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Comment: Re:This is not a contract issue (Score 1) 534

The government has certain protections not afforded to the rest of us. You can't sue the gov't for certain things (like having an accident on the highway). I don't recall what this protection is called. But I don't believe it can be extended.

Therefore - is SWAT responsible for things that go wrong? And can they be individually sued ? The Govt can contract - but can they extend protections?

Ooooh, what an interesting definition they've put on themselves.

Comment: Re:Only if... (Score 1) 427

by ripvlan (#47324435) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

I'm growing weary of the "smartphone" - yes, it is very nice to have. But I look at my life and being mobile. Personally a smaller phone would be better - my phone is not my computer.

I'm reminded of the Dilbert where he's surfing the web with one eye on his smartwatch, "h..t..t..p...://w...w...w..."

My watch tells me the time. Sure I could fish around in my pockets and pull out the phone, turn it on, then put it back in my pocket. Or glance at my wrist - done. Although I don't really need to know the time - guessing tends to be good enough. A quick glance is important.

Hence - what is a wearable for me: My watch is jewlery/dressy, waterproof, shockproof, multiple years between charges...and above all cheap. If I smash it - I'll buy a new one. It is small, doesn't weigh much, and is fast & good at doing it's main function.

I've wished that my phone could come apart into a smaller piece. Reading SMS ("hi - we're running late"), Weather alerts, and phone call (emergency), and a few other basic functions when I'm out hiking/biking etc. Having a hunk of aluminum and glass in my pocket is not inconvenient (and some want a bigger phone?!)

Therefore the mobile watch sounds good. It must have week of battery - I can't be tied to a power cord, esp when traveling. Waterproof, show the time, weather alerts (the only news that really matters), and since it is a sensor - measure some data to help monitor daily goals for exercise. And above all - needs to look nice, and not be a piece of black rubber.

Although being able to take a photo and post to {insert social media of week} could be fun.

+ - Robotic Device for detecting Leaks in Pipes of Gas, Oil or Water. ->

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "Researchers at MIT have devised a robotic system that can detect leaks quickly and with high accuracy by sensing a large pressure change at leak locations.
This new system can detect leaks of just 1 to 2 millimeters in size, and at relatively low pressure.
The system can detect leaks in gas pipes, water pipes, or in petroleum pipelines.
The researchers have begun discussions with gas companies and water companies about setting up field tests under real-world conditions.

The robotic device consists of two parts.
One part is, a small robot, with wheels to propel it through pipes.
And another part is, a drum-like membrane that forms a seal across the width of the pipe.
When a leak is encountered, liquid flowing toward it distorts the membrane, pulling it slightly toward the leak site. That distortion can be detected by force-resistive sensors via a carefully designed mechanical system, similar to the sensors used in computer trackpads , and the information sent back via wireless communications."

Link to Original Source

+ - Research Project Pays People to Download, Run Executables->

Submitted by msm1267
msm1267 (2804139) writes "Incentivized by a minimal amount of cash, computer users who took part in a study were willing to agree to download an executable file to their machines without questioning the potential consequences. The more cash the researchers offered, capping out at $1, the more people complied with the experiment.

The results toss a big bucket of cold water on long-standing security awareness training advice that urges people not to trust third-party downloads from unknown sources in order to guard the sanctity of their computer. A Hershey bar or a Kennedy half-dollar, apparently, sends people spiraling off course pretty rapidly and opens up a potential new malware distribution channel for hackers willing to compensate users.

The study was released recently in a paper called: “It’s All About The Benjamins: An empirical study on incentivizing users to ignore security advice.” While fewer than half of the people who viewed the task actually ran the benign executable when offered a penny to do so, the numbers jumped to 58 percent when offered 50 cents, and 64 percent when offered $1."

Link to Original Source

+ - DIY physics: A spark chamber on a steel tower, for no reason.-> 6

Submitted by Gigabit Switchman
Gigabit Switchman (16654) writes "Slightly deranged hoopy frood (and artist) Douglas Ruuska has convinced a bunch of folks to help him build a functioning spark chamber (which is pretty cool, high voltage FTW), and then to put it on top of a steel tower covered with a few kW of addressable LEDs. Because that totally makes sense. The particle detectors will output data to a BeagleBone that controls the LEDs, and the design is being open-sourced once it's functional. Details at the story URL. (They're also running a Kickstarter, but I'm not linking that.)"
Link to Original Source

+ - US Supreme Court invalidates patent for being software patent->

Submitted by ciaran_o_riordan
ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "The US Supreme Court has just invalidated a patent for being a software patent! To no fanfare, the Court has spent the past months reviewing a case, Alice v. CLS Bank, which posed the question of "Whether claims to computer-implemented inventions ... are directed to patent-eligible subject matter". Their ruling was just published, and what we can say already is that the court was unanimous in finding this particular software patent invalid, saying: "the method claims, which merely require generic computer implementation, fail to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention", and go on to conclude that because "petitioner’s system and media claims add nothing of substance to the underlying abstract idea, we hold that they too are patent ineligible". The 'End Software Patents' wiki has a page for commenting the key extracts and listing third-party analyses. Analysis will appear there as the day(s) goes on. Careful reading is needed to get an idea of what is clearly invalidated (file formats?), and what areas are left for future rulings. If you can help, well, it's a wiki. Software Freedom Law Center's website will also be worth checking in the near future."
Link to Original Source

+ - Solar Wind Energy's Downdraft Tower Generates Its Own Wind All Year Round->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "When we think of wind power, we generally think of huge wind turbines sitting high atop towers where they can take advantage of the higher wind speeds. But Maryland-based Solar Wind Energy, Inc. is looking to turn wind power on its head with the Solar Wind Downdraft Tower, which places turbines at the base of a tower and generates its own wind to turn them."
Link to Original Source

+ - Start-ups betting on wearable technology->

Submitted by Caitlin Fitzsimmons
Caitlin Fitzsimmons (2966349) writes "Great round-up of Australian start-ups developing for wearable technology — from sport, fitness and health to fashion. This is the main feature but there are links to 10 separate profiles, many with embedded videos. Do you think they're right to predict that wearables could usher in a post-smartphone future soon rather than later? Did you know so much development was going on in the Australian market? (Many of them have US offices and are selling there too)."
Link to Original Source

+ - Driver study: people want fewer embedded apps, just essentials that work easily->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "A study released at the Telematics Detroit 2014 conference revealed the obvious: Most people don't want more distracting embedded apps in their cars; they just want essential apps like navigation and music to be intuitive to use and reliable. Part of the study involved a focus group of 46 people who were asked to evaluate infotainment systems from three luxury car makers and four "mass consumer" car makers. The drivers were asked to do three things: Navigate home, find a pizza shop and find a radio station. Only 40% were able to complete all three tasks. Not surprisingly, the highest rated infotainment system was Tesla because its icons were "large" and it was easy to figure out."
Link to Original Source

+ - Lose Sleep, Fail to Form Memory 1

Submitted by Rambo Tribble
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A research team of Chinese and American scientists claim to have witnessed the mechanism by which sleep contributes to the formation of memories. Using advanced microscopy the researchers witnessed synapses being formed in the brain of sleeping mice recently exposed to a learning task. They compared this to similarly tasked mice, that were subsequently sleep-deprived. The sleeping mice showed a marked increase in the formation of new synapses. As one researcher explained, 'We thought sleep helped, but it could have been other causes, and we show it really helps to make connections and that in sleep the brain is not quiet, it is replaying what happened during the day and it seems quite important for making the connections.' Link to original publication [abstract, paywall]"

+ - Lego to Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists

Submitted by vossman77
vossman77 (300689) writes "The Chicago Tribune reports: "Lego will produce a limited-edition box set called Research Institute, featuring three female scientists in the act of learning more about our world and beyond." After receiving 10,000 supporters on the LEGO ideas site. Creator Ellen Kooijman writes in a blog post: "As a female scientist I had noticed two things about the available Lego sets: a skewed male/female minifigure ratio and a rather stereotypical representation of the available female figures. It seemed logical that I would suggest a small set of female mini-figures in interesting professions to make our Lego city communities more diverse." According to LEGO, "The final design, pricing and availability are still being worked out, but it’s on track to be released August 2014.""

+ - Five Things We've Already Forgotten About Snowden's NSA Leaks->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The Edward Snowden saga is coming to a close. As a final act, Glenn Greenwald, who's been working closely with the whistleblower to publish leaked information about the National Security Agency, has said he will reveal a list of Americans that have been targeted by the NSA. And tonight, Snowden will be giving his first American television interview to NBC. It’s been a dizzying year of revelations about US government spying. Programs like PRISM—the ones capable of mass surveillance—have received the most media attention, and in some cases even become household names. But there are other things exposed in the string of leaks that have received relatively little media attention, despite presenting serious threats to privacy, freedom of speech, and the way we use the web. Here's a look back at some of those forgotten discoveries."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Wait - what?! (Score 5, Informative) 193

by ripvlan (#47056789) Attached to: eBay Compromised

The hackers gained access to " name, [...], physical address, phone number and date of birth"

But they "did not [access] other confidential personal information"

What other personal information is there on the planet? Your name, address and DOB is pretty much everything needed for identify theft.

Okay - I guess they didn't get Health records. Seriously though - what "other confidential information" does eBay store?

+ - Why should Red Hat support competitors' software?->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, based on documents it reviewed, Red Hat "has chosen not to provide support to its commercial Linux customers if they use rival versions of OpenStack." But the big question is: Why would customers have expected that in the first place? Gartner analyst Lydia Leong told Network World that Red Hat isn't really doing anything wrong here. Customers shouldn't have an expectation that Red Hat would support competitors' software. "The norm would be to expect that non-Red Hat software is treated like any other third-party software," Leong says.

If Red Hat has done anything wrong, it's that it has not clearly articulated its positioning and support for non-Red Hat OpenStack distros. Red Hat did not immediately respond to a question asking for a clarification on its support policy.

The complication in all this comes from the fact that OpenStack is an open source project and there are misconceived notions that all OpenStack clouds are interoperable with one another. But Leong says just because OpenStack is open source doesn't change the expectations around vendors supporting competitors' products.

Each vendor — HP, Red Hat, Rackspace, IBM — has its own commercial interests at play here. Of course Red Hat will integrate their OpenStack distro with RHEL — that's how it makes money. And HP will do the same with its hardware. There are no purely altruistic open source companies that offer free distributions that are interoperable across all vendors."

Link to Original Source

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.