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Hardware Hacking

Raspberry Pi Unveils New $5 Mini-computer 189

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled the Pi Zero, a new $5 mini-computer, Thursday morning. The board is the smallest Raspberry Pi yet, containing the first-gen Raspberry Pi's BCM2835 chip (safely overclocked to 1GHz) and 512MB RAM. The latest issue of The Magpi will include a free Raspberry Pi Zero and hits U.K. newsstands Thursday. The announcement came just a few days before the highly anticipated C.H.I.P. $9 mini-computer goes on sale to the public. puddingebola writes: How can they achieve this price, you may ask? "Its 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts, although the pads on the circuit board are "unpopulated," meaning you'll have to solder on your own connector. The same goes for the composite video output: The connection is available, but if you need a socket, you must solder it yourself." Dude, go to Radio Shack. Some relevant specs besides those mentioned above, from the blog post linked:
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • "Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm"

New submitter graffitiwriter adds a note that the newest Pi has "already been turned into a retro gaming console. It turns out the Pi Zero is more than capable of running Retro Pie and other emulators, and even has a video output that lets you play games on an old CRT TV."

United Kingdom

UK's Gigaclear Launches 5 Gbps Fiber Broadband Service ( 91

An anonymous reader writes: Broadband service provider Gigaclear announced it will offer 5 Gbps internet service beginning next year. Most homes would be hard-pressed to consume data at this rate today, but these speeds will become necessary when over-the-top television services like Netflix and HBO GO become commonplace, television pixel densities grow to 8K (7680p X 4320p) at 60 to 120 fps, and the IoT connects every other home device to the internet. “We’re offering customers the chance to access absolutely phenomenal broadband speeds,” Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare said in an official announcement. “To be clear, this is a premium service that gives the fastest Internet speeds in the country to those of our customers who want the best connection that they can get.”

NVIDIA Jetson TX1 Performance Shines For GPU Computing ( 22

An anonymous reader writes: Following last week's announcement of the Jetson TX1 development board, NVIDIA is now allowing independent reports of performance for their $599 USD 64-bit ARM development board. Linux results published by Phoronix show very strong performance for the Jetson TX1 when looking at the Cortex-A57 speed relative to the Tegra K1 and older Tegra SoCs along with other ARM hardware like Calxeda and Raspberry Pi. The Jetson TX1 was generally multiple times faster than ARM hardware a few years old. The graphics performance was twice as fast as the year-old Jetson TK1 thanks to the Maxwell GPU. Compared to x86 hardware, in CPU-bound tasks the performance is comparable to an AMD Sempron/Phenom except when utilizing GPGPU computing where it's then faster than Intel Skylake and Xeon processors. The Jetson TX1 had a peak power consumption of 16 Watts and an average power use of under 10 Watts.

Electric-Car Startup Faraday Future Building a $1 Billion Factory In California ( 162

An anonymous reader writes: Faraday Future, an electric car startup based in California, wants to take on Tesla. They're building a $1 billion factory in California. Business Insider reports: "The startup of about 400 employees has poached executive talent from Tesla and also draws its name from a luminary scientist — Michael Faraday — who helped harness for humanity the forces of nature. Even Faraday's public announcement that California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada are finalists for the factory mirrors the approach Tesla took to build a massive battery factory. Nevada won that bidding war among several states last year by offering up to $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives. Faraday hopes to distinguish itself by branding the car less as transportation than a tool for the connected class."

The FCC Says It Can't Force Google and Facebook To Stop Tracking Their Users ( 127

An anonymous reader writes: The FCC announced that it will not prevent Facebook, Google, and other websites from not honoring users' Do Not Track requests that make it difficult for them to track online activities. The Washington Post reports: "The announcement is a blow to privacy advocates who had petitioned the agency for stronger Internet privacy rules. But it's a win for many Silicon Valley companies whose business models rely on monetizing Internet users' personal data. It's also the latest move in an ongoing battle to defend the agency's new net neutrality rules, which opponents warned would result in the regulation of popular Web sites and online services. By rejecting the petition, the FCC likely hopes to defuse that argument. The rules, which took effect this summer, allow the FCC to regulate only providers of Internet access, not individual Web sites, said a senior agency official."

Autonomous Cars Aren't As Smart as They're Cracked Up To Be ( 258

Gill Pratt, executive technical adviser at Toyota, offers a note of caution, even as more car companies start putting AI elements into their cars. Speaking in Tokyo at the announcement of a Silicon Valley AI research center that Toyota is to open in early 2016, Pratt pointed out the big shortcoming in an AI system as applied to automobile: Autonomous cars might look great in controlled tests or on pristine highways, "but soon fail when faced with tasks that human drivers find simple." From the article: Drivers, for example, can pretty much get behind the wheel of a car and drive it wherever it may be, he said. Autonomous vehicles use GPS and laser imaging sensors to figure out where they are by matching data against a complex map that goes beyond simple roads and includes details down to lane markings. The cars rely on all that data to drive, so they quickly hit problems in areas that haven't been mapped in advance. ... A truly intelligent self-driving car needs artificial intelligence that can figure out where it is even if it has no map or GPS, and manage to navigate highways and follow routes even if there are diversions or changing in lane markings, he said. I regularly drive a stretch of road that's just a few miles long, but between construction, accidents, poor marking, bicycles, and heavy traffic I'd be nervous about letting an AI system navigate. In what real-world driving scenarios would you most want humans to take over?

NASA's Cassini Discovers Hydrocarbon Dunes On Titan ( 77

MarkWhittington writes: NASA made an announcement that Titan, a moon of Saturn and the largest moon in the solar system, has hydrocarbon dunes. The discovery has highlighted the entirely alien nature of Titan, which has seas, lakes and rains of liquid methane and ethane and a surface comprised on water ice. The fact that it has dunes made of frozen hydrocarbon that acts like sand, blown by the wind on Earth is yet another piece of data that has scientists interested in studying Titan further.

Red Hat and Microsoft Partner On Azure ( 130

An anonymous reader writes: Satya Nadella has made some interesting reforms to Microsoft. Today, Red Hat and Microsoft announced that they will partner to deliver Red Hat's product suite in Azure. Red Hat will also support .NET core in RHEL. Additionally, Red Hat's CloudForms product will now work with Hyper-V/Azure, RHEV, VMware, and AWS. Microsoft has certainly come a long way from the Halloween Memos. Here are Red Hat's blog post and Microsoft's blog post about the announcement
GNU is Not Unix

GNU Hurd 0.7 and GNU Mach 1.6 Released 129

jones_supa writes: Halloween brought us GNU Hurd 0.7, GNU Mach 1.6, and GNU MIG 1.6. The new Hurd comes with filesystem driver improvements, provides a new rpcscan utility, and the Hurd code has been ported to work with newer versions of GCC and GNU C Library. The Mach microkernel has updates for compiler compatibility, improvements to the lock debugging infrastructure, the kernel now lets non-privileged users write to a small amount of memory, timestamps are now kept relative to boot time, and there are various bugfixes. MIG 1.6 is a small update which improves compatibility with newer dialects of C programming language. Specific details on all of the updates can be found in the full release announcement. jrepin adds some more details: The GNU Hurd 0.7 improves the node cache for the EXT2 file-system code (ext2fs), improves the native fakeroot tool, provides a new rpcscan utility, and fixes a long-standing synchronization issue with the file-system translators and other components. The GNU Mach 1.6 microkernel also has updates for compiler compatibility, improvements to the lock debugging infrastructure, the kernel now lets non-privileged users write to a small amount of memory, timestamps are now kept relative to boot time, and there are various bug-fixes.

Studio Behind 'Little Big Planet' Confirms Next Title Coming To PlayStation VR ( 12

An anonymous reader writes: As the company's first title, Little Big Planet was a breakout hit for the studio Media Molecule. The franchise saw three major games across the PS3 and PS4, two mobile versions (for PSP and PS Vita), and a number of spinoffs. But now Media Molecule hopes to make lightning strike twice with the forthcoming genre-eluding title, Dreams, which enables players to create and animate inside of the game world using the PlayStation Move. After several months of question dodging following the game's initial announcement, the studio has finally confirmed at Paris Games Week that Dreams will support PlayStation VR.

China Ends One-Child Policy 279

jones_supa writes: China has scrapped its one-child policy, allowing all couples to have two children for the first time since draconian family planning rules were introduced in 1979. The announcement followed a four-day Communist Party summit in Beijing where China's top leaders debated financial reforms and how to maintain growth at a time of heightened concerns over the economy. China will "fully implement a policy of allowing each couple to have two children as an active response to an ageing population," the party said in a statement published by Xinhua.

$70k Salaries Didn't 'Backfire'; Gravity Payments' Profits Have Doubled ( 500

AmiMoJo writes: In April, Dan Price, CEO of the credit card payment processor Gravity Payments, announced that he will eventually raise minimum pay for all employees to at least $70,000 a year. The move sparked not just a firestorm of media attention, but also a lawsuit from Price's brother and co-founder Lucas, claiming that the pay raise violated his rights as a minority shareholder. But six months later, the financial results are starting to come in: Price told Inc. Magazine that revenue is now growing at double the rate before the raises began and profits have also doubled since then. On top of that, while it lost a few customers in the kerfuffle, the company's customer retention rate rose from 91 to 95 percent, and only two employees quit. Two weeks after he made the initial announcement, the company was flooded with 4,500 resumes and new customer inquiries jumped from 30 a month to 2,000 a month.

Official, Customized Raspberry Pi Versions Coming Soon ( 93

DeviceGuru writes: The immensely popular Raspberry Pi will soon be offered in customized versions, through an exclusive arrangement between Raspberry Pi Trading and Element14. According to the companies' announcement, Element14 will provide design and manufacturing services to OEM customers to create 'bespoke designs' based upon the Raspberry Pi technology platform. That's weird U.K. English for saying that contracts for creating customized Raspberry Pi SBCs will entail substantial NRE fees and 3,000 to 5,000 unit orders, depending on the nature of the customization. The tweaked Pi's are likely to have revised board layouts, additional or alternative functions, interfaces, connectors, and memory configurations, and more. A handful of unsanctioned Raspberry Pi knock-offs have already appeared over the past couple of years, including various Orange Pi and Banana Pi flavors, which certainly didn't involve any 'bespeaking.' More info is at Element14's CustomPi page.

Square Enix To Concentrate On Remaking Their Back Catalog 171

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember that at E3, the major announcement from Square Enix and Sony wasn't a new game, but rather that Square Enix would be remaking Final Fantasy VII in HD and releasing it for PS4 first. Square Enix's recent annual report indicates that they intend to make more HD remakes of old titles. Like many Japanese developers, they indicate in the report that they also intend to focus more on mobile platforms, including porting more of their back catalog to mobile devices. With the impending release of Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix knows a thing or two about rehashing old content, but Square Enix also owns the Dragon Quest, Deus Ex, and Tomb Raider series, giving them a fairly large library to give the HD treatment to.
United States

'Clock Kid' Ahmed Mohamed and His Family To Leave US, Move To Qatar 621

theodp writes: The curious case of Ahmed Mohamed, the 9th grader who was cuffed for scaring school officials with what turned out to be a repackaged digital clock, has taken yet another twist with news on Tuesday that the 'Clock Kid' and his family will move to Qatar. Less than 24 hours after Ahmed met President Obama at the White House, the family issued a news release saying, "After careful consideration of all the generous offers received, we would like to announce that we have accepted a kind offer from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) for Ahmed to join the prestigious QF Young Innovators Program, which reflects the organization's on-going dedication to empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity." Prior to the announcement, some in the press sensed something was amiss when the President seemed to give Ahmed the cold shoulder on Monday after personally inviting Ahmed to the White House for "Astronomy Night." Last month, Ahmed enjoyed a decidedly warmer welcome at Google, where he was literally put front and center before the Google Science Fair winners (including Grand Prize winner Olivia Hallisey, who came up with a novel way to detect Ebola), and enjoyed a meet-and-greet with Sergey Brin.

KDE Turns 19 115

prisoninmate writes: Believe it or not, it has been 19 long years since Matthias Ettrich announced his new project, the Kool Desktop Environment (KDE). "Unix popularity grows thanks to the free variants, mostly Linux. But still a consistent, nice looking free desktop-environment is missing. There are several nice either free or low-priced applications available so that Linux/X11 would almost fit everybody needs if we could offer a real GUI," wrote the developer back in October 14, 1996.

Verizon Is Merging Its Cellphone Tracking Supercookie with AOL's Ad Tracking Network 100

schwit1 writes: ProPublica reports that Verizon is giving a new mission to its controversial hidden identifier that tracks users of mobile devices. Verizon said in a little-noticed announcement that it will soon begin sharing the profiles with AOL's ad network, which in turn monitors users across a large swath of the Internet. That means AOL's ad network will be able to match millions of Internet users to their real-world details gathered by Verizon, including — "your gender, age range and interests." AOL's network is on 40 percent of websites, including on ProPublica.

Chrome AdBlock Joining Acceptable Ads Program (And Sold To Anonymous Company) 352

basscomm writes: Hot on the heels of the formation of the independent board to oversee "acceptable ads", users of the popular Chrome ad blocking extension, AdBlock, got notice that AdBlock is participating in the program, and that acceptable ads are being turned on by default. At the bottom of the announcement, buried in the fine print is word that AdBlock has been sold, but nobody will say to whom.

Google Shows Off 2 New Nexus Phones, a New Pixel, and More 208

Two of the products officially unveiled at Google's much-anticipated (at least much-hyped) release announcement were widely and correctly predicted: a pair of new Nexus phones. The flagship is the all-metal Huawei 6P, with a 5.7" AMOLED display (2,560x1,440), 3GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 810 chip. The Huawei overshadows the nonetheless respectable second offering, the LG-made Nexus 5X, which makes concessions in the form of less RAM (2GB instead of the 6P's 3), smaller battery (2700mAh, instead of 3450) and a lesser Snapdragon chip inside (808, rather than 810). Both phones, though, come with USB-C and with a big upgrade for a line of phones not generally praised for its cameras: a large-pixel 12.3-megapixel Sony camera sensor. Much less predicted: Google announced a new bearer for the Pixel name, after its line of high-end Chromebooks; today's entrant is a tablet, not running Chrome, and it's running Android rather than Chrome OS. The Pixel C tablet will debut sometime later this year; google touts it as "the first Android tablet built end-to-end by Google." Also on the agenda today, news that Android 6 will start hitting Nexus devices next week.

Facebook Dislike Hype Exploited In Phishing Campaign 54

An anonymous reader writes: A new Facebook scam is quickly spreading across the social network which plays on the announcement of the highly-anticipated 'Dislike' button. A new scamming campaign is now exploiting impatient Facebook users anxiously awaiting the dislike button addition, by tricking them into believing that they can click on a link to gain early access to the feature. Once the unsuspecting victim selects a link, they are led to a malicious website, which enables access to their private Facebook accounts and allows the hackers to share further scam links on their behalf.