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Cable Industry to Standardize Under Tru2Way 216

smooth wombat writes "In a move to stave off the FCC, cable operators have now agreed upon one standard to allow TVs and other gear that will work regardless of cable provider. This standard should allow the development of new services and features that rely on two-way communication over the cable network. The core of the matter is this: there are tvs and other devices which can receive digital programming but cannot talk back to the network. As a result, subscribers must rent out boxes from cable companies. This new standard should, in theory, do away with having to rent a box. There are two downsides to this standard. First, Sony has not signed onto the cable industry's idea and second, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants to put forth a proposal for a more open and competitive environment using a completely different standard."

Penetration Testing TV Series Coming 209

ChazeFroy writes "CourtTV (TruTV) has a new series starting Dec. 25 at 11 pm called 'Tiger Team.' It follows a group of elite penetration testers hired to test organizations' security using social engineering, wired/wireless penetration testing, and physically defeating security mechanisms (lock picking, dumpster diving, going through air vents/windows). They do all of this while avoiding the organizations' various security defenses as well as law enforcement. The stars of the show also did a radio spot this morning in Denver." Wonder how they socially engineer away the presence of a camera team in the air vents.

How We Might Have Scramjets Sooner than Expected 674

loralai writes "Recent breakthroughs in scramjet engines could mean two-hour flights from New York to Tokyo. This technology, decades in the making, could redefine our understanding of air travel and military encounters. 'To put things in context, the world's fastest jet, the Air Force's SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, set a speed record of Mach 3.3 in 1990 when it flew from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in just over an hour. That's about the limit for jet engines; the fastest fighter planes barely crack Mach 1.6. Scramjets, on the other hand, can theoretically fly as fast as Mach 15--nearly 10,000 mph.'"

Humans Evolving 100 Times Faster Than Ever 584

John Hawks writes "A new genomics study in PNAS shows that humans have been evolving new adaptive genes during the past 10,000 years much faster than ever before. The study says that evolution has sped up because of population growth, making people adapt faster to new diseases, new diets, and social changes like cities. Oh, and I'm the lead author. I've been reading Slashdot for a long time, and let me just say that our study doesn't necessarily apply to trolls."

Yahoo, Adobe To Serve Ads In PDFs 213

Placid writes to alert us to a new channel opening up between advertisers and our eyeballs: PDFs with context-sensitive text ads. The service is called "Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo" and it goes into public beta today. The "ad-enabled" PDFs are served off of Adobe's servers. The article mentions viewing them in Acrobat or Reader but doesn't mention what happens when a non-Adobe PDF reader is used. The ads don't appear if the PDF is printed.

Picture Passwords More Secure than Text 261

Hugh Pickens writes "People possess a remarkable ability for recalling pictures and researchers at Newcastle University are exploiting this characteristic to create graphical passwords that they say are a thousand times more secure than ordinary textual passwords. With Draw a Secret (DAS) technology, users draw an image over a background, which is then encoded as an ordered sequence of cells. The software recalls the strokes, along with the number of times the pen is lifted. If a person chooses a flower background and then draws a butterfly as their secret password image onto it, they have to remember where they began on the grid and the order of their pen strokes. The "passpicture" is recognized as identical if the encoding is the same, not the drawing itself, which allows for some margin of error as the drawing does not have to be re-created exactly. The software has been initially designed for handheld devices such as iPhones, Blackberry and Smartphone, but could soon be expanded to other areas. "The most exciting feature is that a simple enhancement simultaneously provides significantly enhanced usability and security," says computer scientist Jeff Yan."

EDGE Can Out-Perform 3G; Here's Why 255

goombah99 writes "Blackfriars's communications has an interesting discourse on why the practical difference between 3G and EDGE cellphone data networks is less than it appears to be based on a naive bandwidth metric. Their argument is that the user experience of TCP/HTML is much more impacted by latency, error rates, and processor speed than by bandwidth — and Edge had the edge on all three. Additionally, EDGE may consume considerably less power."

Journal SPAM: Google Hacked? Spam Sites Infesting Search Results 207

The Google Watchdog blog is reporting that "Spam and virus sites infesting the Google SERPs in several categories" and speculates, ...Google's own index has been hacked. The circumvention of a guideline normally picked up by the Googlebot quickly is worrisome. The fact that none of the sites have real content and don't appear to even be hosted anywhere is even more scary. How did


Journal Journal: PDFedit: Looks good! (If only it worked ...) 1

I'd like to be able to edit PDF documents, specifically by highlighting within them -- law school professors are big on distributing information in PDF form. That's something I generally applaud, but PDF (for good reason) isn't the easiest format to edit -- and being able to annotate and highlight is a great help in writing papers or preparing for exams. A Google quest for a way to do this using my GNU-system-with-Linux-kernel led to a brief but

User Journal

Journal Journal: An Hour with Christopher Hitchens 2


Note: Made more updates on 2 October 2007. Can't believe I left this stuff out, but we did cover a lot of ground in an hour.


Journal Journal: Study of bone marrow stem cells in multiple sclerosis

A new pilot clinical trial to test bone marrow stem cell therapy with a small group of patients with multiple sclerosis has started at Frenchay Hospital. The aim of the trial, conducted by the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust, is to find out what effects, good or bad, it has on patients with MS, and their disability.

Sony Developing Gigapixel Satellite Imaging 101

holy_calamity writes "Sony and the University of Alabama are working on a gigapixel resolution camera for improved satellite surveillance. It can see 10-km-square from an altitude of 7.5 kilometres with a resolution better than 50 centimetres per pixel. As well as removing annoying artefacts created by tiling images in Google Earth and similar, it should allow CCTV surveillance of entire cities with one camera. 'The trick is to build an array of light sensitive chips that each record small parts of a larger image and place them at the focal plane of a large multiple-lens system. The camera would have gigapixel resolution, and able to record images at a rate of 4 frames per second. The team suggests that such a camera mounted on an aircraft could provide images of a large city by itself. This would even allow individual vehicles to be monitored without any danger of losing them as they move from one ground level CCTV system to another.'"

Justice Department's Bio-terror Mistake 477

destinyland writes "University professor and artist Steve Kurtz publicizes the history of chemical weapons with performance art pieces. The day his wife died of a heart attack, 911 responders mistook his scientific equipment for bioterrorism supplies. After he was detained for 22 hours, Homeland Security cordoned off his block, and a search was performed on his house in hazmat suits, they found nothing. Now they're prosecuting him for "mail fraud" for the way he obtained $256 of harmless bacteria."

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