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Microsoft

Submission + - Bye-bye keyboard and mouse? (pcmag.com)

LamarFreq writes: Touchscreens and swipes are all the rage. For general computing, will the touchscreen become more useful than using that plain old mouse? Microsoft seems to think so. At the Microsoft Build conference this month, Microsoft explained the concepts that underlie the way the company wants programmers to create apps. They claim the touch-centric design is more intuitive than the keyboard-and-mouse centric design. Furthermore, programmers are being told to design for touch first and then for keyboard and mouse. What do you think, is general computing moving towards "fast and fluid"?
Robotics

Submission + - Robotic Toddler Nominated to Carry Olympic Torch (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Research on artificial intelligence and robotics is growing at a rapid pace, but are we ready to see a robot bearing the Olympic torch in 2012? Scientists at Wales' Aberystwyth University are convinced that this should happen, and have nominated the iCub child-like humanoid robot to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay for London's 2012 Summer Olympics. It's intended to be a tribute to computing pioneer Alan Turing, as 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Submission + - New Mac Malware Poses As PDF Doc (computerworld.com)

JohnBert writes: "Security firms today warned Mac users of a new Trojan horse that masquerades as a PDF document. The malware, which was spotted by U.K.-based Sophos and Finnish antivirus vendor F-Secure, uses a technique long practiced by Windows attackers.

"This malware may be attempting to copy the technique implemented by Windows malware, which opens a PDF file containing a '.pdf.exe' extension and an accompanying PDF icon," said F-Secure today. That practice relies on what is called the "double extension" trick: adding the characters ".pdf" to the filename to disguise an executable file.

The Mac malware uses a two-step process, composed of a Trojan "dropper" utility that downloads a second element, a Trojan "backdoor" that then connects to a remote server controlled by the attacker, using that communications channel to send information gleaned from the infected Mac and receiving additional instructions from the hacker."

Security

Submission + - Hackers find way to unlock car doors via SMS (computerworlduk.com)

DMandPenfold writes: Software that lets drivers unlock car doors and even start their vehicles using a mobile phone could let car thieves do the very same things, according to computer security researchers at iSec Partners.

Don Bailey and fellow iSec researcher Mathew Solnik say they've figured out the protocols that some of these software makers use to remote control the cars, and they've produced a video showing how they can unlock a car and turn the engine on via a laptop.

According to Bailey, it took them about two hours to figure out how to intercept wireless messages between the car and the network and then recreate them from his laptop.

Power

Submission + - Breakthrough: Solid State Generator for Circuits (pesn.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Imagine being able to provide power on the circuit board to each component that needs power, continuously, from the surroundings, so that no battery is required; and no charging of the device is needed. Imagine no heating issues from the power, no overcharge; and all this being cheaper than the present method of using batteries and power supplies. And imagine being able to do that without giving a physicist a coronary for breaking any of his beloved laws, though there are some puzzling aspects that might intrigue him or her for years to come. Such a device appears to be under development in the U.S. with possible commercial deployment within a year. It uses no polluting components, it uses no fuel, and has been third party tested by several credible groups. Read the interview with a long-time, free energy skeptic, Mark Dansie from Australia, who is so impressed with this technology that he dropped everything and has spent the past two weeks to investigate this technology that has the potential to have tremendous impact in the energy market.
Google

Submission + - Google+ growing at unprecedented rate (wsj.com)

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google+ has added 20 million users in just 3 weeks. According to the article, no other site has recorded such high growth in such a short time period. Twitter did something similar once, but in months, not weeks. It's especially surprising considering that access to Google+ is by invitation only.

Why is Google+ growing so quickly? Perhaps the obligatory XKCD reference actually offers some insight.

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