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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 + - 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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Submission + - Google Targets Low-Cast Android One Phone At African Markets->

jfruh writes: In order to meet its goal of bringing Android to five billion users, Google needs to get smartphones into the hands of people in the developing world. The company's Android One program aims to do just that. Already active in India, the program is now bringing an $88 smartphone to West Africa.
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Submission + - How To Tell If Your Hard Drive Is About To Die->

jfruh writes: You probably have your most important files backed up to an external hard drive or to the cloud, but that doesn't mean that a hard drive failure isn't a pain. Fortunately, most hard drives send you signals of their looming demise, if you know how to read them. (This is one advantage they still have over SSDs, which tend to fail without warning.)
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Submission + - SAP Paid Bribes To Panamanian Officials->

jfruh writes: A former SAP exec has pled guilty to bribing Panamanian officials in a successful attempt to sell SAP licenses to the Panamanian government. Vicente Eduardo Garcia, SAP’s former vice president of global and strategic accounts for Latin America, says that he wasn't the only SAP employee who knew about the scheme.
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Submission + - New IP Address Blacklist Based on Web Chatter->

itwbennett writes: A new approach to assembling blacklists analyzes chatter on the dark and open Web and can find malicious IP addresses that would have been missed using honeypots and intrusion detection systems, according to a report by security startup Recorded Future. On traditional blacklists, 99 percent of the addresses are for inbound activity, 'when someone is attacking your system from an external address,' said Staffan Truvé, chief scientist and co-founder at Recorded Future. On Recorded Future's new list, half of the addresses are for outbound activity, 'when an intruder is already in your systems, and is trying to connect to the outside world to exfiltrate data,' said Truvé. For example, Recorded Future identified 476 IP addresses associated with both the Dyreza and the Upatre malware families — only 41 of which were known to existing blacklists.
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Submission + - Is IT On Its Way Out?->

itwbennett writes: The death knell for traditional IT has been sounding for quite a while now, starting famously, and at the time explosively, with Nick Carr's 2003 Harvard Business Review article 'IT Doesn't Matter'. Now, a new report from the Business Performance Innovation Network, an executive change advocacy group, is shedding light on why IT doesn't matter. And, perhaps not surprisingly, it all comes down to IT's ability to innovate. The worldwide survey of 250 business leaders found that most rated 'the level of innovation in IT organizations' as middling (37% were 'making progress'; 33% were 'good'). And 15 percent of survey respondents rated IT innovation as 'poor.'
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Submission + - Fossil CEO: Wearables Smothering Swiss Watch Business->

itwbennett writes: 'I think technology and the whole idea of wearables ... has taken some of the oxygen out of the Swiss business,' Fossil CEO Kosta Kartsotis told analysts Tuesday on a call to discuss the watch maker’s second quarter results. These new competitors, along with other factors like a strong U.S. dollar, contributed to Fossil’s quarterly revenue decline, Kartsotis said. Last week, a report from market research firm NPD Group claimed the Apple Watch was partially behind the largest slump in U.S. watch sales since 2008.
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Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.