jrepin writes "There's a new front in the battle against digital restrictions management (DRM)technologies. These technologies, which supposedly exist to enforce copyright, have never done anything to get creative people paid. Instead, by design or by accident, their real effect is to interfere with innovation, fair use, competition, interoperability, and our right to own things. That's why we were appalled to learn that there is a proposal currently before the World Wide Web Consortium's HTML5 Working Group to build DRM into the next generation of core Web standards. The proposal is called Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME. Its adoption would be a calamitous development, and must be stopped."
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sciencehabit writes "If you've pondered whether to sink a cool couple of grand into a fancy new three-dimensional TV but didn't want to mess around with those dorky glasses, you may want to sit tight for a few more years. Researchers at Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California, report that they've come up with a new 3D technology that not only doesn't require viewers to wear special glasses, but it also can be viewed from a wide variety of angles. The advance could propel the development of mobile 3D devices as well as TVs."
An anonymous reader writes "According to a report at The Daily Beast, the Obama administration has decided to give the drone program to the Pentagon, taking it away from the CIA. This could lead to increased transparency for the program and stricter requirements for drone strikes. From the article: 'Officials anticipate a phased-in transition in which the CIA’s drone operations would be gradually shifted over to the military, a process that could take as little as a year. Others say it might take longer but would occur during President Obama’s second term. “You can’t just flip a switch, but it’s on a reasonably fast track,” says one U.S. official. During that time, CIA and DOD operators would begin to work more closely together to ensure a smooth hand-off. The CIA would remain involved in lethal targeting, at least on the intelligence side, but would not actually control the unmanned aerial vehicles. Officials told The Daily Beast that a potential downside of the agency’s relinquishing control of the program was the loss of a decade of expertise that the CIA has developed since it has been prosecuting its war in Pakistan and beyond. At least for a period of transition, CIA operators would likely work alongside their military counterparts to target suspected terrorists.'"
judgecorp writes "A new manual for cyber war has been compiled by international legal experts and published by NATO. The manual proposes that hospitals and dams should be off-limits for online warfare, and says that a conventional response is justified if an attack causes death or serious damage to property. The manual might get its first practical application today — South Korea's TV stations and banks have come under an attack which may well originate from North Korea."
skade88 writes "Jeff Bezos has been spending his time fishing up parts of the Apollo 11 rockets. From his blog 'What an incredible adventure. We are right now onboard the Seabed Worker headed back to Cape Canaveral after finishing three weeks at sea, working almost 3 miles below the surface. We found so much. We've seen an underwater wonderland – an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program. We photographed many beautiful objects in situ and have now recovered many prime pieces. Each piece we bring on deck conjures for me the thousands of engineers who worked together back then to do what for all time had been thought surely impossible.'"
An anonymous reader writes "I'm an indie developer about to release a small ($5 — $10 range) utility for graphic designers. I'd like to employ at least a basic deterrent to pirates, but with the recent SimCity disaster, I'm wondering: what is a reasonable way to deter piracy without ruining things for legitimate users? A simple serial number? Online activation? Encrypted binaries? Please share your thoughts."
New submitter evansspann sends word that Samsung will be making a smartwatch. Rumors have been swirling for a few months that Apple is working on a 'watch-like' device, but Samsung's CEO was willing to confirm that his company is working on such a product. "We've been preparing the watch product for so long. We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them." The companies are now likely racing to be the first to market. Production of such a device will likely be easier for Samsung, since it can produce its own screens and chips. It's also likely to work well with the popular Galaxy Phone lines. However, it will have a tougher time with app distribution than Apple, since it doesn't control Google Play the way Apple controls the App Store. "Apple's critics like to say the company's ideas are obvious, but as some pundits have noted, those very ideas once seemed unimaginable. The smartwatch will be a great test for that theory. It'll be interesting to see if Samsung can strike first in a nascent category and still rival Apple's work."
Today Google launched 'Google Keep', a mobile note-taking service to rival software like Evernote. It works on devices running Android 4.0 or later, and there's also a web interface (which is struggling under launch load as of this writing). Google describes the service thus: "With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand. If it’s more convenient to speak than to type that’s fine—Keep transcribes voice memos for you automatically. There’s super-fast search to find what you’re looking for and when you’re finished with a note you can archive or delete it." Fans of Google Reader will probably be a bit hesitant to pick this up.
coondoggie writes "Commercial grade green and red laser pointers emit energy far beyond what is safe, posing skin, eye and fire hazards. That was the conclusion of a National Institute of Standards and Technology study on the properties of handheld lasers. The study tested 122 of the devices and found that nearly 90% of green pointers and about 44% of red pointers tested were out of federal safety regulation compliance."
Hugh Pickens writes "On the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Eric Boehlert writes that if Twitter had been around during the winter of 2002-2003, it could have provided a forum for critics to badger Beltway media insiders who abdicated their role as journalists and fell in line behind the Bush White House's march to war. 'Twitter could have helped puncture the Beltway media bubble by providing news consumers with direct access to confront journalists during the run-up to the war,' writes Boehlert. 'And the pass-around nature of Twitter could have rescued forgotten or buried news stories and commentaries that ran against the let's-go-to-war narrative that engulfed so much of the mainstream press.' For example, imagine how Twitter could have been used in real time on February 5, 2003, when Secretary of State Colin Powell made his infamous attack-Iraq presentation to the United Nations. At the time, Beltway pundits positively swooned over Powell's air-tight case for war. 'But Twitter could have swarmed journalists with instant analysis about the obvious shortcoming. That kind of accurate, instant analysis of Powell's presentation was posted on blogs but ignored by a mainstream media enthralled by the White House's march to war.' Ten years ago, Twitter could have also performed the task of making sure news stories that raised doubts about the war didn't fall through the cracks, as invariably happened back then. With swarms of users touting the reports, it would have been much more difficult for reporters and pundits to dismiss important events and findings. 'Ignoring Twitter, and specifically ignoring what people are saying about your work on Twitter, isn't really an option the way turning a blind eye to anti-war bloggers may have been ten years ago,' concludes Boehlert. 'In other words, Twitter could have been the megaphone — the media equalizer — that war critics lacked ten years ago."
necro81 writes "The cooling system at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, responsible for keeping the spent fuel pools at an appropriate temperature, lost power early on March 18th. During the blackout, the temperature in the spent fuel pools gradually increased, although TEPCO officials indicated the pools could warm for four days without risking radiation release. Power was restored earlier this morning, and the pools should be back to normal temperature in a few days. During the repairs, the charred remains of a rat were found in a critical area of wiring, leading some to believe that this rodent was the cause of this latest problem. At least it wasn't a mynock — then we'd really be in trouble."
c0lo writes "U.S. federal authorities are examining Microsoft's involvement with companies and individuals that allegedly paid bribes to overseas government officials in exchange for business. The United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have both opened preliminary investigations into the bribery allegations involving Microsoft in China, Italy and Romania. The China allegations were first shared with United States officials last year by an unnamed whistle-blower who had worked with Microsoft in the country, according to the person briefed on the inquiry. The whistle-blower said that a Microsoft official in China directed the whistle-blower to pay bribes to government officials to win business deals. U.S. government investigators are also reviewing whether Microsoft had a role in allegations that resellers offered bribes to secure software deals with Romania's Ministry of Communications. In Italy, Microsoft's dealings with consultants that specialize in customer-loyalty programs are under scrutiny, with allegations that Microsoft's Italian unit used such consultants as vehicles for lavishing gifts and trips on Italian procurement officials in exchange for government business. In a blog post Tuesday afternoon, John Frank, a vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said the company could not comment about continuing investigations. Mr. Frank said it was not uncommon for such government reviews to find that the claims were without merit. Somehow, given the way OOXML became a standard, it wouldn't surprise me if it were an actual fire that caused this smoke."
An anonymous reader writes "A new study released today (abstract) indicates that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has become the first man-made object to exit our solar system. Instrumentation data sent back to NASA indicate the historic event likely occurred on August 25, 2012, evidenced by drastic changes in radiation levels as the craft ventured past the heliopause. What remains to be seen, however, is whether Voyager 1 has actually made it to true interstellar space, or whether it has entered a separate, undefined region beyond our solar system. Either way, the achievement is truly monumental. 'It's outside the normal heliosphere, I would say that. We're in a new region,' said Bill Webber, professor emeritus of astronomy at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. 'And everything we're measuring is different and exciting.'" Update: 03/20 20:44 GMT by S : Reader skade88 points out that the JPL Voyager team is not so sure: "It is the consensus of the Voyager science team that Voyager 1 has not yet left the solar system or reached interstellar space. In December 2012, the Voyager science team reported that Voyager 1 is within a new region called 'the magnetic highway' where energetic particles changed dramatically. A change in the direction of the magnetic field is the last critical indicator of reaching interstellar space and that change of direction has not yet been observed." So we'll probably be hearing about this again in a couple years.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Why did Apple hire former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch as vice president of technology? Adobe and Apple spent years fighting a much-publicized battle over the latter's decision to ban Adobe Flash from iOS devices. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was very public in his condemnation of Flash as a tool for rich-content playback, denigrating it in an April 2010 letter posted on Apple's Website as flawed with regard to battery life, security, reliability and performance. Lynch was very much the public face of Adobe's public-relations pushback to Apple's criticism; in a corporate video shot for an Adobe developer conference in 2009, he even helped run an iPhone over with a steamroller. (Hat tip to Daring Fireball's John Gruber for digging that video up.) As recently as 2010, he was still arguing that Flash was superior to HTML5, which eventually surpassed it to become the virtual industry standard for Web-based rich content. It's interesting to speculate whether Steve Jobs would have hired someone who so publicly denigrated Apple's flagship product. But Jobs is dead, and his corporate successors in Cupertino—tasked with leading Apple through a period of fierce competition — obviously looked at Lynch and decided he'd make a perfect fit as an executive."
An anonymous reader writes "The Victoria and Albert Museum has cancelled an 'experimental' concert by a death metal rock band amid fears that the high decibel levels could destroy some of its most treasured artefacts, including Ming vases and priceless sculptures. The British band planned to play inside a specially-constructed ceramic sculpture with the idea that the piece would explode under the force of hits such as Order of the Leech and Fear, Emptiness, Despair" I believe this "death metal rock" is known as "grindcore." Maybe they should book Manowar next.
wiredmikey writes "A vulnerability discovered by researchers at UC Berkeley enabled attackers to eavesdrop on and modify calls and text messages sent using T-Mobile's 'Wi-Fi Calling' feature. According to Jethro Beekman and Christopher Thompson, both UC Berkeley graduate students, when an affected Android device connected to a server via T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling feature, it did not correctly validate the server's security certificate, exposing calls and text messages to a 'man-in-the-middle' (MiTM) attack. ... '[An attacker] could record, block and reroute SIP traffic. The attacker could change it by faking a sender or changing the real-time voice data or message content. He could fake incoming traffic and he can impersonate the client with forged outgoing traffic,' the report, released Tuesday, said. Beekman and Thompson said they notified T-Mobile of their discoveries in December 2012, and worked with the mobile operator to confirm and fix the problem. As of March 18, all affected T-Mobile customers have received the security update fixing the vulnerability, the researchers said." By 'did not correctly validate,' they mean that the certificate was self-signed and the client blindly trusted any certificate with the common name it was expecting.
jrepin writes "KDE is proud to announce the first release (1.0.0) of Plasma Media Center. Built on Plasma and KDE technologies. Designed to offer a rich experience to media enthusiasts. KDE's Plasma Media Center (PMC) is aimed towards a unified media experience on PCs, Tablets, Netbooks, TVs and other devices. Plasma Media Center can be used to view images, play music or watch videos. Media files can be on the local filesystem or accessed with KDE's Desktop Search." The screenshots look OK. You have to build it yourself to try it (looks easy on Ubuntu but not Debian unstable because of a few missing dev packages).
An anonymous reader writes "By using four different login combinations on the default Telnet port (root/root, admin/admin, root/[no password], and admin/[no password]), an anonymous researcher was able to log into (and upload a binary to) 'several hundred thousand unprotected devices' and run 'a super fast distributed port scanner' to scan the enitre IPv4 address space." From the report: "While playing around with the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE) we discovered an amazing number of open embedded devices on the Internet. Many of them are based on Linux and allow login to standard BusyBox with empty or default credentials. We used these devices to build a distributed port scanner to scan all IPv4 addresses. These scans include service probes for the most common ports, ICMP ping, reverse DNS and SYN scans. We analyzed some of the data to get an estimation of the IP address usage. All data gathered during our research is released into the public domain for further study."
ananyo writes "Belgian mathematician Pierre Deligne completed the work for which he became celebrated nearly four decades ago, but that fertile contribution to number theory has now earned him the Abel Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics. The prize is worth 6 million Norwegian krone (about US$1 million). In short, Deligne proved one of the four Weil conjectures (he proved the hardest; his mentor, Alexander Grothendieck, had proved the second conjecture in 1965) and went on to tools such as l-adic cohomology to extend algebraic geometry and to relate it to other areas of maths. 'To some extent, I feel that this money belongs to mathematics, not to me,' Deligne said, via webcast."
alphadogg writes with news on what Open-Xchange has been doing with the OpenOffice.org developers they hired. From the article: "Collaboration software vendor Open-Xchange plans to launch an open-source, browser-based productivity suite called OX Documents. The first application for the suite is OX Text, an in-browser word processing tool with editing capabilities for Microsoft Word .docx files and OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice .odt files, the Nuremberg, Germany, company announced this week. OX Text doesn't mess up the formatting of documents loaded into the application, said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange. XML-based documents can be read, edited and saved back to their original format at a level of quality and fidelity previously unavailable with browser-based text editors, according to the company." The other claim to fame is that it supports collaborative editing similar to Google Docs. Unfortunately for anyone hoping to have a Free/Open replacement for Google Docs, it's not actually fully open source: the backend is (Apache/GPL dual licensed), but the front-end code is Creative Commons BY-SA-NC, which is unequivocally non-free and notoriously difficult to define. "[Open Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna] told The H that his interpretation of Non-Commercial in the licensing was such that companies could use the software in-house, but not sell it as a service to others. Companies that want support will have to purchase the software from Open Xchange."
theodp writes "'Someday, and that day may never come,' Don Corleone says famously in The Godfather, 'I'll call upon you to do a service for me.' Back in 2010, filmmaker Lesley Chilcott produced Waiting for 'Superman', a controversial documentary that analyzed the failures of the American public education system, and presented charter schools as a glimmer of hope, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed KIPP Los Angeles Prep. Gates himself was a 'Superman' cast member, lamenting how U.S. public schools are producing 'American Idiots' of no use to high tech firms like Microsoft, forcing them to 'go half-way around the world to recruit the engineers and programmers they needed.' So some found it strange that when Chilcott teamed up with Gates again three years later to make Code.org's documentary short What Most Schools Don't Teach, kids from KIPP Empower Academy were called upon to demonstrate that U.S. schoolchildren are still clueless about what computer programmers do. In a nice coincidence, the film went viral just as leaders of Google, Microsoft, and Facebook pressed President Obama and Congress on immigration reform, citing a dearth of U.S. programming talent. And speaking of coincidences, the lone teacher in the Code.org film (James, Teacher@Mount View Elementary), whose classroom was tapped by Code.org as a model for the nation's schools, is Seattle teacher Jamie Ewing, who took top honors in Microsoft's Partners in Learning (PiL) U.S. Forum last summer, earning him a spot on PiL's 'Team USA' and the chance to showcase his project at the Microsoft PiL Global Forum in Prague in November (82-page Conference Guide). Ironically, had Ewing stuck to teaching the kids Scratch programming, as he's shown doing in the Code.org documentary, Microsoft wouldn't have seen fit to send him to its blowout at 'absolutely amazingly beautiful' Prague Castle. Innovative teaching, at least according to Microsoft's rules, 'must include the use of one or more Microsoft technologies.' Fortunately, Ewing's project — described in his MSDN guest blog post — called for using PowerPoint and Skype. For the curious, here's Microsoft PiL's vision of what a classroom should be."
B3ryllium writes "At least four broadcasters and two banks in South Korea are reporting massive computer accessibility issues, saying that their networks are 'paralyzed' by what looks like a cyber attack. Additional reports from Twitter suggest that hundreds of computers in the country powered off simultaneously at 2:20am, and reported "Boot device not found" errors. South Korea's military has upgraded its "Information Operation Condition (INFOCOM)" level from Level 4 to Level 3 in response to this situation."
cylonlover writes with news that another police department has received authorization to start using drones for tasks like "...photographing crime scenes and searching for missing people." From the article: "The police department in Arlington can now use new tools in support of public safety over the Texas urban community — two small helicopter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The FAA has granted permission for the Arlington police to fly these unmanned aircraft under certain circumstances: they must fly under 400 feet, only in the daytime, be in sight of the operator and a safety observer, and be in contact with the control tower at the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth airport — one of the busiest in the country." They're using a Leptron Avenger, which "has been designed with military grade features" but don't worry, "police are quick to emphasize that the 4- to 5-foot-long aircraft aren’t the same as military drones."
altjira writes "Brian Krebs, hot on the tail of the hacker who DDOS his site and SWATted his home, followed up on a tip, found the dox, called and then outed his hacker. Turns out it may have been the same guy who hit Wired's Mat Honan and Ars Technica." The attacker is ... a 20 year old guy who apparently has too much time on his hands, and was surprisingly careless with his personal information for someone exploiting the personal information of others.
Hugh Pickens writes "Mike Hoffman reports that Syria's Assad regime has accused the rebels of launching a chemical weapons attack in Aleppo that killed 25 people — an accusation the rebel fighters have strongly rebuked. A Reuters photographer said victims he had visited in Aleppo hospitals were suffering breathing problems and that people had said they could smell chlorine after the attack. The Russian foreign ministry says it has enough information to confirm the rebels launched a chemical attack while U.S. government leaders say they have not found any evidence of a chemical attack. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the accusations made by Assad could be an attempt to cover up his own potential attacks. 'We've seen reports from the Assad regime alleging that the opposition has been responsible for use. Let me just say that we have no reason to believe these allegations represent anything more than the regime's continued attempts to discredit the legitimate opposition and distract from its own atrocities committed against the Syrian people,' said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. 'We don't have any evidence to substantiate the regime's charge that the opposition even has CW (chemical weapons) capability.' President Obama has said the 'red line' to which the U.S. would send forces to Syria would be the use of chemical weapons. However, it was assumed the Assad regime would be the ones using their chemical weapons stockpile, not the rebels."
An anonymous reader writes "Security guru Bruce Schneier contends that money spent on user awareness training could be better spent and that the real failings lie in security design. 'The whole concept of security awareness training demonstrates how the computer industry has failed. We should be designing systems that won't let users choose lousy passwords and don't care what links a user clicks on,' Schneier writes in a blog post on Dark Reading. He says organizations should invest in security training for developers. He goes on, '... computer security is an abstract benefit that gets in the way of enjoying the Internet. Good practices might protect me from a theoretical attack at some time in the future, but they’re a bother right now, and I have more fun things to think about. This is the same trick Facebook uses to get people to give away their privacy. No one reads through new privacy policies; it's much easier to just click "OK" and start chatting with your friends. In short: Security is never salient.'"
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Apple has released a new update for iOS that prevents the jailbreak evasi0n released last month. But that hacking tool has already become the most popular jailbreak ever: It's been used to remove the software restrictions on 18.2 million devices in the 43 days between its release and the patch, according to data from Cydia, the app store for jailbroken devices. In its announcement of the update, Apple says it has fixed six bugs and was polite enough to credit the hackers behind evasi0n with finding four of them. At least one of the bugs used by evasi0n remains unpatched, according to David Wang, one of evasi0n's creators. And Wang says that he and his fellow hackers still have bugs in reserve for a new jailbreak, although they plan to keep them secret until the next major release."
An anonymous reader writes "An article at Wired walks us through how the so-called Nielsen Family, responsible for deciding which shows were good and which were flops since the '70s, isn't the be-all, end-all of TV popularity anymore. Quoting: 'Over the years, the Nielsen rating has been tweaked, but it still serves one fundamental purpose: to gauge how many people are watching a given show on a conventional television set. But that's not how we watch any more. Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, iTunes, smartphone, tablet—none of these platforms or devices are reflected in the Nielsen rating. (In February Nielsen announced that this fall it would finally begin including Internet streaming to TV sets in its ratings.) And the TV experience doesn't stop when the episode ends. We watch with tablets on our laps so we can look up an actor's IMDb page. We tweet about the latest plot twist (discreetly, to avoid spoilers). We fill up the comments section of our favorite online recappers. We kibitz with Facebook friends about Hannah Horvath's latest paramour. We start Tumblrs devoted to Downton decor. We're engaging with a show even if we aren't watching it, but none of this behavior factors into Nielsen's calculation of its impact.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Have the storytelling capabilities of the two already met? A New Yorker interview with Gears of War 4 writer Tom Bissell explores the question. Bissell says, 'More and more, I’m seeing that games are mining good, old-fashioned human anxieties for their drama, and that’s really promising. Games, more and more, are not just about shooting and fighting, and for that reason I’m optimistic and heartened about where the medium is heading, because I think game designers are getting more interested in making games that explore what it means to be alive. ... At the same time, though, pure storytelling is never going to be the thing that games do better than anything. Games are primarily about a connection between the player, the game world, and the central mechanic of the game. They’re about creating a space for the player to engage with that mechanic and have the world react in a way that feels interesting and absorbing but also creates a sense of agency. So writing, in games, is about creating mood and establishing a basic sense of intent. The player has some vague notion of what the intent of the so-called author is, but the power of authorship is ultimately for the player to seize for him or herself.'"