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Government

Submission + - Zero-Day exploit market sells mostly to US government (forbes.com)

mpol writes: "Forbes magazine published a profile of French exploit-selling firm Vupen last April. Now there's a blog article about a broker from South Africa, complete with a price-list of zero-day exploits and their platform. iOS is the highest valued here.
The article also claims most exploits are being sold to agencies of the US government.
It does raise a concern though. What if black-hats got more serious, and the US government would become a victim. When shit hits the fan, how will they react."

Space

Submission + - Swedes Discover Spherical Object Embedded in Baltic Sea Floor (www.cbc.ca) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Swedish sea scavengers revealed a curious discovery — a disc-shaped object, roughly 60 metres in diameter, and rising about 4 metres out of the seabed, with a 400-metre trail leading to its position.
A lack of detailed photographs has caused speculation that this may be nothing more than a hoax, or information campaign, but there is a promise of more details, from the crew, as they uncover their find with better equipment.

Government

Kaspersky Calls For Cyber Weapons Convention 166

judgecorp writes with a synopsis of talk given by Kaspersky at CeBit "Cyber weapons are so dangerous, they should be limited by a treaty like those restricting chemical and nuclear arms, Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky has told a conference. He also warned that online voting was essential or democracy will die out in 20 years."
Media

Dolby's TrueHD 96K Upsampling To Improve Sound On Blu-Rays 255

Stowie101 writes in with a story about your Blu-ray audio getting better. "The audio on most Blu-ray discs is sampled at 48kHz. Even the original movie tracks are usually only recorded at 48kHz, so once a movie migrates to disc, there isn't much that can be done. Dolby's new system upsamples that audio signal to 96kHz at the master stage prior to the Dolby TrueHD encoding, so you get lossless audio with fewer digital artifacts. The 'fewer digital artifacts' part comes from a feature of Dolby's upsampling process called de-apodizing, which corrects a prevalent digital artifact known as pre-ringing. Pre-ringing is often introduced in the capture and creation process and adds a digital harshness to the audio. The apodizing filter masks the effect of pre-ringing by placing it behind the source tone — the listener can't hear the pre-ringing because it's behind the more prevalent original signal."
IOS

Apple Blocks iOS Apps Using Dropbox SDK 356

Barence writes with an excerpt from PC Pro: "Dropbox's latest SDK has incurred the wrath of Apple, because users who don't have the Dropbox app installed on their iPhone/iPad are instead pushed to Dropbox's website via the Safari browser. Here, they can click a link to the desktop version of the service, which allows them to buy extra Dropbox storage without Apple taking its usual 30% cut." Reportedly, Dropbox is attempting to strike a deal to resolve the problem.

Comment Re:Judgement (Score 1) 121

"Why do people believe that our current broadband speeds, both wireless and wired, would remain at ADSL2 and even LTE for much more than another 5 years? I mean, there is already VDSL2 tech (ironically, the NBN plans on using this in multi-story dwellings), and wireless has had and is projected to have a bandwidth growth profile that is just incredible."

Five years ago I was paying $120/mth for 60G of data. Now I'm paying $100/mth for 200G of data. Fixed on-a-good-day-5Mbps. It started as 8Mbps but as more people have built onto the copper network the speeds have dropped. Private industry of all flavours have done nothing to make the copper faster - its the same pathetic copper network that has been in the ground here since the suburb was built 20 years ago. Those data prices have only fallen recently because NBNCo has added extra backhaul into the city which cuts out Telstra and their gouging.

Wireless, through Telstra since they're the only ones who provide coverage here - 3km from the CBD - will sell me 20G of data for $100/mth. If the planets are in the right alignment, that might give me 4Mbps. My parents who are only another few kms away from me cannot get a phone line. So no ADSL. But they can get a NextG dongle from Telstra and get anywhere up to 1Mbps.

Politically biased? No, biased against stupidity. One party's idea of broadband under the OPEL program was 12Mbps. They haven't changed their minds since 2007, they still think that 12Mbps should be fast enough for everyone. Except the rich. For the rich suburbs they'll be quite happy to spend the chunk of the 10-20B pork barrel to give them speeds of up to 100Mbps, delivered by a hodge-podge of cable and FTTN whilst maintain the horrendous regulatory environment that pretty much gives Telstra the power to do what-ever they wish whilst their competitors have to take all of the complaints to the regulator who can take months to make a decision. More of the "private industry doing it better" (where it = screwing over consumers and other companies).

NBNCo are working towards giving most Australians access to a fibre network with a regulatory environment that favours no single provider. That is a good thing. They are actively fixing broadband blackspots and providing a single, common price for bandwidth be it wireless or fixed. That is a good thing. They are doing what no private company will do (replacing copper with fibre) and doing it in a fair manner. That is a good thing too. They've also planned to make the network profitable, which is also a good thing.

Most importantly, suggesting that FTTH is overkill for Australia is down-right obnoxious. Australia can afford to do it. Australian's deserve the best solution for the money our Government is spending. Spending the money now means that future generations have the opportunity to put the network to uses that we haven't even dreamed of yet, much like the workers spreading the copper network 80 years ago had no idea that one day we'd be arguing about ripping it up because we can't get enough bandwidth out of it.

Comment Re:Judgement (Score 4, Insightful) 121

I'd like to apologise for the ill-informed comments from the "Aussies" above who think that Australia's current telecommunications infrastructure is "good". When areas 5kms from the cities CBD can't get broadband because of the incumbant telco, or are forced to use wireless that drops out when it rains, or aren't in the big three cities so there is no chance of broadband delivered by the cable network, or ... Problems that probably affect every other first world nation where warped conservative, fascist ideology has driven communications infrastructure deployment.

The NBN is already delivering benefits. They've significantly altered the backhaul networks around Australia so anyone who doesn't live in Sydney or Melbourne have the chance of receiving ADSL at a competitive rate (for the non-Aussies, and people who live in Sydney/Melbourne, Australia is more than just those two cities). They've managed to get the incumbant telco to agree to seperate their wholesale and retail arms and hand over infrastructure to NBNCo. More importantly they are actually building infrastructure that will be used for generations and will offer a return to successive Governments.

The Coalition's plan is to sell off what has been built already (because private industry can do it better, the same private industry that sat on their hands for the last 20 years..) to deploy wireless to some places (and do nothing about the gouging which the private companies do with wireless data whilst offering blistering fast speeds of up to 12Mbps) and a combination of FTTN/DSL/Cable to marginal electorates. Spending anywhere from $11 - 20b in the process.

Comment Re:What Sa has over Au ? (Score 5, Informative) 117

"I don't mean to be patronizing - but I just can't see how Sa can win over Au in term of safety"

I think its more likely Australia's poor record at developing and capitalising on high-tech R&D.

Australia doesn't do high-tech. Look at Government policy for the last 20 years. Look at which companies in Oz actually do R&D. The poster child for Australian R&D is the CSIRO, and really they're the poster child because there is no-one else.

Then there is our Universities that are churning out business-types and lawyers but fewer and fewer scientists. So even if we wanted to start doing anything remotely high-tech, we don't have the people to do it - we'd need to import them. And there is a madness around these parts about letting immigrants into the country, fanned by the right-wing Opposition.

This isn't meant to be dismissive of the Australian proposal; it was very good and by all accounts so was the SA one. The plans for the supporting infrastructure was very impressive. But Australia has a reputation of only being interested in what we can dig out of the ground, not what we can use our brains for.
Open Source

Submission + - Desura Linux Client Can be Open Sourced (ubuntuvibes.com)

dartttt writes: "Desura client for Linux may go open source. At the moment, there is only one developer who is working on the client and he shared his thoughts on making Desura Linux client open source in a recent forum post. No decision has been taken yet but he has invited comments from the community and there has been a hugely positive reaction. If all goes well Desura client for Linux can be open sourced eventually"
Games

Submission + - The Universe is Ending (lego.com)

CmdrStone writes: The Universe is Ending in the eyes of Lego. Cheap pun I know.

"We are very sad to announce that LEGO Universe will be closing on Janurary 31, 2012. This was a very difficult decision to make, but unfortunately LEGO Universe has not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open. "

Bummer. I enjoyed playing this game with my kids. Open sourcing the game would be nice.

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