DavidGilbert99 writes: "Dell has confirmed it has received "two alternative acquisition proposals" from billionaire investor Carl Icahn and the world's largest equity firm Blackstone. These bids rival the $24.4bn offer made by co-founder Michael Dell and equity firm Silver Lake last month, who want to take the company private. Dell also confirmed details of the two offers, with both exceeding Michael Dell's original offer of $13.65 per share, with Blackstone offering $14.25 and Icahn offering $15 per share."
iComp writes: "A mobile software developer has turned an popular third party Android mobile keyboard called SwiftKey into a counterfeit package loaded with a trojan as a warning about the perils of using pirated or cracked apps from back-street app stores.
Georgie Casey, who runs a popular Android app-development blog in Ireland, created a modified (backdoored) version of SwiftKey using a tool called apktool combined with basic knowledge of Java and Android. The end result was a backdoored app called Keylogger SwiftKey APK, which Casey made available from his website (along with explicit warnings that it was to be used by interested parties and only to validate the problem).
"Apktool isn't keylogging software, it's an Android app dissassembler," Casey told El Reg.
"You dissassemble a Swiftkey keyboard, code your keylogger code that sends keylogs to my server, re-assemble with Apktool and now you've a keylogger. You still have to convince people to install it though.""
cold fjord writes: It looks like deep sea exploration may pay off big time as Japanese scientists have located rich deposits of rare earth elements on the sea floor in Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone waters, following up on their find two years ago of huge deposits of rare earths in mid-Pacific waters. The cumulative effect of these finds could significantly weaken Chinese control of 90% of the world supply of rare earth metals, which the Chinese have been using to flex their muscles. The concentration of rare earth metals in the Japanese find is astonishing: up to 6,500 ppm, versus 500-1,000 ppm for Chinese mines. The newly identified deposits are just 2-4 meters below sea floor which could make for relatively easy mining compared to the 10+ meters they were expecting... if they can get there. The fact that the deposits are 5,700 meters deep means there is just one or two little problems to resolve : "A seabed oil field has been developed overseas at a depth of 3,000 meters. . . But the development of seabed resources at depths of more than 5,000 meters has no precedent, either at home or abroad. There remains a mountain of technological challenges, including how to withstand water pressure and ocean currents and how to process the mining products in the ocean, sources said."
SternisheFan writes: Scientists from the Nano-Science Center at the Niels Bohr Institut, Denmark and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, have shown that a single nanowire can concentrate the sunlight up to 15 times of the normal sun light intensity. The results are surprising and the potential for developing a new type of highly efficient solar cells is great.
Due to some unique physical light absorption properties of nanowires, the limit of how much energy we can utilize from the sun's rays is higher than previous believed. These results demonstrate the great potential of development of nanowire-based solar cells, says PhD Peter Krogstrup on the surprising discovery that is described in the journal Nature Photonics.
The research groups have during recent years studied how to develop and improve the quality of the nanowire crystals, which is a cylindrical structure with a diameter of about 10,000 part of a human hair. The nanowires are predicted to have great potential in the development not only of solar cells, but also of future quantum computers and other electronic products.
alancronin writes: The most detailed map ever made of the oldest light to shine through the universe has been released by scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA). The map reveals tiny variations in the "cosmic microwave background" or CMB – the faint glow of radiation that is left over from the earliest light to illuminate the cosmos. These primordial photons are all around us, and account for 1% of the "snow" that could be seen on untuned television sets. Scientists compiled the map from more than 15 months of observations by the ESA's Planck telescope. The map improves on data gathered by two previous Nasa missions called Cobe and WMAP. The director-general of Europe's space agency, Jean-Jacques Dordain, described the new map as "a giant leap in understanding the origins of the universe".
Dimetrodon writes: "Growing medicines in open fields could slash the cost of drug production and make life-saving vaccines easily available to people in the developing world. But current regulations mean it can't happen on a large scale."
jfruh writes: "Defense Distributed, a U.S. nonprofit that aims to make plans for guns available owners of 3-D printers, recently received a federal firearms license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobocco and Firearms. That license doesn't cover semi-automatic weapons and machine guns, though — and there are questions about whether the legislation that defines that license really apply to the act of giving someone 3-D printing patterns. Experts on all sides of the issue seemd to agree that no clarification of the law would happen until a high-profile crime involving a 3-D printed weapon was committed."
Big Hairy Ian writes: "Our reporter builds a handcrafted cellphone using widely available parts and online instructions
SUDDENLY, my phone rings. It chirps out a tinny version of what sounds like the Christmas carol Angels We Have Heard on High. I am giddy with amazement.
On the fifth floor of the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, David Mellis has just plugged in the mobile phone I spent all afternoon soldering together. That's right: I just built a cellphone. By hand.
Mellis is a graduate student in the High-Low Tech lab, a group of engineering evangelists trying to bring technology know-how to people who perhaps thought it was out of reach. In 2005, he helped found Arduino, a company that makes easy-to-program microprocessors and sells them on simple circuit boards. The idea is to help people make electronic products without needing a degree in computer science.
They're popular among hobbyists, hackers and the sort of people who end up working at the Media Lab but they're hardly mainstream. Mellis wondered if he could take the idea further."
from the common-sense-sneaks-in dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The courts are finally starting to get it, that the subscriber to an internet access account which has been used for a copyright infringement is not necessarily the infringer. In AF Holdings v. Rogers, a case in the Southern District of California, the Chief Judge of the Court has granted a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim where the only evidence the plaintiff has against defendant is that defendant appears to have been the subscriber to the internet access account in question. In his 7-page opinion (PDF), Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz noted that 'just because an IP address is registered to an individual does not mean that he or she is guilty of infringement when that IP address is used to commit infringing activity.'"
Examiner News writes: Rep. Steve Toth, a Houston-area Republican, has introduced a new bill in the Texas Legislature that would disallow state and local police from enforcing new gun control measures passed by the federal government. House Bill No. 1076 pertains to "certain firearms, firearm accessories and firearm ammunition within the State of Texas [and provides] an exemption from federal regulation and providing penalties."
concealment writes: "Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.
The class-action complaint, filed in New York on Feb 15., claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers."