Google

Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-comes-the-google dept.
MojoKid writes There's a new report suggesting Google is partnering with select wireless carriers to sell its own branded wireless voice and data plans directly to consumers. According to sources and the "three people with knowledge of the plans," Google will tap into networks belonging to Sprint and T-Mobile for its new service, buying wholesale access to mobile voice and data in order to make itself a virtual network operator. That might sound disappointing on the surface. Had Google struck a deal with Verizon and AT&T, or even just Verizon, the deal could potentially have more critical mass, with great coverage backed by a company like Google and its services. The former might be a winning combination but at least this is a start. The project will be known as "Nova," which is reportedly being led by Google's Nick Fox, a longtime executive with the company. Apparently Fox has been overseeing this for some time now, and it seems likely a launch will take place this year.
Robotics

DARPA Wants Atlas Robot To Go Wireless 19

Posted by Soulskill
from the need-mobility-to-kill-all-humans dept.
mikejuk writes: Atlas is a humanoid robot, one of the most advanced in the world. But it's always had cables that provided it with power and made it look a little like a dog on a leash. It was designed to provide a hardware platform for teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge — a competition designed to encourage the construction of an effective disaster response robot. DARPA now says the finals of the challenge later in the year will require that the robots be completely wireless.

Power will be supplied by an onboard 3.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That battery will drive a variable-pressure pump which operates all of the hydraulic systems. The pump makes ATLAS much quieter, but introduces a complication for the teams: it can be run at low pressure to save power and then switched to high pressure to get harder work done. Managing power consumption will be a very difficult task, but DARPA has also upped the prize money to $3.5 million in total.
GNU is Not Unix

Librem: a Laptop Custom-Made For Free/Libre Software 229

Posted by timothy
from the asymptotic-development dept.
Bunnie Huang's Novena laptop re-invents the laptop with open source (and Free software) in mind, but the hackability that it's built for requires a fair amount of tolerance on a user's part for funky design and visible guts. New submitter dopeghost writes with word of the nearly-funded (via Crowd Supply) Librem laptop, a different kind of Free-software machine using components "specifically selected so that no binary blobs are needed in the Linux kernel that ships with the laptop." Made from high quality components and featuring a MacBook-like design including a choice of HiDPI screen, the Librem might just be the first laptop to ship with a modern Intel CPU that is not locked down to require proprietary firmware.

Richard M. Stallman, president of the FSF, said, "Getting rid of the signature checking is an important step. While it doesn't give us free code for the firmware, it means that users will really have control of the firmware once we get free code for it."
Unlike some crowdfunding projects, this one is far from pie-in-the-sky, relying mostly on off-the-shelf components, with a planned shipping date in Spring of this year: "Purism is manufacturing the motherboard, and screen printing the keyboard. Purism is sourcing the case, daughter cards, memory, drives, battery, camera, and screen."
Cellphones

Moscow To Track Cell-phone Users In 2015 For Traffic Analysis 63

Posted by timothy
from the why-do-you-hate-freedom? dept.
An anonymous reader links to this story at The Stack (based on this translated report) that "The Moscow authorities will begin using the signal from Muscovites' cell-phones in 2015 to research patterns of traffic and points of congestion, with a view to changes in travel infrastructure including roads, the Moscow metro and bus services. The tracking, which appears to opt all users in unilaterally, promises not to identify individual cell-phone numbers, and will use GSM in most cases, but also GPS in more densely-constructed areas of the old city. The system is already in limited use on the roads, but will be extended to pedestrians and subway users in 2015. The city of 11.5 million people has three main cell providers, all of whom cooperate fully with authorities' request for information. A representative of one, Beeline, said: "We prepare reports that detail where our subscribers work, live, move, and other aspects."
United Kingdom

UK ISPs EE, Virgin and Vodafone Back Net Neutrality 36

Posted by timothy
from the in-favor-of-babies-and-pie dept.
Amanda Parker (3946253) writes EE, Virgin Media and Vodafone have thrown their support behind net neutrality by signing up to the Open Internet Code. Launched in 2012 by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the UK code commits the three internet service providers (ISPs) to provide full internet access with no data blocked "on the basis of commercial rivalry." Content providers can now lodge a complaint with the BSG if they feel their services are being discriminated against. This latest development means that all major ISPs providing fixed and mobile networks are signed up to the code. BSG CEO Matthew Evans said: "Unlike some countries, where net neutrality has become a controversial topic for discussion, the UK benefits from a fiercely competitive market and high levels of transparency — which together offer the best assurance of an open internet."
Operating Systems

Could Tizen Be the Next Android? 241

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-no-maybe dept.
MollsEisley writes: Right now, Tizen is still somewhat half-baked, which is why you shouldn't expect to see a high-end Tizen smartphone hit your local carrier for a while yet, but Samsung's priorities could change rapidly. If Tizen development speeds up a bit, the OS could become a stand-in for Android on entry-level and mid-range Samsung phones and eventually take over Samsung's entire smartphone (and tablet) lineup.
Iphone

Researchers Use Siri To Steal Data From iPhones 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
wiredmikey writes "Using Apple's voice-activated Siri function, security researchers have managed to steal sensitive information from iOS smartphones in a stealthy manner. Luca Caviglione of the National Research Council of Italy and Wojciech Mazurczy of the Warsaw University of Technology warn that malicious actors could use Siri for stealthy data exfiltration by using a method that's based on steganography, the practice of hiding information. Dubbed "iStegSiri" by the researchers, the attack can be effective because it doesn't require the installation of additional software components and it doesn't need the device's alteration. On the other hand, it only works on jailbroken devices and attackers somehow need to be able to intercept the modified Siri traffic. The attack method involves controlling the "shape" of this traffic to embed sensitive data from the device. This covert channel could be used to send credit card numbers, Apple IDs, passwords, and other sensitive information from the phone to the criminal mastermind, researchers said in their paper.
Windows

Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time? 489

Posted by samzenpus
from the tenth-time's-a-charm dept.
An anonymous reader shares this article about what Microsoft needs to accomplish with Windows 10 in order to make gains in the mobile market and everywhere else. "Later this week Microsoft will provide more details of Windows 10, most likely focusing on how the new operating system will look and feel on smartphones and tablets. According to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft is likely to unveil a version of Windows 10 that's expected to work on Windows Phones and smaller Windows tablets running ARM and perhaps Intel processors. Microsoft will be hoping that by making it easier for developers to build for tablets and smartphones it can take some of its dominance of the desktop world and port that to the mobile world. That may help a bit, but will not in itself create the breakthrough that Microsoft wants: when it comes to mobile, Microsoft's Windows Phone is still a distant third in a two-horse race."
Power

Microsoft Researchers Use Light Beams To Charge Smartphones 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
angry tapir writes A group of Microsoft researchers has built a prototype charger for smartphones that can scan a room until it locates a mobile device compatible with the system and then charge the handset using a light beam. The researchers say they can achieve efficiency comparable to conventional wired phone chargers. The biggest barrier? Smartphones don't (yet) come with solar panels attached.
Mars

Elon Musk's Proposed Internet-by-Satellite System Could Link With Mars Colonies 105

Posted by timothy
from the in-case-you're-on-mars dept.
MojoKid writes You have to hand it to Elon Musk, who has occasionally been referred to as a real life "Tony Stark." The man helped to co-found PayPal and Tesla Motors. Musk also helms SpaceX, which just recently made its fifth successful trip the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver supplies via the Dragon capsule. The secondary mission of the latest ISS launch resulted in the "successful failure" of the Falcon 9 rocket, which Musk described as a Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly (RUD) event. In addition to his Hyperloop transit side project, Musk is eyeing a space-based Internet network that would be comprised of hundred of micro satellites orbiting roughly 750 miles above Earth. The so-called "Space Internet" would provide faster data speeds than traditional communications satellites that have a geosynchronous orbit of roughly 22,000 miles. Musk hopes that the service will eventually grow to become "a giant global Internet service provider," reaching over three billion people who are currently either without Internet service or only have access to low-speed connections. And this wouldn't be a Musk venture without reaching for some overly ambitious goal. The satellite network would truly become a "Space Internet" platform, as it would form the basis for a direct communications link between Earth and Mars. It's the coming thing.
Android

Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools? 186

Posted by timothy
from the spider-sense dept.
Qbertino writes After a long period of evaluation and weighing cons and pros I've gotten myself a brand new Android tablet (10" Lenovo Yoga 2, Android Version) destined to be my prime mobile computing device in the future. As any respectable freedom-loving geek/computer-expert I want to root it to be able to install API spoofing libraries and security tools to give me owners power over the machine and prevent services like Google and others spying on me, my files, photos, calendar and contacts. I also want to install an ad-blocking proxy (desperately needed — I forgot how much the normal web sucks!). I've searched for some rooting advice and tools, and so far have only stumbled on shady looking sites that offer various Windows-based rooting kits for android devices.

What's the gist on all this? How much of this stuff is potential malware? What are your experiences? Can I usually trust rooting strategies to be malware-free? Is there a rule-of-thumb for this? Is there perhaps a more generic way for a FOSS/Linux expert who isn't afraid of the CLI to root any Android 4.4 (Kitkat) device? Advice and own experiences, please.
Android

The Free Educational Software GCompris Comes To Android 75

Posted by timothy
from the approved-for-all-ages dept.
New submitter xarma writes GCompris is a reference in its category on GNU/Linux but also on Windows. Its development started in 2000 in Gtk+. Last year the development team, willing to address the tablet and PC users from a single code base, took the hard decision to fully rewrite it in Qt Quick. The new version is now developed under the KDE community umbrella. After one year of work, a first release has been shipped on the Android play store. Continuing on its original funding approach, it remains free software but requires a fee on proprietary platforms.
Advertising

Micromax Remotely Installing Unwanted Apps and Showing Ads 50

Posted by timothy
from the what-will-you-tolerate dept.
jones_supa (887896) writes "Reports are coming in that users of certain devices by Indian phone manufacturer Micromax noticed apps being silently installed without their consent or permission. Uninstalling these apps won't help, as they will be automatically reinstalled. Alternatively, instead of downloading apps, the phone might litter the UI with stack of notifications which are advertisements for online stores and other apps. It turns out that the "System Update" application is responsible for all of this. When starting to tear down the application (which is actually called FWUpgrade.apk on the filesystem), the first thing you notice is that it's a third-party application. A Chinese company named Adups developed it as a replacement for the stock Google OTA service. The article shows the potential abilities of this app and how Micromax customers can work around the disruptive behavior."
Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: What Tablet and Software For a Partially Sighted Person? 63

Posted by timothy
from the real-world-stories-welcome dept.
RobHart (70431) writes My friend has had both retinas detach, twice. He is legally blind but partially sighted. He has a number of devices that help him read (either by magnifying the text or as text to speech) — but none are really portable. What do Slashdotters recommend (if anything) in terms of a tablet and software that will make it possible for him to do email and read at least some web sites?
Software

'Be My Eyes' App Crowdsources Help For the Blind 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-this-a-rabid-wolverine-chewing-on-my-leg? dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A new not-for-profit app, Be My Eyes, aims to help the visually-impaired by connecting them with volunteer users who can support them in their daily lives via live video calls. Once downloaded, Be My Eyes asks the user to identify as blind or sighted, to see if you require help or are offering it. When a blind person requests assistance the app scans the system for an available volunteer. The blind user connects with the volunteer over a video call and points to the item they would like described. Be My Eyes was created by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a visually-impaired entrepreneur, at a startup event. Wiberg teamed up with Robocat, the Danish software studio behind Haze and Thermo, to make his vision a reality.
Security

Simple Rogue WiFi Hotspot Captures High Profile Data 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
jones_supa writes Gustav Nipe, president of Sweden's Pirate Party's youth wing, was successful with somewhat trivial social engineering experiment in the area of the Sälen security conference. He set up a WiFi hotspot named "Öppen Gäst" ("Open Guest") without any kind of encryption. What do you know, a large amount of unsuspecting high profile guests associate with the network. Nipe says he was able to track which sites people visited as well as the emails and text messages of around 100 delegates, including politicians and journalists as well as security experts. He says that he won't be revealing which sites were visited by specific experts, as the point was just to draw attention to the issue of rogue network monitoring. The stunt has already sparked criticism in Swedish newspapers and on social media, with some angry comments saying that Nipe breached Sweden's Personal Data Act.
Wireless Networking

Pirate Activist Shows Politicians What Digital Surveillance Looks Like 81

Posted by timothy
from the count-your-spoons-around-the-public-servants dept.
An anonymous reader writes How to make politicians really understand the dangers of mass digital surveillance and the importance of information security? Gustav Nipe, the 26-year old president of the Swedish Pirate Party's youth wing, tried to do it by setting up an open Wi-Fi network at the Society and Defence National Conference held in Sälen, Sweden, and collecting and analyzing the metadata of conference attendees who connected to it. Nipe set up an open wireless Internet access point named "Open Guest" and over 100 delegates used this particular unsecured Wi-Fi network to go online. The collected metadata showed that, among other sites, they visited those of daily Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Swedish private ads website Blocket, eBay, and tourism sites. "This was during the day when I suppose they were being paid to be at the conference working," Nipe noted for The Local.
Australia

Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the fine-me-once-shame-on-you dept.
jaa101 writes In Australia Uber is reportedly suspending the accounts used by government transport inspectors conducting sting operations. The article suggests that a new handset, credit card and email account are all needed to get a new, unblocked account. If inspectors can only issue one or two fines before they're blocked then the sting operations will cost more than the fines. Presumably the Uber app can block based on IMEI, SIM and/or phone number.
Google

Google To Test Build-It-Yourself Ara Smartphones In Puerto Rico 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-the-way-you-like dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google is holding its second Project Ara developer's conference today in Mountain View and is in the process of giving a roadmap on how and when it might get its modular smartphones out into the market. Probably the most notable bit of news we've learned so far is that Google plans to have a market pilot ready to go in the second half of this year. Unfortunately, if you want to give it a shot, you'll need to live in Puerto Rico — the pilot will roll out in that territory in partnership with carriers OpenMobile and Claro. When Project Ara hits Puerto Rico, users should be able to customize their devices using the Ara Marketplace and Ara Configurator apps. Google's ATAP group will also roll out some "food-truck" style stores for consumers to actually check these devices out before they try them out. Google also says that it'll have some 20 to 30 Ara modules available by launch across 10 different categories.
Cellphones

Samsung Launches Tizen Phone In India 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
puddingebola notes that Samsung's first smartphones powered by its Tizen operating system have gone on sale in India. "After plenty of speculation and an abort launch in Russia last year, Samsung has finally managed to release its first phone powered by the Tizen operating system. The Samsung Z1 is coming to India initially, where it is available to buy for 5,700 INR — that’s around $92 — from today. The Z1 is an affordable device, both in price and specs. It packs a four-inch WVGA PLS screen, and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 768 MB RAM. There’s a 3.1-megapixel camera on the rear, and a limited VGA camera on the front. The phone runs version 2.3 of the Tizen operating system, and comes with 4GB of on-device storage which can be expanded by up to 64GB via a micro SD card. It supports dual SIMs, as is commonplace with devices in India."