Sockatume writes "The BBC is reporting that Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks have an interesting characteristic you won't find in any Macbook Air: the palm rest emits an odor like cat urine. An issue with a manufacturing process is thought to be to blame. Although Dell has assured potential customers that the issue has been fixed, reports in the Dell support forum indicate that units with the novel fragrance continue to ship out to users. Dell staff state that the palm rest will be replaced by Dell at no cost, but only if the unit is still under warranty."
An anonymous reader writes "Debian has been one of the last holdouts using SysVinit over a modern init system, but now after much discussion amongst Debian developers, they are deciding whether to support systemd or Upstart as their default init system. The Debian technical committee has been asked to vote on which init system to use, which could swing in favor of using Upstart due to the Canonical bias present on the committee."
An anonymous reader writes "The National Security Agency sent a letter to its employees, affiliates and contractors to reassure them that the NSA is not really an abusive and unchecked spying agency engaged in illegal activity." Whatever you think of the commentary, you can read the original, attached to the linked story.
trbdavies writes "The Associated Press reports: 'President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company's network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google. The leader is so angered by the espionage that on Tuesday she postponed next month's scheduled trip to Washington, where she was to be honored with a state dinner.' Among Brazil's plans are a domestic encrypted email service, laying its own fiber optic cable to Europe, requiring services like Facebook and Google to store data generated by Brazilians on servers located in Brazil, and pushing for 'international rules on privacy and security in hardware and software during the U.N. General Assembly meeting later this month.'"
New submitter globaljustin writes "According to a Washington Post report: 'Several months after calling for legislation to unlock cellphones, the White House filed a petition (PDF) with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday asking that all wireless carriers be required to unlock all mobile devices so that users can easily switch between carriers. ... the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said that allowing unlocked devices would increase competition and consumer choice, while also putting the burden of changing networks on companies rather than consumers.' This move should be met with universal acclaim from cell phone users, right?"
UnknowingFool writes "For consumers who had hoped that Microsoft would greatly upgrade their recent entries into the tablet market, leaks and rumors have said that both machines will receive modest hardware changes. Surface Pro 2 will sport new Haswell processors which will increase battery life to 7 hours. RAM is expected to increase from 4GB to 8GB. Surface (formerly RT) will get Tegra 4 processors. The only other confirmed change will be new kickstands that have 2 positions instead of one."
First time accepted submitter TimBur1e6 writes "Suppose you had just moved 1000 miles away from your significant other, but you wanted to continue to create shared life experiences. You could text, or talk by voice, or even video chat. And those would all be good things to do. However, there's a difference between telling someone about your day, and actually spending time together. What are some fun and constructive ways of spending time together on the net? In particular, what are good things to do with a significant other who is less into combat, and more into collaboration, exploration, creativity, and storytelling?"
New submitter digitalFlack writes "Apparently Martin Manley has been a popular blogger and newspaper journalist for many years. For his own reasons, no indication of illness, he decided sixty years on this planet was enough. He designed a 40-page website with sections such as: 'Why Suicide?' and 'Why Age 60?.' Martin planned his suicide meticulously, but to manage his legacy, he picked Yahoo. He even pre-paid for five years. After he left this mortal coil on his 60th birthday, Yahoo decided they don't want his traffic, so they took the site down. Sorry, Martin."
UnknowingFool writes "Microsoft has reversed course on another aspect of the Xbox One. Though Xbox One will come bundled with a Kinect sensor, the console will work without it. Critics were had suggested that an always-on video and audio sensor could be used to spy on users. Microsoft's Marc Whitten said, 'Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay. That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged in, although you won't be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.' This is the latest reversal from Microsoft since they killed the phone-home DRM and made it region-free."
Daniel_Stuckey writes with this excerpt from Motherboard: "Word has it there's a military sting operation to bust soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who are using Craigslist to find casual hookups, and now troopers are being warned to keep their sexual exploits on the down-low. It all started when news article published last week in the Army Times suggested undercover military cops were trolling the Craigslist Baghdad personals to catch officers posting lewd photos looking for casual sex. (The Baghdad site is presumably a product of the war in Iraq, though most of the posters now are deployed in Afghanistan.) The story was picked up by the Daily Mail and a subsequent wave of media outlets, exposing the X-rated subculture."
Two unmanned aerial vehicles have received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to perform commercial operations in United States airspace. The Scan Eagle 200 from Insitu will be launched from a ship and used to monitor icebergs and migrating whales in parts of the Arctic where companies are looking for oil. The PUMA from Aerovironment will be used by emergency response teams for monitoring oil spills. (Both are referred to as unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, by the Administration.) "Issuing the type certificates is an important step toward the FAA's goal of integrating UAS into the nation's airspace. These flights will also meet requirements in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that define Arctic operational areas and include a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations."
An anonymous reader writes "Today, Nvidia officially releases the SHIELD. After an unexpected delay last month, the company dropped the price of its hotly-anticipated handheld gaming system from $350 to just $300. Sporting a 5-inch 720p touchscreen attached to an XBox-style controller, the SHIELD is the first serious Android-based handheld gaming device. The SHIELD is also the first major device top ship with Nvidia's new Tegra 4 SoC. But the potentially killer feature of the SHIELD is its ability to steam heavy-duty PC games from your desktop right into your hands. Right now the selection of PC games is pretty scarce, with just 21 titles to choose from so far, though Nvidia promises more to come. Tom's Hardware just posted an exhaustive review of the Nvidia SHIELD, which includes demos of both Android gaming and PC streaming, display and battery testing, plus the usual bevy of performance tests versus the Tegra 3-based Nexus 7 (2012), the new Nexus 7 carrying a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, the iPhone 5, and a Wintel tablet with the Atom Z2760. Tegra 4 presents nearly four times the performance of Tegra 3, and leaves most of its competition in the dust. However, it also means that Nvidia is now the only ARM competitor without an OpenGL ES 3.0 implementation on the horizon, making Nvidia's new position as top dog quite uncertain."
jfruh writes "Practically since OpenStack was started there has been discussion about whether it should fully support Amazon Web Services' APIs. Doing so would make it easy to port applications between an OpenStack cloud and AWS. It would also let businesses easily build hybrid apps that run internally on an OpenStack cloud and on AWS. Cloudscaling's Randy Bias has been vocal about his support of fidelity with AWS. He argues that there's no hope for OpenStack in the public cloud market so it would do well to support interoperability with AWS and Google Compute Engine if it wants to hold on to the private cloud market. It's true that interoperability with AWS would be good for OpenStack in the private cloud market. But it's easier said than done."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Forget about hacking an app or database: for a small cadre of hackers in San Francisco, it's all about writing code that can score them a great table at a hot restaurant. According to the BBC, these developers and programmers have designed bots that scan restaurant Websites for open tables and reserve them. Diogo Mónica, a security engineer with e-commerce firm Square, is one of those programmers. A self-described foodie, he decided to get around his inability to score a table at the ultra-popular State Bird Provisions by writing a script that sent out an email every time the restaurant's reservation page changed. 'Once a reservation got canceled I would get an email and could quickly get it for myself,' he wrote in a blog posting. But soon he noticed something peculiar: 'As soon as reservations became available on the website (at 4am), all the good times were immediately taken and were gone by 4:01am.' He suspected it was automated 'reservation bots at work,' built by other programmers with a hankering for fine cuisine. 'After a while even cancellations started being taken immediately from under me,' he wrote. 'It started being common receiving an email alerting of a change, seeing an available time, and it being gone by the time the website loaded.' His solution was to build his own reservation bot, using Ruby, and post the code in the wild."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Who could forget Steve Ballmer's defining moment, that infamous 'Developers! Developers! Developers!' rant that became a YouTube hit? Or the reports of frighteningly accurate chair-throwing? Who could miss the tech media and investors blaming him for everything from Microsoft's largely stagnant stock price over the past decade to its inability to get in front of trends such as mobile devices? But tech columnist (and Kernel editor-in-chief) Milo Yiannopoulos talked to a bunch of Ballmer's friends and colleagues, picked through Microsoft's history, and came away with the argument that the man deserves a second look as an effective leader. 'He stands accused of running one of the greatest companies in American history into the ground, even as its stock price remains remarkably resilient and the company continues to turn a healthy profit,' he writes. 'The mature verdict on Steve Ballmer is that he has made only one major strategic error: not combining his own brilliance for sales and detail with a visionary product leader who has the authority to create bold new revenue streams for the company.' Do you agree? Or does Ballmer deserve his reputation as a bad CEO?"