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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - Toshiba Announces 3D Flash With 48 Layers -- The Industry's Densest ->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Admitting it has bumped up against a 15 nanometer process wall, Toshiba announced it's focusing its efforts on three dimensional NAND using its Bit Cost Scalable technology in order to increase capacity. It has dedicated a Japanese fab plant to it and developed 48-level 3D NAND, which bumps density up 33% over previous 3D NAND flash. The new 3D NAND will be able to store 128Gb of data per chip (16GB). Samsung has been mass producing 32-layer, triple-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND since last October and has incorporated it into some of its least expensive SSDs. Yesterday, Micron and Intel announced their own 32-layer 3D TLC NAND, which they claimed will lead to 10TB SSDs. While Toshiba's 3D NAND is multi-level cell (meaning it stores two bits per transistor versus three), the company does plan on developing a TLC version. Toshiba said it's not abandoning 15nm floating gate flash, but it will focus those efforts on lower capacity applications."
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+ - Elon Musk's SolarCity Offering To Build Cities, Businesses Their Own Grids->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Rooftop solar distributor SolarCity announced a new service where it will build a centrally-controllable power grid for cities, business campuses and even islands. Marketing its GridLogic service by calling attention to the recent uptick in natural disasters and the extended power outages that resulted from them, SolarCity said its "microgrids" are fully independent power infrastructures fed by solar panels with lithium-ion backup batteries (courtesy of Tesla). SolarCity claims its GridLogic program can provide electricity to communities and businesses for less than they pay for utility power and the facilities can still be connected to their area's utility power grid as an added backup."
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+ - Apple Makes Good on It's Promise to Double MacBook Pro Performance-> 2

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Benchmark tests performed on the 2015 MacBook Pro revealed it does have twice the read/write performance as the mid-2014 model. Tests performed with the Blackmagic benchmark tool revealed read/write speeds of more than 1,300MBps/1,400MBps, respectively. So what's changed? The new MacBook Pro does have a faster Intel dual-core i7 2.9GHz processor and 1866MHz LPDDR3) RAM, but the real performance gain is in the latest PCIe M.2 flash module. The 2014 model used a PCIe 2.0 x2 card and the 2015 model uses a PCIe 3.0 x4 (four I/O lanes) card. Twice the lanes, twice the speed. While Apple uses a proprietary flash card made by Samsung, Intel, Micron and SanDisk are all working on similar technology, so it's likely to soon wind up in high-end PCs."
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+ - Elon Musk predicts driving may someday be illegal->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "During a discussion at a Nvidia conference, Elon Musk predicted that in the future, consumers will not be allowed to drive cars because it will be considered too dangerous. "You can't have a person driving a two-ton death machine," he said. Others agree. Thilo Koslowski, a vice president at Gartner, said instead of laws dictating drivers must cede control to their car's computer, we may someday someday just pass signs requiring drivers to activate auto-drive functionality for certain particularly treacherous stretches of roadway. Kowlowski said fully autonomous vehicles won't be ubiquitous for another 10 to 15 years, but the government could spur that on by offering tax incentives as it does today with all-electric vehicles and hybrids."
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+ - Hertz Installs Internal Cameras in Rental Vehicles->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Hertz as installed internal cameras in about 12% of its rental fleet as part of an upgrade to its in-vehicle navigation system NeverLost. While the sixth iteration of NeverLost includes the camera, Hertz said it currently can't be activated because there's no software behind it. The nation's largest rental car company said the cameras were selected as a feature of their new Magellan touchscreen GPS system as a way of someday offering passengers video conferencing with Hertz representatives in the event of a problem. Hertz began installing the cameras last summer and to date has 60,000 of them in rental vehicles. The company said it doesn't know when or if it will activate the cameras, "We'd have to see whether there'd be customer acceptance of it, and you'd be weighing the convenience of video conferencing...against the privacy concerns some people have," a spokesman said."
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+ - Deploying Solar in California's Urban Areas Could Meet Demand Five Times Over->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "About 8% of terrestrial surfaces in California have been developed, ranging from cities and buildings to park spaces. If photovoltaic panels, along with concentrating solar power, were more effectively deployed in and around those areas, it could meet between three and five times what California currently uses for electricity, according to a new study. The study from the Carnegie Institution for Science, found that using small- and utility-scale solar power in and around developed areas could generate up to 15,000 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours) of energy a year using photovoltaic technology, and 6,000TWh of energy a year using concentrating solar power technology. "Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact," post-doctoral environmental earth scientist Rebecca Hernandez said."
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+ - Why Apple Won't Adopt A Wireless Charging Standard->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "As the battle for mobile dominance continues among three wireless charging standards, with many smartphone and wearable makers having already chosen sides, Apple continues to sit on the sideline. While the new Apple Watch uses a tightly coupled magnetic inductive wireless charging technology, it still requires a cable. The only advantage is that no port is required, allowing the watch case to remain sealed and water resistant. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, however, remain without any form of wireless charging, either tightly coupled inductive or more loosely coupled resonant charging. Over the past few years, Apple has filed patents on its own flavor of wireless charging, a "near field" or resonant technology, but no products have as yet come to market. If and when it does select a technology, it will likely be its own proprietary specification, which ensures accessory makers will have to pay royalties to use it."
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+ - New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Solar energy installations beat both wind generated and coal-fired energy for the second year in a row, according to a new report from GTM Research. While solar only makes up about 1 percent of U.S. energy, in 2014, it added nearly as many new megawatts as natural gas, which is approaching coal as the country’s primary energy source. Solar capacity grew 32 percent from 2013 to 2014 and GTM is predicting it will grow 59% YoY this year. Just two years ago, in 2012, coal represented 41% of new energy capacity and solar only 10%. Last year, coal was down to 23% of new electrical capacity. Solar capacity growth last year represents a 12-fold increase over the amounts being installed in 2009. Key to solar adoption has been falling costs across market segments and states."
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+ - Lawsuit Claims Major Automakers Ignored Security Flaws->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "A Dallas-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claiming Ford, GM and Toyota all ignored basic electronic security measures that leave vehicles open to hackers who can take control of critical functions and endanger the safety of the driver and passengers. The suit, filed on behalf of three vehicle owners and "all others similarly situated" is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction that would force automakers to install proper firewalls or encryption in vehicle computer bus systems, which connect dozens of electronic control units. "Toyota, Ford and GM have deliberately hidden the dangers associated with car computer systems, misleading consumers," attorney Marc Stanley said. The lawsuit cites several studies revealing security flaws in vehicle electronics. A 2013 study by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found researchers could make vehicles "suddenly accelerate, turn, [and] kill the brakes." A study released last month by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) also claims automakers have fallen far short in their responsibility to secure their vehicles' electronics."
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+ - The Largest Solar Power Plants on Earth->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Governments and businesses appear to be in a race to deploy as much renewable energy as possible, with 36% of all new electric capacity last year coming from solar energy alone. The amount of solar power installed in the U.S. has increased from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to an estimated 17.5 GW today, and the price to purchase solar power is quickly reaching parity with that created by coal-fired power plants. Government-sponsored and utility-grade solar plants, in particular, are growing in size, from tens of megawatts a few years ago to hundreds of megawatts and even gigawatts in size. For example, India expects to deploy a 10,000 megawatt solar project over the next decade. Both India and China plan on adding a total of 100 gigawatts of capacity over the next five to seven years. Computerworld put together a deck on the world's largest solar plants to date, which encompasses both photovoltaic plants and concentrated solar power fields (CSPs). CSPs use thousands of software-controlled mirrors to track the sun in two dimensions and reflect it onto boilers in tall towers that produce steam for turbines."
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+ - The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder to Adopt->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Distributed rooftop solar is a threat not only to fossil fuel power generation, but also to the profits of monopolistic model of utilities. While the overall amount of electrical capacity represented by distributed solar power remains miniscule for now, it's quickly becoming one of leading sources of new energy deployment. As adoption grows, fossil fuel interests and utilities are succeeding in pushing anti-net metering legislation, which places surcharges on customers who deploy rooftop solar power and sell unused power back to their utility through the power grid. Other state legislation is aimed at reducing tax credits for households or businesses installing solar or allows utilities to buy back unused power at a reduced rate, while reselling it at the full retail price."
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+ - NSA HDD Malware Undetectable By Anti-Virus Software, Drive Makers Perplexed->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Russian security software vendor Kaspersky Lab, which this week released a report revealing that thousands of hard drives from 30 nations have been infected by U.S.-government sanctioned malware in existence for nearly 20 years, today said there's no way of knowing if your computer is infected and intelligence agencies are surveilling it. Once a hard drive or SSD gets infected with this malicious payload, it's impossible to scan its firmware. To put it simply: For most hard drives, there are functions to write into the hardware's firmware area, but there are no functions to read it back. "It means that we are practically blind, and cannot detect hard drives that have been infected by this malware," said Igor Soumenkov, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. The drives in PCs and Macs that were infected by the malware represented more than a dozen major HDD and SSD makers. Kaspersky all but said it was the NSA that created and used the spyware. Reuters also cited a former NSA employee as having confirmed the latter. Two of the largest drive makers, Western Digital and Seagate, said prior to the report, they had no idea their drives had been targeted. A WD spokesman said the company has not participated in or supported the development or deployment of cyberespionage technology by government entities, adding that "Western Digital has not provided its source code to government agencies." Seagate said its self encrypting drives are supposed to thwart reverse engineering of its firmware. "This is an astonishing technical accomplishment and is testament to the group's abilities," Kaspersky's report stated."
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+ - New NSA hard drive malware virtually undetectable, manufacturers puzzled->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Russian security software vendor Kaspersky Lab, which this week released a report revealing that thousands of hard drives from 30 nations have been infected by U.S.-government sanctioned malware, today said there's no way of knowing if your computer is infected and intelligence agencies are surveilling it. Once a hard drive or SSD gets infected with this malicious payload, it's impossible to scan its firmware. To put it simply: For most hard drives, there are functions to write into the hardware's firmware area, but there are no functions to read it back. "It means that we are practically blind, and cannot detect hard drives that have been infected by this malware," said Igor Soumenkov, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. The drives in PCs and Macs that were infected by the malware represented more than a dozen major HDD and SSD makers. Kaspersky all but said it was the NSA that created and used the spyware. Reuters also cited a former NSA employee as having confirmed the latter. Two of the largest drive makers, Western Digital and Seagate, said prior to the report, they had no idea their drives had been targeted. A WD spokesman said the company has not participated in or supported the development or deployment of cyberespionage technology by government entities, adding that "Western Digital has not provided its source code to government agencies." Seagate said its self encrypting drives are supposed to thwart reverse engineering of its firmware. "This is an astonishing technical accomplishment and is testament to the group's abilities," Kaspersky's report stated."
Link to Original Source

+ - Employees in Swedish Office Complex Volunteer for RFID Implants for Access->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "A Swedish office building is enabling corporate tenants to implant RFID chips into employee's hands in order to gain access through security doors and use services such as photocopiers. The employees working at Epicenter, a 15,000-square-foot building in Stockholm, can even pay for lunch with a swipe of their hand. Hannes Sjöblad, founder of Bionyfiken, a Swedish association of Biohackers, said Epicenter is not alone in a movement to experiment with uses for implanted chips that use RFID/NFC technology. There are also several other offices, companies, gyms and education institutions in Stockholm where people access the facilities with implanted chips. Bionyfiken just began a nationwide study using volunteers implanted with RFID/NFC. "It's a small, but indeed fast-growing, fraction which has chosen to try it out." The goal of the Bionyfiken project is to create a user community of at least 100 people with RFID implants who experiment with and help develop possible uses. But, not everyone is convinced it's a good idea.

John Kindervag, a principal security and privacy analyst at Forrester Research, said RFID/NFC chip implants are simply "scary" and pose a major threat to privacy and security. The fact that the NFC can't be shielded like a fob or chip in a credit card can with a sleeve means it can be activated without the user's knowledge, and information can be accessed. "I think it's pretty scary that people would want to do that [implant chips]," Kindervag said."

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+ - Automakers Move Toward OTA Software Upgrades->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "While some carmakers today offer over-the-air software upgrades to navigation maps and infotainment head units, Tesla became the first last week to perform a powertrain upgrade overnight. But as the industry begins adopting internal vehicle bus standards with greater bandwidth and more robust security, experts believe vehicle owners will no longer be required to visit dealerships or perform downloads to USB sticks. IHS predicts that in the next three to five years, most, if not all automakers, will offer fully fledged OTA software-enabled platforms that encompass upgrades to every vehicle system — from infotainment, safety, comfort, and powertrain. First, however, carmakers must deploy more open OS platforms, remove hardened firewalls between vehicle ECUs, and deploy networking topologies such as Ethernet, with proven security."
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