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Bats Use Polarized Light to Set Their Internal Compasses

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:18pm
We know that bats use echolocation to navigate obstacles and hunt prey, but new research shows that they base their internal compass on the orientation of the setting sun's scattered light.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Shape-Shifting Wings, From Soviet War Planes to Top Gun’s Tomcat

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:02pm
Take off. Rise. Soar. Bank. Turn. Stall. Swoop. Dive. Land. For each of the different kinds of flying an airplane has to do, there’s an ideal shape and configuration for its wings. Even though bird-like flappability isn’t feasible with struts and steel, engineers since the dawn of aviation have been trying to make wings that […]






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Want To Make Money In Apps? Develop For Business

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 12:40pm

Poverty, thy name is mobile app development.

According to VisionMobile’s latest survey of over 10,000 app developers, at least half of all developers make less than $500 per app per month. Sure, there are developers who make a tidy income building mobile apps, but developers are twice as likely to make nothing at all than $10,000 per month. As ReadWrite's Dan Rowinski writes, this has hollowed out the middle class of mobile app development. 

See also: Among Mobile App Developers, The Middle Class Has Disappeared

But there's a way out for those looking to increase their odds of striking it rich in mobile: Think enterprise, not Candy Crush.

Eat The Rich

Living in Silicon Valley through the dot-com boom, I used to joke that I was the only person not to have made a billion dollars. I was in good company, of course, but it’s easy to forget that the perception of widespread riches doesn’t always pan out in practice.

Today mobile is driving a similar feeding frenzy of IPO and acquisition riches … but it’s similarly a bust for most.

We’re not talking about “poor” in the unthinking Western sense of “I can’t afford a steady stream of lattés throughout the day.” We’re talking about developers making nothing at all. It’s not an insignificant number: 24% of all mobile app developers make $0.00 from their apps.

Zilch. Zip. Zero.

While it’s true that 35% of the 10,000-plus app developers VisionMobile surveys are part-timers, less than half of these hobbyists make nothing, which means that there are plenty of full-time developers also earning ... nothing.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, life is pretty good:

• A mere 1.6% of developers earn more than $500,000 per app per month. Some make tens of millions of dollars each month;

• The top 2% of app developers claim 54% of all app revenues. Another 9% claim the next 35% of app revenues while 88% of developers fight over the remaining 11% of all app revenues;

• Over 80% of all app store revenues are for games, making it the most likely place to strike it rich building consumer apps.

What does it take to break into the rarefied 1.6%? As VisionMobile points out, a rank-100 grossing game on iOS in the US makes about $10,000 per day. Obviously, very few developers can hope to crack the top 100.

Separating The Haves From The Have-Nots

But wait! It gets worse.

Developers that target Android devices stand to make less than their iOS counterparts. If a developer’s primary target is iOS devices, they have a 50% chance of making less than $500 per app per month, according to VisionMobile’s survey data. If the developer focuses on Android, that percentage jumps to 64%.

Not only do Android developers bleed more at the bottom, but even their success at the top isn’t as rich as that of iOS developers. As the report highlights, 6% of Android developers make over $25,000 per app per month (with an additional 10% earning $5,000 to $25,000), compared to 11% of iOS developers bringing home more than $25,000 (and another 16% getting $5,000 to $25,000).

The Consumer App Trap

It doesn’t have to be this way. No, I’m not suggesting that developers desert Android for iOS: with Android device shipments exploding and leading the way into promising markets like China, it would be foolish to ignore Android.

But it’s equally foolish to fetishize consumer apps, given how poorly they pay. Sixty-seven percent of developers target consumers, with another 11% targeting individual professionals. Just 16% of app developers are focused on enterprises, yet this is where the more certain money is.

How certain? Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but developers who target the enterprise are twice as likely to make $5,000 per app per month and 3 times as likely to earn over $25,000 per app per month. Given iOS penetration into 98% of the Fortune 500, it’s not surprising that enterprise developers are 2.5 times more likely to earn over $25,000 per app per month.

IBM jumped on this bandwagon last week, announcing with Apple a partnership to bring its enterprise expertise to iOS devices. While some will (rightly) cringe at the thought of Lotus Notes uglifying iOS, there’s real money to be made building boring enterprise apps.

Forget Friends: Build For Employers

Yes, a successful consumer app arguably yields more cachet. But chasing success in consumer apps is just as likely to lead to poverty as even the most middling of successes. Even those who do strike it rich, like Candy Crush developer King.com, finds themselves on a relentless treadmill, forced to come up with more mega-hits (and mostly failing to do so, like Zynga before it).

The enterprise, meanwhile, even for Android developers, remains a much safer bet. The enterprise doesn’t come with bragging rights, but it does tend to come with something that developers should value just as much—a paycheck.

Lead image by Flickr user Dimitry B., CC 2.0

Categories: Technology

Exodus Intelligence Details Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Tails OS

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 12:10pm
New submitter I Ate A Candle (3762149) writes Tails OS, the Tor-reliant privacy-focused operating system made famous by Edward Snowden, contains a number of zero-day vulnerabilities that could be used to take control of the OS and execute code remotely. At least that's according to zero-day exploit seller Exodus Intelligence, which counts DARPA amongst its customer base. The company plans to tell the Tails team about the issues "in due time", said Aaron Portnoy, co-founder and vice president of Exodus, but it isn't giving any information on a disclosure timeline. This means users of Tails are in danger of being de-anonymised. Even version 1.1, which hit public release today (22 July 2014), is affected. Snowden famously used Tails to manage the NSA files. The OS can be held on a USB stick and leaves no trace once removed from the drive. It uses the Tor network to avoid identification of the user, but such protections may be undone by the zero-day exploits Exodus holds.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 11:29am
Nom du Keyboard writes: After seeing a drop in my DVD service from Netflix I got a customer service representative tonight to confirm that Netflix has ceased processing DVD returns on Saturdays nationwide. And that they did this without notifying their customers, or reducing prices to compensate for the reduced service. Given that the DVD selection still far outstrips their streaming selection, this may be news to others like myself who don't find streaming an adequate replacement for plastic discs. My experience up until recently, unlike Netflix's promise of a 1-3 day turnaround at their end which gives them lots of wiggle room to degrade service even further, had been of mailing in a DVD on day one, having them receive it and mail out my next selection on day two, and receiving it on day three. Now with them only working 5 days and many U.S. Post Office holidays, they're still getting the same money for significantly less. The Netflix shipping FAQ confirms the change, and a spokesperson said, "Saturdays have been low volume ship days for us."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

They’re Here: Massive Mayfly Emergence in Wisconsin

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 11:14am
This amazing mass emergence is a giant orgy. And good news about water quality.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

NVIDIA Launches Tegra K1-Based SHIELD Tablet, Wireless Controller

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:47am
MojoKid (1002251) writes NVIDIA just officially announced the SHIELD Tablet (powered by their Tegra K1 SoC) and SHIELD wireless controller. As the SHIELD branding implies, the new SHIELD tablet and wireless controller builds upon the previously-released, Android-based SHIELD portable to bring a gaming-oriented tablet to consumers. The SHIELD Tablet and wireless controller are somewhat of mashup of the SHIELD portable and the Tegra Note 7, but featuring updated technology and better build materials. You could think of the SHIELD Tablet and wireless controller as an upgraded SHIELD portable gaming device, with the screen de-coupled from the controller. The device features NVIDIA's Tegra K1 SoC, paired to 2GB of RAM and an 8", full-HD IPS display, with a native resolution of 1920x1200. There are also a pair of 5MP cameras on the SHIELD Tablet (front and rear), 802.11a/b/g/n 2x2 MIMO WiFi configuration, GPS, a 9-axis motion sensor, and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. In addition to the WiFi-only version (which features 16GB of internal storage), NVIDIA has a 32GB version coming with LTE connectivity as well. NVIDIA will begin taking pre-orders for the SHIELD Tablet and wireless controller immediately.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Next Big Thing You Missed: Bigger, Cheaper Fuel Cells Will Eliminate Power Outages

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:42am
General Electric wants to bring clean, reliable, efficient, and affordable energy to the masses, and in a rare move for the 122-year-old company, it's launching a startup to do it.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:07am
alphadogg (971356) writes "In its quest to help enterprises seek out and neutralize all threats to their Wi-Fi networks, AirMagnet is now looking to the skies. In a free software update to its AirMagnet Enterprise product last week, the Wi-Fi security division of Fluke Networks added code specifically crafted to detect the Parrot AR Drone, a popular unmanned aerial vehicle that costs a few hundred dollars and can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet. Drones themselves don't pose any special threat to Wi-Fi networks, and AirMagnet isn't issuing air pistols to its customers to shoot them down. The reason the craft are dangerous is that they can be modified to act as rogue access points and sent into range of a victim's wireless network, potentially breaking into a network to steal data."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Hackers Could Take Control of Your Car. This Device Can Stop Them

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:56am
David Schwen | Wheel: Getty Hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek have proven more clearly than anyone in the world how vulnerable cars are to digital attack. Now they’re proposing the first step towards a solution. Last year the two Darpa-funded security researchers spent months cracking into a Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius, terrifying […]






Categories: Open Source, Technology

MIT' Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:26am
rtoz (2530056) writes Researchers at MIT have developed a new spongelike material structure which can use 85% of incoming solar energy for converting water into steam. This spongelike structure has a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam. This structure has many small pores. It can float on the water, and it will act as an insulator for preventing heat from escaping to the underlying liquid. As sunlight hits the structure, it creates a hotspot in the graphite layer, generating a pressure gradient that draws water up through the carbon foam. As water seeps into the graphite layer, the heat concentrated in the graphite turns the water into steam. This structure works much like a sponge. It is a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. And, this setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. If scaled up, this setup will not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Categories: Open Source, Technology

MIT' Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generation

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:26am
rtoz (2530056) writes Researchers at MIT have developed a new spongelike material structure which can use 85% of incoming solar energy for converting water into steam. This spongelike structure has a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam. This structure has many small pores. It can float on the water, and it will act as an insulator for preventing heat from escaping to the underlying liquid. As sunlight hits the structure, it creates a hotspot in the graphite layer, generating a pressure gradient that draws water up through the carbon foam. As water seeps into the graphite layer, the heat concentrated in the graphite turns the water into steam. This structure works much like a sponge. This new material is able to use 85 percent of incoming solar energy for converting water into steam. It is a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. And, this setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. i-e if scaled up, this setup will not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 8:47am
New submitter Tmackiller writes with an excerpt from VG247.com: The British government has decriminalised online video game, music and movie piracy, scrapping fuller punishment plans after branding them unworkable. Starting in 2015, persistent file-sharers will be sent four warning letters explaining their actions are illegal, but if the notes are ignored no further action will be taken. The scheme, named the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of talks between ISPs, British politicians and the movie and music industries. The UK's biggest providers – BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky – have all signed up to VCAP, and smaller ISPs are expected to follow suit. VCAP replaces planned anti-piracy measures that included cutting users' internet connections and creating a database of file-sharers. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music trade body the BPI, said VCAP was about "persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection." He added: "VCAP is not about denying access to the internet. It's about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice." Officials will still work to close and stem funding to file-sharing sites, but the news appears to mean that the British authorities have abandoned legal enforcement of online media piracy. Figures recently published by Ofcom said that nearly a quarter of all UK downloads were of pirated content." Tmackiller wants to know "Will this result in more private lawsuits against file sharers by the companies involved?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 8:06am
New submitter bnortman (922608) was the first to write in with word of "a new research paper discussing a new form of user fingerprinting and tracking for the web using the HTML 5 <canvas> ." globaljustin adds more from an article at Pro Publica: Canvas fingerprinting works by instructing the visitor's Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user's device a number that uniquely identifies it. ... The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code ... on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites. Most of the code was on websites that use the AddThis social media sharing tools. Other fingerprinters include the German digital marketer Ligatus and the Canadian dating site Plentyoffish. ... Rich Harris, chief executive of AddThis, said that the company began testing canvas fingerprinting earlier this year as a possible way to replace cookies ...

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

The iPad’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:47am

Apple had a pretty good quarter in the April-June period. It pulled in $37.4 billion in revenue, with a quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, a healthy increase over $35.3 billion in revenue and a net profit of $6.9 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

But there's one thing that could keep CEO Tim Cook, new CFO Luca Maestri and the rest of the Apple crew from high-fiving: limp iPad sales. Again.

The iPad’s Doing The Electric Slide

Compared to a year earlier, iPhone unit sales were up 20% t0 32.5 million; Macs were up 18%. iPad unit sales, however, dropped 9% to 13.3 million tablets. And so the iPad’s slow downward slide continues.

See also: Why Apple's iPad May Have Peaked

Over the past four quarters—from July 2013 to June 2014—the iPad sold 69.8 million units. That's down 1.7% from the previous 12 month period, during which Apple sold 71 million tablets.

Cook waved away any concerns over the tablet’s apparent slide. At least "iPad sales met Apple’s expectations" (whatever that is), even if it “didn’t meet yours,” he said, citing customer satisfaction and inroads made into BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). 

What’s Tim Cooking Up?

Slouching figures and a CEO in denial don’t generally bode well for a product’s future, but the iPad could be the exception to the rule.

Sales are likely to pick up later this year, particularly around the holiday season, especially if the latest rumors pan out. A thinner iPad Air mini and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro are said to be in the works and likely due out before Christmas. 

So don't count the Apple tablet out yet. Yes, the competition is heating up, but if those stories are true, both would represent the biggest changes to the product line in two years (when the iPad mini was first introduced). 

Photo by GDS-Productions. 

Categories: Technology

11 Trippy Illustrations of History’s Most Infamous Computer Viruses

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:49am
Malware isn’t meant to be entertaining, and yet, many of the viruses that sneak their way into our computers are really just malicious displays of extreme creativity.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

This Computerized Exoskeleton Could Help Millions of People Walk Again

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:49am
The ReWalk is the first bionic exoskeleton approved by the FDA for personal use. Here's the story of how it came to be.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Your Summer Isn’t Complete Without This Gigantic Hammock

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:49am
The Mega Hammock measures 8 x 15 feet and is hand-crafted from ripstop nylon and black webbing by an FAA certified parachute rigger. Oh, and it'll fit three people.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Turns Out It’s Pretty Easy to Shoot Down a Passenger Jet

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:49am
Whoever fired a missile at Malaysia Flight 17 could have learned to do so in less than a week.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Valiant Hearts Turns the Horrors of WWI Into a Puzzle Game

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:33am
Ubisoft's new game teaches about World War I through the mechanics of a side-scrolling puzzle game.






Categories: Open Source, Technology