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Transportation

'DroneGun' Can Take Down Aircraft From Over 1.2 Miles Away (thenextweb.com) 147

The more drones being sold around the world increases the likelihood of them being used as part of a criminal act. For example, ISIS has been using drones in Iraq to carry and drop explosives. In an effort to protect consumers, an Australian and U.S. company called DroneShield has announced a product called the DroneGun. The DroneGun "allows for a controlled management of drone payload, such as explosives, with no damage to common drone models or the surrounding environment," the maker says on its website, "due to the drones generally responding via a vertical controlled landing on the spot, or returning back to the starting point (assisting to track the operator)." The Next Web reports: DroneGun, a handheld anti-drone device, has a range of 1.2 miles. It also looks like an unlockable item in a first-person shooter. The "gun" uses a jammer to disable electronic communication across the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz frequencies. Blocking these frequencies cuts off communication between the drone and pilot (or GPS) and forces it to land safely or return to its operator -- which assists in tracking the offending party. At 13 pounds, it's a bit cumbersome, but still capable of being operated by one person. It's also mostly a point-and-shoot device and doesn't require specialized training to use. DroneGun isn't approved for use in the United States -- thanks, FCC. If approved the device could provide a useful tool for taking down drones at airports, over crowded spaces, and in war zones.
Government

Peter Thiel Is Joining Donald Trump's Transition Team (theverge.com) 820

Peter Thiel's time spent campaigning for Donald Trump during the election season has paid off. According to a statement released today, Donald Trump has named Thiel to the executive committee of his presidential transition team. The Verge reports: Thiel, who donated $1.25 million to Trump's campaign late in the election cycle, mostly stood alone among colleagues in his support for Trump, who was publicly disdained in the Valley. Thiel's support came at a cost to businesses like startup accelerator Y Combinator, which soon attracted negative publicity for having Thiel as a part-time adviser. Thiel also brought criticism to Facebook, where he is a board member, although Mark Zuckerberg defended his place at the company. Thiel further angered First Amendment supporters by bankrolling the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that brought down Gawker. Thiel said before the election that he would find some way of working with the Trump administration, and although his final role is unclear, his appointment to Trump's executive committee signals the relationship will indeed continue.
Government

FBI Operated 23 Tor-Hidden Child Porn Sites, Deployed Malware From Them (arstechnica.com) 176

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Federal investigators temporarily seized a Tor-hidden site known as Playpen in 2015 and operated it for 13 days before shutting it down. The agency then used a "network investigative technique" (NIT) as a way to ensnare site users. However, according to newly unsealed documents recently obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, the FBI not only temporarily took over one Tor-hidden child pornography website in order to investigate it, the organization was in fact authorized to run a total of 23 other such websites. According to an FBI affidavit among the unsealed documents: "In the normal course of the operation of a web site, a user sends "request data" to the web site in order to access that site. While Websites 1-23 operate at a government facility, such request data associated with a user's actions on Websites 1-23 will be collected. That data collection is not a function of the NIT. Such request data can be paired with data collected by the NIT, however, in order to attempt to identify a particular user and to determine that particular user's actions on Websites 1-23." Security researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis told Ars that "it's a pretty reasonable assumption" that at one point the FBI was running roughly half of the known child porn sites hosted on Tor-hidden servers. Lewis runs OnionScan, an ongoing bot-driven analysis of the Tor-hidden darknet. Her research began in April 2016, and it shows that as of August 2016, there were 29 unique child porn related sites on Tor-hidden servers. That NIT, which many security experts have dubbed as malware, used a Tor exploit of some kind to force the browser to return the user's actual IP address, operating system, MAC address, and other data. As part of the operation that took down Playpen, the FBI was then able to identify and arrest the nearly 200 child porn suspects. (However, nearly 1,000 IP addresses were revealed as a result of the NIT's deployment, which could suggest that even more charges may be filed.)

Comment Re:Difference in work product (Score 1) 587

These people you talk about are the incompetent ones. The outsourced workers are no better in this area, in fact they are often much much worse. The competent programmers in India generally get a scholarship to the US or Europe, few of them stay in India. This causes a brain drain in India where the ones left are average at best. The education system there also has a big problem with college degrees being purchased. With this bigger population its much harder to shift through them to find competent employees who haven't already been snatched up.

Comment Already exist (Score 1) 143

This stuff mostly already exist, and device with GPS (which these would have to have in order to be geoblocked in the first place), has places in the world they won't work. Primarily though they can't go over a certain speed or altitude, this is to avoid commerical GPS units from being used for guided missiles.

Security

Computer Virus Attack Forces Hospitals To Cancel Operations, Shut Down Systems (zdnet.com) 127

A hospital system in the United Kingdom has canceled all planned operations and diverted major trauma cases to neighboring facilities citing a computer virus outbreak. From a report on ZDNet: The Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust says a "major incident" has been caused by a "computer virus" which infected its electronic systems on Sunday. As a result of the attack, the hospital has taken the decision to shut down the majority of its computer networks in order to combat the virus. "A virus infected our electronic systems [on Sunday] and we have taken the decision, following expert advice, to shut down the majority of our systems so we can isolate and destroy it," said Dr Karen Dunderdale, the trust's deputy chief executive. The use of a shared IT system also means the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has been taken offline as staff attempt to combat the attack. As a result of the attack, all outpatient appointments and diagnostic procedures that were set to take place at the infected hospitals on Monday and Tuesday have been canceled, while medical emergencies involving major trauma and women in high-risk labor are being diverted to neighboring hospitals.

Comment Re:Not really competition. (Score 2) 116

Yep, this is about web games only. That said, WebGL is becoming a powerful replacement, its certainly better than Flash. With Unity now providing an export to WebGL option. Its nice in a way to see WebGL take off. Sure this isn't the future of PC gaming, but it certainly can be a great opportunity for hobbyist and small publishers. It would be smart of Steam to support WebGL games to some degree.

IOS

Apple's New MacBook Pro Requires a $25 Dongle To Charge Your iOS Device (networkworld.com) 347

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: As Phil Schiller explained during today's event, Apple's new MacBook Pros feature four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, and conveniently, each of these can be used to charge the machine. Now, USB-C is incredibly versatile, and Apple will use the advanced port for power charging, HDMI and much more. However, with USB-C the only game in town, you might reasonably be wondering: How in the world do I connect my iPhone to my sleek new MacBook Pro? The frustrating answer is that you won't be able to do so out of the box. Instead, you'll have to buy a dongle. This is especially frustrating because many people use their notebooks for a) charging purposes when an outlet isn't necessarily handy and b) for transferring photos and other data. Now, you might reasonably state that you can just rely upon the cloud for items like data transfer, but there's no getting around the fact that Apple's efforts in the cloud still leave much to be desired. How much will it cost to connect your iPhone to your brand new MacBook Pro? Well, Apple sells a USB-C to Lightning cable on its website for $25. While this is undoubtedly frustrating, we can't say that it's entirely unexpected given Apple gave us a preview of its preference for USB-C when it released its 12-in. MacBook last year. Still, it's a funky design choice for a decidedly Pro-oriented device where the last thing a prospective consumer would want to do is spend some extra cash for a dongle after spending upwards of $2,399. Lastly, while we're on the topic of ports, it's worth noting that the new MacBook Pros also do away with the beloved MagSafe connector.
Hardware

No One Is Buying Smartwatches Anymore (gizmodo.com) 330

An anonymous reader shares a Gizmodo report: Remember how smartwatches were supposed to be the next big thing? About that... The market intelligence firm IDC reported on Monday that smartwatch shipments are down 51.6 percent year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016. This is bad news for all smartwatch vendors (except maybe Garmin), but it's especially bad for Apple, which saw shipments drop 71.6 percent, according to the IDC report Apple is still the overall smartwatch market leader, with an estimated 41.3-percent of the market, but IDC estimates it shipped only 1.1 million Apple Watches in Q3 2016, compared with 3.9 million in 2015. To a degree, that's to be expected, since the new Apple Watch Series 2 came out at the tail-end of the quarter. But the news is still a blow, when you consider how huge the Apple Watch hype was just 18 months ago.
IT

XPrize's New Challenge: Turn Air Into Water, Make More Than a Million Dollars (cnet.com) 156

An anonymous reader shares a CNET report: If you can turn thin air into water, there may be more than $1 million in it for you. XPrize, which creates challenges that pit the brightest minds against one another, is hoping to set off a wave of new innovations in clean water -- and women's safety too. The company announced its Water Abundance XPrize and the Anu & Naveen Jain Women's Safety XPrize on Monday in New Delhi. The first competition will award $1.75 million to any team that can create a device able to produce at least 2,000 liters of water a day from the atmosphere, using completely renewable energy, for at most 2 cents a liter. Teams have up to two years to complete the challenge. India is at the center of the world's water crisis, with access to groundwater depleted in some northern and eastern parts of the country. Water has become so scarce in India that natural arsenic has infiltrated the soil and water in certain regions. While there are systems that can currently extract water from the atmosphere, many of them aren't energy-efficient, or generating enough water. "We know that overuse of groundwater resources are causing the water crisis and it's only getting worse," said Zenia Tata, XPrize's executive director of Global Expansion. The $1 million Women's Safety XPrize calls for an emergency alert system that women can use, even if they don't have access to their phones. The alert would have to be sent automatically and inconspicuously to emergency responders, within 90 seconds, at a cost of $40 or less a year. The device would have to work even in cases where there's no cellphone signal or internet access.
Microsoft

Microsoft Raises UK Cloud, Software Prices 22% After Brexit-Fuelled Pound Drop (techweekeurope.co.uk) 214

Reader Mickeycaskill writes: Microsoft is to substantially increase its prices for software and cloud services prices offered in British pounds in order to accommodate the sharp drop in the currency against the US dollar in recent weeks. Beginning in January 2017 on-premises enterprise software prices will go up by 13 percent and most enterprise cloud prices will increase by 22 percent, bringing them into line with euro prices. Microsoft said it isn't planning to change its prices for consumer software and cloud services. The value of the pound has fallen by about 18 percent since the EU referendum on 23 June.

Comment Re:Have to go to learn (Score 1) 222

On the opposite, the most compelling reason to only send robots is that you can sanitize people or plants (you might be able to sanitize seeds, I'm not sure though), without killing them, we cant' even fully sanitize the outside of a spacesuit really, especially if it has to arrive in a craft inhabited by people for months. We haven't yet started really digging into martian soil and examining it closely to find out if there was ever life there. The minute we send people there, we have contaminated Mars. Yes we should eventually send life there, but lets not destroy the evidence before we've even collected it.

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