Geek Stuff

Smartphone Apps Fraudulently Collecting Revenue From Invisible Ads

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JoeyRox writes: Thousands of mobile applications are downloading ads that are never presented to users but which collected an estimated $850 million in fraudulent revenue from advertisers per year. The downloading of these invisible ads can slow down users' phones and consume up to 2GB of bandwidth per day. Forensiq, an online technology firm fighting fraud for advertisers, found over 5,000 apps displayed unseen ads on both Apple and Android devices. "The sheer amount of activity generated by apps with fake ads was what initially exposed the scam. Forensiq noticed that some apps were calling up ads at such a high frequency that the intended audience couldn't possibly be actual humans."

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NVIDIA Shield Portable adds Chromecast support (drops Miracast)

Liliputing -

NVIDIA has rolled out an update for its Shield Portable game console, bringing Android 5.1 to the handheld game console and adding support for Google Chromecast. This lets you stream content from the Shield Portable to a TV with a Chromecast, Android TV device, or any other hardware that supports the Google Cast protocol. But the […]

NVIDIA Shield Portable adds Chromecast support (drops Miracast) is a post from: Liliputing

Open-Source Mesa 3D Library/Drivers Now Support OpenGL 4

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An anonymous reader writes: The Mesa 3D project that is the basis of the open-source Linux/BSD graphics drivers now supports OpenGL 4.0 and most of OpenGL 4.1~4.2. The OpenGL 4.0 enablement code landed in Mesa Git yesterday/today and more GL 4.1/4.2 patches are currently being reviewed for the Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau open-source GPU drivers.

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What Non-Experts Can Learn From Experts About Real Online Security

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An anonymous reader writes: Google researchers have asked 231 security experts and 294 web-users who aren't security experts about their security best practices, and the list of top ones for each group differs considerably. Experts recognize the benefits of updates, while non-experts are concerned about the potential risks of software updates. Non-experts are less likely to use password managers: some find them difficult to use, some don't realize how helpful they can be, and others are simply reluctant to (as they see it) "write" passwords down. Another interesting thing to point out is that non-experts love and use antivirus software.

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A Programming Language For Self-Organizing Swarms of Drones

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New submitter jumpjoe writes: Drones are becoming a staple of everyday news. Drone swarms are the natural extension of the drone concept for applications such as search and rescue, mapping, and agricultural and industrial monitoring. A new programming language, compiler, and virtual machine were recently introduced to specify the behaviour of an entire swarm with a single program. This programming language, called Buzz, allows for self-organizing behaviour to accomplish complex tasks with simple program. Details on the language and examples are available here. Full disclosure: I am one of the authors of the paper.

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US Court: 'Pocket-Dialed' Calls Are Not Private

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itwbennett writes: In a case of a pocket-dialed call, a conscientious secretary, and sensitive personnel issues, a federal appeals court in Ohio has ruled pocket-dialers shouldn't have any expectation of privacy. 'Under the plain-view doctrine, if a homeowner neglects to cover a window with drapes, he would lose his reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to a viewer looking into the window from outside of his property,' the court said. The same applies to pocket-dialed calls, according to the court. If a person doesn't take reasonable steps to keep their call private, their communications are not protected by the Wiretap Act.

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Universal Pictures Wants To Remove Localhost and IMDB Pages From Google Results

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Artem Tashkinov writes: We've all known for a very long time that DCMA takedown requests are often dubious and even more often outright wrong but in a new turn of events a Universal Pictures contractor which does web censorship has requested a takedown of an IMDB page and the 127.0.0.1 address. I myself has seen numerous times that pages which barely include the title of an infringing work of art get removed from search engines.

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Xiaomi uses Uber to deliver smartphones in minutes (in select markets)

Liliputing -

Want to order the latest smartphone online, but don’t want to actually wait for it to arrive? Xiaomi has a solution: the company is using Uber drivers to deliver smartphones to customers in Singapore and Malaysia. Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra says shoppers can order a Mi Note smartphone and get it delivered “within a few minutes.” […]

Xiaomi uses Uber to deliver smartphones in minutes (in select markets) is a post from: Liliputing

Experiment: Installing Windows 10 On a 7-Year-Old Acer Aspire One

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jones_supa writes: Windows 10 will launch in less than a week and it is supposed to work flawlessly on devices already powered by Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, as Microsoft struggled to keep system requirements unchanged to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Device drivers all the way back to Windows Vista platform (WDDM 1.0) are supported. Softpedia performed a practical test to see how Windows 10 can run on a 7-year-old Acer Aspire One netbook powered by Intel Atom N450 processor clocked at 1.66 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, and a 320 GB mechanical hard disk. The result is surprising to say the least, as installation not only went impressively fast, but the operating system itself also works fast.

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Astronauts' Skin Gets Thinner In Space, Scientists Say

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An anonymous reader writes: Living in space can be hard on the human body. Muscles atrophy, bones lose density and new research suggests that spending time in space can make your skin thinner. Professor Karsten Koenig from the Department of Biophotonics and Laser Technology at Saarland University, has used high-resolution skin imaging tomography to look into the skin cells of several astronauts before and after a trip into space. "NASA and ESA came to us and asked, 'is it possible to also look in the skin of astronauts? Because we want to know if there's any ageing process going on or what kind of modifications happened to astronauts as they work for six months out in space.' Because many astronauts complain about skin problems," he said.

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Melinda Gates: Facebook Engineers Have Solved One of Education's Biggest Problem

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theodp writes: Asked by the NY Times if Silicon Valley is saving the world or just making money, Melinda Gates replied, "I can say without a doubt — because I've seen it — that some of them [SV companies] are innovating in ways that make life better for billions of people." As an example, BillG's better half suggests that a handful of Facebook engineers have solved one of education's biggest problems with their 20% time project at billionaire-backed Summit Public Schools, a small charter school operator. Gates writes, "One of the biggest problems in American education is that teachers have to teach 30 students with different learning styles at the same time. Developers at Facebook, however, have built an online system that gives teachers the information and tools they need to design individualized lessons. The result is that teachers can spend their time doing what they're best at: inspiring kids." Some people — like the late Roger Ebert — might not be quite as impressed as Melinda to see Silicon Valley trying to reinvent the 1960's personalized-learning-wheel in 2015!

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Pigeon Pi

Raspberry Pi -

By day, Robert Threet is a systems manager at the University of  Southern Indiana in Evansville. But when he’s not knee-deep in network hardware, he races homing pigeons.

Credit: Robert Threet

Pigeon racing, which I’d always thought was the preserve of people from the north of England with flat caps and whippets (calm yourselves, commenters: my granddad was a man from the north of England with a flat cap – no whippets – and his friends were all over this stuff; budgie shows, too) turns out to have a following in the USA as well.

Things are far more sophisticated than they were when I was a kid. Back in the 70s when my Granddad’s friends were racing, each pigeon carried a little removable rubber ring around its ankle matching the unique number on a permanent band fitted when the pigeon was a chick. The rubber band was collected manually and logged when the pigeon arrived back at its loft by placing it in a special compartment in a pigeon clock, which stamped a piece of paper with the time. I was never allowed to touch one of these endlessly fascinating pigeon clocks, and they’ve always been objects of mystery – I was really chuffed when researching this post to find that a giant database of the things exists.

1955 Jundes pigeon clock. Click image to view at the Pigeon Clock Museum.

Nowadays, the pigeons are kitted out with RFID tags, and counted in by an electronic clock.  The pigeons race over distances between 300 and 500 miles, depending on age and experience. Pigeons belonging to a number of different racers all start at the same location, and fly back to their home lofts. The lofts’ GPS coordinates are taken, and used to calculate the distance flown. The pigeon with the best yards-per-minute score overall wins the race.

What does this have to do with Robert Threet in Indiana? Robert has been using a Raspberry Pi to augment the pigeon experience. Whenever one of his own pigeons arrives back in the loft after a race, a Raspberry Pi (which he also uses to monitor weather and the temperature conditions in the loft) uses a motion detector to trigger a camera, so each bird gets a photo-finish.

Robert plans to set the Pi up to automatically tweet those pictures, but for now, there’s a problem: his WiFi doesn’t extend to the pigeon loft. Please drop us a line when your setup is tweeting, Robert (as opposed to cooing softly); we’d love to be able to watch what your pigeons are doing.

The post Pigeon Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New York Judge Rules Against Facebook In Search Warrant Case

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itwbennett writes: Last year, Facebook appealed a court decision requiring it to hand over data, including photos and private messages, relating to 381 user accounts. (Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, among other companies backed Facebook in the dispute). On Tuesday, Judge Dianne Renwick of the New York State Supreme Court ruled against Facebook, saying that Facebook has no legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of search warrants served on its users.

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How Pentaquarks May Lead To the Discovery of New Fundamental Physics

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StartsWithABang writes: Over 100 years ago, Rutherford's gold foil experiment discovered the atomic nucleus. At higher energies, we can split that nucleus apart into protons and neutrons, and at still higher ones, into individual quarks and gluons. But these quarks and gluons can combine in amazing ways: not just into mesons and baryons, but into exotic states like tetraquarks, pentaquarks and even glueballs. As the LHC brings these states from theory to reality, here's what we're poised to learn, and probe, by pushing the limits of quantum chromodynamics.

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Pocket SCiO Spectrometer Sends Chemical Composition of Anything To Smartphones

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MojoKid writes: Is that a tricorder in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? All joking aside, the handheld SCiO could truly make you feel like a member Bones McCoy's medical team. The SCiO turns science fiction into science fact by shrinking mass spectrometry technology used in traditional lab settings into a device small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. While pricey handheld spectrometers have been available for researchers, the SCiO is the first such device marketed directly at consumers. To get the SCiO down to a reasonable price point, Consumer Physics uses near-IR spectroscopy and optics typically found in smartphones to measure the light reflected from any given object. Held at a distance of 5 to 15 mm from the intended target, SCiO captures reflected spectrum data and uploads it to its own cloud platform. The company's proprietary algorithms then analyze the data and send the information back down to your smartphone (SCiO require a Bluetooth connection). Reportedly, this whole process occurs within 1.5 seconds. The hope is to empower consumers to learn more about the world around them and even about the things that we put in our mouth. You'll be able to ascertain nutritional information about the foods you eat without having to rely on labels, or even determine the ripeness of fruits and vegetables with the push of a button. The Whole Foods crowd will be all over this, one would think.

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Skype Translate Reportedly Has a Swearing Problem In Chinese

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An anonymous reader writes: Skype Translate was supposed to be Microsoft's attempt at the "Star Trek" universal translator, offering real-time voice and text translation. It launched with one of the most challenging of languages, Chinese. And apparently, thanks to the Great Firewall, it has its problems. An American expat using it in China reports: "A glitch in the beta software misinterpreted the words I spoke. 'It's nice to talk to you' was translated as 'It's f*cking nice to f*ck you,' and other synthesized profanity, like the icebox robot in 1970's sci-fi flick Logan's Run, but with Tourette Syndrome. It was quite funny to me - I couldn't help but laugh during repeated takes, to Yan's exasperation - but the tech team were none too happy about it as they worked late into the night."

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Belgian Government Phishing Test Goes Off-Track

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alphadogg writes: An IT security drill went off the tracks in Belgium, prompting a regional government office to apologize to European high-speed train operator Thalys for involving it without warning. Belgium's Flemish regional government sent a mock phishing email to about 20,000 of its employees to see how they would react. Hilarity and awkwardness ensued, with some employees contacting Thalys directly to complain, and others contacting the cops.

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19-Year-Old's Supercomputer Chip Startup Gets DARPA Contract, Funding

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An anonymous reader writes: 19-year-old Thomas Sohmers, who launched his own supercomputer chip startup back in March, has won a DARPA contract and funding for his company. Rex Computing, is currently finishing up the architecture of its final verified RTL, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The new Neo chips will be sampled next year, before moving into full production in mid-2017.The Platform reports: "In addition to the young company’s first round of financing, Rex Computing has also secured close to $100,000 in DARPA funds. The full description can be found midway down this DARPA document under 'Programming New Computers,' and has, according to Sohmers, been instrumental as they start down the verification and early tape out process for the Neo chips. The funding is designed to target the automatic scratch pad memory tools, which, according to Sohmers is the 'difficult part and where this approach might succeed where others have failed is the static compilation analysis technology at runtime.'"

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