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Submission + - FTC: Machinima Took Secret Cash To Shil Xbox

jfruh writes: The Machinima gaming video network took money from a marketing agency hired by Microsoft to pay "influencers" up to $45,000 to promote the Xbox One. Crucially, the video endorsers did not disclose that they'd been paid, which has caused trouble with the FTC. For its part, Machinima notes that this happened in 2013, when the current management was not in charge.

Submission + - Despite Reports of Hacking, Baby Monitors Remain Woefully Insecure->

itwbennett writes: Researchers from security firm Rapid7 have found serious vulnerabilities in nine video baby monitors from various manufacturers. Among them: Hidden and hard-coded credentials providing local and remote access over services like SSH or Telnet; unencrypted video streams sent to the user's mobile phone; unencrypted Web and mobile application functions and unprotected API keys and credentials; and other vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to abuse the devices, according to a white paper released Tuesday. Rapid7 reported the issues it found to the affected manufacturers and to US-CERT back in July, but many vulnerabilities remain unpatched.
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Submission + - Self-Driving Golf Carts May Pave the Way for Autonomous Cars->

itwbennett writes: Researchers from MIT and Singaporean universities are experimenting with self-driving golf carts that use less (and relatively cheap) gear than self-driving vehicles while relying on computation-efficient algorithms. In addition to a webcam, each cart is equipped with four single-beam LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors from German maker Sick that have a field of view of about 270 degrees. Two of the sensors were mounted in the cart's front and used for determining its position and obstacle detection. The other two were cheaper, shorter-range sensors and were mounted on the back corners of the cart to scan for obstacles behind and on either side of it. The cost of the sensors was still high (on the order of $30,000) but that's less than solutions used in more sophisticated robotic vehicles. (Google has used $80,000 Velodyne LIDARs on its earlier self-driving cars.) A YouTube video shows the carts traveling the winding paths of a public garden in Singapore at a leisurely 24 kilometers per hour — slow enough for the computers to process all the obstacles (mainly pedestrians and animals). The researchers envision the self-driving vehicles being used in a shared transportation system, as rental bicycles are used in many cities.
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Submission + - It's Still Windows 95's World. We Just Live In It.->

jfruh writes: I'm a Mac guy — have been ever since the '80s. When Windows 95 was released 20 years ago, I was among those who sneered that "Windows 95 is Macintosh 87." But now, as I type these words on a shiny new iMac, I can admit that my UI — and indeed the computing landscape in general — owes a lot to Windows 95, the most influential operating system that ever got no respect.
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Submission + - Symantec Researchers Find 49 New Modules of Regin Spying Tool->

itwbennett writes: Security researchers from Symantec have identified 49 more modules (bringing the total number found so far to 75) of the sophisticated Regin cyberespionage platform that many believe is used by the U.S. National Security Agency and its close allies. Some of the modules implement basic malware functions, while other modules are much more specialized and built with specific targets in mind. 'One module was designed to monitor network traffic to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) web servers, another was observed collecting administration traffic for mobile telephony base station controllers, while another was created specifically for parsing mail from Exchange databases,' the Symantec researchers said in an updated version of their white paper published Thursday.
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Submission + - Boeing's Laser Hunts for Drones->

itwbennett writes: Earlier this month in California, Boeing's second-generation, compact-laser weapons system disabled a moving, untethered drone. It only took a few seconds for the drone to ignite and crash after being fired on by the laser. At a cost of just 'a couple of dollars' for each firing, the new laser weapons system is far less expensive than missiles, which can cost from $30,000 to $3 million, said Dave DeYoung, director of laser and electro-optical systems at Boeing. But cost isn't the only consideration: One of the drawbacks of using lasers, DeYoung said, is that light, unlike a missile, keeps going after it hits its target.
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Submission + - Tech Nightmares That Keep Turing Award Winners Up At Night->

itwbennett writes: At the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany this week, RSA encryption algorithm co-inventor Leonard Adelman, 'Father of the Internet' Vint Cerf, and cryptography innovator Manuel Blum were asked 'What about the tech world today keeps you up at night?' And apparently they're not getting a whole lot of sleep these days. Cerf is predicting a digital dark age arising from our dependence on software and our lack of 'a regime that will allow us to preserve both the content and the software needed to render it over a very long time.' Adelman worries about the evolution of computers into 'their own species' — and our relation to them. Blum's worries, by contrast, lean more towards the slow pace at which computers are taking over: '"The fact that we have brains hasn't made the world any safer,' he said. 'Will it be safer with computers? I don't know, but I tend to see it as hopeful.'
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Submission + - Amazon Reportedly Laid Off Dozens from Fire Smartphone Team->

itwbennett writes: In recent weeks, Amazon has laid off an unspecified number (but in the dozens) of engineers from its Lab126 hardware development center in Silicon Valley who worked on the Fire smartphone, according to a Wall Street Journal news report. The company has also reorganized Lab126, as well as scaled back and killed some other projects in the division.
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Submission + - Many Drivers Never Use In-Vehicle Tech, Don't Want Apple Or Google In Next Car->

Lucas123 writes: Many of the high-tech features automakers believe owners want in their vehicles are not only not being used by them, but they don't want them in their next vehicle, according to a new survey by J.D. Power. According to J.D. Power's 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report, 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of 33 of the latest technology features. The five features owners most commonly report that they "never use" are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); heads-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%). Additionally, there are 14 technology features that 20% or more of owners don't even want in their next vehicle. Those features include Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. When narrowed to just Gen Yers, the number of vehicle owners who don't want entertainment and connectivity systems increases to 23%.
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Submission + - What Not To Say To Your Non-IT Coworkers (And What To Say Instead)->

jfruh writes: Do your interactions with non-tech staff at your company end in tears and acrimony? It may be that the skills you've developed to good effect to communicate with your peers aren't applying across department boundries. We talked to various tech staff and communications pros for some tips and talking to normals.
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Submission + - Why Modular Smartphones Are Such a Nightmare To Develop->

itwbennett writes: Last week Google postponed tests of its Project Ara until next year. Mikael Ricknäs has written about why developing such devices is particularly difficult. The biggest challenge, writes Ricknäs, 'is the underlying architecture, the structural frame and data backbone of the device, which makes it possible for all the modules to communicate with each other. It has to be so efficient that the overall performance doesn't take a hit and still be cheap and frugal with power consumption.' For more on Project Ara and its challenges, watch this Slashdot interview with the project's firmware lead Marti Bolivar.
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Submission + - Study: Young Kids Have the Best Ideas for Mobile Services->

itwbennett writes: According to a paper published last week by researchers at Free University of Bozen-Bolzano in Italy, young children are better able to generate original, transformative and relevant ideas for mobile services than are adults. Using data collected in 2006 in Finland (as part of a different study) in which more than 2,000 people of various ages were asked to each come up with ideas for new mobile services, the researchers randomly selected 400 distinct ideas from kids aged 7 to 12 and 400 distinct ideas from adults aged 17 to 50. The ideas were evaluated by judges who rated each idea for its novelty and its quality. The results? The kids' ideas scored higher on all measures. 'We expected that kids’ ideas were more novel than those of adults,' authors Daniel Graziotin and Xiaofeng Wang told ITworld's Phil Johnson via email, 'but were quite surprised to see that more of their ideas were implemented six years later than those from adults, and considered by the evaluators more relevant as well.'
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Submission + - Court: FTC Can Punish Companies With Sloppy Cybersecurity->

jfruh writes: The Congressial act that created the Federal Trade Commission gave that agency broad powers to punish companies engaged in "unfair and deceptive practices." Today, a U.S. appeals court affirmed that sloppy cybersecurity falls under that umbrella. The case involves data breaches at Wyndham Worldwide, which stored customer payment card information in clear, readable text, and used easily guessed passwords to access its important systems.
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Submission + - Skylake Has a Voice DSP and Listens To Your Commands->

itwbennett writes: Intel's new Skylake processor (like the Core M processor released last year) comes with a built-in digital signal processor (DSP) that will allow you to turn on and control your PC with your voice. Although the feature is not new, what is new is the availability of a voice controlled app to use it: Enter Windows 10 and Cortana. If this sounds familiar, it should, writes Andy Patrizio: 'A few years back when the Xbox One was still in development, word came that Kinect, its motion and audio sensor controller, would be required to use the console and Kinect would always be listening for voice commands to start the console. This caused something of a freak-out among gamers, who feared Microsoft would be listening.'
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Submission + - Linus Torvalds: Security Will Never Be Perfect->

jfruh writes: Linus Torvalds was a surprise speaker at this year's LinuxCon, and in a typically provocative speech, he declared that chasing after perfect security will always fail. Instead, he touted the open source model, which he said led to bugs and security holes in production environments being fixed as quickly as possible.
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