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Blackphone 2 Caters To the Enterprise, the Security-Minded and the Paranoid

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 21:52
Mark Wilson writes While much of the news coming out of MWC 2015 has been dominated by Microsoft's Lumia 640, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and tablets from Sony, there's always room for something a little different. Following on from the security-focused Blackphone, Silent Circle used the Barcelona event to announce the follow-up — the Blackphone 2. The privacy-centric company has been working on the "world's first enterprise privacy platform" for some time now and the second generation Blackphone. As you would expect, there's a faster processor than before -- an 8-core beast -- as well as an upgraded 3GB RAM, a larger 5.5 inch screen and a bigger battery than before. Blackphone 2 has a $600 price tag and will be unleashed in July.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

NASA's Spitzer Team Releases Highest-resolution View of the Full Galactic Plane

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 21:30
StartsWithABang writes From our vantage point within the Milky Way, most of our 200-400 billion stars are obscured by the dust lanes present within. But thanks to its views in infrared light, the Spitzer Space Telescope can glimpse not only all of the stars and the dust simultaneously, it can do it at an alarming resolution. Recently, NASA has put together a 360 panorama of more than 2,000,000 Spitzer images taken from 2003-2014, and one astrophysicist has gone and stitched them together into a single, 180,000-pixel-long viewable experience that shows less than 3% of the sky, but nearly 50% of its stars.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 21:09
jones_supa writes In 2014, Epic Games took the step of making Unreal Engine 4 available to everyone by subscription for $19 per month. Today, this general-purpose game engine is available to everyone for free. This includes future updates, the full C++ source code of the engine, documentation, and all sorts of bonus material. You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. The business scheme that Epic set in the beginning, remains the same: when you ship a commercial game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. Epic strived to create a simple and fair arrangement in which they succeed only when your product succeeds.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Doomsday Vault: First Tree Samples Arrive At Underground Seed Store

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 20:26
An anonymous reader writes "The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built into an Arctic mountain, received its first delivery of tree seeds. Opened in 2008, the vault is designed to withstand all natural and human disasters. From the article: "The 'doomsday' vault built into an Arctic mountain, which stores seeds for food crops in case of a natural disaster, has received its first delivery of tree samples. Norway spruce and Scots pine seeds have arrived at the frozen vault, which is located on Svalbard, an archipelago owned by and north of Norway. The organizations behind the vault hope to bring more seeds from outside of the Nordic countries. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault will now look after the samples and use them to monitor how natural forests change. They will also keep them as back-ups, in case any of the species are lost, and to see how the forests change during breeding."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 19:44
linuxwrangler writes The government has fought hard to keep details about use and effects of the controversial Stingray device secret. But this Wired article points to recently released documents in which the government admits that the device can cause collateral damage to other network users. The controversy has heated to the point that Florida senator Bill Nelson has made statements that such devices will inevitably force lawmakers to come up with new ways to protect privacy — a comment that is remarkable considering that the Stingray is produced by Harris Corporation which is headquartered in Nelson's home state.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 19:02
AmiMoJo writes Plans to generate electricity from the world's first series of tidal lagoons have been unveiled in the UK. The six lagoons — four in Wales and one each in Somerset and Cumbria — will capture incoming and outgoing tides behind giant sea walls, and use the weight of the water to power turbines. The series of six lagoons could generate 8% of the UK's electricity for an investment of £12bn. Tidal Lagoon Power wants £168 per MWh hour for electricity in Swansea, reducing to £90-£95 per MWh for power from a second, more efficient lagoon in Cardiff. The £90 figure compares favorably with the £92.50 price for power from the planned Hinkley nuclear station, especially as the lagoon is designed to last 120 years — at a much lower risk than nuclear. Unlike power from the sun and wind, tidal power is predictable. Turbines capture energy from two incoming and two outgoing tides a day, and are expected to be active for an average of 14 hours a day. Friends of the Earth Cymru, said the group is broadly in favor of the Swansea lagoon.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 18:40
Lasrick writes The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just launched a very cool interactive graphic to go with their famed Nuclear Notebook, the feature that tracks the world's nuclear arsenals. Now you can see at a glance who has nuclear weapons, when they got them, and how those numbers compare to each other. A short introductory video gives some background on the success of the Notebook, which has been tracking nukes since 1987.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Secret Memo Slams Canadian Police On Inaccurate ISP Request Records

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 18:19
An anonymous reader writes Last fall, Daniel Therrien, the government's newly appointed Privacy Commissioner of Canada, released the annual report on the Privacy Act, the legislation that governs how government collects, uses, and discloses personal information. The lead story from the report was the result of an audit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police practices regarding warrantless requests for telecom subscriber information. Michael Geist now reports that a secret internal memo reveals that the situation was far worse with auditors finding that the records from Canada's lead law enforcement agency were unusable since they were "inaccurate and incomplete."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Jolla Partners With SSH To Create Sailfish Secure

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 17:37
First time accepted submitter muckracer writes Finnish mobile company Jolla will be working with Finland's SSH Communications to offer another version of its SailfishOS platform with stronger security credentials. The partnership was announced today at Jolla's press conference in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress trade show. SSH will be providing comms encryption and key management to Sailfish Secure.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 16:56
journovampire writes with this interesting bit about the fallout of U2's partnership with Apple. "Remember U2's album giveway with Apple at the end of last summer? And how the world seemed to become very annoyed that its contents had been "pushed" to their devices without permission? Well, the naysayers might have been loud – but that hasn't stopped the stunt having a lasting effect on the band's popularity. That’s according to new research from retail insight experts Kantar in the US, which shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of all US music users on iOS devices in January listened to U2, nearly five months after Songs Of Innocence was released for free onto 500m iPhones across the world. In a survey of iOS users, Kantar found that more than twice the percentage of people listened to U2 in January than listened to the second-placed artist, Taylor Swift (11%)."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Intel Announces Atom X3, X5 and X7, First SOCs With Integrated 3G and LTE Modems

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 16:33
MojoKid writes Intel is unleashing a new family of Atom processors today, taking a cue from its highly successful Core series with model branding. Similar to the Good, Better, Best strategy with the Core i3, i5 and i7, Intel is renaming its Atom family with x3, x5, and x7 designations. The biggest news comes from the low-end Atom x3, which will be available in three distinct variants; all of which will come with integrated modems — a first for the Atom family. All three variants are 64-bit capable cores. The Atom x3-C3130 tops out at 1GHz, incorporates a Mali 400 MP2 GPU, and includes an integrated 3G (HSPA+) modem. The Atom x3-C3230RK bumps the max clock speed to 1.2GHz, throws in a Mali 450 MP4 GPU, and the same 3G modem. Finally, the Atom x3-C3440 clocks in at 1.4GHz, features a Mali T720 MP2 graphics core, incorporates a Category 6 LTE modem, and can optionally support NFC. Using handpicked benchmarks, Intel claims that the Atom x3-C3230RK can offer up to 1.8x the media editing performance of competing SoCs from Qualcomm and MediaTek. Then there's Intel's Cherry Trail-based Atom x5 and x7. These are the first 64-bit Atom SoCs to be built using a 14nm manufacturing and they incorporate eighth generation Intel graphics. While the Atom x5 and x7 don't feature integrated modems like the Atom x3, they do support Intel's next generation XMM 726x and 7360 LTE modems. Intel claims that the Atom x7 offers two times the graphics performance of the existing high-end Atom Z3795 in the GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD benchmark and 50 percent greater performance on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Statistical Mechanics Finds Best Places To Hide During Zombie Apocalypse

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 16:13
HughPickens.com writes Eric Mack reports at Cnet that a team of researchers at Cornell University, inspired by the book "World War Z" by Max Brooks, have used statistical-mechanics to model how an actual zombie outbreak might unfold and determined the best long-term strategy for surviving the walking dead: Head for the hills. Specifically, you should probably get familiar now with the general location of Glacier National Park so that when it all goes down, you can start heading in that direction. The project started with differential equations to model a fully connected population, then moved on to lattice-based models, and ended with a full US-scale simulation of an outbreak across the continental US. "At their heart, the simulations are akin to modeling chemical reactions taking place between different elements and, in this case, we have four states a person can be in--human," says Alex Alemi, "infected, zombie, or dead zombie--with approximately 300 million people." Alemi believes cities would succumb to the zombie scourge quickly, but the infection rate would slow down significantly in more sparsely populated areas and could take months to reach places like the Northern Rockies and Glacier National Park. "Given the dynamics of the disease, once the zombies invade more sparsely populated areas, the whole outbreak slows down--there are fewer humans to bite, so you start creating zombies at a slower rate," Alemi says. Once you hit Montana and Idaho, you might as well keep heading farther north into the Canadian Rockies and all the way up to Alaska where data analysis shows you're most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse. The state with the lowest survival rate? — New Jersey. Unfortunately a full scale simulation of an outbreak in the United States shows that for `realistic' parameters, we are largely doomed.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Google+ Divided Into Photos and Streams, With New Boss

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 15:30
An anonymous reader writes It seems Google+ will see some significant changes under new boss Bradley Horowitz. Coogle+ will be separated into different products: Photos and Hangouts will be split out, and the social part is now called "the stream". From the article: "Google+ has taken a lot of criticism — notably the infamous 'ghost town' knock that it's devoid of users and concerns about Google's attempts to force its relevance by tying it in with functions like search results and YouTube comments. But Google executives have denied the 'ghost town criticism over and over. In part that's because the company used Google+ to describe more than just its Facebook-esque service for posting and commenting — the part now called Streams. For Google, Google+ also has been the "social spine" that unifies Google users' activities under a single unified identity."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Dual Satellite Mission

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 14:48
JoeSilva writes SpaceX successfully launched two satellites towards Geosynchronous Orbit. There's already a video of one deployment. Word is the launch went very smoothly and bodes well for their next launch in three weeks, as they work to fulfill what is now a very full launch manifest. In addition Elon had one more thing to share: "Upgrades in the works to allow landing for geo missions: thrust +15%, deep cryo oxygen, upper stage tank vol +10%."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Valve and HTC Reveal "Vive" SteamVR Headset

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 14:05
An anonymous reader writes Today Valve and HTC revealed the "Vive" SteamVR headset which is designed to compete with Oculus and others, which aim for a high-end VR experience on PC. The Vive headset uses dual 1200x1080 displays at 90Hz and a "laser position sensor" to provide positional tracking (head movement through 3D space), and also includes a pair of motion input controllers. The companies say that the Vive headset will be available to developers in Spring and receive a proper consumer launch holiday 2015, though no price has been announced.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

CodeSOD: Polish Elections

The Daily WTF - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 13:00

Far away across the Atlantic, in the mythical land of Eastern Europe, where the sun don't shine and wild beasts roam the roads, lies a little country called Poland. Known in the world for its cheap manual labor and fondness for strong alcohol, it has for years been the butt of every national joke in almost all parts of the globe. But people here (or at least those who haven't run away yet) have been working hard to combat those pesky Eastern Bloc stereotypes, and as such, the country has in recent years seen a lot of social and technological progress. That last one, of course, comes with one notable exception: the government sector.

Obviously, most countries' governments have a love-hate relationship with technology- but the Polish government invariably tends to be special. Between national-level exams being leaked by putting them in an unprotected folder with directory listing turned on, and the Social Insurance department buying 130,000 floppy disks in the year 2008, our government's technological proficiency has us ranking slightly below Elbonia. And so, when it was announced that the next local elections would be far more computerized than any of the previous ones, everyone trembled in fear.

The election day came and passed. At that point, everything was still done using pen and paper, so nothing had a chance to break. But soon after, the Polish Electoral Commission announced that the election results might be "slightly delayed". At the same time, someone in one of the local commissions with access to the software used in vote processing noticed an odd .pdb file with debugger symbols in the program folder. Being a good citizen, they immediately took a decompiler, restored the source code in full, and put it on GitHub for everyone to see.

Now, the following part might not be for the faint of heart. Here's one of the most notable source files from that GitHub repository.

This particular piece of code had one simple task: taking XML files with election results and generating an HTML file with an official election protocol. There are many ways to approach that task. The more clever people would probably go for an XSL transformation. The slightly less clever ones would use an HTML template and fill it with data. This code, however, does not try to be clever. It aims to keep things simple, using an old and trusted way to achieve its goal:

this.header = "<!DOCTYPE HTML><html><head><meta charset='UTF-8'><title></title><link rel='stylesheet' type='text/css' href='" + System.IO.Path.GetDirectoryName(Application.StartupPath) + "\\tmp\\printTmp\\css\\styl.css'>”;

And it’s all downhill from there. Down a very rocky hill, full of cliffs and jagged edges, whose exact shape can be seen by scrolling down the GitHub page. After just a bit of introductory code comes the getProtocol method- a massive, 2000-line behemoth full of foreaches, ifs, and elses iterating over the XML document and nested so deeply that some lines simply fail to fit on the screen.

Other WTFs include, but aren’t limited to:

  • standing on the shoulders of giants by porting good old On Error Resume Next in the form of catch (System.Exception) {}
  • taking the lesson from 90’s web designers with response += "<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>”;
  • taking StringBuilders to be too 2000’s and using good old performance-murdering string concatenation
  • trying to create a directory and, if it doesn’t exist, catching all sorts of exceptions that can occur in the process, showing a warning to the user, then writing to the nonexistent directory anyway
  • fixing up broken CSS by adding a script to the page that sets up magic number margins after the page is loaded

After that leak, the news a few days later that the results will be delayed even further came as no surprise to anyone even remotely tech-savvy. Oh, and the part of the code that failed? The protocol printing module, a.k.a. today’s Exhibit A.

code { font-family: Consolas, monospace; } ul { list-style: disc inside none; margin-left: 1.5em; } [Advertisement] Release! is a light card game about software and the people who make it. Order the massive, 338-card Kickstarter Edition (which includes The Daily Wtf Anti-patterns expansion) for only $29.95, shipped!
Categories: Fun/Other

AVG Announces Invisibility Glasses

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 11:13
BrianFagioli writes So what do these glasses from AVG Innovation Labs actually do? The security firm claims it can protect your identity in this new era of cameras everywhere. From the article: "'Through a mixture of technology and specialist materials, privacy wearables such as invisibility glasses can make it difficult for cameras or other facial recognition technologies to get a clear view of your identity', AVG claims. This is still in the prototype phase of testing, though it has been officially announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There's a lot of science behind this -- a series of infrared lights surrounding the eyes and nose is not visible to other people, but cameras will pick it up making recognition difficult at best. There's also reflective materials involved, which aids in the blocking, or so it's claimed."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:19
StartsWithABang writes While the nerd/geek world mourns the death of Leonard Nimoy in its own way, it's important to remember the legacy that Star Trek — and that Spock and alien characters like him — left on our world. Unlike any other series, Star Trek used a futuristic, nearly utopian world to explore our own moral battles and failings, and yet somehow always managed to weave in an optimism about humanity and our future. This is something, the author argues, that is sorely missing from the new J.J. Abrams movies.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

ISIS Threatens Life of Twitter Founder After Thousands of Account Suspensions

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 05:26
Patrick O'Neill writes After a wave of account bannings that marks Twitter's most aggressive move ever against ISIS, new images circulated from militants shows founder Jack Dorsey in crosshairs with the caption "Twitter, you started this war." The famously tech-savy ISIS has met a number of defeats on American-built social media recently with sites like Twitter and YouTube banning the group's efforts in unprecedented numbers.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

How Do You Handle the Discovery of a Web Site Disclosing Private Data?

Slashdot - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 02:21
An anonymous reader writes I recently discovered that a partner web site of a financial institution I do business with makes it trivially easy to view documents that do not belong to me. As in, change the document ID in a URL and view someone else's financial documents. This requires no authentication, only a document URL. (Think along the lines of an online rebate center where you upload documents including credit card statements.) I immediately called customer service and spoke with a perplexed agent who unsurprisingly didn't know what to do with my call. I asked to speak with a supervisor who took good notes and promised a follow-up internally. I asked for a return call but have not yet heard back. In the meantime, I still have private financial information I consider to be publicly available. I'm trying to be responsible and patient in my handling of this, but I am second guessing how to move forward if not quickly resolved. So, Slashdot, how would you handle this situation?

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Categories: Tech/Science News

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