Geek Stuff

Intel’s Wireless Charging Bowl coming this year

Liliputing -

Say you come home from a long day and throw your phone, keys, and jewelry in a bowl… wouldn’t it be nice if that bowl could also recharge the battery in your phone, smartwatch, or other gadgets? Earlier this year Intel unveiled a reference design for a “Smart Wireless Charging Bowl,” and now the company […]

Intel’s Wireless Charging Bowl coming this year is a post from: Liliputing

13 Principles Week of Action: While Australia Shirks Its International Obligations, Australians Wait On The Rest Of The World to Act

EFF's Deeplinks -

This is a guest post from Angela Daly and Angus Murray, members of the Policy and Research Standing Committee, Electronic Frontiers Australia. Angela is also a member of the Australian Privacy Foundation's board of directors.

Between 15th-19th of September, in the week leading up the first year anniversary of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles, EFF and the coalition behind the Principles will be conducting a Week of Action explaining some of the key guiding principles for surveillance law reform. Every day, we'll take on a different part of the principles, exploring what’s at stake and what we need to do to bring intelligence agencies and the police back under the rule of law. You can read the complete set of posts at: https://necessaryandproportionate.org/anniversary. The Principles were first launched at the 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 20 September 2013.  Let's send a message to Member States at the United Nations and wherever else folks are tackling surveillance law reform: surveillance law can no longer ignore our human rights. Follow our discussion on twitter with the hashtag: #privacyisaright

13 Principles Week of Action: While Australia Shirks Its International Obligations, Australians Wait On The Rest Of The World to Act

One of the most important treaties of international human rights law is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been signed and ratified by most of the world’s countries. Contained within the rights and liberties set out in this treaty are the right to free expression (Art 19) and the right to privacy (Art 17). Although all of these countries have signed and ratified the ICCPR, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States have exhibited blatant disregard for the rights contained therein by forming the Five Eyes (FVEY) coalition of countries which engage in mass surveillance of their populations.

The ‘above the law’ existence of FVEY was only brought to the public’s attention as a result of Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, and was revealed to be fundamentally at odds with international human rights principles. Indeed, this lack of compliance with human rights has resulted in various legal challenges to the FVEY activity. One of these challenges has been spearheaded by advocacy group Privacy International, which has been tackling the UK arm of FVEY. Initially attempts to compel the release of information relating to the scope and powers of FVEY via Freedom of Information requests to Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) were denied. Now Privacy International has brought a claim before the European Court of Human Rights.

The essence of this claim is that the refusal to release this information is a violation of free expression as enshrined in Art 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The lack of public information about the exact nature of the FVEY partnership, given its impact on the rights to free expression and privacy of millions of people throughout the world, ought to be of grave concern to all. We in Australia are watching these developments overseas with great interest, particularly given the lack of means at our disposal to challenge aspects of FVEY and/or Australia’s very participation in the partnership and disregard for its international obligations.

Australians suffer from a lack of enforceable human rights compared to citizens of the other FVEY countries. While the ICCPR has been signed and ratified by Australia, the rights it contains are, on the whole, not actionable in national law. At the domestic level, Australia does have a written Constitution, but no comprehensive bill of rights. A weak right to political communication has been implied into the Constitution by the Australian courts, but its scope is very limited, and there remains no enforceable right to privacy. So as Australians we are left to watch developments in other FVEY countries, and hope that these challenges to mass surveillance and aspects thereof are successful.

Any striking down of the FVEY partnership by courts in other countries could possibly have spillover effects for Australians and their free expression and privacy rights. Thus they may cause the rights recognized in these other countries’ legal systems to have some positive extraterritorial reach in Australia. However, the fact remains that despite our country being an enthusiastic participant in FVEY’s mass surveillance activities and shirking from its international human rights obligations, we are disadvantaged compared to citizens of the other FVEY countries in our scant rights protection and must await developments in other parts of the world rather than be able to hold the Australian government to account for violations of our human rights.

Related Issues: InternationalSurveillance and Human Rights
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Apple iPhone 6 and 6 plus dissected (by iFixit)

Liliputing -

Another gadget, another teardown… or two. The folks at iFixit have ripped open Apple’s new iPhone and iPhone 6 smartphones to see what’s under the hood(s). As expected, the new phones have bigger screens, bigger batteries, and new processors. But just because that’s what we expected doesn’t mean it’s not fun to look at pretty […]

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 plus dissected (by iFixit) is a post from: Liliputing

Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: Netflix appeared before the Canadian broadcast regulator today, resulting in a remarkably heated exchange, with threats of new regulation. The discussion was very hostile — the CRTC repeatedly ordered Netflix to provide subscriber information and other confidential data. As tempers frayed, the Canadian regulator expressed disappointment over the responses from a company that it said "takes hundreds of millions of dollars out of Canada." The CRTC implicitly threatened to regulate the company by taking away its ability to rely on the new media exception if it did not cooperate with its orders.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Putin To Discuss Plans For Disconnecting Russia From the Internet

Slashdot -

New submitter GlowingCat writes: Russian President Vladimir Putin and several high-ranking officials will discuss the security of the Russian segment of the Internet at the meeting of the Russian Security Council next week. According to various reports, the officials will make a number of decisions about regulating the use of the Internet in Russia. This includes the ability to cut off the Russian Internet, known as Runet, from the outside world, in case of emergency.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Sony unveils SmartEyeglass developer preview

Liliputing -

Sony wants in on the head-mounted wearable space pioneered by Google Glass. The company has just unveiled a SmartEyeglass software developer kit preview. At this point developers can work with a device emulator to create and test apps, but the idea is to eventually produce a piece of smart eyewear that will let users interact […]

Sony unveils SmartEyeglass developer preview is a post from: Liliputing

Bill Introduced in Congress to Let You Actually Own Things, Even if They Contain Software

EFF's Deeplinks -

We’ve written before about how copyright is chipping away at your right to own devices you’ve bought and paid for—from e-books to toasters and even your car. Time and again, people who want to modify their own property or sell it to others are told that they can’t, because their property comes saddled with copyrighted code they’re not allowed to modify or give away when they are done with the device.

At last, someone in Congress has noticed how “intellectual property rights” are showing up in unexpected places and undermining our settled rights and expectation about the things we buy. Today, Representative Farenthold announced the introduction of the You Own Devices Act (YODA). If a computer program enables a device to operate, YODA would let you transfer ownership of a copy of that computer program along with the device. The law would override any agreement to the contrary (like the one-sided and abusive End-User License Agreements commonly included with such software). Also, if you have a right to receive security or bug fixes, that right passes to the person who received the device from you.

It’s reassuring to see some pushback against abusive contract terms that consumers have no opportunity or leverage to negotiate. YODA is an important first step towards addressing the problem with restrictive licenses on embedded software.

Let’s hope it’s just the beginning. Legal fixes are also needed to protect digital first sale and the right to access and modify software in devices you own. First sale refers to the idea that you can re-sell or lend a copyrighted work that you obtained lawfully without needing the permission of the copyright owner. This is what lets you borrow a book or CD from a friend or library, buy used DVDs, and so on. Unfortunately, a federal district court in New York decided that first sale was too narrow to apply to digital music files in most normal circumstances. If other courts follow that ruling, we may need a legislative fix to preserve the ownership rights people have traditionally had when purchasing copyrighted works.

The right to access and modify software in your own devices is also under siege. Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits you from breaking (or working around) digital locks on copyrighted works  —including software—even if you own that copy of the work and the device on which it rests, even for lawful purposes such as fair use! This law has stifled security research, prevented people from tinkering and improving on technology, inhibited remix culture, and denied blind and deaf people access to knowledge and culture. Further examples abound.

So we have real work to do—but it’s great to see legislators taking important steps in the right direction.  YODA is one such step, and we hope Congress goes on to restore these other rights of users who have purchased devices with embedded software and want to actually own them. 

Related Issues: DMCATerms Of (Ab)UseInnovationDRM
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TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

Slashdot -

storagedude writes: Amid ongoing security concerns, the popular open source encryption program TrueCrypt may have found new life under a new name. Under the terms of the TrueCrypt license — which was a homemade open source license written by the authors themselves rather than a standard one — a forking of the code is allowed if references to TrueCrypt are removed from the code and the resulting application is not called TrueCrypt. Thus, CipherShed will be released under a standard open source license, with long-term ambitions to become a completely new product.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Deals of the Day (9-19-2014)

Liliputing -

The HP Spectre 13 X2 is a 2-in-1 ultrabook which becomes a tablet when you detach the screen from its keyboard dock. The system has a 13.3 inch full HD touchscreen display, an Intel Core i5 Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state drive, and HP says it should offer up to 9 […]

Deals of the Day (9-19-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

Slashdot -

cold fjord writes: Phys.org reports, "The life sciences have come under fire recently with a study published in PLOS ONE that investigated the level of sexual harassment and sexual assault of trainees in academic fieldwork environments. The study found 71% of women and 41% of men respondents experienced sexual harassment, while 26% of women and 6% of men reported experiencing sexual assault. The research team also found that within the hierarchy of academic field sites surveyed, the majority of incidents were perpetrated by peers and supervisors. The New York Times notes, "Most of these women encountered this abuse very early in their careers, as trainees. The travel inherent to scientific fieldwork increases vulnerability as one struggles to work within unfamiliar and unpredictable conditions."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








The Minecraft Parent

Slashdot -

HughPickens.com writes: Michael Agger has an interesting article in the New Yorker about parenting in the internet era and why Minecraft is the one game parents want their kids to play. He says, "Screens are no longer simply bicycles for the mind; they are bicycles that children can ride anywhere, into the virtual schoolyard where they might encounter disturbing news photos, bullies, creeps, and worse. Setting a child free on the Internet is a failure to cordon off the world and its dangers. It's nuts. ... The comfort of games is that they are partially walled off from the larger Internet, with their own communities and leaderboards. But what unsettles parents about Internet gaming, despite fond memories of after-school Nintendo afternoons, is its interconnectivity. Minecraft is played by both boys and girls, unusually. ... At its best, the game is not unlike being in the woods with your best friends. Parents also join in." According to Agger, the significance of Minecraft is how the game shows us that lively, pleasant virtual worlds can exist alongside our own, and that they are places where we want to spend time, where we learn and socialize. "To me what Minecraft represents is more than a hit game franchise," says new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "It's this open-world platform. If you think about it, it's the one game parents want their kids to play." We need to meet our kids halfway in these worlds, and try to guide them like we do in the real world, concludes Agger. "Who knows how Minecraft will change under Microsoft's ownership, but it's a historic game that has shown many of us a middle way to navigate the eternal screens debate."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Native support for Netflix coming to Ubuntu

Liliputing -

Want to move from Windows or OS X to Ubuntu or another GNU/Linux operating system? You’ll lose Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and some other apps that aren’t available for Linux, but you’ll be able to use open source alternatives such as LibreOffice and GIMP. But up until now there’s been one thing that’s been tricky […]

Native support for Netflix coming to Ubuntu is a post from: Liliputing

'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

Slashdot -

gbjbaanb writes: This year's Ig Nobel prize was won by Japanese researchers investigating why banana skins produced a frictionless surface compared to apple and orange peels. (Apparently, "The polysaccharide follicular gels that give banana skins their slippery properties are also found in the membranes where our bones meet," so its not all fun and jollity). Other prizes were awarded for noting that dogs only defecate when aligned with north-south magnetic fields, and that "night owl" people are more likely to be psychopaths than early risers. Yes, that probably includes you.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Run Android apps in Windows, OS X, Linux with Chrome (and a modified runtime)

Liliputing -

Google has begun bringing Android apps to the Chrome Web Store, allowing you to run a handful of Android apps on a Chromebook or Chromebox. But as we’ve reported, it’s already possible to run some Android apps that aren’t available in the Chrome web store… it just takes a little work to prepare and load those apps. […]

Run Android apps in Windows, OS X, Linux with Chrome (and a modified runtime) is a post from: Liliputing

Native Netflix Support Is Coming To Linux

Slashdot -

sfcrazy writes: Native support for Netflix is coming to Linux, thanks to their move from Silverlight to HTML5, Mozilla and Google Chrome. Paul Adolph from Netflix proposed a solution to Ubuntu developers: "Netflix will play with Chrome stable in 14.02 if NSS version 3.16.2 or greater is installed. If this version is generally installed across 14.02, Netflix would be able to make a change so users would no longer have to hack their User-Agent to play." The newer version of NSS is set to go out with the next security update.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Scotland Votes No To Independence

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader sends this news from the BBC: Scotland voters decided to remain part of the United Kingdom on Friday, rejecting independence in a historic referendum. The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment. Scots voted 55.3 percent to 44.7 percent against independence in a vote that saw an unprecedented turnout. "Like millions of other people, I am delighted," Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning. "It would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end." Cameron promised new powers for Scotland in the wake of the vote, but also warned that millions of voices in England must also be heard, calling for a "balanced settlement" that would deliver more power to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Somewhat related: according to a Reuters poll, one in four Americans want their state to secede from the union.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Scotland Votes No To Independence

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader sends this news from the BBC: Scotland voters decided to remain part of the United Kingdom on Friday, rejecting independence in a historic referendum. The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment. Scots voted 55.3 percent to 44.7 percent against independence in a vote that saw an unprecedented turnout. "Like millions of other people, I am delighted," Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning. "It would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end." Cameron promised new powers for Scotland in the wake of the vote, but also warned that millions of voices in England must also be heard, calling for a "balanced settlement" that would deliver more power to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Somewhat related: according to a Reuters poll, one in four Americans want their state to secede from the union.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

Slashdot -

Squiff writes U2 and Apple are apparently collaborating on a new, "interactive format for music," due to launch in "about 18 months." (A direct interview is available at Time, but paywalled.) Bono said the new tech "can't be pirated" and will re-imagine the role of album artwork. Marco Arment has some suitably skeptical commentary: "Full albums are as interesting to most people today as magazines. Single songs and single articles killed their respective larger containers. ... This alleged new format will cost a fortune to produce: people have to take the photos, design the interactions, build the animations, and make the deals with Apple. Bono’s talking point about helping smaller bands is ridiculous ... There's nothing Apple or Bono can do to make people care enough about glorified liner notes. People care about music and convenience, period. As for “music that can’t be pirated”, I ask again, what decade is this? That ship has not only sailed long ago, but has circled the world hundreds of times, sunk, been dragged up, turned into a tourist attraction, went out of business, and been gutted and retrofitted as a more profitable oil tanker."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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