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Updated: 2 days 1 hour ago

Toyota Investigating Hovercars

Wed, 11/06/2014 - 13:12
cartechboy writes: Remember back in the day when we all thought we'd be driving flying cars in the future? Well that clearly didn't happen, though it still might in the future. But somewhere inside Toyota there's a team of engineers who think hover cars might be a thing, and apparently there's a project underway at one of Toyota's "most advanced" research and development areas. We aren't talking Jetson's flying car, more like a car that merely hovers "a little bit away" from the road. Probably a few inches, with the aim to reduce road friction. With no wings or ridiculous speed, this is probably no simple process. No one really knows how long Toyota has been working on the idea, or how far along it is. Basically, don't expect flying Priuses any time soon...

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There's No Wind Chill On Mars

Wed, 11/06/2014 - 10:15
sciencehabit writes: Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about –20C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That's because there's virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study — the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. "I hadn't really thought about this before, but I'm not surprised," says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, "will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they're getting themselves into."

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Alienware Swaps SteamOS For Windows

Wed, 11/06/2014 - 06:07
An anonymous reader writes "Valve left many OEMs hanging when they delayed Steam machines until sometime next year to work out their controller issues. Many of these companies excitedly showed off new Steam machine hardware that they cannot ship, so Alienware has been the first to re-purpose its Debian-based Steam machine to be a Windows-based Steam machine bundled with an Xbox controller. While Windows 8.x has not been particularly well-received it does support a lot more games than Linux and when configured to boot straight into Steam Big Picture mode the influence of the underlying OS is visible only in the larger game library."

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Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 23:54
schwit1 tips a post by Brian Krebs saying that P.F. Chang's China Bistro, a nationwide restaurant chain, is the latest victim of a massive data breach. The company is currently investigating. Krebs writes: On June 9, thousands of newly-stolen credit and debit cards went up for sale on rescator[dot]so, an underground store best known for selling tens of millions of cards stolen in the Target breach. Several banks contacted by KrebsOnSecurity said they acquired from this new batch multiple cards that were previously issued to customers, and found that all had been used at P.F. Chang's locations between the beginning of March 2014 and May 19, 2014. ... The items for sale are not cards, per se, but instead data copied from the magnetic stripe on the backs of credit cards. Armed with this information, thieves can re-encode the data onto new plastic and then use the counterfeit cards to buy high-priced items at big box stores, goods that can be quickly resold for cash (think iPads and gift cards, for example).

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Theater Chain Bans Google Glass

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 23:12
mpicpp sends this report from Ars: A cinema chain announced Tuesday that it is now barring patrons from wearing Google Glass at its movie houses across the U.S. in a bid to clamp down on piracy. Alamo Drafthouse, which runs theaters in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and soon in California, is among the first U.S. chains to ban Google's computerized eyewear. 'Google Glass is officially banned from @drafthouse auditoriums once lights dim for trailers,' the chain's chief executive, Tim League, tweeted. The decision comes as Google has made the eyewear readily available to the general public, and it follows a slew of incidents in which wearers of Google Glass have had brushes with the law.

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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 22:30
Today Mozilla made Firefox 30 available, a relatively minor release after the massive redesign in version 29. According to the changelog, new features include VP9 video decoding, support for Opus in WebM, and horizontal volume control for HTML5 video and audio. Developers got support for multi-line flexboxes and hang reporting for background threads. There were also a number of security fixes. The Android version of Firefox received better support for native text selection, cutting, and copying, as well as predictive lookup for Awesomebar entries. The availability of Firefox 30 coincides with the launch of Firebug 2.0, which features an updated UI and a new debugging engine called JSD2. Significant new features include JavaScript syntax highlighting and de-minifying, improved code auto-complete, and the capability to hide or show individual Firebug panels.

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Security DVR + iNet + X10 = Easy Home Automation (Video)

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 21:47
25-year electronics veteran Conrad Lee noticed that commodity multi-channel security DVRs have both more channels than a typical household needs and more capabilities than their makers advertise -- at least, with some creative re-use of their video feeds. With a home-grown controller hooked up to an otherwise unused video channel, a run of the mill security DVR can be used as a command center for household items, like lights, locks, thermostats, cameras, or whatever else you think of) by means of controls both old-fashioned (the ubiquitous X10 devices, some of which you probably have stashed in a drawer) and new (Z-wave). He showed off his system at last month's Maker Faire -- take a look (video below) at what his clever hardware re-use makes possible, and at Lee's controller. It means giving up one (relatively) inexpensive channel, to gain capabilities that would cost quite a bit more in a ready-built system, like smart-phone control and pan/tilt control for cameras. (Alternate Video Link)

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Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 17:48
beaker_72 (1845996) writes "On Sunday we saw a story that the Turing Test had finally been passed. The same story was picked up by most of the mainstream media and reported all over the place over the weekend and yesterday. However, today we see an article in TechDirt telling us that in fact the original press release was just a load of hype. So who's right? Have researchers at a well established university managed to beat this test for the first time, or should we believe TechDirt who have pointed out some aspects of the story which, if true, are pretty damning?" Kevin Warwick gives the bot a thumbs up, but the TechDirt piece takes heavy issue with Warwick himself on this front.

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Grand Theft Auto V</em> For Modern Platforms Confirmed

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 14:58
jones_supa (887896) writes 'Since the release of the extremely successful Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, rumors about PC — and later also an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — version have been floating around. Now it's official: Grand Theft Auto V will be released on Windows PC and Xbox One, in addition to PlayStation 4, this fall, publisher Rockstar Games announced today with a trailer. A post on Rockstar Newswire tells us that the ports will offer visual and technical improvements such as "increased draw distances, finer texture details, denser traffic and enhanced resolutions." All of the new GTA Online content that has been created and released since launch will be available also on the modern platforms. The PC version will exclusively include a video editor to allow players to put together their own clips of in-game action.'

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Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 14:17
wonkavader (605434) writes 'Lawrence Lessig's MAYDAY.US Super PAC to end all Super PACs (and more) is now on its second round of funding. The PAC has been reported on here before, but now the numbers are bigger. They hit their $1 million first goal easily, but now they aim to get another $5 million in the same time period. Lessig says that he's arranged for matching, again. It seems like the goals will be even higher in 2016: "For 2014, our goal is to raise $12 million and use it to make fundamental reform the key issue in five congressional races. And we'll apply what we learn then to 2016."'

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Britain Gets National </nobr>.uk Web Address

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 13:45
hypnosec (2231454) writes 'Starting today businesses and individuals in the UK will be able to register a new national web address (".uk") and drop their existing ".co.uk" or ".com" suffix in favour of a shorter and snappier domain name. The entire process along with the transition is being overseen by private yet not-for-profit organisation Nominet, which has already started notifying existing customers with a ".co.uk" domain of their chance to adopt a ".uk" domain. Nominet will reserve all ".uk" domain names, which already have a ".co.uk" counterparts, for the next five years offering registrants the chance to adopt the new domain and to keep cyber squatters at bay.'

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GoDaddy Files For $100 Million IPO

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 13:03
mpicpp (3454017) writes with news that GoDaddy has filed to make an initial public offering "This is the second time GoDaddy has tried to go public. It went this route back in 2006, but then backed out when it didn't get the pricing it wanted." The SEC Filing indicates that they are not in the greatest financial condition. Quoting CNN: "GoDaddy hasn't made a profit since 2009. The company lost $279 million in 2012. It bled another $200 million last year. This year doesn't look much better, with another $51 million lost in the first quarter." Founder Bob Parsons, currently executive chairman, will be stepping down but remaining on the board of directors.

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