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Cellphones

Why Cheap Smartphones Are Going To Upset the Industry 234

An anonymous reader writes "Just when people got used to good smartphones costing $200 with a 2-year contract, they also started to realize that those 2-year contracts were bad news. Still, it's often more palatable than fronting $600 for good, new hardware. But that's starting to change. Cell phone internals are getting cheap enough that prices for capable devices have been creeping downward below $200 without a contract. We ran into something similar with the PC industry some years back — previous-gen chips had no trouble running next-gen software (excluding games with bleeding-edge graphics), and so the impetus to keep getting the latest-and-greatest hardware disappeared for a lot of people. That revolution is underway now for smartphones, and it's going to shake things up for everybody, including Apple and Samsung. But the biggest effects will be felt in the developing world: '[F]or a vast number of people in a vast number of countries, the cheap handset will be the first screen, and the only screen. Their primary interface with the world. A way of connecting to the Internet where there are no telephone lines or coaxial cables or even electricity. In nations without subsidized cell phone contracts or access to consumer credit, the $50-and-you-own-it handset is going to be transformative.'"
Security

Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide 564

acidradio writes: "Somehow the SCCM application and image deployment server at Emory University in Atlanta accidentally started to repartition, reformat then install a new image of Windows 7 onto all university-managed computers. By the time this was discovered the SCCM server had managed to repartition and reformat itself. This was likely an accident. But what if it weren't? Could this have shed light on a possibly huge vulnerability in large enterprise organizations that rely heavily on automated software deployment packages like SCCM?"
Bug

Finding More Than One Worm In the Apple 116

davecb (6526) writes "At Guido von Rossum's urging, Mike Bland has a look at detecting and fixing the "goto fail" bug at ACM Queue. He finds the same underlying problem in both in the Apple and Heartbleed bugs, and explains how to not suffer it again." An excerpt: "WHY DIDN'T A TEST CATCH IT? Several articles have attempted to explain why the Apple SSL vulnerability made it past whatever tests, tools, and processes Apple may have had in place, but these explanations are not sound, especially given the above demonstration to the contrary in working code. The ultimate responsibility for the failure to detect this vulnerability prior to release lies not with any individual programmer but with the culture in which the code was produced. Let's review a sample of the most prominent explanations and specify why they fall short. Adam Langley's oft-quoted blog post13 discusses the exact technical ramifications of the bug but pulls back on asserting that automated testing would have caught it: "A test case could have caught this, but it's difficult because it's so deep into the handshake. One needs to write a completely separate TLS stack, with lots of options for sending invalid handshakes.""
Space

The Shrinking Giant Red Spot of Jupiter 160

schwit1 (797399) writes "Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot — a swirling storm feature larger than Earth — is shrinking. This downsizing, which is changing the shape of the spot from an oval into a circle, has been known about since the 1930s, but now these striking new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture the spot at a smaller size than ever before."

Comment "No Lobbyists in my Administration" (Score 1) 90

"I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists â" and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president."

-- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA
November 10, 2007

Comment Comcast already has a bandwidth cap (Score 3, Interesting) 475

They just refuse to tell anyone what it is, or give you any warning that you have violated it before they disconnect you.

The thing that is most amusing about these people is that, out of one side of their mouths they whine about how they don't have the capacity to give everyone truly unlimited Internet like they advertise, but out of the other side they have as much as anyone is willing to pay for, with no limit.

It really is time to label Internet service as a public utility and place it under proper regulation.

Comment Just a few things (Score 1) 107

1) There is no such thing as spy-proof
2) If you can install an app on it, it is not secure
3) If you can connect it to a network, it is not secure
4) If you do not own and have complete access to audit all firmware, including the radio, then it is not secure
5) The Blackphone looks like nothing more than a platform from which to sell expensive annual subscriptions to quasi-private services

Comment Re:You can virtualize DOS (Score 1) 522

Yep, I have DOS 6.22 and WFW running in a VM along with QEMM. It works quite nicely except for the lack of vmtools and the lack of high res graphics. There's a patched driver out there that supposedly allows 1024x768, but I have never been able to get it to work without crashing the VM when starting Windows.

Comment I also like Wordstar 4.0 (Score 1) 522

I don't have a dedicated DOS box. I have a DOS VM running on my server, complete with Wordstar 4.0 and many other programs I used to use back in the 80s and 90s. He's right that Wordstar is a word processor and nothing else. It's really quite powerful at it, too. He's also right that it does exactly what you tell it to do. It does not assume it knows better than you what you are trying to do.

Comment Re:Holy false dichotomy, Batman! (Score 2) 659

Yep. It's tried, true, efficient, cheap (if you dispense with all of the unnecessary emissions controls that have been foisted upon diesel engines in a transparent attempt to kill them as a viable source of locomotion), and super-reliable.

When faced with the choice between a $19k Jetta TDI that gets 55 on the highway and can go 700 miles on a tank, and a $40,000 electric that can go 50-75 miles between 2-8 hour charge cycles, the choice becomes rather clear, doesn't it?

Comment cdda2wav (Score 1) 329

As soon as I had a machine that was capable, I started ripping all of my CDs to uncompressed digital format. Shockingly I've managed to get my rips to survive from 1997 to today thanks to good practices in backups and fault tolerance.

Does anyone remember when CDs finally went 100% DDD? Most of the CDs I got in the 80s were AAD, and some ADD in the mid 90s. I haven't bought a CD in a great many years and have long since disposed of the ones I had... so I don't remember when DDD finally became the norm..

Space

Supermassive Black Hole At the Centre of Galaxy May Be Wormhole In Disguise 293

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "There is growing evidence that the center of the Milky Way contains a mysterious object some 4 million times more massive than the Sun. Many astronomers believe that this object, called Sagittarius A*, is a supermassive black hole that was crucial in the galaxy's birth and formation. The thinking is that about 100 million years after the Big Bang, this supermassive object attracted the gas and dust that eventually became the Milky Way. But there is a problem with this theory--100 million years is not long enough for a black hole to grow so big. The alternative explanation is that Sagittarius A* is a wormhole that connects the Milky Way to another region of the universe or even a another multiverse. Cosmologists have long known that wormholes could have formed in the instants after the Big Bang and that these objects would have been preserved during inflation to appear today as supermassive objects hidden behind an event horizon, like black holes. It's easy to imagine that it would be impossible to tell these objects apart. But astronomers have now worked out that wormholes are smaller than black holes and so bend light from an object orbiting close to them, such as a plasma cloud, in a unique way that reveals their presence. They've even simulated what such a wormhole will look like. No telescope is yet capable of resolving images like these but that is set to change too. An infrared instrument called GRAVITY is currently being prepared for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer in Chile and should be in a position to spot the signature of a wormhole, if it is there, in the next few years."

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