sneakyimp writes "We've seen increasingly creative ways for bad guys to compromise your system like infected pen drives, computers preloaded with malware, mobile phone apps with malware, and a $300 app that can sniff out your encryption keys.
On top of these obvious risks, there are lingering questions about the integrity of common operating systems and cloud computing services. Do Windows, OSX, and linux have security holes? Does Windows supply a backdoor for the U.S. or other governments? Should you really trust your linux multiverse repository? Do Google and Apple data mine your private mobile phone data for private information? Does Ubuntu's sharing of my data with Amazon compromise my privacy? Can the U.S. Government seize your cloud data without a warrant? Can McAfee or Kaspersky really be trusted?
Naturally, the question arises of how to establish and maintain an ironclad workstation or laptop for the purpose of handling sensitive information or doing security research. DARPA has approached the problem by awarding a $21.4M contract to Invincea to create a secure version of Android. What should we do if we don't have $21.4M USD? Is it safe to buy a PC from any manufacturer? Is it even safe to buy individual computer components and assemble one's own machine? Or might the MOBO firmware be compromised?
What steps can one take to insure a truly secure computing environment? Is this even possible? Can anyone recommend a through checklist or suggest best practices?" top
SpaceX gets greenlighted for rendezvous with the ISS
sneakyimp writes "Much weeping and gnashing of teeth has accompanied the retirement of the the space shuttle and it has been a bit sad seeing discovery take its last flight over DC. But SpaceX, brainchild of Elon Musk, appears to be supplying a silver lining this week as their Dragon capsule, riding atop a Falcon rocket has been greenlighted for a rendezvous with the ISS on April 30. Skeptical? SpaceX, a private enterprise, is the first entity that is not a sovereign government to launch a capsule into space and retrieve it on earth. While the mission to the ISS is admittedly not a sure shot, Elon Musk has a few fighting words about their ability to compete with Russia and China on a cost basis." Link to Original Source top
sneakyimp writes "You might not be familiar with Taschen, but they publish some of the most remarkable books in the world. While most publishers are moving to digital formats, Taschen has built a business publishing large format, dead-tree books full of big pictures. Some of their books are so large, they can only be printed in Vatican City because no other printing houses have presses large enough. I learned from Nick Cloutman, manager of their Beverly Hills store, that they have been banned from facebook — where they had about 70,000 followers. Cloutman believes the ban is because of Taschen's posts promoting "The Big Penis Book 3D" (WARNING: male genitalia photo) http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/sex/all/06784/facts.the_big_penis_book_3d.htm
Cloutman's personal account has been banned as well, along with all of the other Facebook users who were admins for the Taschen page. Facebook has apparently made no effort to communicate any reason or rationale for the ban or the sexual double standard. Cloutman is philosophical about it, musing "they've probably done me a favor."
sneakyimp writes "I seem to recall an article here on/. describing some research about how a shared singing experience can induce the production of hormones in people indentical to those produced after sex. I.e., some sort of 'trust' is created. Can anyone tell me where that link is? I've been googling for an hour!" Link to Original Source top
sneakyimp writes "My brother is an architect and sculptor and wants to create kinetic sculptures powered by wind, steam, and sun. He wants to avoid electrical systems and keep this mechanical. He's prepared to cast metals for custom parts if necessary, but is hoping to find a cheap source of gears, axles, and bearings for the internal mechanical workings of these contraptions. We'll need things like miter/bevel/spur/helical gears, standard and thrust bearings, and axles. These parts won't need to support much power or torque (probably less than 1 horsepower / 550 ft-lbs). Ideally, we could get a kit which contains a variety of bevel and spur gears, a few axles, and standardized connect interfaces — kind of like a box of legos for tinkering and prototyping. I found the Stock Drive Products site and it looks like an extensive catalog, but one really needs to know what one is looking for and I don't think we're there yet. I've also found custom gear manufacturers and cheap plastic hobby kits but these are either too outrageously expensive or ridiculously under qualified for the job at hand.
I was wondering if any of you robot builders or mechanical engineers could recommend a good starter kit with an assortment of gears or perhaps a supplier that deals in appropriately spec'ed gears rather than industrial-strength SUV transmissions." top
sneakyimp writes "Both Wired and Arstechnica have articles up on Jim Griffin's proposal that ISPs charge each broadband customer a $5 per month surcharge to subsidize the ailing music industry. The resulting fund would ostensibly "compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels." Such a plan is also likely to compensate your ISP for collecting the fee, a quasi-governmental 'collection agency' to manage and distribute the wealth, and possibly other entities on its way to rescuing the deserving victims of the scourge that is P2P software. The proposal suggests that disbursements would be made based on the popularity of various songs on the various P2P networks.
Although no specific version of the proposal has been referenced in the aforementioned articles, a number of controversies are inherent to the plan: How is the money really divided? What happens when the MPAA, the Business Software Alliance, and various other industry groups want their own surcharge added? What about the supposed majority of broadband customers who never download illegal music? Jim insists that the surcharge is 'not mandatory' but there can be no doubt that ISPs would like a piece of the pie to help subsidize the billing apparatus they already have in place. I chose to email Jim to express my dismay and was admittedly a bit coarse. After a couple of traded barbs, I received this response which gave a vague indication of his rhetorical approach for his meeting at SXSW tomorrow.
"Hey, american citizen and broadband customer, where is your reply to my
I am waiting for something in the form of an apology for the unkind and
inaccurate e-mail you sent.
Let's review: I have no proposal for a mandatory surcharge on ISPs and never
have had such a proposal. I am opposed to forcing ISPs to send money to a
government agency unless it is tax money or some other regulatory dictate.
Do you write similar letters to the automobile insurance industry, which
legally mandates car owners carry insurance regardless of whether or not you
have had an accident?
Do you complain to the advertising industry for involuntarily embedding 80
billion dollars of extra cost into the products you buy?
Have you written a complaint to the library for taking your tax money to run
a place you or others may not have visited in years?
Complained to your cable provider for charging you for channels you never
You should be ashamed of yourself for falsely accusing me and calling me
names. Now you should apologize, and I am waiting.
The full transcript of our correspondence is here. I hope you'll all drop Jim a line to let him know what you think of his proposal." top
Music Industry Proposes a Piracy Surcharge on ISPs
sneakyimp writes "In an article that is sure to get some folks' blood boiling, Frank Rose at Wired.com has reported on a proposed piracy surcharge on ISPs that would amount to approximately $5 per month per user. That's right, $60 from every broadband customer. The proceeds of this surtax would ostensibly be used to compensate artists who are the most frequently downloaded on P2P networks. Interestingly, Mr. Rose fails to address the possibility that some (most?) users of broadband connections have never downloaded a single song illegally. Personally, I fail to understand how this $2.5B/yr revenue stream can be justified to law-abiding broadband users.
From the article: So, which will it be: A last-gasp assault on piracy, or a truce that would bring in money and benefit everyone except the lawyers?
At this point, the music industry seems too dazed to decide — and several nights in Austin probably won't help. Though Jenner and McGuinness are on opposite sides of the debate, their good cop-bad cop routine could ultimately prove synergistic. Pay up, the music people are telling internet providers, or we'll sic Washington on you — and London and Paris and anybody else we can find.
Some of you will recognize the name of U2's manager, Paul McGuinness, in the article. Having called the DMCA's safe harbor provision a "theives' mandate," he appears to be the poster child for the music industry's call for a piracy crackdown." Link to Original Source top
sneakyimp writes "MSNBC reports that a Canadian man has been billed $83,000 for a month of cell phone usage due to his rather foolish decision to use the phone as a modem for downloading music and movies into a computer." top
sneakyimp writes "A decidedly partisan site, CommonCause.org has reported that the FCC is again attempting to relax media ownership rules. I have yet to find any corroborating detail about what is actually going on but apparently there is some desire by Kevin Martin to make decisions without public input. Personally, I really don't want this to happen. I live in Los Angeles and there is literally only one company that provides broadband internet access in my area (Time Warner cable). They bought out Adelphia which was my prior provider. AT&T offers service here but requires that I also lease a land line and would cost more than TW. Nobody else offers service in my area. Aside from charging me twice what comparable DSL costs in other areas, they discontinued my old email address without warning or explanation despite promises I could depend on it. I've already missed several parties because of that.
I vehemently oppose corporate megaliths owning all the media outlets in a given city. The obvious ills of such a monopoly include a brainwashed public, higher prices for entertainment, advertising, and internet access, and possibly other things. Prior rules allowed ownership of "up to three television stations, the local newspaper, the cable system and up to eight radio stations in one media market" according to the common cause article.
If you agree and live in the United States, you can contact your representative here." Link to Original Source