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Big Satellite Systems, Simulated On Your Desktop
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '16 at 01:21 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sorta-like-missile-command department:
An anonymous reader writes: Big systems of hundreds of satellites are under development to provide wireless Internet globally, with Richard Branson's OneWeb and Thales' LeoSat aiming at consumers and business markets respectively. It's like reliving the late 1990s, when Bill Gates' Teledesic and Motorola's Celestri were trying to do the same thing before merging their efforts and then giving up. And now you can simulate OneWeb and LeoSat for yourself, and compare them to older systems, in the new release of the vintage SaVi satellite simulation package, which was created in the 1990s during the first time around. Bear in mind Karl Marx's dictum of history: the first time is tragedy, and the second time is farce. Do these new systems stand a chance?

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MIT Team Tops Hyperloop Design Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 10:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's never-underestimate-a-hyperloop-full-of-tapes department:
The Dallas Morning News reports that a team from MIT has topped competitors from around 100 universities around the world at a competition held on the campus of Texas A&M by presenting a workable design vision for Elon Musk's dream of a hyperloop. The hyperloop concept, mentioned several times before on Slashdot, involves rapidly shuffling passenger pods through 12-foot-wide tubes evacuated of air, and would mean terrestrial transport at speeds topping those of commercial air travel. From the Morning News article:

Delft University of Technology from The Netherlands finished second, the University of Wisconsin third, Virginia Tech fourth and the University of California, Irvine, fifth.
The top teams will build their pods and test them at the world's first Hyperloop Test Track, being built adjacent to SpaceX's Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters.

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Microsoft Edge's Private Browsing Mode Isn't Actually Private
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 09:12 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's keep-it-to-ourselves-alright? department:
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: The forensic examination of most web browsers has proven that they don't have a provision for storing the details of privately browsed web sessions. However, in the case of Microsoft Edge, the private browsing isn't as private as it seems. Previous investigations of the browser have resulted in revealing that websites visited in private mode are also stored in the browser's WebCache file. The Container_n table stores web history, and a field named 'Flag' with a value of '8' shows that website was visited in private mode. An investigator can easily spot the difference and use this evidence against a person. The not-so-private browsing featured by Edge makes its very purpose seem to fail, and you can't help but ask how such a fundamental aspect of private browsing could be so fantastically borked. It beggars belief.

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Israeli Vulture Suspected of Spying Returned
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 07:52 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bird's-eye-view department:
New submitter red crab writes: BBC reports that a griffon vulture with GPS tracking device attached to its leg that was part of conservation program at Tel Aviv University was captured in Lebanon after it was suspected to be a Israeli spy. UN Liaison forces helped secure the release of the bird after holding talks with Lebanese and Israeli officials.

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France To Pave 1000km of Road With Solar Panels
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 03:52 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-efficient-no-one's-doing-it-for-profit department:
An anonymous reader writes: France is planning on a project to build 1000 kilometers of road with specially designed solar panels. This project will supply 5 million people in France with electricity if it is successful. Though many solar experts are skeptical of this project, the French government has given the go-ahead to this venture.
According to France's minister of ecology and energy, Ségolène Royal, the tender for this project is already issued under the "Positive Energy" initiative and the test for the solar panels will begin by this spring.The photo voltaic solar panels called "Wattway" which will be used in the project are jointly developed by the French infrastructure firm "Colas" and the National Institute for Solar Energy. The specialty of "Wattway" is that its very sturdy and can let heavy trucks pass over it, also offering a good grip to avoid an accident. Interestingly, this project will not remove road surfaces but instead, the solar panels will be glued to the existing pavement.

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LG G3 'Snap' Vulnerability Leaves Owners At Risk of Data Theft
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 02:35 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's be-worried department:
Mark Wilson writes: Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in LG G3 smartphones which could be exploited to run arbitrary JavaScript to steal data. The issue has been named Snap, and was discovered by Israeli security firms BugSec and Cynet. What is particularly concerning about Snap is that it affects the Smart Notice which is installed on all LG G3s by default. By embedding malicious script in a contact, it is possible to use WebView to run server side code via JavaScript. If exploited, the vulnerability could be used to gather information from SD cards, steal data from the likes of WhatsApp, and steal private photos.

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First Hidden Electric Motor In Cycling World Championship
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 01:12 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's thumb-on-the-scale department:
An anonymous reader writes with the story that the world championship cyclocross competition this weekend in Zolder (Belgium) was scandalized by the first case of "mechanical doping." European champion Femke Van Den Driessche was caught with a bicycle with a hidden electric motor. From the article: The Union Cycliste Internationale said in a statement âoethat pursuant to the UCIâ(TM)s Regulations on technological fraud a bike has been detained for further investigation following checks at the Womenâ(TM)s Under 23 race of the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. This does not concern any of the riders on the podium. Further details will be shared in due course.â

The Belgian media outlet Sporza reported that the Belgian Cycling Federation had confirmed that the detained bike belonged to Van den Driessche. Ironically, Van den Driessche had abandoned the race due to a mechanical issue shortly before the bike was scrutinised. Van den Driesscheâ(TM)s name did not feature in the official results on the UCI website on Saturday evening. Cyclocross Magazine adds some details.

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Apple Developing Wireless Charging For Mobile Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 11:52 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's quick-samsung-better-sue department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple is currently working with partners in the US and Asia to develop wireless charging for iPhone and iPad. Mobile devices with wireless charging capabilities could be released as soon as next year. Apple has not released the specific details on the range that could be available, but as far back as 2010, Apple applied for a patent to use an iMac as a wireless charging hub for distances of 1 meter. In 2014 it applied for a patent on specialized housing for a mobile device with an integrated RF antenna, which would also allow for wireless charging by helping to eliminate the problem of metallic interference with charging signals. Apple would apparently be building on these ideas to create a new iPhone or iPad that could charge further away from the hub, while continuing to be used.

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Drone Races To Be Broadcast To VR Headsets
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 10:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's upgrade-your-basement-or-garret department:
An anonymous reader writes: You just plug in the HDMI feed, and you're in the cockpit of the drone," the CEO of the new Drone Racing League tells Wired. "Everyone from Oculus on is expecting to have VR headsets in every home for entertainment consumption, and we're a natural use for it." In anticipation of a new mass entertainment, the Drone Racing League released new footage Thursday highlighting one of their complicated competition courses, "a concrete steampunk torture chamber with cast-iron columns and massive hulking turbines from another era" described as The Gates of Hell. "[T]hese young drone pilots are not just enjoying themselves, but also inventing a new sport," reports one technology site, asking whether we'll ultimately see "drone parks" or even drone demolition derbies and flying robot wars. In an article titled "When Video Games Get Real," they quote one pilot who says it feels like skateboarding in the 1990's, "with a small group of people pushing the envelope and inventing every day" — this time wearing virtual reality googles to experience the addictive thrill of flying.

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FTDI Driver Breaks Hardware Again
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 10:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's up-stuff-creek department:
janoc writes: It seems that the infamous FTDI driver that got famous by intentionally bricking counterfeit chips [NOTE: that driver was later removed] has got a new update that injects garbage data ('NON GENUINE DEVICE FOUND!') into the serial data. This was apparently going on for a while, but only now is the driver being pushed as an automatic update through Windows Update, thus many more people stand to be affected by this. Let's hope that nobody dies in an industrial accident when a tech connects their cheap USB-to-serial cable to a piece of machinery and the controller misinterprets the garbage data.

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GNU Hurd Begins Supporting Sound, Still Working On 64-bit & USB Support
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 09:02 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's pretty-soon-big-and-fancy-like-gnu department:
An anonymous reader writes: GNU developer Samuel Thibault presented at this weekend's FOSDEM conference about the current state of GNU Hurd. He shared that over the past year they've started working on experimental sound support as their big new feature. They also have x86 64-bit support to the point that the kernel can boot, but not much beyond that stage yet. USB and other functionality remains a work-in-progress. Those curious about this GNU kernel project can find more details via the presentation media.

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Tiny Pluto Big On Frozen Water Reserves
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 07:42 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-take-a-look-at-those-pictures department:
New submitter rmdingler writes that a new map created by NASA based on the New Horizons flyby of Pluto "shows much more frozen water than scientists initially expected." Using LEISA to photograph from 108,000 kilometers away, much more of the recently demoted planet's frozen surface liquid is water, rather than methane, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen as originally posited.

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NSA Hacker Chief Explains How To Keep Him Out of Your System
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 07:42 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's disinterested-party department:
An anonymous reader writes: Rob Joyce, the nation's hacker-in-chief, took up the ironic task of telling a roomful of computer security professionals and academics how to keep people like him and his elite corps out of their systems. Joyce himself did little to shine a light on the TAO's classified operations. His talk was mostly a compendium of best security practices. But he did drop a few of the not-so-secret secrets of the NSA's success, with many people responding to his comments on Twitter.

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U.S. Forces Viewed Encrypted Israeli Drone Feeds
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-man-it-was-an-open-channel department:
iceco2 links to The Intercept's report that the U.S. and UK intelligence forces have been (or at least were) intercepting positional data as well as imagery from Israeli drones and fighters, through a joint program dubbed "Anarchist," based on the island of Cyprus. Among the captured images that the Intercept has published, based on data provided by Edward Snowden, are ones that appear to show weaponized drones, something that the U.S. military is well-known for using, but that the IDF does not publicly acknowledge as part of its own arsenal.
Notes iceco2: U.S. spying on allies is nothing new. It is surprising to see the ease with which encrypted Israeli communications were intercepted. As always, it wasn't the crypto which was broken -- just the lousy method it was applied.

Ars Technica explains that open-source software, including ImageMagick was central to the analysis of the captured data.

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Apple: Losing Out On Talent and In Need of a Killer New Device
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '16 at 02:02 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's maybe-some-envy-in-there department:
mspohr writes with a link to an interesting (and rather dour) take at The Guardian on the state of Apple, which holds that: "Despite its huge value, Silicon Valley developers are turned off by [Apple's] 'secretive, controlling' culture and its engineering is no longer seen as cutting edge." From the article: "Tellingly, Apple is no longer seen as the best place for engineers to work, according to several Silicon Valley talent recruiters. It's a trend that has been happening slowly for years – and now, in this latest tech boom, has become more acute. ... Or as Elon Musk recently put the hiring situation a little more harshly: Apple is the "Tesla graveyard." "If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple," Musk recently told a German newspaper. The biggest issue for programmers seems to be a high-stress culture and cult of secrecy, which contrasts sharply with office trends toward gentler management and more playful workdays."

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Linux Kernel 2.6.32 LTS Reaches End of Life In February 2016
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '16 at 11:11 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's long-time-coming department:
An anonymous reader writes: The oldest long-term supported Linux kernel branch finally reaches end of life next month, but before going into the deepest darkest corners of the Internet, it just dropped one more maintenance release, Linux kernel 2.6.32.70 LTS. Willy Tarreau dropped the news about the release of Linux kernel 2.6.32.70 LTS on January 29, 2016, informing all us that this will most likely be the last maintenance release in the series, as starting with February 2016 it will no longer be supported with security patches and bugfixes. Linux 2.6 first came out in December, 2003, and 2.6.16 (the first long-term release) in March 2006.

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Asus ZenBook UX305CA Shows What Skylake Core M Is Capable Of
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '16 at 08:32 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's up-with-which-I-will-not-put department:
MojoKid writes: ASUS recently revamped their ZenBook UX305 family of ultralight notebooks with Intel's 6th generation Skylake Core m series, which brings with it not only improved graphics performance but also native support for PCI Express NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives. The platform is turning out to be fairly strong for this category of notebooks and the low cost ZenBook ($699 as tested) is a good example of what a Skylake Core M is capable of in a balanced configuration. Tested here, the machine is configured with a 256GB M.2 SSD, 8GB of RAM and a 2.2GHz Core m3-6Y30 dual-core CPU. Along with a 13.3-inch 1080p FHD display and 802.11ac wireless connectivity, the ZenBook UX305 is setup nicely and it puts up solid performance numbers in both standard compute tasks and graphics. It also offers some of the best battery life numbers in an ultralight yet, lasting over 10 hours on a charge in real world connected web testing.

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Air Force Firewall Now Designated a Weapons System
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '16 at 05:43 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's my-name-is-a-killing-word-now-pay-up department:
An anonymous reader writes with a report from the Colorado Springs Gazette that the U.S. Air Force Space Command has declared its first cyber "weapons system" operational. The weapon, deemed fully operational this month, is basically a big firewall designed to protect the Air Force's internal 1 million-user network from hackers. It will be a hot topic at the Rocky Mountain Cyber Symposium, which is expected to draw hundreds of computer experts to The Broadmoor for a four-day confab starting Monday."

More from the article about why a firewall would be called a weapon: The biggest reason for the weaponization push is financial: When it comes to budget battles, weapons, even those with a keyboard and a mouse, get cash from Congress. "Designating something as a weapons system really does help us justify our funding," Col. Pamela Wooley, who commands the Alabama-based 26th Cyberspace Operations Group, which includes the new weapon.

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ACLU Sues Anaheim Police For Public Records On Cell Phone Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '16 at 04:21 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's round-antennae-on-each-side-of-the-head department:
New submitter Lacey Waymire writes: The ACLU of Northern California is suing for a release of public records regarding Anaheim police's use of cell phone surveillance devices. "We don't think any surveillance devices, particularly these sorts of invasive cell phone surveillance devices, should ever be acquired or used without intense public debate and the adoption of safeguards to ensure they are only used in ways that follow our Constitution and laws," attorney Matt Cagle said. (See this Boing Boing posting with a bit more on "the happiest surveillance state on earth.")

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A Legal Name Change Puts 'None of the Above' On Canadian Ballot
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '16 at 03:02 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's vote-several-times department:
PolygamousRanchKid writes: The ballot to fill a legislative seat in Canada next month includes none of the above—and it's a real person. Sheldon Bergson, 46, had his name legally changed to Above Znoneofthe and is now a candidate for the Ontario legislature, the CBC reports. The election is Feb. 11. The ballot lists candidates in alphabetical order by surname so his name will be the 10th of the 10 candidates as Znoneofthe Above, according to CBC. One of his opponents is running on the line of the None of The Above Party. Maybe the American folks can learn from their cousins up north? Shouldn't every election have a line for "None of the above"? I can't wait until Little Bobby Tables hits 35.

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