According to Oculus, this will be Palmer's last week with Friday marking his official last day as an employee of Facebook. In an official statement, the company said that: 'Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer's legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We're thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.' When asked if Luckey's departure was voluntary, Facebook representatives declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing internal personnel matters. This revelation comes around one year after Luckey himself hand-delivered the first consumer Oculus Rift to a pre-order customer in Alaska. In just over 12 months, the 24-year-old transformed from the face of one of the tech world's most well-known teams into a bit of a recluse, disappearing from public view during the 2016 US presidential election and emerging only for an appearance in court." UploadVR has provided a timeline of events leading up to Luckey's departure in their report.

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