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Security

+ - Feds at DefCon Alarmed After RFIDs Scanned->

Submitted by
FourthAge
FourthAge writes "Federal agents at the Defcon 17 conference were shocked to discover that they had been caught in the sights of an RFID reader connected to a web camera. The reader sniffed data from RFID-enabled ID cards and other documents carried by attendees in pockets and backpacks. The "security enhancing" RFID chips are now found in passports, official documents and ID cards. "For $30 to $50, the common, average person can put [a portable RFID-reading kit] together," said security expert Brian Marcus, one of the people behind the RFID webcam project. "This is why we're so adamant about making people aware this is very dangerous.""
Link to Original Source
Games

Examining Portal's Teleportation Code 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the wall-to-wall-coverage dept.
Gamasutra is running a story deconstructing the mechanics of Portal's teleportation programming. They present a snippet of Portal's code and a downloadable demo. They ran another article in this series earlier this year with an analysis Mario Galaxy's unique take on physics. We've discussed the development of Portal in the past. "Teleport mechanics in video games are nothing new. Puzzles from the original Gauntlet were memorable -- and more than likely, that wasn't the first game to use teleportation as a gameplay mechanic. The difference between Portal and all those that came before it is that Portal's teleportation acts as a frictionless tube between point A and point B. Physics are still hard at work inside the frictionless tube. Instead of simply repositioning an object from point A to point B, the player enters point A with full velocity and exits point B with the same speed, but moving in a new direction." Update: 8/26 at 19:37 by SS: Dan notes that the code was not directly from Portal; it was written to approximate Portal's physics.

Move Over AJAX, Make Room for ARAX 409

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-a-typo dept.
sasserstyl writes "eWeek reports that Microsoft's Silverlight platform will support Ruby client-side scripting, enabling ARAX — or Asynchronous Ruby and XML. Would be cool to have the option to script client-side in something other than Javascript. 'In essence, using ARAX, Ruby developers would not have to go through the machinations of using something like the RJS (Ruby JavaScript) utility, where they write Ruby code and RJS generates JavaScript code to run on the client, Lam said. "Sure, you could do it that way, but then at some point you might have to add some JavaScript code that adds some custom functionality on the client yourself," he said. "So there's always that sense of, 'Now I'm in another world. And wouldn't it be nice if I have this utility class I wrote in Ruby...' Today if I want to use it in the browser I have to port it to JavaScript. Now I can just run it in the browser."'"
Cellphones

Cell Phones To Be Allowed On UK Planes 217

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-great-this-will-make-the-trip-faster dept.
Matty the Monkey writes "The British regulator in charge of air travel has approved cellphones for use on airline flights, reports the BBC. Airlines will be allowed to activate base stations in the plane's tail after takeoff, creating a zone of mobile coverage around the plane. 'The services could stop working once aircraft leave European airspace. Initially, only second generation networks will be offered but growing interest would mean that third generation, or 3G, services would follow later, said Ofcom. The cost of making a mobile phone call from a plane will be higher than making one from the ground.'"
Microsoft

Windows 7 Likely Going Modular, Subscription-based 603

Posted by Zonk
from the what's-not-to-love dept.
Microsoft CRM writes "When Windows 7 launches sometime after the start of 2010, the desktop OS will be Microsoft's most 'modular' operating system to date. That's not necessarily a good thing, of course; Windows Vista is a sprawling, complex OS. From Microsoft's perspective, though, there are many possible benefits. The OS's developers can add/remove functionality module by module. New modules could be sold post-launch, keeping revenue streams strong. A modular approach could also allow the company to make functionality available on a time-limited basis, potentially allowing users to 'rent' a feature if it's needed on a one-off basis. Microsoft is already testing 'pay as you go' consumer subscriptions in developing countries."
Censorship

UK Proposal To Restrict Internet Pornography Sparks Row 561

Posted by Zonk
from the i've-got-that-song-stuck-in-my-head-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports on the row over proposals by the UK Government to criminalize possession of 'extreme' porn. The bill, published last week, would include the prohibition of fictional depictions of violence and images of acts between consenting adults. The law would also apply to screenshots taken from a legal film, if the screenshot was made for erotic purposes. The goal is to prevent disturbed individuals from accessing content online that would trigger violent behavior. From the article: 'Labour MP Martin Salter, who has worked closely ... in pushing the legislation, rejected the BDSM community's claims their civil liberties were being undermined. He said: "No-one is stopping people doing weird stuff to each other but they would be strongly advised not to put it on the internet. At the end of the day it is all too easy for this stuff to trigger an unbalanced mind."' The bill follows from plans initially announced last August."
The Courts

+ - Motorists Sue Over 'Hot' Fuel 5

Submitted by i_like_spam
i_like_spam (874080) writes "Motorists in 13 states have filed lawsuits against big oil companies and gas retailers alleging unfair pricing practices related to fuel-pumping temperatures. From an industry standard developed in the 1920's, the price for a gallon of gasoline is based on the density of the fuel at a temperature of 60 degress F. A gallon of gas at higher temperatures is less dense, and therefore contains less energy. The lawsuits claim additional costs of 3 to 9 cents per gallon without temperature adjustments. The fuel industry claims that the costs of installing temerature-adjustment sensors on every pump would be prohibitively high. These sensors are already installed in Canada, however, where the colder temperatures favor consumers."
Movies

MPAA Committed To Fair Use and DRM 212

Posted by kdawson
from the crack-in-the-wall dept.
Doctor Jay writes "At a LexisNexis Conference on DRM this week, MPAA's Dan Glickman announced that the MPAA was fine with consumers ripping DVDs for portable video players and home media servers. 'In his speech to industry insiders at the posh Beverly Hills Four Seasons hotel, Glickman repeatedly stressed that DRM must be made to work without constricting consumers. The goal, he said, was "to make things simpler for the consumer," and he added that the movie studios were open to "a technology summit" featuring academics, IT companies, and content producers to work on the issues involved.'"
Linuxcare

+ - Head of LinuxChix Brazil looks to pass torch

Submitted by
lisah
lisah writes "LinuxChix Brazil's Sulamita Garcia tells Linux.com that, despite an enjoyable four-year run as head of the chapter, it's time to move on and let someone else take over the reins. Involved in the Linux community since 1999, Garcia has been an avid supporter of women in the open source community but says there isn't necessarily as wide a gender gap as many would believe. '[A]fter working with LinuxChix and getting in touch with so many more women that I ever thought would exist in FOSS communities, I strongly believe there are a lot more than we think,' she says. 'They just tend to be a lot less vocal than men.'"
Biotech

Journal: Temporary blood vessel shunt to be used to save limbs in war 157

Journal by Stile 65

The FDA has just approved for military use a shunt which allows partially-severed limbs to continue to get circulation. According to the article, "For most, it won't be a matter of saving a limb outright but rather salvaging the quality of a wounded leg or arm." This is because "The tubelike device is designed to connect the two ends of a severed blood vessel, providing a temporary bridge or shunt around a wound to restore blood flow to an

Starbucks Responds In Kind To Oxfam YouTube Video 492

Posted by kdawson
from the better-latte-than-never dept.
Kligmond writes "Last week, Starbucks placed a video on YouTube responding to a video posted by the Oxfam Charity. The Oxfam video was launched in conjunction with 'Starbucks Day of Action,' held December 16th, when activists visited Starbucks locations across the world in protest of the coffee retailer's alleged mistreatment of Ethiopian farmers. The Starbucks video calmly addresses the Oxfam allegations, citing an impasse over Ethiopian trademark legalities. Starbucks claims the refusal to sign a trademark agreement with Ethiopia is a stumbling block they hope to resolve on behalf of the farmers. The coffee chain's representative goes on to refute the contention that Starbucks refuses to pay a fair price for its coffee reserves and, in fact, routinely pays well above commodity price, and above fair trade price. Unlike many recent ineffectual corporate reactions to social journalism and networking eruptions, Starbucks' response is unique in that the corporation managed Oxfam's unconventional assault in a very unconventional way, via YouTube. Regardless of the outcome of this particular incident, the move on Starbucks' part comes off as unmistakably in touch with today's communication modes and methods."
PC Games (Games)

How 'Games for Windows' Will Change PC Gaming 392

Posted by Zonk
from the branding-makes-the-grass-grow-brand-brand-brand dept.
Joystiq has a short piece up talking with Windows (GFW) Marketing Director Kevin Unangst and PR Manager Michael Wolf about the future of the 'Games for Windows' initiative. With the launch of Vista, Microsoft is making a big push to turn PC games into a 'console-like' cohesive brand. Instead of relying on the good name of individual publishers to sell titles, Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo. Along with the new gamer-centric features in Vista, and the tie-in to Xbox 360 with 'Live Anywhere', this is meant to reinvigorate the PC games market for the sometimes not-so-savvy consumer. From the article: "By making gaming a priority in the Vista experience, Microsoft is molding a powerful pairing of the Games for Windows and Xbox 360 brands. To some extent, this is based on a hope that Live Anywhere will be embraced by GFW developers and publishers, pulling Xbox Live (and your Gamertag) outside of the 'Box, in turn encouraging an unrivaled virtual community. But there are simpler touches that also spark our interest. For example, start up Vista's Minesweeper, connect your 360 controller, and enjoy a subtle rumble each time you slip up. It's the melding with the familiar that will drive new and lost consumers to the Games for Windows brand."

Prof Denied Funds Over Evolution Evidence 953

Posted by Zonk
from the that-would-have-been-a-fun-after-meeting-beer dept.
radarsat1 writes "The Montreal Gazette today reported that a professor at Montreal's McGill University was refused a $40,000 grant, allegedly because 'he'd failed to provide the panel with ample evidence that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is correct.' Ironically, the grant was for a study into the detrimental effects of intelligent design on Canadian academics and leaders." From the article: "Jennifer Robinson, McGill's associate vice-principal for communications, said the university has asked the SSHRC to review its decision to reject Alters's request for money to study how the rising popularity in the United States of 'intelligent design' - a controversial creationist theory of life - is eroding acceptance of evolutionary science in Canada."

RIAA Approved mp3 Player Reviewed 73

Posted by Zonk
from the not-cool-not-pink dept.
buckminster writes "Medialoper has an exclusive review of the soon-to-be legendary Prism DuroSport 6000. According to the review, 'if the RIAA had had designed an industry approved digital media player this is what it would look like'. The player has an extraordinary collection of features including 'disposable flash memory' and built-in DRM system with 'opt-in listening'."

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