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  • Security advisories for Christmas day
    Best wishes to you and yours from LWN ...
    Fedora has updated nss (F21: datasmuggling) and pyxdg (F19: privilege escalation).
    Gentoo has updated libvirt (threedenial of service flaws), ntp (multiplecode execution vulnerabilities), qemu(three vulnerabilities), and rsyslog (threevulnerabilities, one from 2011).

  • [$] Type hinting for Python
    Python is a poster child for dynamically typed languages, butif Guido van Rossum gets his way—as benevolent dictator for life (BDFL), heusually does—the language will soon get optional support for statictype-checking. The discussion and debate has played out since August(at least), but Van Rossum has just posted a proposal that targetsPython 3.5, which is due in September 2015, for including this "typehinting" feature. Unlike many languages (e.g. C, C++, Java), Python'sstatic type-checking would be optional—programs can still be run even ifthe static checker has complaints.
    The full story from this week's edition is available to subscribers below.

  • Kuhn: Toward Civil Behavior
    Bradley M. Kuhn talksabout abusive behavior in the FLOSS community. "In the politicsof Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), some people regularlyengage in behavior right on that line: berating, verbal abuse, andintimidation. These behaviors are consistently tolerated, accepted, andsometimes lauded in FLOSS projects and organizations. I can report fromdirect experience: if you think what happens on public mailing lists isbad, what happens on the private phone calls and in-person meetings is evenworse. The types of behavior that would-be leaders employ would surelyshock you." (Thanks to Paul Wise)

  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Debian has updated mediawiki (cross-site scripting) and sox (code execution).
    Fedora has updated erlang (F21:command injection), freetype (F21: bufferoverflow), ntp (F21: multiple codeexecution vulnerabilities), and qemu (F20: code execution).
    Mageia has updated git (code execution), libjpeg (denial of service), and subversion (denial of service).
    SUSE has updated kernel (SLES11 SP3; SLE11 SP3; SLE11 SP3; SLES11 SP2, SP1: multiplevulnerabilities), ntp (SLE12: two codeexecution vulnerabilities), openvpn (SLE12:denial of service), popt (SLE11 SP3:code execution), and xntp (SLES10 SP4:code execution).

  • [$] The "too small to fail" memory-allocation rule
    Kernel developers have long been told that, with few exceptions, attemptsto allocate memory can fail if the system does not have sufficientresources. As a result, in well-written code, every call to a functionlike kmalloc(), vmalloc(), or __get_free_pages()is accompanied by carefully thought-out error-handling code. It turns out,though, the behavior actually implemented in the memory-managementsubsystem is a bit different from what is written in the brochure. Thatdifference can lead to unfortunate run-time behavior, but the fix mightjust be worse.
    Click below (subscribers only) for the full article from this week's KernelPage.

  • Devuan progress report
    The people behind the Devuan project havereleased a progressreport. Devuan is a fork of Debian without systemd. A repository hasbeen set up at GitLab. "This is the most recent achievement on infrastructure development: last night the first devuan-baseconf package was built correctly through our continuous integration infrastructure, pulling directly from our source repository."

  • Tuesday's security updates
    Debian has updated cpio (denial of service).
    Debian-LTS has updated eglibc (denial of service), firebird2.5 (denial of service), and jasper (two code execution vulnerabilities).
    Gentoo has updated pdns-recursor(multiple vulnerabilities, some from 2009).
    Mageia has updated unrtf (code execution).
    openSUSE has updated unbound(13.2: denial of service).
    Red Hat has updated kernel (RHEL6.4; RHEL6.2; RHEL5.9; RHEL5.6:privilege escalation).
    Slackware has updated ntp(multiple code execution vulnerabilities), php (two vulnerabilities), and xorg (multiple vulnerabilities).
    SUSE has updated ntp(SLE11 SP3, SLES11 SP2: multiple code execution vulnerabilities).

  • NetworkManager 1.0.0 released
    Many of us have used NetworkManager for years, but the project only gotaround to putting out its 1.0.0release now. "This release brings a more modern GObject-basedclient library, many bug fixes and updated translations, more flexiblerouting, hugely improved nmcli with password support, improved nmtui, alight-weight internal DHCP client, 'configure and quit' mode, Bluetooth DUNsupport with Bluez5, VPN connection persistence, improved cooperation withexternal tools, expanded manpages and documentation, WWAN IPv6 support, andmuch much more."

  • Best of open hardware in 2014 ( wrapsup its open hardware coverage for 2014. You'll find pointers to resources andarticles previously published on throughout the year. "Open hardware is the physical foundation of the open movement. It is through understanding, designing, manufacturing, commercializing, and adopting open hardware, that we built the basis for a healthy and self-reliant community of open. And the year of 2014 had plenty of activities in the open hardware front."

  • Security advisories for Monday
    CentOS has updated ntp (C7; C6; C5: multiple code execution vulnerabilities).
    Debian has updated firebird2.5(denial of service), jasper (two codeexecution vulnerabilities), ntp (multiplecode execution vulnerabilities), subversion(denial of service), and subversion(regression in previous update).
    Debian-LTS has updated linux-2.6 (multiple vulnerabilities), ntp (multiple code execution vulnerabilities), qt4-x11 (code execution), subversion (denial of service), and xorg-server (multiple vulnerabilities).
    Fedora has updated ctdb (F20:insecure temporary files), dbus (F19:multiple vulnerabilities), firebird (F21; F20:denial of service), flac (F19: multiplevulnerabilities), gpgme (F21: codeexecution), kernel (F21; F20: multiple vulnerabilities), mantis(F21; F20;F19: multiple vulnerabilities), ntp (F20: multiple code executionvulnerabilities), pcre (F20; F19: information leak), python-tornado (F19: denial of service), pyxdg (F21: symlink attacks), sagemath (F21; F20: cross-site scripting), and unbound (F21; F20: denial of service).
    Gentoo has updated sendmail (information disclosure).
    Mageia has updated c-icap (denialof service), claws-mail (denial ofservice), docuwiki (cross-site scripting),file (denial of service), jasper (two code execution vulnerabilities),krb5 (NULL dereference), nail (command execution), ntp (multiple code execution vulnerabilities),pcre (denial of service), php (code execution), pwgen (two vulnerabilities), x11-server (multiple vulnerabilities), and znc (denial of service).
    openSUSE has updated clamav(11.4: two vulnerabilities), libksba (13.2,13.1, 12.3: denial of service), kernel(13.2: multiple vulnerabilities), ntp (13.2, 13.1, 12.3; 11.4: two code execution vulnerabilities), pdns-recursor (13.1, 12.3: denial of service), and kernel (13.1; 12.3: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Oracle has updated ntp (OL7;OL6; OL5: multiple code execution vulnerabilities).
    Red Hat has updated ntp (RHEL6,7; RHEL5: multiple code execution vulnerabilities).
    Scientific Linux has updated glibc (SL7: code execution) and ntp (SL6,7; SL5: multiple code execution vulnerabilities).
    Ubuntu has updated ntp (multiple code execution vulnerabilities).

  • Severe NTP vulnerabilities
    Here is aCERT advisory warning of a number of code-execution vulnerabilities inthe network time protocol (NTP) implementation. "Thesevulnerabilities could be exploited remotely. Exploits that target thesevulnerabilities are publicly available." Most distributors alreadyhave updates available; applying them seems like a good idea.

  • Kernel prepatch 3.19-rc1
    Linus has sent out 3.19-rc1 and closed themerge window for this release one day earlier than some might haveexpected. "Considering how much came in fairly late, I find it hardto care about anybody who had decided to cut it even closer than somepeople already did. That said, maybe there aren't any real stragglers -and judging by the size of rc1, there really can't have been much."In the end, 11,408 non-merge changesets were pulled into the mainlineduring this development cycle.

  • Tagged memory and minion cores in the lowRISC SoC
    The lowRISC project, which aims to create and manufacture a fully open-source system-on-chip (SoC) and development board, has released a document on its plans to incorporate tagged memory and minion cores into the SoC. Minion cores are separate I/O processors that can be used to implement various I/O protocols without requiring additional hardware in the design."Tagged memory associates metadata with each memory location and can be used to implementfine-grained memory access restrictions. Attacks which hijack control flow can be prevented byusing this protection to restrict writes to memory locations containing return addresses, functionpointers, and vtable pointers. Importantly, we anticipate this can be implemented with a worst-case performance overhead of a few percent and a similarly low area cost. This fine-grainedmemory protection can be used automatically by the compiler, meaning improved security isavailable to existing programs without source code modifications. We intend to provide taggedmemory alongside security features which are already commonly deployed such as secure boot,encrypted off-chip memory, and cryptographic accelerators."

  • EU to fund Free Software code review (FSFE)
    The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has commented on the most recent European Union (EU) budget—approved on December 17—that includes €1 million for auditing free-software programs that are used by the EU governmental bodies. The auditing is meant to find and fix security holes in those programs. "Even though these institutions are tightly locked into non-free file formats, much of their infrastructure is based on Free Software. 'This is a very welcome decision,' says FSFE's president Karsten Gerloff. 'Like most public bodies, the European institutions rely heavily on Free Software for their daily operations. It is good to see that the Parliament and the Commission will invest at least a little in improving the quality and the programs they use.'"

  • Does Facebook have an “unsafe” blacklist of sites that criticize it?
    I’ve written a few blog posts about Facebook, and my view of the company is most definitely a negative one because of its attitude toward the privacy of its users. But I got quite the shock the other day when I read a comment posted by a reader in the thread of an unrelated post that indicates that Facebook might be blacklisting my site.

  • Healthcare one of the most impacted industries by open source
    Healthcare is one of the most urgent socioeconomic issues of our time. This year, saw a variety of news and feature stories about applying the open source way and open source software (including tools) to alleviating the many problems faced by the healthcare industry. Here are this year's best of the best from in open more

  • How to boot into command line on Ubuntu or Debian
    Linux desktop comes with a display manager (e.g., GDM, KDM, LightDM), which lets the desktop machine automatically boot into a GUI-based login environment. However, what if you want to disable GUI and boot straight into a text-mode console because you are troubleshooting a malfunctioning desktop manager?

  • Security in open source, a Google surprise, and more
    In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at the the security of commercial open source, Google's surprise launch of ODF support, Uganda adopting free and open source software, and more.Open source news for your reading pleasureDecember 22 - December 27, 2014read more

  • 2015 Could be the year the cloud finally comes of age
    Each company will have its own level of comfort when it comes to moving their content or workloads to the cloud, but it won't be a question of if, come 2015. It will be a discussion of what and how that will happen. And it's about time.

  • Open data portals should be API [First]
    What is API [First]?Not long ago, I was speaking at the National Association of Government Web Professionals. At the same conference, Mark Headd was speaking. We were speaking on different open data topics. My discussion was about the difference between open government and open data and his talk was about API [First].read more

  • Install Centmin Mod on a CentOS 6 VPS
    Centmin Mod is a shell script which provides menu based installer that allows you to install and manage the latest versions of Nginx webserver, MariaDB/MySQL, PHP and a DNS server on a CentOS VPS, without using a control panel.

  • Punching Out the Week on Boxing Day
    On a personal note, some of you know that I inherited an old PowerBook G4 — yep, PowerPC 32-bit — now with limited options regarding what distro to put on it. It wasn’t like that when I started back in ’06 with Debian on an iMac, but I digress. I tried what few options are left on the PowerPC side, from both Linux and BSD, and the winner — drumroll, please — is Xubuntu.

  • Linux bloated? Think again
    When I first started using Linux, back in the mid-late nineties, a typical Linux installation was roughly four to five CDs and wound up installing applications geared toward scientists, programmers, HAM radio operators, and more. The kernel was built for a small sub-section of hardware it actually had support for (which included a lot of hardware most people didn't have). The typical resources needed to run Linux were quite small. The first machine I ran Linux on was a Pentium II 75 Mhz processor with 56 MB of RAM and an unsupported WinModem (which was eventually swapped out for a US Robotics 36.6 external modem).

  • Old FOSS Friend & Foe Represents Sony in Hack
    Folks who follow news about FOSS, OSS and Linux who also watch the “talking heads” shows the TV networks serve up on Sunday mornings might be excused for not noting that David Boies, the lawyer speaking for Sony on this week’s “Meet the Press,” has on several occasions been involved in news stories affecting Linux. Over the years, he’s played the role of both friend and foe, but it’s been a while since his and the FOSS world’s paths have crossed.

  • Boycott the Marriott and other hotels that block Wi-Fi
    The media has been abuzz with stories recently about how the Marriott hotel has blocked Wi-Fi access in a desperate attempt to get its customers to pay the hotel for Internet access. Yes, the Marriott – a billion dollar corporation – has been attempting to gouge its customers by blocking private Wi-Fi connections, and now the company wants the FCC to give them its blessing.

  • A real-time editing tool for Wikipedia
    Wikipedia is one of the most frequently visited websites in the world. The vast online encyclopedia, editable by anyone, has become the go-to source for general information on any subject. However, the "crowdsourcing" used by Wikipedia opens their doors to spin and whitewashing–edits that may be less than factual in nature. To help journalists, citizens, and activists track these edits, TWG (The Working Group) partnered with Metro News and the Center for Investigative Reporting to build more

  • Open Source Meritocracy Is More Than a Joke
    In January 2014, Github removed the rug in its office's waiting room in response to criticism of its slogan, "United Meritocracy of Github." Since then, the criticism of the idea of meritocracy has spread in free software circles. "Meritocracy is a joke," has become a slogan seen on T-shirts and constantly proclaimed, especially by feminists.

  • Mars Express images and videos for everyone
    As of December 19, the European Space Agency (ESA) is now sharing all of its images and videos from the Mars Express mission under CC BY-SA. ESA is using the intergovernmental organization (IGO) port of CC BY-SA 3.0. ESA is one of several intergovernmental organizations to use the IGO port since we introduced it last more

  • Banana Pi project forks, as competing gen-2 SBCs emerge
    SinoVoip is prepping an Banana Pi “M2″ update built with a quad-core Allwinner A31 SoC, while LeMaker has begun shipping a competing A20-based “Banana Pro.” It appears that the Banana Pi project has forked into two rival groups that are now pushing their own Banana Pi updates: SinoVoip’s “Banana Pi M2,” which is announced but […]

  • Welcome to the Pre-Post-PC Era
    One more prediction: Upon sailing through the Post-PC era, there will be a post-Post-PC era, after the advent of the pre-post-Post-PC era, where people will start thinking, “You know, I had a laptop (or desktop…or both) once where I didn’t have to strain my eyes on such a small screen, and where I actually got stuff done rather than just wasting time.” Or something like that.

  • Unmanagement and unleadership
    Luis Ibanez is a senior software developer at Google. In this short talk he explains what he means by "unmanagement" and "unleadership" and how they can change the course of a more

Linux Insider

  • The Curious Case of the Disappearing Distros
    Well the holidays are pretty much upon us at last here in the Linux blogosphere, and there's nowhere left to hide. The next two weeks or so promise little more than a blur of forced social occasions and too-large meals, punctuated only by occasional respite down at the Broken Windows Lounge. Perhaps that's why Linux bloggers seized with such glee upon a good old-fashioned mystery.

  • Defending the Free Linux World
    The Open Invention Network, or OIN, is waging a global campaign to keep Linux out of harm's way in patent litigation. Its efforts have resulted in more than 1,000 companies joining forces to become the largest defense patent management organization in history. The Open Invention Network was created in 2005 as a white hat organization to protect Linux from license assaults.

  • Docker CTO Solomon Hykes to Devs: Have It Your Way
    Docker has moved from an obscure Linux project to one of the most popular open source technologies in cloud computing. Project developers have witnessed millions of Docker Engine downloads. Hundreds of Docker groups have formed in 40 countries. Many more companies are announcing Docker integration. Even Microsoft will ship Windows 10 with Docker preinstalled.

  • Should We All Be Contributing to FOSS?
    It's surely a testament to the shocking nature of the recent news about Devuan that the Linux blogosphere has been a rather quiet place of late. Yes, there was last week's Turla news, and yes, the holiday season is looming large, likely dampening more than a few spirits. Still, the atmosphere definitely has been subdued down at the blogosphere's seedy Punchy Penguin Saloon.

  • 4MLinux Is So Lightweight It's Anemic
    4MLinux is a unique mini Linux distribution that tries to be what it is not. Its limited-purpose design is too basic for even lightweight distro functions. Much of any benefit users might derive from 4MLinux mimics what already is available from USB-launched pocket Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Porteus and Knoppix. However, much of their advanced functionality is missing from 4MLinux.

  • How Linux Works Is an OS Mechanic's Mainstay
    How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know offers an unglamorous view of the Linux OS. It takes readers behind the GUI into the bowels of command line operations. This second edition of Brian Ward's classic Linux reference book is completely revised. Though it offers something for everyone, casual Linux users run a slight risk of getting lost in some of the verbiage.

  • Turla Trojan Unearthed on Linux
    Turla, a Trojan that has infected hundreds of 32- and 64-bit Windows computers at government institutions, embassies, military installations, educational institutions, and research and pharmaceutical companies over the years, has been found on Linux systems, Kaspersky Lab reported. The company has discovered two variants of the malware running on Linux.

  • Devuan: Unto Us a Fork Is Born
    Well, it happened. We knew it was possible; the signs were all there -- but more than a few of us were still holding out hope. "Things will surely get better," we thought. Then the news came. The rumored Debian fork has now become real, and its name is "Devuan." Dev-what, you may say? "I hate the name; I love the idea," said Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza.

  • Puzzle GNU/Linux: Integrated Pieces Create an Intriguing OS
    Puzzle GNU/Linux is a strange OS distribution that shows the value of open source ingenuity. This Linux distro is built around a hybrid desktop that is highly customizable. You might get the impression when you start using it that the desktop environment is a new creation. It's not -- but Puzzle GNU/Linux does provide a new approach to controlling the user interface.

  • Selling a Non-Product: The Multifaceted OpenStack
    Is OpenStack best deployed as a server distribution, a service from a cloud provider, or something else? At the OpenStack Summit in Paris last month, seven developers participating in a panel discussion failed to reach a consensus. One reason for the debate over deployment methodology is the lack of any clear product designation. OpenStack is more an entity than a product.

  • Is It Time to Give BSD a Try?
    It's not easy to stand by and watch a relationship in trouble. First there's the constant bickering, the growing sense of distance, the discontented grumbling. Next, there are the wandering eyes and intentions, and the seeking out of greener pastures. For many longtime Linux users, the past few months have resembled the first phase of breakdown as the Systemd Inferno has blazed higher and higher.

  • The Open Bay Helps Launch 372 'Copies' of the Pirate Bay In a Week
    An anonymous reader writes isoHunt, the group now best known for launching The Old Pirate Bay, has shared an update a week after debuting The Open Bay. The Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website on the planet, still isn't back following police raids on its data center in Sweden, but its "cause" is very much alive. So far, 372 "copies" of The Pirate Bay have been created thanks to the project. The torrent database dump, which combines content from isoHunt, KickassTorrents (via its public API), and The Old Pirate Bay, has seen 1,256 downloads to date.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Lizard Squad Targets Tor
    mrspoonsi tips news that Lizard Squad, the hacker group who knocked Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network offline on Christmas morning, has now turned its attention to Tor. After tweeting that they were targeting a Tor-related zero-day flaw, the group is now in control of 3,000 exit nodes — almost half of them. "If one group is controlling the majority of the nodes, it could be able to eavesdrop on a substantial number of vulnerable users. Which means Lizard Squad could gain the power to track Tor users if it infiltrates enough of the network."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range
    mrflash818 sends word that Tesla Motors has announced an upgrade for their Roadster vehicles that boosts the range from about 240 miles to almost 400. In addition to the battery improvements made since the Roadster launched in 2008, Tesla has a kit to retrofit the body to reduce its drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.31. They also have new tires, which improve the rolling resistance coefficient by about 20%. They say, "Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0. There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles. We will be demonstrating this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015." Tesla stopped producing the Roadster in 2012.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In
    An anonymous reader writes: Y Combinator's Paul Graham has posted an essay arguing in favor of relaxed immigration rules. His argument is straight-forward: with only 5% of the world's population, the U.S. can only expect about 5% of great programmers to be born here. He says, "What the anti-immigration people don't understand is that there is a huge variation in ability between competent programmers and exceptional ones, and while you can train people to be competent, you can't train them to be exceptional. Exceptional programmers have an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training." Graham says even a dramatic boost to the training of programmers within the U.S. can't hope to match the resources available elsewhere. "We have the potential to ensure that the U.S. remains a technology superpower just by letting in a few thousand great programmers a year. What a colossal mistake it would be to let that opportunity slip. It could easily be the defining mistake this generation of American politicians later become famous for."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Net Neutrality Comments Overtaxed FCC's System
    Presto Vivace writes with news that the FCC has had trouble dealing with the sheer volume of comments submitted about net neutrality. There were millions of them, and they caused problems with the agency's 18-year-old Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). When the FCC attempted to dump the comments into XML format to make download and analysis easier, problems with Apache Solr meant roughly 680,000 didn't make the transfer. The agency promised to release a new set of fixed XML files in January that include all of the dropped comments. Despite many reports that the comments were "lost," they're all available using the ECFS.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • High Speed DIY M&M Sorting Machine Uses iPhone Brain writes: Canoe Tech reports that M&M sorting machines are a popular project for people who like combining electronics, programming and machine building. Most of them send a single M&M down a chute to a simple color sensor where the color sensor will then take a second or two to figure out the color. A servo motor will then rotate a chute that will direct the M&M into the correct pot. But a new project created by the nameless blogger behind the reviewmylife blog that uses an iPhone 5s as its brain is capable of sensing different colors and so can "sort" the M&Ms as they fall past. The iPhone communicates the information via Bluetooth to an Arduino board, which in turn fires off the correct electro magnet controlled gate. One practical application of the sorter could be creating a bowl of M&Ms — with all the brown ones removed.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Crowds (and Pirates) Flock To 'The Interview'
    Rambo Tribble writes: Many of the 300+ theaters showing The Interview on Christmas were rewarded with sell-out crowds. While reviews of the comedy have been mixed, many movie-goers expressed solidarity with the sentiment of professor Carlos Royal: "I wanted to support the U.S." Despite sellout crowds, the movie's limited release meant it only brought in about $1 million on opening day (compared to $10M+ for the highest-grossing films). Curiosity about the film seems high, since hundreds of thousands rushed to torrent the film, and others figured out an extremely easy way to bypass Sony's DRM.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Donald Knuth Worried About the "Dumbing Down" of Computer Science History
    An anonymous reader writes: Thomas Haigh, writing for Communications of the ACM, has an in-depth column about Donald Knuth and the history of computer science. It's centered on a video of Knuth giving a lecture at Stanford earlier this year, in which he sadly recounts how we're doing a poor job of capturing the development of computer science, which obscures vital experience in discovering new concepts and overcoming new obstacles. Haigh disagrees with Knuth, and explains why: "Distinguished computer scientists are prone to blur their own discipline, and in particular few dozen elite programs, with the much broader field of computing. The tools and ideas produced by computer scientists underpin all areas of IT and make possible the work carried out by network technicians, business analysts, help desk workers, and Excel programmers. That does not make those workers computer scientists. ... Computing is much bigger than computer science, and so the history of computing is much bigger than the history of computer science. Yet Knuth treated Campbell-Kelly's book on the business history of the software industry (accurately subtitled 'a history of the software industry') and all the rest of the history of computing as part of 'the history of computer science.'"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • NSA Reveals More Than a Decade of Improper Surveillance
    An anonymous reader writes: On Christmas Eve, the NSA quietly dropped 12 years worth of internal reports on surveillance that may have broken laws, including reports that were illegally withheld and the subject of a FOIA lawsuit in 2009. "The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. ... In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst 'searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,' according to one report (PDF). The analyst 'has been advised to cease her activities,' it said. Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct. Last year, an analyst 'mistakenly requested' surveillance 'of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,' according to another report." Here's there list of reports going back to 2001.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language
    itwbennett writes: A new programming language out of MIT, called Ur/Web, provides a way for developers to write pages as self-contained programs. It incorporates many of the most widely-used web technologies, freeing developers from working with each language individually. Ur/Web's author, Adam Chlipala, an MIT computer science assistant professor, will present his work next month at the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. He says, "In Ur/Web, everything is based on transactions, where a single client request is handled by what looks like an uninterrupted execution of a single function. The language implementation has optimizations in it to support running many requests in parallel, on real servers. But the programmer can pretend everything is a transaction and think in a simpler concurrency model."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day
    DroidJason1 writes Early Christmas morning, hacker group Lizard Squad took credit for taking down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live for hours. This affected those who had received new Xbox One or PS4 consoles, preventing them from playing online. So why did they do it? According to an exclusive interview with Lizard Squad, it had to do with convincing companies to improve their security — the hard way. "Taking down Microsoft and Sony networks shows the companies' inability to protect their consumers and instead shows their true vulnerability. Lizard Squad claims that their actions are simple, take down gaming networks for a short while, and forcing companies to upgrade their security as a result."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology
    Baldrson writes reports that: "Low energy nuclear reactor (LENR) technology, and by extension palladium, is attracting the attention of one of the richest men in the world and a pioneer inventor of new technology... In a recent visit to Italy, billionaire business man, investor and inventor Bill Gates said that for several years he has been a believer in the idea of LENR, and is a sponsor of companies developing the technology... During his trip to Italy he visited the national agency for new technologies energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) where scientists have made significant progress towards a working design for low energy nuclear fusion. The centerpiece of their design is the same as in Mitsubishi's, palladium. Creating palladium foil with just the right parameters, and managing stress levels in the material was a key issue, one that the researchers at EMEA were able to resolve several years ago."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Kodak-Branded Smartphones On the Way
    An anonymous reader sends news about Kodak's latest attempt to come back from the grave. "For a while there it looked like Kodak's moment had come and gone, but the past few months have seen the imaging icon fight back from the brink of irrelevance. Now the company's planning to push a Kodak-branded smartphone, and thankfully it's not going to sue everyone in the business along the way this time. To be clear, Kodak won't actually make its own devices — instead, it's going to farm out most of the development work to an English company called Bullitt."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • PlayStation Game-Streaming Service Comes To Samsung Smart TVs In 2015
    An anonymous reader writes Sony and Samsung are jointly launching the PlayStation Now game streaming service on select Samsung Smart TVs next year. The service will allow users to play PlayStation games without the need of a gaming console. From the article: "...Sony says some 200 PlayStation 3 games will be available to stream, and that the service runs at full functionality, specifically mentioning things like trophies, online multiplayer and cloud-saves for game-progress. Sound familiar? It should because that's how the service works on Bravia TVs and PlayStation game consoles. What's more, all you'll need is one of Sony's DualShock 4 gamepads to control the action."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • NASA Makes 3-D Printed Wrench Model Available
    First time accepted submitter smsiebe writes You can now download a piece of history by getting the designs for the wrench that NASA recently emailed to astronauts on the ISS. The wrench took four hours to complete and was the first "uplink tool" printed in space. You can check out a number of models and images on NASA's 3D Resources site.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Rackspace Restored After DDOS Takes Out DNS
    An anonymous reader sends word that Rackspace has recovered from a severe distributed denial of service attack. "Over on the company's Google+ page Rackspace warned of 'intermittent periods of latency, packet loss, or connectivity failures when attempting to reach or subdomains within' The company's status report later confirmed it had '... identified a UDP DDoS attack targeting the DNS servers in our IAD, ORD, and LON data centers [North Virigina, Chicago and London]. As a result of this issue, authoritative DNS resolution for any new request to the DNS servers began to fail in the affected data centers. In order to stabilize the issue, our teams placed the impacted DNS infrastructure behind mitigation services. This service is designed to protect our infrastructure, however, due to the nature of the event, a portion of legitimate traffic to our DNS infrastructure may be inadvertently blocked. Our teams are actively working to mitigate the attack and provide service stability.'"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • South Korea Says Nuclear Reactors Safe After Cyberattacks
    wiredmikey writes South Korea on Thursday ruled out the possibility that recent cyber-attacks on nuclear power operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) could cause a malfunction at any of the country's 23 atomic reactors. Earlier this week, South Korea heightened security in the wake of the leaks, with the defense ministry's cyber warfare unit increasing its watch-level against attacks from North Korean and other hackers. On Monday, KHNP launched a two-day drill, testing its ability to thwart a cyber attack.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • The World of YouTube Bubble Sort Algorithm Dancing
    theodp writes In addition to The Ghost of Steve Jobs, The Codecracker, a remix of 'The Nutcracker' performed by Silicon Valley's all-girl Castilleja School during Computer Science Education Week earlier this month featured a Bubble Sort Dance. Bubble Sort dancing, it turns out, is more popular than one might imagine. Search YouTube, for example, and you'll find students from the University of Rochester to Osmania University dancing to sort algorithms. Are you a fan of Hungarian folk-dancing? Well there's a very professionally-done Bubble Sort Dance for you! Indeed, well-meaning CS teachers are pushing kids to Bubble Sort Dance to hits like Beauty and a Beat, Roar, Gentleman, Heartbeat, Under the Sea, as well as other music.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack
    mrspoonsi writes Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network [were] down this morning, apparently due to a denial-of-service attack. The notorious hacking group Lizard Squad — which already carried out earlier attacks on Microsoft and Sony — has claimed responsibility on Twitter for these latest outages. While the group's role in all of this remains unconfirmed, it's worth noting that the group threatened last week to take down Xbox Live and PSN, according to Business Insider. And again, Lizard Squad has already proven it can successfully pull off such attacks, not to mention other malicious pranks. Whatever the cause, the timing is obviously terrible: Plenty of people surely received one of the two consoles as Christmas presents today, while many more gamers would have happily spent the afternoon in front of the TV. In the meantime, both Sony and Microsoft have acknowledged the problem, with Sony issuing a tweet and Microsoft posting a message on its support website: "We're working to address this as quickly as we possibly can," reads its status website. "Thanks for your patience, Xbox members." In an email, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment further or say when the company expects to restore service. We've also asked Sony to comment and will update this post if and when it does. The Xbox Live status page says service remains "limited," and the Playstation Network is listed as offline.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Tesla flaunts sleek model body and fab batt at Roadster fans
    More power + less drag = 400-mile range between charges
    Elon Musk's Earth-bound transport company has upgraded its two-seater Roadster sports car design with a better battery – and a new body that will increase the range of the flash motors by up to 50 per cent, apparently.…

  • Online armour: Duncan Campbell's tech chief on anonymity 101
    Of Tor, TAILS and Jabber
    Crypto toolbox, Part II In the first article in this two-parter on building your own crypto toolbox I covered older tools that have been around for a relatively long time now: Truecrypt and OpenPGP. Here, I will go in a different direction and look at ways of protecting instant messaging, general web-browsing, and how to trust the operating system where we run these tools.…

  • Festive post-pub noshtastic neckfiller: HEARTY HOG MAW
    Offally good pig haggis (piggis?) from the cheery Pennsylvania Dutch
    We're now well into the season of festive excess, and doubtless readers will already be sustaining a severe pummelling to livers and credit cards in equal measure.…

  • 'I've got a brick feeling about this' - El Reg's guide to the best Lego films + TV
    Ditch the Christmas Radio Times, surf this lot
    Using toys to re-enact beloved movies is pretty much one of every nerdy kid's favorite playtime activities and Lego makes this easy, by providing minifigs of many of celluloid's leading characters. It's safe to say I had far more fun with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego down the pub than I did watching Michael Bay's film.…

  • LG Flow punches Sonos right in its portable battery speaker hole
    Also: Bonky play tech for seamless cans handoff
    Aiming to compete more strongly with Sonos, LG Electronics is updating its streaming Wi-Fi loudspeaker/music-player product line with something that Sonos users have (so far fruitlessly) requested; a portable, battery-powered job.…

  • Christmas Eve email asked Oz telcos for metadata retention costs by Jan 9th
    7-day extension allowed for questions inc. 36-month retention option and benefits to telcos of storing data
    Australian telecommunications companies and internet service providers were given until January 9th, 2015 to offer an estimate of what it will cost them to comply with data retention laws, and appear to have been told of that deadline on Christmas Eve.…

  • Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are
    ZX computers, Meccano and more
    Product Roundup It's fairly well accepted that events and things from our past help to make us the twisted, misanthropic people we are today. Or perhaps that's just Team Register. It being the season of festive excess, we wondered if there were perhaps some geeky gifts that, as a kid, helped you explore science, tech, and similar areas, and turned you into the dashing, sophisticated reader of IT news that you are today.…

  • Xiaomi: It really ISN'T a biz-miracle idiot tax like Apple
    Chinese customers won't pay Cupertino's 50 per cent markup
    Worstall on Wednesday The lads over at Business Insider seem to be getting a little over-excited about Xiaomi's latest fund raising exercise, claiming in their headline that it's the Apple of China. Well, no, not really, Apple is the Apple of China. Making cute kit and selling it in volume isn't the definitive point about Apple itself so a company that does merely that doesn't an Apple make.…

  • Q*bert: The Escher-inspired platform puzzler from 1982
    You had to be elegant then, there was no brute force option
    Antique Code Show Given the choice, which 80s videogame star would you choose to have a friendly seasonal pint and chin-wag with? Pacman’s obviously got a personality defect, Mario’s breath probably stinks, and that bloke from Jet Set Willy is no doubt a pervert. But Q*bert? Well he’s one interesting individual – full of mumbled swear-word utterances, true, but also brimming with interesting tales born out of the constraints of that era’s technology. Just ignore the fact that he drinks through his nose.…

  • Grab a SLIM MODEL for Xmas cheer: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    Sony's new small slab pulls Nexus 9’s hair and steals its lunch money
    Review With small tablets getting bigger it came as quite a surprise to me when one of the main Android tablet wallah’s newest devices turned out to also be its smallest. Prior to the launch of the 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact (sic) Sony’s smallest fondleslab packed a 9.4-inch screen.…

  • We can change a bit from 0 to 1 WITHOUT CURRENT, say boffins
    And we can do it at room temperature. Ha! Stitch that
    There could be some iron in the non-volatile soul. A team of Cornell university boffins using bismuth ferrite have discovered a way to store bits on magnets without needing electric current-based switching.…

  • Windows Phone bumping along the bottom
    Microsoft's stats for developers advise them to aim low … in Russian or Spanish
    Microsoft has revealed a new batch of data about Windows Phone's fortunes, and it seems Redmond's mobile efforts are doing best at the low end of the market.…

  • 2014: The condensed conference keynotes
    We sit in the dark to bring you disruptive enlightenment
    Reg hacks travel the world and then ignore the local sights in order to attend giant, dark auditoria and listen to "industry champions" deliver "thought leadership". After a trans-continental telepathy session, here's our collective distillation of this year's C-level wisdom, as delivered from our industry's biggest stages. - Ed.…

  • Rackspace restored after DDOS takes out DNS
    11-hour incident blocked traffic from reaching and some subdomains
    Rackspace says it has recovered from a nasty distributed denial of service attack that it says may have seen “a portion of legitimate traffic to our DNS infrastructure … inadvertently blocked.”…

  • ICANN's technical competence queried by Verisign report
    Upcoming dossier highlights dozens of problems with domain name overseer
    EXCLUSIVE A review of the globe's DNS security, stability and resiliency by dot-com registry and root server operator Verisign has called into question the technical competence of domain name overseer ICANN.…

  • POS malware crooks hack IP cams to validate targets
    Is that a cash register or are you just pleased to see ,e?
    Carders operating the BackOff point of sales malware are hacking IP cameras to make sure their targets are worth attacking, says researcher Rotem Kerner says.…

  • Hack flings bootkits from Macs' Thunderbolts
    Thunderbolt not lightning, very, very frightening
    Researcher Trammel Hudson has developed a means to foist a new class of bootkits onto Macs, using Thunderbolt devices using a form of USB 'evil maid' attacks.…

  • Australia's future tech news headlines ... for 2016!
    In which Vulture South hacks peer into a beer glass and see Telstra buying a bit of NBN Co
    Today's the last day The Reg's Australian crew will bother showing up for work until the new year, making it the ideal opportunity to offer some insights into the future of the nation's IT industries and policies. We did it last year and reckon the results weren't horrid, so let's have another go, shall we?…

  • CLOUD-to-CLOUD backup: A chasm-Spanning leap
    It's gonna boom as public cloud use for apps grows
    Comment Cloud storage company Spanning's story is simple enough; you back up your apps and on-premises data, don't you? (everyone say "yes"...) You should back up your public cloud apps and their in-cloud data, shouldn't you? (let me hear you say "yeah!") Your existing backup software won't work there, will it? (everyone look down and quietly say "no"). Ours will, and it runs in the cloud, too.…

  • Revealed: This year's STUDENT RACK WARS winner
    Unprecedented and surprising ISC’14 Kluster Kampf results analyzed
    HPC blog While I had posted detailed results of the ISC’14 Summer Cluster Slam (here and here), I just realized that I had neglected to put out the final standings and analysis. This makes me an idiot. (Well, not only this, there are a lot of other things that contribute to that assessment as well.)… offline for now

  • The Most Popular Ubuntu News Of 2014
    With 2014 quickly coming to an end, it's time for our numerous year-end recaps and comparisons. This morning for kicks is a look at the top Ubuntu news stories of 2014...

  • 2014 Year-End NVIDIA Linux Benchmark Comparison
    Yesterday I finished up my testing and publishing of results concerning the 2014 AMD Catalyst Linux Graphics Benchmarks while today's Christmas Day results are of the similar tests on the NVIDIA side. Our 2014 Christmas benchmarking is running tests on all of the major NVIDIA Linux driver releases of the year.

  • PlaneShift 0.6.3 Open-Source MMORPG Released
    PlaneShift 0.6.3 has been released in time for Christmas for those pure open-source gamers wishing to engage with this community-based, open-source massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG)...

  • Xonotic 0.8 Is Slowly Creeping Closer To Being Released
    There's been talk about Xonotic 1.0 plans going back years, but in reality, Xonotic 0.7 has been the current stable release for the past year and a half while Xonotic 0.8 is slowly coming together as the next version...

  • 2014 Catalyst Linux Graphics Benchmarks Year-In-Review
    With the year quickly coming to an end, it's time to do our year-end driver recap benchmarks from the year for the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA graphics drivers as well as the open-source drivers. To get things started, here's benchmarks done of the official AMD Catalyst Linux releases of 2014 and testing these drivers on three different graphics cards.

  • Phoronix Test Suite 5.4.1 Released
    Earlier this month Phoronix Test Suite 5.4 was released. Out today in time for some holiday benchmarking is the first point release to Phoronix Test Suite 5.4 "Lipki" for open-source, automated benchmarking on Linux / OS X / Solaris / BSD / Windows...

  • Mageia 5 Has Been Delayed
    Mageia 5 has already experienced delays in getting out the earlier development releases while another development delay was just confirmed and will push back the final release of this Mandriva-derived distribution...

  • F2FS Might Get Enabled In Fedora
    On Sunday I wrote about how I found it surprising that Fedora didn't enable F2FS support within its Linux kernel while it packaged the user-space F2FS tools and contains plenty of other experimental/early-adoption features. The discussion resulting from this article about F2FS for Fedora has been both good and bad...

  • Librem Linux Laptop Drops NVIDIA Graphics But Still Coming Up Short Of Goal
    Last month I wrote about the Librem 15 as an open-source Linux laptop to the firmware, albeit it showed a number of shortcomings. Since then there's been a number of updates and other news sites are reporting on this "open-source friendly laptop", while here's my latest thoughts on this high-end Linux laptop...

  • Features Of The Linux 3.19 Kernel: Graphics & Disks Rule
    The merge window is closed and 3.19-rc1 was released on Saturday, marking the end of new mainline Linux kernel features for 2014. Here's a rundown of the exciting new features of the Linux 3.19 kernel for what will become the first major kernel release of 2015...

  • ASRock X99 Extreme3 Is An Affordable Choice For Linux Users
    For those in the market for an LGA-2011v3 motherboard this holiday shopping season, a very reasonable and affordable choice is the ASRock X99 Extreme3. For just over $200 USD you can get this DDR4-3000+ motherboard that supports Thunderbolt, ten Serial ATA 3.0 ports, 18-core Xeon processors, three PCI Express x16 slots, and numerous other connections for offering a feature-packaged motherboard at a modest price compared to other LGA-2011v3 motherboards.

  • Fedora Doesn't Yet Enable F2FS File-System Support
    While F2FS is a promising open-source file-system looking to live up to its name as being the Flash-Friendly File-System, one major distribution not yet willing to enable it within its kernel is (surprisingly) Fedora...


  • Tech giants do battle with Russia over censorship
    house arrest in Russia, are planning a rally that the Kremlin would really rather not happen. So, to that end, the government has begun issuing block orders to the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Google to keep information about the rally offline. But, the companies don't appear to be inclined to comply... at least, not any more. When the rally was first announced last week, a prosecutor from Russia's communication's regulator issued the block orders. Facebook honored the first request, but when more pages promoting the rally cropped up and criticism was leveled at the social network, it decided to get its lawyers involved and has left the new pages up. Twitter and YouTube have received similar requests, but the sites appear content to let videos and tweets promoting the rally live on.

    More often than not though, in the past, companies have complied with the Kremlin's requests to remove content it's deemed subversive. Earlier this year, when Twitter and Google refused to respect similar requests from the Turkish government, it led to a showdown that saw the services blocked completely in the country. It's possible, though unlikely, that the Russian government could use similar tactics to keep its citizens from getting information about the rally. But, at this point it would appear the cat is out of the bag and blocking the services wouldn't probably only draw more attention to the protest.

    This is just the latest in a series of events that have seen tensions between the western tech companies and the Russian government on the rise. Google recently closed its Russian offices, and the government is trying to force the companies to store user date on servers inside its borders. At the same time, relations between the US government and the Kremlin have grown increasingly strained over a variety of issues, including the military showdown in Ukraine.

    Filed under: Internet, Google, Facebook


    Source: Wall Street Journal

  • Mathematicians find a cheaper, slower way to get to Mars

    Getting to Mars is never going to be cheap. But a couple of mathematicians have figured out how to shave some significant bucks off the price tag. Rather than fly to the red planet when it's orbit brings it closest, the craft will "meet" it on the way. The strategy is called ballistic capture and involves launching the ship into a Mars-like orbit, but moving slower than than the planet itself. Eventually Mars will catch up and all that fuel that would have been necessary to cruise to the planet suddenly becomes dead weight. Which means there's no need to carry it, so you can have a smaller, lighter craft. All of this adds up to a significantly cheaper journey. But there is one problem -- the journey will take much, much longer. As is, it would take six months to get to there, using ballistic capture would add several more months. It wouldn't be great for sending humans to Mars, but it could make sending future rovers much more affordable for NASA and other agency.

    Filed under: Transportation, Science


    Via: Gizmodo

    Source: Scientific American

  • The NSA chose Christmas to detail 12 years of accidental spying
    release multiple reports detailing 12 years of improper conduct. The heavily redacted accounts reveal many incidents of misuse (both accidental and intentional) of the NSA's Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) systems. A large portion of the misconduct occurred due to the way agents searched the NSA's systems. Poorly constructed and sometimes unauthorized searches led to agents gleaning data on either US citizens and other unintended targets. According to an accompanying press release, data acquired illegally or accidentally is "almost always" deleted in what it refers to as a "purge process."

    Thanks to redactions, it's difficult to say exactly how many times the NSA broke the law. Phrases like "on [REDACTED] occasions during the fourth quarter" are commonplace, and details of exactly what was searched for are routinely censored as well. There are far too many incidents to detail in a single article -- you can browse the documents yourself here -- but it seems infractions are a very regular occurrence. The NSA says it goes to "great lengths" to ensure it complies with the law, and believes the report shows the "depth and rigor" of its "commitment to compliance."

    [Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]
    span.redacted { color: black; background-color: black;}

    Source: National Security Agency

  • With webOS and wearables, LG's moving beyond just displays at CES
    If you glance back to 2005, you'll see how LG began to take a more well-rounded approach to its booth lineup. Appliances were included in the lot, including a fridge that packed a built-in 13.5-inch LCD TV in the door, as well as a smattering of smartphones. Since then, LG's kept its CES presence varied, though it still places heavy emphasis on displays.

    The GD910 Watch Phone

    Though wearables may be a recent trend, with companies like Apple, Samsung and Google each vying for a piece of the pie, LG actually began experimenting with the category as far back as CES 2008. That year, it showed off a prototype of the GD910 Watch Phone, a curious proof-of-concept wearable that wouldn't look out of place alongside other Android Wear devices from today. But it wasn't until after its second showing at CES 2009 that LG got the product out to market. Now, fully five years later, LG's taking yet another stab at the smartwatch category, albeit with its more robust G Watch and G Watch R.

    Much has been said about the death of CES and its lessened importance in the industry. And while some of that talk may be true, there are occasions when we get a true glimpse of the technological future; when CES exhibitors are firing on all cylinders. Which is exactly what LG pulled off three years ago when it treated attendees to massive, 84-inch 4K TVs. The tech, though visually impressive, wasn't quite practical -- there was no companion 4K content and the sets were prohibitively expensive for the average consumer. LG also threw OLED TVs some love that year too, when it rolled out a 55-inch model -- the "world's largest" at the time.

    Despite their associated high costs, those future-leaning OLED and 4K panels once again accounted for a large part of LG's show in 2013. And, by that point, LG had accomplished what it'd set out to do: It was now one of two big-name consumer electronics companies to bring 4K to market and vie for early adopters' money.

    But LG didn't just stop there and settle for improving the picture quality of its TV sets; it also went after advancements in form factor and software. Last year, the company unveiled curved 4K OLED TVs, one of which measured a massive 105 inches, and announced plans at the 2014 CES to leverage webOS as a platform for its smart TVs.
    The Road Ahead

    Let's start with LG's big draw at CES: TVs. LG's already gotten a jump on CES rumors by announcing that it'll have LCD models that feature its newfangled quantum dot tech on display. These new 55- and 65-inch sets, situated between its Ultra HD LCDs and OLED panels, boast a wider color palette and improved saturation... or so LG claims. (We'll be the judge of that once the show floor opens.) It also already revealed that version 2.0 of webOS will be there, an update that should address many of the common gripes surrounding LG's smart TV platform.

    With 4K still barely making its mark on mainstream consumers, it seems silly that LG would raise the bar higher and debut an 8K set at CES. But that's just what rumors indicate. According to several company insiders, LG's display arm has purportedly been hard at work on a 55-inch 8K display that features 33.2 million pixels at a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320. Keep in mind that 4K and curved displays, the two most recent TV innovations to come from LG, are still trickling into the market. So any moves the company may make into 8K at CES are likely to be pure proof-of-concept; a nice spectacle for an outsized show.

    There's another reason why LG might want to show off its 8K tech, and it's the same reason LG trotted out 4K sets two years ago: mindshare. As Juniper Research's James Moar explains: "The introduction of 8K TV showcases the potential for LG and establishes its credibility in the area before 8K becomes a necessity." And that credibility could translate into a sales advantage among early adopters once 8K sets begin to gain traction.

    Though most major manufacturers now reserve their big smartphone announcements for private one-off events, there are rumblings LG could use CES to debut the G Flex 2. If you'll recall, the original G Flex, with its curved display, was the company's attempt at a bendable, more durable smartphone. And, as early leaks indicate, the forthcoming G Flex 2 could offer "enhanced flexibility" while retaining the self-healing back cover from last year's model.

    If you're hoping for a flagship phone from LG, don't get too amped up. The G3, the company's current smartphone crown jewel, is still relatively new -- it's just a hair over six months old. And, as Moar points out, LG tends to favor other one-off events for those types of big smartphone announcements.

    And then there are the wearables. LG hasn't been as aggressive as Samsung when it comes to churning out the devices, but it has recently served up the G Watch, G Watch R, Lifeband Touch and the kid-oriented GizmoPal. Which leads us to the next round of LG's CES rumors: a 4G-enabled G Watch R2 and a webOS-based platform for wearables.

    As far as LG's G Watch ambitions go, it's entirely possible we'll see some sort of SIM-enabled device at the show. We know it exists. A 3G-enabled smartwatch from LG surfaced in FCC filings just this past September. That said, it's not clear whether LG will unwrap its SIM-enabled G Watch at CES in Vegas or Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this coming spring.

    Whereas a continued push into Google's Android Wear is a certainty for LG, its plans to pursue an alternative wearables platform with webOS are not as clear. A few months back, images from a developer page for LG's webOS-based wearables surfaced and were then quickly pulled. But if the company is looking to create its own operating system for wearables, there's a good chance we may hear more about it in the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

    While other companies hold their product reveals for the week of the show, LG does things differently. Each year, in advance of CES, LG makes a slew of early announcements detailing portions of its planned lineup. While that strategy certainly takes some of the mystery out of the company's annual showing, it also helps to build buzz and direct consumer (and press) attention to the products it wants spotlighted. Case in point: the G Flex. That bendable smartphone broke cover ahead of last January's gathering in the desert, but still managed to garner a share of the CES attention. You can expect LG to do much the same in the days leading up to CES 2015.

    [Photo credits: AFP/Getty Images (lead), Bryan Haraway/Bloomberg via Getty Images (CES 2004), Cellulari World/Flickr (Watch Phone)]

    Filed under: Cellphones, Desktops, Displays, Home Entertainment, Household, Laptops, Wearables, HD, Mobile, LG


  • LED mask concept lets you smile through the pollution

    There are myriad reasons for wearing a face mask. In China and parts of South East Asia, they're commonly used as protection against alarmingly poor air quality, while in Japan and elsewhere they help reduce the chance of catching airborne diseases such as flu. Helpful as they may be, they're not the most conducive to maintaining everyday social interactions. Designers Simone Rebaudengo and Paul Adams' Unmask is an experimental prototype that aims to change that by allowing wearers to show emotions through their masks.

    Utilizing an Arduino board, an LED display, and other components, Unmask displays one of four emotional states: neutral, smiling, surprise and kiss. There are no plans to commercialize the mask for now -- it's part playful experiment, part social statement -- but the pair will continue to develop the idea, and aim to produce masks with smaller components and different materials in the future.


    Via: Designboom

    Source: Simone Rebaudengo

  • Mercedes and LG keep drivers awake, brake cars automatically

    CES 2015 is shaping up to be a big event for Mercedes-Benz, which will discuss its plans for self-driving cars in a keynote speech and show off a crazy prototype. LG has now revealed that it will supply the mono and stereo camera systems that will keep the cars in their lanes, dim the headlights, brake autonomously, and spot pedestrians or cyclists. The Korean company will also supply biometric systems to monitor the driver's eye movement and alertness, along with mobile and home entertainment expertise. Mercedes, in turn, will license part of its 6D Vision self-driving tech back to LG to use with other automakers.

    Instead of full autopilot self-driving cars à la Google, LG and Mercedes are exploring semi-autonomous systems that "allow the driver to transfer some tasks to the intelligent vehicle." That's similar to what Volvo and other automakers are doing, and Mercedes has also been testing driver-assist systems in its trucks. The company's self-driving S-Class cars will soon roam California's highways to "learn" about eight-lane highways, four-way stops and other North American-unique traffic situations. Mercedes said that commercialized self-driving cars are at least a decade away, but may roll out some features sooner -- we'll learn more at CES 2015.

    Filed under: Cameras, Transportation


  • Fly across the Earth on board the ISS with this timelapse video

    Photos of the Earth from up high make for some very stunning imagery, so astronauts aboard the ISSmake it a point to capture tons of photos for our sake. Take for example, the 12,500 images astronaut Alexander Gerst took during his six-month stint on the station, which the European Space Agency has turned into a time-lapse video embedded below the fold. In it, you'll see auroras undulate in the atmosphere, thunderstorms wreak havoc and cities light up like neurons. The video's quite fluid despite being made of photos, because Gerst used to set up his camera to automatically take pictures at regular intervals while he's performing experiments. Gerst came back home in November with two fellow astronauts, but we don't think we need to worry about the lack of space photos in the future.

    Filed under: Science


    Via: Mashable

    Source: Alexander Gerst

  • D-Link's latest smart home hub lets you add devices with a scan

    How cheap is too cheap? D-Link has found the sweet spot between low-priced, but low-quality smart home systems (from the likes of Archos) and pricey security systems. It's now planning on opening up its system to many more accessories, judging by the DCH-G020 connected home hub that just passed through the FCC. The system will likely bow next month at CES 2015, but the US wireless regulator has revealed quite a bit, including manuals and photos. The hub will control Z-Wave (low-power RF) as well as WiFi devices, meaning it'll work with third-party alarms, detectors and cameras on top of existing D-Link WiFi cameras and accessories.

    For the first time, D-Link is also set to release new Z-Wave sensors, several of which are shown in the diagram above. The hub will work with WiFi and Z-Wave devices at the same time and connect with a WiFi router. The whole thing is controlled by a smartphone, which you can use to add devices either manually or by scanning their QR codes. From there, you'll get the usual scheduling and notification options. There's no word on pricing or availability yet, of course, but it looks like an interesting option for folks torn between cheaper WiFi and mainstream Z-Wave systems. Either way, expect a parade of similar devices to appear in less than two weeks at Las Vegas.

    Filed under: Cameras


    Via: Zatz Not Funny!

    Source: FCC

  • Toyota reportedly working on a hydrogen-fueled Lexus limo

    Toyota's first hydrogen car hasn't even gone on sale yet here in the US, and already we're hearing rumors about a follow-up vehicle. According to the Australian website Motoring, the Japanese auto giant is planning on taking the same fuel cell system it used in its mid-range Mirai sedan, and putting it into a higher-end Lexus LS limousine. For the most part, then, the new vehicle will make use of the same technology, though Toyota will apparently have to do some retro-fitting in order to make it work inside the current Lexus LS. (Unlike the LS, the Mirai was built from scratch as a hydrogen car.) If Motoring's report is correct, the new Lexus will have a fuel cell under the front seat, with the hydrogen tanks located behind the rear seat. Also, despite the fact that the LS wasn't originally designed as a hydrogen vehicle, it will reportedly offer nearly the same range as Toyota's existing FCEV: 239 miles, versus 300 on the Mirai. No word yet on price or whether this report is even true. And we suspect it could be a while before anyone sets the record straight -- the hydrogen-fueled Lexus LS is rumored to launch "by 2017," up to two years from now.

    Filed under: Transportation


    Via: Autoblog

    Source: Motoring

  • Kodak's finally making smartphones (sort of)

    For a while there it looked like Kodak's moment had come and gone, but the past few months have seen the imaging icon fight back from the brink of irrelevance. Now the company's planning to push a Kodak-branded smartphone, and thankfully it's not going to sue everyone in the business along the way this time. To be clear, Kodak won't actually make its own devices -- instead, it's going to farm out most of the development work to an English company called Bullitt (you know, the people behind those uber-rugged Caterpillar phones). Oh, and it won't look anything like the mockup you see above... we hope.
    The details are still pretty scarce at this point, but Kodak's first phone will obviously play up the company's photography chops. Alas, there's no mention in the official PR about sensor sizes, lens apertures or dedicated imaging hardware of any sort. In fact, it seems like we might be looking at a device that does all of its visual heavy lifting (think "bespoke image capture, management and sharing features") through software. That wouldn't necessarily be terrible, but really, why slap the historic Kodak brand on a device that doesn't seem equipped to do it justice? We won't pass judgment on the thing until we see it at CES in a few weeks; here's hoping we're in for a pleasant surprise.
    Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile


    Source: PR Newswire

  • Tesla's Roadster update will allow it to travel 400 miles on a charge (updated)
    And here you thought only bad things happen on Christmas. Whereas most companies would avoid announcing good news on a day when no one is paying attention, Tesla CEO Elon Musk does things a bit differently. Musk just teased some news on Twitter about the company's Roadster line, saying a forthcoming upgrade would endow the car with a nearly 400-mile range -- enough to drive from LA to San Francisco without having to stop for a recharge. As you can imagine, one can only convey so much in a 140-character tweet -- Musk says he'll be back tomorrow with more details.
    Roadster upgrade will enable non-stop travel from LA to SF -- almost 400 mile range. Details tmrw. Merry Christmas!
    - Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 25, 2014
    Update: Tesla has just spilled the beans on the update, and it seems the Roadster isn't just getting a new battery. The company's first-ever production vehicle is instead being furnished with a "Roadster 3.0" upgrade package that consists of the previously announced battery upgrade, an aerodynamics kit and improved tires. The aerodynamics kit improves the Roadster's drag by 15 percent, which will improve fuel efficiency. The new tires offer a 20 percent improvement in "rolling resistance," improving fuel efficiency further. Tesla says it's also making improvements to the wheel bearings and brake drag, which when combined with the other additions will improve range by 40 to 50 percent, giving the Roadster a 400-mile-plus range.

    There's no word on when the 3.0 upgrade will be released -- or how much it'll cost -- and the package is currently described as a prototype. Tesla will demo the improvements in early 2015 by driving non-stop from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and says the upgrade won't be the last offered to owners of the now-discontinued Roadster.

    Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report.

    Filed under: Transportation


    Source: Tesla

  • The year in reviews: a look back at the worst gadgets of 2014

    We've reviewed a lot of great products this year, and we can only hope that our observations helped you pick the device that best suits your needs. However, not every gadget we look at is going to be a winner. We've seen our fair share of disappointments and mediocrity -- as well as a few you should completely avoid. While we've been lucky enough not to see any product this year that could be considered an outright disaster, there are still a few whose bad points were enough to take their score down to the very bottom of the pile. So, without further ado, here are our five lowest-scored products of 2014.
    Frank Spinillo contributed to this report.
    Filed under: Gaming, Laptops, Wearables, Wireless, Samsung, Microsoft, HP


  • The Interview: 2014's most infamous film isn't great, but it's important

    Let's face it, The Interview would have had to be nothing short of a masterpiece to justify all of the drama around its release. Well, it's not -- but it's not a terrible movie either. The comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong-un prompted terrorist attack threats from hackers (and North Korea itself, according to the FBI), which led to a sudden cancellation by Sony Pictures and a response from President Obama. But in the end, it's just another slacker bro-fest entry from Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Rogen's writing and directing partner), and James Franco. You'll probably laugh a bit, as I did, if you're a fan of their schtick. But if you can't stand anything by these guys, this movie won't change your mind. At the same time, it's clear that the story around The Interview will continue to be one of the most fascinating media tales well into 2015.
    The Interview is nowhere near the best work to come from the Rogen/Goldberg creative duo. It's not as sublimely raunchy as Superbad, or as batshit insane and hilarious as This is the End. But as a comedy, it's far more successful than the surprisingly dull Green Hornet reboot. It's a middle-of-the-road comedy that just happens to have the crazy premise of assassinating a ruthless dictator who's still in power. Had it reached theaters on its own, it probably wouldn't have made much of a splash with audiences.

    But more interesting than the film itself is the unique release strategy Sony Pictures was forced to adopt. After the hacker group Guardians of Peace threatened major attacks on theaters showing the film, all of the big theater chains across the US pulled the film. That led to Sony temporarily canceling The Interview until it could line up another plan, which took shape over the past few days. First, we learned that independent theaters would be showing the film today. And yesterday Sony laid out its video on demand plans, which included putting the film up for immediate sale and rental on YouTube (and Google Play), Xbox Video, and a newly created website. (Ironically, the film isn't yet available on Sony's own Crackle streaming service or the PlayStation Network.)

    If this strategy proves successful for The Interview, don't be surprised if we see it repeated in the future. We've seen some studios, including Sony, experiment with offering films already in theaters on VOD. But those releases were typically pricy at around $30. Universal tried to offer Tower Heist (a film you probably haven't thought of in years) for $60 on Comcast's VOD service, but it scrapped those plans after theater chains had a fit. While it wasn't Sony's original strategy, The Interview is the first mid-sized studio film to be available on VOD before it even reaches theaters (and even then, it's only showing at a few indie screens). At $15 to buy and $6 to rent, it's also more affordable than any previous early VOD release. There's also word that Netflix is working on a deal to stream the film, which would likely involve a hefty upfront fee to Sony Pictures. You can bet the bean counters are paying close attention to how this all plays out.

    It's a shame that The Interview didn't end up living up to the hype around its release. But really, few films could have. What's more disappointing is that, while the film does a decent job of satirizing vapid aspects of American media and North Korea's horrific human rights violations, it just doesn't go far enough. Instead, we get lots of low-brow humor, offensive Asian accents (really?), and a smattering of slightly homophobic sketches. It's a movie that tends to go for the obvious joke, rather than something truly biting. It also makes the risky move of humanizing Kim Jong-un (played wonderfully by Randall Park), which leads to some bro-ventures with Franco's TV host character, but would likely drive well-informed viewers crazy.

    And yet, while it's far from a great film, The Interview has inadvertently become a cinematic milestone. Its content led to terrorist threats and an unprecedented studio cancellation. But with its unique release strategy, it may also pave the way for Hollywood to completely rethink how we see films in the future.
    Filed under: Misc, HD


  • Xbox Live and PlayStation Network both down due to an apparent attack
    notorious hacking group Lizard Squad -- which already carried out earlier attacks on Microsoft and Sony -- has claimed responsibility on Twitter for these latest outages. While Lizard Squad's role in all of this remains unconfirmed, the group did threaten last week to take down Xbox Live and PSN, according to Business Insider.

    Regardless of who's behind this, the timing is obviously terrible: Plenty of people surely received one of the two consoles as Christmas presents today, while many more gamers would have happily spent the afternoon in front of the TV. In the meantime, both Sony and Microsoft have acknowledged the problem, with Sony issuing a tweet and Microsoft posting a message on its website: "We're working to address this as quickly as we possibly can," reads its status website. "Thanks for your patience, Xbox members." In an email, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment further or say when the company expects to restore service. We've also asked Sony to comment and will update this post if and when it does.

    This is a developing story. Please check below for updates.

    10,00RTS and we will stop smacking #Xbox and #PSN offline
    - Lizard Squad (@FUCKCRUCIFIX) December 25, 2014
    We are aware that there have been issues reported with PSN. Thanks for your patience as we investigate.
    - Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) December 24, 2014
    We're aware users are having issues logging into XBL & are actively working to resolve. Please visit for updates ^JX
    - Xbox Support (1-5) (@XboxSupport) December 25, 2014

    Update: Xbox Live appears to be back online in some capacity (according to the Xbox Live status page), and PlayStation Network remains down as of 10:00PM ET. Megaupload's Kim Dotcom is claiming responsibility for trading vouchers to his service with hacking group The Lizard Squad in exchange for the group ceasing its claimed attacks on Xbox Live and PSN.

    Update 2: The hacking group claiming responsibility for the attacks on PSN and Xbox Live says it is no longer engaged, and that the current outages are "just the aftermath." A tweet from the group announced as much, seen here:

    Attacks were stopped around 2 hours ago, the current downtime is just the aftermath.
    - Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014
    Update 3: Core Xbox Live services finally appear to be up-and-running, with only a few apps (namely IGN, Maxim, and MLG.TV) still suffering outages. PSN is, according to Sony, still down.

    Filed under: Gaming, Internet, Sony, Microsoft


    Via: VentureBeat, Business Insider

    Source: PlayStation (Twitter), Lizard Squad (Twitter)

  • How a company plans to make it snow in Dubai

    Snow isn't something you'd usually associate with Dubai, not when summers have an average temperature of 104 degrees F and the coldest of winters is only around 57 degrees. But the Kleindienst Group of real estate developers are positive they can simulate snowfall on the streets -- or at least on The Heart of Europe(THOE) islands within Dubai's The World man-made archipelago. The group first announced its plans to make it snow on the islands earlier this year, but now it's sharing how it plans to do so and has even made a test snowman, just in time for Christmas. Company CEO Josef Kleindienst told climate-controlled outdoor locations, but he says his company's execs were convinced when their team of German scientists concocted the plan: "If you can heat a pool outdoors in the winter, why can't you cool an area outdoors in the summer?" While he believes the test snowman proves the system can work and claims that its energy consumption is "not more than a mall" (it's unclear whether he means consumption for each street or for all of THOE, though), not everyone's convinced. Sustainable development expert Sougata Nandi says:

    Maintaining open-air spaces during peak summer will be heavily energy intensive. For example, to cool enclosed areas such as the ski slopes in Mall of the Emirates consumes huge energy. So to make it snow, and keep the snow outdoors, would be a lot of energy.

    Filed under: Science


    Source: 7 Days in Dubai

  • 10 things you have to watch over the holidays

    So you've got a few days off, and you're probably trapped with family to boot -- this calls for some serious binge-watching. Now is the perfect time to catch up on all of those movies and shows you couldn't make time for during the year. To help guide you through the plethora of options, we've compiled a list of the best stuff with a geeky bent you just have to watch. We've avoided some of the more well-known choices (but seriously, Interstellar is worth a shot while it's in theaters), and have instead focused on bringing to light some more obscure choices. They're not all family-friendly, but they're all worth your time.

    And if you want more options after burning through these selections, check out my podcast the /Filmcast, where I review movies and TV every week.
    Black Mirror
    You've probably heard plenty about Black Mirror -- a British show that's like a mix of The Twilight Zone and techno-social commentary -- but until it came to Netflix earlier this month, it was tough to watch in the US. (Lucky DirecTV customers were able to watch it since last year, and they're also getting first dibs on Black Mirror's Christmas special today.) Now that it's easily accessible, I can't recommend Black Mirror enough. Created by Charlie Brooker, a former game reviewer turned media producer and cultural critic, the show tackles deep questions around our increasingly addictive relationship with technology. What would a society look like if it was driven entirely by game mechanics and reality television? What would like be like if we could record and revisit any memory? Black Mirror tackles these sorts of issues to their logical, and often horrifying, ends. And after watching it, you may never look at the black-screened objects in your pocket or living room the same again.

    Where to watch: Netflix; DirecTV
    Watch if you like: The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, The Outer Limits
    This is a movie where the guy who plays Captain America (Chris Evans) goes on a bloody rampage across a socially stratified supertrain, which just happens to be traveling on an endless loop across a frozen post-apocalyptic world. If that doesn't scream "must watch!" to you, then I don't know what does. Snowpiercer is a comic-book film (based on the '70s French series Le Transperceneige) directed by Bong Joon-ho, one of the most intriguing South Korean filmmakers around. If your only experience with comic movie adaptations come from the Marvel or DC universe, you're in for a treat. It's filled with huge action set pieces and a tremendous Tilda Swinton performance. And while it doesn't quite stick the landing at the end, the journey is totally worth it.

    Where to watch: Netflix
    Watch if you like: Brazil, 1984
    The Legend of Korra
    How do you top creating one of the best animated television series ever made? For Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, it was by crafting something even more subversive and mature in The Legend of Korra. Set 70 years after the end of the first series, Korra focuses on a new Avatar who must confront the challenges of being a spiritual leader in an industrial world where technology is evolving rapidly. Oh, and there's a ton of kick-ass action. It's as sharply written as its predecessor, especially when it comes to giving you villains you might actually care for. But since its core characters are young adults, rather than kids, it's also able to explore concepts like depression and the structure of societal power.

    Where to watch: Seasons 1-2 included with Amazon Prime Video; iTunes
    Watch if you like: Avatar, X-Men: The Animated Series, Batman: The Animated Series
    The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
    If you've ever wondered what makes Hayao Miyazaki tick -- the director of anime classics like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away -- this documentary is worth a watch. It offers a fascinating glimpse at the inner workings of Miyazaki's animation company, Studio Ghibli, as he rushed to complete The Wind Rises, his final film before retiring from features. (He says he still intends to "work until the day I die.") It helps if you're a fan of Miyazaki's film, of course, but Mami Sunada's documentary also serves as a fascinating exploration of single-minded creativity. Despite creating some of the most hopeful works of art ever made, you'd be surprised to learn that Miyazaki also has a startlingly pessimistic worldview. But that only makes him more fascinating.

    Where to watch: iTunes, Amazon
    Watch if you like: Jiro Dreams of Sushi, anything by Miyazaki
    Under the Skin
    Normally, I'd feel weird recommending a slow-moving, art-house oriented alien invasion film for the holidays. But Under the Skin is so startlingly unique that I can't help but mention it. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as a mysterious alien who roams the Scottish countryside in a van seeking out unsuspecting men (I won't spoil what happens to them). The twist? Many of those guys are random non-actors Johansson actually picked up while filming, all captured surreptitiously by tiny cameras embedded in her van. That authenticity, together with one of the strangest film scores in recent memory and what may be Johansson's strongest performance ever, makes for an unforgettable experience.

    Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video; iTunes
    Watch if you like: 2001, Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    The Good Wife
    Yes, The Good Wife! Sure it's a CBS drama, but it's also one of the best shows on television, and it's one of the few shows to truly understand technology. While it started out as a story about a woman trying to rebuild her life and legal career after being publicly humiliated by her cheating husband, it's evolved into something more. Who ever thought a courtroom drama could be as exciting as a story about a teacher-turned-drug kingpin? Creators Michelle and Robert King have a knack for working real-world stories into the show, and they're also clearly fascinated by tech. That's led to (surprisingly accurate) plots around Bitcoin, crowdsourced investigations on sites like Reddit and NSA surveillance.

    Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video; Hulu Plus
    Watch if you like: The Wire, Law & Order
    Ping Pong
    Think all anime is the same? Ping Pong, an adaptation of a popular manga, dares to prove you wrong. It's the story of two childhood friends who, in their own ways, journey to become the best ping pong players in the world. It's as much a story about friendship and personal fulfillment as it is about competition. Its hand-drawn animation style, surrealist tableaus and kinetic editing are downright exhilarating. As someone who's grown tired of digitally produced anime that inevitably looks the same, Ping Pong is a breath of fresh air. (Also, check out the 2002 live action adaptation of the same story.)

    Where to watch: Youtube, Hulu Plus
    Watch if you like: Friday Night Lights, Hajime no Ippo, Ping Pong Playa
    The Interview
    After all the drama around the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco's latest comedy, The Interview is finally available for you to watch online. I haven't seen the film yet (check back for a review tomorrow), but it's something I'd recommend watching if only to be well-informed about its landmark (and singularly strange) release story. It's the first big studio film to hit VOD before theaters, and even then it's only going to be screening at a few brave indie theaters. If it works out, this could be a release strategy that other studios adopt for mid-sized films. And really, you need to watch it for freedom. For America.

    Where to watch: Youtube, Google Play, Xbox Video
    Watch if you like: Anything by the Rogen/Judd Apatow crowd

    Okay, I know the title is awful, but Selfie is actually a genuinely funny and sweet show that also does a great job of exploring our unhealthy obsession with social media. It's Pygmalion with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in supporting roles. And really, how can you not love the dynamic duo of Karen Gillan and John Cho? The show was cancelled by ABC, but the unaired episodes are now available on Hulu Plus. It's worth a shot even if romantic comedies aren't really your thing.

    Where to watch: Hulu Plus
    Watch if you like: New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, To laugh
    The Comeback
    I haven't seen this show yet, but the internet (and Engadget's feature editor Joseph Volpe) just can't get enough of it. After airing and getting cancelled a decade ago, HBO just brought back the series for another season where Lisa Kudrow's sitcom persona stand-in, Valerie Cherish, is once again struggling for relevancy. As our features guru puts it:

    To say that the show, which intelligently mocked the burgeoning reality TV phenomenon of the early aughts, was ahead of its time is somewhat of an understatement. The concept of "must-see schadenfreude TV" hadn't really taken hold of America until after HBO gave the show the axe in late 2005. In the ensuing years, we not only embraced unscripted programming (as reality TV is officially called), but we also accepted it as legitimate entertainment and minted a new breed of celebrity.
    Honorable mentions
    Here are a few other things the Engadget staff would like to recommend:
    Fireplace for Your Home (Netflix): Naturally. The Knick (Cinemax): Soderbergh's period hospital show is all about technological progress. Please Like Me (Amazon Prime Video) Portlandia (Netflix): Catch up for the new season starting next month! Jane the Virgin (Hulu Plus, CW): This Americanized telenovela is surprisingly sweet, funny and sharply written.[Photo credits: Top: Black Mirror, Channel 4; The Good Wife, CBS; Selfie, ABC]
    Filed under: HD


  • Facebook facing class-action lawsuit over unauthorized message scanning

    We know: Despite its best attempts at proving otherwise, Facebook and privacy have an oil/water reputation -- the latest legal news regarding the company won't help that any, either. A California judge recently ruled that The Social Network will face a class-action lawsuit following accusations that it peeked at users' private messages without consent to deliver targeted advertising. Facebook tried to dismiss the claims, saying that it didn't break any laws and that the alleged message scans were protected under an exception in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, accordingtoReuters. Which one specifically? That these "interceptions" are lawful if they occur over the "ordinary course" of a service provider's business. The presiding judge countered, saying that Zuckerberg and Co. failed to offer explanation of how the scans fell under the website's ordinary course of business.

    As the lawsuit stands, it'd benefit any Facebook user that'd sent or received links via the site's private message system in the past two years, as but not class-action) legal scrutiny for message scanning of its own. The results of both of these cases will almost assuredly have big effects for how we communicate on the web moving forward, and you can bet we'll be following them closely in the coming year.

    Update: A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the suit.

    Filed under: Internet, Facebook


    Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

  • High speed internet access in the US reaches farther, goes faster
    gigabit connections sounded fast? Forget about that -- it's going to be like dialing-in to 56k for folks in Minneapolis. US Internet has just announced that it's bring 10 gigabit-per-second connections to the city next summer. The service costs a steep $400 a month, but "regular" gigabit internet will be available for a more palatable $65. The firm's high-end connections will only be available to 30,000 households west of the interstate, but it's a step in the right direction.

    Minnesota isn't the only state in the region getting a connectivity upgrade: the hills of eastern Kentucky are getting overhauled, too. The state's eastern mountains aren't typically known as a hub of technology, but state legislators have struck a deal that could change that. Over the next several years, Macquarie Capital will build a "ring" of fiber that runs through five Kentucky counties, eventually lighting up the entire state by the rend of 2018.

    "Eastern Kentucky will bee equal to the word in limitless technology," Congressmen Hal Rogers said of the deal. "No more boundaries sketched by our terrain, no more boundaries for high tech work." Rogers says that fiber "levels" the Appalachian mountains, enabling the state to create a "Silicon Holler" that will keep Kentucky current.

    [Image credit: Shutterstock]

    Filed under: Internet


    Source: Star Tribune, CN2

  • Vudu's digital movie library is rebuilt and easier to use on iOS

    If you're unwrapping the inevitable flood of Blu-ray gifts (hopefully no DVDs), it may be worth giving that digital copy code a second look. The movie studios' Ultraviolet scheme has been unwieldy (at best) since launch, but several upgrades have made it easier to use, and the Vudu store specifically is getting better at bringing your movies to whatever device you own. Its latest upgrade is much-needed UI refresh, which launched on many set-top boxes (PlayStation, Roku, Blu-ray players etc.) last month, and has now arrived for the iPhone and iPad.
    The revamped UI makes it easier to sort your movies and TV shows, search through them and keep track of which ones you've already watched. All that, while keeping features like downloading for offline viewing and Chromecast support. Now that Vudu has made adding movies to your library easier -- if they're purchased at Walmart, all you have to do is use the store's app to scan the receipt -- and added a link to Disney Movies Anywhere (joining Google Play and iTunes), there's more reasons than ever to try it out. Unless of course you want to watch The Interview -- it doesn't have that yet, but we probably won't have to wait long before watching the flick on one of its Spark dongles.
    Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD, Apple


    Source: Vudu Blog, iTunes

  • Scientists take a step towards curing infertility with stem cells

    Stem cells are basically like biological alchemy. You can turn them in to almost anything, including it seems sperm or eggs. Researchers working jointly in the UK and Israel have figured out how to create precursor cells for gametes, you know the bits that combine during fertilization to create a tiny human. There's still a long way to go before viable eggs or sperm can be created in a petri dish, but this is a major first step. The hope here is that one day couples where either partner (or both) suffer from infertility could have a child. The process would obviously still be involved and difficult for the couple, much like in vitro.
    The next step is to introduce the precursor cells into the ovaries and testes of mice to see if they develop into eggs and sperm properly. (Obviously this would be done with stem cells from mice, and not humans.) But there's also the issue of getting the cells to combine properly to create an embryo. This, could prove the be the most problematic part of the research. In the US, and in many other countries around there world there are strict laws restricting the creation of human embryos for research purposes. Even if that restriction is simply a lack of federal dollars, it could pose an almost insurmountable hurdle.
    Filed under: Science


    Source: Nature

  • OnePlus gets the all-clear to sell phones in India, for now

    OnePlus' plans for world conquest hit a roadblock when Micromax had the company's smartphones banned in India. It's reasoning was that they allegedly infringed on its exclusive right to use Cyanogen's custom Android software. However, it looks like the little phone maker that could is getting a reprieve -- Delhi's High Court has lifted the preliminary injunction that kicked OnePlus out of the country. The bench argues that this early ban wasn't necessary, since neither company really "eats into the the territory of the other." That makes sense: Micromax mostly caters to the low end of the market, while OnePlus is further up the ladder.
    It's not completely over yet -- the judge who handed down the original ban will have to deal with the issue two weeks from now, when both sides will have more time to plead their cases. Whether OnePlus will stand a better chance of staying on the market after that view is unclear. And even if it does, this is still a messy situation. One phones sold in India can't get future CyanogenMod updates due to the deal with Micromax, so many locals won't get the same experience as their foreign friends even if OnePlus prevails in the courtroom.
    Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile


    Source: Economic Times

  • FBI warned of a Sony-style hack in a report last year

    The Sony Pictures hack and its resulting fallout may have caught many people by surprise, but not the FBI -- it apparently suspected for months that something like this might happen. The Intercept has obtained a December 2013 agency report warning that it was just a matter of time before a US company faced a "data-destruction attack" like the one that hit Sony, where malware deletes enough data to render systems unusable. The alert was meant for "critical infrastructure" organizations (like energy providers) and never reached Sony, but the scenario was apparently very similar to what the company would face a year later. Intercept's tipsters even believe that Sony could have avoided a lot of the resulting damage if it had been aware of the report and heeded its advice on defending against hacks of this nature.

    So why didn't Sony get the report? FBI spokesman Paul Bresson says it went out to several distribution channels to be delivered "as appropriate." According to the Intercept, that meant organizations whose staff were part of InfraGard, the FBI's public-private security partnership -- something of a problem, since its voluntary membership left Sony Pictures and other companies out of the loop. There's no guarantee that the FBI could have ensured that Sony saw the report in time to make use of it, or even that it would have been enough to avert disaster. However, it's clearer than ever that security guidelines are only helpful if they reach the right people.

    [Image credit: AP Photo/Nick Ut]

    Filed under: Internet, Sony


    Source: The Intercept

  • Vinyl demand is so high, a record label opened its own factory to keep up
    Third Man Records imprint aren't the only ones benefiting from the vinyl boom. Oxford, Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records took matters into its own hands, building a pressing plant to meet the demands of its avid collectors. After using other record makers and encountering issues with backorders and the headache of international shipping, founder Matthew Johnson (with a hand from others) bought used equipment and set up shop in Memphis. The plant is modest compared to other more established operations, but with the new setup, the goal is to crank out 13,000 to 14,000 records a day -- plus it'll keep everything in-house. Fat Possum's vinyl releases include LPs from Modest Mouse and Waylon Jennings. If you'll recall, White's Lazaretto is the best-selling vinyl release in two decades, serving as more evidence that the classic format refuses to die.

    [Photo credit: David Buchan/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Misc


    Source: Billboard

  • The transparent Fx0 will finally make you want a Firefox OS phone
    Firefox OS is coming to Japan and doing it in style.  Announced at a KDDI press event in Tokyo today, the Fx0 is a striking 4.7-inch smartphone with a transparent shell and a home button decorated with the golden Firefox logo embracing the Earth. It runs the latest version of Mozilla's web-centric mobile OS and was designed by noted Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka, whose previous collaboration with KDDI produced a phone worthy of making it into the Museum of Modern Art's collection. With the Fx0, Yoshioka has worked around the familiar outlines of LG's G3 design (LG is the silent partner producing the device) and adapted them to a smaller size while producing a delightful aesthetic in the process. Like a watch with a window showing its internal mechanism, this phone's exposed electronics are a subtle reminder of its technical sophistication - plus, that Firefox home button is just plain cool.  It's different, surely, but.... No. Just no.

  • 6 things I learned from riding in a Google self-driving car
    When discussing self-driving cars, people tend to ask a lot of superficial questions: how much will these cars cost? Is this supposed to replace my car at home? Is this supposed to replace taxis or Uber? What if I need to use a drive-thru?   They ignore the smarter questions. They ignore the fact that 45% of disabled people in the US still work. They ignore the fact that 95% of a car's lifetime is spent parked. They ignore how this technology could transform the lives of the elderly, or eradicate the need for parking lots or garages or gas stations. They dismiss the entire concept because they don't think a computer could ever be as good at merging on the freeway as they are.   They ignore the great, big, beautiful picture staring them right in the face: that this technology could make our lives so much better.  Self-driving cars will be the biggest technological breakthrough since the advent of the computer. Beyond 'just' revolutionising personal transportation, it will completely and utterly change the commercial/freight transportation industry.  All of us will benefit from this technology. I cannot wait.

  • Inside the Intel 1405: die photos of a shift register memory
    In 1970, MOS memory chips were just becoming popular, but were still very expensive. Intel had released their first product the previous year, the 3101 RAM chip with 64 bits of storage.[1] For this chip (with enough storage to hold the word "aardvark") you'd pay $99.50. To avoid these astronomical prices, some computers used the cheaper alternative of shift register memory. Intel's 1405 shift register provided 512 bits of storage - 8 times as much as their RAM chip - at a significantly lower price. In a shift register memory, the bits go around and around in a circle, with one bit available at each step. The big disadvantage is that you need to wait for the bit you want to come around, which can take half a millisecond.  Great article.

  • BlackBerry's surviving, but not as a smartphone company
    It's been almost a year since John Chen was appointed to save Blackberry and it's clear that his grand plan has, at least, stopped the company losing money hand over fist. In the Canadian outfit's latest three month report, it reveals that losses have been trimmed from $4.4 billion last year to a much more manageable $148 million. Of course, it's clear that as the business reinvents itself as a software-and-services company, manufacturing smartphones has increasingly become a side project.  Pretty amazing turnaround financially, but I doubt it'll be enough for the future of Blackberry OS - even if the company itself survives.  I still want the red Passport, though.

  • Apple Watch, WatchKit, and accessibility
    Ever since rumors started swirling that Apple was working on a wearable device, I've often thought about what such a device would mean for people with disabilities. My curiosity is so high, in fact, that I've even written about the possibilities. Make no mistake, for users with disabilities such as myself, a wearable like the Apple Watch brings with it usage and design paradigms that, I think, are of even greater impact than what the iPhone in one's pocket has to offer.  Suffice it to say, I'm very excited for Apple Watch's debut sometime next year.  Accessibility is definitely a strong point for Apple - at least compared to the competition - and I don't think the Apple Watch will be any different.

  • Flaw discovered that could let anyone listen to your cell calls
    German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale - even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.  The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are the latest evidence of widespread insecurity on SS7, the global network that allows the world's cellular carriers to route calls, texts and other services to each other. Experts say it's increasingly clear that SS7, first designed in the 1980s, is riddled with serious vulnerabilities that undermine the privacy of the world’s billions of cellular customers.

  • Jolla releases 10th major Sailfish update
    Jolla released the tenth major update for Sailfish today, bumping the version number to the as always very useful and helpful The name of the update, also as always in Finnish, isn't helping either: Vaarainjärvi. Joking aside, this tenth update is a massive one - virtually every aspect of the operating system is touched upon in some way, from the lower levels all the way up to UI tweaks.  It's 1.5GB in size, which is pretty huge in Sailfish terms, so make sure to have enough free space for the initial download.

  • Canada court to order Apple to turn over records in iPhone probe
    The Federal Court of Canada agreed on Wednesday to order Apple Inc's Canadian subsidiary to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau to help investigate whether Apple unfairly used its market power to promote the sale of iPhones.  In seeking the order, the Competition Bureau said agreements Apple negotiated with wireless carriers may have cut into competition by encouraging the companies to maintain or boost the price of rival phones.  It'd be very welcome if the relationships between major OEMs and carriers, as well as between the individual carriers, came under very close scrutiny. In most countries, the wireless market is dominated by only a few major carriers and OEMs, creating a lot of opportunity for anti-competitive - and thus, anti-consumer - practices. Good on Canada for taking these steps, but other countries need to follow.

  • 'Tis the season for debugging
    Since the last time, the expression parser has grown several new capabilities. We are now able to infer the types of operands, and as such one no longer needs to set the type that one wishes the value to be returned as. A further consequence is that expressions can now return arbitrarily typed values as results, not just simple numeric values. This means that, for instance, an expression can return a data member of a class, and if that member is itself an object or other more complex type, it can then be expanded to look at its internal values.  I am by far not knowledgeable enough to comment on any of this - but I do know it's a number of improvements to Haiku's debugger.

  • The everything book: reading in the age of Amazon
    Hundreds of millions of tablets and e-readers have been sold, but today we're still inclined to think of a book as words on a page. Amazon's success with Kindle has hinged on recognizing how much more they can be. So where does the company go from here? In a series of rare, on-the-record interviews for Kindle's 7th anniversary, Amazon executives sketched out their evolving vision for the future of reading. It's wild - and it's coming into focus faster than you might have guessed.

  • Sony cancels The Interview release amid threats
    Sony Pictures has cancelled the planned release on 25 December of the film The Interview, after major cinema chains decided not to screen it.  The film is about a fictional plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.  Hackers have already carried out a cyber attack on Sony and warned the public to stay away from cinemas screening the film.  Sony hacked, documents released, theatres and Sony threatened by terrorists, and now, the film in question cancelled.  Een volk dat voor tirannen zwicht, zal meer dan lijf en goed verliezen, dan dooft het licht.

  • Amazon pushes a big update to the Fire Phone
    Amazon is continuing to fiddle with the Fire Phone's software even after it became apparent that the device isn't selling terribly well. An OTA is going out right now to the AT&T and GSM unlocked devices with a ton of improvements to the camera, battery life, lock screen, and more.  Did anyone - anyone - buy this phone?

  • BlackBerry Classic review
    The wait is over. The BlackBerry Classic has now arrived, and it brings the promise of the speed and performance of BlackBerry 10 with the familiar and classic navigation keys you know and love. All that in a package that is 'designed from the ground up to meet the needs of productive people who appreciate the speed and accuracy that can only be found with a physical QWERTY keyboard'.  It's a device purposefully built to be reliable, durable, made with high-quality materials, and that delivers on quality and fits neatly in your pocket. From the official announcement of its eventual release back in February at Mobile World Congress 2014 to now, many folks have been waiting for the BlackBerry Classic and now that it's here, it's time to take a look and see if it delivers on all those points.  The Classic has officially been released today, and has one of the first reviews.

  • The GNU GPL to be tested in court
    The GNU General Public License (version 2) is one of the most widely used open source licenses in the world. The GNU GPLv2 is commonly used in Linux distributions and open source applications. Yet, despite being widely used for decades, the GPLv2 has not been tested much in the legal system. Most GPL violations do not result in a trial and so the power of the license has remained largely untested. That is about to change. As posted,  This lack of court decisions is about to change due to the five interrelated cases arising from a dispute between Versata Software, Inc. ("Versata") (its parent company, Trilogy Development Corporation, is also involved, but Versata is taking the lead) and Ameriprise Financial, Inc. ("Ameriprise")  It is expected the court cases will help define what qualifies as a derivative work and how the GPL affects software patents along with other details of how the license is interpreted.

  • Android Candy: Google Keep
    I love Evernote. I pay for a premium membership, and to be honest, I don't think I even use the premium features. I just love Evernote so much, I want to support the company. But in the spirit of fair comparison, I forced myself to try Google Keep. 

  • Handling the workloads of the Future
    The history of computing can be traced by the popular buzzwords of the day. In fact, at some point we should run a contest where everyone submits their 5 all-time favorite computer industry buzzwords. There have been dumb terminals, smart terminals, client server, thin client, peer-to-peer, virtualization, containers, cloud, paas, saas, iaas…the list, and the acronyms stretch to the horizon.

  • Raspi-Sump
    In June 2013, we had the unfortunate luck of a basement flood, caused by a tripped electrical breaker connected to our sump pump. There are so many things that can go wrong with a sump pump. You always are on guard for power outages, blown breakers, sump pump failures, clogged pipes and all manner of issues that can arise, which ultimately can end with a flooded basement.

  • diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development
    Containers are very tricky to implement. Trying to isolate sets of resources from each other completely, so that they resemble a discrete system, and doing it in a secure way, has to be addressed on a feature-by-feature basis, with many caveats and uncertainties.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: Don't Type All Those Words!
    We've mentioned Autokey as a great tool for text replacement in real time on Linux. Thankfully, there's an option for Windows users that actually is even more powerful than Autokey! AutoHotkey is a similarly named application that runs strictly under Windows.

  • Computing without a Computer
    I've covered a lot of various pieces of software that are designed to help you do scientific calculations of one type or another, but I have neglected a whole class of computational tools that is rarely used anymore. Before there was the electronic computer, computations had to be made by hand, so they were error-prone.

  • Autokey: Shorthand for Typists
    For years I avoided installing keyboard shortcut tools on my computers. I thought dog-gonnit, if something needed to be typed out, I'd type every letter myself. Recently I capitulated, however, and I must say, going back seems unlikely. If you've never tried a text-replacement app, I highly recommend doing so.

  • How Can We Get Business to Care about Freedom, Openness and Interoperability?
    They use our stuff. Why not our values too?

    At this point in history, arguments for using Linux, FOSS (free and open-source software) and the Internet make themselves. Yet the virtues behind those things—freedom, openness, compatibility, interoperability, substitutability—still tend to be ignored by commercial builders of new stuff.  

  • Readers' Choice Awards 2014

    It's time for another Readers' Choice issue of Linux Journal! The format last year was well received, so we've followed suit making your voices heard loud again. I couldn't help but add some commentary in a few places, but for the most part, we just reported results. Please enjoy this year's Readers' Choice Awards! 

  • December 2014 Issue of Linux Journal: Readers' Choice
        The Best of the Best 
    I love the Readers' Choice issue. I jokingly say it's because all the work is done by the community, but honestly, it's because I love hearing the feedback from everyone. Year after year, I inevitably learn about a new technology or application, and I'm usually surprised by at least one of the voting results.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: XAMP
    One of my career iterations put me in charge of a Windows server that had Apache and PHP installed on it to serve as a Web server for the corporate intranet. Although I was happy to see Apache used as the Web server dæmon, the installation on the Windows server was the most confusing and horrifying mess I've ever seen.

  • The Awesome Program You Never Should Use
    I've been hesitating for a couple months about whether to mention sshpass. Conceptually, it's a horrible, horrible program. It basically allows you to enter an SSH user name and password on the command line, so you can create a connection without any interaction. A far better way to accomplish that is with public/private keypairs.

  • 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.   

  • Days Between Dates?
    Alert readers will know that I'm working on a major revision to my popular Wicked Cool Shell Scripts book to come out later this year. Although most of the scripts in this now ten-year-old book still are current and valuable, a few definitely are obsolete or have been supplanted by new technology or utilities. No worries—that's why I'm doing the update. 

  • 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