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Android

Submission + - Samsung To Put TouchWiz On Ice Cream Sandwich (muktware.com)

sfcrazy writes: I don't know if you are a TouchWiz fan or not. If you don't know what TouchWiz it then you probably wont care. TouchWiz is Samsung's skin for Android devices. It offers some cool features and has its own share of fans and hater. Irrespective of that Samsung is determined to put TouchWiz on top of Ice Cream Sandwich for its Android 4.0 phones.
Android

Submission + - Feds launch Carrier IQ investigation (bgr.com)

zacharye writes: Federal investigators have launched a probe in order to determine the legality surrounding the use of Carrier IQ software, which tracks smartphone activity and sends certain data to wireless carriers without users’ knowledge...
Microsoft

Submission + - Windows Phone SMS attack discovered (winrumors.com)

An anonymous reader writes: As announced on the Winrumors site: "Microsoft’s range of Windows Phone devices suffer from a denial-of-service attack that allows attackers to disable the messaging functionality on a device.

The flaw works simply by sending an SMS to a Windows Phone user. Windows Phone 7.5 devices will reboot and the messaging hub will not open despite repeat attempts. We have tested the attack on a range of Windows Phone devices, including HTC’s TITAN and Samsung’s Focus Flash. Some devices were running the 7740 version of Windows Phone 7.5, others were on Mango RTM build 7720. The attack is not device specific and appears to be an issue with the way the Windows Phone messaging hub handles messages. The bug is also triggered if a user sends a Facebook chat message or Windows Live Messenger message to a recipient."

Television

Submission + - US Bans Loud Commercials (activepolitic.com)

bs0d3 writes: On Tuesday, the FCC passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM. It's a law that states all commercials must run at the same volume as network newscasts. The same applies to network promos. The responsibility falls on cable providers like Comcast or charter. The law will not take effect until next year which leaves it plenty of time to be challenged in court by cable providers or advertisers.

Submission + - Higgs Boson Explained 2

ahale writes: "The moment anyone finds out I research particle physics, the question is always asked: “Do you think we will find the Higgs Boson?” My immediate answer is always: No. Honestly, I do not really have any idea- I just like giving the short answer to avoid intense explanation. The Higgs Boson has received a lot of media attention. It is my aim to explain in plain terms: what is the Higgs Boson? And, why must it exist?

I should note: I am very much against the media hype of the Higgs Boson. It is just another part of the Standard Model (which I explain below), and there is no reason to pour so much money into crony corporate physics research. Had physics not been a political tinker toy of corporations and interested countries, the Higgs particle would have been experimentally verified years ago. In the explanation below, I put aside my own beliefs and just offer the facts.

The Higgs Boson is a mathematically proposed part of the Standard Model of Particle Physics (Which I will just abbreviate as: SM from now on). The SM is an explanation of the fundamental players in what actually constitutes all of reality. Molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are made of quarks. Quarks are bound together by a force. That is the quick definition of the SM. There are other particles as well, but they do not concern us- at this time. Think of the SM as the Periodic Table for Particle Physics.

The Higgs Boson is an esoteric but relevant player in the SM. While its role is formal and mathematical- it is responsible for the defining characteristic of particles.

In nature we have 4 fundamental forces that act upon the constituents. These forces are: Gravity, Electromagnetism, Weak force, and the Strong force. The first two are very familiar to humans and we encounter these every day. I will not bother to explain these two.

The Weak force is what causes radioactive decay of subatomic particles. It has two force carrier particles associated with it: The W and Z boson.

The Strong force has little to do with what I am trying to explain here. The strong force is what binds quarks together.

It was discovered by three Nobel Prize winning Physicists in 1979 that the electromagnetic force and the weak force are actually derived from a single unified force. This force is not unified until a particle accelerator reaches the level of ~100 TeV (tera electron volts). At the early universe, when everything was still hot enough- these two forces were indistinguishable.

Leaving out the tedious mathematics, when these forces are combined it can be views as symmetry. That is, one is symmetrical to the other and there is no preferred point of reference.

As mentioned above, the force carriers for the weak force are the W and Z boson, which are extremely massive, but very short range. The force carrier for the electromagnetic force is massless. How is this mass lost? The mass is converted into energy, that energy is essentially a photon (The force carrier of the electromagnetic force): the particle of light. The photon never rests; it always travels at light speed. The mass from the electroweak force, somehow gets converted into the energy of the electromagnetic force. (Recall Einstein’s famous equation). The answer: there must be a particle responsible for this. What is this proposed particle? That is the Higgs particle.

Let us take a moment to get some terms straight. In quantum mechanics, specifically quantum field theory- you may use these three terms interchangeably: field, wave, and particle. A field is something that may permeate a space. If one is to wiggle that field, a wave develops. The resulting wave is a differential equation of probability. The area where the probability is high: is where it is likely to find the “particle”. This short definition I offer is a mix of three ideas: the Schrodinger equations, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum waves. You are welcome to research those further to get a better grasp.

To recap, the relationship is: fields: to wave: to particle. This explanation greatly ignores the particle wave duality. I do not intend to explain it here.

Going back to the Higgs particle.

  It was proposed by Peter Higgs that a field must permeate all of space. The space between atoms, the space between everything: the people, planets, galaxies, and the universe. Anywhere where the laws of physics as we know, hold true: exists the Higgs field.

This idea sounds crazy to most people. If there is some kind of uniform field that is everywhere, should we not feel it? This field is only agitated at high energies; therefore we would need to “pluck” this field with a high energy “guitar pick” for lack of a better analogy.

For the past thirty plus years physicists have attempted to “pluck” this field. By doing so, they hope to create a wave which can be described to have the properties of the Higgs Particle as predicted by the SM.

How does this field create all the mass properties of all the particles known?

Trying to explain this is trying to put very formal mathematics into terms, but I think it is something I would like to try. As particles move through this field, the same effect that reduces the electroweak force into the electromagnetic force can turn energy into mass, just as it turns mass into energy. As we go up on the TeV scale, that is- as we get hotter and hotter- ever closer to the early universe, the electromagnetic and the weak forces become a single unified force. Also, the strong force begins to have less influence, instead it is replaced by the electroweak force until eventually they are a single force. This is believed to happen because of the “drag”, produced by the Higgs field.

The experimental discovery of the Higgs field by producing a Higgs Boson, would greatly explain the SM. It would explain why the fundamental forces converge and decohere (not to be confused with quantum decoherence). The discovery would complete the particle physics most successful model and lead to more accurate predictions about reality, cosmology, and the universe as a whole.

While it may not be the Higgs field that lends all the particles their mass and other properties, there is something out there. Something must cause these forces to converge and act differently upon the particles. Failure to find the Higgs would just give researchers another route to travel. Perhaps another force of nature? Or- Perhaps we misunderstand the high energy excitation of particles and forces. Either way, it is not likely the SM will be scrapped any time soon."

Submission + - How to get non-developers to send meaningful bug r 2

DemonGenius writes: I'm in the midst of a major rollout of one of our primary internal applications at work and we have a beta version available for all the staff to use. The problem here is most of the staff don't know how to send reports meaningful enough to get us devs started on solving their problems without constant back and forth correspondence that wastes both developer time and theirs. Some common examples are: screenshots of the YSOD that don't include the page URL, scaled screenshots that are unreadable, the complaint that wants to be a bug report but is still just a complaint, etc. FYI, from the user's perspective they just send an email, but that email registers in our tracking system. Any thoughts on how to get the non-devs sending us descriptive and/or meaningful reports? Does anyone here have an efficient and user-friendly bug tracking system/policy/standard at their workplace and how does it work?
Privacy

Submission + - Cnet Apologizes For Nmap Adware Mess (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: Officials at Cnet's Download.com site have issued a statement apologizing for bundling the popular open source Nmap security audit application with adware that installed a toolbar and changed users' search engine to Microsoft properties. Fyodor, the author of Nmap, raised the issue earlier this week, saying that his app was being wrapped in malware on Download.com.

It's not unusual for download sites to bundle free applications with some kind of adware or toolbar, but the creators of open-source applications take a dim view of this practice, given the nature and ethic of open source projects. Nmap is a venerable and widely used tool for mapping networks and performing security audits and Fyodor wrote in a message to an Nmap mailing list earlier this week that Download.com, which is part of Cnet, a subsidiary of CBS Interactive, was bundling the application with its installer, which, if a user agreed, would install a search toolbar and change the user's search engine to Bing.

Comment Re:Shenanigans!! All your thought are belong to us (Score 5, Insightful) 251

It will only stop when somebody attempts to apply the same strategy to the legal profession. Then, with any luck, one of two things will happen:
  1. 1. The lawyers, judges, and Congress will realize that the entire government will grind to a halt if that strategy is allowed, so they will reject the strategy, and finally come to realize why this is such a problem in other areas, and finally fix it.
  2. 2. It succeeds, and everything does grind to a halt until Congress passes a massive overhaul to change it all (making it just retroactive enough to negate all patent lawsuits against their own overhaul.)

Comment Re:Sucky definition of "success" (Score 1) 385

Agreed. The study uses a flawed definition of success, in that the searches that are so successful you find the information you need right in the summary without ever visiting the web site are counted as failures. This happens often enough in my experience to be a significant influence on results. Conversely, searches where you visit a web site in the results are treated as success, even if the web site turns out not to have what you wanted. The combination of these two issues makes the whole set of results pretty meaningless.

Comment Re:False Flag Working! (Score 3, Informative) 268

Just to clarify... He is taking the steps to investigate the vulnerabilities, and take precautions against further intrusion. This is not to be confused with "let's go catch these boogeymen."

This just seems like a reasonable reaction (for once), unless I am mis-reading here. I did not RTFA.

Well, the article is not really much more informative than the summary on this matter, but both of them suggest that at least part of the focus is on improving security at these sensitive sites rather than going after whichever baddies this week hacked into a government contractor's network and divulged sensitive info they found there. And that is indeed the right focus; it is obvious that the knowledge necessary to break into these sites is in the wild and capturing one group of attackers is going to do little to secure the information stored on other, as-yet-unhacked networks. The problem is that inadequate methods have been used to secure the information in the first place. So I have to agree with you.

Furthermore, what is pointed out in the article is that there are multiple Congressional committees claiming at least partial jurisdiction over the issue and suggesting cybersecurity legislation. McCain proposes a single committee to clearly govern this area and thus to consolidate this legislation in one place to avoid conflicting bills coming from different groups. I can't say whether this will actually succeed in doing something useful -- it really depends on whether they get knowledgeable people on the committee -- but it has a better chance than the current approach. In theory, the knowledgeable people, even if they aren't on the committee or even in Congress, should know to address this group; hopefully the committee gets populated with Congressmen who are able to distinguish the ideas of value from those of everybody else who wants to restrict computers or the Internet in whatsoever way.

Comment Adobe Air (Score 1) 258

The main point of the article is about Adobe's development tools for Adobe Air. Is anybody actually using Adobe Air? The only thing I can recall having seen done using Adobe Air is help for recent versions of Adobe products, and this makes it so slow compared with any other help system that it makes a hugely negative ad for Air.

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