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Submission + - Russia's Putin Wants to Ban Windows on Government PCs

SmartAboutThings writes: The Russian government is allegedly looking to ban Microsoft’s Windows operating system, increase taxes on foreign technology companies, develop its homegrown OS and encourage local tech companies to grow.

All these proposals comes from German Klimenko, Vladimir Putin's new 'internet czar, as Bloomberg describes him. In a 90-minute interview, Klimenko said forcing Google and Apple to pay more taxes and banning Microsoft Windows from government computers are necessary measures, as he is trying to raise taxes on U.S. companies, thus helping local Russian competitors such as Yandex and

Submission + - FCC Chairman Wants To Free the Cable Box (

itwbennett writes: Renting a set-top cable box from your ISP doesn't cost you much compared to your overall cable bill, but it adds up to billions for the ISPs. A 2015 survey commissioned by two U.S. senators found that 99 percent of pay TV subscribers rent set-top boxes. 'The set-top box rental market may be worth more than $19.5 billion per year, with the average American household spending more than $231 per year on set-top box rental fees,' wrote Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthals (D-Conn.) Enter a proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler 'to end the set-top box monopoly and let subscribers use whatever devices they wish to access paid programming,' writes Bill Snyder. A preliminary vote is set for next week.

Submission + - iRobot is selling off its military division (

AmiMoJo writes: Vacuum bot maker iRobot has sold off its defense and security division in order to focus on its core Roomba business. If you were unaware that iRobot even made military toys, the company actually got its start building military hardware for the likes of DARPA as far back as 1998. At one point, it was awarded a $286 million military contract to produce robots that can detect and disarm bombs and do other risky chores. Turns out, there just wasn't enough money in it. According to its financial statements, iRobot raked in around 15 times more money with Roomba vacs than military robots.

Submission + - Your credit card knows what you did last summer - and tells everyone near it

An anonymous reader writes: More and more credit and debit cards are being equipped with NFC. It promises fast and convenient payment. But did you know, that many also reveal your past chip and pin transactions, including the date, amount and currency? What privacy implications do you see? See if your card also shares this information with anything reading it's NFC tag. Does your bank's ToS or Privacy Policy include this?

This story has already been picked up by Computer Bild, a popular German tech blog. Read the original story at here:

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 562

To answer your question: hold back progress to protect people? You need to make it safe by design. Protect people first.

But I also have to ask: Is building something foreign simply defined as progress? I drove a Chrysler/Dodge that had this same stick in it - what a PITA. Plus I also began to wonder "gee - how many people fail to put it in Park or are in N rather than a desired gear" It is not an intuitive design - You Have To Look. You press the stick - and then wait. and then press it again and again. Works fine for a range (e.g.Volume) control. But frustrating when position is critical. Manual shift and current Auto are position based - so people don't need to Look, just muscle memory.

As a designer - during your FMEA, you need to ask questions around Safety. Think of the ways in which user-confusion could lead to "failure."

And nobody reads the manual. No seriously. In my line of work we call this Labeling (all those warning labels you see on devices like "hot" "warning" etc). Labeling is never a mitigator for safety. Assume nobody reads it. The device must protect the consumer By Design. Even possible/obvious misuse (if you can anticipate it - design for it).

Comment Re:Caller ID Blocker (Score 1) 252

I once read an article by a guy who did let them into a VM he had. He had been reviewing something and was about to throw away the VM when they called.

Apparently the "tech support" guy upgraded his version of office for him, emptied the trash, and made some performance related registry changes/ improvements. All apparently legit stuff (even if the software was illegal copies). Then asked for "$20" for his work. The author even compared the Office ISO to a known good copy and couldn't find any illegal payload. This was pre-ransomware (or at the very emergence of it)

Many of these virus tools won't run in a VM - they know that the honeypots are all VMs so the software attempts to detect and remain hidden.

My favorite was a video on YouTube. There's a version of Linux that doesn't store files permanently. The video is of the hackers console as they download files and then can't execute them. They unpack a zip file... "ls" and see results. But then attempt to run the utils and they aren't there. So the guy "ls" again - sees empty folder, does a "cd" thinking he unpacked to the wrong folder. Nope. Downloads again. Checks the version of Linux. Tries again. Repeats many times before giving up.

Comment Re:Caller ID Blocker (Score 1) 252

Yeah - another one goes like this: after slowly stringing them along ("let me climb the stairs to my office" and "wait while I boot my computer") - they tell me to press the Windows key. I ask "hmmm... how about an Apple key?" They immediately hangup - no further discussion on that point.

If I'm particularly busy and not willing to play I start the call with "MS tech support??! I have a Mac." [always - click. their script must say "goto end"]

Comment Railgun !!! (Score 1) 345

As a good /. citizen - I didn't read the article. But did he say "batteries?" Vertical takeoff yes.

How about a Railgun? Just shoot the &$#-ers into the sky and let it glide to its destination?

The damn barbarians were good at heaving big rocks long distances via different catapults - and they didn't use batteries. Well - the giant weight and sling arm I suppose stored up energy...but not a battery in the modern sense.

Comment Re:Evil bit again? (Score 1) 105

Yes - as tepples replied too -- it is time shifting. When you're done watching it gets deleted.

I was suggesting a (somewhat) simplistic compromise. Consumer can record to a device to watch later - but if said device has an option to upload/share with friends - then those shows with the flag set couldn't be shared.

Of course - taking a VCR tape to a friends house to watch a show is sharing. So how does one do that in our current technology world?!

We just need to balance the rights of the copyright holder with the rights of the consumer - and I think it comes down to Intent.

Comment Re:Caller ID Blocker (Score 5, Funny) 252

Yeah - I have 2 that I play. My time is valuable (to me) so I make it short - but I like to make them uncomfortable.

Old married couple who can't hear what the person is saying. They keep talking angrily back and forth "if you put your hearing aid in like I said" "shut up woman" "you old sob - I should have listened to my mother" "I don't have a good grip - don't drop it" [drop phone] [click]

When the Windows Tech Support people call I use this one:

[Dad voice] "I have a virus on my computer again? hold on - I told my kid to stop messing with the computer. Son!! Get your ass down here now. How many times have I told you... why you S-O-B... I'm going to beat you"
[whack some object for effect]
[child voice] "Ow Dad, ow ow I'll be good. [waah] stop it please stop it"
[Dad voice] "Here - you talk to this mother-f'r and fix the goddamn computer. We're going to have a looong conversation when this is over"

Comment Re:Evil bit again? (Score 1) 105

It is just a Flag - "Please be honest!"

Look - the law in the USA is we can record under fair-use. But - if this flag were to indicate "don't allow people to Share the recording" (for original playback only) --- I can see that. Sort of a mark in the sand - reminding people that Copyright exists. Kind of like those "FBI Warning" on DVD videos. One must enforce trademark/copyright to keep them real. So great - send us the Flag to show that copyright is being enforced.

Now - what they really need is a technology to protect content and control who can see it. :-P

Submission + - Google starts blocking sites with fake download buttons ( 1

Kobun writes: Google is now rolling out automatic blocking of websites that use fake download buttons or deceptive ads to trick users into downloading Malware. The original blog post from Google can be found here, with additional commentary at Ars and Gizmodo. CNET and Sourceforge are mentioned by name in the Ars article, although this doesn't take into account SourceForge's recent sale and the subsequent reversal of their malware-distribution policy.

Comment Rube Goldberg?! (Score 1) 229

Yup $50 a year is a great & easy solution - ....And didn't folks try doing this with GMail back in the day? Google offered unlimited email so somebody figured out a method to "uuencode" their harddrive backup and email it to themselves? Kind of like porn back in the nntp news-group days?

People are having fun building Rube Goldberg machines. Let us all doubt that this is a serious commercial solution - and just admit it is a run "built it on a Raspberry Pi" toy solution.

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