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Comment Not interested (Score 1) 187

I already avoid Netflix original content - crafted to appeal to the lowest common denominator. More of it, even if it would not be displacing other content, is not appealing to me. It is content I am decidedly not interested in. If the content listings end up being glutted with Netflix originals it will become a much less valuable service for me.

Submission + - Google: US Arms Trade Amendments Could Ruin Security Research

Mickeycaskill writes: Google claims new US export rules proposed by the US Department of Commerce could constrain the global effort to openly learn and share security breakthroughs.

Changes to the Wassenaar Arrangement, which controls rules for the export of conventional weapons and ‘dual-use’ goods and technologies, would mean sellers and vendors of cybersecurity software would have to obtain a licence before they can export goods to buyers.

Google also says the proposed amendments are too vague, resulting in the possible ban in the trade of vulnerability exploits. This would potentially criminalise exporting tools from the US that are used by actual security researchers around the world who test for software flaws.

“They would also hamper our ability to defend ourselves, our users, and make the web safer," said the letter. "It would be a disastrous outcome if an export regulation intended to make people more secure resulted in billions of users across the globe becoming persistently less secure.”

Submission + - Windows 10 to Share WiFi Credentials by Default?

ewhac writes: Even those of us who reflexively (and correctly) bash Microsoft every chance we get are having trouble wrapping our heads around this one. It seems that the latest build of Windows 10 has a new feature called Wi-Fi Sense which, by default, will share your WiFi connection profiles and credentials with all your Facebook friends, and Skype and contacts.

Wi-Fi Sense is apparently a feature that first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1, and is described by Managing Editor Sam Sabri in this Windows Central article from last year — without irony or sarcasm — as a, "killer feature." The apparent use case for this "killer feature" is to more conveniently share the connection credentials to your own WAP with your friends. If, however, you would prefer your WAP's info to not be shared, you have but to append the string "_optout" to your SSID (no solution is provided for people whose SSIDs are already near the 32-character limit). The WinPhone version of Wi-Fi Sense reportedly does not display the WAP's password to recipients but, since recipients can connect, the password is (probably) stored using a symmetric cipher and, thus, can be easily extracted. Wi-Fi Sense will also automagically click through any ToS page that typically appears on public WiFi access points (thus destroying any remaining illusion of meaningful assent to such so-called contracts).

Wi-Fi Sense can apparently be turned off completely, but its default state appears to be enabled and sharing everything. It is unclear how much, if any, of this "killer feature" will be in the final release of Windows 10.

Submission + - Lithium, Beryllium and Boron are the only three elements not made in stars

StartsWithABang writes: From helium up through uranium continuously, every element in the periodic table can be found, created by natural processes, somewhere in the Universe. (With many trans-uranic nuclides found as well.) Yet out of all of those, only three of them aren't created in stars: lithium, beryllium and boron. Boron in particular is necessary for life as we know it, as without it, there would be no such things as plants. Here's the cosmic story of the only three heavy elements to exist that aren't made in stars.

Comment "At will" (Score 1) 892

Where I live, by law employment is "at will", meaning the employer or employee may legally terminate the relationship at any time without cause. That said, I think that being employed, particularly full-time, implies that you will be employed continuously until that employment relationship is terminated. One of the protections that a wise employer offers is that nobody is summarily terminated without some continuance of their salary - two weeks, for example. One of the implied benefits to the employer is that you'll give notice before walking out. In my mind, an employer that furloughs its employees, breaking the string of continuous employment, breaks those implied agreements. An employer that simply dumps employees on the street without continuance makes it so that it is in the employee's short-term financial interest not to give any notice unless they have the ability to immediately start at their new position. However, if you walk out on your current employer without notice, that is definitely something that the new employer would take note of. The bridge you're burning may not be just with your previous employer.

Comment Number one use case (Score 1) 384

I would imagine the top use case for mobile access to a community site like ./ is the quick peek (while standing in line, riding public transportation, in a waiting room, etc.). If the mobile site is not quick, it fails this use case. Just serve up some new CSS on the classic site based on viewport width and be done with it.

Comment Users choose the platform (Score 1) 183

You only get to choose the platform where your program is used if you code for only one platform. In all other cases, the user gets to choose. The popularity of mobile platforms means that your software will probably be used both there and on a desktop. Users have come to expect to be able to continue their work seamlessly, regardless of platform. While moving fluidly between platforms, users expectations are jarred when the experiences don't line up. They don't react well to the mental model being different between platforms. Since desktop constructs don't work in mobile, the mobile constructs must be made to work for desktop. Yes, there are trade-offs with that approach, but the overall sum of the cross-platform experience is better.

Submission + - The Verdict on the Latest HTC Android Phones (

avaldib writes: "As far as Android phones are concerned, HTC takes the plum as the pioneering brand. When Android was launched in 2008, HTCÕs Dream was the vehicle of choice. The HTC Dream was the first in the long list of HTC Android phones. This HTC phone was sold in the continental USA as the T-Mobile G1, the same brand name it carried in some parts of Europe. Within a few months from launch, the modelÕs sales figures surpassed the one million mark. While the G1 was eventually discontinued, other models with better hardwares and recently developed software were introduced into the global market.

In 2010, GoogleÕs flagship Android phone product, the Galaxy Nexus, was manufactured under the HTC brand. Other HTC branded Android phones include: Sapphire, Desire, Espresso, Vivo, ChaCha, Ruby, Evita, Primo, Rezound, and Evo 3D. Aside from Android phones, HTC also manufactures Windows Mobile phones and PDAs. Their focus, however, remains with the Android platform. This Android phone brand competes head on with some of the worldÕs most prolific Android phone manufacturers Motorola and Samsung."

Submission + - What to do with a busted Garmin device

EasyBoss writes: I have an old Garmin Nuvi 205 whose battery has died. Leaving me, a complete armature with some cool electronic hardware to play with. What should/can I do with the gps unit hiding in this thing?

Submission + - Microsoft employees 'annoyed and dismayed' over the 'Metro mess,' employee says ( 1

colinneagle writes: Multiple sources claim, and I have gotten my own confirmation, that Microsoft's Legal and Corporate Affairs team distributed a memo to all internal and external parties banning the use of the "Metro" term. Windows 8 went RTM on Wednesday, August 1, and will go retail by the end of October, so this is a hell of a time to change a name you've driven into the consumer's head.

The memo claims that Microsoft has been threatened with legal action for infringing on "Metro" trademarks currently held by German retailer Metro AG.

There's been chatter that Microsoft wants to ditch the name because it's been slapped on everything and there may be confusion. That seems like a good excuse, but a source within the company suggests that it's really the trademark issue.

"They told us about the Metro mess, though the screwup on checking the name wasn't spelled out per se, and frankly, everyone's either simply dismayed or genuinely annoyed that whoever was supposed to be doing due diligence on the name blew it so badly," the source said.

Microsoft will have a new official name to replace Metro this weekend, the source added.

"Considering that the damned thing is already gold and RTM, the Windows/WinPhone teams have an uphill battle here," the source said.


Submission + - Stealthy Wi-Fi Spy Sees You Through Walls Thanks to Your Wireless Router (

colinneagle writes: Researchers in London have devised a stealthy system that gives off no radio waves so it can't be detected, but by sniffing Wi-Fi signals, it can pinpoint a person's movement inside a building. University College London scientists Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty developed this suitcase-sized prototype that has successfully been tested through a one-foot-thick brick wall to determine "a person's location, speed and direction." PhysOrg added, "See Through The Wall (STTW) technologies are of great interest to law enforcement and military agencies; this particular device has the UK Military of Defense exploring whether it might be used in 'urban warfare,' for scanning buildings. Other more benign applications might range from monitoring children to monitoring the elderly."

"Fundamentally, this is a radar system — you're just using radio waves that have been emitted by an external WiFi router, rather than creating your own," explained ExtremeTech. "Compare this with MIT's through-the-wall (TTW) radar, which is 8 feet (2.4m) across and requires a large power source to generate lots and lots of microwaves."

If you think the answer would be to hold perfectly still in order to avoid detection, to trick it into thinking you are nothing more than a piece of furniture, think again. As Engadget previously pointed out, engineers at the University of Utah developed a wireless network capable of seeing through walls to detect and monitor breathing patterns. In this case, it's not meant to be a surveillance system, but an inexpensive way to monitor patients' breathing.

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