Tech News Feed

'The Division' upgrade raises the stakes for veteran players

Engadget - 48 min 22 sec ago
Now that Ubisoft has spent some time improving the fundamentals of The Division, it's ready to focus on more content. And this time, there's a lot for seasoned players -- even those who'll never pay for add-ons. The upcoming free 1.6 update will ad...

Free Software Foundation Shakes Up Its List of Priority Projects

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 23:34
alphadogg quotes Network World: The Free Software Foundation Tuesday announced a major rethinking of the software projects that it supports, putting top priority on a free mobile operating system, accessibility, and driver development, among other areas. The foundation has maintained the High Priority Projects list since 2005, when it contained just four free software projects. [That rose to 12 projects by 2008, though the changelog shows at least seven projects have since been removed.] Today's version mostly identifies priority areas, along with a few specific projects in key areas. The new list shows the FSF will continue financially supporting Replicant, their free version of Android, and they're also still supporting projects to create a free software replacement for Skype with real-time voice and video capabilities. But they're now also prioritizing various projects to replace Siri, Google Now, Alexa, and Cortana with a free-software personal assistant, which they view as "crucial to preserving users' control over their technology and data while still giving them the benefits such software has for many." And other priorities now include internationalization, accessibility, decentralization and self-hosting, and encouraging governments to adopt free software.

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Amazon made a Dash button just for boxes of assorted candy

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 23:04
If you're a creature of habit who doesn't mind introducing a little branding into your home, Amazon's one-touch ordering buttons are useful for re-stocking everything from laundry detergent to Nerf ammo. They can even be programmed to remind you that...

Knuth Previews New Math Section For 'The Art of Computer Programming'

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 21:34
In 1962, 24-year-old Donald Knuth began writing The Art of Computer Programming -- and 55 years later, he's still working on it. An anonymous reader quotes Knuth's web site at Stanford: Volume 4B will begin with a special section called 'Mathematical Preliminaries Redux', which extends the 'Mathematical Preliminaries' of Section 1.2 in Volume 1 to things that I didn't know about in the 1960s. Most of this new material deals with probabilities and expectations of random events; there's also an introduction to the theory of martingales. You can have a sneak preview by looking at the current draft of pre-fascicle 5a (52 pages), last updated 18 January 2017. As usual, rewards will be given to whoever is first to find and report errors or to make valuable suggestions. I'm particularly interested in receiving feedback about the exercises (of which there are 125) and their answers (of which there are 125). Over the years Knuth gave out over $20,000 in rewards, though most people didn't cash his highly-coveted "hexadecimal checks", and in 2008 Knuth switched to honorary "hexadecimal certificates". In 2014 Knuth complained about the "dumbing down" of computer science history, and his standards remain high. In his most-recent update, 79-year-old Knuth reminds readers that "There's stuff in here that isn't in Wikipedia yet!"

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Snowden's preferred email provider, Lavabit, has been resurrected

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 21:33
Lavabit, the encrypted email provider Edward Snowden favored, has risen from the ashes with more security features than before. If you'll recall, company chief Ladar Levison shut it down in 2013 instead of complying with the government's demand to ha...

Tesla's big Autopilot update is now active on newer cars

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 19:59
Tesla's Enhanced Autopilot has been months in the making, but it's finally here -- no, for real this time. After days of laying dormant, the upgrade is now active for all HW2-era (that is, self-driving capable) Model S and Model X vehicles with Autop...

New Wyoming Bill Penalizes Utilities Using Renewable Energy

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 19:34
An anonymous reader quotes a Christian Science Monitor report on "a bill that would essentially ban large-scale renewable energy" in Wyoming. The new Wyoming bill would forbid utilities from using solar or wind sources for their electricity by 2019, according to Inside Climate News... The bill would require utilities to use "eligible resources" to meet 95 percent of Wyoming's electricity needs in 2018, and all of its electricity needs in 2019. Those "eligible resources" are defined solely as coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, oil, and individual net metering... Utility-scale wind and solar farms are not included in the bill's list of "eligible resources," making it illegal for Wyoming utilities to use them in any way if the legislation passes. The bill calls for a fine of $10 per megawatt-hour of electricity from a renewable source to be slapped on Wyoming utilities that provide power from unapproved sources to in-state customers. The bill also prohibits utilities from raising rates to cover the cost of those penalties, though utilities wouldn't be penalized if they exported that energy to other states. But one local activist described it as 'talking-point' legislation, and even the bill's sponsor gives it only a 50% chance of passing.

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Unwanted Trump in your feed? Twitter says it's sorry - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-01-21 19:25
Some Twitter users who weren't interested in following The Donald via the official presidential account, @POTUS, wound up following him anyway.

The SHA-1 End Times Have Arrived

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 18:34
"Deadlines imposed by browser makers deprecating support for the weakened SHA-1 hashing algorithm have arrived," writes Slashdot reader msm1267. "And while many websites and organizations have progressed in their migrations toward SHA-2 and other safer hashing algorithms, pain points and potential headaches still remain." Threatpost reports: Starting on Jan. 24, Mozilla's Firefox browser will be the first major browser to display a warning to its users who run into a site that doesn't support TLS certificates signed by the SHA-2 hashing algorithm... "SHA-1 deprecation in the context of the browser has been an unmitigated success. But it's just the tip of the SHA-2 migration iceberg. Most people are not seeing the whole problem," said Kevin Bocek, VP of security strategy and threat intelligence for Venafi. "SHA-1 isn't just a problem to solve by February, there are thousands more private certificates that will also need migrating"... Experts warn the move to SHA-2 comes with a wide range of side effects; from unsupported applications, new hardware headaches tied to misconfigured equipment and cases of crippled credit card processing gear unable to communicate with backend servers. They say the entire process has been confusing and unwieldy to businesses dependent on a growing number of digital certificates used for not only their websites, but data centers, cloud services, and mobile apps... According to Venafi's research team, 35 percent of the IPv4 websites it analyzed in November are still using insecure SHA-1 certificates. However, when researchers scanned Alexa's top 1 million most popular websites for SHA-2 compliance it found only 536 sites were not compliant. The article describes how major tech companies are handling the move to SHA-2 compliance -- including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce and Cloudflare

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Apple is reportedly reinventing the iPhone's fingerprint reader

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 18:32
Future iPhones may revolve around more than just an eye-catching curved display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who frequently (though not always) has a knack for hardware scoops, believes that Apple is designing a whole new Touch ID fingerprin...

Raspberry Pi Gets Competitors

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 17:34
Hackaday reports that Asus has "quietly released their Tinker board that follows the Pi form factor very closely, and packs a 1.8 GHz quad-core ARM Cortes A17 alongside an impressive spec At £55 (about $68) where this is being written it's more expensive than the Pi, but Asus go to great lengths to demonstrate that it is significantly faster." And though the Raspberry Pi foundation upgraded their Compute Module, Pine64 has just unveiled their new SOPINE A64 64-bit computing module, a smaller version of the $15 Pine64 computer. An anonymous reader quotes ComputerWorld: At $29, the SOPINE A64 roughly matches the price of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, which ranges from $25 to $30. The new SOPINE will ship in February, according to the website. The SOPINE A64 can't operate as a standalone computer like the Pine64. It needs to be plugged in as a memory slot inside a computer. But if you want a full-blown computer, Pine64 also sells the $15 SOPINE Baseboard Model-A, which "complements the SOPINE A64 Compute Module and turns it into a full single board computer," according to the company... The original Pine64 was crowdsourced and also became popular for its high-end components like a 64-bit chip and DDR3 memory... It has 2GB RAM, which is twice that of Raspberry Pi's compute module. SOPINE also has faster DDR3 memory, superior to DDR2 memory in Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 board.

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Google rolls out Instant Tethering for your Android devices

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 17:01
The latest version of Google Play Services comes with a feature that can ensure all your devices are always online. Austrian journalist Andreas Proschofsky has posted a screenshot on his Google+ account showing a new feature called "Instant Tethering...

Hackers hit Sundance film fest, shutting down box office - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-01-21 16:37
A cyberattack leveled the indie film fest's ticketing systems for less than an hour.

Newest Tesla Autopilot Data Shows A 40% Drop in Crashes

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 16:34
There's a surprise in the data from an investigation into Tesla safety by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: [W]hile all Tesla vehicles come with the hardware necessary for Autopilot, you need a software upgrade that costs thousands of dollars to make it work. Since buyers can add Autopilot features after purchase, this provides a perfect before-and-after comparison. It turns out that, according to the data Tesla gave investigators, installing Autopilot prevents crashes -- by an astonishing 40 percent... Now -- thanks to an investigation that initially hurt the company -- there is finally some real data, and it's good news for Tesla... As the software matures to match the new hardware, Musk said on Thursday via a Tweet, Tesla is targeting a 90 percent reduction in car crashes.

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'Walking Dead's' Daryl says he's 'ready to kill everybody' - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-01-21 15:56
Negan and his bat Lucille had better start running, because Norman Reedus warns his character is coming for them.

Oracle to Block JAR Files Signed with MD5 Starting In April

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 15:34
An anonymous reader quotes BleepingComputer: Oracle says that starting with April 18, 2017, Java (JRE) will treat all JAR files signed with the MD5 algorithm as unsigned, meaning they'll be considered insecure and blocked from running. Oracle originally planned MD5's deprecation for the current Critical Patch Update, released this week, which included a whopping 270 security fixes, one of the biggest security updates to date. The company decided to give developers and companies more time to prepare and delayed MD5's deprecation for the release of Oracle Java SE 8u131 and the next Java CPU, scheduled for release in April... Oracle removed MD5 as a default code signing option from Java SE 6, released in 2006. Despite this, there will be thousands of Java apps that will never be resigned. For this, Oracle will allow system administrators to set up custom deployment rule sets and exception site lists to allow Java applets and Java Web Start applications signed with MD5 to run. Sometimes in the second half of 2017, Oracle also plans to change the minimum key length for Diffie-Hellman algorithms to 1024 bits. These updates are part of Oracle's long-standing plan for changes to the security algorithms in the Oracle Java Runtime Environment and Java SE Development Kit.

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Shia LaBeouf starts a 4-year livestream to protest Trump

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 15:28
If you were determined to make a political protest through art, and had the luxuries of both fame and modern technology? For Shia LaBeouf, it's simple: start an ambitious livestreaming project. The actor (along with Nastja Säde Rönkk&ouml...

Women's March on Washington Protestors Say Science Is a Driving Force

Scientifc America - Sat, 2017-01-21 15:00
Marchers worry that the president's rhetoric and nominee choices threaten research, the scientific method and reproductive rights

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Pwn2Own 2017 Offers Big Bounties For Linux, Browser, and Apache Exploits

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-01-21 14:34
Now that TrendMicro owns TippingPoint, there'll be "more targets and more prize money" according to eWeek, and something special for Pwn2Own's 10th anniversary in March. Slashdot reader darthcamaro writes: For the first time in its ten-year history, the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition is taking direct aim at Linux. Pwn2Own in the past has typically focused mostly on web browsers, running on Windows and macOS. There is a $15,000 reward for security researchers that are able to get a local user kernel exploit on Ubuntu 16.10. The bigger prize though is a massive $200,000 award for exploiting Apache Web Server running on Ubuntu. "We are nine weeks away," TrendMicro posted Wednesday, pointing out that they're giving out over $1 million in bounties, including the following: $100,000 for escaping a virtualization hypervisor$80,000 for a Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome exploit$50,000 for an exploit of Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint$50,000 for an Apple Safari exploit$30,000 for a Firefox exploit$30,000, $20,000 and $15,000 for privilege-escalating kernel vulnerabilities on Windows, macOS and Linux (respectively)$200,000 for an Apache Web Server exploit

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An electric scooter is the perfect vehicle for quick jaunts

Engadget - Sat, 2017-01-21 14:00
We have a plethora of options for getting around in an urban area. Buses, taxis, Uber, monorails, light rail and dirigibles (well, probably not the last one) make travel in big cities easier. But for those looking for a bit more freedom and fun, ther...

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