WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "The E-Cat (or "Energy Catalyzer") is an alleged cold fusion device that produces heat from a low-energy nuclear reaction where nickel and hydrogen fuse into copper. Previous reports have tended to suggest the technology is a hoax, and the inventor Andrea Rossi's reluctance to share details of the device haven't helped the situation. ExtremeTech now reports "six (reputable) researchers from Italy and Sweden" have "observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, “far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.”... "The researchers, analyzing the fuel before and after the 32-day burn, note that there is an isotope shift from a “natural” mix of Nickel-58/Nickel-60 to almost entirely Nickel-62 — a reaction that, the researchers say, cannot occur without nuclear reactions (i.e. fusion)." The paper (PDF) linked in the article concludes that the E-cat is "a device giving heat energy compatible with nuclear transformations, but it operates at low energy and gives neither nuclear radioactive waste nor emits radiation. From basic general knowledge in nuclear physics this should not be possible. Nevertheless we have to relate to the fact that the experimental results from our test show heat production beyond chemical burning, and that the E-Cat fuel undergoes nuclear transformations. It is certainly most unsatisfying that these results so far have no convincing theoretical explanation, but the experimental results cannot be dismissed or ignored just because of lack of theoretical understanding. Moreover, the E-Cat results are too conspicuous not to be followed up in detail. In addition, if proven sustainable in further tests the E-Cat invention has a large potential to become an important energy source."" top
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "Ars Technica and the Verge report how leaked training manuals from Comcast show how selling services is a required part of the job, even for employees doing tech support. The so-called "the 4S training material" explicitly states that 20 percent of a call center employee’s rating for a given call is dependent on effectively selling the customer new Comcast services.
"There are pages of materials on 'probing' customers to ferret out upsell opportunities, as well as on batting aside customer objections to being told they need to buy something. 'We can certainly look at other options, but you would lose which you mentioned was important to you,' the guide suggests clumsily saying to an angry customer who doesn’t want to buy any more Comcast services." Images of the leaked documents are posted on the Verge, making for fun reading." top
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "Coming from the 'I saw it coming but it's still sad' dept., the Financial Post reports "Just days after BlackBerry Ltd. revealed plans to lay off 40% of its global workforce amid disastrous financial results, representatives from smartphone rival Apple Inc. hosted a recruitment drive roughly 20 kilometres away from the embattled technology company’s Waterloo, Ont. home base... the iPhone maker invited local talent with the aim of luring them to their Silicon Valley operations." BlackBerry is expected to post a nearly $1 Billion loss." Link to Original Source top
Keyless Remote Entry for Cars May Have Been Cracked
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "A story on NPR reports that the TrackingPoint rifle went on sale today, and can enable a "novice" to hit a target 500 yards away on the first try. "The rifle's scope features a sophisticated color graphics display. The shooter locks a laser on the target by pushing a small button by the trigger... But here's where it's different: You pull the trigger but the gun decides when to shoot. It fires only when the weapon has been pointed in exactly the right place, taking into account dozens of variables, including wind, shake and distance to the target. The rifle has a built-in laser range finder, a ballistics computer and a Wi-Fi transmitter to stream live video and audio to a nearby iPad. Every shot is recorded so it can be replayed, or posted to YouTube or Facebook." Link to Original Source top
Passenger's iPhone May Have Sent a Plane Off Course
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "Bloomberg reports that as the airlines and the FAA wrangle over whether to permit the use of electronics onboard passenger aircraft, anecdotal evidence continues to suggest that personal electronics can mess with a plane's avionics. The article cites a particular incident in 2011 where turning off a passenger's iPhone seemed to fix a problem with the cockpit compass that was sending the plane several miles off course. "Laboratory tests have shown some devices broadcast radio waves powerful enough to interfere with airline equipment, according to NASA, aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. (BA) and the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority... Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), which argued for relaxed rules, told the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration its pilots and mechanics reported 27 suspected incidents of passenger electronics causing aircraft malfunctions from 2010 to 2012. Atlanta-based Delta said it couldn’t verify there was interference in any of those cases."" Link to Original Source top
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "Wanna get rich quick with a server and a business plan? Dupe unwitting researchers, gullible scientists, and unapologetic charlatans seeking to pad their resumes into sending you their precious papers — and then charge 'em a nice fat fee. Peer review? Nope! The "editorial board" is there to recruit more sales (submissions)! According to this article in the New York Times, all you need is a name that looks and sounds like a legitimate scientific journal or seminar (e.g., just add a hyphen), and sucker scientists will make your business a success! Own one journal, own 250! Fill cyberspace with "scientific" papers of dubious quality! Ain't the Internet great?" top
WheezyJoe writes "Ransomware is becoming big enough that the NY Times is covering it. Essentially online extortion, ransomware involves infecting a user’s computer with a virus that locks it, scours the drive for personal info, and demands money before the computer will be unlocked. In some countries, the payout rate has been as high as 15 percent. Early variations of ransomware locked computers, displayed porno, and, in Russian, demanded a fee to have it removed. Now, fake messages from local law enforcement accuse victims of visiting illegal pornography, gambling or piracy sites and demand fines to unlock the computer, many originating from sites hacked from GoDaddy. 'This is the new Nigerian e-mail scam... We’ll be talking about this for the next two years.'" Link to Original Source top
WheezyJoe writes "NBC News has some wicked disturbing security video of people getting beat up... over their smart phones. And it's on the rise. Police Chiefs like D.C.'s Cathy Lanier are asking US mobile carriers to brick phones that are reported stolen to dry up what must be a big underground market for your favorite Android or iPhone, but right now they won't do it. So I suppose we're best leaving our mobile phones at home?" Link to Original Source top
WheezyJoe writes "How many people actually read that text at the end of an attack ad about some "coalition" or "people for such-and-such" or remember to look up the web-site for dose of greater truthiness? The author of this NY Times article (subscription maybe required) checked up on a Medicare ad (complete with a talking baby!) and found a series of dead-ends, a PO box at Mailboxes Etc., and a shadowy corporation with no staff. From the article, One last clue emerged from the filings. They showed that much of its money had gone to a Florida consulting firm, the Fenwick Group, a two-person outfit whose Web site listed other clients that included health care and technology companies.
I called the phone number for Fenwick. A man answered.
“K & M Insurance,” he said.
“I’m looking to speak to somebody with the Fenwick Group,” I said.
“Oh, that would be Jay.”" Link to Original Source top
Microsoft Open-Sources U-Prove Secure ID Framework
WheezyJoe writes "ArsTechnica posts that Microsoft has released an SDK for U-Prove under its Open Specification Promise. The U-Prove system allows the creation of secure ID tokens, incorporating whatever information is needed for a given transaction — but no more — along with cryptographic protection to ensure that it can't be forged, reused, traced back to the user, or linked to other tokens.
FTFA: "In a world with U-Prove, many existing identity management problems would go away. If my credit card company and online music service both supported U-Prove, I could create a token that allowed a single limited electronic money transfer from my card to the music company, without disclosing my name, address, or date of birth, and without that token being usable to make further purchases." The release as Open Source is apparently to encourage the adoption of the technology, which would require new software at both vendors and end-users." Link to Original Source top
WheezyJoe writes "Maybe OS X Leopard has its problems, but the New York Times seems to think Apple has designed the ideal techie retail store. A policy that encourages lingering, with dozens of fully functioning computers, iPods and iPhones for visitors to try, even for hours on end (one patron wrote a manuscript entirely at the store) has 'given some stores, especially those in urban neighborhoods, the feel of a community center... Meanwhile, the Sony flagship store on West 56th Street, a few blocks from Apple's Fifth Avenue store, has the hush of a mausoleum. And being inside the long and narrow blue-toned Nokia store on 57th Street feels a bit like being inside an aquarium. The high-end Samsung Experience showroom, its nuevo tech music on full blast one recent morning, was nearly empty.'" top
WheezyJoe writes "The Washington Post reports that a little old lady took a hammer to Comcast.
Apparently fed up with the lousy service she received from a botched Comcast installation of "triple-play", and a completely humiliating experience at a customer service center, 75-year-old Mona "The Hammer" Shaw took her claw hammer back to the customer service center and bludgeoned the office equipment into tiny plastic pieces. The article includes pictures."