coondoggie writes "In his keynote address at a security conference today, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak admitted he has enjoyed many adventures in hacking often for the sake of pranks on friends and family, especially back in his college days and the early years of working on computers and the Internet. 'I like to play jokes,' said the Wozniak jovially as he addressed his audience of thousands of security professionals attending the ASIS Conference in Chicago. The famed inventor at Apple admitted he also had some fun with light-hearted forays into hacking computer and telecommunications networks several decades ago back in his college years and while learning about electronics and computers."
gregor-e writes "The first-of-its-kind 'eraser button' law, signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, will force social media titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google let minors scrub their personal online history in the hopes that it might help them avoid personal and work-related problems. The law will take effect on January 1, 2015."
MojoKid writes "AMD has just announced a full suite of new GPUs based on its Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. The Radeon R5, R7, and R9 families are the new product lines aimed at mainstream, performance, and high-end gaming, respectively. Specs on the new cards are still limited, but we know that the highest-end R9 290X is a six-billion transistor GPU with more than 300GB/s of memory bandwidth and prominent support for 4K gaming. The R5 series will start at $89, with 1GB of RAM. The R7 260X will hit $139 with 2GB of RAM, the R9 270X and 280X appear to replace the current Radeon 7950 and 7970 with price points at $199 and $299, and 2GB/3GB of RAM, and then the R9 290X, at an unannounced price point and 4GB of RAM. AMD is also offering a limited preorder pack, that offers Battlefield 4 license combined with the graphics cards, which should go on sale in the very near future. Finally, AMD is also debuting a new positional and 3D spatial audio engine in conjunction with GenAudio dubbed 'AstoundSound,' but they're only making it available on the R9 290X, R9 280X, and the R9 270X."
netbuzz writes "Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has no problem calling Network Protection Sciences (NPS) a patent troll. What he does have a problem with is NPS telling a Texas court that NPS had an 'ongoing business concern' in that state run by a 'director of business development' when all it really had was a rented file-cabinet room and the 'director' was actually the building landlord who merely signed legal papers when NPS told him to do so. Judge Alsup calls the alleged business a 'sham' and the non-employee 'Mr. Sham,' yet he declined to dismiss the patent infringement lawsuit filed by NPS against Fortinet from which this information emerged. Instead, he told NPS, 'this jury is going to hear all of this stuff about the closet. And you're going to have to explain why "Mr. Sham" was signing these documents.'"
wiredmikey writes "Twitter on Wednesday launched a system for emergency alerts which can help spread critical information when other lines of communication are down. Twitter Alerts are designed to help communicate in natural disasters or other emergencies when traditional channels may be overloaded or unavailable. 'We know from our users how important it is to be able to receive reliable information during these times,' Twitter product manager Gaby Pena said in a blog post. Users who sign up to receive an account's Twitter Alerts will receive a notification directly to their phone for tweets marked as alerts from certain senders. Some of those able to send alerts include the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, World Health Organization, and government and non-government agencies in Japan and South Korea."
An anonymous reader writes "One of my coworkers recently left the company, and I had to take over most of his responsibilities, including the maintenance and development of a homegrown CRM/ERP system. The system has evolved over more than a decade under the hands of at least four different developers and is based on Microsoft Access. Since I have been assigned this additional role, a day rarely passes without a user yelling for help because some part of the software is failing in strange and unpredictable ways, or some of the entered data has to be corrected manually in some obscure table in one of several database files. Without any exaggeration, some of the Visual Basic source code would be sufficient for several stories on The Daily WTF, and could make a grown man cry. Instead of spending further hours on optimizing this software i would rather like to start from scratch with some existing open-source CRM/ERP system that can be adapted to my companies needs. So far I have looked at and tested several CRM systems, including SugarCRM, vtiger, Feng Office (formerly known as opengoo), Zurmo and Fat Free CRM. Feng Office and Fat Free CRM look really nice and easy to use; the other ones could take a bit less bloat but are fine nevertheless. What software would you choose?"
trendspotter writes "Future computers could run on lab-grown circuits that are thousands of times thinner than a human hair and operate on a fraction of the energy required to power today's silicon-based computer chips, extending 'Moore's Law' for years to come. Stanford engineers' very basic computer device using carbon nanotube technology validates carbon nanotubes as potential successors to today's silicon semiconductors. The achievement is reported today in an article on the cover of Nature magazine written by Max Shulaker and other doctoral students in electrical engineering. The research was led by Stanford professors Subhasish Mitra and H.S. Philip Wong."
itwbennett writes "A couple of years ago, developer Sammy Larbi undertook a project to identify which languages had the most instances of the string 'WTF' in their GitHub code repositories. At the time, Objective C topped the list. ITworld's Phil Johnson has updated Larbi's research using GitHub data from the last 21 months, but instead of screen-scraping GitHub search results as Larbi had done, he queried the GitHub Archive for stand-alone instances of 'WTF' in the comments attached to GitHub commits to weed out cases where the string 'WTF' was legitimately used in the code. The three most baffling languages for 2012/13: C++, Lua, and Scala. Objective C comes in at #16."
An anonymous reader writes "Three to seven milliseconds before the fed moved interest rates, billions of dollars of trades were input that took advantage of the changed rates, reaping huge profits. According to a report at Mother Jones, 'Last Wednesday, the Fed announced that it would not be tapering its bond buying program. This news was released at precisely 2 pm in Washington 'as measured by the national atomic clock.' It takes 7 milliseconds for this information to get to Chicago. However, several huge orders that were based on the Fed's decision were placed on Chicago exchanges 2-3 milliseconds after 2 pm. How did this happen?'"
b1tbkt writes "Youth-focused Maker organization 'Hacker Scouts' has announced their decision to surrender their name due to bullying by the Boy Scouts of America. It appears that BSA has interpreted their federal charter to include a claim on any and all use of the term 'Scout' in an organization's name. The litmus test for such a claim, so far as I'm aware, is the likelihood of causing confusion. The term 'Scout' is sufficiently generic, though, and by this reasoning most every airline in the world would need to eliminate 'Airlines' from their name."
ananyo writes "Ghost writing is taking on an altogether different meaning in a mysterious case of alleged scientific fraud. The authors of a paper published in July, which reported significant findings in obesity research, seem to be phantoms. They are not only unknown at the institution listed on the paper, but no trace of them as researchers can be found. The paper, published in the Elsevier journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, is not the kind of prank that journals have encountered before, in which hoaxsters have submitted dummy papers to highlight weaknesses in the peer-review process. The paper's reported findings — that overexpression of two novel proteins in fat cells leads to improvements in metabolic processes related to diabetes and obesity in mice — are, in fact, true. Too true, in the opinion of Bruce Spiegelman, a cell biologist at Harvard Medical School's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He says that he has presented similar findings at about six research meetings, and is preparing to submit them to a journal. He suspects that the BBRC paper was intended as a spoiler of his own lab's work."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft's purchase of Finnish phone-maker Nokia will enrich the latter's CEO, Stephen Elop, to the tune of roughly $25.4 million. That's a generous number, considering Nokia's much-publicized travails over the past few years — generous enough, certainly, to prod angry reactions from the Finnish media. As Elop came aboard Nokia in 2011, he wrote the infamous 'burning platform' memo, in which he suggested that radical moves would be necessary to halt the company's market-share declines. In light of these latest revelations, however, I offer an updated version of Elop's memo: ''
solareagle writes "The BBC reports that an Alaskan airport says it has had to place barricades across one of its taxiways after an Apple Maps flaw resulted in iPhone users driving across a runway. The airport said it had complained to the phone-maker through the local attorney general's office. 'We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,' Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the airport, told the Alaska Dispatch newspaper. The airport said it had been told the problem would be fixed by Wednesday. However the BBC still experienced the issue when it tested the app, asking for directions to the site from a property to the east of the airport. By contrast the Google Maps app provided a different, longer route which takes drivers to the property's car park."
Valve's second major living-room-gaming announcement landed today: they have produced a prototype model of their first "Steam Machine." They've made 300 units, and they'll be sending the machines to users in a very limited beta test. Valve hastens to add that this device isn't the only Steam-focused hardware: "Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS." They haven't released specs, but they guaranteed the prototypes will ship this year. They explicitly permit using it in any way — swapping parts, changing the OS, installing any software, etc. "The specific machine we're testing is designed for users who want the most control possible over their hardware. Other boxes will optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors."
New submitter casab1anca writes "In classic Amazon fashion, without much fanfare, a bunch of new tablets just popped up on their homepage today. The new range, dubbed HDX, is available in the usual 8.9" and 7" versions, with improved hardware and software, but perhaps equally interesting is the revamped 7" Fire HD from last year, which goes for just $139 now." Compared to the Kindle Fire HD, the new models feature a jump in display density (216 PPI to 323 PPI for the 7" and 254 to 339 PPI for the 9"), a switch from a dual-core TI OMAP Cortex-A9 (at 1.2/1.5GHz) to a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, and a bump from 1G to 2G of RAM. On the software side, Android has been upgraded from 4.0 to 4.2.2 and Amazon added a few new features to their applications. Businessweek has an interview with Jeff Bezos running today too (starting a bit down the first page).
An anonymous reader writes "LLVM's libc++ standard library (an alternative to GNU libstdc++) now has full support for C++1y, which is expected to become C++14 next year. Code merged this week implements the full C++1y standard library, with support for new language features in the Clang compiler frontend nearly complete." GCC has some support for the soon-to-be standard too. The C++ standards committee is expected to produce a more or less final draft in just a few weeks. The LLVM and GCC C++14 status pages both have links to the proposals for the new features.
Dputiger writes "It's been a decade since AMD's Athlon 64 FX-51 debuted — and launched the 64-bit x86 extensions that power the desktop and laptop world today. After a year of being bludgeoned by the P4, AMD roared back with a vengeance, kicking off a brief golden age for its own products, and seizing significant market share in desktops and servers." Although the Opteron was around before, it cost a pretty penny. I'm not sure it's fair to say that the P4 was really bludgeoning the Athlon XP though (higher clock speeds, but NetBurst is everyone's favorite Intel microarchitecture to hate). Check out the Athlon 64 FX review roundup from 2003.
jrepin writes "The KDE libraries are being methodically reworked into a set of cross platform modules that will be readily available to all Qt developers. The KDE Frameworks, designed as drop-in Qt Addons, will enrich Qt as a development environment with functions that simplify, accelerate and reduce the cost of Qt development. For example, KArchive (one of the first Frameworks available) offers support for many popular compression codecs in a self-contained and easy-to-use file archiving library. Just feed it files; there's no need to reinvent an archiving function." This is a pretty major thing: "The introduction of Qt's Open Governance model in late 2011 offered the opportunity for KDE developers to get more closely involved with Qt, KDE's most important upstream resource. ... These contributions to Qt form the basis for further modularization of the KDE libraries. The libraries are moving from being a singular 'platform' to a set of 'Frameworks'. ... Instead it is a comprehensive set of technologies that becomes available to the whole Qt ecosystem." The new KDE Frameworks will be layered as three tiers of components, with each tier consisting of three semi-independent groups of libraries (the article explains the category/tier dependencies; it's a bit hairy for a quick summary). A dashboard shows the status of each component.
gewalker writes "Have we reached the point where it is time to admit that the ID thieves are winning and will continue to win as long as their incentives are sufficient to make it lucrative for them? According to Krebs On Security an analysis of a database pilfered from commercial identity thieves identified breaches in 25 data brokers including the heavyweights Dun and Bradstreet and LexisNexis." And they had access for months to most of them. From the article: The botnet’s online dashboard for the LexisNexis systems shows that a tiny unauthorized program called nbc.exe was placed on the servers as far back as April 10, 2013, suggesting the intruders have had access to the company’s internal networks for at least the past five months. The program was designed to open an encrypted channel of communications from within LexisNexis’s internal systems to the botnet controller on the public Internet." The companies compromised aggregated data for things like "credit decisions, business-to-business marketing and supply chain management. ... employment background, drug and health screening."
schwit1 writes "Like emails and documents stored in the cloud, your prescription medical records may have a tenuous right to privacy. In response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the privacy of certain medical records, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is arguing (ACLU response) that citizens whose medical records are handed over to a pharmacy — or any other third-party — have 'no expectation of privacy' for that information." Oregon mandates that pharmacies report information on people receiving certain drugs to a centralized database (ostensibly to "...help people work with their health care providers and pharmacists to know what medications are best for them."). State law does allow law enforcement to access the records, but only with a warrant. The DEA, however, thinks that, because the program is public, a citizen is knowingly disclosing that information to a third party thus losing all of their privacy rights (since you can always just opt out of receiving medical care) thanks to the Controlled Substances Act. The ACLU and medical professionals (PDF) don't think there's anything voluntary about receiving medical treatment, and that medical ethics override other concerns.
cagraham writes "Facebook has teamed up with payment processors PayPal, Braintree, and Stripe, in an attempt to simplify mobile payments. The system allows Facebook members (who have turned over their credit and billing info) to click a 'Autofill with Facebook' button when checking-out on a mobile app. Facebook will then verify the details, and securely transfer a user's info over to the payment processing company. The move is likely aimed at gathering more data on user behavior, which can be used to increase the prices Facebook charges for mobile ads. Whether or not the feature takes off however, will depend almost entirely on how willing users are to trust Facebook with their credit card data."
angry tapir writes "Last year Adam Dunkels, the creator of the open source Contiki operating system, launched a startup to build tools for the 'Internet of Things'. This week his company, Thingsquare, is releasing an evaluation kit that lets people test drive their IoT system. I caught up with him to talk about Thingsquare's plans and the hype around the IoT."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Guardian reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched a blistering attack on US espionage at the UN general assembly, accusing the NSA of violating international law by its indiscriminate collection of personal information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the country's strategic industries. 'Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information – often of high economic and even strategic value – was at the center of espionage activity,' said Rousseff. 'Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had their communications intercepted.' Rousseff's angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Washington's efforts to smooth over Brazilian outrage over NSA espionage have so far been rebuffed by Rousseff, who has proposed that Brazil build its own internet infrastructure. 'Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.'"
jammag writes "'When the history of free software is written, I am increasingly convinced that this last year will be noted as the start of the decline of Ubuntu,' opines Linux pundit Bruce Byfield. After great initial success, Ubuntu and Canonical began to isolate themselves from the mainstream of the free software community. Canonical, he says, has tried to control the open source community, and the company has floundered in many of its initiatives. Really, the mighty Ubuntu, in decline?"
schwit1 writes with news that a recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan killed 45 people and caused a new island to form a few hundred meters off the country's coast. The island is roughly 35 meters long, and 7-14 meters high. "Seismologists suspect the island is a temporary formation resulting from a "mud volcano," a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the surface as the temblor churned and pressurized that slurry under the ocean floor." Long-time residents of the area say a similar island formed in 1968 after another earthquake, but disappeared a year later. "It is clear that 'the islands are not created because the ground was ... pushed up by the earthquake,' [said geophysicist Paul Earle], but more likely it was a secondary effect of shifting sediments. He also agrees the formation appears to have been caused by a mud volcano, but added that they don't need an earthquake to set them off. There are 'mud volcanoes in Yellowstone that have not been triggered by earthquakes,' he said."
ananyo writes "An offshoot of Mozilla is aiming to discover whether a review process could improve the quality of researcher-built software that is used in myriad fields today, ranging from ecology and biology to social science. In an experiment being run by the Mozilla Science Lab, software engineers have reviewed selected pieces of code from published papers in computational biology. The reviewers looked at snippets of code up to 200 lines long that were included in the papers and written in widely used programming languages, such as R, Python and Perl. The Mozilla engineers have discussed their findings with the papers’ authors, who can now choose what, if anything, to do with the markups — including whether to permit disclosure of the results. But some researchers say that having software reviewers looking over their shoulder might backfire. 'One worry I have is that, with reviews like this, scientists will be even more discouraged from publishing their code,' says biostatistician Roger Peng at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. 'We need to get more code out there, not improve how it looks.'"