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Arducorder, next open source science tricorder-like device, nears completion

upontheturtlesback (2605689) writes | 3 minutes ago


upontheturtlesback (2605689) writes "The Arducorder Mini, an Arduino-compatible pocket-sized handheld sensing tool and the next in line of open source science tricorder-like devices designed by Dr. Peter Jansen, is nearing completion. Where the previous models have included about a dozen sensors spanning atmospheric, electromagnetic, and spatial readings, an exciting video of the new prototype shows this model includes sensors for spectroscopy, low-resolution thermal imaging, and radiation sensing. The development is open with the project build logs and most recent source schematics, board layouts, and firmware available on github. This project is an entry in the Hack a Day Prize for a trip to space."
Link to Original Source

Panda 4.1 Is Live - The Update Aims to Help Smaller Web Sites

creativeshory (3469251) writes | 11 minutes ago


creativeshory (3469251) writes "Google has announced that the latest version of its Panda update on Sep 25, 2014. The update will allow more high-quality small and medium-sized sites to rank better.

The last one Panda 4.0 was released on May 20, 2014 and deemed it a major update of Panda algorithm. However, Panda has continued to refresh fairly often on a monthly cycle and will continue to do that even with Panda 4.1.

This update, Panda 4.1 means anyone who was penalized by Panda during the earlier updates now get a chance to re-emerge, if they made the appropriate changes. So if you were hit by Panda updates, you would be make alterations to your site. If you make changes today the results will become visible by the next weekend if those were good enough, and you will see an increase in traffic."

Link to Original Source

Popcorn Time Released for iOS, Developers Say Better Encryption is on The Way

concertina226 (2447056) writes | 13 minutes ago


concertina226 (2447056) writes "Due to overwhelming demand from Apple users, the developers behind, the European fork of popular movie torrent streaming service Popcorn Time have announced the service is now available for iOS devices as long as they have been jailbroken.

Users can download the controversial software for free from Cydia, the jailbroken app store alternative to the iTunes App Store, but they must first have jailbroken their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using a jailbreaking tool such as Pangu or evasi0n.

According to the developers, demand for Popcorn Time on Apple devices was so great, 8,000 iOS users a day were trying to download the Android version of the app on to their devices and make it work since the European option began, since there was no iOS version.

"We're on the road to becoming not only the ultimate watching experience but also the safest with the free built-in VPN we've worked so hard on to ensure our user's safety,"'s developers told IBTimes UK.

"All of our traffic is encrypted because there are ISPs that are blocking or slowing down BitTorrent traffic for various reasons, for example, protecting their bandwidth. Encrypting the traffic helps us bypass these barricades and ensures a better watching experience for our users.""

Link to Original Source

Google to Pay Researchers Extra Cash for Exploits

Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes | about half an hour ago


Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Google is again increasing the amount of money it offers to researchers who report vulnerabilities in Chrome as part of the company’s bug bounty program. Now, researchers will be able to earn $15,000 at the high end of the scale, and Google also is offering more cash for researchers who can submit a working exploit for their vulnerability submission.

The range for Google’s vulnerability reward program is now $500-$15,000, and there are a number of factors that go into the company’s decision on what to pay a researcher for a submission. Much of it has to do with the severity of the vulnerability and the likelihood that it will affect a large number of users.

“We’ll pay at the higher end of the range when researchers can provide an exploit to demonstrate a specific attack path against our users. Researchers now have an option to submit the vulnerability first and follow up with an exploit later," Google's Tim Willis said."

Affordable real-time Big Data with streaming analytics

Maurits van der Schee (2943109) writes | about half an hour ago


Maurits van der Schee (2943109) writes "It seems that for real-time log file analysis this “Streaming Analytics” approach is much more suitable than a more traditional Big Data approach. The only real downside is that you have to keep the resulting data small in size, so that it fits in RAM. We’ve calculated that we are able to achieve more than a factor 10 higher performance compared to our previous implementation."
Link to Original Source

Hong Kong protesters use a mesh network to organise

wabrandsma (2551008) writes | about half an hour ago


wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from New Scientist:

Hong Kong's mass protest is networked. Activists are relying on a free app that can send messages without any cellphone connection.

Since the pro-democracy protests turned ugly over the weekend, many worry that the Chinese government would block local phone networks.

In response, activists have turned to the FireChat app to send supportive messages and share the latest news. On Sunday alone, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times in Hong Kong, its developers said. FireChat relies on "mesh networking", a technique that allows data to zip directly from one phone to another via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Ordinarily, if two people want to communicate this way, they need to be fairly close together. But as more people join in, the network grows and messages can travel further.

Mesh networks can be useful for people who are caught in natural disasters or, like those in Hong Kong, protesting under tricky conditions. FireChat came in handy for protesters in Taiwan and Iraq this year."

Link to Original Source

'About Face' Oculus Rift Accessory Blasts Through Kickstarter Goal in 24 Hours

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago


An anonymous reader writes "About Face is an accessory for the Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2 VR headsets ( It replaces the existing foam with an 'ergonomic insert' which allows the attachment of interchangeable liners that are purportedly more comfortable than the original and are also washable, allowing easy cleaning to remove sweat and skin oil. The Kickstarter campaign for About Face launched yesterday and has already broken through its $12,000 goal. The creators of the Kickstarter say they're already ready for manufacturing and backers can expect the product just a few weeks after the end of the Kickstarter."
Link to Original Source

Grooveshark Found Guilty of Massive Copyright Infringement

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago


An anonymous reader writes "If you’re a Grooveshark user, you should probably start backing up your collection. In a decision released Monday, the United States District Court in Manhattan has found Grooveshark guilty of massive copyright infringement based on a preponderance of internal emails, statements from former top executives, direct evidence from internal logs, and willfully deleted files and source code."
Link to Original Source

Popular Android Browser May Monetize Usage

Anonymous Coward writes | 3 hours ago


An anonymous reader writes "Jack Wallen in TechRepublic reports that the popular Dolphin browser for Android may be "hijacking" user input and redirecting web usage through a monetizing third-party. ( Evidence for the redirection can be seen with certain inputs like "bestbuy" when the device is in airplane mode and disconnected from the internet, redirections going to Namespace Strategy and ultimately Commission Junction. A reddit thread ( also describes how tools like Adaway also block the redirections when connected to the internet."
Link to Original Source

Interview with Facebook's Head of Open Source

Czech37 (918252) writes | 3 hours ago


Czech37 (918252) writes "Facebook may be the world's most well-known tech companies, but it's not renowned for being at the forefront of open source. In reality, they have over 200 open source projects on GitHub and they've recently partnered with Google, Dropbox, and Twitter (amongst others) to create the TODO group, an organization committed to furthering the open source cause. In an interview with, Facebook's James Pearce talks about the progress the company has made in rebooting their open source approach and what's on the horizon for the social media network."

Matchstick And Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle

Anonymous Coward writes | 3 hours ago


An anonymous reader writes "Matchstick and Mozilla today announced their open-source take on the Chromecast: a $25 Firefox OS-powered HDMI dongle. The streaming Internet and media stick will be available first through Kickstarter, in the hopes to drive down the price tag. Jack Chang, Matchstick General Manager in the US, described the device to me as “essentially an open Chromecast.” He explained that while the MSRP is $25 (Google’s Chromecast retails for $35), the Kickstarter campaign is offering a regular price of $18, and an early bird price of $12."

Chinese Regulator Claims Flaws In Apple's iOS Can Steal Users' Data

itwbennett (1594911) writes | 5 hours ago


itwbennett (1594911) writes "China has effectively cleared the iPhone 6 for sale in the country, granting the product a license, but not before a government regulator demanded Apple make some security changes in the iOS operating system to fix suspected flaws in the software. These flaws involved "three background services" that can be exploited to retrieve users' private information, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in its posting."
Link to Original Source

God, Darwin and My College Biology Class (3830033) writes | 5 hours ago

0 (3830033) writes "David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, writes in the NYT that every year he gives his students The Talk, not as you might expect, about sex, but about evolution and religion, and how they get along and how they don’t. According to Barash many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science and just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of his students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material. "There are a couple of ways to talk about evolution and religion, says Barash. "The least controversial is to suggest that they are in fact compatible. Stephen Jay Gould called them “nonoverlapping magisteria,” noma for short, with the former concerned with facts and the latter with values." But Barash says magisteria are not nearly as nonoverlapping as some of them might wish. "As evolutionary science has progressed, the available space for religious faith has narrowed: It has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God."

The twofold demolition begins by defeating what modern creationists call the argument from complexity — that just as the existence of a complex structure like a watch demands the existence of a watchmaker, the existence of complex organisms requires a supernatural creator. "Since Darwin, however, we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness. Living things are indeed wonderfully complex, but altogether within the range of a statistically powerful, entirely mechanical phenomenon." Next to go is the illusion of centrality. "The most potent take-home message of evolution is the not-so-simple fact that, even though species are identifiable (just as individuals generally are), there is an underlying linkage among them — literally and phylogenetically, via traceable historical connectedness. Moreover, no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens; we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism." Finally there is a third consequence of evolutionary insights: a powerful critique of theodicy, the effort to reconcile belief in an omnipresent, omni-benevolent God with the fact of unmerited suffering. "But just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death — and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things. The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator."

Barash concludes The Talk by saying that, although they don’t have to discard their religion in order to inform themselves about biology (or even to pass his course), if they insist on retaining and respecting both, they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. "And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines.""

Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online

schwit1 (797399) writes | 5 hours ago


schwit1 (797399) writes "An alleged phone call from the NSA prompted public school officials in an Alabama school district to launch a surveillance program to monitor students’ online activities, administrators of the Huntsville City School District now admit.

The NSA allegedly took an interest in the Lee High School student body after Auseel Yousefi, a straight-A student, posted a series of questionable tweets about getting into fights and hitting a teacher. Yousefi claims the tweets were intended in jest, but school security officials searched the student’s car and found a weapon, which he says is a “jeweled dagger from a Renaissance fair.”

That was all the evidence school authorities needed to expel Yousefi for the semester and launch a district-wide information-gathering program aimed at discovering security threats and identifying gang members. The subsequent investigation led to a series of expulsions of students who were found posing on social media holding guns or throwing gang signs.

School administrators say the wider surveillance program was conducted at the behest of the NSA, but the security agency now denies it ever called the school."

Calling Mr Orwell, rejigged executive order makes collecting data not collecting

sandbagger (654585) writes | 5 hours ago


sandbagger (654585) writes "' is often the case that one can be led astray by relying on the generic or commonly understood definition of a particular word.' Specifically words offering constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. TechDirt looks at the redefinition of the term collection as redefined by Executive Order 12333 to allow basically every information dragnet, provided no-one looks at it. "Collection" is now defined as "collection plus action." According to this document, ot still isn't collected, even if its been gathered, packaged and sent to a "supervisory authority." No collection happens until examination. It's Schroedinger's data, neither collected nor uncollected until the "box" has been opened. This leads to the question of aging off collected data/communications: if certain (non) collections haven't been examined at the end of the 5-year storage limit, are they allowed to be retained simply because they haven't officially been collected yet? Does the timer start when the "box" is opened or when the "box" is filled?"
Link to Original Source

California Gov Brown Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants for Drone Surveillance

schwit1 (797399) writes | yesterday


schwit1 (797399) writes "Brown, a Democrat facing re-election in November, sided with law enforcement and said the legislation simply granted Californians privacy rights that went too far beyond existing guarantees. Sunday's veto comes as the small drones are becoming increasingly popular with business, hobbyists, and law enforcement.

"This bill prohibits law enforcement from using a drone without obtaining a search warrant, except in limited circumstances," the governor said in his veto message(PDF). "There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution."

At least 10 other states require the police to get a court warrant to surveil with a drone. Those states include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

California's drone bill is not draconian. It includes exceptions for emergency situations, search-and-rescue efforts, traffic first responders, and inspection of wildfires. It allows other public agencies to use drones for other purposes—just not law enforcement."

Link to Original Source

Linux Foundation Announces Major Network Functions Virtualization Project

Andy Updegrove (956488) writes | 7 hours ago


Andy Updegrove (956488) writes "The Linux Foundation this morning announced the latest addition to its family of major hosted open source initiatives: the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), Its mission is to develop and maintain a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform for the telecom industry. Importantly, the thirty-eight founding members include not only cloud and service infrastructure vendors, but telecom service providers, developers and end users as well. The announcement of OPNFV highlights three of the most significant trends in IT: virtualization (the NFV part of the name refers to network function virtualization), moving software and services to the Cloud, and collaboratively developing complex open source platforms in order to accelerate deployment of new business models while enabling interoperability across a wide range of products and services. The project is also significant for reflecting a growing recognition that open source projects need to incorporate open standards planning into their work programs from the beginning, rather than as an afterthought."
Link to Original Source

Microsoft's Asimov System to Monitor Users' Machines in Real-time

SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes | 9 hours ago


SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft will monitor users in the new Windows 9 Operating System in order to determine how the new OS is used, thus decide what tweaks and changes are need to be made. During Windows 8 testing, Microsoft said that they had data showing Start Menu usage had dropped, but it seems that the tools they were using at the time weren’t as evolved as the new ‘Asimov’ monitor.

The new system is codenamed ‘Asimov’ and will provide a near real-time view of what is happening on users’ machines. Rest assured, the data is going to be obscured and aggregated, but intelligible enough to allow Microsoft to get detailed insights into user interactions with the OS.

Mary Jo Foley says that the system was originally built by the Xbox Team and now is being used by the Windows team. Users who will download the technical preview of Windows 9, which is said to get unveiled today, will become ‘power users’ who will utilize the platform in unique scenarios. This will help Microsoft identify any odd bugs ahead of the final release."

People Will Do Anything For Free Wi-Fi

Anonymous Coward writes | 9 hours ago


An anonymous reader writes "A new Wi-Fi investigation conducted on the streets of London shows that consumers carelessly use public Wi-Fi without regard for their personal privacy. In the experiment, which involved setting up a ‘poisoned’ Wi-Fi hotspot, unsuspecting users exposed their Internet traffic, their personal data, the contents of their email, and even agreed to an outrageous clause obligating them to give up their firstborn child in exchange for Wi-Fi use."

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