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Comment or, maybe Google screwed up "ownership" (Score 5, Interesting) 188

If Google had designed (? or something?) Android so that updating the base OS was something that could be pushed direct from Google instead of from each manufacturer's bollixed version of the system, there'd be no problem for any of us. Seeing as how Google{sheets, +, play, docs,} and other default apps get updated just fine, why not the OS as well -- without any interaction with the phone vendors?

Communications

US Air Force Wants To Plasma Bomb The Sky To Improve Radio Communication (newscientist.com) 159

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Scientist: [The U.S. Air Force has plans to improve radio communication over long distances by detonating plasma bombs in the upper atmosphere using a fleet of micro satellites. It's not the first time we've tried to improve radio communication by tinkering with the ionosphere. HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program in Alaska, stimulates the ionosphere with radiation from ground-based antennas to produce radio-reflecting plasma.] Now the USAF wants to do this more efficiently, with tiny satellites -- such as CubeSats -- carrying large volumes of ionized gas directly into the ionosphere. As well as increasing the range of radio signals, the USAF says it wants to smooth out the effects of solar winds, which can knock out GPS, and also investigate the possibility of blocking communication from enemy satellites. [There are at least two major challenges. One is building a plasma generator small enough to fit on a CubeSat -- roughly 10 centimeters cubed. Then there's the problem of controlling exactly how the plasma will disperse once it is released. The USAF has awarded three contracts to teams who are sketching out ways to tackle the approach. The best proposal will be selected for a second phase in which plasma generators will be tested in vacuum chambers and exploratory space flights.]

Comment Re:Developers are at fault (Score 1) 124

What you propose would be superannoying, namely having to take an extra step to go to the downloads folder and then run the file. At that point the OS doesn't even know that it was a file just downloaded from the internet which would make showing a warning dialog at that point even more annoying as it would have to do so for every executable, always.

The OSs I'm familiar with can in many cases retain a "this was downloaded" tag of some sort. Certainly there's a warning message in OSX the first time you run a new app; I dunno how WIndows7 tags files downloaded from some places (Sharepoint) but not others (Outlook), but I do get warnings about "This Word document came from THE INTERNET [wtf that means]..." .

Security

People Ignore Software Security Warnings Up To 90% of the Time, Says Study (phys.org) 124

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly -- while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc. -- results in up to 90 percent of users disregarding them. Researchers found these times are less effective because of "dual task interference," a neural limitation where even simple tasks can't be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss. Or, in human terms, multitasking. For example, 74 percent of people in the study ignored security messages that popped up while they were on the way to close a web page window. Another 79 percent ignored the messages if they were watching a video. And a whopping 87 percent disregarded the messages while they were transferring information, in this case, a confirmation code. For example, Jenkins, Vance and BYU colleagues Bonnie Anderson and Brock Kirwan found that people pay the most attention to security messages when they pop up in lower dual task times such as: after watching a video, waiting for a page to load, or after interacting with a website. For part of the study, researchers had participants complete computer tasks while an fMRI scanner measured their brain activity. The experiment showed neural activity was substantially reduced when security messages interrupted a task, as compared to when a user responded to the security message itself. The BYU researchers used the functional MRI data as they collaborated with a team of Google Chrome security engineers to identify better times to display security messages during the browsing experience.

Comment Re:Copyright a Key? (Score 1) 86

Just curious is anyone knows whether MS can claim copyright in their master key?

Probably not. Copyright protects creative expression. There is no creativity involved in the creation of a cryptographic key, so copyright would almost certainly not apply.

"no creativity" -- you clearly haven't read some recent copyrighted books, or listened to some recent copyrighted music (and I use the term "music" rather loosely here)

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