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Hardware

Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch? 280

Posted by timothy
from the does-it-shoot-deadly-darts? dept.
Watches that do more than tell the time have been around for a long time. (And in fiction, James Bond, Dick Tracey, and Michael Knight all had notably high-tech watches.) The new smart watches from Samsung and LG, without a phone connected via Bluetooth as backhaul, can still serve to show the time and to serve as alarms (and Samsung's can measure your pulse, too), but all the magic features (like searching by voice via the watch) do require a connection. They can't play MP3s or take pictures on their own, and they don't have built-in GPS. Even so, compared to the polarizing Google Glass, the new breed of smart watches are wearables that probably are an easier sell, even if this far the trend has been to replace watches with smart phones. (Android Wear has gotten a lot of attention, but Microsoft has their own upcoming, and Apple almost certainly does, too.) Are you interested in a smart watch, and if so, what uses do you want it for? If they have no appeal to you now, are there functions that would make you change your mind on that front?
Biotech

Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC 132

Posted by timothy
from the really-great-bread-man dept.
meghan elizabeth writes How do you get weed without the weed? By genetically engineering yeast to produce THC, of course.
Once theorized in a stoner magazine column more than a decade ago, a biotech startup working in Ireland is actively trying to transplant the genetic information that codes for both THC and another cannabinoid called CBD into yeast so that "marijuana" can be grown in a lab—no plants necessary.
Microsoft

New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture 183

Posted by timothy
from the learnings-about-synergy dept.
jfruh (300774) writes New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that he and his leadership team are taking "important steps to visibly change our culture" and that "nothing is off the table" on that score. While much of his declaration consists of vague and positive-sounding phrases ("crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes"), he outlined his main goals for the shift: reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; and increasing investment for employee training and development.
China

Chinese Hackers Infiltrate Firms Using Malware-Laden Handheld Scanners 88

Posted by timothy
from the location-location-location dept.
wiredmikey (1824622) writes China-based threat actors are using sophisticated malware installed on handheld scanners to target shipping and logistics organizations from all over the world. According to security firm TrapX, the attack begins at a Chinese company that provides hardware and software for handheld scanners used by shipping and logistics firms worldwide to inventory the items they're handling. The Chinese manufacturer installs the malware on the Windows XP operating systems embedded in the devices.

Experts determined that the threat group targets servers storing corporate financial data, customer data and other sensitive information. A second payload downloaded by the malware then establishes a sophisticated C&C on the company's finance servers, enabling the attackers to exfiltrate the information they're after. The malware used by the Zombie Zero attackers is highly sophisticated and polymorphic, the researchers said. In one attack they observed, 16 of the 48 scanners used by the victim were infected, and the malware managed to penetrate the targeted organization's defenses and gain access to servers on the corporate network. Interestingly, the C&C is located at the Lanxiang Vocational School, an educational institution said to be involved in the Operation Aurora attacks against Google, and which is physically located only one block away from the scanner manufacturer, TrapX said.
Robotics

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots 526

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the human-workers-sent-to-protein-bank dept.
redletterdave (2493036) writes The largest private employer in all of China and one of the biggest supply chain manufacturers in the world, Foxconn announced it will soon start using robots to help assemble devices at its several sprawling factories across China. Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest partners to help assemble its iPhones, iPads, will be the first company to use the new service. Foxconn said its new "Foxbots" will cost roughly $20,000 to $25,000 to make, but individually be able to build an average of 30,000 devices. According to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, the company will deploy 10,000 robots to its factories before expanding the rollout any further. He said the robots are currently in their "final testing phase."
Politics

Former NSA Chief Warned Against Selling NSA Secrets 138

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the alan-grayson-hates-freedom-and-puppies dept.
An anonymous reader writes Former NSA Chief General Keith Alexander has apparently started his own cybersecurity consulting firm, IronNet Cybersecurity, and approached the banking industry pitching his company's suite of services. Word from Wired indicates that his services cost $1 million per month with a special discount asking price of $600,000 per month. Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) expressed concern about General Alexander's activities to the banking industry, stating, "I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods....Without the classified information he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you." (PDF) The congressman from the House of Representatives reminds the bankers (and General Alexander, should he be listening) that selling top secret information is a federal offense.
Education

What's Your STEM Degree Worth? 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the doing-the-math dept.
Jim_Austin writes A recent study by economist Douglas Webber calculates the lifetime earnings premium of college degrees in various broad areas, accounting for selection bias--that is, for the fact that people who already are likely to do well are also more likely to go to college. These premiums are not small. Science Careers got exclusive access to major-specific data, and published an article that tells how much more you can expect to earn because you got that college degree--for engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, and biology majors.

Comment: Formats supported? (Score 1) 89

by Dr.Dubious DDQ (#47291233) Attached to: Mozilla Is Working On a Firefox OS-powered Streaming Stick

I suspect I can safely assume that it'll be easy for anyone (e.g. MediaGoblin or other projects) to write an interface to it. Can we also safely assume it'll support all media formats that Firefox supports natively (i.e. .ogg [vorbis], .ogv [theora/vorbis], .webm [vp8/vorbis], .opus [opus audio in ogg], and .webm version 2 [vp9/opus])?

(and, seriously, why doesn't Mozilla throw in with MediaGoblin, or perhaps start a similar project to help end-users host their own "content"? It seems like an obvious direction for Mozilla's heavy emphasis on "web video" these days.)

Youtube

Google: Indie Musicians Must Join Streaming Service Or Be Removed 364

Posted by Soulskill
from the our-way-or-the-highway dept.
Sockatume writes: In a statement to the Financial Times and reported by the BBC, Google has confirmed that it will remove the music videos of independent artists unless they sign up to its upcoming subscription music service. Many independent musicians and labels have refused to do so, claiming that the contracts offer significantly worse deals than the likes of Spotify and Pandora, and that Google is unwilling to negotiate on the rates it offers artists. A Google spokesperson indicated that the company could start removing videos within days.
Patents

Study: Royalty Charges Almost On Par With Component Costs For Smartphones 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the cost-of-things dept.
Bismillah (993337) writes "An interesting study by WilmerHale lawyers and Intel's assistant general counsel Ann Armstrong looked into how much royalty payments and demands actually amount to per device, and found the cost so high it threatens industry profitability and competitiveness. 'As the bank robber Willie Sutton is reported to have said, he robbed banks 'because that's where the money is' - so too of smartphones for patent holders,' the authors wrote."
Media

The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes 339

Posted by timothy
from the only-109-more-isolated-numbers-until-the-singularity dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The environmental benefits of streaming a movie (or downloading it) rather than purchasing a DVD are staggering, according to a new U.S. government study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. If all DVDs purchased in 2011 were streamed instead, the energy savings would have been enough to meet the electricity demands of roughly 200,000 households. It would have cut roughly 2 billion kilograms of carbon emissions. According to the study, published in Environmental Research Letters, even when you take into account cloud storage, data servers, the streaming device, streaming uses much less energy than purchasing a DVD. If, like me, you're thinking, 'who buys DVDs anymore, anyways?', the answer is 'a lot of people.'" The linked paper is all there, too — not just an abstract and a paywall.
Technology

Report: Apple To Unveil "Smart Home" System 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-the-house dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to a report Apple will be unveiling a new smart home system at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. The system will allow users to control security systems, appliances and lighting with their iPhones. A "select number" of device makers will be certified to offer products that work with Apple's upcoming system, according to the report, which didn't name any of the manufacturers."
Android

Apple's Revenge: iMessage Might Eat Your Texts If You Switch To Android 415

Posted by timothy
from the computer-says-no dept.
redletterdave (2493036) writes "When my best friend upgraded from an iPhone 4S to a Galaxy S4, I texted her hello. Unfortunately, she didn't get that text, nor any of the five I sent in the following three days. My iPhone didn't realize she was now an Android user and sent all my texts via iMessage. It wasn't until she called me about going to brunch that I realized she wasn't getting my text messages. What I thought was just a minor bug is actually a much larger problem. One that, apparently, Apple has no idea how to fix. Apple said the company is aware of the situation, but it's not sure how to solve it. One Apple support person said: 'This is a problem a lot of people are facing. The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it. There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in my boat.'"
Piracy

RightsCorp To Bring Its Controversial Copyright Protection Tactics To Europe 196

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the export-grade-copyright-trolls dept.
judgecorp (778838) writes "RightsCorp, the controversial copyright enforcer, is planning to begin operations in Europe. In the U.S., the company scans torrents for IP addresses on behalf of media companies, shares them with ISPs, forcing them to send lawyers' letters (using the DMCA) demanding money from the supposed copyright infringers. RightsCorp says Europe needs its help in fighting piracy." They recently expanded operations into Canada as well.
Patents

Jury Finds Apple and Samsung Infringed Each Other's Patents 49

Posted by timothy
from the shouldn't-it-come-out-in-the-wash? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A U.S. jury concluded Friday that Samsung had infringed on two of Apple's patents and that Apple had infringed on one of Samsung's patents. Prior to the trial, the judge had ruled that Samsung had infringed on one other Apple patent. Samsung will receive $158,400 in damages, although they had requested just over $6 million. Apple will receive $119.6 million in damages, although they had requested just over $2 billion and a ban on certain Samsung phones. Some say that a sales ban is unlikely to be approved by the judge. The jury is scheduled to return on Monday to resolve what appears to be a technical mistake in their verdict on one of the patents, and Apple may gain a few hundred thousand dollars in their damages award as a result."

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