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Hardware

Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch? 316

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?
Space

Red Dwarfs Could Sterilize Alien Worlds of Life 76

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-very-habitable-zone dept.
astroengine (1577233) writes "Red dwarf stars — the most common stars in the galaxy — bathe planets in their habitable zones with potentially deadly stellar winds, a finding that could have significant impacts on the prevalence of life beyond Earth, new research shows. About 70 percent of stars are red dwarfs, or M-type stars, which are cooler and smaller than the sun. Any red dwarf planets suitable for liquid water, therefore, would have to orbit much closer to their parent star than Earth circles the sun. That presents a problem for life — at least life as we know it on Earth, says physicist Ofer Cohen, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Cohen and colleagues used a computer model based on data from the sun's solar wind — a continuous stream of charged particles that permeates and defines the solar system –- to estimate the space environment around red dwarf stars. 'We find that the conditions are very extreme. If you move planets very close to the star, the force of this flow is very, very strong. Essentially it can strip the atmosphere of the planet unless the planet has a strong magnetic field or a thick atmosphere to start with,' Cohen told Discovery News."
Australia

Australian iPhone and iPad Users Waylaid By Ransomware 52

Posted by timothy
from the beware-the-jabberwock-my-son dept.
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Multiple iPhone/iPad/Mac users in Australia are reporting their devices being remotely locked and a ransom demand being made to get them unlocked again. However, unlike PC ransomware, the vector of attack here seems to be Apple's iCloud service with the attacker getting to a database of username/password credentials associated with the accounts. It is unclear if the database was one of Apple's or the hacker is simply using the fact that people reuse the same password for multiple accounts and is using data stolen from another source. Apple is yet to respond, but there has already been one report of the issue affecting a user in the UK."

Comment: Another theory (Score 1) 608

by Progman3K (#46836721) Attached to: Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

What if by the time a race has evolved sufficiently that they have mastered all technology, they simply enter another dimension to escape being destroyed by their star's death?

Physics seems to be saying there could be as many as 11 dimensions, possibly more.

Maybe you only need to exist at right-angles to this one to escape any devastation coming and maybe then energy/resource needs become a non-issue.

No need to exit the solar system then and you're effectively undetectable...

Comment: When I hear about an object like this (Score 1) 94

by Progman3K (#46467787) Attached to: Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered

I immediately check the Celestia Motherlode.

The reason being that you can almost get a sense of how big something really is with it since it displays your distance to it in au (or ly, Kpc, Mpc).

I encourage you to try it, hit H then G to go to sol, then scroll away first to 1 au, then 10, etc. The sun is still quite bright at 1 ly.

Imagine how big that thing appears at 1 ly distance! // Maybe someone will create a Celestia add-on for it? Please please please!

United Kingdom

Child Porn Arrest For Cameron Aide Who Helped Plan UK Net Filters 205

Posted by timothy
from the takes-one-to-know-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A senior aide to David Cameron resigned from Downing Street last month the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images. Patrick Rock, who was involved in drawing up the government's policy for the large internet firms on online pornography filters, resigned after No 10 was alerted to the allegations. Rock was arrested at his west London flat the next morning. Officers from the National Crime Agency subsequently examined computers and offices used in Downing Street by Rock, the deputy director of No 10's policy unit, according to the Daily Mail, which disclosed news of his arrest."

Comment: Re:Superdeterminism (Score 1) 108

by Progman3K (#46307445) Attached to: Making Sure Our Lab Equipment Isn't Tricking Us

Thanks! So that would mean that it is more likely that our universe is a simulation, right? Determinism would sort of imply it, since it can't play out any differently.

The way I've thought of it would be that it is theorized our universe is inside a black-hole; all space and time perceived is an illusion because it is all happening at the same time, in the singularity, making non-locality trivial to implement. I suppose the flaw is that you need multiple dimensions at right-angles to it to make sense of it...

Government

University Developing Technology To Vote On Your Tablet, Smartphone 259

Posted by samzenpus
from the rock-the-vote-from-home dept.
smitty_one_each writes in with this story about a professor developing a new electronic voting system. "A Clemson University professor is developing a new electronic voting system that will allow voters to cast their ballots from home computers, tablets and smartphones. As Clemson's chair of human-centered computing, Juan Gilbert has lead teams of students over the last 10 years to create an online voting system accessible at home or on the go that will be more accurate, have increased verification and make voting more accessible to people with disabilities by offering mobile and voice-command options."
United States

The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden 354

Posted by timothy
from the he-should-get-a-reward-too dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Editorial Board of the New York Times has weighed in on the criminal charges facing Edward Snowden and writes that 'Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight..' 'He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.' The president said in August that Snowden should come home to face charges in court and suggested that if Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower. In fact, notes the editorial board, the executive order regarding whistleblowers did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Snowden. More important, Snowden told The Washington Post that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the NSA, and that they took no action. 'Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. ... When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,' concludes the editorial. 'President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden's vilification and give him an incentive to return home.'"

Comment: Re:It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (Score 3, Insightful) 894

If somebody with any say at Slashdot is reading this, please do the right thing and get the focus back to where it used to be, on science and technology. There are many, many other places we can go to read and bitch about the day-in, day-out shenanigans of American politics. Slashdot shouldn't be one of them.

You... I like you

Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials Misses 39% of Malware 149

Posted by timothy
from the talked-harshly-with-the-other-61-percent dept.
Barence writes "The latest tests from Dennis Publishing's security labs saw Microsoft Security Essentials fail to detect 39% of the real-world malware thrown at it. Dennis Technology Labs (DTL) tested nine home security products on a Windows 7 PC, including Security Essentials, which is distributed free to Windows users and built into Windows 8 in the form of Windows Defender. While the other eight packages all achieved protection scores of 87% or higher — with five scoring 98% or 99% — Microsoft's free antivirus software protected against only 61% of the malware samples used in the test. Microsoft conceded last year that its security software was intended to offer only "baseline" performance"."

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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