Geek Stuff

New Findings On Graphene As a Conductor With IC Components

Slashdot -

ClockEndGooner (1323377) writes Philadelphia's NPR affiliate, WHYY FM, reported today on their Newsworks program that a research team at the University of Pennsylvania have released their preliminary findings on the use of graphene as a conductor in the next generation of computer chips. From the article: "'It's very, very strong mechanically, and it is an excellent electronic material that might be used in future computer chips,' said Charlie Johnson, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. ... Future graphene transistors, Johnson said, are likely to be only tens of atoms across."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

Slashdot -

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes In the months and weeks leading up to a referendum vote that would have established a locally owned fiber network in three small Illinois cities, Comcast and SBC (now AT&T) bombarded residents and city council members with disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies to ensure the measure failed. The series of two-sided postcards painted municipal broadband as a foolhardy endeavor unfit for adults, responsible people, and perhaps as not something a smart woman would do. Municipal fiber was a gamble, a high-wire act, a game, something as "SCARY" as a ghost. Why build a municipal fiber network, one asked, when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?" In the corner, in tiny print, each postcard said "paid for by SBC" or "paid for by Comcast." The postcards are pretty absurd and worth a look.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








NSA Surveillance Chilling Effects: HRW and ACLU Gather More Evidence

EFF's Deeplinks -

Human Rights Watch and the ACLU today published a terrific report documenting the chilling effect on journalists and lawyers from the NSA's surveillance programs entitled: "With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law and American Democracy." The report, which is chock full of evidence about the very real harms caused by the NSA's surveillance programs, is the result of interviews of 92 lawyers and journalists, plus several senior government officials. 

This report adds to the growing body of evidence that the NSA's surveillance programs are causing real harm.  It also links these harms to key parts of both U.S. constitutional and international law, including the right to counsel, the right of access to information, the right of association and the free press. It is a welcome addition to the PEN report detailing the effects on authors, called Chilling Effects: How NSA Surveillance Drives US Writers to Self-Censor and the declarations of 22 of EFF's clients in our First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA case. 

The HRW and ACLU report documents the increasing treatment of journalists and lawyers as legitimate surveillance targets and surveys how they are responding. Brian Ross of ABC says:

There’s something about using elaborate evasion and security techniques that’s offensive to me—that I should have to operate as like a criminal, like a spy.

The report also notes that the government increasingly likens journalists to criminals. As Scott Shane of the New York Times explains:

To compare the exchange of information about sensitive programs between officials and the media, which has gone on for decades, to burglary seems to miss the point. Burglary is not part of a larger set of activities protected by the Constitution, and at the heart of our democracy. Unfortunately, that mindset is sort of the problem.

Especially striking in the report is the disconnect between the real stories of chilling effects from reporters and lawyers and the skeptical, but undocumented, rejections from senior government officials.  The reporters explain difficulties in building trust with their sources and the attorneys echo that with stories about the difficulties building client trust.  The senior government officials, in contrast, just say that they don't believe the journalists and appear to have thought little, if at all about the issues facing lawyers.  

Thanks to ACLU and HRW for adding the important faces of journalists and lawyers to the growing list of people directly harmed by NSA surveillance. 

Related Issues: Free SpeechNSA SpyingRelated Cases: Jewel v. NSAFirst Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA
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Lilbits (7-28-2014): Motorola Nexus 6 confirmed?

Liliputing -

Every year Google works with a device maker to offer a new phone for developers and enthusiasts as part of its Nexus lineup. These phones ship with Google’s stock Android software, receive software updates directly from Google, and tend to feature some of the latest tech to showcase exactly what Google thinks an Android phone […]

Lilbits (7-28-2014): Motorola Nexus 6 confirmed? is a post from: Liliputing

A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

Slashdot -

Tekla Perry (3034735) writes The 'Weissman Score' — created for HBO's "Silicon Valley" to add dramatic flair to the show's race to build the best compression algorithm — creates a single score by considering both the compression ratio and the compression speed. While it was created for a TV show, it does really work, and it's quickly migrating into academia. Computer science and engineering students will begin to encounter the Weissman Score in the classroom this fall."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








A Credit Card-Sized, Arduino-Based Game Device (Video)

Slashdot -

Slashdot's Tim Lord was cruising the halls at OSCON, where he spotted Kevin Bates and his tiny Arduino-based device, called the Arduboy. On Kevin's Tindie.com sales page, he says the games it can run include, "Space Rocks, Snake, Flappy Ball, Chess, Breakout, and many more...The most exciting one could be made by you!" || His work with Arduboy got Kevin invited to the recent White House Maker Faire, where he rubbed shoulders (and shot selfies with) Bill Nye the Science Guy, Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, and Arduino creator Massimo Banzi. || Does Kevin have a Kickstarter in the works? There's nothing about Arduboy on Kickstarter.com, and given the Arduboy's simplicity and low price (currently $50), plus stories about it everywhere from Time.com to engadget to Slashdot, he may not need any financing or capital to make his idea succeed. (Alternate Video Link)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Slashdot -

UrsaMajor987 (3604759) writes I have a Asus Transformer tablet that I dropped on the floor. There is no obvious sign of damage but It will no longer boot. Good excuse to get a newer model. I intend to sell it for parts (it comes with an undamaged keyboard) or maybe just toss it. I want to remove all my personal data. I removed the flash memory card but what about the other storage? I know how to wipe a hard drive, but how do you wipe a tablet? If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

Slashdot -

Bennett Haselton writes: I can't stand switching from a slideout-keyboard phone to a touchscreen phone, and my own informal online survey found a slight majority of people who prefer slideout keyboards even more than I do. Why will no carrier make them available, at any price, except occasionally as the crummiest low-end phones in the store? Bennett's been asking around, of store managers and users, and arrives at even more perplexing questions. Read on, below.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








TouchPico: Pocket-sized device projects Android onto any wall (crowdfunding)

Liliputing -

Looking for a portable projector that lets you stream videos, PowerPoint presentations, or other content onto a wall… without connecting to a computer? TouchPico is a tiny projector that runs Google Android, allowing you to project just about anything that you’d see on your phone onto a screen or wall. It can beam an 80 inch […]

TouchPico: Pocket-sized device projects Android onto any wall (crowdfunding) is a post from: Liliputing

US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Slashdot -

SonicSpike points out an article from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Research & Analysis department on the legislation and regulation schemes emerging in at least a few states in reaction to the increasing use of digital currencies like Bitcoin. A working group called the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Emerging Payments Task Force has been surveying the current landscape of state rules and approaches to digital currencies, a topic on which state laws are typically silent. In April, the task force presented a model consumer guidance to help states provide consumers with information about digital currencies. A number of states, including California, Massachusetts and Texas, have issued warnings to consumers that virtual currencies are not subject to “traditional regulation or monetary policy,” including insurance, bonding and other security measures, and that values can fluctuate dramatically. ... The article focuses on the high-population, big-economy states of New York, California and Texas, with a touch of Kansas -- but other states are sure to follow. Whether you live in the U.S. or not, are there government regulations that you think would actually make sense for digital currencies?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers at the TU Berlin and RWTH Aachen presented an analysis of the Internet Census 2012 data set (here's the PDF) in the July edition of the ACM Sigcomm Computer Communication Review journal. After its release on March 17, 2013 by an anonymous author, the Internet Census data created an immediate media buzz, mainly due to its unethical data collection methodology that exploited default passwords to form the Carna botnet. The now published analysis suggests that the released data set is authentic and not faked, but also reveals a rather chaotic picture. The Census suffers from a number of methodological flaws and also lacks meta-data information, which renders the data unusable for many further analyses. As a result, the researchers have not been able to verify several claims that the anonymous author(s) made in the published Internet Census report. The researchers also point to similar but legal efforts measuring the Internet and remark that the illegally measured Internet Census 2012 is not only unethical but might have been overrated by the press."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Samsung confirms its first Tizen phone is on hold… for now

Liliputing -

Samsung’s first smartphone powered by the Tizen operating system was supposed to launch in Russia this month, but launch day came and went and the phone was nowhere to be seen. Now Samsung has confirmed to the Associated Press and CNET that the Samsung Z is on hold until the company feels the Tizen ecosystem […]

Samsung confirms its first Tizen phone is on hold… for now is a post from: Liliputing

Oracle Offers Custom Intel Chips and Unanticipated Costs

Slashdot -

jfruh (300774) writes "For some time, Intel has been offering custom-tweaked chips to big customers. While most of the companies that have taken them up on this offer, like Facebook and eBay, put the chips into servers meant for internal use, Oracle will now be selling systems running on custom Xeons directly to end users. Those customers need to be careful about how they configure those systems, though: in the new Oracle 12c, the in-memory database option, which costs $23,000 per processor, is turned on by default."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Attackers Install DDoS Bots On Amazon Cloud

Slashdot -

itwbennett (1594911) writes "Attackers are exploiting a vulnerability in distributed search engine software Elasticsearch to install DDoS malware on Amazon and possibly other cloud servers. Last week security researchers from Kaspersky Lab found new variants of Mayday, a Trojan program for Linux that's used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The malware supports several DDoS techniques, including DNS amplification. One of the new Mayday variants was found running on compromised Amazon EC2 server instances, but this is not the only platform being misused, said Kaspersky Lab researcher Kurt Baumgartner Friday in a blog post."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Deals of the Day (7-28-2014)

Liliputing -

The Asus Transformer Book T100 is a cheap 10 inch Windows tablet that gets long battery life, offers decent performance, and comes with a keyboard dock that lets you use the system like a notebook. Now it’s even cheaper: Newegg is selling a refurbished model for just $250. Note that the refurbished version of this […]

Deals of the Day (7-28-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

Slashdot -

hypnosec writes with news that India's Central Bureau of Investigation has ordered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Google for violating Indian laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations in the country. As per the PE, registered on the basis of a complaint made by the Surveyor General of India's office to the Union Home Ministry, Google has been accused of organizing a mapping competition dubbed 'Mapathon' in February-March 2013 without taking prior permission from Survey of India, country's official mapping agency. The mapping competition required citizens to map their neighbourhoods, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants. The Survey of India (SoI), alarmed by the event, asked the company to share its event details. While going through the details the watchdog found that there were several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Slashdot -

puddingebola (2036796) writes "A team at Stanford has created a stable Lithium anode battery using a carbon honeycomb film. The film is described as a nanosphere layer that allows for the expansion of Lithium during use, and is suitable as a barrier between anode and cathode. Use of a lithium anode improves the coulombic efficiency and could result in longer range batteries for cars." The linked article suggests that the 200-mile-range, $25,000 electric car is a more realistic concept with batteries made with this technology, though some people are more interested in super-capacity phone batteries.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Allwinner’s $4 quad-core chip now shipping in $60 Android tablets

Liliputing -

Allwinner has begun mass production of the Allwinner A33 ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor and the company is selling the chip to device makers for as little as $4. That means it’s showing up in some pretty cheap tablets. You can already find a handful of tablets with Allwinner A33 chips, Android 4.4 KitKat, chips at […]

Allwinner’s $4 quad-core chip now shipping in $60 Android tablets is a post from: Liliputing

Build Your Own Gatling Rubber Band Machine Gun

Slashdot -

New submitter melarky (3767369) writes This is a fun weekend project that most nerds will appreciate. Step by step instructions and also a handy video will make the construction of this project fast and easy. I have seen lots of plans for sale (or actual guns/kits for sale), but couldn't seem to find any plans for free. I played around with a few different designs (even cut my first few on a homemade CNC machine) and finally landed on this design. I made the guide more accessible to the general public (no need for a CNC machine here), so if you've ever dreamed of ending friendships because of hundreds of rubber band welts, now's your chance! We'd like to see your home-made projects, too.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








LG unveils Tab Book Android convertible with Intel Core i5

Liliputing -

There are a growing number of Android tablets with Intel Atom processors. But LG’s going a bit higher up the food chain with its new Tab Book 11. It’s an 11.6 inch Andorid tablet with an Intel Core i5 Haswell processor and a built-in keyboard that lets you use the system like a notebook… an […]

LG unveils Tab Book Android convertible with Intel Core i5 is a post from: Liliputing

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