Technology

When Shared Data Is Not Reproducible: Science Is Broken–But It Can Be Fixed

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 2:16pm

In July of 2014, the United States government joined the growing conversation about scientific reproducibility when the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council asked in a public request for information: Given recent evidence of the irreproducibility of a surprising number of published scientific findings, how can the Federal Government leverage […]

The post When Shared Data Is Not Reproducible: Science Is Broken–But It Can Be Fixed appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Mac Is Trouncing The iPad—And That Could Spell Trouble For The Apple Watch

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 2:15pm

The Wall Street Journal just declared that Apple’s "surprising growth driver" is none other than the humble (and seemingly post-PC passé) Mac. While it's true that the Mac is driving growth, it's anything but surprising.

See also: Apple iPad Sales Continue To Tank, Though The iPhone Is Doing Great

What is surprising is that the iPad has managed to hang on for so long as the second-largest revenue driver at the Cupertino company, given that it doesn't really serve much of a need. And the Mac's eclipse of the iPad might well be a warning for the Apple Watch.

Who Needs An iPad?

The biggest problem with the iPad is that it doesn't do anything particularly well. Most anything I'd want to do with an iPad I can more easily do with my Mac or iPhone. I've seen people lugging their iPads around on hikes to take pictures of scenery and I've noticed people with portable keyboards hacking out blog posts, so I know some people think their iPads are useful.

But come on: those and most other activities are generally better on Apple's other hardware. The WSJ's Christopher Mims captures this feeling:

I tried using my iPad—yes, I have two—for reading on trips, but I found it to be a distant runner-up to my Kindle Paperwhite. As such, my iPad gets used once each week—for church, of all things. (It's easiest to pretend to be reading scriptures while actually checking Arsenal soccer scores.)

I'm clearly not alone. According to IDC, market demand for tablets has slowed, with Apple hardest hit. As consumers fumble for reasons to buy a tablet, cost trumps brand, hurting Apple's premium sales strategy.

Meanwhile, Back In Mac Land ...

Apple's other products don't run the same risk. At least, not the ones that are currently available for purchase.

Though tablets threatened to displace desktop and laptop computers, they haven't even dented them. The reason is utility. The WSJ notes several reasons for the Mac's steady rise, even amid an industry-wide slump in Windows PCs:

Several factors have contributed to the Mac’s steady rise in the last eight years: a halo effect conferred by popular Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad; a decision to stop charging for updates of Mac operating software; high visibility through the company’s own retail stores; and Apple’s introduction of innovative designs like the MacBook Air at lower prices than the company usually charges.

Meanwhile, phones are actually threatening to displace tablets. Christopher Mims enumerates a long list of things the smartphone has replaced. My Kindle Paperwhite has replaced physical books for me, but that's the only thing tablets have done better for me—and it's a special-purpose tablet, not the iPad's jack-of-all-apps approach.

So, About That Apple Watch

Which brings me to Apple's forthcoming Watch. Like a tablet, Apple's Watch risks being a nice-to-have, but not a must-have. Once it adds GPS, I can envision it being an excellent replacement for my iPod/iPhone (music) and Garmin (GPS/heartrate) while exercising, but is that a big enough market for Apple? 

See also: Without GPS, Apple's "Sport" Watch Is A Non-Starter

There are, after all, only so many people who want to track every mile and every calorie of their exercise regimen. It will definitely be bigger than the market for the Apple TV streaming box, but I can't see it sustaining iPhone-worthy sales for more than a year or two. Then the excitement will die down and people realize will that there was a good reason they'd already ditched their watches to tell time using their iPhones.

Apple's iPhone revolutionized what a phone meant. It changed the way we communicate with each other, get directions on trips, book restaurant reservations and more. The Mac, 30 years in, doesn't revolutionize anything but the tired PC experience.

For the iPad and the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch, it's unclear how they materially change our lives to the point that we'll shovel money into Apple's bank.

Lead photo courtesy of Apple

Categories: Technology

New Droid Turbo Charges to 8 Hours of Battery Life in Just 15 Minutes

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 1:51pm

Armed with a durable ballistic-nylon backing, the new Droid Turbo for Verizon has a long-lasting, quick-charging battery.

The post New Droid Turbo Charges to 8 Hours of Battery Life in Just 15 Minutes appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Put Away That Passcode: Android Devices Will Soon Unlock One Another

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 1:51pm

Google has a history of getting creative with its Android mobile security features. Who could forget 2011’s Face Unlock, courtesy of Ice Cream Sandwich—or the failing that let photos fake it out? Now the Android security team has another concept called Smart Lock, and it’s heading to Lollipop next month. 

See also: 3 Ways Android Lollipop's Default Encryption Won't Protect Your Phone Data 

Android 5.0 will allow your Android device to unlock another that you own, just by being nearby. For instance, an Android Wear smartwatch could unlock your phone; someday, Android Auto might do the same.

Safety FirstThe Nexus 6 smartphone from Google will come with Android Lollipop—and Smart Lock.

The Smart Lock feature relies on close-range wireless pairing of Android gadgets via Bluetooth or NFC that allows them to recognize each other and grant access. It makes intuitive sense; if one of your "trusted" Android devices is near another, it's very likely that both are in your possession, and not in the hands of a thief.

The idea, according to Android lead security engineer Adrian Ludwig, is to take the annoyance out of security and authentication for end users, many of whom don’t want to bother with PIN codes, passwords or pattern unlocks on. And if Smart Lock fails for any reason, your passcode or pattern still serves as backup security.

See also: Google Unveils New Nexus Devices, A Media Player And Android 5.0 Lollipop

Smart Lock looks like an intriguing step forward. And it’s hard to deny the convenience of letting one Android gadget unlock another. (It’s also hard to deny the fact that this helps make the case for buying multiple Android devices.)

However, there’s just one concern: If a crook snatches my messenger bag or purse with both my Nexus phone and tablet in there, the security feature intended to lock my data down could be the thing letting the thief access my device.

The same concern might arise if someone—a housemate or family member, say—lifts your smartwatch from its charging cradle while you sleep and uses it to unlock and rifle through your phone. I've pinged Google for more information on how Smart Lock might behave in such situations, and I'll update when I hear back.

Getting Down To BusinessNexus 9 tablet

Earlier this year, Android earned the dubious distinction of being the mobile platform with the most malware slung at it. Clearly Google doesn’t want anyone to panic about that. Instead, it wants people to feel secure, and not just individual consumers.

To that end, Android started using Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) last year. Now Lollipop requires SELinux for all applications on all Android gadgets. With this, the system can audit processes and monitor for "potentially hostile apps,” said Ludwig, to spot trouble before attacks can put your data up for grabs.

It may seem counterintuitive to base security on open-source Linux. But Google argues that having so many contributors with deep knowledge working on the code makes for an even stronger and more reliable system.

Android, which has long used “sandboxing” tactics to isolate apps and limit the reach each one has, seems to be evolving. And it needs to, if it wants to go beyond individual consumers and fill some of the void BlackBerry has been leaving behind with companies and government agencies.

Not that Android hasn’t already gained interest from that sector. In fact, Samsung's Galaxy devices, one of the platform’s biggest success stories, just became the smartphones of choice for the National Security Agency.

Android security is not a one-and-done deal, but an ongoing effort to battle "the bad guys.” Let’s hope that while swinging our bats at them, we don’t wind up clunking ourselves on the head. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite; all others courtesy of Google

Categories: Technology

Ask Slashdot: Unlimited Data Plan For Seniors?

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 1:41pm
New submitter hejman08 writes with a question probably faced by many whose parents, grandparents, and other relatives rely on them for tech support and advice, specifically one about finding an appropriate data plan for his grandmother, of whom he writes: She is on her own plan through Verizon with 1GB of data, and she literally blows through it in three days or less every month, then complains about having nothing to do. They have Wi-Fi at her senior center, but only in specific rooms, and she has bad ankles and knees so she wants to stay home. Internet service would cost 80 a month to add where she lives. What I am wondering, is if any of the genius slashdotters out there know of a plan that- regardless of cost of phone, which we could manage as a gift to her, once- would allow her to have at least 300 minutes, 250 texts, and truly unlimited data (as in none of that Unlimited* stuff that is out there where they drop you to caveman speeds within a gig of usage), all for the price of less than say, 65 a month? The big 4 carriers don't seem to have anything that would work for her. What would you recommend? (I might start with a signal repeater in a utility closet, myself, or some clandestine CAT5 from a friendly neighbor's place.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Motorola's Droid Turbo Is The Moto X On Power Steroids

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 1:08pm

Motorola unveiled its Droid Turbo 4G LTE, an exclusive smartphone for Verizon with a monster battery that the manufacturer claims will last for two full days.

The phone features a 3900 mAh battery and specs that otherwise resemble those of the comparatively elegant Moto X flagship. The Droid Turbo has the same 5.2-inch screen, but with a higher quad HD resolution, and comes with a 21-megapixel camera that can take 4K video.

See also: Motorola Launches A Phone For Your Budget

Motorola once again talked up its "turbo charger," which it says can provide "eight hours of power in a quick 15 minutes." That basically means you can charge the entire device in 90 minutes.

The 32GB model will set you back $200 (with a two-year contract); the 64GB version goes for $250 on contract. The Droid Turbo is launching with Android 4.4 KitKit, but will receive the Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade when it becomes available.

Reinforcing Droid's existing Kevlar case are two new and equally butch materials, ballistic nylon and metalized glass fiber. These substantial cases come in three colors: metallic black, metallic red and black ballistic nylon.

Motorola also announced that its Droid Mini is now free on contract, and the Droid Maxx is $49 on contract.

Image courtesy of Motorola

Categories: Technology

A Stellar New Fantasy Novel and 4 Other Books We’re Reading This Month

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 1:04pm

This month, we’re balancing some quick reads---a Jonathan Franzen-blessed debut and a slim companion volume from one of our favorite new(-ish) fantasy writers---with Walter Isaacson’s latest blockbuster on the history of technological innovation, along with a few other selections. Attention, readers: book club starts now.

The post A Stellar New Fantasy Novel and 4 Other Books We’re Reading This Month appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:59pm
itwbennett writes Working closely with VISA, Apple solved many complex security issues making in-person payments safer than ever. But it's that close relationship with the credit card companies that may be Apple Pay's downfall. A competing solution called CurrentC has recently gained a lot of press as backers of the project moved to block NFC payments (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.) at their retail terminals. The merchants designing or backing CurrentC reads like a greatest hits list of retail outfits and leading the way is the biggest of them all, Walmart. The retailers have joined together to create a platform that is independent of the credit card companies and their profit-robbing transaction fees. Hooking directly to your bank account rather than a credit or debit card, CurrentC will use good old ACH to transfer money from your account to the merchant's bank account at little to no cost.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

OEM Windows 7 License Sales End This Friday

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:17pm
colinneagle writes This Friday is Halloween, but if you try to buy a PC with Windows 7 pre-loaded after that, you're going to get a rock instead of a treat. Microsoft will stop selling Windows 7 licenses to OEMs after this Friday and you will only be able to buy a machine with Windows 8.1. The good news is that business/enterprise customers will still be able to order PCs 'downgraded' to Windows 7 Professional. Microsoft has not set an end date for when it will cut off Windows 7 Professional to OEMs, but it will likely be a while. This all fits in with typical Microsoft timing. Microsoft usually pulls OEM supply of an OS a year after it removes it from retail. Microsoft cut off the retail supply of Windows 7 in October of last year, although some retailers still have some remaining stock left. If the analytics from Steam are any indicator, Windows 8 is slowly working its way into the American public, but mostly as a Windows XP replacement. Windows 7, both 32-bit and 64-bit, account for 59% of their user base. Windows 8 and 8.1 account for 28%, while XP has dwindled to 4%.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Unveiled: The Poster for Blackhat, Michael Mann’s Hacker Movie

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:00pm

We still don't know too much about Blackhat, Michael Mann's upcoming January thriller, beyond "Thor hacks stuff." But at least we can tell that Mann's bringing his considerable visual skills to bear on a subject that's near and dear to us at WIRED.

The post Unveiled: The Poster for Blackhat, Michael Mann’s Hacker Movie appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

3 Loopholes In Android Lollipop Encryption That Could Expose Your Phone Data

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:00pm

Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Google's mobile operating software, will indeed shield files, photos and other user information on Android phones from prying eyes. But that protection isn't quite as all-encompassing as the company's earlier statements might have led you to think.

A month ago, Google announced that Lollipop would automatically encrypt user data on Android phones, essentially scrambling it so that the police, spies and jealous lovers can't read your texts and email or snatch up your private pictures. "[E]ncryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on," the company's statement read.

See also: Understanding Encryption: Here's The Key

On Tuesday, Google provided some more details about how that encryption actually works. New phones that ship with Lollipop will begin encrypting data once they're turned on, using encryption keys generated internally by Android software and phone hardware (technically, chip-based random-number generators).

Those master keys, according to Adrian Ludwig, Android's lead security engineer, never leave the device. That means Google has no access to them and can't provide them to law enforcement or other authorities even if presented with a legal order to do so.

Lollipop's encryption scheme greatly speeds up the process of protecting users' stored data, since it starts off with a largely empty phone and then encrypts new data as it's added. Android has actually allowed users to encrypt their phones for roughly three years, but it didn't draw attention to the option, which was buried in the settings menu.

See also: Why Google Wants To Padlock The Web

Worse, encryption was irreversible, somewhat clumsy to use (it requires you to enter a decryption password when your phone or tablet starts up, a step Lollipop eliminates) and very slow to initialize. It can take an hour or more to encrypt the data on a typical phone.

But There's A Catch

Make that three catches, actually.

First, the encryption doesn't help much if you haven't set a passcode. Ludwig said studies have shown that roughly have of users don't set passcodes on their devices, largely because they find it inconvenient to keep entering them dozens of times a day. Lollipop will still encrypt your data, but it will also automatically decrypt it in normal use. So if you don't have a passcode, much of your information will be available to anyone who picks up your phone.

See also: How Apple Made Its Users Vulnerable To iCloud Theft

Lollipop's encryption still offers some limited protection even under those circumstances—for instance, by protecting stored data against anyone who tries to read it directly from the phone's memory. That could shield user passwords and other sensitive data from attackers.

Ludwig said Google is trying hard to address the usability issues with encryption. For instance, Lollipop has another feature that will let you unlock your phone with a trusted device such as a smartwatch. But most users probably aren't set up to use that sort of feature yet—and it may have drawbacks of its own.

See also: Put Away That Passcode: Android Devices Will Soon Unlock One Another

Second, the encryption process only protects files and photos that are stored in a specific location known as the /data partition. It will not protect anything stored on a removable microSD storage card.

Many Android apps store data directly on the SD card; if you want to protect that, you'll need to find a separate encryption program. (Some manufacturers such as Samsung include SD-card encryption as an option on their phones.)

Finally, even Lollipop won't encrypt your data by default if you upgrade to Android 5.0 instead of buying a new phone. That's by design, since otherwise you could end up waiting 45 minute to an hour or more while the operating system encrypted your files. But it could leave you with a false sense of ... well, security, if you upgrade to Lollipop thinking that it will encrypt all your files automatically.

Lead image by Tim RT

Categories: Technology

Map How People Around the World Answer Any Question You Can Think Of

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:40am

[HTML1] Answer the question here PORTLAND, Oregon — I call it soda, but if you’re from Minneapolis, you probably call it pop. A map of where the strongholds of pop- and soda-drinkers are in the U.S. became hugely popular last year, along with 30 other maps of geographical usage differences. Now those maps have inspired […]

The post Map How People Around the World Answer Any Question You Can Think Of appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

XYZPrinting Releases All-In-One 3D Printer With Internal Laser Scanner

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:36am
Lucas123 writes XYZPrinting today released the first 3D printer with embedded scanner that has the ability to replicate objects between 2-in and 6-in in size and print objects of up to 7.8-in square from .stl files. The printer's retailing for $799. A review of the new da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer revealed the 3D scanning capability, which is supposed to have a .05mm resolution, captures overall size and some finer features of an object but it falls short when it comes to precise details; thin protrusions and through-object holes are often missed in a scan. The mechanics — the printing head, two laser scanning/camera pods and turntable, and the motorized print table — are fully enclosed in a sleek-looking blue and white cubical case with a large transparent, hinged-front door. The front of the printer has a simple push button keypad for traversing a menu on a 2.6-in LCD black-and-white display. The printer is about 18-in. x 20-in. x 22-in. in size and weighs 60.6 lbs. While this is a desktop printer, it takes up a sizeable amount of room on your desk. It can print with either ABS or PLA thermopolymer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

It's Official: HTML5 Is a W3C Standard

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 10:54am
rjmarvin (3001897) writes The Worldwide Web Consortium today has elevated the HTML5 specification to 'recommendation' status , giving it the group's highest level of endorsement, which is akin to becoming a standard. The W3C also introduced Application Foundations with the announcement of the HTML5 recommendation to aid developers in writing Web applications, and said the organization is working with patents holders of the H.264 codec to agree on a baseline royalty-free interoperability level commitment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Microsoft Works On Windows For ARM-Based Servers

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 10:13am
SmartAboutThings writes According to some reports from the industry, Microsoft is working on a version of its software for servers that run on chips based on ARM Holdings's technology. Windows Server now runs on Intel hardware, but it seems that Redmond wants to diversify its strategy. An ARM-based version of Windows Server could help challenge Intel's dominance and make a place for ARM in the server market, not only in mobile chips. According to the article, though, Microsoft "hasn’t yet decided whether to make the software commercially available."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Alienware's Triangular Area-51 Re-Design With Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 980, Tested

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:33am
MojoKid writes Dell's Alienware division recently released a radical redesign of their Area-51 gaming desktop. With 45-degree angled front and rear face plates that are designed to direct control and IO up toward the user, in addition to better directing cool airflow in, while warm airflow is directed up and away from the rear of the chassis, this triangular-shaped machine grabs your attention right away. In testing and benchmarks, the Area-51's new design enables top-end performance with thermal and acoustic profiles that are fairly impressive versus most high-end gaming PC systems. The chassis design is also pretty clean, modular and easily servicable. Base system pricing isn't too bad, starting at $1699 with the ability to dial things way up to an 8-core Haswell-E chip and triple GPU graphics from NVIDIA and AMD. The test system reviewed at HotHardware was powered by a six-core Core i7-5930K chip and three GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI. As expected, it ripped through the benchmarks, though the price as configured and tested is significantly higher.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

LAX To London Flight Delayed Over "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi Name

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:52am
linuxwrangler writes A flight from LAX to London was delayed after a passenger reported seeing "Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork" as an available hotspot name and reported it to a flight attendant. The flight was taken to a remote part of the airport and delayed for several hours but "after further investigation, it was determined that no crime was committed and no further action will be taken." That seems an awfully low threshold for disrupting air traffic, since wireless access points can be had for just a few dollars these days.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Physics of a Spinning Spacecraft in Interstellar

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:35am

Adding a circular motion to a spacecraft creates a gravity-like effect.

The post The Physics of a Spinning Spacecraft in Interstellar appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

EFF Rates Which Service Providers Side With Users

Slashdot - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:11am
An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a report grading online service providers for how well they side with users over intellectual property disputes. They looked at sites like YouTube, Imgur, tumblr, and Twitter. "The services could receive a maximum of five stars, based on criteria including publicly documented procedures for responses to DMCA takedown notices and counter-notices, how the services handle trademark disputes, and if the company issued detailed transparency reports." Only two sites got a perfect rating: WordPress and Namecheap. tumblr got the worst score, and Imgur was not far behind. The rest of the sites were in between, though the EFF did give a bit of extra credit to Etsy for its educational guides and Twitter for its transparency reports.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Congrats, HTML5—You’re All Grown Up Now

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:04am

After years as the Web's standard for organizing webpages and streaming media in browsers, HTML5 has finally become bona fide: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has put its official stamp of approval on version 5 of the hypertext markup language. 

If HTML5 has any claim to fame outside the technology sector, it’s likely late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ doing. He famously threw his weight behind it as an alternative to Adobe’s Flash, whose media player he abhorred.

See also: W3C: HTML5 Not "Ready For Production Yet"

Walter Isaacson’s biography on Jobs quotes the iPhone mastermind as saying: "Flash is a spaghetti-ball piece of technology that has lousy performance and really bad security problems.” He banned support for it from his company’s smartphone, and single-handedly thrust HTML5 into the spotlight as a more efficient way to serve up native media within mobile Web browsers. 

The W3C notes that Gartner dubbed HTML5 one of its top 10 mobile technologies and capabilities for 2015 and 2016—which is interesting, simply because in 2012, it said HTML5 was five to 10 years from becoming suitable for professional use. No matter: It hasn't stopped many websites and browsers—whether on the desktop, phones or tablets—from now commonly using HTML5 as its building block. Its "write once, deploy anywhere” promise has also been a boon for Web development, across both mobiles and desktops.

To get it finalized, W3C says it collaborated with more than 60 companies and nixed more than 4,000 bugs. Now it feels safe to recommend the markup language for Web developers.

The Next Web dug up this cute little video that the W3C produced to explain why people should care about Web standards like HTML5. Enjoy:

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Categories: Technology