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Submission + - Apple Has Lost its Soul 1 writes: Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels—the ones who can drop 10 grand on a timepiece as Robinson Meyer writes at The Atlantic that Apple used to make technology for people who wanted to change the world, not the people who ran it. Today’s messaging is a little different. Most will correctly fixate on the price of the most expensive watch, the 18-karat-gold Apple Watch Edition. Unlike with a traditional mechanical watch, where an increase in price is also typically accompanied by more complex mechanisms and more hand-craft, the Apple Watch Edition is simply shrouded in gold. If you set that case aside, it has the same sapphire glass display, sensors, and electronics as the $549 Apple Watch. That's a mark-up of eighteen times the lower price. "The prices grate. And they grate not because they’re so expensive, but because they’re gratuitously expensive," concludes Robinson. "Instead of telling users to pay up because they’ll get a better quality experience, it’s telling them to pay up because they can, and because a more expensive watch is inherently preferable."

Submission + - Computing the Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S. (

astroengine writes: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a map that hit landmarks in every state and not only that, wouldn’t it be great if the map represented the optimal, most efficient route across the country? Tracy Staedter at Discovery News pondered this idea and teamed up with computer science graduate student Randy Olson from Michigan State University to solve the ultimate traveling salesman problem. Olson nailed it with his own genetic algorithm to create a US road trip that would cover 13,699 miles and take 2-3 months to complete — probably the ultimate addition to any Bucket List.

Submission + - VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features

jones_supa writes: Two weekends ago an update on the VLC media player was shared during a presentation in Brussels at FOSDEM. Lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf covered VLC's continued vibrant development and features that are coming for VLC 2.2 along with VLC 3.0. VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc. Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements. The VLC FOSDEM 2015 presentation is available in PDF form. The VLC Git shortlog can be used to follow the development of the project.

Submission + - NASA Releases Details of Titan Submarine Concept (

Zothecula writes: Now that NASA has got the hang of planetary rovers, the space agency is looking at sending submarines into space around the year 2040. At the recent 2015 NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium in Cocoa Beach, Florida, NASA scientists and engineers presented a study of the Titan Submarine Phase I Conceptual Design, which outlines a possible mission to Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where the unmanned submersible would explore the seas of liquid hydrocarbons at the Titanian poles.

Submission + - Does Showing A Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose? 2 writes: Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post that Fox News recently took the controversial step of posting a horrific 22-minute video online that shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death warning internet users that the presentation features "extremely graphic video." "After careful consideration, we decided that giving readers of the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video," said Fox executive John Moody. "Online users can choose to view or not view this disturbing content."

But Fox's decision drew condemnation from some terrorism experts. "[Fox News] are literally — literally — working for al-Qaida and ISIS's media arm," said Malcolm Nance. "They might as well start sending them royalty checks." YouTube removed a link to the video a few hours after it was posted, and a spokesperson for Facebook told the Guardian that if anyone posted the video to the social networking site it would be taken down. CNN explained that it wouldn't surface any of the disturbing images because they were gruesome and constituted propaganda that the network didn't want to distribute. "Does posting this video advance the aims of this terror group or hinder its progress by laying bare its depravity?" writes Wemple. "Islamic State leaders may indeed delight in the distribution of the video — which could be helpful in converting extremists to its cause — but they may be mis-calibrating its impact. If the terrorists expected to intimidate the world with their display of barbarity, they may be disappointed with the reaction of Jordan, which is vowing "strong, earth-shaking and decisive" retaliation."

Submission + - How lawmakers aim to protect you from a drone invasion (

sciencehabit writes: Lately, drones seem to be everywhere. They're monitoring endangered wildlife, launching missiles, mapping rainforests, and filming athletes. They can fly high above a neighborhood or just hover outside a bedroom window. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has already built robotic fliers not much larger than an insect; once batteries become small enough, they may become quite literally a fly on the wall. The opportunities—and potential violations of privacy—seem endless. But current and new laws may offer some protection.

Submission + - The Raspberry Pi celebrates 2 years with open source graphics driver competition (

hypnosec writes: The Raspberry Pi, which was first put up for sale on February 29, 2012, has completed two years and has sold over 2.5 million units during the period. Announcing the milestone and commemorating the two years, Founder and former trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton announced a $10,000 competition wherein developers will be required to demonstrate a satisfactory Quake III gameplay at a playable framerate on the credit card sized computer using open source drivers.

Submission + - Researchers devise new attack techniques against SSL (

alphadogg writes: The developers of many SSL libraries are releasing patches for a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited to recover plaintext information, such as browser authentication cookies, from encrypted communications.The patching effort follows the discovery of new ways to attack SSL, TLS and DTLS implementations that use cipher-block-chaining (CBC) mode encryption. The new attack methods were developed by researchers at the University of London's Royal Holloway College. The men published a research paper and a website on Monday with detailed information about their new attacks, which they have dubbed the Lucky Thirteen. They've worked with several TLS library vendors, as well as the TLS Working Group of the IETF, to fix the issue.

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