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Comment Re:MVNOs instead? (Score 1) 33

An MVNO business is low margin (relative to iPhone margins) and requires a lot of marketing to become effective. If Apple were to launch an MVNO, they would have to massively increase their marketing budget for a low margin service, while competing directly with carriers that sell their phones AND provide their wholesale network access. Keep in mind average revenue per user is declining for wireless carriers and MVNOs. Apple has no interest in investing in a declining martgin service that hurts its ability to maximize phone sales.

It's not an attractive business model for Apple, while it may be for Google. Google doesn't make hardware (not even Nexus devices), while Apple does - quite profitably. Apple depends on carriers to sell that hardware for profitability, while Google wants to increase software (Android) and search usage, and low cost network access does just that.

Submission + - Do Police Body Cameras Really Work? ( 1

schwit1 writes: Sometimes police body cameras accomplish their intended purpose, but other times they backfire. And nobody knows why.

Further down...
"Despite such intuition, and despite the huge investments made, overwhelming evidence indicates that CCTV equipment has, in fact, little deterrent effect. At least 44 studies illustrate that CCTV reduces the overall level of crime by only about 16 percent, with half of that reduction concentrated in parking lots. There is no effect at all on assaults, robberies, and similar against-person violent crimes. The evidence also tends to show that what little criminal behavior CCTV prevents is just displaced to other areas."

Comment Re:grr (Score 1) 496

The injury lawyers for the plaintiff are most likely working on a contingent basis, and even if they aren't, they're looking for someone who can pay out significant damages. The driver is 18; Snapchat is valued at around $16 Billion as of March. The injury lawyers smell cash only in the latter.

Submission + - Cisco Finds Backdoor Installed on 12 Million PCs (

wiredmikey writes: Security researchers from Cisco have come across a piece of software that installed backdoors on 12 million computers around the world. Researchers determined that the application, installed with administrator rights, was capable not only of downloading and installing other software, such as a known scareware called System Healer, but also of harvesting personal information. The software, which exhibits adware and spyware capabilities, was developed by a French online advertising company called Tuto4PC. The “features” have led Cisco Talos to classify the Tuto4PC software as a “full backdoor capable of a multitude of undesirable functions on the victim machine.”

Tuto4PC said its network consisted of nearly 12 million PCs in 2014, which could explain why Cisco’s systems detected the backdoor on 12 million devices. An analysis of a sample set revealed infections in the United States, Australia, Japan, Spain, the UK, France and New Zealand.

Submission + - Firefox as an example of Hotelling's Law

arglebargle_xiv writes: Hotelling's Law, also called the principle of minimum differentiation, states that in order to maximise profit, it makes sense for businesses to move towards a common middle ground. Firefox has been endlessly criticised, both here and on other sites, for its gradual transformation into a clone of Google Chrome. As Harold Hotelling put it, "each party strives to make its platform as much like the other's as possible" (although since this was 1929 he was talking about politics, not software). On the other hand Hotelling's Law breaks down when there are multiple players in the market. Could what's been happening to Firefox over the last several years be a straightforward, and easily foreseeable, example of market failure?

Submission + - Drone believed to have hit British Airways flight 'may have been a plastic bag' (

schwit1 writes: The drone that reportedly hit a British Airways jet earlier this week may have actually been a plastic bag, a minister has said.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill admitted authorities had not yet confirmed whether what struck the Airbus A320 was a remote-controlled device.

The collision on Sunday night is believed to have been at around 1,700 ft near Richmond Park in south west London, over four times higher than the legal height limit.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating, alongside the Metropolitan Police.

But following his comments today, Mr Goodwill also dismissed calls for tighter rules on drone use to protect against terror threats insisting current rules governing drone use were strong enough.

Submission + - Hearing Aid Business Under Pressure From Consumer Electronics writes: There's good news for aging Americans who may have damaged their hearing by attending one too many rock concerts when they were young as Andrew Pollack writes at the NYT that the consumer electronics industry is encroaching on the hearing aid business, offering products that are far less expensive and available without the involvement of audiologists or other professionals. The new devices are forcing a re-examination of the entire system for providing hearing aids, which critics say is too costly and cumbersome, hindering access to devices vital for the growing legions of older Americans. “The audiology profession is obviously scared, for good reason, right now,” says Abram Bailey.

Hearing aids cost an average of nearly $2,400 each, or close to $5,000 a pair, according to a White House advisory group and Medicare does not pay for them, nor do most insurers. By contrast, the consumer devices are not regulated and sell for a few hundred dollars apiece, at most. Hearing aid manufacturers say that diagnosing and treating hearing loss are too complex for consumers to do using consumer devices, without the aid of a professional. But sound amplifiers have been around for years and they are growing in sophistication, taking advantage of signal processing chips developed for phones, Bluetooth headsets and computers. The devices include the Smart Listening System from Soundhawk, which sells at $400 for a single ear; the Bean from Etymotic Research, at $300; the CS50+ from Sound World Solutions at $350; and the Crystal Ear from NeutronicEar, at $545. “To me it was a reasonable investment to experiment with,” says Ira Dolich, 81, who bought the Soundhawk device, which he can adjust by himself using his smartphone. “I’ve been pretty pleased with it."

Submission + - Comcast To Allow TV Customers To Ditch Set-Top Box (

An anonymous reader writes: In response to the FCC's efforts to open up the pay-TV set-top box market, Comcast said today it will allow some of its subscribers to watch TV without leasing a set-top box. Customers with a Roku TV, Roku streaming media player, or 2016 Samsung Smart TV will be able to watch Comcast's TV programming through the Xfinity TV app embed in the TV set or Roku devices later this year. However, customers will still have to subscribe to a standard cable TV package from Comcast's Xfinity brand. “We remain committed to giving our customers more choice in how, when and where they access their subscription,” said Mark Hess, a Comcast senior vice president, in a prepared statement.

Comment Re:Sounds bogus, another Nashir Gowadia case? (Score 1) 98

Except there's been a long history of bogus espionage cases against Chinese scientists, going all the way back to Quan Xuesen, one of the founders of the JPL. We suspected that he was sharing his knowledge with China, so we exiled him to China, where he became the father of the Chinese missile and space programs.

Your point may be valid in general, though in this specific case, the accused is from Taiwan and naturalized as a U.S. citizen, as the spelling of his name and a quick Google search confirmed. It's highly unlikely we would target and exile a Taiwanese born U.S. citizen as if they were from People's Republic of China.

Submission + - Vulnerable Serial To Ethernet Converters Let You Hack Just About Everything (

chicksdaddy writes: The biggest threat to the security of hospitals, airplanes, transportation, the electric grid and just about everything else is a little piece of equipment most companies don't even know they have deployed: Serial to Ethernet converters, the Security Ledger reports. (

The inexpensive devices are used to allow legacy equipment that relies on serial connections and protocols to "speak IP," connecting to more modern networks and management tools. As a result, they're used almost everywhere: on airplanes to connect aging avionics equipment, in electrical substations, data centers, you name it. In fact, a serial to ethernet converter was attacked and knocked offline in the recent attack on the electrical grid in Ukraine. (

The problem: the converters are riddled with remotely exploitable security holes and lack many basic security features. The latest evidence of this came last week, when the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control System CERT (ICS CERT) issued an alert about one of the most commonly used serial to ethernet converters, a device called NPort manufactured by a Taiwanese company, Moxa. ( That followed the publication of research by Rapid7 on the Moxa devices that found no-authentication-required features that would permit an attacker to push new firmware (software) onto the converter and a buffer overflow vulnerability that opens the devices to having malicious code run on it. Vendors like Moxa have also been slow to respond to security issues reported to them — if they respond at all, said Reid Wightman of the firm Digital Bond. After months of ignoring Digital Bond's inquiries, Moxa told ICS-CERT that it will have a patch ready for the critical, remotely exploitable holes in its late August.

With more than 5,000 NPort devices publicly addressable, the possibility for mayhem and so-called 'cyber kinetic' attacks looms large. Taking control of the Serial to Ethernet converter is paramount controlling the devices that connect to it, experts said “Once you have access to the converter, its game over,” said Billy Rios of the firm Whitescope. “The devices attached to it will do whatever you tell them to do.”

Submission + - Source of human exposure to pharmaceutical contaminants (

Taco Cowboy writes: Consuming vegetables grown with treated and reclaimed waste water can increase detectable levels of the drug carbamazepine in people’s urine

With water shortages rising worldwide, the practice of treating and reusing wastewater for agricultural and household use is growing. In Israel, for example, some 60% of water used in agriculture is reclaimed

But there is a dark side — new study shows that eating vegetables grown using reclaimed water boosts urine levels of carbamazepine, an anti-epileptic drug commonly detected in wastewater

The randomized, controlled study is the first to directly address exposure to such pharmaceutical contaminants in humans, says coauthor Ora Paltiel, a professor of hematology and epidemiology at the Hadassah-Hebrew University. “We were very surprised that the effect was so clear”

Drugs can enter the water supply by excretion—through the urine of people who take them—or by disposal of unused medicines down the toilet or in the garbage, at home or in healthcare institutions like hospitals and nursing homes. Water disposed of by drug manufacturers can also contain residues of pharmaceutical compounds

Treatment for wastewater used in agriculture generally does not remove these trace chemicals because purifying such a large quantity of water to drinking water standards would be prohibitively expensive. Therefore drugs can contaminate treated wastewater and find their way into agricultural use

“Empirically, it’s obvious that everyone who is exposed to a seven-day diet of reclaimed water is going to have a quantifiable level of this drug in their urine,” Paltiel says, though the urine levels were very low. “These are nanogram per liter levels—they are four orders of magnitude away from levels of if you were taking the drug.” Still, she says, all the produce they tested was commercially available, and even small exposures—to this drug and others—must be assessed

Levels detected in urine may be low, but people who eat a lot of produce will be exposed to such contaminants throughout their lifetimes, he adds. “We don’t really know much yet about the effects of low-level but very long-term exposure”

India, he notes, has a lot of pharmaceutical manufacturing. “There will be lots of areas where the water is really packed with drugs”

Paltiel’s group will next test whether children, elderly people, pregnant women, and vegetarians are more exposed, and whether the exposure might carry any health effects. “Reclaimed wastewater can be a partial solution to agricultural problems in semi-arid regions, but we have to be cognizant that there are potential exposures from this” she says

Submission + - SkinHaptics Turns Your Palm Into A Touchscreen (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have found a new method to use your skin as a touchscreen, by creating sensations on the palm using ultrasound. Called SkinHaptics, the innovation is the first to find a way for users to gain sensation from an interactive display projected on their hand, and could be used to turn the hand into a display extension for smart watches or other devices.

While previous ideas for using the body as a haptic display interface for smart devices involved vibrations or pins, both of which need to physically contact the skin to work, which would then interrupt the screen display, SkinHaptics sends sensation ultrasonically from the back of the hand, leaving the screen display on the palm undisturbed. The technique uses time-reversal processing to send the ultrasound waves through the hand, with the waves becoming more targeted as they travel, so that they can land on a very precise point on the palm.

Submission + - Hacked Swedish Military Servers Used in Attacks on US Banks

wiredmikey writes: Swedish military computers were hacked and used in an attack targeting major US banks in 2013, the armed forces said on Monday. The attack knocked out the web sites of as many as 20 major US banks and financial institutions, sometimes for several days. According to Swedish military spokesman Mikael Abramsson, a server in the Swedish defense system had a vulnerability which was exploited by hackers to carry out the attacks.

At the time, the attack, which began in 2012 and continued for months, was one of the biggest ever reported. US officials blamed Iran, suggesting it was in retaliation for political sanctions and several earlier cyber attacks on its own systems.

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