Technology

Steam Computer Gaming Network Now Accepting Bitcoin

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 1:10pm
An anonymous reader shares an article on Fortune Magazine: The popular Steam computer game network has started accepting bitcoin in a move aimed at making it easier for players in countries like Brazil and China to make payments. Bitcoin transactions will be integrated into game shopping from Steam, which is owned by Valve Software and claims over 100 million users worldwide. Users will be able to use any bitcoin wallet to scan and pay for games or other items without revealing sensitive financial information via software from Bitpay.

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Atari Co-Founder: Mobile Games Make Me Want To Throw My Phone

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 12:30pm
Will Freeman, reporting for The Guardian (condensed): One industry veteran sees arcades and mobile gaming as almost indistinct. He is Nolan Bushnell, co-founder of Atari. Often referred to as the godfather of video games (a phrase he dislikes), he is just about to make his debut in mobile game development, having established a partnership with Dutch publisher Spil, where he will help deliver at least three as-yet-unnamed titles. "When you look at mobile and arcade gaming, they're identical," Bushnell says. "Mobile has some of the same game constraints for the player, and that 'easy to learn, and difficult to master' metric." [...] "Generally, a tremendous number of mobile games are poorly designed," he says. "They can be so focused on graphics that they forget they have to get the timing right, and they have to have proper scoring constructs. I have been so pissed off with some mobile games I've wanted to throw my phone, even if I'm only going to hurt my phone there, and not the game."

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Volvo Engineer Calls Out Tesla For Dangerous 'Wannabe' Autopilot System

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 11:45am
An anonymous reader shares an article on Jalopnik: Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot system has been impressing everyone from consumers to journalists, and even other industry experts and executives. But now a Volvo engineer has called Tesla's system out, claiming it's a dangerous "wannabe" autonomous technology. Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance for Volvo, had quite a few choice words to say about Tesla's Autopilot system in a recent interview with The Verge, claiming the electric automaker was touting what is essentially a rudimentary semi-autonomous technology as being far more capable than it actually is. Victor fears that Autopilot "gives you the impression that it's doing more than it is." He went on to call Tesla's system an "unsupervised wannabe."

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Upgrade Screen Interrupts Meteorologist's Live Forecast

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 11:10am
Reader MojoKid writes: If you're a Windows 7 or Windows 8 user who hasn't yet upgraded to Windows 10, you've probably been bombarded at some point by Microsoft to upgrade, and not always at the most convenient times. Such was also the case with one meteorologist who saw a Windows 10 upgrade prompt show up during a very inopportune time -- right in the middle of a live forecast. Metinka Slater, a meteorologist with Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI 8, was going about her business, giving viewers a rundown of the 12-hour rainfall totals in the area when a nagging Windows 10 upgrade screen popped up, just like it has for thousands of everyday Windows users. But rather than get flustered or give into Microsoft's demands, Slater laughed off the annoyance. "Ahh, Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10. What should I do?" Slater joked. "Don't you love when that pops up?"From the looks of it, either the concerned computer is running Windows 98, or is using classic theme.

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HP Announces All-Metal Chromebook 13: Thinner Than MacBook Pro, Costs $800 Less

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 10:40am
On Thursday, HP unveiled a new Chromebook 13. Designed in collaboration with Google, the Chromebook 13 sports an all-metal body and is merely 13mm thick while weighing 1.29kg. It sports a 13-inch display with 3200x1800 pixels resolution and is powered by Intel's sixth-gen Core M processor, which comes coupled with up to 16GB of RAM. There's a USB Type-C port as well, and the company is also promising up to 11.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. The retail price of the HP Chromebook starts at $499, and will launch in the US later this month.

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Cisco Finds Backdoor Installed On 12 Million PCs

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 10:00am
Reader wiredmikey writes: Security researchers at 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 tools, 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.Tuto4PC has received flak from many over the years, including French regulators.

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American Samoa Domain Registry Was Exposing Client Data Since the Mid-1990s

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 9:01am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: A British security researcher that goes online only by the name of InfoSec Guy revealed today that American Samoa domain registry ASNIC was using an outdated domain name management system that contained a bug allowing anyone to view the personal details of any .as domain owner. The researcher also claims that anyone knowing of this bug would have been able to edit and delete any .as domain, just by altering the ASNIC domain info URL. Some of the big brands that own .as domains include Opera, Flickr, Twitter, McDonald's, British Gas, Bose, Adidas, the University of Texas, and many link shortening services. This flawed system has been online since the mid-1990s. The researcher contacted ASNIC after discovering the flaw at the end of January 2016, but email exchanges with the domain registry were scarce and confusing, with the registry issuing a statement today denying the incident and calling the allegations "inaccurate, misleading and sexed-up to the max," after previously acknowledging and fixing the security flaws.

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Intel Wants To Eliminate The Headphone Jack And Replace It With USB-C

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 6:02am
An anonymous reader writes: With rumors circulating about how Apple may do away with the 3.5 mm headphone jack on its upcoming iPhone 7, Intel has shared a similar desire, citing "industry singling a strong desire to move from analog to digital." Intel believes USB-C is the future audio jack. They believe USB-C has more potential than the 3.5mm audio jack as it allows users to add additional smart features to headphones in the future. For instance, a future pair of headphones could monitor one's pulse or inner-ear temperature for fitness tracking, something that could only be possible if the headphones were connected to a smartphone via a USB-C cable. What's also worth mentioning [quoted from 9to5Mac]: USB-C already supports analog audio transfer through sideband pins simplifying the engineering steps necessary to swap 3.5mm with USB-C in device designs. In the second quarter, Intel should have a finalized USB-C standard for digital audio transfer. Intel does note that the transition from analog to digital will be expensive as the headphones have to include amplifiers and DACs, but scale will offset the early costs over time.

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Child Porn Suspect Jailed Indefinitely For Refusing To Decrypt Hard Drives

Slashdot - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 3:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A Philadelphia man suspected of possessing child pornography has been in jail for seven months and counting after being found in contempt of a court order demanding that he decrypt two password-protected hard drives. The suspect, a former Philadelphia Police Department sergeant, has not been charged with any child porn crimes. Instead, he remains indefinitely imprisoned in Philadelphia's Federal Detention Center for refusing to unlock two drives encrypted with Apple's FileVault software in a case that once again highlights the extent to which the authorities are going to crack encrypted devices. The man is to remain jailed "until such time that he fully complies" with the decryption order. The government successfully cited a 1789 law known as the All Writs Act to compel (PDF) the suspect to decrypt two hard drives it believes contain child pornography. The All Writs Act was the same law the Justice Department asserted in its legal battle with Apple.

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Dyson Launches New 'Supersonic' Hair Dryer To Revolutionize Hair Care

Slashdot - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 11:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Dyson has a launched a hair dryer with a design language similar to that of its bladeless fans. The $399 hair dryer is four years in the making, involving 103 engineers, over 1,000 miles of test hair, and a $71 million investment -- the Dyson Supersonic is being touted as "the hairdryer rethought" by its inventor Sir James Dyson. "We realized that hair dryers can cause extreme heat damage to hair," said Dyson in a press release. "So I challenged Dyson engineers to really understand the science of hair and develop our version of a hair dryer, which we think solves these problems." The hair dryer can be reserved online and will be sold exclusively at Sephora for $399 this fall.

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With Carly Fiorina As Running Mate, Cruz's H-1B Stance Now In Question

Slashdot - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 9:44pm
dcblogs quotes a report from Computerworld: In 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz emerged as one of the Senate's top H-1B visa supporters, and argued for a 500% visa cap increase. But during his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz had a conversion. Cruz's presidential platform proposed a $110,000 minimum wage for visa workers, among other restrictions, as a way of ending their use as low-cost labor. The move marked a complete turnabout on the H-1B issue. Cruz's decision Wednesday to add former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate if he wins the nomination, may make his newly found H-1B beliefs a hard sell. At HP, Fiorina was a prominent supporter of the offshore outsourcing model, said Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University. "To pump up profits, she was an early adopter of the practice, which given HP's status as a leading Silicon Valley firm, pushed other firms to adopt offshoring," said Hira. As offshoring gained, Fiorina played a leading role in defending globalization. To make her point, in 2004, Fiorina said: "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore," reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Microsoft Buys Into DNA Data Storage

Slashdot - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 9:01pm
the_newsbeagle writes: More than 2.5 exabytes of data is created every day, and some experts estimate that 90% of all data in the world today was created in the last two years. Clearly, storing all this data is becoming an issue. One idea is DNA data storage, in which digital files are converted into the genetic code of four nucleotides (As, Cs, Gs, and Ts). Microsoft just announced that it's testing out this idea, getting synthetic bio company Twist Bioscience to produce 10 million strands of DNA that encode some mystery file the company provided. Using DNA for long-term data storage is attractive because it's durable and efficient. For example, scientists can read the genome from a woolly mammoth hair dating from 20,000 years ago.

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Comcast Is Raising Its Data Caps From 300GB To 1TB

Slashdot - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 8:17pm
An anonymous reader writes: Comcast has announced today it will be raising its monthly data cap of 300GB to 1TB beginning June 1st. They will however charge more to customers who want unlimited data. After June 1st, less people will need to buy unlimited data from the company. Previously, users were charged an extra $30 to $35 a month for unlimited data but now they will have to pay an additional $50 for unlimited data. "All of the data plans in our trial markets will move from a 300 gigabyte data plan to a terabyte by June 1st, regardless of the speed," Comcast's announcement today said. The reason for the change? Customers are exceeding the 300GB cap. In late 2013, Comcast said only 2 percent of its customers used more than 300GB of data a month. That number was up to 8 percent in late 2015.

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House Passes Email Privacy Act, Requiring Warrants For Obtaining Emails

Slashdot - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 7:33pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, sending it on to the Senate and from there, hopefully anyhow, to the President. The yeas were swift and unanimous. The bill, which was introduced in the House early last year and quickly found bipartisan support, updates the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, closing a loophole that allowed emails and other communications to be obtained without a warrant. It's actually a good law, even if it is arriving a couple of decades late. "Under current law, there are more protections for a letter in a filing cabinet than an email on a server," said Congresswoman Suzan Delbene during the debate period. An earlier version of the bill also required that authorities disclose that warrant to the person it affected within 10 days, or 3 if the warrant related to a government entity. That clause was taken out in committee -- something trade groups and some of the Representatives objected to as an unpleasant compromise.

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Former Tor Developer Created Malware To Hack Tor Users For The FBI

Slashdot - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 6:49pm
Patrick O'Neill writes: Matt Edman is a cybersecurity expert who worked as a part-time employee at Tor Project, the nonprofit that builds Tor software and maintains the network, almost a decade ago. Since then, he's developed potent malware used by law enforcement to unmask Tor users. It's been wielded in multiple investigations by federal law-enforcement and U.S. intelligence agencies in several high-profile cases. The Tor Project has confirmed this report in a statement after being contacted by the Daily Dot, "It has come to out attention that Matt Edman, who worked with the Tor Project until 2009, subsequently was employed by a defense contractor working for the FBI to develop anti-Tor malware." Maybe Tor users will now be less likely to anonymously check Facebook each month...

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Meet our first class of TED Residents

TED Blog - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 7:32pm
An idea worth spreading doesn’t just magically appear out of thin air. Instead, it needs a long incubation period, a sometimes frustrating — and often exciting — trial and error of creation, failure and innovation. On April 18, TED welcomed its first-ever class of the TED Residency program, an in-house community of 28 bright minds […]
Categories: Technology

Got a story you can’t share? Tell it, anonymously, to “Sincerely, X”

TED Blog - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 12:09pm
Think of a story from your life that you can’t tell anyone. Not because it reflects badly on you — in fact, you’re proud of the lessons you learned — but because of its effects on someone you love. A new-mom story that you’d never want your kid to hear. A high-stakes mistake on the […]
Categories: Technology

Motherhood without maternity leave, redefining “nude”, and a Pulitzer prize win.

TED Blog - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 5:30pm
The TED community has lots of news this week. Below, just a few highlights. Motherhood without maternity leave. Imagine going back to work only 20 days after giving birth, using up all of your vacation days in lieu of paid or unpaid family leave. In a two-part series for The Atlantic, Jessica Shortall shares how […]
Categories: Technology

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