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Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Awesome Hardware Hack? 162

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter once 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? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?

Ask Slashdot: Make Windows Update Install Only Security Updates Automatically? 288

An anonymous reader writes: After the news earlier this month about Microsoft forcing the Windows 10 upgrade on people who don't want it, my sizeable extended family has been coming to me for a solution. They don't want to be guinea pigs this early in the Windows 10 release cycle, but it looks like Microsoft may not be giving them a choice. My reading of Woody Leonhard's advice is that the only way to ensure the upgrade doesn't happen is to disable Windows Update, but that seems extreme. I want my family to install security updates, but I don't relish the idea of explaining to them how to install just those and hide the less-desireable updates.

The ideal solution would be to have only security updates install automatically, but it looks like it's easier said than done. I've looked at third-party tools like Autopatcher and Portable Update, but a security-only option doesn't seem to be very standard. From what I've read, Microsoft doesn't even package security updates separately, sometimes mixing merely Important and Recommended updates in the downloaded CAB file. I wish I could get them off Windows, but it's not an option. They use Windows at work or school, and don't want to go through the process of learning another OS. Maybe the current situation with Windows 10 will convince them eventually, but they need something now. I would really like to come up with a solution before the next Patch Tuesday on October 13. Do any of the more knowledgeable Slashdotters out there have any advice?

Ask Slashdot: Linux-Based Home Security 212

Grady Martin writes: I got a new job. Everything about it is perfect, except for one thing: The overwhelming majority of affordable housing within driving distance lies in an area known for its high crime rate. A home security system would afford some peace of mind, and a system whose code I could tinker with would afford even more. What Linux-based options are available? What experience do you have with such systems?

Benchmark Battle, September 2015: Chrome Vs. Firefox Vs. Edge 137

An anonymous reader writes: The next browser battle is upon us. Edge has been out for more than a month, and its two biggest competitors have received significant updates: Chrome 45 and Firefox 40. This article puts all three through their paces, and each manages to win a few tests. Edge convincingly won the JetSteam and SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, while also eking out a victory in Google's Octane test. Chrome was victorious in Mozilla's Kraken benchmark for JavaScript performance, while also edging out Firefox in HTML5Test and the Oort Online WebGL test. Firefox won the WebXPRT test that combines HTML5 and JavaScript performance, and also the Peacekeeper test for general browser performance. There's no clear dominant browser for performance, and none of the three are obvious laggards, either. Browser competition seems to be in a good place right now.

Since-Pulled Cyanogen Update For Oneplus Changes Default Home Page To Bing 87

ourlovecanlastforeve writes: Nestled into GSMArena's report on the Cyanogen OS 12.1 update for Oneplus [ Note: an update that the story reports has since been pulled.] is this tasty bite: "...you'll find out that your Chrome homepage has been changed to Bing." Then it's casually dismissed with "Thankfully though, you can easily get rid of Microsoft's search engine by using Chrome settings." as if this were the most normal thing to have to do after an OTA update. Is this the new normal? Has Microsoft set a new precedent that it's okay to expect users to have to go searching through every setting and proactively monitor network traffic to make sure their data isn't being stolen, modified or otherwise manipulated?

How To Keep Microsoft's Nose Out of Your Personal Data In Windows 10 426

MojoKid writes: Amid the privacy concerns and arguably invasive nature of Microsoft's Windows 10 regarding user information, it's no surprise that details on how to minimize leaks as much as possible are often requested by users who have recently made the jump to the new operating system. If you are using Windows 10, or plan to upgrade soon, it's worth bearing in mind a number of privacy-related options that are available, even during the installation/upgrade. If you are already running the OS and forgot to turn them off during installation (or didn't even see them), they can be accessed via the Settings menu on the start menu, and then selecting Privacy from the pop-up menu. Among these menus are a plethora of options regarding what data can be gathered about you. It's worth noting, however, that changing any of these options may disable various OS related services, namely Cortana, as Microsoft's digital assistant has it tendrils buried deep.

A Breakdown of the Windows 10 Privacy Policy 318

WheezyJoe writes: The Verge has a piece on Windows 10 privacy that presents actual passages from the EULA and privacy policy that suggest what the OS is capturing and sending back to Microsoft. The piece takes a Microsoft-friendly point of view, arguing that all Microsoft is doing is either helpful or already being done either by Google or older releases of Windows, and also touches on how to shut things off (which is also explained here). But the quoted passages from the EULA and the privacy policy are interesting to review, particularly if you look out for legal weasel words that are open to Microsoft's interpretation, such as "various types (of data)", diagnostic data "vital" to the operation of Windows (cannot be turned off), sharing personal data "as necessary" and "to protect the rights or property of Microsoft". And while their explanations following the quotes may attempt an overly friendly spin, the article may be right about one thing: "In all, only a handful of these new features, and the privacy concerns they bring, are actually in fact new... Most people have just been either unaware or just did not care of their existence in past operating systems and software." Even pirates are having privacy concerns and blocking Windows 10 users.

Windows 10 Still Phones Home With Data In Spite of Privacy Settings 316

Penguinisto writes: According to Ars Technica, Windows 10 will still send telemetry and other data to Microsoft-owned domains — no matter how tightly you crank down the privacy settings. Even with everything buttoned down, Cortana, OneDrive, and Web Search from the Start Menu disabled, the OS still phones home, using a random system ID that persists across reboots. It apparently also tries to bypass proxies to do it. "Some of the traffic looks harmless but feels like it shouldn't be happening. For example, even with no Live tiles pinned to Start (and hence no obvious need to poll for new tile data), Windows 10 seems to download new tile info from MSN's network from time to time, using unencrypted HTTP to do so. ... Other traffic looks a little more troublesome. Windows 10 will periodically send data to a Microsoft server named ssw.live.com. ... The exact nature of the information being sent isn't clear—it appears to be referencing telemetry settings—and again, it's not clear why any data is being sent at all. We disabled telemetry on our test machine using group policies."

How Microsoft Built, and Is Still Building, Windows 10 193

An anonymous reader writes with this Venturebeat story about how Windows 10 is different from previous versions because of the way it was designed, including 15 public preview builds, and how much work is still being done. Windows 10 for PCs arrived two weeks ago. Thankfully, we don't need to wait years to say this will be a Microsoft operating system release like no other. The most obvious clue is not the fact that Windows 10 was installed on more than 14 million devices in 24 hours, that you can get it for cheap or upgrade to it for free, nor even that it ships with a digital assistant and a proper browser. No, the big deal here is that Microsoft is turning its OS into a service, and that means as you read these words, it's still being built. For the next few years, we'll be getting not just Windows 10 updates and patches, but new improvments and features. This is possible because Microsoft built this version very differently from all its previous releases.

Ask Slashdot: Can You Disable Windows 10's Privacy-Invading Features? 492

An anonymous reader writes: I really want to upgrade to Windows 10, but have begun seeing stories come out about the new Terms and how they affect your privacy. It looks like the default Windows 10 system puts copies of your data out on the "cloud", gives your passwords out, and targets advertising to you. The main reason I am looking to upgrade is that Bitlocker is not available on Windows 7 Pro, but is on Windows 10 Pro, and Microsoft no longer offers Anytime Upgrades to Windows 7 Ultimate. However, I don't want to give away my privacy for security. The other option is to wait until October to see what the Windows 10 Enterprise version offers, but it may not be available through retail. Are the privacy minded Slashdot readers not going with Windows 10?

For reference, I am referring to these articles.
(Not to mention claims that it steals your bandwidth.)

Comment Why all of a sudden? (Score 2, Insightful) 261

Not to be insensitive to people with vestibular disorders, but why is this the first I'm hearing about this? OSes from Windows to OSX to Linux to Android, etc. etc., have employed various zooming/sliding/wobbling/parallax animations for years now. I've only played with iOS 7 that smallest bit, but is it really so different from everything else that's it's causing a sudden wave of heretofore unseen motion sickness?


Solar Impulse Airplane To Launch First Sun-Powered Flight Across America 89

First time accepted submitter markboyer writes "The Solar Impulse just landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California to announce a journey that will take it from San Francisco to New York without using a single drop of fuel. The 'Across America' tour will kick off this May when founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg take off from San Francisco. From there the plane will visit four cities across the states before landing in New York."

Neutrinos are into physicists.