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Security

Submission + - Anatomy of a Brokerage IT Meltdown (informationweek.com)

CowboyRobot writes: "The story begins when GunnAllen, a financial company, outsourced all of its IT to The Revere Group. Before long, it was discovered that "A senior network engineer had disabled the company's WatchGuard firewalls and routed all of the broker-dealer's IP traffic--including trades and VoIP calls--through his home cable modem." In addition to the obvious security concerns of sending information such as bank routing information and driver's license numbers, the act violated SEC rules because the routed information was not being logged. Regardless of whether the cause was negligence, incompetance, or sabotage, the matter was swept under the rug for a time until unpaid SQL Server licenses meant threatening calls from Microsoft as well. The rest of the story is one of greed, mismanagement, and neglect, and ends with the SEC's first-ever fine for failure to protect customer data."
Google

Submission + - Google to buy a Russian bank and issue credit cards? (businessweek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Tinkoff Credit Systems' founder and chairman, Oleg Tinkov told reporters that he is evaluating selling his Russian bank that specializes in credit cards to Google. Tinkov has previously stated that his bank is worth about 12-15 times net income (2012 estimated to be $120 million US dollars) that would put the acquisition price at about $1.5 to $1.8 billion US dollars. It would be the third or fourth largest acquisition for Google (Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, Double Click for $3.1 billion, Youtube for $1.65 billion). It would also be the largest acquisition by Google for a non-US based asset.
Linux

Submission + - Mesa 9.0 Supports Open-Source OpenGL 3.1 Drivers (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Intel released Mesa 9.0 with open-source OpenGL 3.1 driver support. This de facto OpenGL Linux implementation now supports the several year old OpenGL 3.1 specification for Intel hardware while the other drivers are still at OpenGL 3.0 or worse. Other features to Mesa 9.0 include completing MPEG1/MPEG2 video acceleration, early OpenCL support, bug-fixes, and new hardware support.
Privacy

Submission + - Flaws allow every 3G device to be tracked (scmagazine.com.au)

mask.of.sanity writes: New privacy threats have been uncovered by security researchers that could allow every device operating on 3G networks to be tracked.

The vulnerabilities could be exploited with cheap commercial off-the-shelf technology to reveal the location of phones and other 3G-capable devices operating on all 3G compliant networks.

It was similar, but different, to previous research that demonstrated how attackers could redirect a victim's outgoing traffic to different networks.

Patents

Submission + - Supreme Court to Decide Whether or Not You Own What You Own (marketwatch.com)

Jafafa Hots writes: "The Supreme Court is set to decide, in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, whether or not First Sale Doctrine applies to products made with parts sourced from outside the United States.
If the Supreme Court upholds an appellate ruling, it would mean that the IP holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.
Your old used CDs, cell phone, books, or that Ford truck with foreign parts? It may not be yours to sell unless you get explicit permission and presumably pay royalties.

âoeIt would be absurd to say anything manufactured abroad canâ(TM)t be bought or sold here,â said Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer and Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation who specializes in technology issues."

Robotics

Submission + - Space Company Astrobotic releases Cutting-Edge Ice Robot (astrobotic.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Space company Astrobotic releases a new cutting-edge ice robot with customizable and mass manufactorable parts. Astrobotic is competing for the Google Lunar X Prize and is developing long-run plans to make space exploration sustainable.

Without GPS, Polaris will match surface pictures with satellite imagery taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to determine its location on the Moon. Astrobotic has won nine lunar contracts from NASA worth $3.6 million, including one to evaluate how Polaris can accommodate NASA’s ice-prospecting instruments during a three-mile traverse near the Moon’s north pole.

Businesses

Submission + - Apple Should Buy Nokia

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Nokia has seen better days. The Finnish phone maker continues to struggle to gain traction in a marketplace dominated by Apple and Android, and its new flagship device, the Windows-powered Lumia 920, failed to impress investors when it was announced last month, subsequently causing the company's stock to dive. Now Tristan Louis argues that there are four good reasons Apple should dig into its deep pockets and buy Nokia. First Nokia has really powerful mapping technology. Apple Maps isn't very good, and Apple has been feeling the heat from a critical tech press but Nokia has been doing maps "for a long time now, and they have access to even more data than Google," Next Nokia has a treasure chest of patents and as Apple's recent smackdown of Samsung proves, the future of the mobile space "will be dictated by the availability and ownership of patents," Nokia's exhaustive portfolio of patents might be worth as much as $6 billion to $10 billion, a drop in the bucket from Apple's $100 billion war chest. Nokia could also help with TV . If Apple truly wants to dominate the TV arena, it'll have to beam shows and movies to iPhones or iPads in real-time and that's a field Nokia has some expertise in. Finally Microsoft has a lot riding on the release of Windows Phone 8, and Nokia is its primary launch partner. Buying Nokia would "knock Microsoft on its heels," says Forbes' Upbin. If Apple were to acquire Nokia, it'd be "something pretty close to a deathblow" for the house that Gates built."

Submission + - Falcon 9 Launch appears to have Engine Explosion (arstechnica.com)

drichan writes: Those of us who watched the live feed of last night's Falcon 9 launch could be forgiven for assuming that everything went according to plan. All the reports that came through over the audio were heavy on the word "nominal," and the craft successfully entered an orbit that has it on schedule to dock with the International Space Station on Wednesday. But over night, SpaceX released a slow-motion video of what they're calling an "anomaly."
The Military

Submission + - US Air Force's 1950s supersonic flying saucer declassified (extremetech.com) 2

MrSeb writes: "Tighten the strap on your tinfoil hat: Recently declassified documents show that the US Air Force was working on, and perhaps had already built, a supersonic flying saucer in 1956. The aircraft, which had the code name Project 1794, was developed by the USAF and Avro Canada in the 1950s. One declassified memo, which seems to be the conclusion of initial research and prototyping, says that Project 1794 is a flying saucer capable of “between Mach 3 and Mach 4,” (2,300-3,000 mph) a service ceiling of over 100,000 feet (30,500m), and a range of around 1,000 nautical miles (1,150mi, 1850km). According to declassified cutaway diagrams, the supersonic flying saucer would propel itself by rotating an outer disk at very high speed, taking advantage of the Coand effect. Maneuvering would be accomplished by using small shutters on the edge of the disc (similar to ailerons on a winged aircraft). Power would be provided by jet turbines. According to the cutaway diagrams, the entire thing would even be capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). The fact that there are no disc-shaped aircraft in the skies today, though, suggests that the USAF's flying saucer efforts probably never got past the prototype stage."
Google

Submission + - Google and Apple spent more on Patents than R&D last year (nytimes.com)

parallel_prankster writes: NYTimes has an interesting article about how patents are really stiffling inovation in the tech industry. Today, almost every major technology company is involved in ongoing patent battles. Of course, the most significant player is Apple, industry executives say, because of its influence and the size of its claims: in August in California, the company won a $1 billion patent infringement judgment against Samsung. Former Apple employees say senior executives made a deliberate decision over the last decade, after Apple was a victim of patent attacks, to use patents as leverage against competitors to the iPhone, the company’s biggest source of profits. At a technology conference this year, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, said patent battles had not slowed innovation at the company, but acknowledged that some aspects of the battles had “kind of gotten crazy.” It is a complaint heard throughout the industry. The increasing push to assert ownership of broad technologies has led to a destructive arms race, engineers say. Some point to so-called patent trolls, companies that exist solely to sue over patent violations. Others say big technology companies have also exploited the system’s weaknesses. “There are hundreds of ways to write the same computer program,” said James Bessen, a legal expert at Harvard. And so patent applications often try to encompass every potential aspect of a new technology. When such applications are approved, Mr. Bessen said, “the borders are fuzzy, so it’s really easy to accuse others of trespassing on your ideas.” The number of patent applications, computer-related and otherwise, filed each year at the United States patent office has increased by more than 50 percent over the last decade to more than 540,000 in 2011. Google has received 2,700 patents since 2000, according to the patent analysis firm M-CAM. Microsoft has received 21,000.
Government

Submission + - How we'll get to 54.5 mpg by 2025 (arstechnica.com)

concealment writes: "At the end of August this year, the US Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards to significantly improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 2025. Last week, we took a look at a range of recent engine technologies that car companies have been deploying in aid of better fuel efficiency today. But what about the cars of tomorrow, or next week? What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"
Patents

Submission + - Unredacted documents in Apple/Samsung case, no evidence of 'copy' instruction (cnet.com)

another random user writes: Previously redacted documents presented in the Apple-Samsung case seem not to offer actual evidence that Samsung told its designers to copy the iPhone.

Documents that have now been unredacted seem to show that there was never any 'copy apple' instruction. There was a push towards things that would be different, such as what is now seen in the Galaxy S3: "Our biggest asset is our screen. It is very important that we make screen size bigger, and in the future mobile phones will absorb even the function of e-books."

Groklaw suggests, rather shockingly, that Apple's lawyers might have been a little selective in how they presented some of this evidence to the court, by picking little parts of it that offered a different shade of nuance.

Your Rights Online

Submission + - Adventures in rooting: Running Jelly Bean on last year's Kindle Fire (arstechnica.com)

concealment writes: "Luckily, the Fire's low price and popularity relative to other Android tablets has made it a common target for Android's bustling open-source community, which has automated most of the sometimes-messy process of rooting and flashing your tablet. The Kindle Fire Utility boils the whole rooting process down to a couple of steps, and from there it's pretty easy to find pretty-stable Jelly Bean ROMs. A CyanogenMod-based version is actively maintained, but I prefer the older Hashcode ROM, which is very similar to the interface on the Nexus 7."
EU

Submission + - UK Broadband Plan Set To Clear EU Approval (techweekeurope.co.uk)

judgecorp writes: "The British government's plan to subsidise rural broadband in the UK is about to get approval from the European Union, even though every contract so far has been awarded to BT, according to sources. The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project has been examined under EU state aid rules, but apparently has passed despite all the money going to one dominant telecom operator"
Lord of the Rings

Submission + - Student publishes extensive statistics on the population of Middle-Earth (lotrproject.com)

dsjodin writes: There are only 19% females in Tolkien's works and the life expectancy of a Hobbit is 96.24 years. In January 2012 chemical engineering student Emil Johansson published a website with the hope for it to become a complete Middle-Earth genealogy. Now, ten months later, he has published some interesting numbers derived from the database of 923 characters. The site features a set of unique graphs helping us understand the world Tolkien described. Perhaps the most interesting ones are showing the decrease of the longevity of Men and the change in population of Middle-Earth throughout history. The latter was also recently published in the September edition of Wired Magazine.

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