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Government

+ - Electronic Surveillance by US Law Enforcement Agencies Rising Steeply->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "According to data obtained by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), surveillance of emails and other forms of Internet communications without warrants has increased substantially over the last two years. Documents, obtained by ACLU after months of litigation, reveal that there has been a whopping 361 per cent increase in “pen register” and “trap-and-trace” orders between 2009 and 2011. ACLU has appealed to US congress to bring in more judicial oversight of pen register and trap-and-trace orders as agencies don’t require a warrant to obtain such orders."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Penetration Testing for the Masses 2

Submitted by compumike
compumike (454538) writes "Every week we read about companies being hacked through insecure websites. Big companies have in-house security teams, but a new browser-based website penetration testing tool can scan, attack, and detect the biggest threats, such as SQL injection, XSS, and other vulnerabilities, finding holes in more than 90% of websites scanned — even in frameworks like Django and Rails. Can expensive security consultants be replaced by an army of machines providing website security for the masses?"
Security

+ - Automatic Detection of OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities

Submitted by
compumike
compumike writes "Tinfoil Security today released a browser-based website penetration testing tool as a service. "We've caught SQL injection, XSS, insecure cookies, and other vulnerabilities in 93% of websites scanned, even in frameworks like Django and Rails," said Ainsley Braun, the CEO. Earlier this year, they found a vulnerability in United Airlines that leaked flight passenger manifests. Expensive security consultants and in-house security teams can be replaced with an army of machines providing constant scanning for all websites."
Education

+ - Schematics and Circuit Simulation in the Browser->

Submitted by compumike
compumike (454538) writes "CircuitLab today released a browser-based schematic editor and circuit simulator for the online electronics community. SPICE-like device models and mixed-mode simulation support allows engineers and hobbyists to tackle a wide range of board-level design problems. While most EDA software is Windows-only, CircuitLab is 100% web-based, Windows/Mac/Linux cross-platform, and requires no installation or plug-ins. Instead of today's typical forum posts with static screenshots from different desktop tools, the online electronics community can now use CircuitLab to share useful URLs (as well as PNGs and PDFs) which link directly to interactive, editable, runnable schematics. In just a few clicks, another designer can open that circuit, make a change, simulate it, and post the new version back to the community."
Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Talking Digital Calipers for Engineering Accessibi->

Submitted by
compumike
compumike writes "Whether it's software engineers and their compilers or electrical engineers and their oscilloscopes, engineers and makers of all kinds rely on tools to build great things every day. We depend on tools so much that we often take our ability to use them for granted. The NerdKits team was contacted by a blind mechanical engineering student, and combined technologies from two earlier projects to produce a set of talking digital calipers that turn a distance measurement into an audible readout. The video includes a clip where Terry explains his passion for engineering and shows how he uses the talking calipers in his job and classes, so be sure to take a look."
Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - Homemade Robotic Xylophone Plays Holiday Melodies

Submitted by compumike
compumike (454538) writes "Just in time to add a bit of geeky holiday cheer to your office, this video demonstrates how to build a robotic xylophone featuring handmade solenoids and aluminum bars, and shows it playing several classic holiday tunes. New songs can be programmed in with C macros, and this project could even be extended to perhaps play a melody when a new e-mail arrived or a software build has finished compiling!"
Iphone

+ - Gentlemen Prefer Androids, Ladies iOS

Submitted by
Ponca City
Ponca City writes "PC World reports that women are more likely to buy an iPhone for their next smartphone purchase, while men prefer Android devices. According to data collected in October 2010, 31 percent of women wanted to buy an Apple iOS device next, followed by 22.8 percent interested in a Google Android device while among men preferences were reversed with 32.6 percent of men interested in an Android purchase and 28.6 desired an iOS phone. "So where is the extra appeal of Android to men coming from?" writes Tracey E. Schelmetic . "More male-targeted commercials that emphasize cool gadgetry versus usability? More techno-macho phone brand names like “Droid”? Extra advertising on the Spike channel by phone makers using the Android platform?" When preferences were broken down by age group, Apple iOS was the most desired choice in every age range apart from one: 35-54 years olds. In this age group, more people preferred upgrading to an Android phone (27.4 percent) than an iOS device (26.3 percent)."

Comment: Re:Duck Duck Go (Score 2, Insightful) 281

by compumike (#32169986) Attached to: Scroogle Has Been Blocked

I too have been trying Duck Duck Go (link to encrypted version) for the last several weeks and have been impressed.

Furthermore, check out their privacy policy, as well as a recent blog post about search privacy that explains why it "might be the most private place to search the Internet". No IPs logged, no cookies, no contractors.

There are also a large set of convenient "bang commands" such as searching "!slashdot foo".

And finally, searching over (encrypted) HTTPS just works "out of the box".

Give it a try for a few weeks!

Comment: Free electronics video tutorials from NerdKits! (Score 1) 301

by compumike (#31823664) Attached to: Where To Start In DIY Electronics?

Check out some of the NerdKits Video Tutorials, which are 20+ free video tutorials that cover all sorts of electronics topics. For example, Motors and Microcontrollers 101 talks about how to model motors as circuit elements (I'm the guy in this video). The Halloween Capacitive Touch Sensor talks about using aluminum foil as a proximity sensor. All in all, we sell breadboard-based electronics kits, which help beginners like yourself get started with electronics and programming.

Then, our customers adapt it to do things we'd never dreamed of: measuring how far a hamster runs at night, or controlling an RC helicopter, or building an intervalometer, or even building a video game system.

The communications / RF type stuff is very cool, and I hope you're able to get there! The most relevant content we have available right now is a 20-minute video about building a single transistor amplifier for a sound meter.

Best of luck in your electronics journey!

+ - PayPal E-Commerce Hack: More Friends = Lower Price

Submitted by compumike
compumike (454538) writes "PayPal's ongoing X Developer Challenge and their new Adaptive Payments APIs have allowed coders to dream up new ways of thinking about online payments. One of these entries is called Buckits, which lets consumers pool together to get discounts on a microcontroller kit. Check it out, and vote for your favorite entry in the PayPal Developer Challenge — voting ends Friday 11:59PM PST. Whether or not you're interested in microcontrollers, this demonstrates how PayPal is partnering with developers to create the future of e-commerce."

+ - New E-Commerce Model: Self-Serve Group Discounts

Submitted by compumike
compumike (454538) writes "A "Buckit" takes the simple idea of a group discount and augments it for the modern Web. Anyone can create a Buckit, or join one that already exists. The more people who sign up for a Buckit, the less everyone pays for his or her own item. The final price each Buckit member pays for their itemis based on the number of people in the Buckit, and the amount keeps going down as more people join. This model lets people take advantage of their social networks (online and offline) to spread the word about a cool product and save money at the same time.

NerdKits is launching this today and applying this to the educational electronics kits they've sold online since 2007, but are also interested in applying the concept to other e-commerce areas where there's a "social or network utility" to a product: event tickets, multiplayer video games, etc. Check out this brief demo video, launch details, or the live Buckits website."

Comment: Re:The "Arduno" cult (Score 3, Informative) 77

by compumike (#30419688) Attached to: Open Source Hardware Projects, 2009

(Actually, not 32-bit -- it's all still 8-bit, except for the AVR32 line which is another set of chips altogether.)

You're right, there was a lot lacking and people could be "scared away" from getting started with microcontrollers, but what we're trying to do with NerdKits is make it less scary without hiding the complexity or the conceptual learning. Our hypothesis is that people are actually smart enough to handle real tools, if you show them how, and will be far better off with that experience. Guide newbies through looking at the datasheet, setting registers, etc. Add some unique content that really makes you use your brain, and we've got a lot of very happy customers!

Comment: Re:Do they still make those "electronic project ki (Score 1) 368

by compumike (#30406524) Attached to: Science Gifts For Kids?

I too had one of those as a kid -- the ones where you follow the book to connect the various spring terminals! While I might be able to go back and learn some more from it now, I can't really say I learned much from it at the time. It was very much focused on just following the step-by-step directions, with little emphasis on creativity / customization / concepts. So after finishing my Masters in EECS from MIT, I decided to build my own electronics kits for the "digital generation", with a tremendous focus on creativity / customization / concepts. Check us out :-)

Comment: Help them get started with electronics+programming (Score 5, Informative) 368

by compumike (#30406428) Attached to: Science Gifts For Kids?

Whatever you do, find something where there's real teaching and interactivity and creative thinking going on -- not just polishing some rocks or a step-by-step Lego project. And furthermore, interacting with your child while they're using whatever science gift you pick is also extremely valuable.

Ages 7 and 9 may be a bit young... but we know that 11-year olds do well with getting introduced to electronics and programming, and the interaction that it offers with the physical world through various sensors and actuators. In our experience at NerdKits electronics kits, our youngest customers tend to learn the fastest, because they are the most fearless! They're able to try building something, get something wrong, but just keep working at it until they succeed. Our various free video tutorials help teach various electronics and programming concepts as well.

Here's an 11-year-old's NerdKits "Kid Review" in Make Magazine, or a reading by the author of the review.

Challenge them a bit -- with a bit of guidance, they're capable of taking on more than you might think!

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

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