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concertina226 (2447056) writes "Chinese authorities have detained a total of 1,530 suspects in a crackdown on spam SMS text messages being sent out by illegal telecoms equipment, according to Chinese news agency ECNS. Over 2,600 fake mobile base stations were seized and 24 sites manufacturing illegal telecoms equipment shut down as part of a massive nationwide operation involving nine central government and Communist Party of China departments. A report released by Trend Micro this month looked into the telecoms equipment black market in China (PDF) and found that cybercriminals routinely use either a GSM modem, an internet short message gateway and an SMS server to send out spam messages. On the underground market, SMS servers come in 'all-in-one' packages that include a laptop, a GSM mobile phone, an SMS server, an antenna to send out the fake signal and a USB cable, all for RMB 45,000 (£4,355)."
An anonymous reader writes in with one more reason not to accept that full-ride scholarship to a North Korea University. "Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported. The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country - although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look. 'Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will,' one source tells Radio Free Asia. 'It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.' Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. 'Until the mid-2000s, we called it the "Chinese smuggler haircut",' the Korea Times reports."
coondoggie (973519) writes "NASA today released images of a comet that will make a pass within 84,000 miles of Mars — less than half the distance between Earth and the moon. NASA said the Hubble Space Telescope captured the image of comet C/2013 A1, also called Siding Spring, at a distance of 353 million miles from Earth. Hubble can't see Siding Spring's icy nucleus because of its minuscule size. The nucleus is surrounded by a glowing dust cloud that measures roughly 12,000 miles across, NASA said."
schwit1 (797399) writes "Texting and driving is dangerous but a new survey finds talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel may be even worse. The National Safety Council's annual report found 26 percent of all crashes are tied to phone use, but noted just 5 percent involved texting. Safety advocates are lobbying now for a total ban on driver phone use, pointing to studies that headsets do not reduce driver distraction."
An anonymous reader writes "At an event in San Francisco today, Microsoft Office General Manager Julia White unveiled Office for iPad, featuring Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The new suite, which supports viewing but not editing for free, will go live in Apple's App Store at 11:00AM PDT (2:00PM EST). Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad feature a ribbon interface just like the one featured in Office for Windows and OS X. The trio of apps are much more powerful on the tablet than the smartphone, but naturally aren't comparable to the desktop versions."
_xeno_ (155264) writes "Mozilla recently named a new CEO, Brendan Eich, and as commentators in that article noted, there could be some backlash over his private contributions to political campaigns. Well, it turns out that they were correct, and despite a statement from Brendan Eich pledging to continue Mozilla's inclusiveness, some Mozilla employees are calling for him to step down. Should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?"
An anonymous reader writes "As most of us working in IT may know, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. Although this fact has been known for quite some time, XP is still relatively popular in companies and also enjoys noticeable marketshare for home users. Even ATMs are running XP and will continue to do so for some time. A lot of companies/users don't want to change because they see no additional benefit to do a costly upgrade, no reason to change a running system, and they may in some cases be right with their assumptions. So what is the best way to secure this remaining Windows XP systems? Installing the latest security patches, checking firewall status and user permissions etc. should be fairly obvious, as Microsoft Security Essentials may also not receive updates anymore, changing antivirus programs seems a sensible thing to do."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Sometimes we get carried away with sexy moonshot car tech--whereas most everyday gains are about reducing inefficiencies, piece by piece. Volvo's flywheel energy-recovery prototype is a great example of the latter--not to mention similar to one used in Formula 1 racing. The system recaptures energy that would be wasted in braking, like a hybrid does, to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 percent. When you hit the brakes, kinetic energy that's usually wasted as heat is transferred to a "Kinetic Energy Recovery System" mounted to the undriven axle. It spools up a carbon flywheel that turns at 60,000 rpm to store the energy. When the driver hits the gas, some of the stored energy is transferred back to power the wheels through a specially designed transmission, either boosting total power to the wheels or substituting for engine torque to cut fuel consumption."
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes "eBay Japan created passwords for accounts based on a combination of a username plus a static salt, allowing anyone with knowledge of it to access any account, a researcher reported. The salt, which should have been random, used was the combination '123456', which was reported as last year's worst password." Complete with visual aids.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In a statement soon after Facebook announced the acquisition of Oculus Rift, CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that the bulky Oculus headset had the potential to transform VR into the "most social platform ever." Whatever his reasons for shelling out $2 billion for the company, it's clear that Facebook is now a player in the augmented-reality space, which Google is also exploring in its own way. Yes, Google Glass serves a different function—overlaying maps and text over the wearer's view of the real world, rather than immersing people in a virtual environment—but the potential customer base for both devices is basically the same, and now Google has some real competition if it wants to transform Glass into some sort of gaming device. And despite some blowback from Markus Persson, it's likely that developers will continue to explore Oculus as a gaming platform, Facebook or no. Zuckerberg might be talking a good game about virtual realities far into the future (does he have to pay to promote his own posts on Facebook? Joke.), but this acquisition was likely a short-term play, as well."
First time accepted submitter chimeraha (3594169) writes "Synchronized with the northern winter solstice and the UNIX Epoch, the terran computational calendar contains 13 identical months of 28 days each in addition to a short Month Zero containing only new year's day and a single leap year day every four years (with the exception of every 128 years). The beginning of this zero-based numbering calendar, denoted as 0.0.0.0.0.0 TC, is on the solstice, exactly 10 days before the UNIX Epoch (effectively, December 22nd, 1969 00:00:00 UTC in the Gregorian Calendar). It's "terran" inception and unit durations reflect the human biological clock and align with astronomical cycles and epochs. Its "computational" notation, start date, and algorithm are tailored towards the mathematicians & scientists tasked with calendrical programming and precise time calculation.
There's a lot more information at terrancalendar.com including a date conversion form and a handfull of code-snipits & apps for implementing the terran computational calendar."
lars_doucet (2853771) writes "The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is titled 'Celebrating Open Source,' and features eight indie games, with charity going to the open source tools used to develop them. The open-source programming language Haxe is strongly represented: three of the charities include the Haxe Foundation, itself OpenFL (recently featured on Slashdot), and FlashDevelop, the most popular open-source Haxe/ActionScript IDE. The fourth is Ren'Py, the Python-based visual novel engine used in award-winning games like Long Live the Queen and Analogue: A Hate Story.
The games themselves are Magical Diary, NEO Scavenger, Offspring Fling!, Planet Stronghold, and for those who pay $6 or more, Anodyne, Defender's Quest, Evoland, and Incredipede, as well as 6 soundtracks. 7 of the 8 games are cross-platform across Mac/Win/Linux, and all are DRM-free."
An anonymous reader writes "After hiring the lead Btrfs developers and Linux kernel block maintainers last year, Facebook is beginning trial deployments of Btrfs. Facebook will start using the next-generation file-system within their web-tier and they will be among the first major public deployments of Btrfs."
knarfling (735361) writes "The Samsung Galaxy S5 is on sale now in South Korea, two weeks early — much to Samsung's surprise.
The S5 is set to go on sale around the world on 11 April, hitting shop shelves in 150 countries before the month is out. But the wait is too long for impatient South Korean carrier SK Telecom, which has made the phone available today for around 866,800 won."
Link to Original Source
wiredmikey writes: "Russian government officials have swapped their iPads for Samsung tablets to ensure tighter security, the telecoms minister told news agencies on Wednesday. Journalists spotted that ministers at a cabinet meeting were no longer using Apple tablets, and minister Nikolai Nikiforov confirmed the changeover "took place not so long ago." He said the ministers' new Samsungs were "specially protected devices that can be used to work with confidential information." This isn't the first time Russian powers have had concerns over mobile. In August 2012, Russia unveiled a prototype tablet with its own "almost Android" mobile OS that has the remarkably familiar feel of an Android but with bolstered encryption. In an even more paranoid move, this past July a Russian state service in charge of safeguarding Kremlin communications was looking to purchase an array of old-fashioned typewriters to prevent leaks from computer hardware."
samzenpus (5) writes "Founder of the computer anti-virus company McAfee Associates, John McAfee gained world-wide attention eluding Belizean authorities in the jungle. Since we last sat down with John, he's been working on a device that blocks the government's ability to spy on PCs and mobile devices, been asked by the GOP to fix Obamacare, and has seen his last name removed from his old company. The rebranding garnered this response from McAfee: 'I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users. ... My elation at Intel's decision is beyond words." John has agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."
jonklinger (1166633) writes "A class action lawsuit was brought against Waze (a community-based traffic and navigation app), claiming that their source code and map data were licensed to Waze by the community under the GPL. The plaintiff, Roey Gorodish, requests a copy of the recent source code and map data. This is (as far as I know) the first ever GPL class action suit, too bad it will be quashed by bad facts later as I see it." Google seems to do a credible translation of this source article.
New submitter Mark Buchanan (3595113) writes with a story about research from scientists at MIT, Cornell and elsewhere showing "that big city taxi systems could be made 40% more efficient with device-enabled taxi sharing. We could cut miles driven, costs, and pollution with the right application of just data and algorithms, and do it while introducing no more than a 5 minute delay to any person's trip. " Letting such algorithms compete seems an excellent reason to encourage, rather than reject by law, ride-coordination services like Uber and Lyft.
schwit1 (797399) writes "A Minnesota school district has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed school officials violated a student's constitutional rights by viewing her Facebook and email accounts without permission. The lawsuit, filed in 2012 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, alleged that Riley Stratton, now 15, was given detention after posting disparaging comments about a teacher's aide on her Facebook page, even though she was at home and not using school computers. After a parent complained about the Facebook chat, the school called her in and demanded her password. With a sheriff deputy looking on, she complied, and they browsed her Facebook page in front of her, according to the report. 'It was believed the parent had given permission to look at her cellphone,' Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt said Tuesday. But Schmidt said the district did not have a signed consent from the parent. That is now a policy requirement, he said.'" Asks schwit1, "How is this not a violation of the CFAA?" It sounds like the school was violating Facebook's Terms of Service, too.
jfruh (300774) writes "The latest developments in the sad saga of Mt. Gox's missing bitcoins: the exchange has announced that it's working with Japanese police to try to determine who (if anyone) stole the bitcoins entrusted to Mt. Gox, resulting in the company's collapse. There are serious doubts as to Japanese law enforcement's abilities to deal with the technical issues involved. Meanwhile, Mt. Gox creditors [have rejected] Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles offer to testify in their lawsuit against him from Taiwan, and have demanded that he come to the United States."
ananyo (2519492) writes "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled homeopathic remedies made by a company called Terra-Medica because they may contain actual medicine — possibly penicillin or derivatives of the antibiotic." Diluted enough times with pure water, though, maybe these traces would be even more powerful.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The FBI is intercepting the prison correspondence of infamous Internet troll Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, including letters from his defense team, according to his attorney. 'He's sent me between 10 and 20 letters in the last month or two. I've received one,' Tor Ekeland, who had just returned from visiting Auernheimer at the federal corrections institute in Allenwood, PA., told the Daily Dot in a video interview.
Last March, Auernheimer was convicted of accessing a computer without authorization and sentenced to 41 months in prison. As a member of the computer security team Goatse Security, Auernheimer discovered a major security flaw in AT&T's network, which allowed him to download the email addresses of some 114,000 iPad users. Goatse Security reported the flaw to Gawker and provided journalists with the information, who then published it in redacted form."
An anonymous reader writes: "Steve Jobs had it. George Clooney has it. So does Don Draper. Charisma is intangible but powerful: the personality trait that's used to win friends and influence people. Olivia Fox Cabane wasn't born with it. She was a high-school outcast, a socially awkward teenager baffled by the nuance of social interactions. But she was also an analytical thinker. She believes she has reverse engineered the secret of charm, and is so successful that executives now pay her to do the same for them. Cabane's self-help spiel comes with a dose of science. In this article, Teresa Chin examines the science of charisma, and asks why exactly Silicon Valley needs a charisma coach in the first place."
New submitter DroidJason1 writes: "Microsoft has added new 'player reputation scores' to each Xbox Live member's Gamercard. The scores are represented by icons consisting of the colors green, yellow, and red. The more hours you play fairly online without being reported as abusive by other players, the better your reputation will be. Good players are given a green color, while those that 'need work' are yellow and those that need to be avoided are red. Microsoft says, 'If players do not heed warnings and continue to have a negative impact on other players and the Xbox Live community, they will begin to experience penalties. For example, people with an “Avoid Me” rating will have reduced matchmaking pairings and may be unable to use certain privileges such as Twitch broadcasting.' They add that the system will adjust for false reports."
An anonymous reader writes: "Mining new Bitcoins is computationally expensive — you can't expect to do much on your standard home computer. Many miners have built custom rigs to mine more efficiently, but it was only a matter of time until somebody went industrial. Dave Carlson's goal is to mine 10% of all new Bitcoins from now on. He's built literally thousands of units. They collectively use 1.4 million BitFury mining chips, which are managed by a bunch of Raspberry Pis. 'The current rigs each contain 16 boards, with each board containing 16 BitFury chips, for a total of 256 mining chips on each rig. Carlson said about 90,000 processor boards have been deployed, which would put the number of rigs at about 5,600. A new board [being designed] will have 756 chips on each rig instead of 256.' Carlson says his company spent $3-5 million to get everything set up. They current generate 7,000 — 8,000 Bitcoins per month, which, at current rates, would be worth over $4 million."
Several readers sent word that California State Senator Leland Yee was arrested today. He's accused of conspiring to traffic guns and commit wire fraud, to defraud citizens of honest services, and bribery. The complant (PDF) also names 25 other defendants. Yee is known for pushing legislation that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors. "Federal prosecutors also allege Yee agreed to perform official acts in exchange for the money, including one instance in which he introduced a businessman to state legislators who had significant influence over pending medical marijuana legislation. In exchange, the businessman -- who was actually an undercover FBI agent -- agreed to donate thousands to Yee's campaign fund, according to the indictment. The indictment also describes an August 2013 exchange in which [former school board president Keith Jackson] told an undercover officer that Yee had an arms trafficking contact. Jackson allegedly said Yee could facilitate a meeting for a donation."