Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk

SlashdotSteve Wozniak maintained for a long time that true AI is relegated to the realm of science fiction. But recent advances in quantum computing have him reconsidering his stance. Just like Elon Musk, he is now worried about what this development will mean for humanityWill this kind of fear actually engender the dangers that these titans of industry fear? Will Steve Wozniak draw the same conclusion and invest in quantum comuting to keep an eye on the development? One of the bloggers in the field thinks that would be a logical step to take. If you can't beat'em, and the quantum AI is coming, you should at least try to steer the outcome.
Woz actually seems more ambivalent than afraid, though: in the interview linked, he says "I hope [AI-enabling quantum computing] does come, and we should pursue it because it is about scientific exploring." "But in the end we just may have created the species that is above us."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dell support tool put PCs at risk of malware infection

ComputerworldAttackers could have remotely installed malware on systems running a flawed Dell support tool used to detect customers' products.

A security researcher discovered the flaw in November and reported it to the PC manufacturer, which patched it in January. However, it's not clear if the fix closed all avenues for abuse.

The application, called Dell System Detect, is offered for download when users click the "Detect Product" button on Dell's support site for the first time. It is meant to help the website automatically detect the user's product -- more specifically its Service Tag -- so that it can offer the corresponding drivers and resources.

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Android Installer Hijacking Vulnerability Could Expose Android Users to Malware

Researchers have discovered a widespread vulnerability in Google’s Android OS we are calling “Android Installer Hijacking,” estimated to impact 49.5 percent of all current Android users. In detail:
  • Android Installer Hijacking allows an attacker to modify or replace a seemingly benign Android app with malware, without user knowledge. This only affects applications downloaded from third-party app stores.
  • The malicious application can gain full access to a compromised device, including usernames, passwords, and sensitive data.
  • Palo Alto Networks worked with Google and major manufacturers such as Samsung and Amazon to inform them of the vulnerability and issue patches for their devices.

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FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

We've always suspected that Google might tweak its search algorithms to gain an advantage over its rivals — and, according to an FTC investigation inadvertently shared with the Wall Street Journal, it did. Quoting: "In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC's bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and "scraping" content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals. For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google's shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn't click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.

At least 700K routers given to customers by ISPs can be hacked

ComputerworldMore than 700,000 ADSL routers provided to customers by ISPs around the world contain serious flaws that allow remote hackers to take control of them.

Most of the routers have a "directory traversal" flaw in a firmware component called webproc.cgi that allows hackers to extract sensitive configuration data, including administrative credentials. The flaw isn't new and has been reported by multiple researchers since 2011 in various router models.

Security researcher Kyle Lovett came across the flaw a few months ago in some ADSL routers he was analyzing in his spare time. He investigated further and unearthed hundreds of thousands of vulnerable devices from different manufacturers that had been distributed by ISPs to Internet subscribers in a dozen countries.

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Apple secures Safari against FREAK attacks


Apple on Monday patched the FREAK flaw in both OS X and iOS, issuing updates for both operating systems to protect users of its Safari browser.

In a pair of accompanying advisories, Apple noted the FREAK fix as one of several in iOS 8.2 and OS X Yosemite, Mavericks and Mountain Lion. The OS X update was labeled 2015-002 to identify it as a multi-edition fix.

"Secure Transport accepted short ephemeral RSA keys, usually used only in export-strength RSA cipher suites, on connections using full-strength RSA cipher suites," Apple stated in both advisories. "This issue, also known as FREAK, only affected connections to servers which support export-strength RSA cipher suites, and was addressed by removing support for ephemeral RSA keys."

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Tool allows account hijacking on sites that use Facebook Login [feedly]


new tool allows hackers to generate URLs that can hijack accounts on sites that use Facebook Login, potentially enabling powerful phishing attacks.

The tool, dubbed Reconnect, was released last week by Egor Homakov, a researcher with security firm Sakurity. It takes advantage of a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) issue in Facebook Login, the service that allows users to log in on third-party sites using their Facebook accounts.

Homakov disclosed the issue publicly on his personal blog in January 2014, after Facebook declined to fix it because doing so would have broken compatibility with a large number of sites that used the service.

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Google Ventures and the Search for Extending human lifespan to 500 years and beyond

Bill Maris has $425 million to invest this year, and the freedom to invest it however he wants. He's looking for companies that will slow aging, reverse disease, and extend life. "If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes," Bill Maris, president and managing partner of Google Ventures, said one January afternoon in Mountain View, California. 

Google Ventures has close to $2 billion in assets under management, with stakes in more than 280 startups. Each year, Google gives Maris $300 million in new capital, and this year he'll have an extra $125 million to invest in a new European fund. That puts Google Ventures on a financial par with Silicon Valley's biggest venture firms, which typically put to work $300 million to $500 million a year. According to data compiled by CB Insights, a research firm that tracks venture capital activity, Google Ventures was the fourth-most-active venture firm in the U.S. last year, participating in 87 deals.

Google has spent hundreds of millions of dollars backing a research center, called Calico, to study how to reverse aging, and Google X is working on a pill that would insert nanoparticles into our bloodstream to detect disease and cancer mutations.

Read more » at Next Big Future

Incomplete Microsoft Patch Left Machines Exposed To Stuxnet LNK Vulnerability since 2010

A five-year-old Microsoft patch for the .LNK vulnerability exploited by Stuxnetfailed to properly protect Windows machines, leaving them exposed to exploits since 2010. Microsoft today is expected to release a security bulletin, MS15-020, patching the vulnerability (CVE-2015-0096). It is unknown whether there have been public exploits of patched machines. The original LNK patch was released Aug. 2, 2010. "That patch didn't completely address the .LNK issue in the Windows shell, and there were weaknesses left behind that have been resolved in this patch," said Brian Gorenc, manager of vulnerability research with HP's Zero Day Initiative. Gorenc said the vulnerability works on Windows machines going back to Windows XP through Windows 8.1, and the proof of concept exploit developed by Heerklotz and tweaked by ZDI evades the validation checks put in place by the original Microsoft security bulletin, CVE-2010-2568.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft's First Azure Hosted Service Is Powered By Linux

Canonical, through John Zannos, VP Cloud Alliances, has proudly announced that the first ever Microsoft Azure hosted service will be powered by Ubuntu Linux. This piece of news comes from the Strata + Hadoop World Conference, which takes place this week in California. The fact of the matter is that the news came from Microsoft who announced the preview of Azure HDInsight (an Apache Hadoop-based hosted service) on Ubuntu clusters yesterday at the said event. This is definitely great news for Canonical, as their operating system is getting recognized for being extremely reliable when handling Big Data. Ubuntu is now the leading cloud and scale-out Linux-based operating system.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tech Time Warp of the Week: Return to 1974, When a Computer Ordered a Pizza for the First Time

Tech Time Warp of the Week: Return to 1974, When a Computer Ordered a Pizza for the First Time

Watch John Sherman use a voice synthesizer to place the first computer-assisted pizza delivery order in history.

The post Tech Time Warp of the Week: Return to 1974, When a Computer Ordered a Pizza for the First Time appeared first on WIRED.

Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

been using iOS 8 for several days and aside from a few gimmicks and add-ons that attempt to achieve parity with Android, my experience has been overwhelmingly unsatisfactory. My chief complaint is that the vast majority of my apps are slow to boot and noticeably sluggish in operation. I want to point out that all of these apps have been "upgraded" specifically for iOS 8 compatibility. Previous operating system upgrades have been relatively seamless, so I'm asking whether other slashdotters have experienced this degraded performance.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

CHINA Now Has The WORLDS FASTEST SUPER COMPUTER – 74% Faster Then 2nd Fastsest Just In Trial Run

The Tianhe-2, also known as the Milky Way 2, is the creation of China's National University for Defense Technology. The device was built to "provide an open platform for research and education and provide high performance computing service for southern China," according to the University of Tennessee's Jack Dongarra. Dongarra helped compile a list of the Top 500 supercomputers in the world, and wrote a report on this latest machine.

The Tianhe-2 reportedly has a storage of 12.4 petabytes and memory of 1.4 PB. In case you're not familiar, a petabyte is the equivalent of 1,000 terabytes, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. Yes, that's five commas.

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Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder | #Tech #google #news

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman Web-based programs like Google's Gmail will force people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that will cost more and more over time, according to the free software campaigner

IT departments won't exist in five years - #Tech #News

Computerworld - SAN FRANCISCO -- Consumerization of IT and self-service trends will lead to a restructuring of the today's IT shop, leaving behind a hybrid model consisting of tech consultants and integrators.

"The business itself will be the IT department. [Technologists] will simply be the enabler," said Brandon Porco, chief technologist & solutions architect at Northrop Grumman.

Porco was part of a four-person panel of technologists who answered audience questions during a town hall-style meeting at the CITE Conference and Expo here this week.

Among concerns raised is whether IT is losing control as consumer technology becomes part and parcel of everyone's work in the enterprise, and the data center is left behind.
Others said they are not sure how to address a growing generation gap between young and veteran workers, each of whom are comfortable with different technologies.

"Interns coming in for the summer are asked if they're familiar with Google Apps. They say, 'Of course we are,'" said Nathan McBride, vice president of IT & chief cloud architect at AMAG Pharmaceuticals. "Then we have other employees coming in who worked for other companies who say, 'I need Outlook.' We have to say we don't use that anymore."

McBride said 75 Fortune 100 companies now use Google Apps along with most Ivy League schools, meaning that the next generation of workers won't be users of Microsoft Exchange or Office.

In five years, McBride said, companies will have to ensure they're matching their enabling technology to the demographic of that time.

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Million-Neuron Artificial Brain Works In Real Time | the machines will soon rise #tech

Neurogrid Graduate students Sam Fok and Alex Neckar hold the new brain model. Samir Menon
A smaller, cheaper, faster brain model

This new computer model of a brain has one million neurons and works just as fast as a live brain does.

There are other brain models, run on supercomputers, that are much bigger. IBM's SyNAPSE, for example, modeled 530 billion neurons last November. (That's more than the total number of neurons in humans' brains, which clock in at 86 billion neurons on average.) Such models are very slow, however. Some take a couple hours to simulate a second of brain activity. SyNAPSE works 1,500 times slower than real time.

The new artificial brain, called Neurogrid, is a lighter, cheaper version of supercomputer models. It's also much more energy efficient, using just 5 watts of electricity, compared to the 8 megawatts that Blue Gene/Q Sequoia, SyNAPSE's supercomputer, uses. Neurogrid's creators hope that others may use it to learn more about healthy brains and brains affected by diseases such as autism and schizophrenia, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation, which funded Neurogrid. Those are some of the same general goals that larger brain models try to achieve, but something like Neurogrid could make brain modeling more accessible to more labs

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"it was a cold day in april" 1984 was not suppose to be a instruction manual.

We were warned but, we just let it happen...
In the year 1984, Ingsoc (English Socialism), is the regnant ideology and pseudo-philosophy of Oceania, and Newspeak is its official language, of official documents.

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen";[31] yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the rĂ©gime's continual rewriting and manipulation of history. His memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was absorbed into Oceania. Simultaneously, the USSR conquered mainland Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate, Eastasia, comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, forming and breaking alliances as is convenient. From his childhood (1949–53), Winston remembers the Atomic Wars fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America. It is unclear to him what occurred first: the Party's victory in the civil war, the US annexation of the British Empire, or the war in which Colchester was bombed. However, his strengthening memories and the story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first (the Smiths took refuge in a tube station), followed by civil war featuring "confused street fighting in London itself", and the societal postwar reorganisation, which the Party retrospectively calls "the Revolution".

"Happy 1984" stencil graffiti, denoting mind control via video games, on a standing piece of the Berlin Wall, 2005.

Minipax supports Oceania's perpetual war.
The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work.

Newspeak: Miniplenty

The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic production; every fiscal quarter, the Miniplenty publishes false claims of having raised the standard of living, when it has, in fact, reduced rations, availability, and production. The Minitrue substantiates the Miniplenty claims by revising historical records to report numbers supporting the current, "increased rations".

Newspeak: Minitrue
The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts. Winston Smith works in the Minitrue RecDep (Records Department), "rectifying" historical records to concord with Big Brother's current pronouncements, thus everything the Party says is true.

Read more here... no really, read more (it's good for you :)

How to stop your data from being sold by 1300+ tracking companies #Tech Privacy

"Do you know what data the 1300+ tracking companies have on you? Privacy blogger Dan Tynan didn't until he had had enough of being stalked by grandpa-friendly Jitterbug phone ads. Tracking company BlueKai and its partners had compiled 471 separate pieces of data on him. Some surprisingly accurate, some not (hence the Jitterbug ad). But what's worse is that opting out of tracking is surprisingly hard. On the Network Advertising Initiative Opt Out Page you can ask the 98 member companies listed there to stop tracking you and on Evidon's Global Opt Out page you can give some 200 more the boot — but that's only about 300 companies out of 1300. And even if they all comply with your opt-out request, it doesn't mean that they'll stop collecting data on you, only that they'll stop serving you targeted ads."

Please read and follow "Tracking the Web Trackers" VIA @SlashDot

Code "BLUE" Windows 8 & Server update will keep constant connection to mothership EVEN when in sleep mode #Tech #News

Blue [is] the codename for the first of a number of annual...updates to Windows 8 that is expected to hit late this summer. Supposedly Blue will [also] span...Windows Phone, Windows Server, Windows RT...SkyDrive and
Blue is optimized for power efficiency. ...when sleeping an ultrabook would remain connected to Internet-based apps such as email and social networks, so it remains constantly up to date. 

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The Internet is a surveillance state by Bruce Schneier #Tech #News

CNN: The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.

Increasingly, what we do on the Internet is being combined with other data about us. Unmasking Broadwell's identity involved correlating her Internet activity with her hotel stays. Everything we do now involves computers, and computers produce data as a natural by-product. Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.

Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there's more. There's location data from your cell phone, there's a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it's efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

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FACEBOOK reveals secrets & private information you haven’t shared #tech #socialmedia #news

The increasing amount of personal information that can been gleaned by computer programs that track how people use Facebook has been revealed by an extensive academic study.

Such programmes can discern undisclosed private information such as Facebook users' sexuality, drug-use habits and even whether their parents separated when they were young, according to the study by Cambridge university academics.

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Global E-mail Patterns Reveal "Clash of Civilizations" | MIT Technology Review

The global pattern of e-mail communication reflects the cultural fault lines thought to determine future conflict, say computational social scientists.

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TODAY: The day Americans gave up their digital device rights. Unlocking Mobile Phones Becomes Illegal #tech #news

"Referencing a decision outlined in the Federal Register, Tech News Daily has published an article noting that the window to unlock your new mobile phone in the U.S. is closing. 'In October 2012, the Librarian of Congress, who determines exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decided that unlocking mobile phones would no longer be allowed. But the library provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it. That window closes on January 26.' While this doesn't apply to phones purchased before the window closes, this means that after 1/26/13, for any new mobile phone you purchase, you'll have to fulfill your contract, or break the law to unlock it.
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Security audit finds dev OUTSOURCED his JOB to China to goof off at work • The Register

A security audit of a US critical infrastructure company last year revealed that its star developer had outsourced his own job to a Chinese subcontractor and was spending all his work time playing around on the internet.

The firm's telecommunications supplier Verizon was called in after the company set up a basic VPN system with two-factor authentication so staff could work at home. The VPN traffic logs showed a regular series of logins to the company's main server from Shenyang, China, using the credentials of the firm's top programmer, "Bob"

After getting permission to study Bob's computer habits, Verizon investigators found that he had hired a software consultancy in Shenyang to do his programming work for him, and had FedExed them his two-factor authentication token so they could log into his account. He was paying them a fifth of his six-figure salary to do the work and spent the rest of his time on other activities.

The analysis of his workstation found hundreds of PDF invoices from the Chinese contractors and determined that Bob's typical work day consisted of:

9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos

11:30 a.m. – Take lunch

1:00 p.m. – Ebay time

2:00-ish p.m – Facebook updates, LinkedIn

4:30 p.m. – End-of-day update e-mail to management

5:00 p.m. – Go home

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Google starts watching what you do off the Internet too — after you shop at mall with your credit card, you'll see same Store ads online later

RT: Google is all but certain to ensure that all user data collected off- and online will be cloaked through safeguards that will allow for complete and total anonymity for customers. When on-the-Web interactions start mirroring real life activity, though, even a certain degree of privacy doesn't make Conversions API any less creepy. As Jim Edwards writes for Business Insider, "If you bought a T shirt at The Gap in the mall with your credit card, you could start seeing a lot more Gap ads online later, suggesting jeans that go with that shirt."

Of course, there is always the possibility that all of this information can be unencrypted and, in some cases, obtained by third-parties that you might not want prying into your personal business. Edwards notes in his report that Google does not explicitly note that intelligence used in Conversions API will be anonymized, but the blowback from not doing as much would sure be enough to start a colossal uproar. Meanwhile, however, all of the information being collected by Google — estimated to be on millions of servers around the globe — is being handed over to more than just advertising companies. Last month Google reported that the US government requested personal information from roughly 8,000 individual users during just the first few months of 2012.

"This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise," Google admitted with their report.

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Nine out of ten organizations lack proper tech skills: study | Is #socialmedia killing our productivity?

Is digital distraction the cause of this headshot to our nations productivity?

...findings of a new survey of 1,200 executives, just released by the IBM Center for Applied Insights. The survey report examines the rise of four technology areas – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – concluding that only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs. "These shortages are not trivial or isolated," it continues. "Within each area, roughly one-quarter report major skill gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls."

Plus, there doesn't seem to be much help coming down the pipeline either. In a parallel academic survey, IBM says close to half of the educators and students responding said there were major gaps in IT skills coverage – "a deficit nearly twice the size of what businesses are already experiencing. Including those with
moderate gaps, totals rise to 73% or more."

As Jim Corgel, IBM general manager for academic and developer relations, puts it: "Today we are faced with one of the largest skills gap in history." He advises more aggressive actions on the part of businesses to invest in skills development among current employees. 

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Scientific American's Fred Guterl Explores the Threats Posed By Technology -via @Slashdot

"Fred Guterl is the executive editor of Scientific American, and in this piece he explores various threats posed by the technology that modern civilization relies on. He discusses West African and Indian monsoons, infectious diseases, and computer hacking. Here's a quote: 'Today the technologies that pose some of the biggest problems are not so much military as commercial. They come from biology, energy production, and the information sciences — and are the very technologies that have fueled our prodigious growth as a species. They are far more seductive than nuclear weapons, and more difficult to extricate ourselves from. The technologies we worry about today form the basis of our global civilization and are essential to our survival.'"
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Scientists See Startling Gains in Artificial Intelligence technology, called deep learning, has already been put to use in services like Apple's Siri virtual personal assistant, which is based on Nuance Communications' speech recognition service, and in Google's Street View, which uses machine vision to identify specific addresses.

But what is new in recent months is the growing speed and accuracy of deep-learning programs, often called artificial neural networks or just "neural nets" for their resemblance to the neural connections in the brain.

"There has been a number of stunning new results with deep-learning methods," said Yann LeCun, a computer scientist at New York University who did pioneering research in handwriting recognition at Bell Laboratories. "The kind of jump we are seeing in the accuracy of these systems is very rare indeed."

Artificial intelligence researchers are acutely aware of the dangers of being overly optimistic. Their field has long been plagued by outbursts of misplaced enthusiasm followed by equally striking declines.

In the 1960s, some computer scientists believed that a workable artificial intelligence system was just 10 years away. In the 1980s, a wave of commercial start-ups collapsed, leading to what some people called the "A.I. winter."

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Study Claims Human Intelligence Peaked Two To Six Millennia Ago

Slashdot- Professor Gerald "Jerry" Crabtree of Stanford's Crabtree Laboratorypublished a paper (PDF) that has appeared in two parts in Trends in Genetics. The paper opens with a very controversial suggestion: 'I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions.' From there, Crabtree speculates we're on the decline of human intelligence and we have been for at least a couple millennia. His argument suggests agriculture and, following from that, cities, have allowed us to break free of some environmental forces on competitive genetic mutations — a la Mike Judge's theory. However, the conclusion of the paper urges humans to keep calm and carry on, as any attempt to fix this genetic trend would almost certainly be futile and disturbing."
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The duo ... Bravo

Security Firm VUPEN Claims to Have Hacked Windows 8 and IE10

TNW...If you've never heard of VUPEN, that's because it isn't your typical security company. The firm finds exploits in popular software from major technology companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, only to sell the details to governments around the world and various other parties willing to write massive cheques.

That's right; the exploits aren't reported to the companies affected, but are instead sold so that: VUPEN customers can protect themselves (while their competitors are left vulnerable), they can be abused for spying purposes, and they can be used to create malware. This is why, if you read the tweet above again, you'll note that this latest victory was only possible thanks to multiple already-existing 0-days that VUPEN found and did not disclose publicly. If it had, it would not be able to sell them, nor would it be able to hack Windows 8, as Microsoft would have already patched the flaws long ago.

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Does Russia care about children's future more than U.S? Internet Child Protection Law Takes Effect

"A law that aims to protect children from harmful internet content by allowing the government to take sites offline has taken effect in Russia. The authorities are now able to blacklist and force offline certain websites without a trial. The law was approved by both houses of parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin in July. If the websites themselves cannot be shut down, internet service providers (ISPs) and web hosting companies can be forced to block access to the offending material."

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'2013 is going to be ugly' for Microsoft as it shifts to Windows 8, Forrester predicts

As Microsoft launches Windows 8, and with it, an attempt to stabilize a precipitous decline in its share of operating systems for 'personal devices, 2013 is going to be a tough, very tough year, research firm Forrester said today.

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Silicon Valley Morally Bankrupt and Toxic

Slashdot - Since I've been out of the Silicon-Valley-centered tech industry, I've become increasingly convinced that it's morally bankrupt and essentially toxic to our society. Companies like Google and Facebook — in common with most public companies — have interests that are frequently in conflict with the well-being of — I was going to say their customers or their users, but I'll say 'people' in general, since it's wider than that. People who use their systems directly, people who don't — we're all affected by it, and although some of the outcomes are positive a disturbingly high number of them are negative: the erosion of privacy, of consumer rights, of the public domain and fair use, of meaningful connections between people and a sense of true community, of beauty and care taken in craftsmanship, of our very physical well-being. No amount of employee benefits or underfunded projects can counteract that. Over time, I've come to consider that this situation is irremediable, given our current capitalist system and all its inequalities. To fix it, we're going to need to work on social justice and rethinking how we live and work and relate to each other. Geek toys like self-driving cars and augmented reality sunglasses won't fix it. Social networks designed to identify you to corporations so they can sell you more stuff won't fix it. Better ad targeting or content matching algorithms definitely won't fix it."

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The Future Talk with Steve Jobs - Daily Exhaust

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Windows 8 may be death blow to PC market

Windows 8 is "a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms" and may not stop the declining growth in PC sales, warns a just-released IDC report. The reports adds that PC sales will be only up a fraction of a percent in 2012 over 2011.

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Computer firms try to grow talent to handle mainframe worker shortage

USATODAY..."Big Iron," as the machines are called, is not headed for extinction any time soon. But nearly 50 years after these once-giant computers were first introduced, companies like Detroit-based Compuware and IBM are preparing for a shortage of mainframe workers.

"This will be a growing problem very quickly," said Bob Paul, CEO of Compuware, a business software firm that gets 40% of its revenue from its mainframe division.

Compuware estimates that as many as 40% of the world's mainframe programmers will be retiring in the near future.

The looming shortage has forced mainframe companies such as Compuware, IBM and CA Technologies to step up their talent-development efforts. But in a world with 3D graphics, video streaming and all kinds of social media, getting young people interested in a career in mainframes is a tough sell.

"It is not as sexy as developing new mobile apps," Paul acknowledged. "But if you want a secure and highly valued career, this is a great place to go."

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1984 “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were...

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." — 1984



Dead wrong... Windows phones are 2% of market

HISTORY of windows 8...those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

demotivational posters - HISTORY

My commdork 64

Apples new logo

Why Didn't the Internet Take Off In 1983? - Slashdot

"An amazing pair of videos from the AT&T archives tout a service called Viewtron that brought much of what we expect from the modern Internet to customers' homes in 1983. Online news, banking services, restaurant reviews, shopping, e-mail — all were available on your TV set, controlled by a wireless infrared keyboard. The system had 15,000 customers in cities on the U.S. east coast, but was shut down after $50 million was spent on it. But why did it flop? Was the world just not ready for it?"

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Computer Programmers Only the 5th Most Sleep Deprived Profession - Slashdot

"As described in the NY Times Economix blog, the mattress chain Sleepy's analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey to findthe ten most sleep deprived professions. In order, they are: Home Health Aides, Lawyer, Police Officers, Doctors/Paramedics, Tie: (Economists, Social Workers, Computer Programmers), Financial Analysts, Plant Operators (undefined, but we assume 'factory' and not 'Audrey II'), and Secretaries."

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No one is on google+... Yeah, Facebook wastes the most time, money and energy

shortformblogA somewhat different take on the thing we reblogged earlier, but it shows two very interesting things: First, Tumblr and Pinterest are timesucks in equal measure, and second, nobody's actually hanging around Google+ once they sign up. 

Reblogged again by: 

Social Networking at It’s Worst -

funny graphs - Social Networking at It's Worst 


demotivational posters - THE GOOD OLD DAYS

IBMs new experimental atomic-scale magnet memory is at least 100 times denser than conventional memory

Scientists from IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) have successfully demonstrated the ability to store information in as few as 12 magnetic atoms. This is significantly less than today's disk drives, which use about one million atoms to store a single bit of information. The ability to manipulate matter by its most basic components – atom by atom – could lead to the vital understanding necessary to build smaller, faster and more energy-efficient devices.

Social Media Explained In One Image

Will Windows 8 Tablets Make IT Pros Hate Microsoft?

Short answer... Yes, IT will end up being hurt by Windows 8

ghacks - When Windows 8 launches the app store will likely be fairly barren, and it will take many months, if not years for Windows to catch up with the number of apps available in the iPad and Android markets.  This ultimately can hurt sales of the platform as people might choose an Android or Apple device over Windows because there's more they can do with it, they'll probably not even be able to run their existing desktop software on it so what will be the point in getting one?

It is crucial however that Windows 8 tablets take off in a big way and sell in the millions, the reason for this is that Microsoft have re-engineered Windows directly around tablets, effectively betting the entire platform on the success of these devices that will probably only ever form 10% of the whole computing market.

The remaining 90% is largely constituted of IT Pros and businesses, many of whom are already taking a dim view of Microsoft's new direction for Windows or who are, at the very least, concerned about what it means for them.  If the new Windows 8 tablets don't take off and sell in huge volumes it will essentially be seen as one huge slap in the face for the IT Pro community who will have had their precious desktop working environment decimated in the name of a product gamble.

The failure of Windows tablets to sell could see these IT Pros turning on Microsoft in huge numbers and perhaps even looking for an alternative (I've even considered a dual-booting iMac as my next PC for the first time ever!)  This means that Microsoft simply cannot afford to get Windows tablets wrong.  As the whole structure of Windows is being re-engineered around them, no matter how friendly they might say Metro will be on desktops and laptops, it is too big a gamble to get it wrong.

Please read more from by Mike Halsey at

Lost generation.... Merry Textmas

A Brief History Of Web Standards [Infographic] - Data Visualization Encyclopedia, Information Technology, Symbols, Posters, Infographic

Throughout the history of the Internet, there has been an evolution of web standards. Due to these transformations, today, "the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeds the number of people on Earth." Vitamin Talent has collaborated with Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, founders of An Event Apart, to create this fantastic infographic detailing the changes of web standards during the lifetime of the Internet.

Why Skyrim Is Horrible for the Economy | GeekDad |

We live in very troubled times. Unemployment is higher than it has been in a generation and job numbers continue to be dismal; the stock market turbulently boils, destroying billions in wealth; and entire continents look to the rest of the world for bailouts. Still, there are pockets of economic hope. After a very positive October, video game sales continued to increase in November. During the week following Thanksgiving, XBox had its biggest week of hardware sales ever, moving nearly one million consoles.

Yet, in this period of bullish video game sales, there is some decidedly bad news. There is one game that is leaving a black eye on the gaming industry and single-handedly keeping us in a recession. Released one month ago, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has done more to damage our economy than a committee of congressmen with a wallet full of US Treasury credit cards and a case of whiskey.

I know what you're thinking: it's the second-best selling game in the world right now. In the first 48 hours that Skyrim was available, 3.5 million copies were sold, a number that has continued to grow. How can a game that will generate millions possibly be bad for the economy?

The answer is quite simple: Skyrim is incredible. The game's world is so big and there are so many quests to complete that those millions of dollars in sales are being nullified by players' lost productivity and lack of economic participation in the real world.

Owning A Cat a biological hazard that could Void Your Computer Warranty? - The Consumerist

After 3 weeks of HP support-hell, I finally reached someone who could give me a little info on why my laptop wasn't repaired...Cat hair or not, I just want my computer fixed. It's a manufacturing defect, and it just so happens that the laptop is sprinkled with a bit of hair.


Anyway, I kept arguing with him about how that was really not a lot of cat hair. He told me that it was "covered" and that he was positive that the computer had overheated (multiple reps told me the same thing). I knew it was all a lie, I was looking at the same photos he was, and there was hardly any hair in there. I kept saying that, and I told him the computer cooled itself fine.

He seemed to relent later, and he pretty much agreed with me, so he talked to his supervisor (to make an appeal). Then he gets back on the phone with me and says that the supervisor said that there was SO MUCH cat hair that it's considered a biological hazard. That's absolutely ridiculous, and he wouldn't even give me the number for his supervisor or transfer me to him (why not?).

I probably have more cat hair on my shirt than what was in the laptop. Am I a walking "biological hazard"? I don't think so. Why don't they lock me up and throw me in jail for sending such a dangerous computer into HP's service center? 

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Social Media Facts Every Communications Person Needs to Know - OhMyGov News

 ohmygov...composed this list of impactful factoids about social media.


Our Top 10:

1. The average Facebook session lasts 37 minutes.

2. The average Twitter user logs on for 23 minutes.

3. More than 400 million people log on to Facebook daily.

4. There are > 1 billion social network users worldwide.

5. 38 percent of Internet users have a smart phone. They are more intensive users of social media than those without a smart phone.

6. Out of 7 billion people in the world, 2 billion have internet access.

7. Of emerging markets, India and Brazil show the highest awareness of social media.

8. 510,000 comments are uploaded to Facebook every minute.

9. 93 percent of social network users have no intention of stopping their use of social media.

10. Over 60 percent of social network users state they have no desire to change or add a new social network.


More Facts: