MojoKid writes "One of the hallmark features of Google's Nexus 5 flagship smartphone by LG isn't its bodaciously big 5-inch HD display, its 8MP camera, or its "OK Google" voice commands. That has all been done before. What does stand out about the Nexus 5 is Google's new Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS and LG's SoC (System on Chip) processor of choice, namely Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core. Qualcomm is known for licensing ARM core technology and making it their own; and Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast. Google also has taken the scalpel to Kit Kat in all the right places, whittling down the overall footprint of the OS, so it's more efficient on lower-end devices and also offers faster multitasking. Specifically memory usage has been optimized in a number of areas. Couple these OS tweaks with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and you end up with a smartphone that hugs the corners and lights 'em up on the straights. Putting the Nexus 5 through its paces, it turns out preliminary figures are promising. In fact, the Nexus 5 actually was able to surpass the iPhone 5s with Apple's 64-bit A7 processor in a few tests and goes toe to toe with it in gaming and graphics." Ars Technica has a similarly positive view of the hardware aspects of the phone, dinging it slightly for its camera but otherwise finding little to fault.
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somegeekynick writes "Feedly users, a lot of whom migrated from the now-defunct Google Reader, are now finding out that they will not be able to login to the service without a Google+ Profile. In a blog post from Edwin Khodabakchian, which was posted almost at the same time the change rolled out, the reason for the change is stated as following Google's own move from using OAuth to Google+ for authentication. What has riled up a lot of users, as can be read in the comments, is that this change has come without warning and a lot of feeds are now being 'held hostage' by Feedly, especially for users who are reluctant to create Google+ Profiles."
cartechboy writes "There are about 150,000 vehicle fires reported every year in the U.S. — about 17 every hour, on average. But when that vehicle fire is a Tesla, the Internet notices. There have now been three fires among roughly 20,000 Tesla Model S electric cars on the road so far. The stock is down, the Feds are asking questions and the Internet is swimming in Tesla news. It may be time to check the facts and review some math (hint: we're looking at roughly one fire for every 33 million miles driven so far) and then breathe. Then look at what we know, what we don't know, and what we should know."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "AP reports that federal safety regulators are proposing major changes in workplace reporting rules that would require large companies to file injury and illness reports electronically so they can be posted online and made available to the public. 'Public posting of workplace illness and injury information will nudge employers to better identify and eliminate hazards,' says OSHA head David Michaels. OSHA says the change is in line with President Barack Obama's initiative to increase public access to government data. The plan would require companies with more than 250 employees to submit the data electronically on a quarterly basis. That would cover about 38,000 American companies, says Michaels. Under current rules, employers are required to post annual summaries of injury and illness reports in a common area where they can be seen by employees. While the OSHA web site contains raw numbers about incidents at certain workplaces, it doesn't describe what the injury was or how it occurred. OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule on January 9 in Washington and is accepting public comments for 90 days, until February 6, 2014. Not everyone is enamored of the change. 'Just because you have an injury, it does not mean there was employer fault,' says Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 'Reporting the injury records does not tell the full story of the company.' Some company safety professionals and researchers say they are concerned that the new proposal might unintentionally create an under-reporting problem. Companies may feel pressure to report lower injury numbers if they know they will be made public."
Rambo Tribble writes "No sooner had Amazon revealed their plan to offer independent book shops the Kindle for re-sale, along with a kick-back on e-book purchases, than the fur began to fly. It appears the shops view the plan as Amazon-assisted suicide. Given the apparent terms of the deal, it looks like they may have a point. Amazon may well have done themselves more harm than good with this ploy. One storeowner wrote, 'Hmmm, let's see. We sell Kindles for essentially no profit, the new Kindle customer is in our store where they can browse and discover books, the new Kindle customer can then check the price on Amazon and order the e-book. We make a little on their e-book purchases, but then lose them as a customer completely after two years. Doesn't sound like such a great partnership to me.'"
JestersGrind writes with news that Blizzard has announced the next expansion to World of Warcraft, titled Warlords of Draenor. This expansion raises the level cap to 100 and introduces a new world/continent full of zones: Draenor. They're also introducing 'Garrisons,' player-built bases on Draenor that individual users will be able to customize and upgrade. Your garrison will have followers which you can send on missions, and you'll be able to invite other players over to visit and trade. The expansion will also revamp a number of aging character models. Blizzard is also making it so new and returning players can immediately boost one character to the current level cap (90), so they can immediately jump into the new content.
Lucas123 writes "Engineers at Duke University say they've constructed a device that can collect stray wireless signals and convert them into energy to charge batteries in devices such as cell phones and tablets. The WiFi collection device, made of cheap copper coils and fiberglass, can even aggregate energy from satellite signals and sound waves (abstract). The researchers created a series of five fiberglass and copper energy conductors on a circuit board, which was able to convert microwaves into 7.3V of electrical energy. By comparison, Universal Serial Bus (USB) chargers for small electronic devices provide about 5V of power. The device, the researchers say, is as efficient as solar cells with an energy conversion rate of 37%."
itwbennett writes "Dan Tynan noticed something curious when he was reading a TechCrunch story (about Google's mystery barges, as it happens). There was a banner ad promoting careers at the NSA — and this was no ad-serving network fluke. Tynan visited the TechCrunch site on three different machines, and saw an NSA ad every time. In one version of the ad, a male voice says, 'There are activities that I've worked on that make, you know, front page headlines. And I can say, I know all about that, I had a hand in that. The things that happen here at NSA really have national and world ramifications.'"
KentuckyFC writes "One of the central concepts in quantum theory is wave-particle duality — that every object can be thought of as a particle and a wave. Indeed every object has a quantum wavelength associated with it and so can form a quantum superposition with itself. That's easy to demonstrate with fundamental particles such as photons and electrons by passing a beam of them through a double slit and watching the interference pattern that forms on the other side. In this way, physicists have observed the interference patterns associated with atoms and even molecules such as buckyballs. Now, a group at the University of Vienna has observed the interference pattern formed by the quantum superposition of molecules containing over 800 atoms, or around 5,000 protons, 5,000 neutrons and 5,000 electrons. That's the most macroscopic occurrence of wave-particle duality ever observed, they say."
agizis writes "Google presented their new QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) protocol to the IETF yesterday as a future replacement for TCP. It was discussed here when it was originally announced, but now there's real working code. How fast is it really? We wanted to know, so we dug in and benchmarked QUIC at different bandwidths, latencies and reliability levels (test code included, of course), and ran our results by the QUIC team."
Nerval's Lobster writes "A new Bloomberg report suggests that Stephen Elop, who's apparently on the short list of candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's CEO, would eliminate company projects such as Xbox and Bing while focusing resources on Office. Before he left Microsoft to join Nokia, Elop headed Microsoft's Business Division, so it's no surprise he'd want to focus on Office and the company's other, highly profitable enterprise software. But as head of Nokia, Elop made similarly bold strategic realignments that, while they probably looked good on paper, didn't quite work out. Specifically, Elop decided to abandon Nokia's popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone. That caused Nokia's share of the overall mobile-device market to dive into the single digits. At the time, Elop insisted he made the decision because Symbian and its ilk were incapable of competing in the broader market against Android and iOS; revelations by the Finnish media over the past few months, however, suggest that he'd been offered a generous cash incentive for selling off the company, which gives his 'strategic realignment' (which everyone knew would initially collapse Nokia's market-share, as its product pipeline emptied out) a whiff of self-interest. So while it's likely that a Microsoft run by Elop would make some decisive moves, his previous attempt at game-changing quickly transformed Nokia from a communications powerhouse into a second-tier competitor and (eventually) a Microsoft subsidiary. And by eliminating Bing and Xbox, Microsoft would be giving up completely on the search and gaming markets in favor of becoming more of an enterprise-centric company—something that could please analysts mostly interested in the company's bottom line, but basically an admission of defeat in the consumer realm."
cold fjord sends this news from Reuters: "Edward Snowden used login credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues ... to access some of the classified material he leaked. ... A handful of agency employees who gave their login details to Snowden were identified, questioned and removed from their assignments. ... Snowden may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers at the NSA regional operations center in Hawaii to give him their logins and passwords by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator. ... People familiar with efforts to assess the damage to U.S. intelligence caused by Snowden's leaks have said assessments are proceeding slowly because Snowden succeeded in obscuring some electronic traces of how he accessed NSA records. ... The revelation that Snowden got access to some of the material he leaked by using colleagues' passwords surfaced as the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill intended in part to tighten security over U.S. intelligence data. One provision of the bill would earmark a classified sum of money ... to help fund efforts by intelligence agencies to install new software designed to spot and track attempts to access or download secret materials without proper authorization.'"
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "In 2007, I wrote that you could find troves of credit card numbers on Google, most of them still active, using the simple trick of Googling the first 8 digits of your credit card number. The trick itself had been publicized by other writers at least as far back as 2004, but in 2013, it appears to still be just as easy. One possible solution that I didn't consider last time, would be for Google itself to notify the webmasters and credit card companies of the leaked information, and then display a warning alongside the search results." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
Zothecula writes "In a prime example of past meets future, a Texas-based company has used a century-old classic firearm as the blueprint for the world's first 3D-printed metal gun. Solid Concepts' use of a laser sintering method to create a fully functional Model 1911 automatic pistol is the latest demonstration of the potential of 3D printing techniques in industrial processing. The company's 'The gun proves laser sintering can meet tight tolerances. 3D Metal Printing has less porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. The barrel sees chamber pressure above 20,000 psi every time the gun is fired.'"
mrspoonsi writes "A monstrous storm has arisen in the Western Pacific. The storm, called 'Supter-Typhoon Haiyan', has become the year's most intense. It bore down on the central Philippines this morning, packing winds up to 195 mph (314 km/h), with gusts up to 235 mph (378 km/h), threatening massive damage and sending over 100,000 people into evacuation centers. (Animation of landfall.) Flood waters went as high as 10 feet. The secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross said, 'About 90% of the infrastructure and establishments were heavily damaged.'"
Bruce66423 writes "Milton Keynes is the most successful new town in the U.K., being built on a green field site from the '60s onward. Initially famous for concrete cows, it is the home of the Open University, which offers college-level courses at home. Now, the U.K. Business Secretary has announced plans to have small driverless cars shuttle people around parts of the town starting in 2015. There will be about 20 of the pod-like vehicles to start, each capable of holding two people. They will have their own pathways and move at about 12mph. The plan is to continue developing and testing the vehicles, and by 2017, 100 of them will share walkways with pedestrians."
New submitter bkerensa writes "A member of Canonical's Legal Team recently sent a email to a critic of Ubuntu's privacy settings to insist he stop using the Ubuntu name and logo, even though it falls under 'fair use.' Micah Lee is the CTO of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and maintainer of the HTTPS Everywhere project. When Ubuntu began adding commercial results in its Dash search software, Lee wrote about the privacy concerns and created a site called Fix Ubuntu to show people how to turn it off. Canonical's legal department has now sent him a letter asking him to 'remove [the] Ubuntu word from you[r] domain name and Ubuntu logo from your website.'"
dcblogs writes "U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has released 175 pages of "War Room" notes — a collection of notes by federal officials dealing with the problems at Healthcare.gov. They start Oct. 1, the launch day. The War Room notes catalog IT problems — dashboards weren't showing data, servers didn't have the right production data, third party systems weren't connecting to verify data, a key contractor had trouble logging on, and there wasn't enough server capacity to handle the traffic, or enough people on the help desks to answer calls. To top it off, some personnel needed for the effort were furloughed because of the shutdown. Volunteers were needed to work weekends, but there were bureaucratic complications."
Zothecula writes "We tend to think of livestock farmers as 'one man and his dog,' but if AgResearch of New Zealand has anything to say, that pair may have to move over to include a robot. A team led by Dr. Andrew Manderson is developing AgriRover, an agricultural robot inspired by NASA's Mars rovers. It's a proof-of-concept prototype designed to show how robots can make life easier and more productive for livestock farmers."
First time accepted submitter binarstu writes "The New York Times reports that 'The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with overseas counterterrorism investigations by exploiting the company's vast database of phone records, which includes Americans' international calls, according to government officials. The cooperation is conducted under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders compelling the company to participate, according to the officials.'"
alphadogg writes "If you can't tell the difference between an inkblot that looks more like 'body builder lady with mustache and goofy in the center' than 'large steroid insect with big eyes,' then you can't crack passwords protected via a new scheme created by computer scientists that they've dubbed GOTCHA. GOTCHA, a snappy acronym for the decidedly less snappy Generating panOptic Turing Tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, is aimed at stymying hackers from using computers to figure out passwords, which are all too often easy to guess. GOTCHA, like its ubiquitous cousin CAPTCHA, relies on visual cues that typically only a human can appreciate. The researchers don't think that computers can solve the puzzles and have issued a challenge to fellow security researchers to use artificial intelligence to try to do so. You can find the GOTCHA Challenge here."
mattydread23 writes "Earlier this week in London, Box CEO Aaron Levie gave other enterprise software companies a warning: If they continue to ignore what users want and how they work, they could easily end up like BlackBerry. The shift to cloud computing makes easy for companies to abandon you: 'This shift means the onus more than ever is on the vendor. If we don't stay competitive, if we don't build whatever that that next thing is the user wants to do and build it in as simple a way as they expect from the consumer tools they are using, then we will get swapped out.'"
cold fjord writes "Business Insider reports, Google is beta-testing a program that tracks users' purchasing habits by registering brick-and-mortar store visits via smartphones, according to a report from Digiday. Google can access user data via Android apps or their Apple iOS apps, like Google search, Gmail, Chrome, or Google Maps. If a customer is using these apps while he shops or has them still running in the background, Google's new program pinpoints the origin of the user data and determines if the customer is in a place of business."