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Submission + - Investigation Finds Inmates Built Computers, Hid Them In Prison Ceiling (

An anonymous reader writes: The discovery of two working computers hidden in a ceiling at the Marion Correctional Institution prompted an investigation by the state into how inmates got access. In late July, 2015 staff at the prison discovered the computers hidden on a plywood board in the ceiling above a training room closet. The computers were also connected to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's network. Authorities say they were first tipped off to a possible problem in July, when their computer network support team got an alert that a computer "exceeded a daily internet usage threshold." When they checked the login being used, they discovered an employee's credentials were being used on days he wasn't scheduled to work. That's when they tracked down where the connection was coming from and alerted Marion Correctional Institution of a possible problem. Investigators say there was lax supervision at the prison, which gave inmates the ability to build computers from parts, get them through security checks, and hide them in the ceiling. The inmates were also able to run cabling, connecting the computers to the prison's network.

Submission + - Google Ruins the Assistant's Shopping List, Turns It Into a Google Express Ad (

An anonymous reader writes: The Google Assistant, Google's voice assistant that powers the Google app on Android phones, tablets, and Google Home, has just gotten a major downgrade. In a move reminiscent of all the forced and user-hostile Google+ integrations, Google has gutted the Google Assistant's shopping list functionality in order to turn it into a big advertisement for Google's shopping site, Google Express. The shopping list has been a major feature of the Google Assistant. You can say "Add milk to my shopping list," and the Google Assistant would dutifully store this information somewhere. The shopping list used to live in Google Keep. Keep is Google's primary note-taking app, making it a natural home for the shopping list with lots of useful tools and management options. Now the shopping list lives in Google Express. Express is an online shopping site, and it has no business becoming a dedicated place to store a shopping list that probably has nothing to do with Google's online marketplace. Since Google Express is an online shopping site (and, again, has no business having a note-taking app grafted onto it), the move from Keep to Google Express means the Assistant's shopping list functionality loses the following features: Being able to reorder items with drag and drop.
Reminders; Adding images to the shopping list; Adding voice recordings to the shopping list; Real time collaboration with other users (Express has sharing, but you can't see other people as they type—you have to refresh.); Android Wear integration; Desktop keyboard shortcuts; Checkbox management: deleting all checked items, unchecking all items, hiding checkboxes. Alternatively, the move from Keep to Google Express means the Assistant shopping list gains the following features: Google Express advertising next to every list item; Google Express advertising at the bottom of the page.

Submission + - The Kodi development team wants to be legitimate and bring DRM to the platform. (

pecosdave writes: The XBMC/ Kodi development team has taken a lot of heat over the years, mostly due to third party developers introducing piracy plugins to the platform, then in many cases cheap Android computers are often sold with these plugins pre-installed with the Kodi or XBMC name attached to them. The Kodi team is not happy about this, and has taken the fight to the sellers. The Kodi team is now trying to work with rights holders to introduce DRM and legitimate plugins to the platform. Is this the first step towards creating a true one-stop do it yourself Linux entertainment system?

Submission + - How Google Book Search Got Lost (

mirandakatz writes: When Google started its Book Search project nearly 15 years ago, it seemed impossibly ambitious: An upstart tech company that had just tamed and organized the vast informational jungle of the web would now extend the reach of its search box into the offline world. It was the company's first real moonshot, aspiring to make all the world's books digitally accessible—and in doing so, somehow produce a phase-shift in human awareness. But between legal battles and a slowly dwindling sense of ambition, Google Books never achieved those great heights, and today, it's settled into a quiet middle age of sourcing quotes and serving up snippets of text from the 25 million-plus tomes in its database. At Backchannel, Scott Rosenberg chronicles the project's rise and fall, writing that "Google employees maintain this is all they ever intended to achieve. Maybe so. But they sure got everyone else’s hopes up."

Submission + - SPAM: Exploit Revealed For Remote Root Access Vulnerability Affecting Many Routers

Orome1 writes: Back in January 2013, researchers from application security services firm DefenseCode unearthed a remote root access vulnerability in the default installation of some Cisco Linksys (now Belkin) routers. The flaw was actually found in Broadcom’s UPnP implementation used in popular routers, and ultimately the researchers extended the list of vulnerable routers to encompass devices manufactured by the likes of ASUS, D-Link, Zyxel, US Robotics, TP-Link, Netgear, and others. Since there were millions of vulnerable devices out there, the researchers refrained from publishing the exploit they created for the flaw, but now, four years later, they’ve released their full research again, and this time they’ve also revealed the exploit.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Symantec says CIA hacking tools were used in 40 'Longhorn' cyberattacks (

Mark Wilson writes: The CIA's range of hacking tools revealed as part of WikiLeaks' Vault 7 series of leaks have been used to conduct 40 cyberattacks in 16 countries, says Symantec. The security firm alleges that a group known as Longhorn has been using tools that appear to be the very same ones used by the CIA.

While it would be obvious to jump to the conclusion that the CIA was itself responsible for the attacks — and that Longhorn is just a branch of the CIA — Symantec opts for a rather more conservative evaluation of things: "there can be little doubt that Longhorn's activities and the Vault 7 documents are the work of the same group."

In a post on the Symantec Security Response blog, the company provides what it says is the first evidence that the Vault 7 tools have actually been used in cyberattacks or cyberespionage.

Comment Re:Math is about right (Score 1) 55

My favorite part of my naivety is when people tell me I don't see what I can plainly see.

Well, first it's of course a situation of diminishing returns. Our eyes aren't getting any better, so there is a limit of where it's "good enough".

And of course there's a difference between SD and HD. It's clear here in PAL-land even though we had significantly better resolution than NTSC from the get go. But when it comes to 1080p I'm not convinced that better resolution is the next useful step. I'd much rather see higher refresh rates (60Hz makes a difference), and less compression. More resolution with more vissible compression artefacts from even more cramming into the available bandwidth, isn't something I'm looking forward to.

P.S. And I know of no married man that's allowed to sit close enough to the TV to take full advantage of 1080p, let alone 2k or 4k. If you buy a bigger set, the sofa get's moved. Every time. :-)

Comment Re:It's finally becoming a well know "secret"... (Score 1) 329

Yepp. The very best people I have ever met where still in university. They never left...

And I worked with some top notch people in industry, people with internationally recognised names. But they were after all, with the odd exception, not quite in the same league as the best in university. They were generally much better, and there were many more of them as well. I guess that's why they gravitate there.

Comment Re:and that would be a bad thing... because? (Score 1) 620

I find it interesting that many pooh-poohers have suddenly switched from no, not true, not happening to nothing can be done. I mean, this is something like the fourth or fifth one in this thread, whereas even a week ago this was an unusual response. Was there a focus group somewhere that said this is more effective? Didn't your marketing people think this message is a bit too dark for the average mark?

No, its simply that everyone is following more or less the same script. But as they're not coordinated completely, they're slightly out of sync.

It's straight from the playbook of the tobacco lobby. Seem like you're having a debate, but it's just a carefully scripted set of talking points designed to give as little ground as possible and only when you have to, while wearing your opponent out. Much like a military "defence in depth" is. It's the same principle.

Comment Re:A better question to ask (Score 1) 75

"Chad Rigetti, the startup's founder and CEO -- who declined to say whether the company is actually earning any revenue yet." who would also decline to say whether the company is doing proper quantum computing yet.

If he knew how much revenue he was getting, he wouldn't know whether the revenue growth rate was growing or shrinking. How the fark is he supposed to get Series A funding at a good valuation like that? Naw, man, he did it right - assume a given momentum sufficient to get the next round of funding, and who cares about the company's actual market position?

Comment Re:A completely unaccountable governing body (Score 1) 667

How can Britain be getting 2/3 off and still paying more money than every other country bar Germany?

Because it's one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and currently the fifth largest economy. Also you're not "paying more money than every country bar Germany". In one measure you're third, but correcting for GNI you're in ninth place, after Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Luxenbourg, and frigging Italy. The latest of which has an economy in shit state.

So you're only paying a large sum, in absolute terms because you're a large country. One would expect a large country to pay more. Corrected for the size of you're economy, you're not in the top five, and just barely squeeze in the top ten.

And yes, the UK rebate is a thing. Most definitely.

Comment Revision to way searches are done (Score 5, Insightful) 90

I think police should need a warrant to use facial recognition in many cases. I also feel that perhaps searches of electronic devices and online accounts need to strictly limit exactly what is searched for and disallow any evidence of any crimes not listed in the warrant from being used.

The 4th amendment is supposed to make it hard to prosecute certain kinds of crime. In my opinion, the police really have no business going after crime that isn't reported to them anyway, except for a few exceptions like murder.

Comment Re:30-44 is old? (Score 1) 153

I have no idea how old you are, but it does not matter. When you were young there were people complaining about the feckless youth of that day. Heck, archeologists have found clay tablets with such rants.

The problem with that argument is that it's always right.

By that token nothing could ever take a turn for the worse, as someone of age will point it out, and your argument will come into play.

OTOH my kids don't learn the rules of the language (not English, but we have a grammar also), they don't learn their multiplication tables, and they don't study long division any more.

As far as I can tell, this is not counter balanced by learning something else it its stead. This is also born out by our slumping ranking in e.g. the Pisa studies. (Or the diagnostic maths test all engineering students have taken at my Alma mater for the last close to forty years.)

So yes, I'm old, and kids today can't do X worth a damn, but in many areas my judgement is supported by international studies and comparisons. Kids today do a lot worse in many respects/subjects than we did. Demonstrably so.

Comment Re:Republicans are anti-science (Score 1) 649

Anyone telling you radio waves are proven safe is a fucking idiot, including you. Radio waves have been studied until recently for health effects, and the studies so far have shown a mix of results. The only people who think it's been "proven" safe.. are fucking idiots, like you.

Bzzt. Nothing is of course ever "proven" safe. You can't in the real world prove the null hypothesis. The best you can do is asymptotically approach it.

Now, "radio waves" are of course many different things, so they can't be "proven safe" anyhow. If you stick your head in the micro wave oven you'll manage to hurt yourself seriously using "radio waves", so of course there is EM-radiation in certain bands with certain power that are unsafe. Goes almost without saying.

What people typically mean though is the question of whether there is any biological effect appart from heating when being exposed to low power radiation in the low GHz range from e.g. cell phones.

And there the science is pretty clear, i.e. there is no "mix of results". Yes there have been single studies that claim to show one thing or another, but that's true in any biological research, when revisited either the protocol is unrealistic, there have been errors or the effect can't be reproduced. So we haven't found any real effect, we don't have any theory or model that could explain it if we found it (i.e. there's no "smoke" to make us go searching for a fire to begin with) and we don't see anything epidemiologically either. And we've being doing these phones for a couple of decades now at a grand scale, so they should have shown up by now.

So while we can't say that it's "safe" we can with some confidence say that if there is an effect its so small as to be completely dominated by other effects, from a risk standpoint that is. Your inattentiveness with increased risk (to take one example) probably completely swamps any risk from EM.

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