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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Power

Wireless Power Over Distance: Just a Parlor Trick? 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the efficiency-is-a-harsh-taskmaster dept.
Lucas123 writes "Companies like U.S.-based WiTricity and China-based 3DVOX Technology claim patents and products to wirelessly powering anything from many feet away — from smart phones and televisions to electric cars by using charging pads embedded in concrete. But more than one industry standards group promoting magnetic induction and short-distance resonance wireless charging say such technology is useless; Charging anything at distances greater than the diameter of a magnetic coil is an inefficient use of power. For example, Menno Treffers, chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium, says you can broadcast wireless power over six feet, but the charge received will be less than 10% of the source. WiTricity and 3DVOX, however, are fighting those claims with demonstrations showing their products are capable of resonating the majority of source power."
Displays

Linus Torvalds Advocates For 2560x1600 Standard Laptop Displays 661

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-catch-up-to-mid-'90s-CRT-screens dept.
beeudoublez points out a Google+ post by Linus Torvalds arguing that today's standard laptop display resolution is unreasonably low. He said, "...with even a $399 tablet doing 2560x1600 pixel displays, can we please just make that the new standard laptop resolution? Even at 11"? Please. Stop with the 'retina' crap, just call it 'reasonable resolution.' The fact that laptops stagnated ten years ago (and even regressed, in many cases) at around half that in both directions is just sad. I still don't want big luggable laptops, but that 1366x768 is so last century."
Cellphones

Stolen Cellphone Databases Switched On In US 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-criminals-will-just-have-tiny-tablets dept.
alphadogg writes "U.S. cellphone carriers took a major step on Wednesday toward curbing the rising number of smartphone thefts with the introduction of databases that will block stolen phones from being used on domestic networks. The initiative got its start earlier this year when the FCC and police chiefs from major cities asked the cellular carriers for assistance in battling the surging number of smartphone thefts. In New York, more than 40 percent of all robberies involve cellphones and in Washington, D.C., cellphone thefts accounted for 38 percent of all robberies in 2011."
Privacy

California AG Gives App Developers 30 Days To Post Privacy Notice 108

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-gpl-compatible dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a crackdown on mobile application developers and companies that haven't posted privacy policies, at least where users can easily find them. The attorney general is giving recipients 30 days 'to conspicuously post a privacy policy within their app that informs users of what personally identifiable information about them is being collected and what will be done with that private information,' according to a prepared statement. A sample letter defines the issue at hand. 'An operator of a mobile application ("app") that uses the Internet to collect PII is an "online service" within the meaning of CalOPPA. An app's commercial operator must therefore conspicuously post its privacy policy in a means that is reasonably accessible to the consumer. Having a Web site with the applicable privacy policy conspicuously posted may be adequate, but only if a link to that Web site is "reasonably accessible" to the user within the app.'"
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF And Others Push For Open Wifi APs Everywhere 253

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feels-so-dirty dept.
netbuzz writes "Forging ahead with an initiative that proved controversial when introduced last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and nine other groups today are advancing the Open Wireless Movement to encourage ubiquitous sharing of Internet access. 'We envision a world where sharing one's Internet connection is the norm,' said EFF Activist Adi Kamdar, in a press release. 'A world of open wireless would encourage privacy, promote innovation, and benefit the public good, giving us network access whenever we need it. And everyone — users, businesses, developers, and Internet service providers — can get involved to help make it happen.'"
Windows

Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-you-tried-bacon dept.
colinneagle writes "Microsoft has promised that cross-platform development across the 8s – from Windows 8 on a desktop to Windows Phone 8 – will be a simple matter, but that's still not enough to get some developers moving on Windows Phone 8 support. The Windows Phone platform has made a remarkable recovery since its reset with version 7. Since then, WP7 has grown to 100,000 apps. But that pales in comparison to the 675,000 in Google Play and 700,000 in the Apple App Store. Granted, there's a ton of redundancy – how many weather or newsfeed apps does one person need? – but it points to availability and developer support. A report from VentureBeat points out what should be obvious: that while developers like Windows 8, they aren't as excited about Windows Phone 8 software because they have already made huge investments in other platforms and don't want to support another platform. A survey by IDC and Appcelerator found 78% of Android developers were 'very interested' in programming for Android smartphones, a slight drop from the 83% in a prior survey. Interest in the iPhone and iPad remained undiminished, with 89% and 88% interest, respectively."
Google

Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-openness-with-limits-openness-at-all? dept.
MrSeb writes "There have been plenty of rumors about how the Nexus program was going to grow and change with this year's announcement. Now that we have all the details, it looks like almost none of them were right. There is no Nexus certification program, and the dream of multiple Nexus phones seems well and truly dead. What we do have is a range of device sizes with the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. However, the Nexus program has been altered in one important way: we know what Nexus means now. There can no longer be any doubt: a Nexus device is about openness first and foremost. Last year the technology sphere was busily discussing whether or not the Verizon Galaxy Nexus was a 'true' Nexus device. This year we have an answer: a Nexus controlled by a carrier is no Nexus. Rather than get in bed with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T to produce an LTE version of the Nexus 4, we have HSPA+ only. Even the new Nexus 7 with mobile data is limited to this enhanced 3G standard. And then there's the pricing: The super high-resolution (2560×1600) Nexus 10 tablet starts at just $399; The Nexus 7 is dropping in price to $199 for a 16GB tablet; The Nexus 4 with 16GB of storage is going to sell for $349, exactly the same as the old Galaxy Nexus was until yesterday. To put this into perspective, the LG Optimus G, which the Nexus 4 is based on, sells for $550 without subsidy. Google is pushing the idea of openness with the Nexus devices, but it's not an entirely altruistic endeavor. By giving us cheap and open devices, Google is making sure it's in control — not the carriers. That's better for the consumers, but it's also better for Google."
Intel

48-Core Chips Could Redefine Mobile Devices 285

Posted by timothy
from the absolute-power dept.
CWmike writes "Intel researchers are working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets, but it could be five to 10 years before it hits the market. Having a 48-core chip in a small mobile device would open up a whole new world of possibilities. 'If we're going to have this technology in five to 10 years, we could finally do things that take way too much processing power today,' said analyst Patrick Moorhead. 'This could really open up our concept of what is a computer... The phone would be smart enough to not just be a computer but it could be my computer.' Enric Herrero, a research scientist at Intel Labs in Barcelona, explained that with the prototype chip someone could, for instance, be encrypting an email while also working on other power-intensive apps at the same time — without hiccups. Same for HD video. Intel's Tanausu Ramirez said it could also boost battery life. 'The chip also can take the energy and split it up and distribute it between different applications,' he said. Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO, told Computerworld that a 48-core chip for small mobile devices could hit the market 'much sooner' than the researchers' 10-year prediction."
Power

An Open Standard For Wireless Charging? 82

Posted by timothy
from the tall-skinny-latte-power-surcharge dept.
Charging portable devices without needing to carry a power adapter sounds handy, and it's slowly getting closer to widespread use. IPAQ2000 writes that AT&T, Google and Starbucks announced yesterday "that they have joined the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). Founded by Powermat Technologies and Procter & Gamble, the PMA's Honorary Chairman is Google's Vint Cerf – one of the fathers of the Internet — and its board now also includes AT&T, Duracell, Google and Starbucks. The U.S. Government's Energy Star and Federal Communications Commission – both PMA members — are board observers." (How does Starbucks come into it? They're "testing PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots in select Boston stores.")
IOS

Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle? 487

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-have-called-it-artistic-license dept.
New submitter noh8rz10 writes "Apple's Scott Forstall, who grew iOS from its inception, is departing the company. Rumors say it's because of the Maps debacle, and problems with Siri as well. Jony Ive is taking a larger human interface role, which means he may kill the skeuomorphic interfaces he hates. John Browett, head of retail, is out as well; he never won the trust of the community. What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?"
Google

Google Nexus 4 Prototype Lost In a Bar 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the remind-me-never-to-lend-my-phone-to-these-people dept.
theodp writes "A little over a year ago, an iPhone 4s prototype walked into a San Francisco bar, prompting a controversial manhunt by a now-deceased Apple investigator and the SFPD. Now, Wired reports that a Nexus 4 prototype walked into a San Francisco bar last month, prompting Google to sic its security team on 'Sudsy,' a San Francisco bartender who notified Google that he'd found their phone, which was slated to make its debut at a since-cancelled Android event on Oct. 29. When the 'Google Police' showed up at the bar, Sudsy's co-worker sent the 'desperate' Google investigator on a wild goose chase which landed him in an under-siege SFPD Station, from which he and Sudsy's lawyer had to be escorted out of under the watch of police in full riot gear with automatic weapons so the pair could arrange a 1 a.m. pickup of the phone."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Secret Stingray Warrantless Cellphone Tracking 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-phone-is-broadcasting-an-ip-address dept.
Penurious Penguin writes "Last year a Slashdot story mentioned the case of Daniel David Rigmaiden, or 'the Hacker.' With the help of an IMSI-catcher device, law enforcement had been able to locate and arrest the elusive 'Hacker,' leading to U.S. v. Rigmaiden. But far more elusive than the 'Hacker,' is the IMSI-catcher device itself — particularly the legalities governing its use. The secrecy and unconstitutionality of these Man In The Middle devices, i.e. 'stingrays,' has caught some attention. The EFF and ACLU have submitted an amicus brief in the Rigmaiden case; and EPIC, after filing an FOIA request in February and receiving a grossly redacted 67 out of 25,000 (6,000 classified) pages on the "stingray" devices, has now requested a district judge expedite disclosure of all documents. Some Judges also seem wary of the 'stingray,' having expressed concerns that their use violates the Fourth Amendment; and additionally, that information explaining how the technology is used remains too obscure. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of ISMI-catchers is their several-kilometer range. When a "stingray" is used to spoof a cellphone tower, thousands of innocent users may be collaterally involved. And while the government claims to delete all gathered data unrelated to the target, it also means no one else can know what that data really was. The government claims that because only attributes of calls — but not their content — are captured in the attack, search warrants aren't necessary." (More, below.)
Businesses

Craig Mundie Blames Microsoft's Product Delays On Cybercrime 182

Posted by timothy
from the presidential-debate-worthy dept.
whoever57 writes "In an interview in Der Spiegel, Craig Mundie blames Microsoft's failure in mobile on cyber criminals. Noting that Microsoft had a music player before the iPod and a touch device before the iPad, he claims a failure to execute within Microsoft resulted in Microsoft losing its 'leadership.' The reason for the failure to execute, in his words: 'During that time, Windows went through a difficult period where we had to shift a huge amount of our focus to security engineering. The criminal activity in cyberspace was growing dramatically ten years ago, and Microsoft was basically the only company that had enough volume for it to be a target. In part because of that, Windows Vista took a long time to be born.'"
Cellphones

HTC Losing Ground Faster Than RIM or Nokia 280

Posted by Soulskill
from the race-to-the-bottom dept.
zacharye writes "How bad is HTC's current tailspin? So bad it makes Nokia look like a growth company. HTC's handset volume declined by -43% in the autumn quarter vs. Nokia's -23% volume decline. This is very interesting because HTC is using Android, the world's most popular smartphone OS, that is powering 40% annualized growth among its vendors. Nokia is limping along with an unholy mix of the obsolete Symbian platform, the moribund S40 feature phone platform and a niche OS called Windows Phone."

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