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Netflix Stealthy Reduces Service, Keeps Prices the Same

Nom du Keyboard (633989) writes | about 5 months ago

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Nom du Keyboard (633989) writes "After seeing a drop in my DVD service from Netflix I got a customer service representative tonight to confirm that Netflix has ceased processing DVD returns on Saturdays nationwide. And that they did this without either notifying their customers, nor reducing prices to compensate for the reduced service. Given that the DVD selection still far outstrips their streaming selection, this may be news to others like myself who don't find streaming an adequate replacement for plastic discs. My experience up until recently, unlike Netflix's promise of a 1-3 day turnaround at their end which gives them lots of wiggle room to degrade service even further, had been of mailing in a DVD on day one, having them receive it and mail out my next selection on day two, and receiving it on day three. Now with them only working 5 days and many US Post Office holidays, they're still getting the same money for significantly less. Is Netflix still the good guy here?"

FAA ISRMA comment period closes in 3 days.

Anonymous Coward writes | about 5 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The comment period for the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft closes in three days. If you fly, or want to learn how to fly, model aircraft — R/C, free-flight, control-line, FPV, AUV, multi-copters, micro-drones, anything that is fixed wing or rotary winged — you want to read this and comment on it. This is the FAA's self-given "We now regulate EVERYTHING from the ground up, including paper airplanes" proposed ruling that will absolutely gut and decimate aeromodelling as a hobby and industry. There's only 25K comments so far. 100K or more would be nice."
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Russia shows proof of warplanes In MH17 vicinity,demands answers from US/Kiev

Anonymous Coward writes | about 5 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Ukraine hasn’t said how it immediately knew rebels downed Malaysian plane, notes the Russian Foreign Ministry, as it unveils 10 awkward questions for Ukraine (and perhaps the US 'snap judgment') to answer about the MH17 disaster. However, what is perhaps more concerning for the hordes of finger-pointers is that:
[1] Russia has images of Ukraine deploying BUK rockets in east
[2] Ukraine moved BUK near rebels in Donetsk on July 17th
[3] Russia detected Ukrainian fighter jet pick up speed toward MH17

Aside from the fake YouTube clips, these would deal another unpleasant blow to US foreign policy."

Link to Original Source

"Canvas Fingerprinting" Online Tracking Difficult To Block

globaljustin (574257) writes | about 5 months ago

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globaljustin (574257) writes "First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.

[The] fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They can’t be prevented by using standard Web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.

The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites."

Link to Original Source

Google to speed up Web with smaller photos

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about 4 months ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Giant photos are slowing the Web down. Google has a plan to make your pages load faster.

The search giant has developed a new kind of image format that promises to shrink the size of Web photos and graphic files down by about 35%. That's a big deal, considering that images are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the size of an average website — a figure that grew by more than 30% last year, according to the HTTP Archive.

To boost load times for websites, Google (GOOGL, Tech30) developed a new image format, called WebP. At its I/O developers conference last month, Google announced that it has converted most of YouTube's thumbnail images to WebP, improving the site's load time by 10%. That may not sound like much, but Google says that alone has saved users a cumulative 140,000 hours each day.
Google has also changed the Chrome Web store and Google Play store over to WebP, speeding up load times on those sites by nearly a third. Facebook, Netflix, eBay (EBAY, Tech30) and several other websites have also begun supporting WebP."

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The Loophole Obscuring Facebook and Google's Transparency Reports

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes | about 4 months ago

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Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The number of law enforcement requests coming from Canada for information from companies like Facebook and Google are often inaccurate thanks to a little-known loophole that loops them in with US numbers.
For example, law enforcement and government agencies in Canada made 366 requests for Facebook user data in 2013, according to the social network's transparency reports. But that's not the total number. An additional 16 requests are missing, counted instead with US requests thanks to a law that lets Canadian agencies make requests with the US Department of Justice."

Activist group sues US border agency over new, vast intelligence system

Anonymous Coward writes | about 5 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sued the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in an attempt to compel the government agency to hand over documents relating to a relatively new comprehensive intelligence database of people and cargo crossing the US border. EPIC’s lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, seeks a trove of documents concerning the 'Analytical Framework for Intelligence' (AFI) as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. EPIC’s April 2014 FOIA request went unanswered after the 20 days that the law requires, and the group waited an additional 49 days before filing suit. The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of 'a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination.'"

This Gadget Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast, And It's A Serious Issue

redletterdave (2493036) writes | about 5 months ago

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redletterdave (2493036) writes "Dan Petro, a security analyst for the Bishop Fox IT consulting firm, built a proof of concept device that’s able to hack into any Google Chromecasts nearby to project Rick Astley’s 'Never Gonna Give You Up,' or any other video a prankster might choose. The 'Rickmote,' which is built on top of the $35 Raspberry Pi single board computer, finds a local Chromecast device, boots it off the network, and then takes over the screen with multimedia of one’s choosing. But it gets worse for the victims: If the hacker leaves the range of the device, there’s no way to regain control of the Chromecast. Unfortunately for Google, this is a rather serious issue with the Chromecast device that’s not too easy to fix, as the configuration process is an essential part of the Chromecast experience."
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Researcher Finds Hidden Data-Dumping Services in iOS

Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes | about 5 months ago

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Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "There are a number of undocumented and hidden features and services in Apple iOS that can be used to bypass the backup encryption on iOS devices and remove large amounts of users’ personal data. Several of these features began as benign services but have evolved in recent years to become powerful tools for acquiring user data.

Jonathan Zdziarski, a forensic scientist and researcher who has worked extensively with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, has spent quite a bit of time looking at the capabilities and services available in iOS for data acquisition and found that some of the services have no real reason to be on these devices and that several have the ability to bypass the iOS backup encryption. One of the services in iOS, called mobile file_relay, can be accessed remotely or through a USB connection can be used to bypass the backup encryption. If the device has not been rebooted since the last time the user entered the PIN, all of the data encrypted via data protection can be accessed, whether by an attacker or law enforcement, Zdziarski said.

Zdziarski discussed his findings in a talk at the HOPE X conference recently and published the slides and paper, as well. The file_relay service has been in iOS for some time and originally was benign, but Zdziarski said that in recent versions it has turned into a tool that can dump loads of user data on command. The file_relay tool can dump a list of the email and social media accounts, the address book, the user cache folder, which contains screenshots, offline content, copy/paste data, keyboard typing cache and other personal data. The tool can also provide a log of periodic location snapshots from the device."

Mimicking vesicle fusion to make Gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells

rtoz (2530056) writes | about 5 months ago

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rtoz (2530056) writes "A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells.

A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-vesicle fusion, a crucial process that allows signal transmission between neurons.

MIT engineers created simulations of how a gold nanoparticle coated with special molecules can penetrate a membrane."

MIT's Ted Postol presents more evidence on Iron Dome failures

Lasrick (2629253) writes | about 5 months ago

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Lasrick (2629253) writes "In a controversial article last week, MIT physicist Ted Postol again questioned whether Israel's vaunted Iron Dome rocket defense system actually works. This week, he comes back with evidence in the form of diagrams, photos of Iron Dome intercepts and contrails, and evidence on the ground to show that Iron Dome in fact is effective only about 5% of the time. Postol believes the real reason there are so few Israeli casualties is that Hamas rockets have very small warheads (only 10 to 20 pounds), and also Israel's outstanding civil defense system, which includes a vast system of shelters and an incredibly sophisticated rocket attack warning system (delivered through smart phones, among other ways)."
Link to Original Source

UEA research shows oceans vital for possibility of alien life

Anonymous Coward writes | about 5 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "New research at the University of East Anglia finds that oceans are vital in the search for alien life. So far, computer simulations of habitable climates on other planets have focused on their atmospheres. But oceans play equally vital role in moderating climates on planets and bringing stability to the climate, according to the study. From the press release: "The research team from UEA’s schools of Mathematics and Environmental Sciences created a computer simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat transport with the presence of oceans taken into account. Prof David Stevens from UEA’s school of Mathematics said: 'The number of planets being discovered outside our solar system is rapidly increasing. This research will help answer whether or not these planets could sustain alien life. We know that many planets are completely uninhabitable because they are either too close or too far from their sun. A planet’s habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water. But until now, most habitability models have neglected the impact of oceans on climate.'""

Print Isn't Dead: How Linux Voice Crowdfunded A New Magazine

M-Saunders (706738) writes | about 5 months ago

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M-Saunders (706738) writes "The death of print has been predicted for years, and many magazines and publishers have taken a big hit with the rise of eBooks and tablets. But not everyone has given up. Four geeks quit their job at an old Linux magazine to start Linux Voice, an independent GNU/Linux print and digital mag with a different publishing model: giving profits and content back to the community. Six months after a successful crowdfunding campaign, the magazine is going well, so here is the full story."

Method Rapidly Reconstructs Animal's Development cell by cell

Anonymous Coward writes | about 5 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus have developed software that can track each and every cell in a developing embryo. The software will allow a researcher to pick out a single cell at any point in development and trace its life backward and forward during the embryo’s growth. Philipp Keller, a group leader at Janelia says: "We want to reconstruct the elemental building plan of animals, tracking each cell from very early development until late stages, so that we know everything that has happened in terms of cell movement and cell division. In particular, we want to understand how the nervous system forms. Ultimately, we would like to collect the developmental history of every cell in the nervous system and link that information to the cell's final function. For this purpose, we need to be able to follow individual cells on a fairly large scale and over a long period of time.”"

New Toyota helps you yell at the kids

Anonymous Coward writes | about 5 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "If you're tired of yelling at the kids without the help of technology, Toyota has a van for you. From the article: "The latest version of the company's Sienna minivan has a feature called 'Driver Easy Speak.' It uses a built-in microphone to amplify a parent's voice through speakers in the back seats. Toyota says it added Easy Speak 'so parents don't have to shout to passengers in the back.' But chances are many parents will yell into the microphone anyway. And the feature only works one way, so the kids can't talk back. At least not with amplified voices. The feature is an option on the 2015 Sienna, which is being refreshed with a totally new interior. It also has an optional 'pull-down conversation mirror' that lets drivers check on kids without turning around.""

New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

jfruh (300774) writes | about 5 months ago

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jfruh (300774) writes "While several U.S. judges have refused as overbroad warrants that sought to grant police access to a suspects complete Gmail account, a federal judge in New York State OK'd such an order this week. Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein argued that a search of this type was no more invasive than the long-established practice of granting a warrant to copy and search the entire contents of a hard drive, and that alternatives, like asking Google employees to locate messages based on narrowly tailored criteria, risked excluding information that trained investigators could locate."
Link to Original Source

Netflix pay us. Verizon keeps throttling.

Chas (5144) writes | about 5 months ago

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Chas (5144) writes "Even though Netflix caved to Verizon's demands and is now paying protection money to them to ensure better service, Netflix performance still has not improved on the Verizon network.

This is the problem with giving in to extortion like this. Sure, Comcast at least made a token effort to improve performance for end-users. Verizon just treated it as a payday, and maintained status quo, continuing to blame Netflix."

Pranks, hoaxes, manipulation: Virtual Unreality on Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes | about 5 months ago

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Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Kids confess on Reddit that in order to wind up a classmate named Azid, they added his name to the Wikipedia article on Chicken Korma. Two years on, and Azid is established online as an alternative name of the dish. A prankster twice changes the name of the inventor of the hair straightener, and both names are now widely credited with the invention online. Another kid writes in Wikipedia that coatis are also called Brazilian aardvarks, and incredibly, the name catches on in newspapers, even a university press book. Governments around the world seek to control Wikipedia content through anonymous contributions. Misinformation and propaganda on Wikipedia spread like a virus into other publications: how pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia, and indeed the fabric of consensual reality."
Link to Original Source

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