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Hardware Hacking

1000-key Emoji Keyboard Is As Crazy As It Sounds 146

hypnosec writes: A YouTuber named Tom Scott has built a 1,000-key keyboard with each key representing an emoji! Scott made the emoji keyboard using 14 keyboards and over 1,000 individually placed stickers. While he himself admits that it is one of the craziest things he has built, the work he has put in does warrant appreciation. On the keyboard are individually placed emojis for food items, animals, plants, transport, national flags, and time among others.

Russia's Plan To Crack Tor Crumbles 122

mspohr writes: It looks like Russia's effort to crack Tor was harder than they anticipated. The company that won the contract is now trying to get out of it. Bloomberg reports: "The Kremlin was willing to pay 3.9 million rubles ($59,000) to anyone able to crack Tor, a popular tool for communicating anonymously over the Internet. Now the company that won the government contract expects to spend more than twice that amount to abandon the project. The Central Research Institute of Economics, Informatics, and Control Systems—a Moscow arm of Rostec, a state-run maker of helicopters, weapons, and other military and industrial equipment—agreed to pay 10 million rubles ($150,000) to hire a law firm tasked with negotiating a way out of the deal, according to a database of state-purchase disclosures. Lawyers from Pleshakov, Ushkalov and Partners will work with Russian officials on putting an end to the Tor research project, along with several classified contracts, the government documents say."

Comment We have the technology to fix this (Score 1) 262

Use image recognition to flash "Microsoft Surface - the official tablet of the NFL" on the screen whenever one appears on camera.

Use voice recognition to drop the word "iPad" from the audio feed whenever it's uttered. Whether they also want to deliver mild electric shocks to the commentator's headphones at the same time would be up to the NFL and the broadcasters.


The Air Traffic Control Tower of the Future Doesn't Include Humans 104

CravenRaven76 writes: Sweden is testing the future of air traffic control at Ornskoldsvik Airport. An 80 foot tall unmanned tower at the airport houses 14 high-definition cameras to help controllers survey the site with better-than-human vision. Video from the cameras is transmitted to Sunvsal Airport, where a controller guides the planes. Potential future plans include grouping every airport controller together at distant facilities in order to save costs of running multiple air traffic control towers.
Data Storage

Oakland Changes License Plate Reader Policy After Filling 80GB Hard Drive 275

An anonymous reader writes: License plate scanners are a contentious subject, generating lots of debate over what information the government should have, how long they should have it, and what they should do with it. However, it seems policy changes are driven more by practical matters than privacy concerns. Earlier this year, Ars Technica reported that the Oakland Police Department retained millions of records going back to 2010. Now, the department has implemented a six-month retention window, with older data being thrown out. Why the change? They filled up the 80GB hard drive on the Windows XP desktop that hosted the data, and it kept crashing.

Why not just buy a cheap drive with an order of magnitude more storage space? Sgt. Dave Burke said, "We don't just buy stuff from Amazon as you suggested. You have to go to a source, i.e., HP or any reputable source where the city has a contract. And there's a purchase order that has to be submitted, and there has to be money in the budget. Whatever we put on the system, has to be certified. You don't just put anything. I think in the beginning of the program, a desktop was appropriate, but now you start increasing the volume of the camera and vehicles, you have to change, otherwise you're going to drown in the amount of data that's being stored."

Twitter Blocks API Access For Sites Monitoring Politicians' Deleted Tweets 114

An anonymous reader writes: Politwoops is/was a site that monitored the Twitter feeds of politicians and posted any tweets that those politicians later deleted. On May 15, Twitter suspended API access for the U.S. version of Politwoops, and now they've blocked access to the versions of Politwoops running in 30 other countries. Twitter has also blocked access for similar site Diplotwoops, which focused on deleted tweets from diplomats and embassies. Twitter said, "'Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user's voice." Arjan El Fassed, director of the Open State Foundation, which developed Politwoops, disagrees: "What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice."
The Courts

Do You Have a Right To Use Electrical Weapons? 698

An anonymous reader writes: David Cravets points out a growing debate in U.S. constitutional law: does the second amendment grant the same rights regarding electrical weapons as it does for traditional firearms? A Massachusetts ban on private ownership of stun-guns is being considered by the Supreme Court, and it's unclear whether such ownership has constitutional protection. The state's top court didn't think so: "... although modern handguns were not in common use at the time of enactment of the Second Amendment, their basic function has not changed: many are readily adaptable to military use in the same way that their predecessors were used prior to the enactment. A stun gun, by contrast, is a thoroughly modern invention (PDF). Even were we to view stun guns through a contemporary lens for purposes of our analysis, there is nothing in the record to suggest that they are readily adaptable to use in the military." The petitioner is asking the court (PDF) to clarify that the Second Amendment covers non-lethal weapons used for self-defense. Constitutional law expert Eugene Volokh agrees: "Some people have religious or ethical compunctions about killing. ... Some adherents to these beliefs may therefore conclude that fairly effective non-deadly defensive tools are preferable to deadly tools."

Comment We should make a new game (Score 3, Funny) 258

When someone says something like "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street." and means it, and if they're in some position of authority or influence, the game begins. Separate teams immediately start following this person around whenever they're in public and record everything they do for a solid week, and posts it on the internet. Zoom lenses, parabolic mics, the whole bit. Stream it live if possible. The team that captures the most activity wins! Fun fun fun!


Regionally Encoded Toner Cartridges 'to Serve Customers Better' 379

sandbagger writes: The latest attempt to create artificial scarcity comes from Xerox, according to the editors at TechDirt, who cite German sources: "Xerox uses region coding on their toner cartridges AND locks the printer to the first type used. So if you use a North America cartridge you can't use the cheaper Eastern Europe cartridges. The printer's display doesn't show this, nor does the hotline know about it. When c't reached out to Xerox, the marketing drone claimed, this was done to serve the customer better..."

Fitbit Wants To Help Corporations Track Employee Health 206

jfruh writes: Fitbit is pitching its iconic fitness trackers to businesses as a tool to save money on health care costs. Many companies have wellness programs to encourage workers to exercise more, and Fitbit will help employers quantify (and monitor) employee progress. “We think virtually every company will incorporate fitness trackers into their corporate wellness programs,” Fitbit CFO Bill Zerella said

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss