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What are you doing for Labor day?

  • Sleeping
  • Grilling delicious foodstuffs
  • Working [I am so sorry]
  • Recovering from a hangover
  • D&D with the group
  • I do not observe Labor day (insensitive clod)
  • Chores/yard work
  • Something illegal - Specify

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:26 | Votes:229

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday September 02, @03:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the show-me-the-way-to-go-home dept.

"Wizard of Oz" heroine Dorothy only had to click her ruby red slippers together and they would spirit her home to Kansas.

Now, an Indian high-tech start-up ( ) is promising to do the same in real life with a new, GPS-enabled smart sports shoe that vibrates to give the wearer directions.

The fiery red sneakers, which will also count the number of steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned, will go on sale in September under the name LeChal, which means "take me along" in Hindi.

The shoes come with a detachable Bluetooth transceiver that links to a smartphone app to direct the wearer using Google maps, sending a vibrating signal to indicate a left or right turn.

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday September 02, @01:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the trust-us dept.

The "Center for Public Integrity" has collected some examples of the robocalls, direct-mail brochures and newspapers ads that are being used by telcos and lobby groups to encourage people to vote against municipal broadband initiatives in their area.

They emphasise the "government takeover of telecommunications" and "risking taxpayers money" aspects of these proposed municipal networks. I didn't see any mention of the far greater risk, which is that these networks might work out exactly as intended and therefore take revenue away from the companies who are sponsoring these "no" campaigns. But then again, the examples posted are not the complete brochures, so I can't say for certain this wasn't mentioned.

Does anyone have real life experience with municipal broadband that they can share? Should we be thanking these companies for spending their hard-earned money warning us of the dangers?

posted by LaminatorX on Monday September 01, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the al-gebra dept.

Joanna Paraszczuk reports that Iranian Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi says high speed internet is unethical and contrary to humanitarian principles adding that 3G and broadband internet are morally wrong, and that there need to be standards to prevent users from dangers such as “immoral and inhumane” videos and photos, rumors, and espionage. “It should not be assumed by some people that we are against these technologies. But the Western technology is like muddy and unsanitary water. Water is the lifeblood, but when it gets murky and unsanitary it must be purified,” says the ayatollah. The Grand Ayatollah’s comments come after one of Iran’s largest mobile operators, Irancell, announced this month that it would test 3G services to universities and government offices, and after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said earlier this year that Iran should upgrade its internet services.

Iranian President Rouhani insists the internet is crucial to connect with the world of science, saying: "We cannot close the gates of the world to our younger generation. If we do not move towards the new generation of mobile today and resist it, we will have to do it tomorrow. If not, the day after tomorrow." BBC Middle East analyst Sebastian Usher says President Rouhani's comments will resonate in Iran, but it is unclear if they will carry any real weight. Iran's government cracked down on media freedom and internet access after widespread protests against the country's leaders in 2009, banning online services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Since then, many Iranians have grown used to bypassing censorship controls by using proxy servers or other online tools.

posted by azrael on Monday September 01, @09:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the opening-pandora's-box dept.

One of the unintended consequences of cheap 3-D printing is that any troublemaker can duplicate a key without setting foot in a hardware store. Now Andy Greenberg reports that clever lockpickers are taking that DIY key-making trick a step further printing a "bump key" that opens even high-security locks in seconds, without seeing the original key.

A bump key resembles a normal key but can open millions of locks with a carefully practiced rap on its head with a hammer. Using software they created called Photobump, Jos Weyers and Christian Holler say it's now possible to easily bump open a wide range of locks using keys based on photographs of the locks' keyholes. As a result, all anyone needs to open many locks previously considered "unbumpable" is a bit of software, a picture of the lock's keyhole, and the keyhole's depth. "You don’t need much more to make a bump key," says Weyers. "Basically, if I can see your keyhole, there’s an app for that."

posted by janrinok on Monday September 01, @07:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the first-you-lose-your-phone-and-then-you-cannot-buy-another dept.

Credit card giant American Express is apparently onboard with Apple's forthcoming mobile payment system, expected to be a part of the company's next-generation iPhone set to be unveiled at a Sept. 9 media event. Word of the Buffalo, New York, financial giant's apparent partnership with Apple was first reported on Sunday by Re/code ( ), which reaffirmed that the payment system is expected to be tied to the forthcoming "iPhone 6" The so-called e-wallet system would allow users to use their handset to make payments at retail outfits, negating the need for a physical credit card.

The news site The Information previously reported ( ) that Visa had also agreed to work with Apple. Representatives for Apple and American Express declined to comment.

posted by janrinok on Monday September 01, @06:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the how-about-you-provide-search-results-and-leave-my-system-choices-alone dept.

The Mighty Buzzard (no not our Buzzard, This Buzzard), aka ElReg, reports that Google is serving up ancient renditions of its search engine to users of "ancient" browsers. They also tried this with Gmail, but finally just gave up and refused to support old browsers.

The old version of Search still delivers modern "hits", but the layout is decidedly old school.

Probably as a stunt, or to prevent having to maintain web page code long since obsolete, the search pages are simply rendered in the way they would have appeared when these older browsers were fresh on the scene. The search entry page looks slightly old, (says 2913), but the search result layout is decidedly old school.

Opera 12, Safari 5 are seeing old version, as well as some other older versions of Windows, including ancient IE 6.0

One user posted screen shots on Google Forums. One shot of Google's Image looking like a refuge from the Pleistocene.

Its not that some of these browsers can't handle the newer Search layout. They worked fine until a day ago. Some browsers (Midori) are also getting the geezer treatment even though Midori handles all the latest web technologies like HTML 5 and CSS3, and is based on fairly recent webkit engine, and had no problems rendering Google's search, or even Bing's more intensive image search.

It appears to be just Google's way of saying its time to move on. Maybe it will backfire. I kind of like the old look.

posted by LaminatorX on Monday September 01, @05:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the puttering-about dept.

Phoronix has an article up about some interesting ideas of Lennart Poettering about what could be a possible future for Linux:

Lennart Poettering of systemd and PulseAudio fame has published a lengthy blog post that shares his vision for how he wishes to change how Linux software systems are put together to address a wide variety of issues. The Btrfs file-system and systemd play big roles with his new vision. Long story short, Lennart is trying to tackle how Linux distributions and software systems themselves are assembled to improve security, deal with the challenges of upstream software vendors integrating into many different distributions, and "the classic Linux distribution scheme is frequently not what end users want."

posted by janrinok on Monday September 01, @02:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-store-personal-photographs-on-an-internet-connected-device dept.

PapayaSF and AnonTechie write in with 2 stories which seem to be linked. The first is the leak of nude and personal photographs of celebrities, and the second is perhaps the flaw that allowed someone to access the photographs.

Stars Exposed in Massive Nude Photo Leak

Nude celebrities, bitcoins, and Apple: it's a story seemingly designed to stir up the entire internet. Scores of private photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead have been leaked (allegedly from Apple's iCloud), and posted on 4chan in exchange for bitcoins. A list of 100+ names has appeared, but pictures have not yet appeared for many names on the list (including Kate Bosworth, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Kaley Cuoco). Victoria Justice claims the photos of her are fake. Twitter accounts are being shut down. The story is still developing, so grab your popcorn.

This could be the Apple iCloud flaw that led to celebrity photos being leaked.

An alleged breach in Apple’s iCloud service may be to blame for countless leaks of private celebrity photos this week.

On Monday, a Python script emerged on Github (which we’re not linking to as there is evidence a fix by Apple is not fully rolled out) that appears to have allowed malicious users to ‘brute force’ a target account’s password on Apple’s iCloud, thanks to a vulnerability in the Find my iPhone service. Brute force attacks are where a malicious user uses a script to repeatedly guess passwords to attempt to discover the correct one.

The vulnerability allegedly discovered in the Find my iPhone service appears to have allowed attackers to use this method to guess passwords repeatedly without any sort of lockout or alert to the target. Once the password has been eventually matched, the attacker can then use it to access other iCloud functions freely.

posted by janrinok on Monday September 01, @01:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the clash-of-cultures dept.

From the LA Times article:

Chinese students have shown an insatiable appetite for attending U.S. colleges — last year alone, more than 235,000 were enrolled at American institutions of higher education. But now, some in China are grousing that the SAT may impose American values on its best and brightest, who in preparation for the exam might be studying the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights instead of “The Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung.”


The U.S. College Board in March announced plans to redesign the SAT to include key U.S. historical documents in one portion of the test, known as the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, by spring 2016.

“The vital issues central to these documents — freedom, justice, and human dignity among them — have motivated numerous people in the United States and around the globe,” the College Board said in a statement. But those are the exact values that the Chinese Communist Party has deemed as threatening to its rule; Chinese activists who have tried to promote such values have been silenced or jailed.

There is much more discussion in the original article.

posted by janrinok on Monday September 01, @12:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the terminally-broken-system dept.

Magical Drug Wins EFF's Stupid Patent of the Month

Last December, the Patent Office issued Patent No. 8,609,158 on a "potent drug" that "rebukes cancer, cancer cells, and kills cancer." According to the patent, this drug cures a litany of other maladies. What is this wonderful invention, you ask? It is a combination of "evening primrose oil, rice, sesame seeds, green beans, coffee, meat, cheese, milk, green tea extract, evening primrose seeds, and wine." As the patent's abstract says, "it works."

There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the person who filed this application. But the patent examiner could and should have rejected it on any number of grounds, including enablement, indefiniteness, and utility. Why would the examiner issue the patent despite its clear infirmities? The answer to that question reveals the fundamental imbalance at the heart of the patent system.

This patent's most obvious flaw is lack of utility -- there's no proof that the invention works. But the system places the burden of proof on the Patent Office, not the person asking for a 20 year monopoly. The examiner likely decided a rejection was not worth the effort -- frankly, we wonder whether the examiner even read the application.

posted by janrinok on Monday September 01, @11:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the psst-anybody-want-to-buy-a-tank-only-2-previous-owners? dept.

Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon's "1033 program" for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.

[Submitter's Comment: I do object to the term "assault rifle", but that's another discussion ]

The Pentagon's "1033" Program supplies former military weapons to state and local police departments across the country. For years now, some of those weapons just sort of go missing. It seems some may have been parted out, but others have disappeared from the possession of employees, been stolen from police cars or just vanished without explanation.

For example "In Hyattsville, Maryland, the police department was suspended this past April after an M-16 was stolen from an off-duty officer’s patrol car in July 2010. But the department wasn’t even aware of its suspension until Aug. 27, when ABC News called to inquire."

On the other end of the spectrum, "The sheriff of Rising Star, Texas, a town of 800 people, one police officer and no murders this decade, was indicted for selling and pawning $4 million-worth of high-value military equipment, including a machine gun. "

This is just Pentagon supplied weapons ... I wonder what else goes missing?

Other similar reporting:

posted by martyb on Monday September 01, @10:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the better-than-android's-methods dept.

Threatpost reports

Firefox OS … includes many of the security and privacy features that Mozilla has built into the Firefox browser over the years, namely support for Do Not Track.

One of the features of Firefox OS is an app permission function that enables users to decide what behaviors they want to allow for a given app. So a user will get a prompt when an app is attempting to perform a certain kind of action and then decide whether to allow it.

"The security model of Firefox OS is based on contextual prompts. So for APIs that are understandable and human meaningful like geolocation, using the camera or recording audio the OS will prompt the user. You can save & remember these choices and later revisit them in the Settings app under 'App Permissions'. You may set them to Allow, Prompt, or Deny," said Frederik Braun, a Mozilla security engineer.
"Starting with Firefox [OS] 2.1, you may activate the developer settings and tick the checkbox near 'Verbose App Permissions'. The typical list in the Settings app will then show you all the permissions an app has and allows you to set them to Allow, Prompt or Deny. This feature, however, only targets the Privileged apps. These are apps that come through the Marketplace. For now, we can not revoke permissions for the built-in apps (the permission set() call throws)," Braun said.

posted by LaminatorX on Monday September 01, @08:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the tiny-castles-movement dept.

Spotted over at

In Minnesota, contractor Andrey Rudenko is currently working on a project of gargantuan proportions that seems to be stretching and exploring the limits of 3D printing technology. Using a printer that was substantially modified and expanded, he has printed a concrete castle in his own backyard. And at 3 by 5 meters, this concrete structure is the world's first 3D printed concrete castle, and one of the largest objects that has, up till now, ever printed with 3D printing technology.

Also 3dprint has more details on the capabilities of the printer and some additional information from Andrey.

Go to Andrey's homepage for more pictures of the castle construction, news links and printer details.

posted by LaminatorX on Monday September 01, @05:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the knockoff-of-iBola dept.

The Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) are reporting:

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have identified one way the Ebola virus dodges the body's antiviral defenses, providing important insight that could lead to new therapies, in research results published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

In work performed at Beamline 19ID at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source, the researchers developed a detailed map of how a non-pathogenic Ebola protein, VP24, binds to a host protein that takes signaling molecules in and out of the cell nucleus.

Their map revealed that the viral protein takes away the host protein’s ability to carry an important immune signal into the nucleus. This signal helps activate the immune system's antiviral defenses, and blocking it is believed to contribute significantly to the virus’s deadliness.

Unfortunately, the report is shown in full above and there is no detail or further discussion in the linked article. It remains of interest, of course, because it shows that progress is being made in the effort to find an effective cure for the disease. Your thoughts?

[Editors Belated Comment: nishi.b found a more detailed link here .]

posted by LaminatorX on Monday September 01, @02:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the WIthout-FIdelity dept.

A researcher has refined an attack on wireless routers with poorly implemented versions of the Wi-Fi Protected Setup that allows someone to quickly gain access to a router's network:

The attack exploits weak randomization, or the lack of randomization, in a key used to authenticate hardware PINs on some implementations of Wi-Fi Protected Setup, allowing anyone to quickly collect enough information to guess the PIN using offline calculations. By calculating the correct PIN, rather than attempting to brute-force guess the numerical password, the new attack circumvents defenses instituted by companies.

While previous attacks require up to 11,000 guesses—a relatively small number—and approximately four hours to find the correct PIN to access the router's WPS functionality, the new attack only requires a single guess and a series of offline calculations, according to Dominique Bongard, reverse engineer and founder of 0xcite, a Swiss security firm.

"It takes one second," he said. "It's nothing. Bang. Done."

The problem affects the implementations provided by two chipset manufacturers, Broadcom and a second vendor whom Bongard asked not to be named until they have had a chance to remediate the problem. Broadcom did not provide a comment to Ars.

Because many router manufacturers use the reference software implementation as the basis for their customized router software, the problems affected the final products, Bongard said. Broadcom's reference implementation had poor randomization, while the second vendor used a special seed, or nonce, of zero, essentially eliminating any randomness.

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