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Excelcia (906188) writes "Researchers in Bristol are using ultrasound to create invisible objects in the air that you can touch and interact with. The new technology, called ultrahaptics, uses a phased array of ultrasound speakers to focus the sound waves in almost any way they want. It's not in any way actually solid, but it can emulate the haptic response from pressing buttons. Is this one step closer to a holodeck?" Link to Original Source top
Google Trials Near-Space Balloons for Internet Access to Remote Areas
Excelcia (906188) writes "Google is launching balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings below on the ground. About 30 of the superpressure balloons are being launched from New Zealand from where they will drift around the world on a controlled path. Attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country.
Access will be intermittent, but in time the firm hopes to build a big enough fleet to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas. The firm says the concept could offer a way to connect the two-thirds of the world's population which does not have affordable net connections, but one expert warns that trying to simultaneously navigate thousands of the high-altitude balloons around the globe's wind patterns will prove a difficult task to get right." top
Google Patents Frowns and Winks To Unlock Your Phone
Excelcia (906188) writes "Users could soon be asked to pull a series of faces to unlock their Android phones or tablets. Google has filed a patent suggesting users stick out their tongue or wrinkle their nose in place of a password.
Requiring specific gestures could prevent the existing Face Unlock facility being fooled by photos. The software could monitor if there were changes in the angle of the person's face to ensure the device was not being shown a still image with a fake gesture animated on top." Link to Original Source top
New Solid State Maser May Allow Hundredfold Increase In SETI Sensitivity
Excelcia writes "The BBC is reporting that researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Imperial College London in the UK have completely revamped the way "masing" is done, by carrying it out in a crystal of material pumped by a commercial yellow medical laser. Masers had languished in obscurity because they required high magnetic fields and difficult cooling schemes.
The key value of masers lies not in their ability to produce a useful beam as lasers do, but to carry out the amplification process in a particularly clean way, without adding much noise. That is why they are used to detect the tiny signals coming from space missions as distant as the Voyager probes, billions of kilometres away. The lead author of the Nature article, Dr Mark Oxborrow suggested "... you could make a radio telescope that was very low-noise, 100 times more sensitive than the best at the moment... this type of maser could be used to detect some extraterrestrial intelligence that hasn't been detected."" Link to Original Source top
Excelcia writes "Closing arguments in the six and a bit year old slander of title case between SCO and Novell occurred today and the case is finally in the hands of the jury. It's been an interesting case, with SCO alternately claiming that the copyrights to UNIX did get transferred to them, and that the copyrights should have been transferred to them.
Judge Ted Stewart said, after the jury left to begin to deliberate, that in all his years on the bench, he's never seen such fine lawyering as in this case.
We're not going to find out the results until at least Tuesday, however, as one jurist is taking a long weekend. Great lawyering notwithstanding, we can all hope next week that the energizer bunny of all spurious lawsuits will finally go away." Link to Original Source
BSecure actually runs the service for D-Link, so I e-mailed both of them. D-Link's reply was a terse "the site is secure and your information will not and has not been exposed." My question simply is, is the site secure? And if it is secure, how are people to know it is if your browser can't tell?" Link to Original Source top
Excelcia writes "Did D-Link and BSecure set up an eCommerce web site and simply forget to use SSL? Yesterday I decided to activate the SecureSpot family web filtering feature on my D-Link router. I signed up for a free trial account since the service was perfect for my family, I went right to the checkout page to pay for a year's worth. I was just about to hit the "submit" button when I looked at the URL [note: SecureSpot account needed] and noticed it had "http:" as the protocol, and not "https:". The lock icon that depicts a secure site was greyed out too. I went back to the original SecureSpot login page, and it too is lacking SSL. So the control panels where I'm setting my family's privacy settings and passwords are all being sent accessed in the clear? I keep thinking I'm missing something. Surely they wouldn't put up an eCommerce site for a security product of all things and just forget to use SSL. Clicking on Firefox's security icon, though, brings up a dialog informing me that the page indeed is not encrypted. I crawled through the page source, thinking that maybe some use of frames was hiding a real SSL page in there somewhere. But the only encrypted element of the page was the VeriSign Gold Seal logo graphic that proclaimed it secure. Is this a candidate for the correct use of the word "irony"?" Link to Original Source top
Excelcia writes "Yesterday I decided to activate the SecureSpot feature on my D-Link router. I signed up for a free trial account, and loved the service. Perfect for my family. So I went right to the checkout page to buy a year's worth of service, and just about hit the "submit" button when I looked at the URL and noticed it had "http:" as the protocol, and not "https:" The lock icon that depicts a secure site was greyed out too. I went back to the original SecureSpot login page, and it too is lacking SSL. So the control panels where I'm setting my family's privacy settings and passwords, all being sent in the clear? I keep thinking I'm missing something. Surely they wouldn't put up an eCommerce site for a security product of all things and just forget to use SSL. Clicking on Firefox's security icon, though, brings up a dialog informing me that the page indeed is not encrypted. I crawled through the page source, thinking that maybe some use of frames was hiding a real SSL page in there somewhere. But the only encrypted element of the page was the VeriSign Gold Seal logo graphic that proclaimed it secure. Is this a candidate for the correct use of the word "irony"?" Link to Original Source top
Excelcia writes "The BBC is reporting that a couple in Germany advertised an infant for sale on eBay. The advertisement read:
"Offering my nearly new baby for sale, as it has gotten too loud. It is a male baby, nearly 28in (70cm) long and can be used either in a baby carrier or a stroller."
The parents, for their part, say the advertisement was just a joke. The mother said she just wanted to see if anyone would make an offer. The German authorities weren't laughing, though. They have taken the infant away from his parents on suspicion that they were actually trying to traffic the child and are forcing the mother to undergo psychiatric tests. Apparently in the two hours the advertisement was up, there were no bids." top
Excelcia writes "The deadline for filing contradictions on the Microsoft OpenXML ISO bid, and the results are in. A total of 19 countries have filed, comprising most of the free world, although the United States seems to be absent from the list. From Andy Upgrove's Blog on the subject:
This may not only be the largest number of countries that have ever submitted contradictions in the ISO/IEC process, but nineteen responses is greater than the total number of national bodies that often bother to vote on a proposed standard at all... All in all, not a very auspicious start for OOXML. And not one that augers well for a very fast Fast Track experience. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft deals with this slap in the face.
Excelcia writes "ComputerActive is reporting that Microsoft's bid to get its Open XML format approved as an ISO standard has been delayed by at least three months. From the article:
The British Standards Institute, which represents the UK with the International Standards Organisation, has issued what is called a "contradiction" to Microsoft's specification. ... A spokesman for the BSI could give no details of the organisation's contradiction but he said it meant the next stage of the application would not proceed for 90 days, because ISO has to consider the submissions from member countries.
No word yet on whether any other national standards organizations have followed suit."
I decided to activate the SecureSpot service on my D-Link router yesterday. After trialing it and being very happy with the configuration and flexibility of the service itself, I decided to pay for the service. The checkout page looked like most do, and I've become so accustomed to them now that I almost clicked the submit button before checking the URL (note: you need a SecureSpot trial membership to access the page). Whoa there cowboy, that protocol is http, not https. So, thinking that maybe some use of frames was disguising the true URL of the checkout page, I looked for the trusty lock icon on Firefox that depicts a secure site, and it too was missing. Ok, the warning bells are now clanging, so I go back to the beginning, all the way back to the original SecureSpot login page. It sports a gold VeriSign seal, claiming to be secure. No https, no lock. I look all through the SecureSpot configuration control panels and none of it seems to be using SSL. So as I'm logging into the BSecure web site that runs SecureSpot, and as I'm setting my family's filtering and privacy controls and passwords, is everything going over the wire in the clear? Both the SecureSpot login and the payment checkout pages sport that VeriSign gold seal. This is supposed to assure me the site is secure, right? From VeriSign's site:
"Gold Seal" is a graphical representation that assures customers that a Web site has been Authenticated and that all transactions are secured by a Secure Site Certificate or a Secure Site Pro Certificate.
I poked through the checkout page source to see if I missed something, and about the only secure element on the page is the VeriSign gold seal. Well, at least their assurance that the page is secure is secure.