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We're live from HTC's One M9 event at MWC!

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 14:43
The One M9 is, perhaps, HTC's worst kept secret of 2015. But maybe, just maybe, the Taiwanese company could surprise us all at its Mobile World Congress press conference -- after all, HTC is known for trying new things every now and then. Whatever ha...

MediaTek's standard lets your devices share their hardware

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 14:30
There are plenty of standards for sharing your media collection between devices, but what if you want to borrow a device's camera or display? MediaTek thinks it has an answer. Its new CrossMount standard lets devices share their hardware and software...

Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 14:28
retroworks writes "Washington Post reporter Caitlin Dewey leads with, "Revenge-porn impresario Craig Brittain is learning the hard way that karma is a real witch." The report states that the Federal Trade Commission has settled a complaint against Brittain, whose defunct site, "Is Anybody Down" was accused of unfair business practices. From the article: "The site paid its bills by soliciting women's nude photos on Craigslist and/or from their exes, publishing the photos without the women's permission (and often with their names and phone numbers attached), and then charging fees of $200 to $500 to take the photos down." Brittain agreed to destroy the image and never operate a revenge porn site again. However, On Feb. 9, "Brittain filed a takedown request to Google, demanding that the search engine stop linking to nearly two dozen URLs — including a number of news articles, and files on the case from the FTC — because they used photos of him and information about him without his permission." Ars Technica explains. "In this instance, fair use and general First Amendment principles are on Google's and the media's side."

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Xfce 4.12 Released

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 13:27
motang writes: After two years of hard work (and much to the dismay of naysayers who worried the project has been abandoned), the Xfce team has announced the release of Xfce 4.12. Highlights include improvements to the window switcher dialog, intelligent hiding of the panel, new wallpaper settings, better multi-monitor support, improved power settings, additions to the file manager, and a revamped task manager. Here is a quick tour, the full changelog, and the download page. I have been running it since Xubuntu 15.04 beta 1 was released two days ago. It is much improved over 4.10, and the new additions are great."

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Huawei unveils its first Android Wear smartwatch (update: our hands-on!)

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 13:20
Huawei didn't just unveil one wrist-worn wearable today; it announced two. Huawei has just announced its first ever Android Wear device and, appropriately enough, it's called the Huawei Watch. As was teased and leaked over the past few days, the Watc...

Huawei's second-generation wearable gets a stylish makeover

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 12:45
So many companies are afraid to do something different, so we have to give props to Huawei for persisting with its wrist-worn Bluetooth earpiece. Last year's TalkBand B1 was unconventional, but it wasn't the most elegant or stylish device ever design...

Microsoft will announce two Windows Phones tomorrow

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 12:05
We've known Microsoft will detail its plans for Windows 10 on mobile here at MWC, but in the lead-up to its event it's accidentally let slip that two new Windows Phones are coming as well. An empty article went live on its blog with the headline "Mic...

Killing time with LG's Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 12:00
LG's been none too secretive about its latest pair of wearables -- hell, the Watch Urbane and the Watch Urbane LTE were revealed before the MWC even really started. Both of them aspire to be what LG calls "smartpieces," proper luxury watches that als...

HP teamed up with Microsoft to build its latest flagship laptop

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 12:00
This isn't your typical laptop announcement post. The most interesting thing about the Spectre x360, HP's new flagship notebook, isn't its design, performance or even price. No, what's interesting about this laptop is that Microsoft helped build it. ...

Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 10:37
An anonymous reader writes: In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity. Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide verification software to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security. I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating, "...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." (Their phrasing, not mine.) Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately.

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Acer wants to sell you a touchscreen fitness tracker for less than $90

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 09:00
This is Acer's latest play for your wrist, the Liquid Leap+. It takes the form of a fairly basic fitness tracker that also pulls notifications from your smartphone. Aesthetically it's a continuation of what Acer offered with the original Liquid Leap,...

Acer's new Windows Phone is unlikely to blow you away

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 09:00
For some time now, consumers have pretty much been stuck choosing between Lumias for their Windows Phone fix. Acer is aiming to change that with the launch of its catchily named "Liquid M220" smartphone. The M220 is a decidedly low-end handset, with ...

Genetic Data Analysis Tools Reveal How US Pop Music Evolved

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 07:28
KentuckyFC writes: The history of pop music is rich in anecdotes, folklore and controversy. But despite the keen interest, there is little in the form of hard evidence to back up most claims about the evolution of music. Now a group of researchers have used data analysis tools developed for genomic number crunching to study the evolution of U.S. pop music. The team studied 30-second segments of more than 17,000 songs that appeared on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 2010. Their tools categorized the songs according to harmonic features such as chord changes as well as the quality of timbre such as whether guitar-based, piano-based orchestra-based and so on. They then used a standard algorithm for discovering clusters within networks of data to group the songs into 13 different types, which turned out to correspond with well known genres such as rap, rock, country and so on. Finally, they plotted the change in popularity of these musical types over time. The results show a clear decline in the popularity of jazz and blues since 1960. During the same period, rock-related music has ebbed and flowed in popularity. By contrast, rap was rare before 1980 before becoming the dominant musical style for 30 years until declining in the late 2000s. The work answers several important question about the evolution of pop music, such as whether music industry practices have led to a decline in the cultural variety of new music, and whether British bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones triggered the 1964 American music revolution [spoiler: no in both cases].

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We're live at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona!

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 07:15
It's that time again: Our team has descended upon the heart of Barcelona to bring you another week of the latest the mobile world has to offer. As always, we'll be shooting videos and liveblogging events until our fingers fall off, and we certainly h...

Scientists learn to build better metals by freezing alloys in space

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 05:46
Metals are full of microscopic structures that define properties like strength, but it's hard to figure out how those structures work on Earth, where gravity skews their effects. An experiment aboard the International Space Station may have solved th...

Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 04:33
jfruh writes: Foxconn, which supplies much of Apple's manufacturing muscle and has been criticized for various labor sins, is now moving to hire employees who won't complain because they're robots. The company expects 70 percent of its assembly line work to be robot-driven within three years.

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Bjork's next music video is made for virtual reality

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 04:07
Let's say for a moment that the experimental Oculus VR movies that came out of Sundance didn't do anything for you, but that Icelandic songwriters totally float your boat. You're in luck because Björk's upcoming video for "Stonemilker" will be availa...

Pebble sets a new record, net neutrality passes and other stories you might've missed!

Engadget - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 02:00
Pebble beats its own record, Motorola confirms what we already knew about the Moto E and Facebook takes a break from the sillier aspects of its site to get serious about mental health. Basically, we've got everything you need to know from this past w...

Uber Discloses Database Breach, Targets GitHub With Subpoena

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 01:30
New submitter SwampApe tips news that Uber has revealed a database breach from 2014. The company says the database contained names and diver's license numbers of their drivers, about 50,000 of which were accessed by an unauthorized third party. As part of their investigation into who was behind the breach, Uber has filed a lawsuit which includes a subpoena request for GitHub. "Uber's security team knows the public IP address used by the database invader, and wants to link that number against the IP addresses and usernames of anyone who looked at the GitHub-hosted gist in question – ID 9556255 – which we note today no longer exists. It's possible the gist contained a leaked login key, or internal source code that contained a key that should not have been made public."

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Oracle Sues 5 Oregon Officials For 'Improper Influence'

Slashdot - Sun, 01/03/2015 - 00:33
SpzToid writes: Following up on an earlier Slashdot story, the Oracle Corporation has filed a rather timely suit against five of former governor John Kitzhaber's staff for their "improper influence" in the decision to shutter the Cover Oregon healthcare website, while blaming Oracle to defuse the political consequences. Oracle argues the website was ready to go before the state decided to switch to the federal exchange in April. "The work on the exchange was complete by February 2014, but going live with the website and providing a means for all Oregonians to sign up for health insurance coverage didn't match the former-Governor's re-election strategy to 'go after' Oracle," Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement. Kitzhaber resigned last week amid criminal probes into an influence-peddling scandal involving allegations that his fiancée used her position in his office for personal gain.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.