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  • Red Hat: 2014:1744-01: v8314-v8: Moderate Advisory Updated v8314-v8 packages that fix multiple security issues are now available for Red Hat Software Collections 1. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having Moderate security [More...]

  • Mandriva: 2014:212: wget Updated wget package fixes security vulnerability:Wget was susceptible to a symlink attack which could create arbitraryfiles, directories or symbolic links and set their permissions whenretrieving a directory recursively through FTP (CVE-2014-4877).[More...]

  • Mandriva: 2014:211: wpa_supplicant Updated wpa_supplicant packages fix security vulnerability:A vulnerability was found in the mechanism wpa_cli and hostapd_cli usefor executing action scripts. An unsanitized string received from aremote device can be passed to a system() call resulting in arbitrary[More...]

  • Red Hat: 2014:1724-01: kernel: Important Advisory Updated kernel packages that fix several security issues and bugs are now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having Important security [More...]

  • Mandriva: 2014:210: mariadb Multiple vulnerabilities has been discovered and corrected in mariadb:Unspecified vulnerability in Oracle MySQL Server 5.5.39 and earlierand 5.6.20 and earlier allows remote authenticated users to affectavailability via vectors related to SERVER:INNODB DML FOREIGN KEYS[More...]

  • KVM Matures, and the Use Cases Multiply (
    Over at, Adam Jollans has a report from the recently completed KVM Forum that was held in Dsseldorf, Germany October 14-16. He looks at a talk that he gave on KVM's relationship to OpenStack and the open cloud, a new white paper on KVM [PDF], and a panel on network function virtualization (NFV):"In the past, communications networks have been built with specific routers, switches and hubs with the configuration of all the components being manual and complex. The idea now is to take that network function, put it into software running on standard hardware.The discussion touched on the demands – in terms of latency, throughput, and packet jitter – that network function virtualization places on KVM when it is being run on general purpose hardware and used to support high data volume. There was a lively discussion about how to get fast communication between the virtual machines as well as issues such as performance and sharing memory, as attendees drilled down into how KVM could be applied in new ways."

  • Stable kernels 3.17.2, 3.16.7, 3.14.23, and 3.10.59
    Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of four new stable kernels: 3.17.2, 3.16.7, 3.14.23, and 3.10.59. As always, they contain important fixes and users of those series should update.Note that 3.16.7 is the last stablekernel in the 3.16 series; users should upgrade to 3.17 soon.

  • A "highly critical public service announcement" from Drupal
    The Drupal project has put out an advisory that if youhaven't already patched the recent SQL injectionvulnerability, it's probably too late. "Automated attacks begancompromising Drupal 7 websites that were not patched or updated to Drupal7.32 within hours of the announcement of SA-CORE-2014-005 - Drupal core -SQL injection. You should proceed under the assumption that every Drupal 7website was compromised unless updated or patched before Oct 15th, 11pmUTC, that is 7 hours after the announcement."

  • Security advisories for Wednesday
    CentOS has updated kernel (C7: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian has updated iceweasel (multiple vulnerabilities).
    Fedora has updated file (F20:out-of-bounds read flaw), seamonkey (F20:multiple vulnerabilities), webkitgtk3 (F20:disable SSLv3 to address POODLE), and wpa_supplicant (F20: command execution).
    Mageia has updated kde4 (MG4: multiple vulnerabilities), konversation (information disclosure), mythtv (SSDP reflection attacks), php-ZendFramework (multiple vulnerabilities), quassel (information disclosure), and zabbix (local file inclusion).
    Mandriva has updated wget (symlink attack) and wpa_supplicant (command execution).
    openSUSE has updated openssl(13.1, 12.3: multiple vulnerabilities) and libxml2 (13.1, 12.3: denial of service).
    Oracle has updated kernel (OL7: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Red Hat has updated kernel(RHEL7: multiple vulnerabilities).

  • [$] A Debian init system GR flurry
    One might have hoped that that Debian systemd debate would have wound downseveral months ago, after the technical committee decided the default init system questionand especially after Matthew Vernon's general resolution on init systemchoice was withdrawn due to a lack ofseconds. The Debian community, it seemed, was tired of this discussion andready to move on. Given a few months to rest, though, even old, tiresomesubjects can once again seem worthy of discussion. So now we have a returnof the init system choice resolution — along with three alternatives ofvarying scope.

  • Release for CentOS-6.6 i386 and x86_64
    CentOS 6.6 has been released. "There are many fundamental changes inthis release, compared with the past CentOS-6 releases, and we highlyrecommend everyone study the upstream Release Notes as well as the upstreamTechnical Notes about the changes and how they might impact yourinstallation. (See the 'Further Reading' section of the [CentOS release notes])."

  • Tuesday's security updates
    Debian has updated torque (denial of service).
    Fedora has updated devscripts(F20: directory traversal), drupal7 (F20; F19: SQLinjection), kernel (F20: multiplevulnerabilities), kernel (F20: more KVMvulnerabilities), php (F19: threevulnerabilities), php-ZendFramework2 (F20:multiple vulnerabilities), phpMyAdmin (F20:cross-site scripting), python (F19: bufferoverflow), python-oauth2 (F20; F19: two vulnerabilities),rubygem-httpclient (F20; F19: allows ssl negotiation), and sddm (F20: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Mageia has updated chromium-browser-stable (multiplevulnerabilities), nginx (virtual hostconfusion attacks), php (threevulnerabilities), qemu (MG4: multiple vulnerabilities), wget (symlink attack), and wpa_supplicant, hostapd (command execution).
    Mandriva has updated mariadb(multiple vulnerabilities).
    openSUSE has updated flash-player(multiple vulnerabilities) and perl-Email-Address (denial of service).
    Ubuntu has updated pidgin (14.10,14.04, 12.04: multiple vulnerabilities).

  • First Jessie based Debian Edu alpha released
    The first alpha release of Debian Edu (also known as Skolelinux) isavailable for testing. "Would you like to give your school'scomputer a longer life? Are you tired of sneaker administration, running from computer to computerreinstalling the operating system? Would you like to administrate allthe computers in your school using only a couple of hours every week?Check out Debian Edu Jessie!"

  • The Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu OpenStack
    Canonical has announceda new OpenStack-oriented distribution. "Based on Canonical’sindustry-leading OpenStack reference architecture and building on Ubuntu’sleading position as the most widely used OpenStack platform, the CanonicalDistribution gives users the widest range of commercially-supported vendoroptions for storage, software-defined networking and hypervisor fromCanonical and its OpenStack partners. It then automates the creation andmanagement of a reference OpenStack based on those choices."
    Note that some conditions apply: "The CanonicalDistribution of Ubuntu OpenStack is now available as a public beta, freefor up to 10 physical and 10 virtual machines." See this page for moreinformation.

  • Season of KDE 2014
    The Season of KDE is a community outreach program, much like Google Summerof Code. "It is meant for people who could not get into GoogleSummer of Code for various reasons, or people who simply prefer adifferently structured, somewhat less constrained program. Season of KDE ismanaged by the same team of admins and mentors that takes care of GoogleSummer of Code and Google Code-in matters for KDE, with the same level ofquality and care." The student application deadline is October 31.The mentor application deadline is November 5.

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Now Available
    SUSE has announcedthe release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12. "New products based onSUSE Linux Enterprise 12 feature enhancements that more readily enablesystem uptime, improve operational efficiency and accelerateinnovation. The foundation for all SUSE data center operating systems andextensions, SUSE Linux Enterprise meets the performance requirements ofdata centers with mixed IT environments, while reducing the risk oftechnological obsolescence and vendor lock-in." SUSE LinuxEnterprise Server is available for x86_64, IBM Power Systems, and IBMSystem z.

  • Qubes OS release 2 available
    Release2 of the Qubes OS secure desktop system is available. The biggestchange, perhaps, is support for "fully virtualized AppVMs"; these allowrunning any operating system in a fully virtualized mode under Qubes.Other additions include secure audio input to AppVMs (allowing Skype to berun in a sandbox, evidently), policy control over the clipboard, animproved secure backup infrastructure, improved hardware support, and more.

  • Canonical Adds Ubuntu OpenStack Distribution for Open Source Cloud Computing
    Canonical has announced its own distribution of OpenStack, the open source cloud computing operating system, built on top of Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu Linux has already enjoyed the distinction of being the most popular platform for hosting OpenStack clouds. But now, Canonical has taken its commitment to OpenStack a step further with the announcement of its own OpenStack distribution.

  • Quick Look: Puppy Linux 6.0
    Puppy Linux 6.0 is a lightweight Linux distribution that can easily be run off a USB stick, SD card or live disc. This version has been dubbed “Tahrpup” by the Puppy Linux developers, and it is based on Ubuntu 14.04. It also uses Linux kernel 3.14.20.

  • Detailed Report Shows How ISPs Are Making 'Business Choice' To Make Your Internet Connection Terrible
    A couple of years ago, we wrote about an effort by the big broadband players to push the FCC away from using M-Lab to measure basic network diagnostics on the internet. M-Lab is a very interesting project, focused on collecting a huge amount of data about internet performance, and making that data widely available. In the past, for example, we've highlighted an M-Lab project showing which ISPs were throttling BitTorrent.Now, M-Lab has released a new report, along with all of the data and a very nice tool to analyze it all, called the Internet Observatory, that looks at ISP interconnection and, most importantly, its impact on consumer internet performance.

  • CherryTree Review: The Rich Tree Notes Application
    CherryTree is a notes-taking application which organizes your notes into a hierarchical tree, has support for text formatting, and is written in GTK2/Python. Lately this application has got a lot of attention due to rich features and frequent updates. It also comes by default in distributions such as MakuluLinux MATE Edition.

  • Big IT vendors finally embrace cloud
    The cloud is suddenly all the rage among large IT vendors as they begin to recognize that their customers are venturing into the public cloud, and as they do they need new ways to manage a hybrid environment. Hence the great hybrid cloud epiphany of 2014.

  • Ubuntu & SUSE & CentOS, Oh My!
    It's Halloween week, and the big names in Linux are determined not to disappoint the trick-or-treaters. No less than three mainline distributions have released new versions this week, led by perennially-loved-and-hated crowd favourite Ubuntu.

  • Drupal Hack & WordPress Users
    Because of automatic upgrades at the point level, standalone WordPress users whose sites aren’t hosted by WordPress may be less likely to see an exact repeat of the current Drupal situation, but that doesn’t mean they can ignore security. Along with gee-whiz new whistles and bells, every WordPress upgrade will include new security fixes — and you definitely want to have them firmly in place.

  • Weapons of MaaS Deployment
    I've been researching OpenStack deployment methods lately and so when I got an email from Canonical inviting me to check out how they deploy OpenStack using their Metal as a Service (MaaS) software on their fantastic Orange Box demo platform I jumped at the opportunity.

  • COM Express Type 2 modules keep the legacy alive
    Adlink released two Linux-ready COM Express Type 2 modules running on Intel 4th Gen. Core and Intel Atom e3800 SoCs, respectively. The Express-HL2 was previewed by Adlink with minimal details back in June 2013, shortly after Intel announced its 4th Generation Core (“Haswell”) processors.

  • Red Hat delivers latest developer tools
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is still new, but there are even newer programming tools. Fortunately, with the latest Version of Red Hat Software Collection, programmers can keep up to speed.

  • Advisory says to assume all Drupal 7 websites are compromised
    If your organization uses Drupal, you might have a serious problem on your hands. On October 15, Drupal urged users to apply an update that fixed a SQL Injection flaw. However, unless that patch was installed within seven hours, Drupal now says it's best to assume the website was completely compromised.

  • Parallels CTO: Linux container security is not the problem
    Security Projects Containerization technology has been a game-changer, powering Docker and other transformative software solutions. It's also garnered its share of criticisms about performance, security, and resiliency. But one of the creators of Parallels, a key containerization technology on Linux, is pushing back against what he feels are pervasive myths about containers -- many of which, he argues, are rooted in misunderstandings of how to use them and what they're for.

  • Has the time come to rebrand open source?
    OK, take a deep breath and don't panic! I assure you that I'm not asking you to do anything that you have not already done before. Let me explain myself before I go any further. I'm the CEO of a web design agency in Malm, Sweden that specializes in web publishing and digital presence. We create websites using TYPO3 which is a web Content Management Solution.

  • Pirate Bay founder guilty in historic hacker case
    Pirate Bay founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg and his 21-year-old Danish co-defendant JLT have been found guilty by a Danish court of mounting the most serious computer hack in the country’s history. The court said that the unauthorised access to CSC’s mainframe was of a “systematic and organised character”, dismissing the Swede’s claims that his computer was used by others to carry out the hack as “unlikely”.

Linux Insider

  • The Long and Winding Road to Shellshock Recovery
    Four days after Shellshock was disclosed, Incapsula's Web application firewall deflected more than 217,000 attempted exploits on more than 4,100 domains. The company recorded upwards of 1,970 attacks per hour, from more than 890 IPs around the world. Shellshock was expected to be far worse than the Heartbleed flaw, which was expected to impact about 17 percent of the secure Web servers worldwide.

  • Mobile Database Management's Coming of Age
    The push is on for mobile database management tools built from the ground up to run directly inside phones, tablets and wearables. These mobile database solutions are being designed to do what heavyweight open source solutions like SQLite, Cord Data, MySQL and PostgreSQL were not designed to do. Some 4.55 billion people worldwide are using mobile phones this year.

  • Debian's Civil War: Has It Really Come to This?
    Well it seems no matter how loudly we here in the Linux blogosphere try to hum a happy tune or discuss cheerful FOSS matters, we just can't seem to drown out the shouts and screams coming from those standing too close to the Systemd Inferno. Stand back, people! It's dangerous! The embers, of course, had been hot for some time already before the blaze flared sky-high a few months ago.

  • Android Wear Gets Its First Big Update
    Google's Android Wear on Thursday got its first major update, bringing GPS support and offline music capabilities to the wearables platform. "Android Wear is great for tracking things like route, distance and speed," wrote Kenny Stoltz, Android Wear product manager. "Before today, you had to keep your phone close at hand. Starting today, Wear supports watches with GPS sensors."

  • Calculate Linux Provides Consistency by Design
    Calculate Linux 14 is a distro designed with home and SMB users in mind. It is optimized for rapid deployment in corporate environments as well. Calculate gives users something no other Linux distro offers. The Xfce desktop session is customized to imitate the look of the KDE desktop environment. This design approach goes a long way toward making Calculate Linux a one-distro-fits-all solution.

  • Reading and Writing and Open Source
    Digital textbooks with open-licensed content -- and sometimes even complete open source textbooks -- are starting to change the way students and teachers interact with subject material. The budget-busting prices of traditional printed textbooks and the ubiquity of mobile devices have provided textbook authors and educators with convincing reasons to give students an alternative.

  • FOSS and the Fear Factor
    In a world that's been dominated for far too long by the Systemd Inferno, Linux fans will have to be forgiven if they seize perhaps a bit too gleefully upon the scraps of cheerful news that come along on any given day. Of course, for cheerful news, there's never any better place to look than the Reglue effort, run by longtime Linux advocate and all-around-hero-for-kids Ken Starks.

  • For Gentoo Linux Initiates, Iron Penguin May Be Too Heavy
    Gentoo Linux can be either an experienced Linux user's ideal desktop choice or a new user's worst computing nightmare. I am not talking about being new to the Linux OS. I mean just plain and simple new to Gentoo Linux. The Linux OS has many dozens of specialized distributions. Many of them are easy to install and need only a few settings adjustments to perform as desired.

  • Lollipop Could Make Android Stickier
    Google on Wednesday unwrapped Android 5.0 Lollipop, officially replacing the "Android L" code name by which the latest version of its mobile platform previously had been known.  "Lollipop is our largest, most ambitious release on Android, with over 5,000 new APIs for developers," wrote Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president for Android, Chrome & Apps, in a blog post.

  • Report: Open Source Needs to Get With the Security Program
    Open source developers apparently don't adhere to best practices such as using static analysis and conducting regular security audits, found Coverity's Spotlight report, released Wednesday. The Coverity Scan service, which is available at no charge to open source projects, helped devs find and fix about 50,000 quality and security defects in code last year.

  • And Now for Something Completely Different
    Well it's a good thing we here in the Linux community had a refreshing and refocusing break recently, because last week it was back onto the hot coals once again. The Systemd inferno -- which Linux Girl is starting to think of as "The Blaze That Must Not Be Named" -- has spread even further, your trusty reporter is dismayed to report, extending now to encompass the entire FOSS community.

  • Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare writes We know that about 10 million more people have insurance coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act but until now it has been difficult to say much about who was getting that Obamacare coverage — where they live, their age, their income and other such details. Now Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz report in the NYT that a new data set is providing a clearer picture of which people gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The data is the output of a statistical model based on a large survey of adults and shows that the law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades. The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon. Despite many Republican voters' disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Swedish Regulator Orders Last "Hold-Out" ISP To Retain Customer Data
    An anonymous reader writes Despite the death of the EU Data Retention Directive in April, and despite the country having taken six years to even begin to obey the ruling, the Swedish government, via its telecoms regulator, has forced ISPs to continue retaining customer data for law enforcement purposes. Now the last ISP retrenching on the issue has been told that it must comply with the edict or face a fine of five million krona ($680,000). While providers all over Europe have rejoiced in not being obliged any longer to provide infrastructure to retain six months of data per customer, Sweden and the United Kingdom alone have insisted on retaining the ruling — particularly surprising in the case of Sweden, since it took six years to begin adhering to the Data Retention Directive after it was made law in 2006. Britain's Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill, rushed through in July, actually widens the scope of the original EU order.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Mark Zuckerberg And John Doerr Donate $1M To Expand The Hour Of Code Campaign
    theodp writes Techcrunch reports that Mark Zuckerberg has donated $500K to expand the Hour of Code campaign, which aims to reach 100 million students this year with its learn-to-code tutorials, including its top-featured tutorial starring Zuckerberg (video). Techcrunch adds that Zuckerberg's donation will be matched by fellow tutorial team teacher Bill Gates (video), Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Salesforce, Google, and others. Zuck and Gates appear to have a sizable captive audience — a District Partnership Model brochure on the code-or-no-HS-diploma-for-you Chicago Public Schools' website calls for partner districts to "hold a district-wide Hour of Code event each year" for three years.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Denmark Plans To Be Coal-Free In 10 Years
    merbs writes "Earlier this year, Denmark's leadership announced that the nation would run entirely on renewable power by 2050. Wind, solar, and biomass would be ramped up while coal and gas are phased out. Now Denmark has gone even further, and plans to end coal by 2025.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • France Investigating Mysterious Drone Activity Over 7 Nuclear Power Plant Sites
    thygate writes In France, an investigation has been launched into the appearance of "drones" on 7 different nuclear power plant sites across the country in the last month. Some of the plants involved are Creys-Malville en Bugey in the southeast, Blayais in the southwest, Cattenom en Chooz in the northeast, Gravelines in the north, and Nogent-sur-Seine, close to Paris. It is forbidden to fly over these sites on altitudes less than 1 km in a 5 km radius. According to a spokesman of the state electric company that runs the facilities (EDF), there was no danger to the security and production of the plants. However these incidents will likely bring nuclear safety concerns back into the spotlight.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Researchers Claim Metal "Patch" Found On Pacific Island Is From Amelia Earhart
    An anonymous reader writes Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937, but scientists may have now uncovered where she ended up. Researchers have identified a piece of aluminum, which washed up on a remote Pacific island, as dated to the correct time period and consistent with the design of Earhart's Lockheed Electra. From the article: "The warped piece of metal was uncovered on a 1991 voyage to the island of Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has spent millions of dollars searching for Earhart's plane in a project that has involved hundreds of people. 'We don't understand how that patch got busted out of (the plane) and ended up on the island where we found it, but we have the patch, we have a piece of Earhart's aircraft,' TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie said."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • New Study Shows Three Abrupt Pulses of CO2 During Last Deglaciation
    vinces99 writes A new study shows that the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually but rather was characterized by three abrupt pulses. Scientists are not sure what caused these abrupt increases, during which carbon dioxide levels rose about 10 to 15 parts per million – or about 5 percent per episode – during a span of one to two centuries. It likely was a combination of factors, they say, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns and terrestrial processes. The finding, published Oct. 30 in the journal Nature, casts new light on the mechanisms that take the Earth in and out of ice ages. "We used to think that naturally occurring changes in carbon dioxide took place relatively slowly over the 10,000 years it took to move out of the last ice age," said lead author Shaun Marcott, who did the work as a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University and is now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "This abrupt, centennial-scale variability of CO2 appears to be a fundamental part of the global carbon cycle." Previous research has hinted at the possibility that spikes in atmospheric carbon dioxide may have accelerated the last deglaciation, but that hypothesis had not been resolved, the researchers say. The key to the new finding is the analysis of an ice core from the West Antarctic that provided the scientists with an unprecedented glimpse into the past."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Google To Disable Fallback To SSL 3.0 In Chrome 39 and Remove In Chrome 40
    An anonymous reader writes Google today announced plans to disable fallback to version 3 of the SSL protocol in Chrome 39, and remove SSL 3.0 completely in Chrome 40. The decision follows the company's disclosure of a serious security vulnerability in SSL 3.0 on October 14, the attack for which it dubbed Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption (POODLE). Following Mozilla's decision on the same day to disable SSL 3.0 by default in Firefox 34, which will be released on November 25, Google has laid out its plans for Chrome. This was expected, given that Google Security Team's Bodo Möller stated at the time: "In the coming months, we hope to remove support for SSL 3.0 completely from our client products."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Charity Promotes Covert Surveillance App For Suicide Prevention
    VoiceOfDoom writes Major UK charity The Samaritans have launched an app titled "Samaritans Radar", in an attempt to help Twitter users identify when their friends are in crisis and in need of support. Unfortunately the privacy implications appear not to have been thought through — installing the app allows it to monitor the Twitter feeds of all of your followers, searching for particular phrases or words which might indicate they are in distress. The app then sends you an email suggesting you contact your follower to offer your help. Opportunities for misuse by online harassers are at the forefront of the concerns that have been raised, in addition; there is strong evidence to suggest that this use of personal information is illegal, being in contravention of UK Data Protection law.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Vulnerabilities Found (and Sought) In More Command-Line Tools
    itwbennett writes The critical Shellshock vulnerabilities found last month in the Bash Unix shell have motivated security researchers to search for similar flaws in old, but widely used, command-line utilities. Two remote command execution vulnerabilities were patched this week in the popular wget download agent and tnftp client for Unix-like systems [also mentioned here]. This comes after a remote code execution vulnerability was found last week in a library used by strings, objdump, readelf and other command-line tools.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Getting 'Showdown' To 90 FPS In UE4 On Oculus Rift
    An anonymous reader writes Oculus has repeatedly tapped Epic Games to whip up demos to show off new iterations of Oculus Rift VR headset hardware. The latest demo, built in UE4, is 'Showdown', an action-packed scene of slow motion explosions, bullets, and debris. The challenge? Oculus asked Epic to make it run at 90 FPS to match the 90 Hz refresh rate of the latest Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype. At the Oculus Connect conference, two of the developers from the team that created the demo share the tricks and tools they used to hit that target on a single GPU.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Signed-In Maps Mean More Location Data For Google
    mikejuk writes The announcement on the Google Geo Developers blog has the catchy title No map is an island. It points out that while there are now around 2 million active sites that have Google Maps embedded, they store data independently, The new feature, called attributed save, aims to overcome this problem by creating an integrated experience between the apps you use that have map content and Google Maps, and all it requires is that users sign in. So if you use a map in a specific app you will be able to see locations you entered in other apps.This all sounds great and it makes sense to allow users to take all of the locations that have previously been stored in app silos and put them all together into one big map data pool. The only down side is that the pool is owned by Google and some users might not like the idea of letting Google have access to so much personal geo information. It seems you can have convenience or you can have privacy. It might just be that many users prefer their maps to be islands.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Pirate Bay Founder Gottfrid Warg Faces Danish Jail Time
    Hammeh writes BBC news reports that Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Warg has been found guilty of hacking into computers and illegally downloading files in Denmark. Found guilty of breaching security to access computers owned by technology giant CSC to steal police and social security files, Mr Warg faces a sentence of up to six years behind bars. Mr Warg argued that although the computer used to commit the offence was owned by him, the hacks were carried out by another individual who he declined to name.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • First Detailed Data Analysis Shows Exactly How Comcast Jammed Netflix
    An anonymous reader writes John Oliver calls it "cable company f*ckery" and we've all suspected it happens. Now on Steven Levy's new Backchannel publication on Medium, Susan Crawford delivers decisive proof, expertly dissecting the Comcast-Netflix network congestion controversy. Her source material is a detailed traffic measurement report (.pdf) released this week by Google-backed M-Lab — the first of its kind — showing severe degradation of service at interconnection points between Comcast, Verizon and other monopoly "eyeball networks" and "transit networks" such as Cogent, which was contracted by Netflix to deliver its bits. The report shows that interconnection points give monopoly ISPs all the leverage they need to discriminate against companies like Netflix, which compete with them in video services, simply by refusing to relieve network congestion caused by external traffic requested by their very own ISP customers. And the effects victimize not only companies targeted but ALL incoming traffic from the affected transit network. The report proves the problem is not technical, but rather a result of business decisions. This is not technically a Net neutrality problem, but it creates the very same headaches for consumers, and unfair business advantages for ISPs. In an accompanying article, Crawford makes a compelling case for FCC intervention.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking
    Nerval's Lobster writes Apple design chief Jony Ive has spent the past several weeks talking up how the Apple Watch is an evolution on many of the principles that guided the evolution of timepieces over the past several hundred years. But the need to recharge the device on a nightly basis, now confirmed by Apple CEO Tim Cook, is a throwback to ye olden days, when a lady or gentleman needed to keep winding her or his pocket-watch in order to keep it running. Watch batteries were supposed to bring "winding" to a decisive end, except for that subset of people who insist on carrying around a mechanical timepiece. But with Apple Watch's requirement that the user constantly monitor its energy, what's old is new again. Will millions of people really want to charge and fuss with their watch at least once a day?

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • A Mixed Review For CBS's "All Access" Online Video Streaming
    lpress writes I tested CBS All Access video streaming. It has technical problems, which will be resolved, but I will still pass because they show commercials in addition to a $5.99 per month fee. Eventually, we will all cut the cord and have a choice of viewing modes — on-demand versus scheduled and with and without commercials — but don't expect your monthly bill to drop as long as our ISPs are monopolies or oligopolies.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"
    An anonymous reader writes Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly come out as gay. While he never hid his sexuality from friends, family, and close co-workers, Cook decided it was time to make it publicly known in the hopes that the information will help others who don't feel comfortable to do so. He said, "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy." Cook added that while the U.S. has made progress in recent years toward marriage equality, there is still work to be done. "[T]here are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Slashdot Asks: Appropriate Place For Free / Open Source Software Artifacts?
    A friend of mine who buys and sells used books, movies, etc. recently purchased a box full of software on CD, including quite a few old Linux distributions, and asked me if I'd like them. The truth is, I would like them, but I've already collected over the last two decades more than I should in the way of Linux distributions, on at least four kinds of media (starting with floppies made from a CD that accompanied a fat book on how to install some distribution or other -- very useful in the days of dialup). I've got some boxes (Debian Potato, and a few versions of Red Hat and Mandrake Linux), and an assortment of marketing knickknacks, T-shirts, posters, and books. I like these physical artifacts, and they're not dominating my life, but I'd prefer to actually give many of them to someplace where they'll be curated. (Or, if they should be tossed, tossed intelligently.) Can anyone point to a public collection of some kind that gathers physical objects associated with Free software and Open Source, and makes them available for others to examine? (I plan to give some hardware, like a pair of OLPC XO laptops, to the same Goodwill computer museum highlighted in this video, but they probably don't want an IBM-branded radio in the shape of a penguin.)

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Hacking Team Manuals: Sobering Reminder That Privacy is Elusive
    Advocatus Diaboli writes with a selection from The Intercept describing instructions for commercial spyware sold by Italian security firm Hacking Team. The manuals describe Hacking Team's software for government technicians and analysts, showing how it can activate cameras, exfiltrate emails, record Skype calls, log typing, and collect passwords on targeted devices. They also catalog a range of pre-bottled techniques for infecting those devices using wifi networks, USB sticks, streaming video, and email attachments to deliver viral installers. With a few clicks of a mouse, even a lightly trained technician can build a software agent that can infect and monitor a device, then upload captured data at unobtrusive times using a stealthy network of proxy servers, all without leaving a trace. That, at least, is what Hacking Team's manuals claim as the company tries to distinguish its offerings in the global marketplace for government hacking software. (Here are the manuals themselves.)

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter
    Mr D from 63 (3395377) writes Time Warner Cable's results have been buoyed recently by higher subscriber numbers for broadband Internet service. In the latest period, however, Time Warner Cable lost 184,000 overall residential customer relationships [Note: non-paywalled coverage at Bloomberg and Reuters]. The addition of 92,000 residential high-speed data customers was offset by 184,000 fewer residential video customers in the quarter. Triple play customers fell by 24,000, while residential voice additions were 14,000.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Drupal Warns Users of Mass, Automated Attacks On Critical Flaw
    Trailrunner7 writes The maintainers of the Drupal content management system are warning users that any site owners who haven't patched a critical vulnerability in Drupal Core disclosed earlier this month should consider their sites to be compromised. The vulnerability, which became public on Oct. 15, is a SQL injection flaw in a Drupal module that's designed specifically to help prevent SQL injection attacks. Shortly after the disclosure of the vulnerability, attackers began exploiting it using automated attacks. One of the factors that makes this vulnerability so problematic is that it allows an attacker to compromise a target site without needing an account and there may be no trace of the attack afterward.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Lenovo Completes Motorola Deal
    SmartAboutThings writes If somehow you missed the reports of Lenovo buying Motorola – which was also bought by Google for $12.5 billion back in 2011 – then you should know that the deal is now complete. Lenovo has announced today that Motorola is now a Lenovo company — which makes Lenovo not only the number one PC maker in the world but also the third-largest smartphone maker.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • New Crash Test Dummies Reflect Rising American Bodyweight
    Ever thought that all those crash-test dummies getting slammed around in slow-motion were reflecting an unrealistic, hard-to-achieve body image? One company is acting to change that, with some super-sized (or right-sized) dummies more in line with current American body shapes: Plymouth, Michigan-based company Humanetics said that it has been manufacturing overweight crash test dummies to reflect growing obesity trends in the U.S. Humanetics has been the pioneer in crash test dummies segment since the 1950s. But now, the company's crash test dummies are undergoing a makeover, which will represent thicker waistlines and large rear ends of Americans.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Australian Gov't Tries To Force Telcos To Store User Metadata For 2 Years
    AlbanX writes The Australian Government has introduced a bill that would require telecommunications carriers and service providers to retain the non-content data of Australian citizens for two years so it can be accessed — without a warrant- by local law enforcement agencies. Despite tabling the draft legislation into parliament, the bill doesn't actually specify the types of data the Government wants retained. The proposal has received a huge amount of criticism from the telco industry, other members of parliament and privacy groups. (The Sydney Morning Herald has some audio of discussion about the law.)

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps
    An anonymous reader writes Scientists of the Northeastern University, in collaboration with European scientists, developed a modeling approach aimed at assessing the progression of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and its international spread under the assumption that the outbreak continues to evolve at the current pace. They also considered the impact of travel restrictions, and concluded that such restrictions may delay by only a few weeks the risk that the outbreak extends to new countries. Instead, travel bans could hamper the delivery of medical supplies and the deployment of specialized personnel to manage the epidemic. In the group's page, there's also an updated assessment of the probability of Ebola virus disease case importation in countries across the world, which was also invoked during the Congressional Ebola debate. The group also released a map with real-time tracking of conversations about Ebola on Twitter. Policy makers and first responders are the main target audience of the tool, which is able to show a series of potential warnings and events (mostly unconfirmed) related to Ebola spreading and case importation.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • One hard ghoulie: 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins
    Take me dancing naked in the… graveyard
    Antique Code Show In the build-up to the Halloween of 1985, Capcom lobbed this little box of horrors into the unsuspecting crowd of arcade dwellers. With mid-'80s goggles on, it’s easy to see why Ghosts ‘n Goblins gathered attention with its spooky but colourful visuals, alongside some memorably atmospheric ditties and effects.…

  • Facebook says vendor secrets forced it to homebrew switches
    Director of technical ops spills how switch vendors keep diagnostic tricks to themselves
    It's four months since Facebook first launched its Wedge switch and accompanying FBOSS operating system. Some forms of Wedge are in production and others are in testing, so El Reg decided to talk with Facebook's director of technical operations, Najam Ahmad, to see where The Social Network is at with its software-defined networking (SDN) efforts.…

  • FIFTEEN whole dollars on offer for cranky Pentium 4 buyers
    Miracle of US legal system delivers almost-resolution to long-running class action
    Intel will fork over fifteen whole American dollars to folks who feel that it and HP misrepresented the performance of Pentium 4 CPUs released way back in the year 2000.…

  • Danish court finds Pirate Bay cofounder guilty of hacking CSC servers
    Jury doesn't buy 'evil hackers pwned my computer' defense
    Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, cofounder of the Pirate Bay, has been found guilty of hacking charges by a court in Denmark, which ruled that he and a 21-year-old accomplice had hacked US technology company CSC to gain access to Danish government servers.…

  • EE launches 150Mbps '4G+' in Central London
    LTE-A - Faster phones for Hoxton Hipsters
    Mobile network EE has announced that higher speed LTE-A is now available in select areas. This will give speeds of up to 150Mbps.…

  • BT: Consumers and cost cutting save the day
    Telco adds 88,000 broadband users, sees 4.38bn in sales
    Cost cutting and 88,000 new broadband punters helped BT bank more profits in calendar Q3, although revenues went in the opposite direction as all divisions outside of the consumer wing reported declining fortunes.…

  • Apple dealer CANCOM: We're RAKING IT IN
    EBITDA doubles year-on-year at the German firm
    Apple dealer CANCOM has announced whopping third-quarter results, way in excess of the same period last year, citing that old favourite "solid business demand".…

  • Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
    Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
    Speculation is rife that the Antares rocket accident at Wallops on Tuesday evening was caused by the 1960s-era Russian engines powering the craft, though the official investigations have only just begun.…

  • Making an entrance: Remote door-opening tech
    Personal portal peace of mind
    Breaking Fad For a lot of Reg readers, home automation is probably an internal affair – that is, if you're using technology, it's probably to control things inside the home, like heating, lighting and so on. And indeed, that also makes up the bulk of what's available when it comes to the major suppliers.…

  • Samsung's flagging phone fortunes hit profits hard
    Net earnings nearly halve in the third quarter compared to last year
    Samsung has promised to shake up its smartphone line-up to try to win back some of the ground it has lost in the sector, after it revealed that its third-quarter operating profit was the lowest in more than three years.…

  • UK consumers particularly prone to piss-poor patching
    Java a hot spot – new report
    UK consumer patching practices have worsened still further over the last three months, increasing the threat of malware problems, according to a new study by IT security provider Secunia.…

  • All change at the top of HP's enterprise biz
    Same strategy, but can the newbies make it work?
    A change at the top of HP’s enterprise distie team across both European and UK ops may well help solve the disconnect that occurred when a regionally drafted strategy was executed locally.…

  • SkyHawk array swoops down, 136TB claws extended
    Skyera offering more capacity, less power usage
    All-flash array startup and packing density expert Skyera has got itself a new version of its skyHawk array, encompassing a threefold increase in capacity.…

  • Humanity now making about 41 mobes EACH SECOND
    327 MEEELLION mobes shipped in Q3, say very tired analysts
    The world is now manufacturing just under 42 mobile phones a second thanks to an uptick in global production, IDC's presumably-very-tired handset-counters say.…

  • Amazon's hybrid cloud: EC2 wrangled by Microsoft's control freak
    Plug-in for System Centre gives Windows Server control of Bezos' bit barns
    Hybrid clouds are the new black: world+dog has decided that some workloads just won't ever ascend into the elastosphere, but that running a private and public cloud from separate control freaks is a dumb idea.…

  • NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
    'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
    NASA boffins are chuffed as ninepence this week to announce that they have discovered unmistakable signs of a crashed spacecraft far away from the Apollo landing sites on the far side of the Moon.…

  • Remember Internet2? It's now a software-defined metacloud
    Boffins can slice network into their own private connections for research and fun
    America's Internet2 research network is embracing the cloud, launching an SDN implementation designed to let academics create their own private clouds.…

  • Carders offer malware with the human touch to defeat fraud detection
    Huge credit card heists mean crims want to cash out - fast
    A new cybercrime tool promises to use credit card numbers in a more human way that is less likely to attract the attention of fraud-detection systems, and therefore be more lucrative for those who seek to profit from events like the Target breach.… offline for now

  • GTK+ 3.16's New GtkGLArea Widget Gets Improved
    Earlier this month GTK+ 3.16 development code gained native OpenGL support. This GTK+ OpenGL support involved adding support for wrapping an OpenGL context for native windows with GLX on X11 and EGL on Wayland to use OpenGL to paint everything. A GtkGLArea widget was also added for providing OpenGL drawing access within GTK+ applications. The GtkGLArea has already seen some more improvements to better GTK's OpenGL support...

  • X.Org Server 1.17 ABI Bumped
    For those wondering whether there's ABI breakage with this week's X.Org Server 1.17 Release Candidate, there is indeed some breakage that will warrant the proprietary driver ABIs to be updated and released...

  • Windows 8.1 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 With Intel HD Graphics
    For those curious how the latest open-source Intel Linux graphics driver is performing against Intel's newest closed-source Windows OpenGL driver, we've put Ubuntu 14.10 (including a second run with the latest Linux kernel / Mesa) against Microsoft Windows 8.1 with the newest Intel GPU driver released earlier this month.

  • GNOME 3.15.1 Released
    The first development snapshot for the GNOME 3.15 cycle is now available, which will end up being GNOME 3.16 come next March...

  • GLAMOR Acceleration Continues To Be Cleaned Up
    Now that X.Org Server 1.17 RC1 has been released with a focus on improving GLAMOR and integrating the xf86-video-intel DDX, Keith Packard has written a blog post about the work that has gone on so far since GLAMOR's inception for optimizing and cleaning up this 2D-over-OpenGL acceleration method...

  • Btrfs On 4 x Intel SSDs In RAID 0/1/5/6/10
    Earlier this month I published Btrfs RAID benchmarks on two HDDs but as some more interesting results are now Btrfs RAID file-system benchmarks when testing the next-generation Linux file-system across four Intel Series 530 solid-state drives. All RAID levels supported by the Btrfs file-system were benchmarked atop Ubuntu 14.10 with the Linux 3.18-rc1 kernel: RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10 levels along with testing a Btrfs single SSD setup and a Btrfs file-system linearly spanning all four drives.

  • MIAOW: An Open-Source GPU Design Based On AMD's Southern Islands
    A new open-source GPU design has been published designed to run on FPGAs... What makes this "open hardware" project more interesting than past designs is that their compute unit was designed around AMD's public "Southern Islands" instruction set architecture...

  • 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Driver Comparison
    As a follow-up to last week's Ubuntu 14.04 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 AMD Performance Comparison and yesterday's Radeon R9 290: Gallium3D vs. Catalyst driver comparison, here's taking things further in looking at the performance of the open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver in several configurations while compared against the closed-source AMD Catalyst graphics driver as found on Ubuntu 14.10.

  • OpenGL 4.x Support For Mesa Still Inching Along
    While there hasn't been much to report on lately with regard to major OpenGL 4.x advancements, the OpenGL 4.0+ support is still being worked on by the open-source developers wishing to expose GL4 compliance within the Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau Linux graphics drivers, among other potential Mesa/Gallium3D drivers...

  • AMD's R300 Gallium3D Driver Enables VDPAU Again
    For those stuck running on the R300g driver, which supports the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) series and older GPUs, you really should consider upgrading your graphics card and likely your system. But if you're set on using the R300g driver going into the foreseeable future, you might as well upgrade Mesa...

  • AMD Radeon R9 290 On Ubuntu 14.10: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst
    Our latest performance benchmarks of last week's release of Ubuntu 14.10 is looking at the performance of an AMD Radeon R9 290 "Hawaii" graphics card using the latest open-source (RadeonSI Gallium3D) graphics driver code compared to the Catalyst driver that's packaged for Ubuntu 14.10. The latest open-source tests do include the in-development Linux 3.18 kernel and Mesa 10.4-devel.

  • Wayland Live CD Updated With New Capabilities, A SDL2 Wayland Game
    Rebecca Black OS, what's become the most common Linux Live CD/USB environment for showing off Wayland progress and various Wayland-related features for the Linux desktop, is out in updated form. The revised Rebecca Black OS spins offer various new features and are riding off the very latest Wayland code...

  • Openage: Making Age of Empires II Open-Source
    Like Xoreos, GemRB, and OpenMW that seek to remake popular proprietary games/engines as open-source, Openage is another such project and it's seeking to free the once popular Age of Empires II game...


  • HTC's recovery stays on track by the slimmest of margins

    When a company like HTC has been on a year-long losing streak, it's hard to work out if its earnings for this quarter are a cause for celebration or despair. Last quarter, you see, the One M8 helped the company achieve a huge turnaround, pulling down a $92 million profit after a series of losses. This time out, the news is goodish, since while the company did make a profit, it was just $19 million - but considering that HTC was losing money this time last year, it's better than nothing. As far as products are concerned, the M8 is still doing well, and lower-end phones like the Desire 610 and 820are getting plenty of attention from carriers and consumers. Hopefully sales of the HTC-made Nexus 9 and the RE camera will help the company maintain its promise to keep raking in cash rather than handing out IOUs.

    Filed under: Cellphones, HTC


    Source: HTC (.PDF)

  • Sony loses a little less money thanks to the PlayStation 4

    If you're rooting for Sony to pull through recent tough times, it's still a cliffhanger, according to its latestearnings report. On the plus side, PS4 sales have been stellar, up 83 percent over last year at 310 billion yen ($2.8 billion). The good news drops off sharply from there, however, especially with mobile. Though sales in that division were up slightly from last year, it managed to lose 172 billion yen ($1.5 billion). Since most of Sony's other divisions fared okay, that means its 86 billion yen ($770 million) operating loss can be directly chalked up to its mobile division. Though it warned investors that smartphone sales would be dismal, Sony decided nevertheless decided to fire its mobile division's CEO, Kunimasa Suzuki, and replace him with VP Hiroki Totoki.

    Filed under: Cellphones, Gaming, Tablets, Mobile, Sony


    Source: Sony

  • Google Wallet can now auto-withdraw from banks and send low balance alerts

    You can't exactly use Google Wallet everywhere you go just yet, but if you do use it often enough to warrant semi-regular transfers from your bank, then you'll love its latest update. Now, you can activate recurring bank transfers, even pick the amount and the schedule (say, once a month or so) you want, to automatically replenish your digital dollars. That's especially useful if you depend on the physical Wallet card, which spends that balance every time it's charged. But in case Wallet balance doesn't matter as much -- say, you have an NFC-enabled Android phone and prefer to tap and pay mostly using credit -- then, you can also just program the app to let you know if it's almost out of cash. These features are available for both iOS and Android, as you can see after the break, but you can only use the tap-and-pay option if your NFC phone runs KitKat or higher.

    Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Google


    Source: Google+, Google Commerce

  • Google wants more companies to highlight actionable content on Inbox app

    Google has been making it easier for more and more third-party companies to take advantage of its products' features recently. For instance, it's now taking airlines, restos and event venues (among others) by the hand, showing them how to use the new Inbox app's Highlights feature to their advantage. Like its name implies, "Highlights" finds pertinent info or actionable items within an email and shows them right within the email list. So, if you're eating out or prepping for a flight, you can confirm your reservation or check in without having to access the email itself. Devs simply need to mark up the parts they want to surface to make that happen -- we doubt they'll have a tough time doing so, since Google even offers full sets of instructions and sample codes they can look at. Just recently, the tech giant also made it simpler for devs to add the "OK Google" voice command to their creations, letting you do queries within an app without lifting a finger.

    Filed under: Misc, Google


    Source: Google Developers

  • Samsung's all-metal Galaxy A5 and A3 are its slimmest smartphones ever

    A unibody metal body, 5-inch AMOLED display, 13-megapixel camera, a claim as Samsung's "thinnest smartphone to date" and yet, this isn't a flagship smartphone. Especially for Halloween - or not related at all - the Galaxy A5 and A3 yet more smartphones from Samsung, measuring at 6.7mm and 6.9mm thickness. (So, er, just as thin as the Galaxy Alpha?) They may not be close to the thinnest smartphone but with a metallic body, it's still quite an interesting proposition. They're both apparently geared at the youth, with Samsung's own press release praising its social network skills (extending to a GIF maker and 4G connectivity...) and the five-megapixel front-facing camera, because selfies, but given the notion of a metal-framed Galaxy phone, other crankier demographics might also be tempted.

    The Galaxy A5 is the five-inch model, with a 720p Super AMOLED display and a 1.2GHz processor -- it's a relatively middleweight specification but it's probably what ensures Samsung were able to squeeze down the dimensions. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A3 has a 4.5-inch qHD Super AMOLED screen, and the same processor. The camera here dips down to a 8-megapixel model, but you'll still get the full 5MP whack of the front-facing camera. Both devices are set to launch in China next month, with other select markets to follow, although like many a Galaxy phone before them, we might not see a mainstream launch in the west.

    Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Samsung


    Source: Samsung

  • Next Thursday you can ask Mark Zuckerberg anything
    Poking still a thing?" That's the question I'd ask Mark Zuckerberg if I ever had the chance. And next week, I might get an answer. Just about anyone could get a query answered by the Facebook CEO, actually, when he holds the first community question and answer session on the site. Writing on his profile (naturally), he says that this is an extension of weekly Q&As that let employees pick his brain about everything from current events to the company's direction. Zuck says he'll try to get through as many questions as possible in an hour, and the whole shebang will even be livestreamed on its Event page sometime next Thursday.

    Want to make sure he sees yours? Leave it as a comment on the Event page and start a Liking campaign -- from the sounds of it, only the top questions will get answered. Over 2,000 questions have been posted since the note went live, so you'd better start rallying your pals if you hope to stand out.

    [Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Internet, Facebook


    Source: Q&A With Mark (Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)

  • Warblr can identify that bird just by hearing its song
    its Kickstarter page. Then, after making the ID, it presents the most likely suspects. Pretty simple, yeah? The folks behind the app say that one of the intentions is to add geo-tracking to, well, track what species are being found where -- useful for the likes of zoologists and ecologists to monitor migration patterns, for one.

    The accuracy has been rated around 95 percent under optimum conditions and has even been validated by a Brazilian bird identification organization. As of now, the crowdfunding campaign has tallied 4,096 (around $7,850) of its 50,000 (approximately $80,000) goal and aims to launch next spring when the birds start flying again. Buy-in starts at the 25 tier ($40), and we're guessing that the app won't work for feathered pals of the angry variety.

    [Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile


    Via: CNBC

    Source: Kickstarter

  • Kodak's new action cam offers 360-degree views of your stunts

    Kodak has already thrown its hat into the action cam fray, but its new gadget offers a much wider view of the goings-on. The company's PIXPRO SP360 effort captures footage with 360-degree views in full HD (1080p), which it says is capable of creating "fully immersive images" without having to employ a fleet of cameras. With a dome-shaped fixed lens up top, the diminutive device records the aforementioned video at 30 fps with a 16-megapixel MO sensor, while offering Front (212 degrees), Split (180-degree front and rear views at the same time), Dome (214 degrees) and Sphere (360 degrees) modes for alternative vantage points.

    As you might expect, the unit packs WiFi connectivity for syncing up with a mobile device of computer for remote viewing and controls from up to 65 feet away. In addition to being splashproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof, the SP360 features a motion sensor that can automatically start recording when it picks up movement. And it can snap 10-megapixel stills of all the action, too. Pricing starts at $349, but if you're looking to pick up the kit that includes a waterproof case and both bar and adhesive mounts, you'll need to fork over an additional $50.

    Sean Buckley contributed to this report.

    Filed under: Cameras


    Source: Kodak

  • Researchers use wearable sensors to better communicate with dogs

    Sometimes it can be difficult to get your canine companion to get the commands you're giving, but there could be an easier way in the future. Researchers at North Carolina State University are working on a means to improve those communication skills with the help of a smattering of gadgets. The team developed a harness that carries tech for two-way chatting, packing sensors that monitor posture to pick up on a dog's behavioral cues. There are also haptic items built in to enhance the human portion of the equation with software that interprets speech into easily understood signals.

    In addition to conversation, the harness has heart-rate and body temperature sensors to keep tabs on Fido's health, in addition to his or her emotional state. Possible applications are widespread, and the device can be customized with items like cameras and microphones for specific tasks -- such as search and rescue. Right now, there's a fully functional prototype, but the group plans to keep refining its design as its trials continue. "This platform is an amazing tool, and we're excited about using it to improve the bond between dogs and their humans," says Dr. Barbara Sherman, a professor of animal behavior at the NC State.

    Filed under: Wearables


    Source: NC State University

  • Don't call Timex's Ironman One GPS+ a 'smartwatch' (hands-on)

    The last time we thought about Timex, we were still using landlines and adjusting the tracking on the VCR so that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze would display properly. Remember "Indiglo"? That's still a thing, apparently! Anyway, Timex is making a smartwatch, though it's not quite the same kind of smartwatch that the likes of Samsung and Apple are offering. It's more "fitness band" than smartwatch, though it does have the ability to make phone calls (emergency calls, anyway) and act as a GPS. I'm gonna call it a "crossover" smartwatch: it's got a ruggedized exterior capable of diving 50 meters (150 feet) under water, a 3G worldwide connection provided (free for one year, $40/year after) by AT&T, 4GB of internal storage (for music), and a tiny (1.5-inch, Mirasol) screen. It's also dramatically more expensive than other smartwatches/fitness bands out there at $399 for the base model. But maybe it's super rad? We visited Timex reps in New York City this afternoon to find out.

    The first, most important thing to know about Timex's Ironman One GPS+ is that it's not really a smartwatch. Are people going to compare it to smartwatches? Yes, yes they are. Timex insists it's not a smartwatch. What is it? It's a really expensive health band. It's a "sports fitness" device. But it's not a smartwatch.

    I can corroborate that assessment, as nothing about the Timex Ironman One GPS+ feels like a smartwatch. It's got a ruggedized exterior. It's got four appropriately rugged buttons. It's got a 1.5-inch Mirasol touchscreen, which looks and operates more Ironman than Galaxy Gear. The strap is tough rubber. Everything about the One GPS+ looks and feels like a sports device.

    That unfortunately includes the software, which is sluggish and bare bones. If you're used to the world of GPS watches and health/fitness wearables, the One GPS+ will feel right at home in this respect. The software's functionality delivers; but the experience using it? Not so much. As such, Timex has offloaded much of the device's settings to a web-app, which then wirelessly pushes those settings to your watch via that 3G AT&T connection. This enables you to add contacts and subsequently set those contacts as "Angels" (people who can track you for safety purposes), to offload saved data, and to sync that data with a variety of fitness apps. This is really the story of most smartwatches/fitness wearables: limited functionality on the device itself, with a connected computer to handle fine tuning. It's a solid solution, but feels more and more like a workaround as these devices get more and more complex.

    For instance! You can save up to 4GB of music on the One GPS+. But who wants to navigate that many songs on a 1.5-inch screen with finicky touch? Touch controls work fine on a watch when all you're doing is starting and stopping a timer. When it comes to scrolling through thousands of songs to find one, I'm more inclined to stick with my phone.

    So, why does Timex's Ironman One GPS+ cost $400? An AT&T rep told me that this device should really be compared to other GPS wearables on the market rather than smartwatches. In that respect, it's priced competitively -- Garmin's equivalent is $450 for the base model. So, if you're in the market for a portable GPS fitness watch, Timex's new device may be a decent deal.

    For the rest of us who compare this to the countless other wearable tracking devices, it's a very, very pricey smartwatch with relatively limited functionality. And that's fine -- this isn't really for us.

    Filed under: GPS, Peripherals, Wearables, Software, Mobile, AT&T


  • I typed my entire BlackBerry Passport review on the phone's tiny keyboard

    Apparently I'm a masochist.

    That's an odd way to begin a review. But to give BlackBerry's latest handset, the Passport, as thorough a review as possible, I decided to type the entire thing from the phone itself. My twisted idea came from a realization that this (mostly) square oddity is the first phone with a physical keyboard that I've used since the Motorola Droid 4 in 2012 or the BlackBerry Q10 in 2013. It's not even a normal keyboard by modern smartphone standards -- it's a flattened, hybrid setup with both physical and virtual elements and a curiously placed space bar. Needless to say, it's an odd device, one that truly deserves the ultimate test: Can I use it to crank out several thousand words of text?

    Of course, there's more to the Passport than just its odd shape and the company's desire to resurrect a now-antiquated smartphone feature. I'm going to dive into what sets this phone apart from the hundreds of others already on the market -- that is, if my thumbs hold up through the experience.

    Whenever I whip out the Passport -- which understandably got its name for having the same dimensions as a real passport -- I hear mutterings of disbelief that a product like this even exists. Saying it's unique is an understatement: The only device that looks remotely similar is the LG Optimus Vu, a nearly square, all-screen phone from 2012. I'll give credit to BlackBerry where it's due: Its bizarre design got people talking.

    Indeed, buzz is something BlackBerry hasn't enjoyed for a long time. Before the Passport, its most recent handset quietly debuted in February: the Z3, a modest touchscreen device designed for emerging markets like Indonesia. This is the first piece of hardware the phone maker has launched globally in well over a year. And not only that, but it also has the most competitive specs of any BlackBerry in years.

    At 128 x 90.3mm, the phone really is as wide as it seems -- it's wider than most large-screened phones on the market -- but BlackBerry insists this is a feature rather than a setback. Because it's using a 4.5-inch square display that's 30 percent wider than an average 5-inch phone, the company claims you'll read up to 60 characters per line and get a better viewing experience. In a way, that's true: I enjoyed reading articles and e-books on the Passport because text didn't have to wrap or get cut off as often, but the trade-off was an awkward one-handed fit and more frequent vertical scrolling.

    The two-handed typing experience was a little better than I expected it to be. As my thumbs type, my hands naturally cradle the back to prevent the device from slipping out. This is essential because the three-row keyboard sits so low on the device that the center of gravity is different than on most phones, but I never truly felt like I was going to drop it while typing. When I'm not typing, however, I want to be able to use my phone one-handed; sadly, this is incredibly uncomfortable when I'm using the Passport in portrait mode because of its width, and is especially noticeable when you try to hold it up to your ear.

    I asked a BlackBerry rep how the company expects people to use the device one-handed, and he responded by flipping the phone sideways. As I'll discuss in the next section, the keyboard has a touch-sensitive trackpad that lets you hold the Passport sideways and scroll through websites, emails or Twitter feeds by moving your thumb up or down on the keyboard. It's clever, but there are still clear interruptions in the user experience, which I'll cover in the software section.

    That said, it's still awkward no matter which way you hold it, because it's short and heavy. Its weight (196g) is reason enough to hold the thing with two hands as often as you can. But at least in return you get a robust build, with solid materials that feel like they can withstand plenty of abuse. It's got a stainless steel frame that lines the 9.3mm sides and also sits in between the keyboard rows; the back uses soft-touch plastic, with the exception of a camera module interrupting a single line of metal near the top. The display is covered with a slab of Gorilla Glass 3.

    The Passport's screen isn't going to win any medals, but it's got a few pros and cons. Regardless of how you feel about the shape and size of the 4.5-inch square LCD panel, its 1,400 x 1,400 resolution, which equates to a pixel density of 453 ppi, delivers a good viewing experience -- at least in terms of its easy-to-read text and pleasing visuals. But despite having settings to adjust white balance and color saturation, it still appeared much warmer, less saturated and less vibrant than most flagship phones (default or otherwise). White screens look closer to mother of pearl, while the darks are roughly the same grayish-black as most LCDs. Viewing angles are about average for a flagship. The most impressive aspect of the screen, however, is its outdoor visibility. It's one of the best I've ever seen; I had absolutely no problem reading the display in direct sunlight, which can't be said about most devices on the market. In fact, it was noticeably better than the Note 4, which is near the top of the class.

    The Passport has a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button on the top, with a micro-USB/micro-HDMI port and stereo speakers on the bottom. The left side is bare, but the right features volume up/down buttons separated by a convenience key used for BlackBerry Assistant and media play/pause. The device is adorned with four mics, including one hidden in the phone earpiece. There's a 2MP front-facing camera above the display and to the right of a notification LED and other sensors.

    Around back, there's a 13-megapixel camera and LED flash, as well as a removable section above the metal separator, which is where you'll find the nano-SIM and microSDXC slots. You'll also get a hefty 3,450mAh battery, but you won't be able to remove it.

    As I mentioned in the introduction, the Passport keyboard is unlike any other I've tried on a smartphone. This isn't simply a matter of me going back to my roots as a BlackBerry owner years ago and getting reacquainted with the traditional layout used on the Bolds and Curves; I have to learn a brand-new design.

    I suppose that's part of the fun. This company, despite never-ending layoffs and turmoil, has churned out an impressive feat of engineering. The three-row keyboard doubles as a touch-sensitive trackpad that adds gestures to the typing experience in a very clever way. With it, BlackBerry has evolved an old-fashioned keyboard into something fresh and -- dare I say -- innovative.

    That's not to say it doesn't require a significant learning curve. It's not an easy board to master in a few days, but once you do, you have access to a powerful tool. Just like on most BlackBerrys of old, each key has angled frets to help your fingertips know exactly where to press. It's difficult to get used to the space bar, which is now snuggled between the V and B keys; it's also weird to adjust to the lack of symbol or number keys, since only the backspace and return keys are featured. Where's everything else? In a virtual keyboard at the bottom of the screen, which can change dynamically depending on the app you're using and the type of message you're writing. The default for most scenarios is a row of six symbols, a shift key and number button, but sometimes a number row will pop up above the symbols; when you hit the number button, a full grid of characters appears and takes up over half of the screen.

    The usual BlackBerry keyboard shortcuts (even the custom ones) haven't gone anywhere; neither has the space bar double-tap to insert a period. However, gestures are the real deal here: You can now double-tap any part of the board to pull up a cursor, which then gives you options for selecting text, copy/paste and so on. Holding the shift button while using the keyboard as a trackpad lets you select multiple lines of text. Swiping left deletes full words at a time. Swiping down pulls up a virtual symbol pad on the screen (which maps each symbol to a hotkey on the physical board). And swiping up toward a word-prediction suggestion automatically inserts that word. Additionally, you can use the trackpad to scroll up and down on apps, websites and other areas. This comes in most handy when you're reading articles or feeds and want to browse everything one-handed; without this feature, one-handed use on such a wide and awkward phone would be more awkward than it already is.

    Word predictions are an essential part of today's smartphone keyboards, and BlackBerry does an inconsistent job. For example, as I typed "one-handed" in the last paragraph, it predicted the term early on the first time, but took more keystrokes to figure it out the next two times. Also, after typing my first name in emails, it only predicted my last name half of the time, if that. (The other times, it'd predict "Pitt.") It also had difficulty predicting the end of many well-known metaphors and idioms, like "ducks in a row" or "penny for your thoughts." In fact, I typed out the beginning of 20 of the most popular idioms and it only succeeded at guessing the final word of five of them.

    The constant transitioning from physical to virtual boards is also confusing and jarring. It's not uncommon for me to type random punctuation marks in the middle of my words because my thumb occasionally hits the virtual keys when I'm actually trying to type letters in the top physical row. It's also frustrating that in most scenarios, I have to do an extra action before getting to type numbers -- either swiping down or hitting the virtual key. And if I need to type a string of multiple numbers in a row, the latter is my only option.
    BlackBerry 10.3

    Let's get the obvious out of the way: Nobody is moving to BlackBerry for its robust ecosystem of apps. To make up for the fact that developers simply aren't rushing to make BB10 apps, the company has done the best it can to provide enough meaningful programs and content for its users. Now on version 10.3 of its OS, BlackBerry has come a long way from when BB10 debuted a year and a half ago, but it's not far enough to be competitive. Unfortunately, it's instead a hodge-podge of options that confuses most users: two app stores and a method of sideloading Android 4.3 (or lower) apps.

    In addition to BlackBerry World, the company partnered with Amazon to bring its app store to BB 10.3. While this means users have easy access to more Android apps, it's still restrictive because its catalog has fewer than 300,000 offerings (smaller than the Windows Phone store) and many of the most-used apps aren't there. In addition to the obvious gap in Google services, you'll also find that Netflix, Instagram and Firefox are missing, as well as popular games like Dead Trigger, Asphalt and Beach Buggy Racing (to be fair, Blitz, the older game, is offered). (Update: Dropbox is natively built into Blackberry OS.) It's definitely not a ghost town, especially when compared to BlackBerry World; you can get apps like Facebook Messenger, Vine,, Zillow and Fruit Ninja, as well as the free app of the day. But it's still a drop in the bucket compared to the Google Play store selection. There are a few third-party alternatives to some of the more popular services, but even those are sparse.

    That said, you can sideload quite a few Android apps on the Passport (which seems to be appropriate, since the square screen matches the square viewfinder the app uses), but you have to know what you're doing. The process involves converting Android APK files into BlackBerry-friendly BAR files, which you can do using online software or manual run commands. Needless to say, this isn't a novice solution. (Update: You actually don't need to convert into BAR anymore; you can directly download the APK onto the device and install it. I tried this out with Instagram and it worked flawlessly. There's also a third-party app called Snap, which acts as a Google Play client. Thanks @Bla1ze and commenters!) The end result isn't flawless either. The current software only supports Android 4.3; it's an improvement over previous versions of BB 10, which restricted you to Gingerbread apps, but not every Android app will work this way. And even when they do work, they won't offer an identical experience to what you'd enjoy on a device that natively runs Google's OS.

    Play Services also don't run here, so you're still limited to third-party apps if you use Google Drive or anything else from Mountain View. The exceptions to this are Gmail and Google Calendar, which I had no problem integrating into BB10 features like the Hub. Speaking of, the Hub is BlackBerry's universal message box, and it's one of the best I've ever used. This is part of the company's heritage: Messaging was one of the reasons the company was so successful in its early years. Hub sits prominently to the left of your home screen and houses your social media, email and calendar accounts and organizes it into one handy inbox. So if someone mentions you on Twitter, you can see it right alongside your emails, and can respond to it as if you're in the Twitter app. You can view each account separately if you want as well.

    The Hub isn't new this time around, but 10.3 adds a few features to make it more useful. Dragging down reveals your upcoming calendar appointments. A right sidebar lets you quickly delete messages. And there's also a new action bar, which is a new way to present the most popular actions for each app and service; the highlighted action is prominently featured in a large blue button in the middle, flanked by two smaller action buttons that stay hidden until you do a subtle swipe to reveal them. Unfortunately, the Action Bar is only available on BlackBerry apps, so you won't get it on third-party experiences.

    The Action Bar is but one aspect of the new UI design BlackBerry uses in 10.3. As a whole, the update gives BB10 a flatter, more modern visual style. You'll see this cleaner look almost immediately as you notice the icons in the app grid no longer come with pointless shadows that clutter up precious space. The lock screen comes with a neat new preview mode in which you can see more details about each notification without actually going into the Hub. The home screen, which is where your active apps reside, has been improved. You can fit more frames on the screen and rearrange them in whatever order you want. The active apps actually look a bit like Windows Phone Live Tiles, and when you close one, other apps will get resized to fill the empty space (each tile has a max size and you can fit up to six apps on the screen at that size). If you close all of the apps, the screen will no longer disappear; instead you'll just see a large open screen with phone and camera icons on the bottom corners.

    Aside from the now-shadowless app icons, the grid of BlackBerry apps remains largely unchanged. But now you can start typing from here and the new BlackBerry Assistant pops up, giving you access to search through all parts of the phone for whatever you want (think Spotlight) or for specific tasks. Assistant is the new virtual... well, assistant that is powered by Nuance and closely resembles other platform options like Siri and Cortana. It doesn't have quite the same personality as its competitors, but it takes care of nearly all of the same types of tasks. Set alarms and reminders, send messages, create appointments, send tweets, dictate notes, you name it -- you shouldn't have any problems. Like Siri, it even utilizes Wolfram Alpha to dive into deeper questions like "why is the sky blue?" Granted, it won't listen to your music, nor will it act like Google Now, where it learns your interests and checks your email and calendar for customized alerts or feeds. But it's a solid start for now.

    There are a couple new "Advanced Interaction" gestures, such as flipping your phone over to put it in standby mode; and lifting the Passport off a table to light up the screen. The rest of the usual BB10 gestures are still there, so fortunately you get more options.

    For additional productivity, you'll also have access to the Microsoft Office-compatible Docs to Go (which I'm using to type and save my review text), and Dropbox and Adobe Reader comes preloaded and lets you edit and even sign your PDF attachments. On the social side, on top of the usual Twitter and Facebook options, Story Maker takes your photos and videos and puts them into a highlight reel, just like what HTC, Sony and third-party iOS apps have done. This came out with BB10 last year, but 10.3 adds some new tricks for your videos.
    Blackberry Blend

    Apple's not the only company pushing for Continuity in its latest firmware update -- BlackBerry has been working on its own version for BB10.3. The service, called Blackberry Blend, is an app that you can download on your MacBook, Windows machine and even on Android and iOS tablets. Once your devices are connected, you'll be able to use them to manage and move files back and forth, send and receive messages (BBM, email and text) remotely, access your contacts and calendar and view movies stored locally on your BlackBerry.

    Once you put in your BlackBerry ID, the app sets out to connect your devices, and does so promptly. Your first view is the dashboard, which displays your most recent emails, BBM messages and SMS texts on the top, with your calendar below. If you want to take a deeper dive into any of these, or if you're interested in exploring the file manager, you'll find icons on the bottom row to take you to each one. Once you're there, a rail pops up on the left side with tabs to navigate through the app; there's also a home button on the top-left and settings on the top-right. They're large enough on the PC and Mac versions, but cramped and tiny on the tablets.

    Blend works well, as long as you're in the app. One advantage Apple's version offers is the fact that you can get notifications without having to keep an app open, and you can also make calls from your computer or tablet; not so with Blend. But still, if you're a BlackBerry user who spends a lot of time on other platforms, this will be majorly beneficial.

    (Update: Commenter JamesJohnstone brings up a unique perspective of Blend that I didn't think of: " I believe that when you disconnect from the computer/tablet you were using blend on all the personal stuff goes with it. For me that distinction is critical because I want to be able to do personal text and email from my work computer, and at the end of the day my texts no longer be there. I don't want my SMS messages to be on my iPad at home when I'm at work.")

    Look, if you're in the market for a smartphone with a great camera, BlackBerry has never been worthy of your consideration. It's simply been too focused on wooing corporations and productivity-minded customers to really put much effort in its imaging assets. Ever since BB10 came out, however, the phone maker has changed its tune and pushed out nicer cameras with higher resolution; the Q10 had an 8MP shooter when it came out last year, and BlackBerry is bumping up the quality here with a 13MP rear camera. (The 2MP selfie cam isn't worth writing home about, but it certainly could be worse.)

    Before we even get into the camera quality, my primary issue with the shooter was its buggy behavior. It often took several seconds to load, and an equivalent amount of time to switch settings and modes. Often, I'd have to exit the app after switching to Time Shift, Burst or Panorama because it would become unresponsive and prevent me from actually taking pictures in those modes. Transitioning to the gallery and back occasionally resulted in crashes.

    The UI itself is minimal. There are shutter and video-capture buttons on the bottom next to the gallery and a BB10-style settings sidebar that lets you tweak HDR mode, add a timer, switch to other scenes, go into miscellaneous settings and change the aspect ratio from 1:1 to 4:3 or 16:9. If you want to take full advantage of every megapixel, stick with 4:3; 16:9 uses a resolution of 4,160 x 2,340 (it crops out the top and bottom of a 4:3 image) and 1:1 uses 3,118 x 3,118, which means both ratios come out to roughly 9.7MP.

    Depending on what you're trying to capture, you may see a toast notification along the top saying you might get a better shot by turning on HDR (and you can tap the notification to activate it). It's a neat feature, but it can be difficult to reach when my hands are cradling the bottom of the phone, and I'd rather have a constant shortcut available to turn HDR on and off when I want. It's also missing auto HDR; since the software is smart enough to know when my shots would benefit from the feature, it should be able to make the judgment call on its own. Perhaps BlackBerry cut that out of the user experience because it takes forever for the phone to actually take and process HDR images. (Regular shots aren't all that swift to capture either.)

    You won't find the Passport camera to your liking if you want control over how your photos turn out; manual settings like white balance, shutter speed and ISO aren't available. Aperture's set at f/2.0 and most daylight shots are consistently taken at an ISO of 55 (though shutter speed changes quite a bit depending on the image) to maintain the same amount of noise in each picture. Low-light shots were taken at an ISO of 888.

    With the UI and settings out of the way, it's time to turn to imaging performance. And to my surprise, it was better than I expected -- in fact, I'd dare say it keeps up with many of the other flagship smartphones on the market. White balance holds up well in daylight shots. Colors aren't quite as saturated as the Note 4, but they're more so than the new Moto X; shots are rarely blown out in sunlight and there's plenty of detail for my liking. The HDR mode is definitely not subtle, so several of the images came out with a cartoonish look. This works well in some instances -- especially in those cases where there are some extreme highlights and shadows in the same frame -- but just be extra cautious about which mode you choose for which scenario.

    Low-light performance has potential for greatness. The f/2.0 aperture helps provide plenty of light for my nighttime shots; it actually pulls in more light than the iPhone 6 Plus, though many of the iPhone's images were sharper. There's also a specific Night Mode, which doubles the amount of exposure time in order to bring in even more light, but beware: Focus becomes more difficult, so you get a lot more light but most images will turn out somewhat blurry -- especially in extremely dark scenarios.

    (For a look at my full-resolution photos, go here.)
    Performance and battery life

    The Passport is unquestionably the most powerful BlackBerry ever made. It boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip, which comes with a 2.2GHz quad-core Krait 400 processor and Adreno 330 GPU. Not only that, but it's also blessed with 3GB of RAM. This puts the Passport in good company, since many 2014 flagships come with nearly identical firepower. It's refreshing to see a BlackBerry device that keeps up with the Joneses, and it's the first time this has happened in several years.

    In many scenarios, you can see where the copious amount of memory and raw power from the chipset come in handy. Switching between active apps and browser tabs were incredibly swift tasks, with the phone barely skipping a beat. The device's productivity tools cranked through their tasks gracefully: messages in the Hub, Assistant, Blend and so on.

    Gaming is also mostly a painless experience, but the selection of powerful titles is limited and I relied heavily on puzzle games and free titles that have been on Android for ages (Jetpack Joyride, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds). I was able to download Beach Buggy Blitz, which worked with few frame skips and was a completely smooth experience, but on the flipside, Minion Rush was nothing but a laggy disaster. Obviously, it seems that mileage will vary here, but overall I was pleased with the general performance of the Passport.

    However, my generally smooth experience on the Passport was interrupted from time to time. On multiple occasions, the phone froze on me and required a restart. This is definitely not something I've experienced with the same sort of frequency on any device I've used in the last two or three years, let alone a phone that comes with a Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM inside. This bug didn't seem to fit any particular pattern: Sometimes it happened when I was trying to use the camera, while other times I would be hitting a link to open a new website. I've alerted BlackBerry of the issues and the company is looking into it; I'm hopeful that it's simply a software issue that can be ironed out in a future update.

    On to battery life, which has always been one of BlackBerry's strengths. And with a large 3,450mAh battery to keep your phone alive and kicking, it's still a solid experience. I always had plenty of juice left at the end of the day, and on full days of typing this review on the keyboard and testing the camera, games and other services, I managed to typically have between 20-30 percent remaining. I ran a video loop test, with an HD video playing with some running services in the background, and the device lasted for nine hours and 45 minutes. Of course, I had to use a sideloaded Android app for the test, so it very well could have lasted longer on an app optimized for BB10.3. Regardless, battery life is nothing to worry about.
    The competition

    The Passport will be available in 30 countries by the end of the year, and the price will vary in each. In its home country of Canada, it'll cost $699; in the US, you can buy it through BlackBerry's website for $599 (though it's out of stock as of this writing) or Amazon for around $750 if you simply can't wait any longer. The lower price puts it in direct competition with many flagships on all mobile platforms -- most of them, including the iPhone 6, Samsung GS5 and Nexus 6, are about $650.

    If you want a physical keyboard, the Passport is ultimately your only option right now. There may be some lower-priced devices in emerging markets (the Q10 may still be around in some regions), but this is designed for the high-end business customer. Soon, there will be an alternative -- the BlackBerry Classic, which will come with a keyboard that's much closer to the traditional Curve or Bold design. It won't be as good a performer, but if you need a good keyboard and the Passport's odd design is a little too off the wall for you, your options are extremely limited.

    The Passport is an odd duck; it's difficult to bestow one final judgment that applies to everyone. It's your only choice if you want a high-end phone with a physical keyboard, and it's the best-performing BlackBerry in the lineup. But it also feels niche, thanks to its peculiar shape and keyboard layout. No doubt, the Passport takes some getting used to.

    Once you do, however, it's actually a surprisingly good handset -- the best BlackBerry 10 smartphone so far. It's well-built, comes with clever engineering and software services, has good battery life and features a screen that's easy to read outdoors. But the one-handed experience is also incredibly awkward; the keyboard isn't among BlackBerry's best (typing a 4,700-word review on the thing convinced me of that); and the company continues to struggle in its quest for a thriving and more robust ecosystem. (The fact that it has three methods of obtaining apps and still can't get the biggest titles is a testament to that.) For what it is, it's a solid device. But the problem is figuring out whom it's for, and why it matters. My sore thumbs and I haven't found an answer yet.

    [Editor's note: I typed the full first draft of this review on the Passport, but used my computer for final formatting and edits.]

    Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Mobile, Blackberry


  • Tell us how you really feel about the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4

    Sure, smartphones have been getting larger and larger every year. And for those who really want to go big, large-screen "phablet" Android phones have risen to fill the demand. But iPhone users who wanted a larger screen have always been left wanting -- until last months' release of the iPhone 6 Plus, that is. The 5.5-inch screen makes it the largest iPhone yet, but can it compete with Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 flagship? Now that both devices have been available for a while, we want to know how you, our readers, feel about your big-screen phone. Do you like having more screen real estate? Does the extra 0.2 inch on the Galaxy Note 4 make a difference? How do your favorite apps look on the 6 Plus? Is the stylus on the Note 4 still a draw? If you switched to Android for a big phone, have you switched back to iOS? You read our reviews; now we want to read yours. Leave a user review on the product pages for the iPhone 6 Plus or the Galaxy Note 4 detailing your unique experiences, and we'll be featuring the very best comments about both devices in an upcoming post.
    Comments have been turned off for this post. Head to our database to write your review! If you don't have a forum/database account, sign up here!
    Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Apple, Samsung


  • TalkTalk to join the exclusive 'quad-play' club... sort of

    Earlier this year, Virgin Media became the UK's first 'quad-play' provider, meaning it began offering one-bill bundles that include all four of its services: mobile, landline, broadband and TV. Soon enough, however, TalkTalk will be joining Virgin Media in the exclusive quad-play club. Well... not really, but close enough. Come December, any TalkTalk customers on the Plus TV package (which includes landline and broadband subscriptions) will get a free mobile SIM that includes 100 minutes, 250 texts and 200MB of 3G data each month. Existing customers can also pre-register for a SIM right now if they want it as soon as possible. TalkTalk will technically be offering four services in one when the free SIM deal launches, but is it a true 'quad-play' package when you can't choose your tariff, and you don't actually pay for the mobile element? Nevermind, let's not argue over semantics. A free SIM is a free SIM.

    Filed under: Home Entertainment, Wireless, Internet, Mobile


    Via: Recombu

    Source: TalkTalk

  • James Cameron thinks current VR technology is 'a yawn'
    James Cameron would be excited about the rise of virtual reality in the past couple of years. But not so fast. Yesterday, during an interview at the WSJD Live conference, Cameron expressed that he isn't really impressed by the current stage of VR technology. "There seems to be a lot of excitement around something that, to me, is a yawn, frankly," said Cameron when the topic of virtual reality was brought up. "What will the level of interactivity with the user be other than just 'I can stand and look around'? If you want to move through a virtual reality, it's called a video game. It's been around forever."
    The Oscar-winning director went on to add that he doesn't know if virtual reality will appeal to the mainstream consumer, at least not in its present form. "The question that always occurred to me is: When is it going to be mature; when is it going to be accepted by the public at large; when are people going to start authoring in VR; and what will that be?" he stated. Still, Cameron did say devices such as the Oculus Rift could, eventually, change the way people watch movies, but that the right formula just isn't there yet. "At what point are we going to say cinema is cinema, games are games, is there a new narrative art form that involves aspects of both?"

    [Image credit: Getty Images]
    Filed under: Displays, Internet, Software


    Via: The Hollywood Reporter, IGN

    Source: WSJD Live

  • Netflix is coming to BT TV YouView boxes

    BT today announced its second quarter financial results, but it's not the facts and figures we're interested in, as thrilling as they may be. All but hidden among tables and text is the news that BT's hooked up with Netflix, and pretty soon, the video streaming service will be available on the YouView set-top boxes of BT TV customers. When exactly, we're not sure, though BT told us it'll have additional info to share "in the coming weeks." What's more, to minimize fuss, you'll be able to tag a Netflix subscription onto your normal BT bill. Rumor had it that TalkTalk, which also uses YouView boxes, was in discussions with Netflix, too, so we'd be extremely surprised if TalkTalk didn't make an identical announcement soon. Whether YouView boxes purchased from the company itself will get access to the streaming service is another matter entirely, as direct-to-provider billing might have been key to sealing the deal.

    Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD


    Via: Recombu

    Source: BT

  • Crash test dummies are getting fatter to better represent humanity

    Did you know that if you're on the hefty side, you're 78 percent more likely to die in an automobile accident? It's a statistic that has prompted the world's biggest supplier of crash test dummies to build a model that's more in keeping with our waistline. In an interview with CNN, the CEO of Humanetics reveals that the larger someone is, the more out of position they are in the seat, increasing their risk if the worst should happen. That's why Thor, the latest model to roll off the production line, comes with a frame designed to mimic a 266 pound body as well as complex monitoring system to help determine how to build a better, safer car. That said, we've decided that we're gonna go for a walk around the block, just so that we can fit into our current car seat that little bit better.

    Filed under: Transportation


    Via: ITV

    Source: CNN

  • MSI's latest gaming laptop packs a mechanical keyboard

    Using a laptop for gaming usually means making a few sacrifices, including the keyboard; you often have to make do with thin, flat keys that don't compare to what you get with many desktops. You won't have to compromise on input with MSI's new GT80 Titan, though. The 18-inch behemoth has room for a mechanical keyboard with the Cherry Brown MX switches that many keyboard purists covet. It should not only feel better under your fingers, but work more reliably in the heat of virtual battle. The number pad doesn't get the same treatment, but it's cleverly tucked into the trackpad area to save space.
    The company isn't divulging availability, pricing or additional specs just yet, but it's taking sign-ups if you want to get the full scoop the moment everything is available. It's not hard to spot the large Dynaudio speaker area, though. Also, it's reasonable to presume that a laptop in this class is going to have both high-end horsepower and the large price tag to match -- this is going to be a desktop replacement in every sense.
    Filed under: Gaming, Laptops


    Source: MSI

  • Gold Moto 360 makes a brief appearance at Amazon

    When it comes to jewelry, some folks prefer gold to silver. After debuting its Moto 360 smartwatch in black and silver options, it appears a champagne-hued model is on the way from Motorola. Tipped a brief appearance on Amazon, the $300 wearable sports a matching metal band to complete the look. It appears that two versions with different band widths (18mm and 23mm) will be available when the gadget is properly introduced. Black and silver metal bands also popped up for $80 each before getting pulled, as did a silver Moto 360 with a brown leather strap. The entire lot was showing a 1-2 month shipping time, so we should be seeing the group arrive soon enough. If you'll recall, when the smartwatch first went on sale, Motorola announced plans to debut a pricier option with a metal band this fall, but seems a new color is on the way, too.

    Filed under: Wearables


    Source: Amazon (cached), Phandroid

  • Nottingham's National Videogame Arcade could be the best museum ever

    Nottingham's probably best known for its infamous sheriff, but next year it'll have another claim to fame when a museum dedicated to gaming opens in the city. The National Videogame Arcade, said to be "the world's first cultural centre for gaming," will become the new permanent home to over 12,000 pieces from the National Videogame Archive -- a collection of hardware, software and all manner of other gaming paraphernalia established by the Science Museum and Nottingham Trent University in 2007. Spread over five floors, the museum is being set up to "promote the cultural, economic, educational and social benefits of gaming" by GameCity, an organisation that runs an annual festival and other events that celebrate video games.
    And when it opens in March 2015, it won't simply be another glass-walled storeroom. Temporary exhibitions will complement permanent galleries, and one floor will be devoted to an interactive space that teaches visitors about the game creation process. Best of all, you'll actually be able to play some of the greatest games ever made, instead of just reading about their history and impact. It is an "arcade," after all.
    Filed under: Gaming


    Source: GameCity

  • Try Windows 93 Today
    What if Microsoft released an operating system in the chasm between Windows 3.1 and Windows 95? It might look something like Windows 93, an interactive art project by Jankenpopp and Zombectro that you can try right in your browser.

  • Yosemite Hackintosh with UniBeast and MultiBeast
    Those who are eager to try out OS X Yosemite on any compatible Intel-based PC can follow a simple guide to install the same using UniBeast tool. The UniBeast tool creates a bootable installer via downloaded version of OS X Yosemite.

  • eComStation, OS/2 Warp and WarpStock
    The Warpstock annual conference was held on Oct 24 to 26 on St. Louis, Missouri. These conferences are related to the OS/2 and eComStation platform. Currently there are two reviews of the event online at OS2World and at WarpCity2 blog. Between the relevant news there is a new company called "Arca Noae" that will focus on software development for the platform. They are working on ACPI, USB, Network and other drivers for the platform. Additionally Mensys also gave some light why there haven't been activity on the last year. Arca Noae announced driver releases and software subscription products for the users of this platform.

  • Osquery From Facebook
    Facebook released an open-source tool for monitoring operating system state changes across large infrastructures, which could help engineers quickly diagnose performance and security issues.

  • Microsoft Band: A wearable device with support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone
    It's got a built-in GPS, so you can wear in around and don't have to take your phone. It's svelte and stylish. The display is small (keeping the device small) but it's high resolution and touchscreen. In addition to all the standard quantified self stuff, it supports mail, messaging, calendar, and alerts. It costs $199, and it's on sale now (for preorder). Most importantly, you can load it with Starbucks credit and use it to pay for lattes. Looks like a winner.

  • Windows Update Bricking Counterfeit USB Dongles
    The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It€™s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port, but very useful and probably one of the most cloned pieces of silicon on Earth. Thanks to a recent Windows update, all those fake FTDI chips are at risk of being bricked. This isn€™t a case where fake FTDI chips won€™t work if plugged into a machine running the newest FTDI driver; the latest driver bricks the fake chips, rendering them inoperable with any computer.

  • NoPhone Promises Unparalleled Interaction With Reality
    "The NoPhone is shatterproof, waterproof, doesn't have a camera, is Bluetooth incompatible and probably doesn't bend, but you'll be too immersed in the real world to know or care" reports The Independent. Could well be revolutionary.

  • Visopsys 0.75 Released
    Visopsys is an alternative OS for PC-compatibles. Version 0.75 is the third update this year, and is particularly focused on hardware, adding USB 3.0 (XHCI) and APIC interrupt controller support, as well as improved USB 2.0 and hub support. Downloads are available from here, and details are available in the change log

  • On Asm.js
    Asm.js deserves closer inspection for two reasons. First, it's the one "native browser VM" that doesn't massively reinvent wheels. Second, it's the only time a browser vendor's "next-gen JS" attempts have actually gotten everybody else to pay attention. But what are we transitioning into exactly?

  • Serious wget Security Flaw Discovered
    A critical flaw in the open-source Wget application that is widely used on Linux and Unix systems for retrieving files has been patched quietly. A Metasploit module is available for testing. The disclosure is here. Red Hat's bug report is here.

  • HTML 5 Finalized
    Ars tells us The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry group that oversees the development of the specs used on the Web, today announced that the fifth major version of the hypertext markup language specification, HTML5, was today given Recommendation status, W3C's terminology for a final, complete spec.

  • What's Up With Android and Chrome OS?
    Cnet interviews Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who's in charge of both Android and Chrome OS, and asks whether the two Google OSes will work more closely together or eventually merge. Merger is apparently not on the roadmap. The interview covers operational housekeeping among the Google OS teams, seriously moving into the "phablet" space, anti-theft mechanisms for mobiles,

  • 20 Tips to Use Yosemite Like a Pro
    Macworld UK has the details on minor interface and usability tweaks that are new or expanded in OSX Yosemite. Did you know that RSS support in Safari is back? That you could see an overview of all images that a chat partner has sent? That you can un-flattify the UI somewhat? Or that the super-useful document annotation features in Preview are now even better? Now you do.

  • How to Get Yosemite's Handoff to Work
    I guess today's the day that people finally got around to trying to make Handoff work, because both Time and Gizmodo published short articles outlining the finicky steps it takes to get your Mac and iOS device to recognize each other. The key step seems to be to log off and back on to iCloud in both devices, because as with everything dealing with iCloud, it's a bit of a crap shoot. But when it does work, it's pretty nifty. The best part of the read was one of the comments on the Gizmodo with a classic quote from Anchorman: "60% of the time, it works every time."

  • Weapons of MaaS Deployment
        My Day with Canonical
    I've been researching OpenStack deployment methods lately and so when I got an email from Canonical inviting me to check out how they deploy OpenStack using their Metal as a Service (MaaS) software on their fantastic Orange Box demo platform I jumped at the opportunity.

  • Ubuntu & SUSE & CentOS, Oh My!
    It's Halloween week, and the big names in Linux are determined not to disappoint the trick-or-treaters. No less than three mainline distributions have released new versions this week, led by perennially-loved-and-hated crowd favourite Ubuntu.

  • Easy Watermarking with ImageMagick
    Let's start with some homework. Go to Google (or Bing) and search for "privacy is dead, get over it". I first heard this from Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, but it's attributed to a number of tech folk, and there's an element of truth to it. Put something on-line and it's in the wild, however much you'd prefer to keep it under control. 

  • Promise Theory—What Is It?
    During the past 20 years, there has been a growing sense of inadequacy about the "command and control" model for managing IT systems. Years in front of the television with a remote control have left us hard pressed to think of any other way of making machines work for us.

  • New Products

    Please send information about releases of Linux-related products to or New Products c/o Linux Journal, PO Box 980985, Houston, TX 77098. Submissions are edited for length and content.

  • Discourse
    Back when I started to use the Internet in 1988, there was a simple way to get answers to your technical questions. You would go onto "Netnews", also known as Usenet, and you would post your question to one of the forums. There were forums, or "newsgroups", on nearly every possible topic, from programming languages to religions to humor.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: Remember Burning ISOs?
    I was chatting with a Windows-using friend recently, and he wanted to try Linux on one of his older computers. I always like those sorts of conversations, and so I kept chatting, walking him through setting up Unetbootin to create a USB installer and so on and so on. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get the USB drive to boot.

  • EdgeRouter Lite
    In the September 2014 issue, I mentioned my new router, and I got a lot of e-mail messages asking about how well it works. I can say without hesitation it's the nicest router I've ever owned. And, it was less than $100! 

  • Vagrant
    How many times you have been hit by unit tests failing because of environment differences between you and other team members? How easy is it to build your project and have it ready for development? Vagrant provides a method for creating repeatable development environments across a range of operating systems for solving these problems.

  • What's Happening above Your Head?
    In the past, I've covered various astronomy packages that help you explore the universe of deep space. But, space starts a lot closer to home. It actually begins a few hundred miles above your head. There are lots of things in orbit right above you.

  • The Cow Says, Have Fun!
    Sometimes, when the clock hits 3:00am, and you've been in the server room since 9 o'clock the previous day, you start to get a little batty. That's the only explanation I have for programs like cowsay in Linux. Still, I'm glad they're there, because life wouldn't be nearly as fun without them. Here's a quick list of silly Linux programs off the top of my head.

  • SUSE, MariaDB and IBM team up to tame Big Data
    SUSE and MariaDB (the company formerly known as SkySQL!) officially teamed up today, joining forces with IBM Power Systems, in a partnership that promises to expand the Linux application ecosystem. According to sources at SUSE, customers will now be able to run a wider variety of applications on Power8, increasing both flexibility and choice while working within existing IT infrastructure.

  • diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development
    Kernel configuration has become more and more complex through the years with the proliferation of new drivers, new hardware and specific behaviors that might be needed for particular uses. It has reached about 3,000 config options, and that number will only increase. 

  • Extended File Attributes Rock!
    Worldwide, data is growing at a tremendous rate. However, one recent study has pointed out that the size of files is not necessarily growing at the same rate; meaning the number of files is growing rapidly. How do we manage all of this data and files? While the answer to that question is complex, one place we can start is with Extended File Attributes. Continue reading

  • Checksumming Files to Find Bit-Rot
    In a previous article extended file attributes were presented. These are additional bits of metadata that are tied to the file and can be used in a variety of ways. One of these ways is to add checksums to the file so that corrupted data can be detected. Let's take a look at how we can do this including some simple Python examples. Continue reading

  • What’s an inode?
    As you might have noticed, we love talking about file systems. In these discussions the term "inode" is often thrown about. But what is an inode and how does it relate to a file system? Glad you asked. Continue reading

  • Emailing HPC
    Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading

  • iotop: Per Process I/O Usage
    Based on a reader comment, we take iotop for a spin to see if it can be used for monitoring the IO usage of individual processes on a system. The result? It has some interesting capability that we haven't found in other tools. Continue reading

  • SandForce 1222 SSD Testing, Part 3: Detailed Throughput Analysis
    Our last two articles have presented an initial performance examination of a consumer SandForce based SSD from a throughput and IOPS perspective. In this article we dive deeper into the throughput performance of the drive, along with a comparison to an Intel X-25E SSD. I think you will be surprised at what is discovered. Continue reading

  • Putting Drupal to Work
    Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking. Continue reading

  • SandForce 1222 SSD Testing – Part 2: Initial IOPS Results
    SandForce has developed a very interesting and unique SSD controller that uses real-time data compression. This affects data throughput and SSD longevity. In this article, we perform an initial examination of the IOPS performance of a SandForce 1222-based SSD. The results can be pretty amazing. Continue reading

  • Drupal at Warp Speed
    Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide. Continue reading

  • Chasing The Number
    The Top500 list is a valuable measure of HPC progress, but the race it has spawned maybe over for many organizations Continue reading

  • Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed
    This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but the "social Web browser" has thrown in the towel. Don't cry for the Flock team - they're flying the coop for Zynga to go make Facebook games or something. But Flock's loyal fans are out in the cold. Why'd Flock fail? There's a few lessons to be learned. Continue reading

Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 02:08 PM