Technology

iTunes 12.1 adds new Yosemite Notification Center Widget and changes to info windows (Kirk McElhearn/Kirkville)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:50pm

Kirk McElhearn / Kirkville:
iTunes 12.1 adds new Yosemite Notification Center Widget and changes to info windows  —  iTunes 12.1 Brings Changes to Info Windows, Adds Notification Center Widget  —  iTunes 12.1 has been released, the first major update to the latest version of this app.

Categories: Technology

Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:44pm
mdsolar points out this report in the NY Times: An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming. Among Republicans, 48 percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called "the most powerful finding" in the poll. Many Republican candidates either question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Facebook Is Making News Feed Better By Asking Real People Direct Questions

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:23pm

It’s a well-known fact that Facebook’s flagship feature, News Feed, is run by algorithms. But Facebook knows that it can do better than relying solely on these cold computations.

The post Facebook Is Making News Feed Better By Asking Real People Direct Questions appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Canadian carriers Bell, Videotron ordered to stop exempting own TV services from data caps (Michael Geist Blog)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:05pm

Michael Geist Blog:
Canadian carriers Bell, Videotron ordered to stop exempting own TV services from data caps  —  “No Fast Lanes and Slow Lanes”: CRTC Rules Bell's Mobile TV Service Violates Telecommunications Act  —  The CRTC has issued a major new decision with implications for net neutrality …

Categories: Technology

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:01pm
An anonymous reader writes: I volunteer at a inner-city community after school program focused K-8th grade. Right now, due to the volunteer demographic, we spend most of our activity time in arts and crafts and homework. The 5th-8th students are getting restless with those activities. I've been asked to spice it up with some electrical wizardry. What I'd like to do is introduce the students to basic jobs skills through computers. My thoughts are that I could conduct some simple hands-on experiments with circuits, and maybe some bread boards. Ultimately, we're going to take apart a computer and put it back together. How successful this project is will dictate whether or not we will go into programming. However, whatever we do, I want the kids to obtain marketable skills. Anyone know of a curriculum I can follow? What experiences have you had with various educational computing projects?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

All The Films We’ve Caught in the Past Three Days at Sundance

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 3:56pm

There'll be time to sleep, but for now, here’s what the middle stretch of the Sundance Film Festival looked like from our vantage point

The post All The Films We’ve Caught in the Past Three Days at Sundance appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Rejoice: Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Trailer Is Finally Here

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 3:23pm

It's been a long seven months, but Game of Thrones has finally given us something to hold onto until its fifth season arrives in April.

The post Rejoice: Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Trailer Is Finally Here appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

US Army Releases Code For Internal Forensics Framework

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 3:18pm
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Maryland has released on GitHub a version of a Python-based internal forensics tool which the army itself has been using for five years. Dshell is a Linux-based framework designed to help investigators identify and examine compromised IT environments. One of the intentions of the open-sourcing of the project is to involve community developers in the creation of new modules for the framework. The official release indicates that the version of Dshell released to Github is not necessarily the same one that the Army uses, or at least that the module package might be pared down from the Army-issued software.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

How Imgur’s New GIF-Maker Stacks Up Against Other Tools Out There

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:55pm

Imgur's new Video to GIF feature lets you pop in a URL and get a great-looking GIF within seconds. Here's how it compares to similar tools.

The post How Imgur’s New GIF-Maker Stacks Up Against Other Tools Out There appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

FCC AWS-3 spectrum auction bidding breakdown: AT&T: $18.2B, Dish Network: $13.3B, Verizon: $10.4B, T-Mobile: $1.8B (Ina Fried/Re/code)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:45pm

Ina Fried / Re/code:
FCC AWS-3 spectrum auction bidding breakdown: AT&T: $18.2B, Dish Network: $13.3B, Verizon: $10.4B, T-Mobile: $1.8B  —  T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Win Spectrum in FCC Auction That Raised $41.3 Billion  —  The Federal Communications Commission revealed the list of winning bidders …

Categories: Technology

YouTube Fired Flash, Clearing HTML5's Last Obstacle For World Domination

ReadWriteWeb - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:44pm

After 10 years, YouTube gave Adobe Flash the heave-ho as its default video player on Tuesday. Instead, the site announced it would default to HTML5 to play its never-ending roster of cat clips, Taylor Swift tributes and movie previews.

A few years ago, the move would have been unthinkable. In 2010, Adobe bragged that as much as 75% of the Web’s videos used Flash. But as of last year, HTML5’s popularity seemed cemented, with more than 80% of the market using it.

See also: Congrats, HTML5—You’re All Grown Up Now

For YouTube, the change seems natural. Around the time Adobe staked its claim, five years ago, the site began offering HTML5 as an option, setting the foundation. Now, in practical terms, most people probably won’t even know the difference. But the change speaks volumes about the state of online videos, its evolution and HTML5's place in it. 

How Flash Started To Dim

Apple usually isn’t the first to bring a new technology to market, but it wastes no time in sending old ones—like floppy disks, CDs, Firewire and others—packing. Flash was one of its most infamous targets. 

Co-founder Steve Jobs abhorred it, so the iPhone never supported it. Jobs even went an extra step and posted a polemic damning the technology, in response to Adobe taking aim at the iPad’s lack of Flash support. 

The big-screen device was designed for enjoying entertainment—at least those not piped in by Adobe’s standard. Jobs explained, citing Flash's lack of openness, poor performance, battery drain, lack of touch support and other issues.

We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

That was in 2010, the year Apple sold nearly 40 million iPhones, and moved almost 15 million of its first iPads. Although the tablet’s momentum has been stalling out lately, back then, its growth and popularity in the market had only just begun. Developers couldn’t afford to overlook such a huge user base, so this war wound up accelerating more activity around HTML5.

Not that there was really a choice. The following year, Adobe killed off Flash mobile development and even joined the HTML5 bandwagon.

Becoming A Streaming TV Star

Unlike Adobe’s aging multimedia technology, HTML5 works on all devices. It also plays into the larger trend to "write once and distribute everywhere." Developers of all types can just run with HTML5 and know that their videos would play on computers, smartphones and tablets, as well as televisions, i.e. the biggest screen in most people’s lives.

Streaming TV is an area of intense focus for YouTube. The site has become a fundamental part of living room tech, to the point now that most options seem incomplete without it. Google, which bought the video purveyor for $1.65 billion in 2006, knew it would become important; and if it didn’t, then it definitely knows now. The company’s most successful TV product to date, Chromecast, only offered YouTube, Netflix and two Google Play media services when it launched in 2013. But that was enough to rocket it to the top of Amazon’s list of bestselling electronics.

Meanwhile, HTML5’s prominence in TV app development started to come into focus.

See also: HTML5's "Dirty Little Secret": It's Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile

Differing approaches can make development complicated, developers have told me. Roku, for example, uses its own proprietary BrightStar scripting language. For a while, it looked like every TV and console maker would use their own coding languages, making app development across so many different systems a resource-intensive nightmare. Fortunately, most major smart TV and streaming set-top platforms wound up rallying behind HTML5—including those from Samsung, LG, Opera TV and others (though not Roku).

In other words, TV streaming apps have become something akin to glorified Web apps. YouTube’s change in default from Flash to HTML5 plays directly into that.

See also: HTML5 Catches Up To Apple

Not that Flash is entirely dead. It's still a popular choice for browser-based gaming, apparently even more so than HTML5. The latter can’t handle animations or back-and-forth interactions on its own, requiring other tools like CSS3 and Javascript. But when it comes to video, it’s clear now which one dominates—and that may only scratch the surface.

In emerging markets, developer interest in HTML5 has surged. In places like South Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa, HTML5 is even more popular than iOS—which means that the technology Apple helped make popular is giving it a run for its money. 

Lead photo screenshot from YouTube video by Gilbert Gottfried

Categories: Technology

How To Safely Share Passwords With Others Who Need Them

ReadWriteWeb - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:35pm

It’s easy to poke fun at companies that treat sensitive information recklessly, sending or receiving plaintext passwords via unencrypted email or chat, or storing customer information in ways that are far from secure. But it can be a logistical nightmare to let multiple remote employees log into a shared account in a secure fashion.

Luckily, there are a few options to make this a little easier. Here's a quick run-through of some of the best options.

LastPass

Like most password managers, LastPass lets users to log in with just one master password; the tool stores all of their other passwords. Among other things, this makes it easy to create long and complex passwords and to use different passwords for each login account.

In addition, LastPass’ enterprise accounts will let you share login data between individuals and across teams, with customizable permissions. That means that you can choose who has access to which folders, and make changes that are synced automatically. Enterprise accounts cost anywhere from $18 to $24 a year per user, depending on the number of users.

It’s also possible for a Premium account holder to share password information in a single file with up to five other LastPass users, which could be useful for tiny startups, partnerships, or people needing to share passwords with friends or family members. Premium accounts cost $12 a year, and only the main account holder needs to have one.

Because LastPass is cloud-based, it makes things easier for people logging into multiple computers, but has some drawbacks as well. For instance, you'll be uploading your passwords—though not your master password—to the cloud, though in encrypted form.

In addition, “[a] third party service [like LastPass] will be able to see which sites you have an account on ... not the password itself, but when you’re accessing each password,” says privacy and security researcher Runa Sandvik, technical advisor for Freedom of the Press Foundation.

KeePass and KeePassX

“Keepass and Keepass X may not be as pretty as all the other tools, but it is open source, it is free, and it works,” Sandvik says. This password manager is one you have on your computer, so no third party knows when you access different sites. However, you do need to make sure you’re backing up the database frequently. (Let's just say that losing your database of passwords would be ... bad.)

To share passwords with others, you need to create a database, enter the password, send the database to another person, and somehow securely send them the password to open the database. We’ll discuss that a little later.

OneLogin

OneLogin is another cloud-based option. OneLogin allows users to log into multiple cloud services using a single sign-on account. It can integrate with a company’s "active directory" of user accounts and permissions.

Another benefit is that OneLogin can integrate with a large variety of enterprise applications. Plans range from $2 to $8 a month; there's a free version as well.

1Password 

1Password is a personal privacy manager tool that allows users to create several password vaults, and share a single password vault with a group of people who also have 1Password installed. However, you do need to use Dropbox to synchronize the data.

"That is a sharing solution is suitable for a family and a small team, but it's not an enterprise solution or one for a big company," says security adviser Per Thorseim, founder of the Passwords hacker conference. Licenses cost $49+.

SplashID Safe for Teams

SplashID is an enterprise product that allows large teams or companies to share passwords and other information with larger groups of people, such as entire departments or large companies. The IT team can create users and groups and permissions, so only people who need access to passwords can see them, or to review logs of records and usage.

Dashlane

Dashlane for Teams is yet another privacy tool that works on the company level. It syncs passwords within a team, which is helpful any time someone needs to change a password, as the change will get pushed out to all team members and their devices.

Dashlane also sends security alerts to users' devices when an account may have been compromised. A security dashboard provides tips for making an account even more secure. 

Licenses cost $39.99 a year for each user. There's also a freemium version with very limited features.

Strip

Strip is another enterprise solution that has team password sharing. It allows synchronization over Dropbox, Google Drive, and local Wi-Fi, and creates local backups of data.

Don’t Forget Two-Factor Authentication

LastPass, 1Password, and Onelogin support two-factor authentication, which adds an extra step to checking a user’s identity when they log into a website. For instance, logging into the service require not just a password, but an authorization code that's texted to a user's phone.

Two-factor authentication is challenging to use with tools like Twitter if you have a distributed team, since a single phone number must be used, but there are often other options. Google, for example, allows users to generate backup codes, which can be shared with remote users who don’t have access to the mobile device to which the SMS code.

How To Safely Share Just One Password

Suppose you need to send someone just one password, and would rather not deal with the hassle of setting up shared-passworld tools. Or, similarly, say you sent someone a KeePass database, but then also need to send them a password so they can open it. 

“The challenge is that even if you were to store a shared password, you’d still need a password to get into the database in the first place,” Sandvik explains. So what's the easiest way to safely share that single password?

Options might include sending encrypted emails, which require a bit of technical know-how, or using encrypted phone or messaging apps. Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone (Android) and Signal (iOS) apps are particularly user-friendly.

SnapPass is open-source software used at Pinterest that allows people to send a URL to someone that links to a password. It may require a bit of tinkering to set it up; it stores passwords in a Redis database on the user’s own computer system. 

 “The URL leads to the password,” says web operations consultant Dave Dash, a former internal tools engineer at Pinterest who built SnapPass. He continued:

You can only click on it once and it expires after a few days. If I need to set up an account on any system for someone, I could send them the URL, and then they’d have the password and could then change it for added security.

Dash recommends that anyone setting this up make sure that the application and database aren't publicly accessible. It's also wise to limit the number of people who have access to the running application and its associated database.

Of course, there are non-technical solutions as well. You could, for instance, send a password through a different channel than the one used for login information—you could send one through email and another via chat, for instance.

This is the same concept that banks use when they send a debit card in one envelope and a temporary code in a separate one, and mail them out on different days, although of course it's not foolproof. “That’s an option, but it assumes that NSA isn’t the entity you’re worried about,” Sandvik points out.

 If nothing else, just promise us you won't store all of your passwords in plaintext in a directory called “passwords.” 

Photo by Tit Bonač

Categories: Technology

Google Now adds over 40 new cards, fed by data from 30+ third-party apps like Airbnb, eBay, and Lyft (Nathan Olivarez-Giles/Wall Street Journal)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:35pm

Nathan Olivarez-Giles / Wall Street Journal:
Google Now adds over 40 new cards, fed by data from 30+ third-party apps like Airbnb, eBay, and Lyft  —  ‘Google Now’ Will Suck In Outside App Data  —  Google Inc. doesn't want to lose its perch atop the search market, and it's looking to the likes of Airbnb, eBay , Lyft and a couple dozen other companies to help it do just that.

Categories: Technology

Fixing Verizon's Supercookie

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:35pm
New submitter ferro lad sends a story about Verizon's so-called supercookie, a unique identifier they add to web traffic going across their network to help advertisers target their ads better. A new article at Slate demonstrates how Verizon could fix the identifier so that ad companies would have a harder time misusing it — something they've already been shown to do. "...with just a tiny amount of effort, Verizon could maintain its current business while substantially preventing the misuse of its UID headers." Of course, for privacy-conscious users, the ability to get rid of them altogether would be preferable. Fortunately, Verizon now says users will soon have the ability to opt out of the identifiers. Previously, users could opt out of having their data shared with advertisers, but the unique identifier itself remained with their web traffic. It's not a complete solution — the tracking should be opt-in to begin with — but it's a step in the right direction.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 1:53pm
itwbennett writes: Although Apple has never officially acknowledged issues surrounding Yosemite and Wi-Fi connectivity, the company is clearly aware of the problem: Leading off the improvements offered in the update 10.10.2 update released Tuesday was 'resolves an issue that might cause Wi-Fi to disconnect,' according to the release notes. Despite this, Apple's support forum was filled with tales of frustrated users. And Mac owners aren't the only Apple users experiencing wireless connection failures after updating their OS. Wi-Fi connectivity issues have also dogged iOS 8 since Apple released the mobile OS on Sept. 17.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 1:12pm
An anonymous reader writes: When we talk about how the NSA operates, it's typically about the policymakers and what the agency should or should not do. It's worth remembering that the NSA is built upon the backs of world-class mathematicians, whom they aggressively recruit to make all their underlying surveillance technology work. A new piece in Science discusses how the relationship between mathematicians and the NSA has changed following the Snowden leaks (PDF). But as Peter Woit points out, these ethical conundrums are not actually spurring any change. This is perhaps due to the NSA's generous funding of mathematics-related research. The article talks about the American Mathematical Society, which until recently was led by David Vogan: "...after all was said and done, no action was taken. Vogan describes a meeting about the matter last year with an AMS governing committee as 'terrible,' revealing little interest among the rest of the society's leadership in making a public statement about NSA's ethics, let alone cutting ties. Ordinary AMS members, by and large, feel the same way, adds Vogan, who this week is handing over the presidency to Robert Bryant, a mathematician at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. For now, U.S. mathematicians aren't willing to disown their shadowy but steadfast benefactor."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 12:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: Life as we know it requires small, rocky planets. The gas giants of our solar system aren't habitable (to our knowledge), but a research team has discovered that smaller, Neptune-like planets can be transformed into gas-free, potentially habitable worlds with a little help from red dwarf stars. Such planets are usually formed far out in a planetary system, but tidal forces can cause them to migrate inward. When they reach the habitable zone of their host star, they absorb far larger amounts of x-ray and ultraviolet radiation. This can eventually boil off most of the the gas atmosphere, leaving behind the core: a small, rocky world capable of supporting life.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Vinyl or CDs: Tech Doesn’t Do Sentimental — Listening Habits Show What’s Next for Cloud

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 12:08pm

I am old enough to be of the generation that grew up with vinyl. Unlike the romantics of today I remember the scratches, the arguments over borrowing my brother’s records, putting them on my worn and generally abused record player and the reality that after the first few plays, even with that brand new stylus, […]

The post Vinyl or CDs: Tech Doesn’t Do Sentimental — Listening Habits Show What’s Next for Cloud appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

The New Space Race: Bringing Internet to the Other 4 Billion

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 12:07pm

Back in the 1960s, the race was on between the United States and the USSR to see who could get to the moon first. That high-stakes competition ushered in a new era of space exploration featuring incredible levels of ingenuity, creativity, and scientific mastery. Now, decades later, we are on the verge of yet another […]

The post The New Space Race: Bringing Internet to the Other 4 Billion appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology