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Submission + - Hacker: The Auto Industry is Taking the Wrong Approach to Securing Vehicles->

Lucas123 writes: Charlie Miller, the security expert who with his friend Chris Valasek, proved Chyrsler's UConnect telematics system can be remotely hacked and the vehicle's critical driving systems controlled, said the auto industry can't protect vehicles through firewalls. Instead, Miller and others, say detection software and hardware based encryption on electronic control units is the best way to stop hackers from successful cyber attacks. Over a year-long effort, Miller and Valasek were able to hack the UConnect head unit, which allowed them to access a Jeep Cherokee's controller area network (CAN), which then allowed them to send messages to vital components, like the brakes, transmission and ignition. Any vehicle's CAN bus is very simple and the messages on it are very predictable, Miller said, adding that "when I start sending messages to cause attacks and physical issues, those messages stand out very plainly." No one will ever build a bullet-proof telematics platform, so knowing when it has been hacked is better than trying to prevent the penetration in the first place. "It would be very easy for car companies to build a device or build something into existing software that can detect CAN messages we sent and not listen to them or take some sort of action."
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Submission + - Since Receiving Satellite Tags, Some Sharks Have Become Stars of Social Media->

Lucas123 writes: A research project that tags the world's most dangerous sharks with four different tracking devices and then offers all the data to the public through a online and mobile apps has taken off, garnering hundreds of thousands of users; one shark even has more then 80,000 followers on Twitter. OCEARCH, a non-profit shark tracking project, has tagged about 130 sharks, from great whites and tigers to hammerheads and makos, and open sourced the data in the hope that it will create citizen scientists who will follow the animals and care about what happens to them. To further personify the apex predators, the researchers at OCEARCH have also given the sharks names such as Katharine and Mary Lee, two sharks that are more than 14 feet long and weight more than a ton. OCEARCH's shark tracker has garnered 10 times the traffic it had last year, and it's expected to grow 20 times more by the end of this year. Along with data from satellite, acoustic and accelerometer tags, the project expects to begin using big data analytics to offer more granular data about the animals and their lives to scientists and the public at large.
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Comment It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission (Score 5, Insightful) 368 368

FTA: "Five such 'unmanned aircraft systems' prevented California firefighters from dispatching helicopters with water buckets for up to 20 minutes over a wildfire that roared Friday onto a Los Angeles area freeway that leads to Las Vegas."

Yeah, I wouldn't have asked permission before shooting those drones from the sky.

Submission + - Lenovo ThinkPad W550s 5.5 lb Mobile Workstation Delivers 18 Hrs Of Battery Life->

MojoKid writes: Mobile workstation notebooks typically offer a fair degree of performance but usually at the expense of battery life. It comes with the territory for machines that are configured with higher-end processors with discrete graphics chips, as well as high-end displays that take more power to light up. Lenovo, however, seems to have found a way to strike a better balance with their new ThinkPad W550s machine, that comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-5600U CPU, an NVIDIA Quadro K620M GPU and a 15.5 inch IPS display that sports 2880X1620 native res. With that kind of horsepower and that many pixels to push, you would think untethered up-time wouldn't be its strong suit but Lenovo configured a snap-in extended battery for the W550s. The 6-cell extended battery, in combination with its 3-cell internal battery was able to power them machine for over 18 hours of light duty web browsing in real-world testing (Lenovo claims up to 20 hrs of battery life). The machine also lasted over 5 hours under heavy load Battery Eater testing and the extended battery is unobtrusive, tilting the keyboard up slightly toward the user but keeping well inside the machine's footprint. As is standard for workstation-class ThinkPads, it's not the sexiest machine style-wise but the ThinkPad W550s offers the performance high-end components and battery life too boot, along with classic ThinkPad workhorse build quality.
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Submission + - Why a Chinese Buyout of Micron Is Not Likely to Succeed->

Lucas123 writes: A reported $23 billion offer to purchase U.S.-based Micron, one of the largest DRAM and memory makers in the world, by a Chinese state-owned chip maker isn't likely to succeed for several reasons, not the least of which is that the U.S. government is unlikely to approve it and Micron has no reason to sell. Tsinghua Unigroup, a somewhat enigmatic company that is funded by Tsinghua University in China, offered $21 a share for Micron, which is a 19.3% premium over Micron's closing price on Monday. Micron's market cap is currently $20.7 billion. Micron has denied it received an offer from Tsinghua, but a Wall Street Journal report claimed the offer was real. Industry analysts however, believe Tsinghua may have used the WSJ as a trial balloon for an offer. Analysts also say rumors of a deal for Micron have been floating around for more than a month. Still, the possibility of a deal surprised some in the industry who expected China to organically grow its own DRAM and memory businesses. By acquiring Micron, however, China would instantly become a big player in what is a robust market. Fang Zhang, an IHS memory analyst, said Micron will not likely accept a buyout offer because the company has been performing well and expects to continue to do so. Additionally, the U.S. government considers chip technology vital to national security, so approval of the deal would at the very least take months if not more than a year during a time when the Chinese economy is at risk of collapse.
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Submission + - Air-Cooled AMD Radeon R9 Fury Arrives For $100 Less With Fury X-Like Performance->

MojoKid writes: When AMD launched the liquid-cooled Radeon Fury X, it was obvious the was company willing to commit to new architecture and bleeding edge technologies (Fiji and High-Bandwidth Memory, respectively). Also, Fury X showed a level of ambition and hardware design chops we hadn't seen from AMD in years. However, it fell shy of the mark that enthusiasts hoped it would achieve, unable to quite deliver a definitive victory against NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Today, AMD offers up their Radeon R9 Fury (sometimes referred to as Fury Air or Fury Pro), a video card that brings a compelling value proposition to the table. It appears that this is the Fury release that should give AMD a more competitive edge against NVIDIA in the $500+ graphics card bracket. AMD's Radeon R9 Fury's basic specs are mostly identical to the liquid-cooled flagship Fury X, except for two important distinctions. There's a 50MHz reduction in GPU clock speed to 1000MHz, and 512 fewer stream processors for a total of 3584, versus what Fury X has on board. Here's the interesting news which the benchmark results demonstrate: In price the Fury veers closer to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, but in performance it sneaks in awfully close to the GTX 980 Ti. Another noteworthy data point is that Sapphire's Tri-X Radeon R9 Fury (air cooled) is only about 5% slower than the liquid-cooled AMD Fury X reference design.
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Submission + - OCZ Toshiba Breaks 40 Cent Per GiB Barrier With New Trion 100 Series SSD->

MojoKid writes: OCZ is launching a brand new series of solid state drives today, dubbed the Trion 100. Not only are they the first drives from the company to use TLC NAND, but they're also the first to use all in-house Toshiba technology with the drive's Flash memory and controller both designed and built by Toshiba. That controller is paired to A19nm Toshiba TLC NAND Flash memory and a Nanya DDR3 DRAM cache. Details are scarce on the Toshiba TC58 controller but it does support Toshiba's QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Correction — a Toshiba proprietary error correction technology) and the drives have a bit of SLC cache to boost write performance in bursts and increase endurance. The OCZ Trion 100 series is targeted at budget conscious consumers and users still contemplating the upgrade from a standard hard drive. As such, they're not barn-burners in the benchmarking department, but performance is still good overall and a huge upgrade over any HDD. Pricing is going to be very competitive as well, at under .40 per GiB for capacities of 240GB, 480GB and 960GB and .50 per GiB for the smallest 120GB drive.
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Submission + - Samsung Releases First 2TB Consumer SSD for Laptops->

Lucas123 writes: Samsung has released what it is calling the world's first 2.5-in consumer-grade, multi-terabyte SSD, and it's issuing the new drive a 10-year warranty. With up to 2TB of capacity, the new 850 Pro and 850 EVO SSDs double the maximum capacity of their predecessors. As with the previous 840 Pro and EVO models, Samsung used its 3D V-NAND technology, which stacks 32 layers of NAND atop one another in a microscopic skyscraper that offers vastly greater flash memory density. Additionally, the drives take advantage of multi-level cell (MLC) and triple-level cell (TLC) (2- and 3-bit per cell) technology for even greater density. The 850 Pro, Samsung said, is designed for power users that may need higher performance with up to 550MBps sequential read and 520MBps sequential write rates and up to 100,000 random I/Os per second (IOPS). The 850 EVO SSD has slightly lower performance with 540MBps and 520MBps sequential read/write rates and up to 90,000 random IOPS. The SSDs will range in capacity from 120GB to 2TB and in price from $99 to $999.
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Submission + - Beam Me Up, Scotty: Real Life Star Trek Communicator Pairs With Your Smartphone->

MojoKid writes: If you're a fan of Star Trek (and what self-respecting geek isn't?), The Wand Company has just announced what could possibly be one of the greatest smartphone accessories you've seen in quite some time. The company has built a true-to-life Communicator — yes, that Communicator which we saw Captain Kirk whip out on numerous occasions when leading his away team on the surface of uncharted planets. Part of what makes the Communicator so special is that it acts as a Bluetooth handset that connects to your smartphone (hands-free calling and music streaming is supported). So even though the Communicator is after all a prop modeled after an object from a nearly 50-year-old television sci-fi series, it at least is actually useful for something.
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Submission + - GM Embeds Teen Tracking App in New Malibu ->

Lucas123 writes: GM announced 2016 models of the Chevy Malibu will offer a Teen Driver tracking application that will monitor everything from driving speed to the number of times the anti-lock braking mechanism was used while their kids were in the car. Upon return, a parent can bring up a "report card" on the head unit screen and see the top speed, stability control events, antilock brake events, forward collision alerts, among other things. The new feature can be enabled on Chevy's MyLink in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system and can be accessed via a password by parents. The Teen Driver alert system will not only monitor activity, but also alert and restrict certain activities, such as driving without a seat belt — try it and the music system will be muted. The Teen Driver system also gives audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling faster than speeds preset by a parent.
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Submission + - Mario Running In Unreal Engine 4 Is Strangley Satisfying And Awesome->

MojoKid writes: You no longer have to wonder what Super Mario would look like if he was rendered in 3D using the Unreal Engine 4. Did the thought ever crossed your mind? Well it did for YouTube user aryoksini, the same cat who showed off samples Super Mario 64 remade in HD using the Blender engine. As nifty as that was, his newest project is even better. Using the Unreal Engine 4, aryoksini created a 3D world in which you see Mario like you've never seen him before. Not that we haven't seen Mario in 3D before, just not as well rendered as this. Here we see Mario running in Unreal Engine 4 with all the environment assets taken from the Unreal marketplace, all the character actions scripted using blueprints only, all animations were re-created from scratch as well as the PBR ready textures. Unreal Engine 4 supports advanced DirectX 11 & 12 rendering features such as full-scene HDR reflections, thousands of dynamic lights per scene, artist-programmable tessellation and displacement, and physically-based shading and materials.
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Submission + - Oxford Professor Says AI Could Enslave And Sustain Humans With 'Heroin Drips'->

MojoKid writes: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn't the only one envisioning a world where artificially intelligent systems rise up and rule over mankind. Dr. Stuart Armstrong, an academic at the Future of Humanity at Oxford University feels we're precariously close to creating computers that will ultimately wipe out mankind, though if it comes as any consolation, they'll have good intentions. The future Dr. Armstrong envisions is one where machines have an incredible amount of computing power, and they'll be able to access all that information at speeds that would boggle the human mind. These machines will become so smart and sophisticated that they'll create their own global network to communicate with each other without the aid of pesky humans, who would only slow them down. This will mark the beginning of the end. At some point, Dr. Armstrong sees these super intelligent machines doing something incredibly dumb because of nuances in human communication. For example, a command such as "keep humans safe and happy" might prompt this network of machines to "entomb everyone in concrete coffins on heroin drips," Dr. Armstrong says.
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Submission + - Solar Power Capacity Installs Surpass Wind and Coal for Second Year 1 1

Lucas123 writes: Residential rooftop solar installations hit a historical high in the first quarter of 2015, garnering an 11% increase over the previous quarter and a 76% increase over the Q1, 2014. New installations of solar power capacity surpassed those of wind and coal for the second year in a row, accounting for 32% of all new electrical capacity, according to a new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Residential solar installation costs dropped to $3.46 per watt of installed capacity this quarter, which represents a 2.2% reduction over last quarter and a 10% reduction over the first quarter of 2014.

Submission + - Alienware 15 Laptop With Graphics Amplifier Enables Desktop Gaming Performance->

MojoKid writes: Most gaming notebooks, even boat anchor-class desktop replacements, would struggle to offer gaming performance competitive with the average gaming desktop PC. However, Dell's Alienware division decided to take a different approach to the problem of enabling sufficient graphics horsepower via a standard 15-inch laptop form factor. The recently launched Alienware 15 is a fairly stout 7 pound machine in its own right, with a GeForce GTX 970M mobile GPU on board, but connect it to Alienware's custom Graphics Amplifier box and the machine quickly converts into a system capable of desktop level gaming performance up to 4K resolution. Connected over an external PCI Express cable, the Graphics Amplifier allows essentially any standard desktop graphics card to handle the rendering workload sort of like a gaming docking station on steroids. In the benchmarks, with a desktop GeForce GTX 980 card pushing the pixels, it was easily the fastest notebook tested, as expected with its unfair advantage. Pricing-wise, the Graphics Amplifer box brings a $600 up-charge to a base config as tested with a dual-core 3.5GHz CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB HDD, 128GB SSD and GeForce GTX 970M on-board GPU for $1499. That said, you're better off going with an available quad-core Core i7 config, if you want to keep the external GPU fed optimally.
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Submission + - NAND Flash Shrinks to 15/16nm Process, Further Driving Prices Down->

Lucas123 writes: Both Micron and Toshiba are producing NAND flash memory based on 15 and 16 nanometer process technology, which reduces die area over a 16GB MLC chip by 28% compared with previous die technology. Additionally, Micron announced its upcoming consumer USB flash drives and internal SSDs will also use triple-level cell NAND flash (a technology expected to soon dominate the market) storing three bits instead of two for the first time and further reducing production cost. The advancement in NAND flash density has been driving SSD pricing down dramatically over the past few years. In fact, over the last year, the average price for a 128GB and 256GB SSDs have dropped to $50 and $90, respectively for system manufacturers, according to DRAMeXchange. And prices for consumers have dropped to $91.55 for a 128GB SSD and $164.34 for a 256GB SSD.
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