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Submission + - SnoopWall gives Android users control over app permissions, ports (

mattydread23 writes: Last month, Google drew the ire of privacy advocates when it disabled a tool that allowed Android users to select which permissions to allow when downloading an app. Google has no plans to reinstate the Apps Opps Launcher, so writer Chris Nerney takes a look at a third party tool, Snoopwall, which offers a pretty good replacement.

Submission + - Old browsers preventing HTML 5 are growing (not just IE) (

Billly Gates writes: The monthly totals from and came out with the latest December statistics which sometimes cause flamewars as both sides companies report different results on the most popular browser/OS (Netmarketshare favors IE, while favors Chrome).

However, ZDNet noticed something interesting from both statistics. Obsolete browsers are gaining traction even with auto updates for all them. Typically we hear of old browsers we think of corporations running old versions of IE like IE 6 in which any intranet developer will say is a must for support until last year. But Safari now beats IE in terms of users who do not wish to upgrade as 50% run obsolete versions!

Firefox too has its obsolete versions kicking and screaming with 1 out of 5 more than 2 versions old. IE has its old versions as well but this is expected in corps where they use apps which write to MSHTML and MS CSS with MS Jscript for their intranet apps as IE 11 is too modern and standards compliant.

As 2014 starts the web is becoming more and more important as new sites like, LinkedIn, and a million cloud providers all really benefit from HTML 5 features not to mention the security risk associated with

Submission + - Linksys Resurrects WRT54G in a New Router

jones_supa writes: A year after purchasing the Linksys home networking division from Cisco, Belkin today brought back the design of what it called 'the best-selling router of all time' but with the latest wireless technology. We are talking about the classic WRT54G, the router in blue/black livery, first released in December 2002. Back in July 2003, a Slashdot post noted that Linksys had 'caved to community pressure' after speculation that it was violating the GPL free software license, and it released open source code for the WRT54G. The router received a cult following and today the model number of the refreshed model will be WRT1900AC. The radio is updated to support 802.11ac (with four antennas), the CPU is a more powerful 1.2GHz dual core, and there are ports for eSATA and USB mass storage devices. Linksys is also providing early hardware along with SDKs and APIs to the developers of OpenWRT, with plans to have support available when the router becomes commercially available. The WRT1900AC is also the first Linksys router to include a Network Map feature designed to provide a simpler way of managing settings of each device connected to the network. Announced at Consumer Electronics Show, the device is planned to be available this spring for an MSRP of $299.99.

Submission + - FBI Edits Mission Statement: Removes Law Enforcement as 'Primary' Purpose... (

schwit1 writes: Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI picked up scores of new responsibilities related to terrorism and counterintelligence while maintaining a finite amount of resources. What's not in question is that government agencies tend to benefit in numerous ways when considered critical to national security as opposed to law enforcement. "If you tie yourself to national security, you get funding and you get exemptions on disclosure cases," said McClanahan. "You get all the wonderful arguments about how if you don't get your way, buildings will blow up and the country will be less safe."

Submission + - Ecuadorian Navy Rescues Bezos After Kidney Stone Attack 1

theodp writes: Hopefully, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos splurged on a Platinum Marketplace Health Insurance Plan for 2014 or he could be looking at some serious out-of-pocket costs. While vacationing aboard a cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands, where the State Department warns the quality of medical facilities and services are 'generally well below U.S. standards', Gawker reports that Bezos was rescued by the Ecuadorian Navy so he could receive treatment for a kidney stone attack on New Year's Day. The Ecuadorian Navy confirmed Bezos' rescue, which involved taking Bezos by Navy helicopter from Academy Bay in Santa Cruz Island to his private jet stationed on Baltra Island. Hey, it should make for a great Affordable Health Care Act ad!

Submission + - PC makers plan rebellion against Microsoft at CES ( 1

Velcroman1 writes: Fearing rapidly plummeting sales of traditional laptops and desktop computers — which fell by another 10 percent or so in 2013 — manufacturers are planning a revolt against Microsoft and the Windows operating system, analysts say. At the 2014 CES in Las Vegas, multiple computer makers will unveil systems that simultaneously run two different operating systems, both Windows and the Android OS that powers many of the world’s tablets and smartphones, two different analysts said recently. The new devices will be called “PC Plus” machines, explained analyst Tim Bajarin. "A PC Plus machine will run Windows 8.1 but will also run Android apps as well," Bajarin wrote. Another analyst put the threat to Windows bluntly: "This should scare the heck out of Microsoft."

Submission + - FILM vs. DIGITAL – Can You Tell the Diffidence? ( 4

Iddo Genuth writes: Film is fading away and almost all of us use digital cameras almost exclusively. But can we really tell the diffidence between film and digital? Photographer Joey Shanks set out to test this question by recording thousands of images with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (set to ISO 400) and a film camera – Canon 7E with a 400 ASA Fujifilm.

He shot a long series of images which he combined into several short clips he set side by side for you to look at and decide if you can actually tell which is which.

Submission + - NASA Could Explore Titan With Squishable 'Super Ball Bot' (

An anonymous reader writes: IEEE Spectrum reports on a rover design being developed at NASA Ames Research Center: Super Ball Bot. The premise is that the rover's brain and scientific equipment would be suspended in the middle on a structure made of rigid rods and elastic cables. The rods and cables would be deformable, allowing the rover to roll over complex terrain without damage. This design would be ideal for exploring a place like Saturn's moon Titan. Its atmosphere is thick enough that a probe could drop the rover from 100km above the surface, and it would survive the fall without a parachute. 'In a scenario studied by the team, the robot could be collapsed to a very compact configuration for launch. Once it reaches the moon, it would pop open and drop to the surface, flexing and absorbing the force of impact. By shortening and lengthening the cables that connect its rigid components, the ball bot could then roll about the surface. These same cables could be used to pull back parts of the robot, so that science instruments at the center could be exposed and used.'

Submission + - Neural Net Learns Breakout By Watching The Game On Screen--Then Thrashes Humans (

KentuckyFC writes: A curious thing about video games is that computers have never been very good at playing them like humans--by looking at a monitor and judging actions accordingly using. Sure, they're pretty good if they have direct access to the program itself but "hand-to-eye-co-ordination" has never been their thing. But now our superiority in this area is coming to an end. A team of AI specialists in London have created a neural network that learns to play games simply by looking at the RGB output from the console. And they've tested it successfully on a number of games from the legendary Atari 2600 system from the 1980s. The method is relatively straightforward. To simplify the visual part of the problem, the system down-samples the Atari's 128-colour, 210x160 pixel image to create an 84x84 grayscale version. Then it simply practices repeatedly to learn what to do. That's time consuming but fairly simple since at any instant in time during a game, a player can choose from a finite set actions that the game allows: move to the left, move to the right, fire and so on. So the task for any player—human or otherwise—is to choose an action at each point in the game that maximises the eventual score. The researchers say that after learning Atari classics such as Breakout and Pong, the neural net can then thrash expert human players. However, the neural net still struggles to match average human performance in games such as Seaquest, Q*bert and, most important of all, Space Invaders. So there's hope for us yet...just not for very much longer.

Submission + - Utilities fight back against solar energy ( 1

JoeyRox writes: The exponential growth of rooftop solar adoption has utilities concerned about their financial future. Efficiency gains and cost reductions has brought the price of solar energy to within parity of traditional power generation in states like California and Hawaii. HECO, an electric utility in Hawaii, has started notifying new solar adopters that they will not be allowed to connect to the utility's power grid, citing safety concerns of electric circuits becoming oversaturated from the rapid adoption of soloar power on the island. Residents claim it's not about safety but about the utility fighting to protect its profits.

Submission + - Houston Expands Downtown Surveilance, Unsure If It Helps (

SpaceGhost writes: Associated Press reports that the Houston (Texas) Police will be adding 180 surveillance cameras in the downtown area, bring the total to close to 1000. While most cover public areas (stadiums, theater district) the police suggest that Houston also has more "critical infrastructure" (energy companies) than other cities. Interestingly AP points out that "Officials say data is not kept to determine if the cameras are driving down crime." Didn't London face the same issue?

Submission + - Apple fined in Taiwan for iPhone price fixing (

Frankie70 writes: Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has hit Apple with a small fine and warned the company that it may face a more substantial penalty if it doesn’t stop interfering with carriers’ iPhone pricing and the prices of the plans carriers sell alongside the iPhone. “Through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market,” Taiwan’s FTC said in a statement.

Submission + - Developing games on and for Linux/SteamOS ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: With the release of SteamOS developing video game engines for Linux is a subject with increasing interest. Developing games on and for Linux/SteamOS is a lightweight reading and an initiation guide on the tools, pros and cons of Linux as a platform for developing game engines. This article evolves around OpenGL and drivers, CPU and GPU profiling, compilers, build systems, IDEs, debuggers, platform abstraction layers and other.

Submission + - NSA Mass Data Collection Dates Back To 9/11 (

judgecorp writes: The NSA mass surveillance programme currently receiving criticism dates back to George W Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks, according to newly declassified documents. The agency was first given powers to collect the contents of certain international communications in October 2001;the powers had to be renewed regularly at first, and have since been solidified and extended.

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