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Submission + - NASA and the Chinese are still making discoveries on the moon (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: The last time men walked on the moon was during the flight of Apollo 17, 43 Decembers ago. According to a story in Forbes, lunar soil and rock samples returned by the last moonwalkers are still yielding new insights into the history and nature of Earth’s nearest neighbor. In the meantime, the latest explorer to go to the moon, a Chinese robotic rover named Yutu has made some discoveries of its own.

Submission + - Ruby 2.3.0 Released (ruby-lang.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Ruby developers have announced the official release of Ruby 2.3.0. This release introduces a frozen string literal pragma, which is "a new magic comment and command line option to freeze all string literals in the source files." It also adds a safe navigation operator &. similar to what exists in C#, Groovy, and Swift. Ruby 2.3.0 also has many performance improvements. For more details, see the news file and the full changelog.

Submission + - A new lightweight and very strong metal

schwit1 writes: UCLA engineers have developed a new superlight and very strong metal.

A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio. The new metal is composed of magnesium infused with a dense and even dispersal of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles. It could be used to make lighter airplanes, spacecraft, and cars, helping to improve fuel efficiency, as well as in mobile electronics and biomedical devices.

Submission + - Internet Freedom Is Actively Dissolving in America .. (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: It’s the end of 2015, and one fact about the internet is quickly becoming clear this year: Americans’ freedom to access the open internet is rapidly dissolving.

Submission + - The Juniper VPN Backdoor: Buggy Code With a Dose of Shady NSA Crypto

itwbennett writes: Security researchers and crypto experts now believe that a combination of likely malicious third-party modifications and Juniper's own crypto failures are responsible for the recently disclosed backdoor in Juniper NetScreen firewalls. 'To sum up, some hacker or group of hackers noticed an existing backdoor in the Juniper software, which may have been intentional or unintentional — you be the judge!,' Matthew Green, a cryptographer and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University wrote in a blog post. 'They then piggybacked on top of it to build a backdoor of their own, something they were able to do because all of the hard work had already been done for them. The end result was a period in which someone — maybe a foreign government — was able to decrypt Juniper traffic in the U.S. and around the world. And all because Juniper had already paved the road.'

Submission + - Apple to Pay Ericsson Patent Royalties on iPhones and iPads (cio.com)

itwbennett writes: In settlement of a long-standing dispute over patents that Ericsson considers essential to the implementation of a number of mobile communications standards, including GSM, the 3G standard UMTS and LTE, Apple has agreed to pay Ericsson royalties on sales of iPhones and iPads. While the companies would not disclose further details of their agreement, Ericsson gave a hint about its value. For the full year 2015, Ericsson predicts its intellectual property rights revenue will amount to between 13 billion and 14 billion Swedish krona ($1.64 billion). In comparison, it reported IPR revenue of 10.6 billion krona for the full year 2014, including a 4.2 billion krona lump sum in settlement of a similar global dispute with Samsung Electronics.

Submission + - U.S. predicts zero job growth for electrical engineers (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: An occupation long associated with innovation, electrical and electronics engineering, has stopped growing, according to the U.S. government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in an update of its occupational outlook released Friday, said that the number of people employed as electrical and electronics engineers is now at 316,000, and will remain mostly unchanged for the next decade. The government put the 10-year job outlook for electronic and electrical engineers at “0% — little or no change.” The IEEE-USA said the BLS estimates “are probably correct.”

Submission + - Anatomy of a Phone Fraud Scam

Trailrunner7 writes: When Nargess Sadjady answered the phone at her home in London one early evening in August, the man on the other end gave her some disquieting news: There were some suspicious online purchases on her account. The caller spoke with a soft Scottish accent and said he was from the security team at her bank, Santander, and needed to verify some of her information in order to pass the case along to the fraud department.

It’s the kind of call that consumers get fairly often in the age of data breaches. The only problem was, the call came not from Sadjady’s bank, but from a fraudster who, over the course of several hours and three phone calls, convinced her to transfer £12,000 (more than $18,000) from her Santander account to an account controlled by the fraudsters. Within hours, the money was disbursed to several other accounts and Sadjady was left wondering what had happened.

The crew that went after Sadjady knew what they were doing. They knew what bank she used and when Sadjady eventually became suspicious during the initial call, the caller—who said his name was Mike—asked her to take out her debit card and look at the phone number on the back for the fraud department. He then recited that number to Sadjady and said that someone from the fraud department would call her back soon from that number.

“I don’t know you. I can’t give you any more information,” Sadjady said, according to a recording of the call obtained by BBC Radio’s Money Box program.

Not to worry, Mike said. He didn’t want personal details. He just wanted to confirm that she had her card. He then gives her a “password” that she can use to verify that the person who calls her back is from Santander. The password is Smith123, which makes the passwords in the Ashley Madison dump look bulletproof. A few hours later, a man identifying himself as James called Sadjady and said he was from the Santander fraud operations team and then read the password back to her. The callers used spoofing software to ensure that the number appearing on Sadjady’s caller ID was the one she’d read off the back of her bank card.

Submission + - Turn a Cheap FPGA into a PC PWM Output (hackaday.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If you wanted to do more with a cheap FPGA board than just blink lights, this tutorial project promises to show you how to generate different types of PWM on a Lattice iCEstick that is very inexpensive. Uses open source tools, and web-based simulation. A good learning project that could also be practical when connected to a PC or a Raspberry Pi. Part 2 is supposed to run tomorrow.

Submission + - Replacement for Mozilla Thunderbird? 3

maxcelcat writes: I've used Thunderbird for about a decade, and Netscape Mail before that (I have an email from 1998 from Marc Andreessen, welcoming me to Netscape Email, telling me different fonts can add impact to my emails).

Thunderbird has served me well, but it's getting long in the tooth.

Given the lack of development and the possibility that it's going End of Life, what should I use instead? I have multiple email accounts and an archive of sixteen years of email. I could get a copy of Outlook, but I don't like it.

Things I like about Thunderbird:
  • Supports multiple email accounts
  • Simple interface
  • Storage structure is not one monolithic file
  • Plain Text email editor
  • Filtering

Things I don't like:

  • HTML email editor
  • Folders are hard to change and re-arrange

Submission + - Microsoft's Modernized Development Workflow Begins To Show Cracks (petri.com)

An anonymous reader writes: As widely reported last year from various sources, most of Microsoft's QA staff in the Windows division was eliminated in their 2014 layoffs. According to an article at Petri, the effects are now starting to be felt and the results aren't nearly as positive as those reported by Yahoo's similar experiment:

"According to several people familiar with the new process who asked not to be named, the new workflow caused issues for developers as they were not quite sure how to balance time devoted to testing versus building. Further, having spent years coding and not performing detailed and prolonged testing, their methods for quality control were not to the same standards as those who were dedicated to the task. Under the new process, the time allotted to building out new features includes testing the code as well, which it previously did not, which means that those engineers who are accustomed to the old style, now find themselves under more pressure to turn out quality code in a shorter period since they have to do the detailed testing. The end result, as we have seen with Windows 10, is a product with more bugs and it's starting to show the weakness of the new process flow."

Apropos of nothing, ZDNet reports that the latest Windows Phone 10 release has been pulled because of bugs in the installation process and also reports on Microsoft's official apology for the numerous issues that have plagued it's recent Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices.

Submission + - Cable providers still have no answer for Netflix as cord-cutting accelerates (bgr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: While cable providers over the past few decades have grown fat off of exorbitant cable packages that overcharge and under-deliver, the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video are finally righting the ship and shifting the balance of power towards the consumer. Clearly, the cable industry is in the midst of a transition.

Netflix in particular, with its ever-growing stable of original content, has proven to be a particularly painful thorn in the side of cable providers who are increasingly struggling to keep subscribers from cutting the cord.

Now comes word via The Wall Street Journal that cord cutting isn’t just on the rise, but is accelerating rapidly. Citing data recently compiled by eMarketer, the Journal relays that the number of households with cable “will fall at an accelerating rate for at least the next four years, reaching a 1.4% decline in 2019, eMarketer estimates.”

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