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Submission + - A Bot That Drives Robocallers Insane

Trailrunner7 writes: Robocalls are among the more annoying modern inventions, and consumers and businesses have tried just about every strategy for defeating them over the years, with little success. But one man has come up with a bot of his own that sends robocallers into a maddening hall of mirrors designed to frustrate them into surrender.

The bot is called the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, and it’s the work of Roger Anderson, a veteran of the phone industry himself who had grown tired of the repeated harassment from telemarketers and robocallers. Anderson started out by building a system that sat in front of his home landlines and would tell human callers to press a key to ring through to his actual phone line; robocallers were routed directly to an answering system. He would then white-list the numbers of humans who got through.

Sometimes the Jolly Roger bot will press buttons to be transferred to a human agent and other times it will just talk back if a human is on the other end of the line to begin with.

Submission + - The Widely Reported ISIS Encrypted Messaging App Is Not Real

blottsie writes: Despite widespread reports to the contrary, an app created for Islamic State militants to send private encrypted messages does not exist, a week-long Daily Dot investigation found.

All of the media articles on the Alrawi app showed screenshots of a different app entirely, one that is a glorified RSS reader with a totally different name. The Defense One journalist who first reported on GSG's claims about the app told the Daily Dot that he hadn't seen any version of Alrawi at all, and the subsequent reports on the app largely relied on Defense One's reporting. The Daily Dot was the first media outlet to receive, on Jan. 18, what GSG claimed was the Alrawi encryption app.

The app, called “Alrawi.apk,” contained no ability to send or encrypt messages. It was created using MIT's App Inventor, a plug-and-play tool meant primarily for children.

Submission + - Building brain-like cognition and control for robots

Hallie Siegel writes: Researchers are connecting robotics with neuroscience in order to both build intelligent robots and to better understand how the brain works. Neurorobotics researcher Florian Roehrbein summarizes the state of the art in the field of robotics cognition and control, based on the latest research present at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Submission + - Newegg Sues Patent Troll after Troll Dropped Its Own Lawsuit (arstechnica.com)

WheezyJoe writes: Not satisfied that a patent troll dropped its lawsuit against them after just one phone call, Newegg has sued the troll, to set the record straight that the troll's lawsuit would never have won. So-called "patent holding company" Minero Digital sought to exact royalty payments on a wide range of USB hubs, suing, among others, Newegg's subsidiary Rosewill. But the "non-practicing entity" dropped its East Texas lawsuit against Rosewill within days of getting a call from the Newegg's lawyer. However, Minero dismissed its Texas lawsuit "without prejudice", meaning it can refile the case at a time of its choosing. So, Newegg filed its own lawsuit against Minero in Los Angeles federal court, asking a judge to lay down a ruling that Minero's case against Rosewill is baseless.

Says Newegg's never-settle-with-trolls Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng, "Minero’s case does not have merit, and its patent is not only expired but would suck even if it wasn’t expired. Now that they have started the litigation, it would be irresponsible for Newegg to not finish it."

Submission + - VMware fires US dev team behind Workstation and Fusion (theregister.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: VMware has fired the US-based development teams that worked on its Fusion and Workstation desktop hypervisors, the products that gave the company its start.

News of the layoffs made it onto Twitter, of course, and has also reached a blog by former VMware team member Christian Hammond.

Submission + - TSA: Gun discoveries in baggage up 20% in 2015 over 2014 (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: There was a 20% increase in firearm discoveries at TSA airport checkins from 2014’s total of 2,212. It’s an astounding number really, but the details get worse. The TSA goes onto say 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven firearms per day. Of those, 2,198 (83%) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year.

Submission + - The story behind National Reconnaissance Office's octopus logo (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth. Researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a Freedom of Information Act with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered.

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