An anonymous reader writes "Tesla received a lot of attention over the Model S fires recently, but they're not the only car company having issues with spontaneous combustion. Ford has issued a recall on almost 140,000 Ford Escapes for potential engine fires. With little media attention on the recall, Musk might have a point about the unfair treatment Tesla gets in the news."
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Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters is reporting that the trend toward online shopping is reducing the sales of impulse-purchase items, most notably candy and snacks often displayed at the checkout counter. As even grocery shopping shifts online, junk food producers are feeling the squeeze. From the article: 'Anthony Hopper, chief executive of advertising agency Lowe Open, said brands need to change how people buy chocolate, but acknowledges that it won't be easy. "If you're somebody who on average buys one bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk on impulse once a week, can I encourage you that it's actually better value to buy a pack of four when you're doing your next online shop? It's a long-term strategy," he said.'"
bmahersciwriter writes "Helene Hill thought she was close to retirement when, on a whim one day, she decided to check on a junior colleague's cell cultures. They were empty, she says, yet he produced data from them soon after. Blowing the whistle on what she thinks was research misconduct cost her 14 years and $200,000. See how she and other whistleblowers fared in this story from Nature."
JDG1980 writes "OCZ, a manufacturer of solid-state drives, says it will file for bankruptcy. This move is being forced by Hercules Technology Growth Capital, which had lent $30 million to OCZ under terms that were later breached. The most likely outcome of this bankruptcy is that OCZ's assets (including the Indilinx controller IP) will be purchased by Toshiba. If this deal falls through, the company will be liquidated. No word yet on what a Toshiba purchase would mean in terms of warranty support for OCZ's notoriously unreliable drives."
onyxruby writes "Microsoft may finally be ready to put Windows RT out to pasture. After ignoring pundits, the public, and a staggering $900 writedown, the subsequent lack of sales for the second edition of the RT have finally gotten the message through. Speaking at a UBS seminar, Microsoft VP Julie Larson-Green said, 'It just didn't do everything that you expected Windows to do. So there's been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows (.DOCX). How should we have made it more differentiated? I think over time you'll see us continue to differentiate it more. We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three.'"
theodp writes "Take a gander at the 2013 Black Friday ads and your head will be spinning with deals that seem too good to be true. And while the WSJ will try to slap you back to reality with a story on The Dirty Secret of Black Friday 'Discounts', it's still hard not to get jazzed over the prospect of picking up an iPad Mini w/$100 gift card for $299 (Walmart), a 16GB Nexus 7 for $199 (Staples), or a 32GB Microsoft Surface for $199.99 (Best Buy). So, if you're playing the game this year — either online or in-person (hey, what could go wrong?), — what are your top tech picks for Black Friday? Any strategy for improving your odds of getting them?"
jammag writes "According to this article, 'Whether Ubuntu is declining is still debatable. However, in the last couple of months, one thing is clear: internally and externally, its commercial arm Canonical appears to be throwing the idea of community overboard as though it was ballast in a balloon about to crash.' The author points out instances of community discontent and apparent ham-handedness on Mark Shuttleworth's part. Yet isn't this just routine kvetching in the open source community?"
Seraku Corporation is now in the process of filling that burning need and has gotten a bunch of press attention by doing so. A cynic might wonder why people who absolutely, positively must have Internet access while they shave or perform other bathroom mirror duties don't just make a wall-mounted holder for their tablets next to their pre-Internet bathroom mirrors, but that would destroy the fun of having the display built directly into the mirror, along with sensors that detect hand gestures so you can control your mirror (no doubt by asking, "Who is the fairest of them all?") without touching it with your greasy fingers. Note that this is technically not a smart mirror but a smart washbasin with a mirror attached to it. Either way, it's not available for retail sale quite yet.
Lucas123 writes "While it's tempting to upgrade your flatscreen to the latest technology, industry analysts say UHD TVs are still no bargain, with top brand names selling 65-in models for $5,000 or more. And, even though 4K TVs offer four times the resolution of today's 1080p HDTVs, there are no standards today for how many frames per second should be used in broadcasting media. Additionally, while there's plenty of content being produced for UHDs, little has been made available."
jones_supa writes "Jolla, the mobile phone company formed by ex-Nokia employees, has officially launched its first phone. It will be initially available in Finland, paired with the local telecom operator DNA. After that, it will be made available in 135 other countries. The Jolla handset runs the Sailfish OS, which is itself based on the former MeeGo platform developed by Nokia and Intel several years ago to produce Linux-based smartphone software. Sailfish can run Android apps and it also integrates Nokia's Here mapping and positioning technology. Looking at the hardware, the device sports a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB memory and 16GB of flash storage, plus a 4.5in 960x540 IPS touchscreen with Gorilla 2 Glass. It has the usual mobile network support, including GSM/3G/4G, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, 8MP autofocus rear camera and 2MP front camera. SIM-free pricing is expected to be €399."
assertation writes "According to The Guardian, 62% of readers between the age of 16 and 24 prefer physical copies of books over ebooks. Reasons given were the feel of 'real books,' a perceived unfairly high cost for eBooks, and the ease of sharing printed books. 'On questions of ebook pricing, 28% think that ebooks should be half their current price, while just 8% say that ebook pricing is right.' The preference for physical copies was in contrast to other forms of media, such as games, movies, and music, where a majority preferred the digital version."
wired_parrot writes "New leaked documents show that the NSA was not only monitoring suspected radical sympathizers, but planned to discredit them based on their web-surfing habits. This includes not only evidence of porn browsing and online sexual activity, but also extortion and blackmail based on inappropriate use of funds. At the same time, the leaked document notes that very few of the targeted contacts were associated with terrorism."
An anonymous reader writes with this bit from The Next Web "Bitcoin hit a new milestone today, passing the $1,000 mark for the first time. The virtual currency is currently trading above the four-digit figure, with its highest at $1,030 on Mt. Gox, one of the largest exchanges. Last week, Bitcoin's high for the day was $632. That means its trading value has surged 62.83 percent in a week, assuming we're looking at just its high points. That figure could of course rise even further if Bitcoin continues to push further up throughout the day."
hypnosec writes "The European Commission has outlined steps it believes will pave the way for restoring faith in EU-U.S. data flows following revelations about NSA spying activities under its PRISM program. The EC notes that spying on its citizens, companies, and leaders is unacceptable; and that citizens of U.S. and EU need to be reassured about protection of their data, while companies need to be reassured that the existing agreements between the two regions are respected and enforced. The Commission outlined a total of six areas that it believes require action including swift adoption of the EU's data protection reforms; making Safe Harbor safer; strengthening data protection safeguards in the law enforcement area; commitment from the U.S. for making use of a legal framework; addressing European concerns in the on-going U.S. reform process; and promoting privacy standards internationally."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Travel officials expect about 3 million people to venture by plane to their turkey dinner, and already hundreds of flights have been canceled and thousands delayed—including more than a third of routes at the major airport hub in Dallas, which will have a ripple effect down through the airline system as thwarted passengers try to hop on other flights. This inspired flight-tracking site FlightAware to develop an interactive 'Misery Map' visualizing flight statuses in real-time and the megastorm traversing the country simultaneously. Because who doesn't love a little data viz schadenfreude?"
Barence writes "Anti-spam outfit Spamhaus has called on the UK government to fine those who are running Internet infrastructure that could be exploited by criminals. Those who leave open Domain Name Server resolvers vulnerable to attack should be fined, if they have previously received a warning, said chief information officer of Spamhaus, Richard Cox. When Spamhaus was hit by a massive distributed DDoS possibly the biggest ever recorded at more than 300Gbits/sec — open DNS resolvers were used to amplify the hit, which was aimed at one of the organization's upstream partners. 'Once they know it can be used for attacks and fraud, that should be an offense,' Cox said. 'You should be subject to something like a parking ticket... where the fine is greater than the cost of fixing it."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes, quoting USA Today "The NASDAQ has topped 4000 for the first time in 13 years, but much has changed since then. ... Tech investors in 2000 were right about the possibilities of the Internet and mobile computing. But they were dead wrong about which companies would be in the vanguard ... The recovery of the NASDAQ has been a complex tale of creative destruction, where old companies that once fueled the index have been pushed aside by new players. Back in 2000, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Intel, Oracle, and Sun accounted for 8.9%, 8.5%, 7.1%, 3.6% and 2.6%, respectively, of the value of the NASDAQ composite. Today, companies that were just starting out or didn't even exist — think Google, Amazon, and Facebook — are in the top 10, accounting for 4.7%, 2.7% and 1.5% of NASDAQ's value. Microsoft, Cisco and Intel's weight has fallen sharply. Apple, which wasn't in the top 10 in 2000, is a behemoth at 7.9%. So is the NASDAQ enjoying a long overdue catch-up with the rest of the market, or is the broad market overpriced, with the NASDAQ being pulled along for the ride? 'The reality is that the only thing that's the same from Nasdaq 4000 in 1999 and Nasdaq 4000 in 2013,' says Doug Sandler, 'is the number 4000.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Google has launched the Google Voice Search Hotword extension for Chrome, bringing the 'OK Google' feature to the desktop. You can download the new tool, currently in beta, now directly from the Chrome Web Store. Android users with version 4.4 KitKat will recognize the feature: it lets you talk to Google without first clicking or typing. It's completely hands-free, provided you're already on Google.com: just say 'OK Google' and then ask your question." Quick, someone wire Pocketsphinx up to Firefox, or integrate Simon into Krunner.
jones_supa writes "An EU citizen uses around 200 plastic bags per year. That's too much, says the EU. But wasting plastic bags is not just a European problem. Countries around the world are struggling with the issue, and it especially affects growing economies such as Asia. Some Southeast Asian countries don't even have the proper infrastructure in place to dispose of the bags properly. The problems for the environment are many. Plastic bags usually take several hundred years until they decay, thereby filling landfills, while animals often mistake the plastic for food and choke to death. Additionally they are a major cause of seaborne pollution, which is a serious hazard for marine life. This autumn, EU started ambitious plans which aim to reduce usage 80% by 2017. Some countries have already applied measures to slow plastic bag use: England has added a 5p charge to previously free bags, and in Ireland the government has already imposed a tax of 22 euro cents ($0.29) per plastic bag. The EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potonik, said, 'We're taking action to solve a very serious and highly visible environmental problem.'"
caferace writes "I've been around the block. I'm a long-time worker in the tech industry (nearly 30 years), absolutely kickass SQA and Hardware person, networking, you name it. But I'm 50+ now, and finding new regular or contract work is a pain. And it shouldn't be. I have the skills and the aptitude to absorb and adapt to any new situations and languages way beyond what any of my college age brethren might have. But when I send out a perfectly good resume and use the more obvious resources there are still precious few bites for someone requiring to work remotely. Am I just whining, or is this common? Are we being put out to pasture far too early?"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "For many education advocates, the arts supposedly increase test scores, generate social responsibility and turn around failing schools but research that demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent. Now the NY Times reports that with the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a large-scale, random-assignment study (abstract) of school tours to the museum has determined that a strong causal relationship does in fact exist between arts education and a range of desirable outcomes. Students who, by lottery, were selected to visit the museum on a field trip demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions. Moreover, most of the benefits are significantly larger for minority students, low-income students and students from rural schools — typically two to three times larger than for white, middle-class, suburban students — owing perhaps to the fact that the tour was the first time they had visited an art museum. Further research is needed to determine what exactly about the museum-going experience determines the strength of the outcomes. How important is the structure of the tour? The size of the group? The type of art presented? 'Clearly, however, we can conclude that visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition,' write the authors. 'Expanding access to art, whether through programs in schools or through visits to area museums and galleries, should be a central part of any school's curriculum.'"
coondoggie writes "The New York State Police have a new weapon to fight the plague of drivers that insist on texting while operating their vehicle: tall SUVs. Most recently reported by the AP, NY has begun operating a fleet of 32 unmarked SUVs that let troopers more easily peer down into a car to see if the driver is texting or not. 'Major Michael Kopy, commander of the state police troop patrolling the corridor between New York City and Albany, quoted a Virginia Tech study that found texting while driving increased the chance of a collision by 23 times and took eyes off the road for five seconds — more than the length of a football field at highway speed. Kopy worries that as teens get their driver's licenses, texting on the road will become more prevalent. "More people are coming of driving age who have had these hand-held devices for many years, and now as they start to drive, they're putting the two together, texting and driving, when they shouldn't."'"