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Communications

CCC Hackers Break DECT Telephones' Security 116

Sub Zero 992 writes "Heise Security (article in German) is reporting that at this year's Chaos Communications Congress (25C3) researchers in Europe's dedected.org group have published an article (PDF) showing, using a PC-Card costing only EUR 23, how to eavesdrop on DECT transmissions. There are hundreds of millions of terminals, ranging from telephones, to electronic payment terminals, to door openers, using the DECT standard." So far, the Heise article's German only, but I suspect will show up soon in English translation. Update: 12/30 21:27 GMT by T : Reader Juha-Matti Laurio writes with the story in English. Thanks!
Input Devices

Avoiding Wasted Time With Prince of Persia 507

Zonk pointed out an interesting video presentation by Shamus Young on the importance of the new Prince of Persia, calling it the most innovative game of 2008. Young brings up the fact that many of today's games punish failure by wasting the player's time; being sent back to a check point, the beginning of a level, or sometimes even further. This cuts into the amount of time players have to enjoy the meat of the game — the current challenge they have to overcome. Unfortunately, as Young notes, modern controllers are designed for players who have been gaming since they were kids, and have evolved to be more complicated to operate than an automobile. The combination of these factors therefore limits or prevents the interest of new players; a problem Prince of Persia has addressed well through intuitive controls and the lack of punitive time sinks.
Biotech

Amateurs Are Trying Genetic Engineering At Home 245

the_kanzure points out this AP story on amateur genetic engineering, excerpting: "The Apple computer was invented in a garage. Same with the Google search engine. Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself. Using homemade lab equipment and the wealth of scientific knowledge available online, these hobbyists are trying to create new life forms through genetic engineering a field long dominated by Ph.D.s toiling in university and corporate laboratories." Reader resistant has a few ideas about how to use this sort of lab: "Personally, I'd like to whip up a reasonably long-lasting and durable paint made with dye based on squid genes that glows brightly enough to allow 'guide lines' to be daubed along hallway baseboards, powered by a very low trickle of electricity. Plus, a harmless glowing yogurt would make for a cool prank."
Space

Mapping Planets and Moons In 3D With Stereophotoclinometry 23

subcomdtaco writes with this snippet from a story in the NYTimes: "Dr. [Robert] Gaskell, with software he developed over a quarter-century of trial and error, can process hundreds of images in a few hours, slap them atop one another electronically like coats of paint and produce a topographical map so detailed that you often need a pair of 3-D glasses to appreciate what he has done. At 63, Dr. Gaskell has become the Captain Cook of space. Dr. Gaskell calls what he does 'stereophotoclinometry.' [PDF] Ideally he needs at least three images of the target landscape, usually taken by an orbiting spacecraft or a probe on a flyby to another destination. Only in rare cases can telescope images provide enough detail. The sun angle must be different for each exposure so each image shows different shadows. By comparing the shadows, the software calculates slopes, which yield the altitudes of target features. The computer solves the equation in three dimensions, producing a patchlike topographical maplet."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference 235

schlangemann writes "Check out the paper Towards the Simulation of E-commerce by Herbert Schlangemann, which is available in the IEEEXplor database (full article available only to IEEE members). This generated paper has been accepted with review by the 2008 International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE). According to the organizers, 'CSSE is one of the important conferences sponsored by IEEE Computer Society, which serves as a forum for scientists and engineers in the latest development of artificial intelligence, grid computing, computer graphics, database technology, and software engineering.' Even better, fake author Herbert Schlangemann has been selected as session chair (PDF) for that conference. (The name Schlangemann was chosen based on the short film Der Schlangemann by Andreas Hansson and Björn Renberg.)"
Upgrades

VirtualBox 2.1 Supports 64-Bit VM In 32-Bit Host 374

Stephen Birch writes "Following closely behind the mid-November 2.06 release of VirtualBox, Sun Microsystems has released version 2.1. This has a number of new features, but one of the most interesting is the ability to run a 64-bit VM inside a 32-bit host. Another useful feature is integrated host-based networking; no more fiddling around with network bridges. Sun is really giving VMWare a run for their money."
Censorship

Australia To Block BitTorrent 674

Kevin 7Kbps writes "Censorship Minister Stephen Conroy announced today that the Australian Internet Filters will be extended to block peer-to-peer traffic, saying, 'Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial.' This dashes hopes that Conroy's Labor party had realised filtering could be politically costly at the next election and were about to back down. The filters were supposed to begin live trials on Christmas Eve, but two ISPs who volunteered have still not been contacted by Conroy's office, who advised, 'The department is still evaluating applications that were put forward for participation in that pilot.' Three days hardly seems enough time to reconfigure a national network."
Space

SpaceShipTwo Mothership Makes Maiden Flight 110

RobGoldsmith writes "Earlier this week images were appearing on the Net showing the WhiteKnightTwo craft doing some tests in Mojave. The earliest tests showed perhaps two of the engines being used, while a later test showed all the engines working and some further testing. Today the four Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308A engines finally carried the craft into the air. The maiden flight of the WhiteKnightTwo lasted just shy of one hour and happened today at around 08:15 local time, at Mojave air and spaceport. Rumors suggest that a Beechcraft King Air was used for a chase plane. The craft will be used to position Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo craft to fly into space; this is estimated to happen around 2010."
Space

Submission + - Pilot's close encounter with UFO 2

Chris Gondek writes: "A passenger jet preparing to land at Heathrow had a near-miss with a UFO. MoD experts launched a top-secret inquiry into the 22,000ft incident during the flight from Milan but never traced what the UFO was. Details of the bizarre close encounter over Lydd, Kent, have only emerged now — 17 years after it took place. The April 21 1991 sighting is one of 19 between 1986 and 1992 being made public by the UK's National Archive today. They include a USAF pilot's account of being told to shoot down a UFO over East Anglia. One file even contains a letter from a woman claiming to be from the Sirius system — who said her spacecraft crashed here during the Second World War. It seems we've all lost interest in UFO's and the number of "abductions" which seemed to occur so often in the 80's has been seriously reduced since we now all own video phones."
Google

Submission + - Gmail Storage size increase? 1

Knackster writes: ""I was checking my Gmail account while having my morning coffee when I happen to glance at my mailbox size: You are currently using 814 MB (18%) of your 4434 MB. When did Google increase the mailbox size?""
Microsoft

Submission + - Motherboard Replacements and Vista OEM EULAs

Knackster writes: If you decide to replace the motherboard in your computer, should you have to pay Microsoft again for the OS that came with the system? Well, in Redmond they think so, and that probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. What I do find a bit surprising is that Microsoft has chosen not to inform end users, not even in the darkest depths of the Windows EULAs, of this policy. Instead, computer manufacturers have just quietly been told that, hey, that's the way it's going to be. Read More
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Actual Military Warnings

shy_anne_123 writes: Genuine warnings written on military equipment and publications.. As dumb as they sound, they're all very true...

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