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Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: Your Most Unusual Hardware Hack? 143

Posted by timothy
from the my-water-into-wine-machine dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter recently asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them?

+ - Mozilla Integrates Pocket Into Firefox

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today updated Firefox 38 to version 38.0.5. A small bump like this usually indicates just a few changes here and there, but this time is different: A new Firefox Hello tab sharing feature and Pocket integration have been added. irefox for desktop users can now share the active tab or window in a Hello conversation, as well as save the current page in Pocket. Both features leverage Firefox Accounts, an account system that provides access to Mozilla services (and now, apparently, third-party services too).
Security

Professional Russian Trolling Exposed 194

Posted by timothy
from the in-ex-soviet-russia dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Today the New York Times published a stunning exposé revealing the strategies used by one of the Web's greatest enemies: professional, government-backed "internet trolls." These well-paid agent provocateurs are dedicated to destroying the value of the Internet as an organizing and political tool. The trolling attacks described within are mind-boggling -- they sound like the basis of a Neal Stephenson novel as much as they do real life -- but they all rely on the usual, inevitable suspects of imperfect security and human credulity.

+ - Corn Ethanol is Worse than Keystone->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: For years, environmental activists have opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that development of Canada’s oil sands will be “game over for the climate.” But if those same activists are sincere about climate change, why aren’t they getting arrested outside the White House to protest the use of corn ethanol?
Link to Original Source
Intel

Intel Adopts USB-C Connector For 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3, Supports USB 3.1, DP 1.2 134

Posted by timothy
from the ok-that's-pretty-cool dept.
MojoKid writes: The high speed Thunderbolt interface standard, which is used for everything from hyper-fast external storage solutions to external graphics cards, has been slow to take off. You can blame the high-priced Thunderbolt peripherals and the uber-expensive cables (at least when compared to your garden-variety USB cables). For most people, USB 3.0 is "good enough" and making a huge investment into the Thunderbolt ecosystem has been reserved for those in the professional video editing arena. However, Intel is looking to change all of that with Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 3 once again doubles the maximum bandwidth, this time jumping from 20Gbps to a whopping 40Gbps. While that is impressive in its own right, the truly big news is that Thunderbolt 3 is moving away from the Mini DisplayPort connector and is instead adopting the USB-C connector. As a result Thunderbolt will also support USB 3.1 (which is currently spec'd at 10Gbps) and can optionally provide up to 100W of power (in compliance with the USB Power Delivery spec) to charge devices via USB-C (like the recently introduced 12-inch Apple MacBook).

+ - Move-in day for the DRC Finals - imagine packing up your entire lab!->

Submitted by Hallie Siegel
Hallie Siegel writes: Imagine having to pack up your entire robotics laboratory and ship it across the country, or even the ocean. The 25 teams participating in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) had to do just that, and they are right now arriving at the competition grounds in Ponoma California to unpack and set up for this premiere international robotics, which runs June 5-6 and which will demonstrate the state of the art in disaster response humanoid robotics. The logistics of moving that much equipment and staff is enormous. And just think of the paper work at US customs! I hope DARPA debriefed the local border agents ...
Link to Original Source

+ - Professional Russian Trolling Exposed->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Today the New York Times published a stunning exposé revealing the strategies used by one of the Web's greatest enemies: professional, government-backed "internet trolls." These well-paid agent provocateurs are dedicated to destroying the value of the Internet as an organizing and political tool.
Link to Original Source
Power

Mercedes-Benz Copies Tesla, Plans To Offer Home Energy Storage 72

Posted by timothy
from the germans-sure-know-their-zeitgeist dept.
cartechboy writes: It's like a game of follow the leader. First, Tesla announced its Powerwall Batteries, and now Mercedes-Benz plans to follow suit by entering the energy-storage business as well. A division of parent company Daimler has been testing battery packs that can power houses, and plans to launch commercially in September. Supposedly a battery pack for "light industrial, commercial, and private" use is being tested with sizes ranging from 2.5 kWh to 5.9 kWh. While Tesla's building a massive Gigafactory to make all its batteries for its Powerwall and electric cars, it's unclear exactly how Daimler plans to produce its batteries in a larger-scale energy-storage operation.

+ - ULA to trim management by 30%

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: In order to make itself more efficient and competitive, ULA has decided to cut its management by 30%.

ULA CEO Tory Bruno has said ULA must shrink to remain successful under reduced U.S. military budgets and with Elon Musk’s SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) being certified to compete against ULA for national security mission launches. “To achieve that transformation, we are reducing the number of executive positions by 30 percent and offered a voluntary layoff for those interested on the executive leadership team,” said ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye. “It is important for ULA to move forward early in the process with our leadership selections to ensure a seamless transition and our continued focus on mission success.”

This news should be looked at in the context of a proposed Senate bill that requires the Air Force to significantly cut funding to ULA.

Not only would the bill cut an annual $1 billion payment from the Air Force to ULA, it would put severe restrictions on the number of Russian engines ULA could use in its Atlas 5, which in turn will limit the number of launches the Air Force can buy from the company.

+ - Amazon: Build Us a Better Warehouse Robot->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Amazon relies quite a bit on human labor, most notably in its warehouses. The company wants to change that via machine learning and robotics, which is why earlier this year it invited 30 teams to a “Picking Contest.” In order to win the contest, a team needed to build a robot that can outpace other robots in detecting and identifying an object on a shelf, gripping said object without breaking it, and delivering it into a waiting receptacle. According to Engadget, Team RBO, composed of researchers from the Technical University of Berlin, won last month’s competition by a healthy margin. Their winning design combined a WAM arm (complete with a suction cup for lifting objects) and an XR4000 mobile base into a single unit capable of picking up 12 objects in 20 minutes—not exactly blinding speed, but enough to demonstrate significant promise. If Amazon’s contest demonstrated anything, it’s that it could be quite a long time before robots are capable of identifying and sorting through objects at speeds even remotely approaching human (and thus taking over those jobs). Chances seem good that Amazon will ask future teams to build machines that are even smarter and faster.
Link to Original Source

+ - NASA tries to solve the problem of bug guts sticking to aircraft wings->

Submitted by mthwgk
mthwgk writes: While NASA may regularly carry out groundbreaking research, not all of it is something you’d want to go home and boast about. This week a team of engineers from NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project are working on just such a project, specifically: how to stop the guts of thousands of bugs building up on the leading edge of wings?
Link to Original Source

+ - Mercedes-Benz Copies Tesla, Plans To Offer Home Energy Storage

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy writes: It's like a game of follow the leader. First, Tesla announced its Powerwall Batteries, and now Mercedes-Benz plans to follow suit by entering the energy-storage business as well. A division of parent company Daimler has been testing battery packs that can power houses, and plans to launch commercially in September. Supposedly a battery pack for "light industrial, commercial, and private" use is being tested with sizes ranging from 2.5 kWh to 5.9 kWh. While Tesla's building a massive Gigafactory to make all its batteries for its Powerwall and electric cars, it's unclear exactly how Daimler plans to produce its batteries in a larger-scale energy-storage operation. Will Daimler build a battery factory of its own, or is this a ploy to steal some headlines from Tesla while the topic is hot?

The best laid plans of mice and men are held up in the legal department.

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