Geek Stuff

Deals of the Day (1-29-2015)

Liliputing -

There was a time when Zotac’s line of tiny desktop computers shipped without an operating system. While you can still pick up a barebones model, there are now a handful of models that come preloaded with Windows 8.1 with Bing software… and they don’t cost much more than the barebones versions. Right now Newegg is […]

Deals of the Day (1-29-2015) is a post from: Liliputing

Dell 2015 XPS 13: Smallest 13" Notebook With Broadwell-U, QHD+ Display Reviewed

Slashdot -

MojoKid writes Dell's 2015 XPS 13 notebook made a splash out at CES this year with its near bezel-less 13-inch QHD+ (3200X1800) display and Intel's new 5th Gen Core series Broadwell-U processor. At 2.8 pounds, the 2015 XPS 13 isn't the absolute lightest 13-inch ultrabook book out there but it's lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Air and only a few ounces heavier than Lenovo's Core M-powered Yoga 3 Pro. The machine's Z dimensions are thin, at .33" up front to .6" at its back edge. However, its 11.98" width almost defies the laws of physics, squeezing a 13.3" (diagonal) display into an 11.98-inch frame making it what is essentially the smallest 13-inch ultrabook to hit the market yet. Performance-wise, this review shows its benchmarks numbers are strong and Intel's Broadwell-U seems to be an appreciable upgrade versus the previous generation architecture, along with lower power consumption.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








MIPS Creator CI20 dev board now available for $65

Liliputing -

The MIPS Creator CI20 is a single-board computer aimed at developers and hobbyists. In other words it’s a lot like a Raspberry Pi… but while the Raspberry Pi has an ARM-based processor the CI20 features a MIPS-based processor. First introduced in December, the MIPS Creatore CI20 is now shipping. It’s available for purchase for $65 or £50. […]

MIPS Creator CI20 dev board now available for $65 is a post from: Liliputing

Canada Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Wireless TV Case

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes Canada's telecom regulator has issued a major new decision with implications for net neutrality, ruling that Bell and Videotron violated the Telecommunications Act by granting their own wireless television services an undue preference by exempting them from data charges. Michael Geist examines the decision, noting that the Commission grounded the decision in net neutrality concerns, stating the Bell and Videotron services "may end up inhibiting the introduction and growth of other mobile TV services accessed over the Internet, which reduces innovation and consumer choice."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Saygus V² starts taking pre-orders for its $600 superphone

Liliputing -

The Saygus V² starts taking pre-orders for its $600 superphoneis a smartphone with a 5 inch full HD screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and other specs you’d expect from a high-end phone including 802.11ac WiFi, wireless charging, and a big battery. But the phone also has a few really surprising features: there are 2 […]

Saygus V² starts taking pre-orders for its $600 superphone is a post from: Liliputing

Proposed Disk Array With 99.999% Availablity For 4 Years, Sans Maintenance

Slashdot -

Thorfinn.au writes with this paper from four researchers (Jehan-François Pâris, Ahmed Amer, Darrell D. E. Long, and Thomas Schwarz, S. J.), with an interesting approach to long-term, fault-tolerant storage: As the prices of magnetic storage continue to decrease, the cost of replacing failed disks becomes increasingly dominated by the cost of the service call itself. We propose to eliminate these calls by building disk arrays that contain enough spare disks to operate without any human intervention during their whole lifetime. To evaluate the feasibility of this approach, we have simulated the behaviour of two-dimensional disk arrays with N parity disks and N(N – 1)/2 data disks under realistic failure and repair assumptions. Our conclusion is that having N(N + 1)/2 spare disks is more than enough to achieve a 99.999 percent probability of not losing data over four years. We observe that the same objectives cannot be reached with RAID level 6 organizations and would require RAID stripes that could tolerate triple disk failures.

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The Quantum Experiment That Simulates a Time Machine

Slashdot -

KentuckyFC writes One of the extraordinary features of quantum mechanics is that one quantum system can simulate the behaviour of another that might otherwise be difficult to create. That's exactly what a group of physicists in Australia have done in creating a quantum system that simulates a quantum time machine. Back in the early 90s, physicists showed that a quantum particle could enter a region of spacetime that loops back on itself, known as a closed timelike curve, without creating grandfather-type paradoxes in which time travellers kill their grandfathers thereby ensuring they could never have existed to travel back in time in the first place. Nobody has ever built a quantum closed time-like curve but now they don't have to. The Australian team have simulated its behaviour by allowing two entangled photons to interfere with each other in a way that recreates the behaviour of a single photon interacting with an older version of itself. The results are in perfect agreement with predictions from the 1990s--there are no grandfather-type paradoxes. Interestingly, the results are entirely compatible with relativity, suggesting that this type of experiment might be an interesting way of reconciling it with quantum mechanics.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Microsoft Office now available for Android tablets

Liliputing -

Microsoft released preview versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Android a few months ago. Now the company says they’re ready for prime time. Office for Android tablets is now available for free. You can download Word, PowerPoint, or Excel from the Google Play Store for free and use them to create, view, and edit […]

Microsoft Office now available for Android tablets is a post from: Liliputing

Georgia Institute of Technology Researchers Bridge the Airgap

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes Hacked has a piece about Georgia Institute of Technology researchers keylogging from a distance using the electromagnetic radiation of CPUs. They can reportedly do this from up to 6 meters away. In this video, using two Ubuntu laptops, they demonstrate that keystrokes are easily interpreted with the software they have developed. In their white paper they talk about the need for more research in this area so that hardware and software manufacturers will be able to develop more secure devices. For now, Farraday cages don't seem as crazy as they used to, or do they?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

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HughPickens.com writes Nick Summers has an interesting article at Bloomberg about the epidemic of 90 ATM bombings that has hit Britain since 2013. ATM machines are vulnerable because the strongbox inside an ATM has two essential holes: a small slot in front that spits out bills to customers and a big door in back through which employees load reams of cash in large cassettes. "Criminals have learned to see this simple enclosure as a physics problem," writes Summers. "Gas is pumped in, and when it's detonated, the weakest part—the large hinged door—is forced open. After an ATM blast, thieves force their way into the bank itself, where the now gaping rear of the cash machine is either exposed in the lobby or inside a trivially secured room. Set off with skill, the shock wave leaves the money neatly stacked, sometimes with a whiff of the distinctive acetylene odor of garlic." The rise in gas attacks has created a market opportunity for the companies that construct ATM components. Several manufacturers now make various anti-gas-attack modules: Some absorb shock waves, some detect gas and render it harmless, and some emit sound, fog, or dye to discourage thieves in the act. As far as anyone knows, there has never been a gas attack on an American ATM. The leading theory points to the country's primitive ATM cards. Along with Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and not many other countries, the U.S. doesn't require its plastic to contain an encryption chip, so stealing cards remains an effective, nonviolent way to get at the cash in an ATM. Encryption chip requirements are coming to the U.S. later this year, though. And given the gas raid's many advantages, it may be only a matter of time until the back of an American ATM comes rocketing off.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Intel launches Broadwell chips with vPro for enterprise

Liliputing -

Earlier this month Intel launched its 5th-gen Intel Core “Broadwell” processors for consumer devices. Now the company is adding 5th-gen Intel Core vPro chips to its lineup. These chips are aimed at the enterprise market and Intel says they’ll enable new types of notebooks, 2-in-1 tablets, and mini PCs for use in the workplace. Intel uses […]

Intel launches Broadwell chips with vPro for enterprise is a post from: Liliputing

The Benton Park Live Coding Orchestra

Raspberry Pi -

We’re always really excited to see the resources and tools we make being used by kids in school. This video is from Benton Park School in Leeds, where a Sonic Pi orchestra put on a live coding performance recently. You can see setup, practice and some of the performance itself here.

I first watched this with Sam Aaron, who created Sonic Pi, looking over my shoulder, and we were both giggling with glee.

If you’re a teacher and you’d like to get something like this going in your own school, but don’t know where to start, why not apply for one of our free CPD sessions at Picademy?

And if you’d like to hear more from Sam, he’s going to be live-coding some of the music for the evening party at our upcoming Big Birthday Weekend – I hope you’ll be joining us!

The Big Bang By Balloon

Slashdot -

StartsWithABang writes If you want to map the entire sky — whether you're looking in the visible, ultraviolet, infrared or microwave, your best bet is to go to space. Only high above the Earth's atmosphere can you map out the entire sky, with your vision unobscured by anything terrestrial. But that costs millions of dollars for the launch alone! What if you've got new technology you want to test? What if you still want to defeat most of the atmosphere? (Which you need to do, for most wavelengths of light.) And what if you want to make observations on large angular scales, something by-and-large impossible from the ground in microwave wavelengths? You launch a balloon! The Spider telescope has just completed its data-taking operations, and is poised to take the next step — beyond Planck and BICEP2 — in understanding the polarization of the cosmic microwave background.

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Drone Maker Enforces No-Fly Zone Over DC, Hijacking Malware Demonstrated

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes A recent incident at the White House showed that small aerial vehicles (drones) present a specific security problem. Rahul Sasi, a security engineer at Citrix R&D, created MalDrone, the first backdoor malware for the AR drone ARM Linux system to target Parrot AR Drones, but says it can be modified to target others as well. The malware can be silently installed on a drone, and be used to control the drone remotely and to conduct remote surveillance. Meanwhile, the Chinese company that created the drone that crashed on the White House grounds has announced a software update for its "Phantom" series that will prohibit flight within 25 kilometers of the capital.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Brain Implants Get Brainier

Slashdot -

the_newsbeagle writes "Did my head just beep?" wonders a woman who just received a brain implant to treat her intractable epilepsy. We're entering a cyborg age of medicine, with implanted stimulators that send pulses of electricity into the brain or nervous system to prevent seizures or block pain. The first generation of devices sent out pulses in a constant and invariable rhythm, but device-makers are now inventing smart stimulators that monitor the body for signs of trouble and fire when necessary.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








One-in-five Developers Now Works On IoT Projects

Slashdot -

dcblogs writes Evans Data Corp., which provides research and intelligence for the software development industry, said that of the estimated 19 million developers worldwide, 19% are now doing IoT-related work. A year ago, the first year IoT-specific data was collected, that figure was 17%. But when developers were asked whether they plan to work in IoT development over the next year, 44% of the respondents said they are planning to do so, said Michael Rasalan, director of research at Evans.

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Spider Spins Electrically Charged Silk

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sciencehabit writes In their quest to make ultrastrong yet ultrasmall fibers, the polymer industry may soon take a lesson from Uloborus spiders. Uloborids are cribellate spiders, meaning that instead of spinning wet, sticky webs to catch their prey, they produce a fluffy, charged, wool-like silk. A paper published online today in Biology Letters details the process for the first time. It all starts with the silk-producing cribellar gland. In contrast with other spiders, whose silk comes out of the gland intact, scientists were surprised to discover that uloborids' silk is in a liquid state when it surfaces. As the spider yanks the silk from the duct, it solidifies into nanoscale filaments. This "violent hackling" has the effect of stretching and freezing the fibers into shape. It may even be responsible for increasing their strength, because filaments on the nanoscale become stronger as they are stretched. In order to endow the fibers with an electrostatic charge, the spider pulls them over a comblike plate located on its hind legs. The technique is not unlike the so-called hackling of flax stems over a metal brush in order to soften and prepare them for thread-spinning, but in the spider's case it also gives them a charge. The electrostatic fibers are thought to attract prey to the web in the same way a towel pulled from the dryer is able to attract stray socks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Amazon Takes On Microsoft, Google With WorkMail For Businesses

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alphadogg writes Amazon Web Services today launched a new product to its expansive service catalog in the cloud: WorkMail is a hosted email platform for enterprises that could wind up as a replacement for Microsoft and Google messaging systems. The service is expected to cost $4 per user per month for a 50GB email inbox. It's integrated with many of AWS's other cloud services too, including its Zocalo file synchronization and sharing platform. The combination will allow IT shops to set up a hosted email platform and link it to a file sharing system.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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