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When is the last time you remember using a VCR?

  • I am using one now, and LOVING it.
  • A month ago
  • Within the last year
  • Three years
  • Five years
  • Ten years or more ago
  • Never touched one
  • What even is a VCR?

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:34 | Votes:212

posted by azrael on Monday July 28, @12:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the pinch-of-salt dept.

OSnews is reporting along with TechRepublic and Android Police that a report stating that Google's app store is populated with fake apps with half carrying malware. From the OSnews article:

Antivirus peddler Trend Micro recently issued a "report", in which it states that "Google Play [is] populated with fake apps, with more than half carrying malware". Sounds scary, right?

Well, reality is a little different, as TechRepulic and Android Police found out.

It turns out that Trend Micro is guilty of a little over-eager language that obfuscated the nature of some of these threats. While there are indeed fake versions of many popular Android apps available for download, Trend failed to mention in their initial promotion for the report that the apps in question were posted outside the Play Store, and had to be installed manually in what's commonly known as a side-load. This requires users to download the app in a browser, ignore a standard security warning about APK files, and disable a security option in Android's main settings menu.

posted by azrael on Sunday July 27, @10:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the let-me-fly-far-away-from-here dept.

Europe will close an important chapter in its space flight history Tuesday, launching the fifth and final robot ship it had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the International Space Station.

The 20-tonne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) dubbed Georges Lemaitre, the size of a double-decker bus, is set to blast off from South America with fuel, water, oxygen, food, clean clothes and 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds) of coffee for six Earth-orbiting astronauts. Named for the father of the Big Bang theory of how the Universe was formed, the heaviest ATV yet follows on the hi-tech trail of four others sent into space by the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2008.

posted by azrael on Sunday July 27, @07:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the ubiquitous-bay dept.

El Reg reports:

The Pirate Bay has poked Big Content's sore spot again, by erecting a site for mobile devices at [blocked in some countries]

The new site doesn't do much beyond features offered by The Pirate Bay's other ventures. The site's overseers told Torrent Freak that "The normal version of the site renders like crap on mobile devices", an experience the small-screen version seems designed to improve.

BitTorrent clients exist for Android, iOS devices (after jailbreak), and BlackBerry, so the existence of a mobile site does make it possible more torrents will land in mobile devices.

posted by azrael on Sunday July 27, @06:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the ages-come-and-pass-leaving-memories-that-become-legend dept.

The [Woodrow] Wilson Center has a series of articles looking at the idea of the 'Smart City'. In addition to an introduction the 24 page pdf includes articles discussing New York, Ahmedabad, Sao Paulo, and Beijing.

New York: Though not as cutting edge as the gleaming digital solutions imagined by many smart city advocates, New York's procedure for public review of new development is a pragmatic example of how smart technologies can improve public participation in an important city process. 

Ahmedabad: Transportation is one of the biggest infrastructure challenges for cities at all stages of development; it affects all layers of society and can have tremendous benefits. It is also a challenge that the concepts and technologies behind "smart cities" are well suited to address.

Sao Paulo: While the transformation of Sao Paulo into a "smart city" - through the adoption of new technological tools and the expansion of physical infrastructure - is the order of the day for many stakeholders, what matters first and foremost for the future of the metropolis is its spatial reorganization, lest these new technologies become accessories to the chaos. 

Beijing: As urban agriculture becomes more popular, it's actively reshaping the urban and peri-urban spatial framework, breaking up the monopoly of concrete and strengthening rural-to-urban linkages.

What would be essential in your ideal next-gen smart city?

posted by azrael on Sunday July 27, @04:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-wear-spandex-in-the-boardroom dept.

BBC News reports that:

A Yorkshire tailor inspired by the Tour de France's visit to the county has created a cycling suit for businessmen.

Designed by Owen Scott Bespoke Tailors, the suit has a padded crotch area and detachable fluorescent pocket flaps, trouser turn-ups and collar.

Company director Scott Hufton said: "We're based in Huddersfield and Leeds, where the Tour de France set off, and I thought what can I do to mark that?

"I started drawing and doodling and before I knew it had it on paper."

Having reflective surfaces visible on turned-up collars and legwear may be of general benefit.

posted by azrael on Sunday July 27, @02:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-have-them-all dept.

Researchers have investigated (abstract) the degree to which consumers perceive themselves to be knowledgeable about a product and how that influences the likelihood that they will buy a particular product. The study confirmed "choice overload" - feeling so overwhelmed that you end up unhappy with a decision or even fail to make a decision - as expected, however with an important caveat; Consumers with low subjective knowledge are more likely to purchase products from large selections only when the product information is easily understandable.

So, for example, participants with low subjective knowledge preferred having more options when they were asked to choose a bottle of wine but only when the options included helpful information such as notes about the flavor or grape varietal for each wine. They did not prefer having more options when the information provided was less useful, such as the name of the winery.

posted by martyb on Sunday July 27, @12:12PM   Printer-friendly

RT reports that:

The incarcerated co-founder of torrent tracker site The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, has found a new way to be a thorn in the back of Swedish authorities holding him. He demands that his religious needs are met with a visit from a Kopimist priest.

Earlier Sunde complained that the Västervik Norra prison, where he is serving a term for assisting in copyright infringement, can't accommodate his vegetarian diet choice, a problem that has already resulted in him losing 5 kg in weight.

The Church of Kopimism (wikipedia) is a peculiar phenomenon. Founded by a group of self-styled internet pirates four years ago, it holds sacred the copying of information and people's right to do it without restrictions. It even declared keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste commands Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V as its holy symbols.

In December 2011, at its third attempt it was officially recognized as a religion in Sweden and now enjoys all the legal protection that goes with the status.

So, is this a case of religious oppression?

posted by martyb on Sunday July 27, @10:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the cabbies-resume-breathing dept.

Google describes its work on robotic cars with its typical tight-lipped optimism but academic experts in robotics are cautious about the prospects. They estimate it will be decades until they can perform as well as human drivers in all situations if they ever do at all.

When surveyed by the organizers of the Automated Vehicles Symposium, the 500 experts in attendance were not optimistic such problems would be solved soon. Asked when they would trust a fully robotic car to take their children to school, more than half said 2030 at the very earliest. A fifth said not until 2040, and roughly one in 10 said "never."

For an alternative viewpoint, consider the first and fourth(!) of Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Three Laws:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  4. For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.(*)

(*) Arthur C. Clarke's Profiles of the Future (new edition, 1999).

posted by martyb on Sunday July 27, @08:45AM   Printer-friendly

After last weekend's sustained outage at the BBC, a promised explanation has been published. It appears that several concurrent sporting events pushed application load over usual levels. Given that caching and CDNs are used extensively, this shouldn't be an issue. However:

At almost the same time we had a second problem. We use a caching layer in front of most of the products on BBC Online, and one of the pools failed. The products managed by that pool include BBC iPlayer and the BBC homepage, and the failure made all of those products inaccessible. That opened up a major incident at the same time on a second front.

Our first priority was to restore the caching layer. The failure was a complex one (we're still doing the forensics on it), and it has repeated a number of times. It was this failure that resulted in us switching the homepage to its emergency mode ("Due to technical problems, we are displaying a simplified version of the BBC Homepage"). We used the emergency page a number of times during the weekend, eventually leaving it up until we were confident that we had completely stabilised the cache.

Unfortunately, the root cause doesn't appear to have been identified or corrected because video streaming is equally unresponsive this weekend.

posted by martyb on Sunday July 27, @06:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the thems-the-brakes dept.

Lots of recent projects have shown that modern automobiles, because of their heavy reliance on computerised components and internet connectivity, can be abused, manipulated and taken over by a hacker with enough determination. But a new, freely downloadable book presents car hacking in a more positive light, as a way to check the security of your own vehicle.

There are sections on vehicle communication systems, attacking key fobs and immobilizers, and setting up a suitable hacking garage. Basically, everything you need, although the manual doesn't hold your hand and expects you to already know what you're talking about to some extent.

The book's web site, provides links for a free download of the book as a pdf or an epub, as well as links to purchase a copy of the book at, Amazon (paperback / kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback / nook), and Google Play (ebook).

posted by martyb on Sunday July 27, @05:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-a-misunderstanding dept.

Torrent Freak reports

All it took yesterday was a single article to trigger off a tidal wave of copycat reports across dozens of sites including the mainstream Just to be absolutely clear Britain HAS NOT decriminalized file-sharing and to suggest otherwise only puts people at unnecessary risk. File-sharing remains ILLEGAL in the UK, guaranteed.

From next year people in the UK can download and share whatever they like. Movies, music and video games. You name it it's a free-for-all download bonanza with zero consequences other than four friendly letters asking people to try Netflix and Spotify.

In fact, the UK government has even gone as far as decriminalizing online copyright infringement entirely, despite risking the wrath of every intellectual property owner in the land.

That was the message doing the rounds yesterday in the media, starting on VG247 and going on to overload Reddit and dozens of other sites. Even Russia's got in on the fun.

Except it's not fun at all. It's completely untrue on countless levels and to suggest otherwise puts people at risk. Let's be absolutely clear here. Copyright infringement, whether that's on file-sharing networks or elsewhere, is ILLEGAL in the UK. Nothing, repeat NOTHING, has changed.

As detailed in our previous article, VCAP is a voluntary (that's the 'V' part) agreement between some rightsholders and a few ISPs to send some informational letters to people observed infringing copyright.

This means that the mainstream music labels and the major Hollywood studios will soon have an extra option to reach out to UK Internet users. However, whenever they want to today, tomorrow or next year any of the copyright holders involved in VCAP can still file a lawsuit or seek police action against ANYONE engaged in illegal file-sharing FACT.

posted by janrinok on Sunday July 27, @03:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the 'Refrain:when-will-they-ever-learn?'-PeterPaulAndMary dept.

News from International Business News says that 20,000 email addresses have been stolen in the attack.

From the article:

The website of the European Central Bank (ECB) has been compromised by hackers, resulting in the theft of email addresses and other contact data.

The ECB claims that no sensitive data was lost as the databases containing the contact details is physically separate from any internal ECB systems.

A spokesperson for the ECB told IBTimes UK that 20,000 email addresses were stolen by the hackers in the attack. It is still not clear who the perpetrators were and an investigation by police in Frankfurt, where the ECB is based, is currently underway.

"The theft came to light after an anonymous email was sent to the ECB seeking financial compensation for the data," a statement on the ECB website read. "While most of the data were encrypted, parts of the database included email addresses, some street addresses and phone numbers that were not encrypted. The database also contains data on downloads from the ECB website in encrypted form."

When I read "While most of the data were encrypted, parts of the database included email addresses, some street addresses and phone numbers that were not encrypted." my thought was "WTF not encrypted?" but there you go.

posted by janrinok on Sunday July 27, @01:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the vexing-question dept.

Jimmy Wales, who co-founded the free web encyclopaedia Wikipedia in 2001, said: 'The law as it stands right now is quite confusing. We have this one ruling of the European Court of Justice which is very open-ended and very hard to interpret. I would say the biggest problem we have is that the law seems to indicate Google needs to censor links to information that is clearly public — links to articles in legally published, truthful news stories,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

'That is a very dangerous path to go down, and if we want to go down a path where we are going to be censoring history, there is no way we should leave a private company like Google in charge of making those decisions.'

He added: 'I can't speak to the position of the company — I am on an external board advising Google, coming up with recommendations for search engines generally, coming up with recommendations for Parliamentarians as to how to reform the law.'

Mr Wales went on: 'There is a sense that one of the big philosophical problems with the approach that has been taken is that the idea of personal data is so broad under European law, almost anything about a person is considered to be personal data — including that the Prime Minister is married; that is personal data about the Prime Minister. What we need to do when we talk about protection of consumers... we talk about companies having information and needing to handle it in an appropriate way — we are talking there about private information, your health records, your financial information. That's a completely different category.'

posted by janrinok on Sunday July 27, @12:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the say-the-people-selling-it dept.

Being constantly connected to the internet has become more of a need. Even when people are traveling in the sky.

A recent survey conducted between June 6 and June 19, 2014, by Honeywell Aerospace, a major supplier of in-flight connectivity hardware, found that 1,045 Americans age 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi are clamoring for even faster connections and are willing to even pay more for it or encounter inconveniences. Here are some of the most surprising behaviors of the connected passengers.

In-flight Wi-Fi availability influences flight selection for 66 percent of passengers. Nearly one in four (22 percent) admitted they have paid more for a flight with Wi-Fi, and close to one in five (17 percent) have switched from their preferred airline because another carrier had a better Wi-Fi offering. Demand is so strong that 37 percent would be upset if they did not have Wi-Fi access on their next flight, which is about the same amount (35 percent) as those who would be disappointed about not having food or drinks available for purchase. Eighty-five percent would use Wi-Fi on most or all flights if it was free.

While currently only a few airlines worldwide offer WiFi service, this survey gives the aircraft industry an insight of the trend among travelers.

posted by janrinok on Saturday July 26, @11:06PM   Printer-friendly
from the chilly-heating dept.

The Center for American Progress reports:

Very few people [...] think of the oceans as a vast source of renewable heat that can be used to keep homes warm and showers steaming. But that's exactly what a growing number of seaside towns in northern Europe are doing, despite having some particularly chilly ocean water.

Harnessing just a tiny fraction of the heat stored in the world's oceans has theoretically been possible for many years, but has only recently been put into practice. One of the first places in the world to draw on the ocean for residents' heating needs is Duindorp, a small harbor town near the Hague in the Netherlands.

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