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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do I make my own hardware multimedia player?

An anonymous reader writes: I was looking at multimedia players such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive, commands from an IR remote control and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalised library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries. Resume play. Loudness control etc..). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point? Thanks.

Submission + - RSA finally comes clean: SecurID is compromised (

suraj.sun writes: RSA Security is to replace virtually every one of the 40 million SecurID tokens currently in use as a result of the hacking attack the company disclosed back in March. The company issued a letter to customers acknowledging that SecurID failed to protect defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which last month reported a hack attempt. This admission puts paid to RSA's initial claims that the hack would not allow any "direct attack" on SecurID tokens; wholesale replacement of the tokens can only mean that the tokens currently in the wild do not offer the security that they are supposed to.

RSA Security Chairman Art Coviello said that the reason RSA had not disclosed the full extent of the vulnerability because doing so would have revealed to the hackers how to perform further attacks. RSA's customers might question this reasoning; the Lockheed Martin incident suggests that the RSA hackers knew what to do anyway—failing to properly disclose the true nature of the attack served only to mislead RSA's customers about the risks they faced.

Ars Technica:


Submission + - China Aims to Build Largest Rocket (

hackingbear writes: Back in march, China revealed it is studying the feasibility of designing the most powerful carrier rocket in history for making a manned moon landing and exploring deep space, according to Liang Xiaohong, vice head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The rocket is envisaged to have a payload of 130 tonnes, five times larger than that of China's current largest rocket. This rocket, if built, will eclipse the 53 tonne capacity of the planned Falcon 9 Heavy from SpaceX. It will even surpass the largest rocket ever built, the 119-tonne Saturn V. China's next generation rocket Long March 5, currently scheduled to debut in 2014, has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to LEO.

Submission + - AI gender detector ( 2

mikejuk writes: A Spanish research team have patented a video camera and algorithm that can tell the difference between males and females based on just a 25x25 pixel image. This means that there is enough information in such low resolution images to do the job!
The also demonstrates that an old AI method, linear discriminant analysis, and demonstrates that it is as good and sometimes better than more trendy mehods such as Support Vector Machines...


Submission + - Quake moved Japan coast 8 ft; shifted Earth's ax (

SoyQueSoy writes: "CNN is reporting that the powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami on Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) according to Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Also, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters)."

Submission + - Exactly what data do ISPs record? (

An anonymous reader writes: In this article (BBC) it is stated that a 'spy' working for GCHQ/MI6 who was found dead in his flat, in suspicious circumstances had "occasionally spent between 30 minutes and an hour on bondage sites". How exactly did they gather this precise information? How can the time spent on a particular site be recorded, for example in the user's history: clock starts from initial click on Site A — Link 1 to finishing at Site A — Final Link Clicked? Or would this data have been provided by the ISP?

Submission + - Microsoft Windows for ARM (

randallman writes: According to this article an article on, Microsoft will be presenting an ARM version of Windows. "The new product will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Microsoft's plans are confidential. The software would be tailored for battery-powered devices, such as tablet computers and other handhelds, the people said." Will Windows on ARM be able to compete with iOS, Andriod and the other operating systems already in the ARM handlheld market?

Microsoft Builds JavaScript Malware Detection Tool 88

Trailrunner7 writes "As browser-based exploits and specifically JavaScript malware have shouldered their way to the top of the list of threats, browser vendors have been scrambling to find effective defenses to protect users. Few have been forthcoming, but Microsoft Research has developed a new tool called Zozzle that can be deployed in the browser and can detect JavaScript-based malware on the fly at a very high effectiveness rate. Zozzle is designed to perform static analysis of JavaScript code on a given site and quickly determine whether the code is malicious and includes an exploit. In order to be effective, the tool must be trained to recognize the elements that are common to malicious JavaScript, and the researchers behind it stress that it works best on de-obfuscated code."

Submission + - Chinese: US power grid vulnerable to attack ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: It came as a surprise this month to Wang Jianwei, a graduate engineering student in Liaoning, China, that he had been described as a potential cyberwarrior before the United States Congress.
Ken Cedeno for The New York Times

Larry M. Wortzel, a military strategist, recently drew attention to the paper.

Larry M. Wortzel, a military strategist and China specialist, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 10 that it should be concerned because “Chinese researchers at the Institute of Systems Engineering of Dalian University of Technology published a paper on how to attack a small U.S. power grid sub-network in a way that would cause a cascading failure of the entire U.S.”

When reached by telephone, Mr. Wang said he and his professor had indeed published “Cascade-Based Attack Vulnerability on the U.S. Power Grid” in an international journal called Safety Science last spring. But Mr. Wang said he had simply been trying to find ways to enhance the stability of power grids by exploring potential vulnerabilities.

Submission + - Wall Steet 2: Greed is bad? (

Tasha26 writes: NY Times has an interesting interview with Oliver Stone for the sequel to the infamous 1987 movie: Wall Street. Is Greed still good? Well Gordon Gekko (Michall Douglas) is back and so are some others such as Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen). There will even be a part for Nouriel Roubini (who predicted the market crash in his book: Black Swan) as a hedge fund manager. Unfortunately, as I read page 2 of the interview, I discovered that Jar Jar Binx, I mean Shia LaBeouf will also have a prominent role as a young trader who is engaged to Gekko’s daughter! It would seem that Michael Bay hasn't quite yet wrecked Shia's career in the terrible Transformers movies. Wall Street 2 is scheduled to be released next April, 2010. Can't wait!

Submission + - The Decade of Steve Jobs (

ausekilis writes: CNN today has a story outlining the past decade of Apple, and more importantly the contributions made by their CEO, Steve Jobs. They name him businessman of the decade because, unlike other businessmen such as Hilton or Ford who have transformed a single industry, Jobs has transformed four (computers, music, movies, and mobile telephones).

The financial results have been nothing short of astounding — for Apple and for Jobs. The company was worth about $5 billion in 2000, just before Jobs unleashed Apple's groundbreaking "digital lifestyle" strategy, understood at the time by few critics. Today, at about $170 billion, Apple is slightly more valuable than Google (GOOG, Fortune 500). Its market share in personal computers was plummeting back then, and the cash drain was so severe that bankruptcy was a possibility. Now Apple has $34 billion in cash and marketable securities, surpassing the total market cap of rival Dell (DELL, Fortune 500). Macintoshes make up 9% of the PC market in the U.S. today, but that share is increasingly beside the point.


Submission + - Google releases open source JavaScript tools ( 1

Dan Jones writes: Google has open sourced several of its key JavaScript application development tools, hoping that they will prove useful for external programmers to build faster Web applications. According to Google, by enabling and allowing developers to use the same tools that Google uses, they can not only build rich applications but also make the Web really fast. The Closure JavaScript compiler and library are used as the standard Javascript library for pretty much any large, public Web application that Google is serving today, including some of its most popular Web applications, including Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps. Google has also released Closure Templates which are designed to automate the dynamic creation of HTML. The announcement comes a few months after Google released and open source NX server.

Submission + - Nothing to Fear but Fearlessness Itself?

theodp writes: In last August's Is Technology Evil?, Robert X. Cringely voiced fears that Goldman Sachs and others were not so much evil as 'clueless about the implications of their work,' leaving it up to the government to fix any mess they leave behind. 'But what if government runs out of options?,' worried Cringely. 'Our economic policy doesn't imagine it, nor does our foreign policy, because superpowers don't acknowledge weakness.' And now Cringely's fears are echoed in We're Governed by Callous Children, currently the most-read WSJ story, in which Peggy Noonan frets: 'We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists — they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.' With apologies to FDR, do we have nothing to fear but fearlessness itself?

Submission + - Drug adviser sacked for cannabis claim ( 2

thespeech writes: "The British Government's chief drug adviser, Professor David Nutt from the University of Bristol, has been sacked a day after claiming that cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy were less dangerous than alcohol. "Alcohol ranks as the fifth most harmful drug after heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and methadone. Tobacco is ranked ninth," he wrote in the paper from the centre for crime and justice studies at King's College, London, published yesterday. "Cannabis, LSD and ecstasy, while harmful, are ranked lower at 11, 14 and 18 respectively." Nutt said he was not prepared to "mislead" the public about the effects of drugs in order to convey a moral "message" on the government's behalf, and that "if scientists are not allowed to engage in the debate at this interface then you devalue their contribution to policy making and undermine a major source of carefully considered and evidence-based advice."
This is not the first time that the British government has ignored advice from experts in making drug policy decisions.
Some are worried that this will discourage others from giving their opinions in a field where, apparently, honest scientists are to be seen and not heard."


Submission + - How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA (

KentuckyFC writes: Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes , paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and "frisk" people at distance. That's not to mention the great potential they have in medical imaging. Because terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionise electrons, it's easy to dismiss fears over their health effects. And yet the evidence is mixed: some studies have reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, have reported none. Now a team led by Los Alamos National Labs thinks it knows why. They say that although the forces that terahertz waves exert on double-stranded DNA are tiny, in certain circumstances resonant effects can unzip the DNA strands, tearing them apart. This creates bubbles in the strands that can significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. With terahertz scanners already appearing in airports and hospitals, the question that now urgently needs answering is what level of exposure is safe.

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We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra