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Security Researchers Wary of Wassenaar Rules

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 6:08pm
msm1267 writes: The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security today to implement the controversial Wassenaar Arrangement, and computer security specialists are wary of its language and vagaries. For starters, its definition of "intrusion software" that originally was meant to stem the effect of spying software such as FinFisher and Hacking Team, has also apparently snared many penetration testing tools. Also, despite the Commerce Department's insistence that vulnerability research does not fall under Wassenaar, researchers say that's up for interpretation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Google, Samsung, and 16 others receive FIDO certification for products and services designed to replace passwords (Russell Brandom/The Verge)

TechMeme - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:55pm

Russell Brandom / The Verge:
Google, Samsung, and 16 others receive FIDO certification for products and services designed to replace passwords  —  Google, Samsung, and 16 others receive post-password certification  —  This morning, the plot to kill the password got a little stronger. 18 different companies received …

Categories: Technology

Shopify shares close up 51% on NYSE at $25.68 on trading debut, after raising $131M in IPO (Bloomberg Business)

TechMeme - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:45pm

Bloomberg Business:
Shopify shares close up 51% on NYSE at $25.68 on trading debut, after raising $131M in IPO  —  Shopify Surges in Debut After Larger Than Expected IPO … Shopify Inc. jumped in its trading debut, after the company raised a larger than expected $131 million in its initial public offering.

Categories: Technology

Australian ISP Offers Pro-bono Legal Advice To Accused Pirates

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:25pm
New submitter thegarbz writes: As covered previously, after losing a legal battle against Dallas Buyers Club and Voltage Pictures the Federal Court of Australia asked ISP iiNet to hand over details of customers allegedly downloading the movie The Dallas Buyers Club. iiNet has now taken the unprecedented move to offer pro-bono legal advice to all of its customers targeted over piracy claims. "It is important to remember that the Court's findings in this case do not mean that DBC and Voltage's allegations of copyright infringement have been proven," Ben Jenkins, financial controller for iiNet wrote. Also, as part of the ruling the court will review all correspondence sent to alleged copyright infringers in hopes to prevent the practice of speculative invoicing. Unless it can be proven exactly how much and and with how many people a film was shared the maximum damages could also be limited to the lost revenue by the studio, which currently stands at $10AU ($7.90US) based on iTunes pricing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:42pm
sandbagger writes: Anthony Mazur is a senior at Flower Mound High School in Texas who photographed school sports games and other events. Naturally he posted them on line. A few days ago he was summoned to the principal's office and threatened with a suspension and 'reporting to the IRS' if he didn't take those 4000 photos down. Reportedly, the principal's rationale was that the school has copyright on the images and not him.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

On-Demand Startups Aren’t Delivering on Promises to Workers

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:20pm

People are leaving on-demand work after finding out the promised advantages over traditional jobs don't hold up.

The post On-Demand Startups Aren’t Delivering on Promises to Workers appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

"Virtual Rooms" For The Apple Smart Home Sound Like A Great Idea

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:04pm

Since Apple announced its HomeKit smart home initiative last year, it's been mostly quiet about just how iPhones and other Apple gadgets will wrangle those connected devices. Now, however, the company may have a fancy new app in the works—complete with virtual rooms, a clever and apparently easy-to-grasp metaphor for running a smart home.

Apple’s approach, according to a 9to5Mac report, will be to launch a new "Home" app for controlling smart-home gadgets—think smart locks, sensors, garage openers, thermostats, lights, security cameras and other connected appliances. The Home app will sort gadgets by function and location into a visual arrangement of virtual rooms

The goal is to simplify the otherwise bewildering task of finding, adding and controlling smart devices and appliances from Apple and other companies.

See also: Apple TV Will Reportedly Get Siri And Apps—But There's More In Store

Smart homes are quite likely to be collections of disparate gadgets from various manufacturers that need to identify and share information with each other as well as with a controlling "hub." Giving users an intuitive way to grasp what's where and who's doing what is something this industry badly needs.

Here's what Apple's take supposedly looks like. 

The Kit And Kaboodle

When it comes to smart home systems, interfaces matter. Samsung’s still relatively new SmartThings division has a powerful, though complex, mobile app that it has been trying to simplify for users. Revolv, now owned by Google’s Nest division, used to offer an app with simple setup and management features, using graphical representations to symbolize connections to devices. 

See also: Apple Makes Its Move In The Smart Home With HomeKit

Apple's version might be even easier. The app, which supposedly sports a house icon against a dark yellow background, reportedly connects to a user’s Apple TV, using that as a hub or stationary command center for the system. There’s still a big question mark over how well it works, though—the Apple blog says that in its current form, it has only basic, limited features, and so far, only Apple employees have been allowed to take it for a spin. 

The new “Home” app—or whatever it will be officially called when it debuts (possibly with iOS 9)—seems like just the sort of thing Apple would want to spotlight at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in June. But that's only if the app’s ready for public viewing, which isn't at all certain yet.

As 9to5Mac notes, the app might be too basic and unrefined at this point. Even if it’s not, it might be intended for use solely within Apple’s walls as a testing or development tool.

If the latter is true, then people might manage their "Apple smart home" using their Siri voice assistant to control third-party apps. In essence, that would let people talk to their iPhones, Apple Watches and likely Apple TVs to remote control their home appliances. 

Bring It On Home 

Either way, Apple will have to pick a path and fairly soon. The tech giant announced its HomeKit framework last year, and it's been losing steam in this area ever since. Rumors of more delays prompted an uncharacteristic Apple response in which it publicly promised that its first gadgets to support HomeKit will debut next month.

When they arrive, users will have to have something with which to manage them. Otherwise, it might start looking like Apple bit off more than it could chew in the complicated smart-home arena. 

Simplicity is something this area sorely needs, if smart homes are ever going to attract broad interest. Of course, it has to be good, too. Launching an "Apple Maps bad” HomeKit initiative could ding the whole industry. It’s not hard to imagine even Apple loyalists (who are legion) walking away from a crummy experience and thinking, “If even Apple can’t make this work, then no one can.” 

If Apple does launch the new Home app soon—and if it works—its new metaphor could go a long way toward helping newcomers understand just why they'd want to equip their homes with connected, smart gadgets. In that way, you can imagine the smart-home industry at large holding its breath as WWDC opens. Next month, we’ll know if it's ready to exhale. 

Screenshots courtesy of Apple, captured by ReadWrite

Categories: Technology

Academics Build a New Tor Client Designed To Beat the NSA

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 3:50pm
An anonymous reader writes: In response to a slew of new research about network-level attacks against Tor, academics from the U.S. and Israel built a new Tor client called Astoria designed to beat adversaries like the NSA, GCHQ, or Chinese intelligence who can monitor a user's Tor traffic from entry to exit. Astoria differs most significantly from Tor's default client in how it selects the circuits that connect a user to the network and then to the outside Internet. The tool is an algorithm designed to more accurately predict attacks and then securely select relays that mitigate timing attack opportunities for top-tier adversaries.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 3:09pm
New submitter ukrifleman writes: I've been doing UK based perl, JS, light PHP and JQUERY dev plus Centos/Debian sys admin on a freelance basis for over a decade now. Mostly maintaining older stuff but I also undertook a big, 3 year bespoke project (all written in legacy non OO perl). The trouble is, that contract has now finished and all the legacy work has dried out and I've only got about 2 months of income left! I need to get a full time job. To most dev firms I'm going to look like a bit of a dinosaur, 40 odd years old, knows little of OO coding OR modern languages and aproaches to projects. I can write other languages and, with a bit of practice I'll pick them up pretty quickly. I really don't know where to start. What's hot, what's worth learning, I'm self-taught so have no CS degree, just 15 years of dev and sys admin experience. I've got a bit of team and project management experience too it's quite a worry going up against young whipper snappers that know all the buzz words and modern tech! Am I better off trying to get a junior job to start so I can catch up with some tech? Would I be better off trawling the thousands of job sites or finding a bonafide IT specialist recruitment firm? Should I take the brutally honest approach to my CV/interviews or just wing it and hope I don't bite off more than I can chew? What kind of learning curve could I expect if I took on a new language I have no experience with? Are there any qualififcations that I NEED to have before firms would be willing to take me on? I've been sitting here at this desk for 10 years typing away and only now do I realise that I've stagnated to the point where I may well be obsolete!

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Google Is Readying Its Own OS For Running The Internet Of Things

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 3:06pm

With Google's I/O developer conference around the corner, you can expect the rumors to start coming thick and fast, and The Information has the scoop that the Mountain View company is working on a new OS for the Internet of Things.

It's codenamed "Brillo" for now, though it emerge under the Android brand, reports The Information. It will be able to run on as little as 64MB or 32MB of RAM, with or without a screen.

Those minimum specs explain the need for a whole new OS for the fledgling Internet of Things—these lightweight, low-powered, low-cost devices don't have the processing oomph to run Android or iOS.

The Internet of Things may be a clunky title, but no one has yet come up with a better phrase to describe the smart lightbulbs, doorbells, fridges, washing machines and other gadgets that are rapidly invading the home—all of which need software to operate and get online.

Anyone expecting a clean and open fight to become the dominant software provider is likely to be disappointed. At this point, in fact, the best we can hope for is that the companies' competing formats all decide to play nicely with one another. But where's the profit in that?

Runners And RidersSamsung has its own IoT plans.

Last week Samsung unveiled its Artik family of products, a series of modules and an underlying platform to power IoT innovation. The South Korean firm has been particularly active in the field, gobbling up independent startup SmartThings last year.

Also last week we heard about Qualcomm's "Internet of Everything" strategy, combining both a series of chips as well as a software platform called AllJoyn. The company promised to play nicely with other standards, but—like everyone else—would prefer its own standard to win out.

The most recent runner to declare was Huawei, unveiling its LiteOS operating system only a few days ago. Just 10KB in size, it supports zero configuration, auto-discovery and auto-networking—in other words it just works, as long as you have other LiteOS-compatible equipment at home.

Those are three major moves in the last seven days, on top of initiatives already in progress from Intel, Apple, Microsoft and others. Confused yet? Your smart desk lamp probably will be.

It's still early days to talk about interoperability, with so many systems yet to launch or in the nascent stages of development. Many firms are likely to hedge their bets by supporting multiple partners. Even Apple might have to work with more third-party manufacturers than it usually likes to.

Even for those on the inside, it's difficult to get a handle on this shifting landscape, and it'll be a while before consumers come to know or care about the capabilities of these Internet-of-Things OSes. Right now it's about companies setting their stalls out, and you can expect Google to open the shutters before I/O is out.

Lead photo by Anita Hart; Samsung photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

Categories: Technology

GM's Exec. Chief Engineer For Electric Vehicles Pam Fletcher Answers Your Question

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 2:27pm
Pam Fletcher was propulsion system chief engineer on the first Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and is now executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles at GM, overseeing electrified vehicles company-wide. A while ago you had a chance to ask about her work and the future of electric cars. Below you'll find her answers to your questions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Audio Visuals: Taylor Swift Is the Center of the Pop Culture Universe

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 2:10pm

This week's music video roundup is a special edition, special because Taylor Swift and Beyoncé each put out new videos.

The post Audio Visuals: Taylor Swift Is the Center of the Pop Culture Universe appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Stanford Researcher Finds Little To Love In Would-Be Hacker Marketplace

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 1:46pm
An anonymous reader writes: What if there were an Uber for hackers? Well, there is. It's called Hacker's List, and it made the front page of the New York Times this year. Anyone can post or bid on an 'ethical' hacking project. According to new Stanford research, however, the site is a wreck. 'Most requests are unsophisticated and unlawful, very few deals are actually struck, and most completed projects appear to be criminal.' And it gets worse. 'Many users on Hacker's List are trivially identifiable,' with an email address or Facebook account. The research dataset includes thousands of individuals soliciting federal crimes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

CareFirst Admits More Than a Million Customer Accounts Were Exposed In Security Breach

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 1:04pm
An anonymous reader writes with news, as reported by The Stack, that regional health insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, has confirmed a breach which took place last summer, and may have leaked personal details of as many as 1.1 million of the company's customers: "The Washington D.C.-based firm announced yesterday that the hack had taken place in June last year. CareFirst said that the breach had been a 'sophisticated cyberattack' and that those behind the crime had accessed and potentially stolen sensitive customer data including names, dates of birth, email addresses and ID numbers. All affected members will receive letters of apology, offering two years of free credit monitoring and identity threat protection as compensation, CareFirst said in a statement posted on its website." Free credit monitoring is pretty weak sauce for anyone who actually ends up faced with identity fraud.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Take Two Sues BBC Over Drama About GTA Development

Slashdot - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 12:22pm
An anonymous reader writes: Take Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games, is suing the BBC for trademark infringement over its planned "making of GTA" drama, Game Changers. The 90-minute movie was created without the involvement of the studio, which rarely comments on the GTA series' development outside of organised press events. (It is expected that it will draw upon the public conflict between Sam Houser and notorious anti-gaming crank Jack Thompson, via the expose "Jacked" by David Kushner.) After direct negotiations with the BBC failed, Take Two brought suit to "ensure that [their] trademarks are not misused." The details of the suit, Rockstar's objections, and the penalties sought, are not yet known.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why Retail Beacons Still Have A Long Way To Go

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 11:57am

Remember 1980? That was the year AC/DC released Back in Black, and the same year that Black Sabbath backfilled Ozzy with Ronnie James Dio (resulting in the incredible song "Heaven and Hell," but not much else). It was a golden year for metal.

The same can't be said for marketing. Sure, the 1980s gave us classic campaigns like Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" But marketers mostly had to pray their print or TV advertisements resonated with the right audiences.

Compare that today, when the Internet offers marketers increasingly deep insight into consumer behavior. With the combination of smartphones and "beacons"—short-range gizmos that track you through a store—comes the ability to reach those consumers with the right offer in the right place at the right time.

At least, that's the sales pitch. Literally.

The reality of beacons, however, is that while the technology can largely deliver as advertised, most marketers still don't know quite what to do with it.

Converging Physical And Digital Worlds

With this promise in mind, it's not surprising to see more than half of the top 100 U.S. retailers rolling out beacon trials, as BI Intelligence details. 

Source: Adobe Mobile Marketing Survey 2014

And given the early days of beacon technology, it's even more impressive that 18% of those surveyed by Adobe (full disclosure: my employer) say they've rolled out beacons.

Organizations as diverse as GameStop, the U.S. Open, and Hillshire Brands report successful beacon deployments. (Conversely, Nordstrom and others have canned theirs due to privacy or other concerns.)

Still, that interest is nowhere near translating into the massive, near-term adoption that BI Intelligence projects.

Today, companies are still toe-dipping on beacons. Try finding an active, effective beacon deployment at your local mall, bank, or even your local Apple Store. 

It's hard.

In fact, if you ask marketers about their priorities, location technology is pretty far down the list, with more basic blocking and tackling (analytics, A/B testing, etc.) claiming more interest:

Source: Adobe & eConsultancy Digital Intelligence Briefing 2015

This isn't because marketers don't care about putting GPS, beacons, and geo-fencing to work. And it isn't because beacons and location technology won't be big.

Rather, it's because enterprises still struggle to know how to deploy them effectively.

Teach Me To Fish

Think about your favorite retailer, bank, or any other business or location that you regularly visit. Imagine that store manager, event organizer, or sales associate masterminding a complex digital strategy. No, they're not stupid. This just hasn't been part of their job description.

At a Nordstrom, a sophisticated team manages the Web presence. At your local Nordstrom store, there is simply no equivalent.

The technology exists to segment users who enter a store. To track their foot traffic as they walk through the store. To present them with offers (assuming they have the vendor's app) keyed to past purchasing history, dwell time in certain departments, and more. 

But that campaign to nudge a user to visit a bathroom renovation seminar at the local Ace Hardware still needs to be conceived, planned, and implemented by someone, and most physical locations simply don't have someone charged with digital. Also the cost of deploying beacons—even given plummeting hardware prices—is non-trivial. Lastly, as one head of mobile at a large U.S. retailer told me, they're simply not set up to orchestrate physical interaction based on digital data.

Not yet.

So part of what we need to truly blend the physical and digital worlds is for enterprises that depend on physical locations to stop thinking of themselves as such, and instead to staff up to go digital, even "offline."

Taking Mobile Seriously

But first, not surprisingly, enterprises need to get serious about mobile. Oh, sure, everyone knows mobile is big, and companies tend to acknowledge this in surveys.

Source: Adobe

But what this data actually shows is that we still have a ways to go. After all, with Ericsson projecting 90% of the world's population over the age of 6 to own a phone by 2020, mobile can't simply be another screen to which companies cater. It has to be the screen.

While not every business is necessarily a mobile business (a company that builds windmills, for example, probably doesn't need an app), it's hard to imagine many consumer-facing businesses that can get away without deep and abiding investments in mobile. 

Source: Adobe

Which is why it's not enough to talk about mobile. You also need to fund it.

While the Adobe survey cited above found significant pockets of mobile investment—30% of those surveyed reported a minimum of $5 million spent annually on mobile apps and websites and an average annual investment of $5.5 million on mobile apps and $4.9M on mobile websites—the chart above suggests we have a long way to go.

And until we get there—until mobile becomes core to a company's DNA—it's hard to imagine the kinds of dramatic investments in beacons that BI Intelligence projects. Location is critical to mobile, but not until companies first get their mobile acts together.

This article roughly follows the presentation the author gave at M1 Summit in New York City in May 2015.

Lead photo by Intel Free Press

Categories: Technology

Cape Watch: Let’s Talk About Lex Luthor’s Fashion Choices

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 10:00am

With 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' still fresh in everyone's minds, attentions have turned to other super teams. Here is all the superhero movie news you need.

The post Cape Watch: Let’s Talk About Lex Luthor’s Fashion Choices appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

5 Numbers That Explain Why STEM Diversity Matters to All of Us

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:33am

The ongoing debate about the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) diversity dilemma has a pretty low signal-to-noise ratio: Despite the constant stream of TED Talks, books, blog posts, and corporate initiatives, there’s surprisingly little consensus about what the latest statistics and trends mean—much less how we’re going to address the issues they raise. But […]

The post 5 Numbers That Explain Why STEM Diversity Matters to All of Us appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

MIT’s Humanoid Robot Goes to Robo Boot Camp

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:30am

MIT's humanoid robot is going to compete in DARPA's Robotics Challenge finals in two weeks. But can it walk on its own two feet?

The post MIT’s Humanoid Robot Goes to Robo Boot Camp appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology