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+ - 159 Matchstick And Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
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."

+ - 163 Popular Android Browser May Monetize Usage->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
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. (http://www.techrepublic.com/article/random-dolphin-browser-for-android-hijacking/) 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 (http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/2gnqxn/is_dolphin_browser_redirecting_some_directly/) also describes how tools like Adaway also block the redirections when connected to the internet."
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+ - 156 Interview with Facebook's Head of Open Source

Submitted by Czech37
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 Opensource.com, 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."

+ - 161 Chinese Regulator Claims Flaws In Apple's iOS Can Steal Users' Data ->

Submitted by itwbennett
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."
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+ - 189 Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The NYT reports that Thailand’s former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra repeatedly encountered a distressing problem while traveling the world: bad Thai food. Too often, she found, the meals she sampled at Thai restaurants abroad were unworthy of the name, too bland to be called genuine Thai cooking. The problem bothered her enough to raise it at a cabinet meeting. Even though her political party has since been thrown out of office, in a May military coup, the Thai government is unveiling its project to standardize the art of Thai food using a robot. The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as “an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic.” Thailand's National Innovation Agency has spent about $100,000 to develop the e-delicious machine. The e-delicious machine has 10 sensors that measure smell and taste, generating a unique fingerprint (signature) for each sample of food that passes its digital maw. Generally with electronic tasting, there are electronic sensors that work just like the taste buds on your tongue, measuring the quantity of various taste-giving compounds, acidity, etc. While these electronic sensors can’t actually tell you how something tastes — that’s a very subjective, human thing — they are very good at comparing two foods scientifically. Meanwhile at a tiny food stall along one of Bangkok’s traffic-clogged boulevards, Thaweekiat Nimmalairatana, questioned the necessity of a robatic taster. “I use my tongue to test if it’s delicious or not,” said Nimmalairatana. “I think the government should consider using a human to gauge authenticity.”

Nakah Thawichawatt, who runs a business producing herbal supplements, has a vision for the machine that he says will take the next step in the digitization of our lives. The so-called e-delicious tasting machine would produce a digital signature of food at a particular restaurant. Consumers would then indicate their preferences on an app for mobile phones. The app would match consumers with their favorite tastes at other restaurants that participate in the program. “It’s just like pressing ‘like,’ ” says Thawichawatt. “You rate the food. Then we will know that you love that taste.”"

+ - 371 California Gov Brown Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants for Drone Surveillance->

Submitted by schwit1
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."

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+ - 200 How tech is transforming teaching in a South African township->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The founders of the African School for Excellence have an ambitious goal — nothing less than redefining low cost, scaleaable teaching that brings international standards to the poorest schools in Africa. And their first model school is off to a good start: in just 18 months, all grade 9 students are achieving more than 50% pass rates the Cambridge Curriculum and only one scored less than that in maths. The national average score in maths is 14%. The school relies on technology to and a locally designed piece of marking software to function, but its foundation is committed, innovative teachers who just use the tech to spread themselves further — teacher:pupil ratios are high, but when they need it learners get a lot of one-on-one support.
What's most remarkable is that the school's running costs are already half the cost of a traditional government school, and the quality of education much, much better. And they're only a year and a half in."

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+ - 183 FBI Plans to Open Up Malware Analysis Tool to Outside Researchers

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "The FBI has developed an internal malware-analysis tool, somewhat akin to the systems used by antimalware companies, and plans to open the system up to external security researchers, academics and others.

The system is known as Malware Investigator and is designed to allow FBI agents and other authorized law enforcement users to upload suspicious files. Once a file is uploaded, the system runs it through a cluster of antimalware engines, somewhat akin to the way that Virus Total handles submissions, and returns a wide variety of information about the file. Users can see what the detection rate is among AV engines, network connection attempts, whether the file has been seen by the system before, destination and source IP addresses and what protocols it uses.

Right now, Malware Investigator is able to analyze Windows executables, PDFs and other common file types. But Burns said that the bureau is hoping to expand the portal’s reach in the near future.

“We are going to be doing dynamic analysis of Android files, with an eye toward other operating systems and executables soon,” he said."

+ - 157 Aus government spending on R&D has reached 30-year low->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "The Australian government's investment in research and development has dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, an analysis of government figures shows. Science and innovation spending has fallen to 2.2 per cent of total budget expenditure this year, the lowest share since 1984-5

R&D investment has grown at less than half the rate of total budget expenditure over the past two decades. At an average annual rate of 2 per cent, real growth in science spending lags far behind transport (23.5 per cent), public safety (8.8 per cent) housing (6.6 per cent) and health (5.5 per cent). Total budget expenditure has increased 4.4 per cent in real terms since the mid-1990s. Budget figures also show science and innovation spending has fallen to its lowest share of GDP in 25 years. This year's expenditure of 0.56 per cent of GDP is the lowest since 1989-90

Australia ranked 18th out of 20 advanced economies — ahead of only Greece and the Slovak Republic — for government R&D spending as a share of GDP in 2013. In 2012, Australia ranked 24th out of 28 countries, according to OECD data"

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+ - 324 LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new feature being added to the LTE protocol that smartphones use to communicate with cellular towers will make it possible to bypass those towers altogether. Phones will be able to “talk” directly to other mobile devices and to beacons located in shops and other businesses. Known as LTE Direct, the wireless technology has a range of up to 500 meters, far more than either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It is included in update to the LTE standard slated for approval this year, and devices capable of LTE Direct could appear as soon as late 2015. ... Researchers are, for example, testing LTE Direct as a way to allow smartphones to automatically discover nearby people, businesses, and other information."
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+ - 200 CloudFlare announces free SSL support for all customers->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "CloudFlare, a cloud service that sits between websites and the internet to provide a CDN, DDOS and other attack prevention, speed optimization, and other services announced today that SSL will now be supported for all customers, including free customers. This will add SSL support to approximately 2 million previously unprotected websites. Previously SSL was only available to customers paying at least $20/month for a "Pro" plan or higher.

Browsers connect to CloudFlare's servers and receive a certificate provided by CloudFlare. CloudFlare then connects to the website's server to retrieve the content, serving as a sort of reverse proxy. Different security levels allow CloudFlare to connect to the website host using no encryption, a self-signed certificate, or a verified certificate, depending on the administrator's preferences. CloudFlare's servers will use SNI for free accounts, which is unsported for IE on Windows XP and older, and Android Browser on Android 2.2 and older."

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+ - 358 Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Incremental improvements have slowly but surely pushing solar power toward mainstream viability for a few decades now. It's getting to the point where the established utilities are worried about the financial hit they're likely to take — and they're working to prevent it. "These solar households are now buying less and less electricity, but the utilities still have to manage the costs of connecting them to the grid. Indeed, a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory argues that this trend could put utilities in dire financial straits. If rooftop solar were to grab 10 percent of the market over the next decade, utility earnings could decline as much as 41 percent." The utilities are throwing their weight behind political groups seeking to end subsidies for solar and make "net metering" policies go away. Studies suggest that if solar adoption continues growing at its current rate, incumbents will be forced to raise their rates, which will only persuade more people to switch to solar (PDF)."
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+ - 218 Tor executive director hints at Firefox integration

Submitted by blottsie
blottsie (3618811) writes "“They very much like Tor Browser and would like to ship it to their customer base,” Tor executive director Andrew Lewman wrote, explaining the discussions but declining to name the specific company. “Their product is 10-20 percent of the global market, this is of roughly 2.8 billion global Internet users.”

The product that best fits Lewman’s description, by our estimation, is Mozilla Firefox, the third-most popular Web browser online today and home to, you guessed it, 10 to 20 percent of global Internet users."

+ - 157 Microsoft Revives Its Hardware Conference->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, or WinHEC, was an annual staple of the '90s and '00s: every year, execs from Redmond would tell OEMs what to expect when it came to Windows servers and PCs. The conference was wrapped with software into Build in 2009, but now it's being revived to deal with not just computers but also the tablets and cell phone Microsoft has found itself in the business of selling and even making. It's also being moved from the U.S. to China, as an acknowledgement of where the heart of the tech hardware business is now."
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+ - 161 Is Tesla A Fringe Brand? Bob Lutz Thinks So

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "There's been plenty of skepticism when it comes to Tesla. The Silicon Valley startup unveiled an all-electric car that stunned the world and had many other automakers rolling their eyes. Fast forward to 2014 and Tesla's preparing to launch its second model, the Model S. Production of the Model S sedan is humming along, and this new automaker continues to make headlines multiple times a week. Industry veteran Bob Lutz was the champion behind the Chevrolet Volt, and has been quite vocal about Tesla from the beginning. So what's his views on the company now? He said Tesla will remain a "fringe brand" until it launches its next generation of vehicles and the smaller, less expensive Model 3. Speaking Wednesday on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" finance show he said that Tesla's stock price was "kinda high" at the moment. Is Lutz right, or is he just sour over Tesla's success?"

+ - 143 Building Apps in Swift with Storyboards->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Apple touts the Swift programming language as easy to use, thanks in large part to features such as Interface Builder, a visual designer provided in Xcode that allows a developer to visually design storyboards. In theory, this simplifies the process of designing both screens and the connections between screens, as it needs no code and offers an easy-to-read visual map of an app’s navigation. But is Swift really so easy (or at least as easy as anything else in a developer's workflow)? This new walkthrough of Interface Builder (via Dice) shows that it's indeed simple to build an app with these custom tools... so long as the app itself is simple. Development novices who were hoping that Apple had created a way to build complex apps with a limited amount of actual coding might have to spend a bit more time learning the basics before embarking on the big project of their dreams."
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