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  • Smart Meters and New IoT Devices Cause Serious Concern

    dkatana writes: The ongoing deployment of internet-of-things devices is already creating serious issues and discussions about the privacy of users, IoT security, and the potential threat of cyber criminals taking control of sensors and smart devices connected to the Internet.

    Security and privacy concerns associated with smart meters are why they are currently "optional" in several countries. That's the case in the Netherlands after consumer organizations and privacy watchdog groups campaigned vigorously to stop the mandatory smart meter deployment. A report from researchers at Tilburg University claimed that "smart meters have the capacity to reveal quite privacy-sensitive information, thus affecting not only informational privacy but also privacy of the home and of family life."
    This now applies to televisions as well — an article in Salon discusses the author's new "smart" TV, which came with a 46-page privacy policy. Quoting: "It logs where, when, how and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect 'when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.' It records 'the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.' It ignores 'do-not-track' requests as a considered matter of policy. It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition."

    141 comments | 11 hours ago

  • A Mixed Review For CBS's "All Access" Online Video Streaming

    lpress writes I tested CBS All Access video streaming. It has technical problems, which will be resolved, but I will still pass because they show commercials in addition to a $5.99 per month fee. Eventually, we will all cut the cord and have a choice of viewing modes — on-demand versus scheduled and with and without commercials — but don't expect your monthly bill to drop as long as our ISPs are monopolies or oligopolies.

    80 comments | yesterday

  • Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter

    Mr D from 63 (3395377) writes Time Warner Cable's results have been buoyed recently by higher subscriber numbers for broadband Internet service. In the latest period, however, Time Warner Cable lost 184,000 overall residential customer relationships [Note: non-paywalled coverage at Bloomberg and Reuters]. The addition of 92,000 residential high-speed data customers was offset by 184,000 fewer residential video customers in the quarter. Triple play customers fell by 24,000, while residential voice additions were 14,000.

    386 comments | yesterday

  • Remote Vision Through a Virtual Reality Headset (Video)

    Add some material-handling devices and you'd have software-controlled Waldos, first described by Robert A. Heinlein in the 1942 short story titled Waldo. So while the idea of a pair of artificial eyes you control by moving your head (while looking at the area around the artificial eyes, even if it's in orbit), sounds like futuristic fun, especially if you use an Oculus Virtual Reality device instead of an LED screen, it not only hasn't caught up with science fiction, but is a fair ways behind science fact. Still, the idea of being able to control a vision system deep under the sea or in orbit around Saturn is certainly interesting in and of itself. (Alternate Video Link)

    43 comments | 2 days ago

  • How To View the Antares Launch

    An anonymous reader points out NASA's info page on the Anatares rocket launch happening later today. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket at 6:45 p.m. EDT, October 27. The Antares rocket will carry Orbital's Cygnus cargo spacecraft, loaded with some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, to the International Space Station. The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States. Here's a visibility map of launch. Public viewing of the launch will be available at the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore. Here's more information about the Visitors Center, including directions, and information on viewing sites recommended by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission. Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at noon on the Wallops Ustream site."

    36 comments | 4 days ago

  • A Low Cost, Open Source Geiger Counter (Video)

    Sawaiz Syed's LinkedIn page says he's a "Hardware Developer at GSU [Georgia State University], Department of Physics." That's a great workplace for someone who designs low cost radiation detectors that can be air-dropped into an area where there has been a nuclear accident (or a nuclear attack; or a nuclear terrorist act) and read remotely by a flying drone or a robot ground vehicle. This isn't Sawaiz's only project; it's just the one Timothy asked him about most at the recent Maker Faire Atlanta. (Alternate Video Link)

    46 comments | about a week ago

  • The Bogus Batoid Submarine is Wooden, not Yellow (Video)

    This is a "wet" submarine. It doesn't try to keep water out. You wear SCUBA gear while pedaling it. And yes, it is powered by a person pushing pedals. That motion, through a drive train, makes manta-style wings flap. This explains the name, since rays are Batoids, and this sub is a fake Batoid, not a real one. It's a beautiful piece of work, and Martin Plazyk is obviously proud to show it off. He and his father, Bruce, operate as Faux Fish Technologies. Follow that link and you'll see many photos, along with a nice selection of videos showing their creations not just in static above-water displays, but in their natural (underwater) element. Meanwhile, here on Slashdot, Martin tells how Faux Fish subs are made. (Alternate Video Link)

    44 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices

    itwbennett (1594911) writes A partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe, announced today, will let broadcasters see (in aggregate and anonymized) how people interact with digital video between devices — for example if you begin watching a show on Netflix on your laptop, then switch to a Roku set-top box to finish it. The information learned will help broadcasters decide what to charge advertisers, and deliver targeted ads to viewers. Broadcasters can use the new Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, as they're called, beginning early next year. Early users include ESPN, Sony Pictures Television, Turner Broadcasting and Viacom.

    126 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

    First time accepted submitter _AustinPowell writes Comcast wants a cable television license in Worcester, Massachusetts. In response, the City Council voted 8-3 to urge Worcester's city manager to let the company's license request die. The deadline for the decision is Wednesday, but the manager is not bound by the vote of the Council. "It's a terrible company," City Councilor Gary Rosen said. "In my opinion, they should not be welcome in this city. Comcast is a wolf in wolf's clothing; it's that bad."

    232 comments | about two weeks ago

  • HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

    An anonymous reader writes By now, everyone not living in total isolation knows that HBO has announced plans to offer content streaming in 2015 with no TV subscription requirements. Many wonder what took HBO so long to make this transition. Some speculate that the growing unpopularity of ISP giants has shifted bargaining power in HBO's favor. Others say that it's purely maths; there are more cord-cutters and more people willing to shell out money for specific content, as evidenced by Netflix surpassing HBO in earnings this year "despite Netflix having a smaller customer base". Whatever the reason, all are expecting this development to induce "more content providers to make their shows more readily available online".

    139 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Eggcyte is Making a Pocket-Sized Personal Web Server (Video)

    Eggcyte has been working on this for two years. It's on Kickstarter now; a personal server you can use to share music, video, text, and just about anything else without resorting to cloud-based services where one weak password can put your private celebrity photos (you are a celebrity, right?) into the wrong hands. If you suddenly decide you don't want to share the information on your Egg any more, turn it off. If you suddenly have something new to share, like a video you just shot of the Loch Ness Monster capturing an alien spaceship, you can connect your Egg to the Internet anywhere you find a wireless access point. The main thing, say the Eggcyte people, is that your data is yours and should stay that way. Facebook and other cloud-based "sharing" companies use your data to learn about you. Here in the U.S. their primary purpose may be to show you ads for things you might want to buy. In more repressive countries, cloud-based sharing services may use your private data in ways that could be hazardous to your health. Of course, our government people would never keep track of what we post on Twitter and other online services... or would they? (Alternate Video Link)

    94 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Firefox 33 Arrives With OpenH264 Support

    An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 33 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include OpenH264 support as well as the ability to send video content from webpages to a second screen. Firefox 33 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Full changelogs are available here: desktop and Android."

    114 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Netflix To Charge More For 4K Video

    Mr D from 63 points out that watching Netflix in Ultra high-definition is going to cost you a little extra per month. A higher-resolution, 4K stream from Netflix will cost more. The company has boosted its monthly price for streaming ultrahigh-definition television and movies to $11.99 per month, citing the higher expenses associated with that content. In May, Netflix announced that its original series, such as House of Cards, would be available to stream in the 4K format, which offers roughly four times the resolution of current high-def TVs.

    158 comments | about three weeks ago

  • How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

    Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes For more than six years, Wikipedia named an innocent man as a key culprit in the 1978/79 Boston College point shaving scandal. The name Joe Streater was inserted into Wikipedia by an anonymous user in August 2008. The unsourced insertion was never challenged or deleted, and over time, Streater became widely associated with the scandal through newspaper and TV reports as well as countless blogs and fan sites, all of which directly or indirectly copied this spurious fact from Wikipedia. Yet research shows that Streater, whose present whereabouts are unknown, did not even play in the 1978/79 season. Before August 2008, his name was never mentioned in connection with the scandal. As journalists have less and less time for in-depth research, more and more of them seem to be relying on Wikipedia instead, and the online encyclopedia is increasingly becoming a vector for the spread of spurious information.

    165 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

    Chris Gordon works for a high-technology company, but he likes analog meters better than digital readouts. In this video, he shows off a bank of old-fashioned meters that display data acquired from digital sources. He says he's no Luddite; that he just prefers getting his data in analog form -- which gets a little harder every year because hardly any new analog meters are being manufactured. (Alternate Video Link)

    155 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

    New submitter Colin Castro writes with an exceprt from the San Francisco Chronicle that reveals a different side of Carl Sagan: MarijuanaMajority.com founder Tom Angell spent a few days this summer in the Library of Congress researching the iconic American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist and author and has come away with a bounty. Angell says he found some never-before-released writings on marijuana policy from the author of classics such as 'Contact' and the TV show 'Cosmos', which is the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. ... I am convinced that there are genuine and valid levels of perception available with cannabis (and probably with other drugs) which are, through the defects of our society and our educational system, unavailable to us without such drugs,' Sagan wrote in 1971, under the name Mr. X.

    263 comments | about three weeks ago

  • A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

    1729 (581437) writes Back in August, there was speculation that the "real life" Walter O'Brien (alleged inspiration for CBS's new drama Scorpion) might be a fraud. Mike Masnick from Techdirt follows up on the story: "The more you dig, the more of the same you find. Former co-workers of O'Brien's have shown up in comments or reached out to me and others directly — and they all say the same thing. Walter is a nice enough guy, works hard, does a decent job (though it didn't stop him from getting laid off from The Capital Group), but has a penchant for telling absolutely unbelievable stories about his life. It appears that in just repeating those stories enough, some gullible Hollywood folks took him at his word (and the press did too), and now there's a mediocre TV show about those made up stories." Masnick's article is a fascinating look at a man who appears to have conned both TV executives and journalists into believing his far-fetched Walter Mitty fantasies.

    193 comments | about three weeks ago

  • It's an Internet-Connected Wheelchair (Video)

    If you're in a wheelchair, wouldn't it be nice to have your chair automatically alert a caregiver if changes in your heart rate or another vital sign showed that you might be having a problem? And how about helping you rate sidewalks and handicapped parking spaces to help fellow wheelchair users get around more comfortably? Steven Hawking endorses the idea, and the Connected Wheelchair Project, in this short video. (You can see our interviewee, David Hughes, at 0:58 and again at 1:38.) This is an Intel project, in conjunction with Wake Forest University, run by student interns. | Besides helping wheelchair-dependent people live a better life, the Connected Wheelchair Project may help prevent Medicare fraud, says Hughes in our video interview with him. Falsified requests for durable medical goods are a huge drain on Medicare's budget. What if a connected wheelchair spent all of its time far from the home of the person to whom it was assigned? That would be a red flag, and investigators could follow up to see if that wheelchair was in legitimate hands or was part of a scam. | The Connected Wheelchair is still proof-of-concept, not a commercial product. Will it see production? Hard to say. This may never be a profitable product, but Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has said that that this project is an example of how “the Internet of Things can help change lives.” (Alternate Video Link)

    22 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Send Your Own Radiosonde 90,000 Feet Into the Sky (Video)

    Radiosonde, weather balloon, near-space exploration package... call it what you will, but today's interviewee, Jamel Tayeb, is hanging instrument packages and cameras below balloons and sending them up to 97,000 feet (his highest so far), then recovering them 50 or 60 miles away from their liftoff points with help from a locator beacon -- and not just any locator beacon, mind you, but a special one from a company called High Altitude Science with "unlocked" firmware that allows it to work with GPS satellites from altitudes greater than 60,000 feet, which typical, off-the-shelf GPS units can't do.

    Here's a balloon launch video from Instructure, a company that helps create open source education systems. The point of their balloon work (and Jamel's) is not that they get to boast about what they're doing, but so you and people like you say, "I can make a functioning high altitude weather balloon system with instrumentation and a decent camera for only $1000?" This is a lot of money for an individual, but for a high school science program it's not an impossible amount. And who knows? You might break the current high-altitude balloon record of 173,900 feet. Another, perhaps more attainable record is PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space) which is currently 96,563 feet. Beyond that? Perhaps you'll want to take a crack at beating Felix Baumgartner's high altitude skydiving and free fall records. And once you are comfortable working with near space launches, perhaps you'll move on to outer space work, where you'll join Elon Musk and other space transportation entrepreneurs. (Alternate Video Link)

    48 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Professor Kevin Fu Answers Your Questions About Medical Device Security

    Almost a year ago you had a chance to ask professor Kevin Fu about medical device security. A number of events (including the collapse of his house) conspired to delay the answering of those questions. Professor Fu has finally found respite from calamity, coincidentally at a time when the FDA has issued guidance on the security of medical devices. Below you'll find his answers to your old but not forgotten questions.

    21 comments | about three weeks ago

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