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How to Turn Lady Gaga’s Butt Tweets Into Fine Art

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 3:23pm

Using a complicated process of binary code and LED lights, Lori Hepner transforms tweets into physical objects.

The post How to Turn Lady Gaga’s Butt Tweets Into Fine Art appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Jimmy Wales and Former NSA Chief Ridicule Government Plans To Ban Encryption

Slashdot - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 3:23pm
Mickeycaskill writes: Jimmy Wales has said government leaders are "too late" to ban encryption which authorities say is thwarting attempts to protect the public from terrorism and other threats. The Wikipedia founder said any attempt would be "a moronic, very stupid thing to do" and predicted all major web traffic would be encrypted soon. Wikipedia itself has moved towards SSL encryption so all of its users' browsing habits cannot be spied on by intelligence agencies or governments. Indeed, he said the efforts by the likes of the NSA and GCHQ to spy on individuals have actually made it harder to implement mass-surveillance programs because of the public backlash against Edward Snowden's revelations and increased awareness of privacy. Wales also reiterated that his site would never co-operate with the Chinese government on the censorship of Wikipedia. "We've taken a strong stand that access to knowledge is a principle human right," he said. derekmead writes with news that Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and the NSA, thinks the US government should stop railing against encryption and should support strong crypto rather than asking for backdoors. The US is "better served by stronger encryption, rather than baking in weaker encryption," he said during a panel on Tuesday.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Scream Queens GIF and a Graf: Kicking Misogyny in the Junk

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 2:46pm

Be warned, bros. The women of Kappa Kappa Tau will put sisters before misters. Check your misogyny at the door unless you're looking for a beat-down.

The post Scream Queens GIF and a Graf: Kicking Misogyny in the Junk appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Privately Funded Lunar Mission Set a Launch Date For 2017

Slashdot - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 2:40pm
merbs writes: If all goes according to plan, the world's first private lunar mission will be launched just two years from now. SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit, has secured a launch contract with Spaceflight Industries, and will aim to land a rover on the moon in the second half of 2017. It's the first such launch contract to be verified by the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize competition. Another group called Moon Express has signed a deal with New Zealand-based company, Rocket Lab, to launch and put a lander on the lunar surface 2017.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

EU Strikes Back Over Snowden Leaks, But Blow Hits US Startups

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 2:20pm

This post appears courtesy of the Ferenstein Wire, a syndicated news service. Publishing partners may edit posts. For inquiries, please email author and publisher Gregory Ferenstein

The technology industry is scrambling to understand how it will continue business in Europe, after the continent's high court struck down a privacy agreement on Tuesday that protected US-based companies operating abroad. 

Under the umbrella of Safe Harbor, American tech companies were free to send personal data over the Atlantic, so long as they conformed to certain privacy measures.

See also: LinkedIn Cofounder Wants To Teach You How To "Blitzscale” Your Company

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) struck down the agreement, which had been in place since 2000, in part due to fears of US mass surveillance. "This is the reaction from the Europeans over the Edward Snowden leaks," Berin Szoka, president of policy group TechFreedom told me. 

Since mass spying was revealed, much of the world has leveled heavy criticism and threats against the US. Until yesterday, the legal threats were often theoretical. Now, the ones threatened most could be the country's emerging tech businesses. 

Europe Fights NSA Surveillance—And Hits US Businesses

The recent court ruling, according to Szoka, is the big policy backlash. Tech companies are scrambling for an answer, because the impacts aren't known quite yet. 

What is know is that the decision made Safe Harbor immediately invalid. Now, the EU’s many regional data protection authority organizations are free to bring suit, should they find a tech company's privacy protection policies inadequate.

The matter could affect European businesses as well. "A company in Europe may run afoul of these rules if it uses a US service provider that it sends data to, such as for email marketing or … if it sends data to a US subsidiary," said Daniel Castro of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. 

Many legal experts aren’t completely sure how far ruling’s influence might go either. It could be that a company will develop different policies for American and European users, like Twitter has done. But, that may not be enough. The entire Internet industry is built on communication between users.

For example, say a European Google users opens up a Gmail account in Germany, but travels to the US. His email and personal communications could be visible to NSA spying. That would violate the European authority's sense of fairness. 

What Can Tech Companies Do?

At the moment, options may be limited. For big tech companies, it's less of an immediate issue, because they can afford to house data centers within Europe, (potentially) outside of the NSA's surveillance capabilities. The scenario’s much trickier for smaller companies. 

At the very least, if they have operations in Europe, they most likely will have to reevaluate their service providers and vendors, seeking partners who have abided by the EU’s rules, as well as revamping their own policies. If they haven’t hit the continent yet, but plan to—well, they may want to hold off.

"If [startups] haven't launched in Europe yet, I might tell them to wait", said Szoka. The ITIF agrees: "To completely reduce risk of facing an enforcement action, they would have to stop all of these activities. Or they could limit their activities so that data does not leave Europe." It's hard to overstate how damaging that could be to an intercontinental business.

Noted civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is taking advantage of the craziness to campaign for NSA reform. “US companies should be campaigning to get the NSA surveillance laws fixed," EFF's Danny O’Brien said.

Few things drive policy like business, and in business, there are few things worse than legal uncertainty. We’ll see if it’s enough to pressure the kind of reform that has yet seemed impossible.

For more stories like this, subscribe to the Ferenstein Wire newsletter here.

Lead photo by woodleywonderworks 

Categories: Technology

WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Rick and Morty

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 2:10pm

It’s time to get schwifty and catch up on two full seasons of one of TV’s most creative shows.

The post WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Rick and Morty appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Making Your Graphing Calculator a Musical Instrument

Slashdot - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 1:57pm
An anonymous reader writes: Thanks to a recently published open source music editor/sequencer, you can now create music on Texas Instruments graphing calculators. The complexity of the sound is impressive (video) for such a simple device, which does not feature any dedicated sound hardware. HoustonTracker 2 is open source, and is available for the TI-82, 83, 83Plus, and 84Plus.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Spoiler Alert: I Just Found Out Luke and Leia Are Siblings

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 1:25pm

In my journey to watch the Star Wars films for the first time, I’ve asked many questions. The Empire Strikes Back finally gave me some answers.

The post Spoiler Alert: I Just Found Out Luke and Leia Are Siblings appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Porn.com Drops Flash as Web’s Least-Loved Tech Nears Death

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 1:19pm

Porn may or may not account for as much of the web's traffic as its reputation suggests. But when a big porn site kills off Flash, you know the end is near.

The post Porn.com Drops Flash as Web’s Least-Loved Tech Nears Death appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Kevin McCarthy Says Stop Tweeting At Him About Benghazi

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 1:16pm

Oh, and he wants you to vote for Hillary.

The post Kevin McCarthy Says Stop Tweeting At Him About Benghazi appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

'First, Let's Get Rid of All the Bosses' -- the Zappos Management Experiment

Slashdot - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 1:15pm
schnell writes: The New Republic is running an in-depth look at online shoe retailer Zappos.com's experiment in a new "boss-less" corporate structure. Three years ago the company introduced a management philosophy that came from the software development world called "Holacracy," in which there are no "people managers" and groups self-organize based on individual creativity and talents. (When the change was announced, 14% of the company's employees chose to leave; middle management openly rebelled, but perhaps surprisingly the tech organization was slowest to embrace the new idea). The article shows that in this radically employee-centric environment, many if not most employees are thrilled and fulfilled, while others worry that self-organization in practical terms means chaos and a Maoist culture of "coercive positivity." Is Zappos the future of the American workplace, a fringe experiment, or something in between?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why America Still Doesn’t Have Any Good Data on Guns

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 1:11pm

A comprehensive government databases exists for car deaths. Why not for gun deaths?

The post Why America Still Doesn’t Have Any Good Data on Guns appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why (And How) Startups Are Tying Into Amazon's DRS System

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 10:00am

Having launched last spring, Amazon's Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) may be young, but it's growing up fast. In fact, it just took another big step recently: Last week, the company announced a new batch of DRS partners and devices, making for a move that could extend the company's reach into homes everywhere. 

With DRS, product orders can land in a user's Amazon cart with a mere push of a Dash Button, or automatically through gadgets that integrate with the system—essentially, so they can sustain themselves somewhat by replenishing their own supplies. This appears to be Amazon's approach to smart homes, offering its own take on automation. 

See also: How Your Need For Detergent And Coffee Will Fuel Amazon's Smart Home

The new partner gadgets includes a washer from General Electric, the August smart lock, and, interestingly, laser printers from Samsung, which has its own smart home platform. The devices will be able to sense when they run low on soap, batteries or ink cartridges, and start orders for fresh product supplies on their own. 

Amazon's open to partners of all sizes, and interested parties can request more information from the e-commerce giant, which is planning a full roll-out for the fall. 

To learn more about why and how they're integrating DRS, ReadWrite checked in with a couple of startups that have already signed on. 

DRS, From A Startup Partner's POV

Would-be DRS partners large and small have two choices: incorporate a button into their product design for reordering consumables, or have the reordering managed automatically via a system of sensors and measurements. 

Many connected device makers choose the latter—including Thync, a new partner that's working on a gadget that, it claims, is capable of affecting your mood through low-level electrical pulses. 

With DRS integration, the unit will be able to offer replacement Thync strips to offer "a reliable, efficient, and convenient service" for users, said Jason Egnal, the company's VP of digital marketing and commercial operations. 

Thync has gone all in with Amazon, also signing up for its Launchpad service, which gives hardware startups a streamlined sales channel. "[Launchpad offers] an opportunity to leverage all the benefits associated with selling through Amazon," Egnal told ReadWrite, "as well as receive tailored placement within Amazon.com, and gain access to other cutting-edge opportunities like Dash Replenishment Services." 

With Launchpad and DRS, Amazon is fast becoming a one-stop back-end for companies with innovative new hardware to sell—perhaps just in time, given the demise of Quirky. (The inventor's site had been announced as an early Amazon DRS partner.) 

For Thync, Amazon's "unparalleled ability to quickly and inexpensively ship product to customers" made the startup jump at the chance to get involved, said Egnal. 

Implementing DRSObe ProBowl

Amazon promises that DRS support is a simple affair. For developers, it can take as little as 10 lines of code, with simple HTML containers and REST API calls. Addresses, payment methods and billing systems are all handled by Amazon. 

Obe—maker of an innovative smart dog bowl—is another new partner. "The DRS code has been straightforward and the documentation is thorough, easy to follow," Obe CEO Hilary Wade told me. "We've been part of the early testing with DRS, making sure that it works well for the most common use cases and can address exceptions too." 

With the Obe ProBowl, as soon as your pooch is running low on snacks, the unit automatically puts an Amazon order for new supplies into motion. As with any Dash button or DRS-enabled service, though, manual confirmation is still required. 

In other words you won't wake up to a crate of dog food on your doorstep just because of a faulty sensor or an inquisitive toddler. The service merely queues up products in a linked Amazon checkout basket, where they wait for you to hit the Buy button in the Amazon smartphone app or the website. 

"Offering greater convenience to our customers is our priority," said Wade. "Amazon DRS makes it easy for connected consumer devices like Obe ProBowl to address one more very common pain point with our product. Not running out of dog food will make a lot of the 83 million dogs in the U.S. much happier!"

Amazon As A Smart Home PlatformAmazon Dash Button

This kind of auto-replenishment option makes sense in the broader trend of smart home devices. With lights, thermostats and many other home appliances now connected up to the Internet and fitted with sensors, having them communicate directly with portals such as Amazon is an obvious next step. 

Indeed, appliances able to order supplies for themselves is a feature that's been touted since the concept of a smart fridge was first floated. 

For Amazon, it's another step on the road to becoming a full-fledged platform, not just an online mall. The journey began with Amazon Associates, which gradually evolved into Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing package of resources that got the likes of Dropbox and Instagram off the ground. 

Now it's not just apps and websites plugging into Amazon's ecosystem, but smart devices too. We don't know yet whether Amazon offers affiliate payments for goods ordered through DRS—the companies we spoke to would not divulge details of their agreements, and Amazon itself didn't respond to a request for comment—but if that's the case, these hardware devices could be partly funded by the consumables they use up. 

And let's not forget Amazon Echo, the smart home hub contender looking to tie into as many third-party services, devices and apps as possible. Even if Amazon isn't making all of the gadgets in your future smart home, it wants to be controlling them—and making sure they're well stocked.

Images courtesy of Amazon and Obe

Categories: Technology