An anonymous reader writes "Chris Testa recently presented at TAPR Digital Communications Conference and annouced his development work on a hand-held software defined radio. Running uClinux on an ARM Corex-M3 coupled to a Flash-based FPGA, it will be capable of receiving and transmitting from 100MHz to 1GHz. Designed to be low power, Chris has designed the radio primarily with the Amateur 2m and 70cm bands in mind. Currently in early prototyping stage, Chris intends to release the design under the TAPR Open Hardware License."
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes this week with his explanation of how an improved algorithm on the White House's petition-creation site could do away with Death Star petitions and even improve on the existing serious ones. Read on below for his modest proposal on that front.
An anonymous reader writes "Niels Provos, an engineer at Google working on malware and phishing protection, is showing on YouTube how to forge knives and Viking swords. The process is absolutely fascinating and follows the steps of Viking blacksmiths from a thousand years ago. It starts by taking small bars of metal that get heated and hammered together until they become a solid piece. He then shows how to form it with the hammer, heat treat and polish it. All the videos are narrated explaining the purpose of each step. Sure beats sitting in front of the computer."
cathyreisenwitz writes "The 2012 bankruptcy of Rhode Island-based video-game developer 38 Studios isn't just a sad tale of a start-up tech company falling victim to the vagaries of a rough economy. It is a completely predictable story of crony capitalism, featuring star-struck legislators and the hubris of a larger-than-life athlete completely unprepared to compete in business." Reason makes no bones about its view of this kind of public-private "partnership."
CowboyRobot writes "In the past five years there has been an 8x increase in the amount of content being generated per every two-hour cinematic piece. Although 3D is not new, modern 3D technologies add from 100% to 200% more data per frame. In 2009, Avatar was one of the first movies to generate about a petabyte of information. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was shot in a new digital format called High Frame Rate 3-D, which displays the movie at 48 frames per second, twice the standard 24-fps rate that's been in place for more than 80 years." But with digital storage transcending some other limitations of conventional projection techniques, it's not just framerate that directors are now able to play with more easily; it's the length of movies themselves, which stats suggest just keep getting longer.
Trailrunner7 writes with the news as posted at Threatpost (based on this advisory) that "All of the current versions of the Ruby on Rails Web framework have a SQL injection vulnerability that could allow an attacker to inject code into Web applications. The vulnerability is a serious one given the widespread use of the popular framework for developing Web apps, and the maintainers of Ruby on Rails have released new versions that fix the flaw, versions 3.2.10, 3.1.9 and 3.0.18. The advisory recommends that users running affected versions, which is essentially anyone using Ruby on Rails, upgrade immediately to one of the fixed versions, 3.2.10, 3.1.9 or 3.0.18. The vulnerability lies specifically in the Ruby on Rails framework, and its presence doesn't mean that all of the apps developed on vulnerable versions are susceptible to the bug."
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Canonical whipped back the curtain from its upcoming Ubuntu for smartphones, it set off a flurry of blogosphere speculation about the open-source operating system's chances on the open market. But which company would actually build such a device? Apple and Research In Motion and Nokia are all out of the running, for very obvious reasons. Motorola, as a subsidiary of Google, is also unlikely to leap on the Ubuntu bandwagon. While Hewlett-Packard has flirted with smartphones in the past, most notably after its Palm acquisition, the company doesn't seem too focused on that segment at the moment. That leaves manufacturers such as HTC, which currently offer devices running either Google Android or Windows Phone. But given Android's popularity, it might prove difficult for Canonical to convince these manufacturers to do more than release a token Ubuntu device—especially if Google and Microsoft apply counter-pressure."
New submitter asola writes with this cool piece of small (ha!) news from Liliputing: "This Freescale i.MX6-quad based stick will officially support Ubuntu in addition to Android. This is a first among the newfangled category of ARM-based stick PCs. This Ubuntu may very well have the hw accelerated Gstreamer plugins created by Freescale for the i.MX6 so full HD video playing will be available under Ubuntu as well."
DavidGilbert99 writes with this excerpt from IB Times: "The Sandy Hook shooting once again raised the debate about how much power violent videogames wield over teenagers. Following proclamations from the National Rifle Association and the establishment of a study by the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the psychological effects of violent games on children, a group in Connecticut is now having its say Southington, a town 30 miles from where the shooting took place, is offering gift tokens in exchange for violent videogames, as well as other violent media such as DVDs or videos. The group, called SouthingtonSOS, said in a statement: 'There is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying.'" And Yes, they plan to destroy the traded-in games. (Note: Beware the obnoxious auto-playing video ad with sound; adjust volume accordingly.)
realxmp writes "After many years in the wilderness, the BBC is reporting that the next sequel to Elite is in the works. After a long Kickstarter campaign, which squeaked through to its target in the last two days, the project was funded and soon many old gamers will be able to relive the joys of exploring the galaxy in what was one of the earliest space trading games."
jrepin writes "Eighteen months ago, Nokia announced a smartphone unlike any other it has produced before. It was a proper smartphone, one that looked miles away from previous Nokia phones: it was sleek, modern and simple at the same time. The hardware was pretty modern, too; no underpowered processors with severely limited RAM issues to be seen here. And, it runs on an operating system that Nokia had announced dead months before the phone's announcement. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Nokia N9."
Barence writes "When Microsoft last year launched Outlook.com, the company carelessly left the SteveBallmer@Outlook.com address vacant. It was snapped up by the editor of PC Pro, giving an insight into the type of emails the public sends to the Microsoft CEO. Among the messages sent to the account are complaints about the Windows 8 interface, a plea from someone who was 'literally driven crazy' by Windows Server product keys, and someone who wants Windows Phone's calendar to remind him when he's being paid. There's also a more sinister complaint from someone who claims they were the victim of racial discrimination when applying for a job at a Microsoft Store."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Eriq Gardner writes that Warner Brothers is suing California resident Mark Towle, a specialist in customizing replicas of automobiles featured in films and TV shows, for selling replicas of automobiles from the 1960s ABC series Batman by arguing that copyright protection extends to the overall look and feel of the Batmobile. The case hinges on what exactly is a Batmobile — an automobile or a piece of intellectual property? Warner attorney J. Andrew Coombs argues in legal papers that the Batmobile incorporates trademarks with distinctive secondary meaning and that by selling an unauthorized replica, Towle is likely to confuse consumers about whether the cars are DC products are not. Towle's attorney Larry Zerner, argues that automobiles aren't copyrightable. 'It is black letter law that useful articles, such as automobiles, do not qualify as "sculptural works" and are thus not eligible for copyright protection,' writes Zerner adding that a decision to affirm copyright elements of automotive design features could be exploited by automobile manufacturers. 'The implications of a ruling upholding this standard are easy to imagine. Ford, Toyota, Ferrari and Honda would start publishing comic books, so that they could protect what, up until now, was unprotectable.'"
First time accepted submitter Bent Spoke writes "In a bit of delicious irony, Microsoft laments Google is not playing fair by excluding access to meta-data on YouTube, preventing the development of the kind of powerful app readily available on Android. From the article: 'In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said the software giant has spent two years trying to get a first-class YouTube app running on Windows Phone, but to no avail, thanks to the Chocolate Factory's stonewalling. "YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports," Heiner wrote. "Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy."'"
Curseyoukhan writes "Infosec vendor IID (Internet Identity) probably hopes that by the time 2014 rolls around no one will remember the prediction it just made. That is the year it says we will see the first murder via internet connected device. The ability to do this has been around for quite some time but the company won't say why it hasn't happened yet. Probably because that would have screwed up their fear marketing. CIO blogger challenges them to a $10K bet over their claim."