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Comment So... What BIOS is running on it? (Score 4, Informative) 229

Before I get modded to oblivion... From TFA: In addition to enabling as above the development of free BIOS firmware, we are also working with Intel to allow us to scrub, release, and maintain the source for the FSP, but havenÃ(TM)t finalized that yet. We are devoted to freeing this binary. You can read here about the current state of our efforts to free the BIOS. (http://puri.sm/posts/bios-freedom-status/) The point I was trying to make is that UNTIL every layer of the operational stack really is Free & Open Source, the product as a whole isn't REALLY libre.

Scientists Invent Urine-Powered Robots 123

Lucas123 writes "Researchers have already built robots that can use microorganisms to digest waste material, such as rotten fruit and vegetables, and generate electricity from it. This time, a group of scientists has taken that concept to a strange, new place: urine-powered robots. The scientists from the University of the West of England, Bristol and the University of Bristol constructed a system in robots that functions like the human heart, except it's designed to pump urine into the robot's 'engine room,' converting the waste into electricity and enabling the robot to function completely on its own. The researchers hope the system, which can hold 24.5 ml of urine, could be used to power future generations of robots, or what they're calling EcoBots. 'In the city environment, they could re-charge using urine from urinals in public lavatories,' said Peter Walters, a researcher with the University of the West of England. 'In rural environments, liquid waste effluent could be collected from farms.'"

Mark Shuttleworth Apologizes for Trademark Action Against Fix Ubuntu 196

A few days ago, the operator of Fix Ubuntu received a threatening letter from Canonical commanding him to cease using the Ubuntu name or logo. Last night, Mark Shuttleworth posted an update noting that it shouldn't have happened, and also apologizing for calling opponents of Mir the open source tea party. "In order to make the amount of [trademark related] correspondence manageable, we have a range of standard templates for correspondence. They range from the 'we see you, what you are doing is fine, here is a license to use the name and logo which you need to have, no need for further correspondence,' through 'please make sure you state you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the company or the product,' to the 'please do not use the logo without permission, which we are not granting unless you actually certify those machines,' and 'please do not use Ubuntu in that domain to pretend you are part of the project when you are not.' Last week, the less-than-a-month-at-Canonical new guy sent out the toughest template letter to the folks behind a “sucks” site. Now, that was not a decision based on policy or guidance; as I said, Canonical’s trademark policy is unusually generous relative to corporate norms in explicitly allowing for this sort of usage. It was a mistake, and there is no question that the various people in the line of responsibility know and agree that it was a mistake. It was no different, however, than a bug in a line of code, which I think most developers would agree happens to the best of us. It just happened to be, in that analogy, a zero-day remote root bug. ... On another, more personal note, I made a mistake myself when I used the label “open source tea party” to refer to the vocal non-technical critics of work that Canonical does. That was unnecessary and quite possibly equally offensive to members of the real Tea Party (hi there!) and the people with vocal non-technical criticism of work that Canonical does (hello there!)."

Chinese Professor Builds Li-Fi System With Retail Parts 155

alphadogg writes "The equipment is big and expensive, with the research costs at almost $500,000. But by just using retail components, Chinese professor Chi Nan has built her own Li-Fi wireless system that can use LED lights to send and receive Internet data. "I bought the lights from Taobao," she said, referring to the Chinese e-commerce site. The professor from Fudan University showed off the technology on Tuesday at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai. Unlike traditional Wi-Fi routers that use radio signals, Chi's system relies on light to send and receive data wirelessly. Others scientists, especially in the U.K., have also been researching the technology, and dubbed it "Li-Fi". But rather than develop specialized hardware, Chi bought off-the-shelf retail parts to create her system."
United States

Health Exchange Sites Crushed By Demand; Shutdown Blanks Other Gov't Sites 565

An anonymous reader writes "The launch of a national health exchange site was marred by overloaded servers in several states around the country. In a White House press conference, President Obama said that by 7 a.m., there were over a million users, and he likened the capacity problems to the glitches that Apple experienced after discovering bugs in their rlease of iOS 7. 'I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads, or threatening to shut down company if they didn't,' the president argued." Meanwhile, a number government websites went blank as a result of the shutdown, instead of simply lying dormant until personnel could return. The National Science Foundation, NASA, the FCC, and the Library of Congress are a few examples.
The Internet

CERN Launches Line Mode Browser Emulator 92

itwbennett writes "As part of the project to preserve the world's first website and all of the accompanying technology, CERN last week launched a line mode browser emulator. To make the browser experience authentic, the developers recreated how terminals would draw one character at a time by covering the page in black and then revealing each character by erasing a character-sized rectangle from that cover, one-by-one, line-by-line. They also recreated the sound of typing on older keyboards, specifically an IBM RS/6000 keyboard, by using HTML5 audio elements."

Moscow Subway To Use Special Devices To Read Data On Passengers' Phones 163

dryriver writes "'The head of police for Moscow's subway system has said stations will soon be equipped with devices that can read the data on the mobile telephones of passengers. In the July 29 edition of Izvestia, Moscow Metro police chief Andrei Mokhov said the device would be used to help locate stolen mobile phones. Mokhov said the devices have a range of about 5 meters and can read the SIM card. If the card is on the list of stolen phones, the system automatically sends information to the police. The time and place of the alert can be matched to closed-circuit TV in stations. Izvestia reported that 'according to experts, the devices can be used more widely to follow all passengers without exception.' Mokhov said it was illegal to track a person without permission from the authorities, but that there was no law against tracking the property of a company, such as a SIM card.' What is this all about? Is it really about detecting stolen phones/SIM cards, or is that a convenient 'cover story' for eavesdropping on people's private smartphone data while they wait to ride the subway? Also — if this scheme goes ahead, how long will it be before the U.S., Europe and other territories employ devices that do this, too?"

Comment Re:PREY (Score 1) 253

The point you are missing is that the laptop must be usable in it's freshly stolen form for software tracking to be of any use - or else why would someone leave it powered on.

And often the person who steals the laptop doesn't hold onto it... they flip it... often as a laptop they "forgot the password to, just go to a computer shop to have it reset"

Comment Re:PREY (Score 1) 253

Once a computer store came to me to reset a BIOS password on a laptop for one of their customers. I reset the password and noticed the windows installation was configured to join to a domain... so I reset the local account, recovered the outlook PST file and called the former user of the laptop. It was a corporate laptop that was stolen from his garage a week prior. The police came to my work and I was summoned to show up in court as a witness to a stupid possession of stolen property charge in another city. I had to take time off for it and everything.

That said, the "useless security" was enough to get the laptop to the point where a number of people who had the technical ability to do the right thing could...

Mind you, it was an inconvenience to me to do so.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.