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What do you consider to be the biggest technological advancement for electrical components?

  • Light bulbs
  • Vacuum tubes
  • Crystal oscillators
  • Transistors
  • Integrated Circuits
  • LEDs
  • Other (Specify)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:68 | Votes:232

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @10:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the already-in-Texas-doe-the-patent-dispute dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

With continual technological advancements in mobile devices and electric cars, the global demand for lithium has quickly outpaced the rate at which it can be mined or recycled, but a University of Texas at Austin professor and his research team may have a solution.

Benny Freeman, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, and his colleagues at the Monash University Department of Chemical Engineering and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have recently discovered a new, efficient way to extract lithium and other metals and minerals from water. They published their findings in the Feb. 9 issue of Science Advances.

The team's technique uses a metal-organic-framework membrane that mimics the filtering function, or "ion selectivity," of biological cell membranes. The membrane process easily and efficiently separates metal ions, opening the door to revolutionary technologies in the water and mining industries and potential economic growth opportunities in Texas.

[...] In addition, the team's process could help with water desalination. Unlike the existing reverse-osmosis membranes responsible for more than half of the world's current water desalination capacity, the new membrane process dehydrates ions as they pass through the membrane channels and removes only select ions, rather than indiscriminately removing all ions. The result is a process that costs less and consumes less energy than conventional methods.

See also:


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @09:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-gratis-and-libre-tools-even-better dept.

KiCAD is a GPL'd Electronics Design Automation (EDA) suite with schematic capture and printed circuit board layout abilities. Its capabilities continue to expand.

Hackaday reports

[...] five years ago, if you wanted to design a printed circuit board, your best option was [Cadsoft's Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor (EAGLE)]. [These days], EAGLE is an Autodesk property, the licensing model has changed, [...] and the Open Source EDA suite KiCAD is getting better and better. New developers are contributing to the project and, by some measures, KiCAD is now the most popular tool to develop Open [Design] hardware.

At FOSDEM last week, Wayne Stambaugh, project lead of KiCAD laid out what features are due in the upcoming release of version 5 [Video]. KiCAD just keeps improving, and these new features are really killer features that will make everyone [who is] annoyed with EAGLE's new licensing very happy.

Although recent versions of KiCAD have made improvements to the way part and footprint libraries are handled, the big upcoming change is that footprint libraries will be installed locally. The Github plugin for library management--a good idea in theory--is no longer the default.

SPICE [Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis] is also coming to KiCAD. The best demo of the upcoming SPICE integration is this relatively old video demonstrating how KiCAD turns a schematic into graphs of voltage and current.

The biggest news, however, is the new ability to import EAGLE projects. Wayne demoed this live on stage, importing an EAGLE board and schematic of an Arduino Mega and turning it into a KiCAD board and schematic in a matter of seconds. It's not -quite- perfect yet, but it's close and very, very good.

There are, of course, other fancy features that make designing schematics and PCBs easier. Eeschema is getting a better configuration dialog, improved bus and wire dragging, and improved junction handling. Pcbnew is getting rounded rectangle and complex pad shape support, direct export to STEP files, and you'll soon be able to update the board from the schematic without updating the netlist file. Read that last feature again, slowly. It's the best news we've ever heard.

The author is tolerant of subtractive changes to proprietary licenses; other hardware hackers/tool users, in the comments there, not so much.

Previous: A Tool to Export EAGLE Projects for Use With FOSS ECADs
Cadsoft EAGLE is Now Subscription-Only
Scripts Make the (Proprietary) Cadsoft EAGLE-to-(FOSS) KiCAD Transition Easier
FOSS Printed Circuit Software KiCAD 4.0 Released
CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @07:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the patch-day-is-every-day dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Hackers are actively trying to exploit a high-severity vulnerability in widely used Cisco networking software that can give complete control over protected networks and access to all traffic passing over them, the company has warned.

When Cisco officials disclosed the bug last week in a range of Adaptive Security Appliance products, they said they had no evidence anyone was actively exploiting it. Earlier this week, the officials updated their advisory to indicate that was no longer the case.

"The Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is aware of public knowledge of the vulnerability that is described in this advisory," the officials wrote. "Cisco PSIRT is aware of attempted malicious use of the vulnerability described in this advisory."

The update didn't say how widespread the attacks are, whether any of them are succeeding, or who is carrying them out. On Twitter on Thursday, Craig Williams, a Cisco researcher and director of outreach for Cisco's Talos security team, wrote of the vulnerability: "This is not a drill..Patch immediately. Exploitation, albeit lame DoS so far, has been observed in the field."


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday February 12 2018, @05:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the prevent-pill-popping dept.

Pain Pill Giant Purdue to Stop Promotion of Opioids to Doctors

Pain-pill giant Purdue Pharma LP will stop promoting its opioid drugs to doctors, a retreat after years of criticism that the company's aggressive sales efforts helped lay the foundation of the U.S. addiction crisis.

The company told employees this week that it would cut its sales force by more than half, to 200 workers. It plans to send a letter Monday to doctors saying that its salespeople will no longer come to their clinics to talk about the company's pain products.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers," the company said in a statement. Instead, any questions doctors have will be directed to the Stamford, Connecticut-based company's medical affairs department.

OxyContin, approved in 1995, is the closely held company's biggest-selling drug, though sales of the pain pill have declined in recent years amid competition from generics. It generated $1.8 billion in 2017, down from $2.8 billion five years earlier, according to data compiled by Symphony Health Solutions. It also sells the painkiller Hysingla.


Also at Reuters, USA Today, The Verge, and CNN.

Previously: City of Everett, Washington Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma
OxyContin's 12-Hour Problem
South Carolina Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue

Related: Opioid Crisis Partly Blamed on a 1980 Letter to the New England Journal of Medicine
President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency
Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs
CVS Limits Opioid Prescriptions
Congress Reacts to Reports that a 2016 Law Hindered DEA's Ability to go after Opioid Distributors
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday February 12 2018, @04:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the learning-the-hard-way dept.

After buying Nest, keeping it as an independent company, and considering selling it off, Alphabet/Google is now rolling Nest back into itself. Nest makes various home automation products including a "smart thermostat", security systems, and video doorbells:

Some early employees of Alphabet's smart-home company Nest, including co-founder Tony Fadell, are frustrated by how the company's history has played out now that it has been rolled back into Google.

Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion in early 2014, less than two years before it blew up its corporate structure to form the holding company Alphabet. Under Alphabet, Nest became an independent company and was heralded as the model business in the "Other Bets" category, which also includes Alphabet's venture capital arms, its smart city project Sidewalk and other experimental businesses.

But looking back, these early former employees say that the split ended up being a setback for both companies. "From the outside it looked like Nest was the perfect poster child for Alphabet but, at the same time, separating it was undoing the thing that was most essential for both companies — figuring out how to make them work together," former Nest CEO Tony Fadell tells CNBC via email.

Nest co-founder Matt Rogers announced that he will be leaving the company:

A day after Alphabet announced plans to roll Nest into its hardware team, co-founder Matt Rogers has announced that he's exiting the company. The story was first noted by CNET and quickly confirmed by Rogers on Twitter.

Could just be social media talk, but Rogers' brief statement on the matter appeared to imply that there were no hard feelings. "Nest has been an amazing journey and the honor of my career to build," he wrote. "I could not be more proud of what we have all accomplished and can't wait to see what's next for Nest."

Also at The Verge.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday February 12 2018, @03:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the probably-not-who-you're-thinking dept.

El Reg reports

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics' website went down just before the event's Friday opening ceremony, thanks to a cyber-attack, and stayed down for about 12 hours.

The outage left users unable to print tickets or view information about the games. Some networks around the games venues also went down.

Speculation quickly suggested the outages were not accidental and at a Sunday evening news conference, Pyeongchang 2018 spokesperson Sung Baik-you confirmed they were caused by an attack.

[...] [International Olympics Committee (IOC) head of communications Mark] Adams later added that the IOC has not identified the attacker and would not name them at a press conference, but promised a "full report" into the incident. He would not commit to making it public.

As North Korea has made peaceful overtures towards the South ahead of the games, it's thought to be unlikely it's behind whatever attack hit the Games' website.

The North has, however, assaulted the world with a 200-plus troupe of cheerleaders that performs choreographed song and dance routines in the stands at the games. The troupe is going a bit viral, a demonstration of the North's ability to distribute propaganda about its capabilities.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the picture-that! dept.

Producing the perfect color images we need and love often requires multiple, heavy lenses so that each color focuses in exactly the same plane. Now Penn State engineers have developed a new theory that solves the problem using a single thin lens composed of gradient index materials and metasurface layers to properly direct the light.

"If we want high performance optical systems, then we have to overcome material dispersion," said Sawyer D. Campbell, assistant research professor in electrical engineering. "If we don't, we get smeary colors, which significantly degrades image quality."

Single apochromatic lenses -- ones that properly focus the three colors red, blue and green -- that have less curvature and are thinner and lighter could improve cell phone cameras and allow manufacture of thinner cell phones. They also could make lighter, better body cameras, helmet cameras, sniper scopes, thermal imaging devices and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. In essence, anything that uses lenses to image could be made simpler and lighter.

Penn State News

J. Nagar, S. D. Campbell, D. H. Werner. Apochromatic singlets enabled by metasurface-augmented GRIN lenses. Optica, 2018; 5 (2): 99 DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.5.000099

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the planned^Wscheduled-obsolescence dept.

Sonos, the consumer electronics company known for audio streaming and "smart" speakers, has decided that the music controller device, the "CR100", has reached end of life. By which they mean they will be pushing a software upgrade that will kill it.

... the next Sonos update in early April will turn off the CR100 connection -- unless you decide you don't want any updates at all. (Make sure you set that up in advance -- if you accept the update, you can't undo it and go back to using the old controller.)

That means if you want to keep on using a device you're happy with, you have to give up all the new features on all your Sonos speakers.

The company says its primary concern is the age of the lithium ion batteries in the controllers; although in that case an official device recall would be better than an update that stops them working - and a battery replacement scheme would handle the problem just as well.

Although the controller is old (Sonos stopped selling the CR100 in 2009) it is still perfectly functional for many users. However, according to a forum posting explaining the options these users will have to choose between the CR100 and the functionality of the rest of their system:

... opting not to update means you will not receive any new features or future security patches for your entire system – not just the CR100. For example, being on an unsupported version means that you might lose connectivity to music services, as is already the case for Google Play Music on the CR100. It is necessary to configure your system in advance to avoid future updates. Any update applied to the firmware and/or to the app, even unintentionally, is irreversible.

Originally spotted on The EEV Blog Youtube channel.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @10:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the states-needed-help-too dept.

Two members of the Federal Communications Commission want to stop states from using 911 funds to pay for other government services or equipment.

"On our individual phone bills, a line item is typically included for 911 service," FCC Commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in an op-ed for The Hill today. It's a relatively small fee that states and localities charge to support emergency calling services. But too many states are stealing these funds and using them for other purposes, like filling budget gaps, purchasing vehicles, or worse."

The FCC's latest annual report on 911 fees, covering calendar year 2016, said that New Mexico, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and West Virginia "diverted" 911 funds totaling $128.9 million.

Besides those five states, "another seven didn't even bother to respond to our inquiry to examine their diversion practices," O'Rielly and Rosenworcel wrote. "None of this is acceptable."

New York is one state that did not submit a report for the FCC's data collection, "but sufficient public record information exists to support a finding that New York diverted funds for non-public safety uses," the FCC report said.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @08:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the so-that's-why-I-can't-sleep-when-I'm-wound-up? dept.

It's well known that the human body functions on a 24-hour, or circadian, schedule. The up-and-down daily cycles of a long-studied clock protein called Rev-erb coordinates the ebb and flow of gene expression by tightening and loosening loops in chromosomes, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings appear online this week in Science First Release.

Over the last 15-plus years, a team led by the new study's senior author Mitchell A. Lazar, MD, PhD, director of Penn's Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, has been teasing out the versatile role of Rev-erb in maintaining daily cycles of the body's molecular clock, metabolism, and even brain health.

"Many studies, including this one, point to a link between the human internal clock and such metabolic disorders as obesity and diabetes," Lazar said. "Proteins such as Rev-erb are the gears of the clock and understanding their role is important for investigating these and many other diseases."

Penn Medicine News

Yong Hoon Kim, Sajid A. Marhon, Yuxiang Zhang, David J. Steger, Kyoung-Jae Won, Mitchell A. Lazar. Rev-erbα dynamically modulates chromatin looping to control circadian gene transcription. Science, 2018; eaao6891 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao6891

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @06:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the for-two-or-more-players dept.

Long time board game publisher Mayfair Games (English-language publisher for Settlers of Catan and many more) has shut down.

All of their games have been sold to Asmodee North America, who also own Fantasy Flight Games, Z-Man Games, Rebel, Edge Entertainment, and a host of other board game companies they've picked up over the years.


[Ed Note - Asmodee NA also picked up Lookout Games at the same time. Lookout was the publisher of Agricola and Caverna.]

Related: Asmodee Acquires Lookout Games and Mayfair Games

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @05:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the scheduled-for-elimination dept.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has released a new statement denouncing the drug kratom. The statement says that the FDA has learned about new deaths that "involved" kratom use, additional adverse effects associated with its use have been found, and that Public Health Assessment via Structural Evaluation (PHASE) "3-D computer technology" has been used to analyze the chemical compounds in kratom:

Using this computational model, scientists at the FDA first analyzed the chemical structures of the 25 most prevalent compounds in kratom. From this analysis, the agency concluded that all of the compounds share the most structural similarities with controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine derivatives.

The FDA continues to discourage the use of kratom, which it is calling an opioid.

The American Kratom Association provided a rebuttal of the FDA statement:

Nine leading scientists in substance addiction and safety wrote to White House Opioid Crisis Team Leader Kellyanne Conway and Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson requesting they disregard the FDA's latest disinformation campaign against kratom. The scientists warned that "four surveys indicate that kratom is presently serving as a lifeline away from strong, often dangerous opioids for many of the several million Americans who use kratom. A ban on kratom that would be imposed by CSA Scheduling would put them at risk of relapse to opioid use with the potential consequence of overdose death. Similar unintended consequences are to be expected in some who would be forced to use opioids to manage acute or chronic pain."

[...] David Herman, Chairman of the AKA, called upon FDA Commissioner Gottlieb to pull back the curtain on the "black box voodoo computer model" that was unveiled by the FDA to justify their continued 'War on Kratom,' this time claiming their computer model conclusively shows kratom is an opioid, and therefore had to be banned.

The nine respected scientists pointed out that "kratom provides a far more favorable safety profile for consumers compared to more dangerously addictive and potentially deadly classical opioid medications." They also pointed out that the FDA's solution – to file a new drug application for kratom – made no sense because "the average time and cost of new drug development is more than 10 years and 2.5 billion dollars."

Previously: DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
The Calm Before the Kratom Ban
FDA Blocks More Imports of Kratom, Warns Against Use as a Treatment for Opioid Withdrawal

Related: Opioid Commission Drops the Ball, Demonizes Cannabis

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @02:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the electronic-breaking-and-entering dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Over the past few years, the name Voksi has become synonymous with game cracking, in particular when it comes to anti-Denuvo activities. This week the talented Bulgarian released a 90-minute video in which he reveals how he cracked V4 of the infamous anti-tamper technology. TorrentFreak caught up with him for the lowdown.


Denuvo "is an anti-tamper technology and digital rights management (DRM) scheme developed by the Austrian company Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH".

Related: Denuvo Forgets to Secure Server, Leaks Years of Messages From Game Makers
More Powerful Denuvo DRM Cracked 10 Days After Release of PREY
'Rime' Creators Will Remove Anti-Tampering Code If It's Cracked
New "Out of Control" Denuvo Piracy Protection Cracked
Denuvo Accused of Using Unlicensed Software to Protect its Anti-Piracy Tool
Denuvo License Generator is Latest Circumvention Method

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @12:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the Devo-claims-dibs-on-"Whip-It" dept.

If you were an early Internet kid you'll recall a little app called WinAmp that was, in short, the best MP3 player ever made ever. The little program looked like skeuomorphic stereo receiver with a full range of equalizer sliders and included an important MP3 that explained WinAmp's primary mission: whipping the llama's ass.

A programmer named Jordan Eldredge has created an homage to WinAmp in JavaScript. The widget allows you to create a standalone music player on any web page and it can be styled with themes straight out of WinAmp history. You can try it out here and download the code here.

"The original inspiration was a realization that Winamp skins were implemented in a very similar way to CSS sprites," said Eldredge. "I spent many hours as a teenager playing with Winamp skins. In fact, it was the first constructive creative work I did on a computer."

The emulator uses the Web Audio API to simulate almost everything WinAmp could do in its original incarnation.

Story at TechCrunch

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday February 11 2018, @10:06PM   Printer-friendly
from the windows-tco dept.

Cryptocurrency-mining Windows malware has been found for the first time on a network of industrial control systems (ICS) at an operational treatment plant for a water utility. Radiflow, a security provider for critical infrastructure, made the discovery recently. Initial investigations suggest that the malware arrived via malicious advertising viewed in a web browser on a machine responsible for the ICS's Human Machine Interface (HMI). So really this story is about three problems.

Source :
In a first, cryptocurrency miner found on SCADA network
Water Utility in Europe Hit by Cryptocurrency Malware Mining Attack

Original Submission