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TweakTown News Posts - Page 77

Amazon building a 150 megawatt wind farm to power data centres

By: Chris Smith | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jan 21, 2015 1:06 am

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just announced that their cloud provider service will be powered by a wind farm in the future. Looking to produce 150 megawatts total of power, this is part of AWS' bid to move toward fully renewable energy supplies.

 

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This farm is aiming to generate half a million megawatt hours by January 2016, seeing the 150 megawatt value being reached at a later date.

 

Named Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge), this project is being developed with help from AWS partners Pattern Energy Group. This announcement is further said to be due to Greenpeace attacking Amazon for refusing to provide details on how it planned to make the more to renewable energy. Amazon also claims that cloud computing is more environmentally friendly than traditional options due to sever capacity usage and less power consumption is needed to power their infrastructure.

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HP announces a massive range of business tablets

By: Chris Smith | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 21, 2015 12:03 am

Aimed at educators, retailers, healthcare workers and other professional industries, Hewlett-Packard has today announced a grand total of eight new tablets to be released in the market. This wide variety is apparently to combat the 'one device suits all' approach that is seen with tablet manufacturers of today, HP is fighting this stigma by releasing a wide variety of options.

 

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Two of these tablets are aimed towards school and education, seeing HP produce a model that is claimed to resist dust, moisture and "the rigors of an education environment," producing something a little more robust than others.

 

With pricing ranging from $199 to $1,599, this is apparently a massive move by HP to take some market share from the tablet scene, with reports stating that this large-scale technology company has been struggling to catch up with the growing consumer preference for tablet design. According to Jack Gold, a tech analyst, "this is a logical extension of their current strategy, which is to stay competitive in the business market. They have an opportunity to become more than just a commodity supplier of tablets, which is where the market is headed. Many companies won't invest in tablets until they find a compelling reason to do so. And HP offering specialized devices geared to specific markets could be the catalyst for those companies eyeing tablets but still cautious about the expense and management risks, as well as the less-than-optimum designs in general-purpose devices."

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'Jurassic World' D-Rex promotional image leaked, confirms design

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 11:43 pm

The blockbuster sequel/reboot 'Jurassic World' got an injection of enthusiasm following the strong reaction to the debut of the film's teaser trailer late last year, but many fans wanted to see something they hadn't before; namely the much hyped new dinosaur Diabolus Rex or 'D-Rex', who was only barely glimpsed.

 

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While an earlier image from an upcoming Lego set gave a hint to the animals design, the leak of what looks to be 'Jurassic World' promotional party accessories has now confirmed the D-Rex design, along with an updated T-Rex.

 

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Microsoft: 'More work' to be done, but admits holiday season was good

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 10:14 pm

Microsoft had to grind its way to the top of the sales chart, with the Xbox One outselling the PlayStation 4 game console in November and December last year.

 

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"Most important thing was Xbox fans sticking with us, they kept believing," said Phil Spencer, Microsoft's top Xbox overlord, in a statement on Twitter. "More work to do but it was a good holiday."

 

Spencer also responded to a fan via Twitter pointing out the PS4 still outsold the Xbox One: "PS4 is also doing very well. Console and game sales are strong, which is a good thing for the industry."

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Potential downside of smart tech: Humans in less control of our lives

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 8:40 pm

The Internet of Things (IoT) may yield great potential to simplify lives, but there is growing concern that these connected devices could eventually begin to take over our lives. The use of artificial intelligence to help simply - and enhance - new products opens the door to human-like capabilities, but that has increased concern.

 

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"When we're not being tracked, we're more free to experiment, to be our authentic selves, to read new things, to be different kinds of people," said Neil Richards, law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, in a statement published by the San Jose Mercury News. However, connected monitoring opens the door to "menaces our society's foundational commitments to intellectual diversity and eccentric individuality."

 

IoT-based technologies will continue to increase in popularity, as companies expand research and development efforts - but there are numerous concerns that must also be addressed.

Ex-UK spy: Peace between government, tech firms needed to stop terror

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 8:00 pm

Government agencies in the United States and UK increasingly rely on wide-scale surveillance programs, in their efforts to collect intelligence. It's not uncommon for politicians and department heads to claim efforts are designed to prevent terrorism, which is the line being used by a former high-level spy from the UK.

 

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"There needs to be some new compact between the technology companies and those who are responsible for security if we're not to see events like we saw in Paris last week... becoming more and more features of our lives," said John Sawers, former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, in a statement published by BBC.

 

British elections take place in May, and national security is expected to be a major political talking point.

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No surprise: Worst passwords of 2014 are still quite terrible

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 6:38 pm

SplashData has published its list of the most common passwords used on the Internet, compiling data mainly from Internet users in North America and Western Europe. The top 10 worst passwords, per the SplashData list: 123456, password, 12345, 12345678, 1234, baseball, dragon, football.

 

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Simple numerical passwords remain common, with nine of the top 25 passwords consisting of numbers only. However, passwords such as "iloveyou" have disappeared, which was prevalent on the 2013 list, has dropped from the top 25 list for 2014.

 

"The bad news from my research is that this year's most commonly used passwords are pretty consistent with prior years," said Mark Burnett, an online security expert. "The good news is that it appears that more people are moving away from using these passwords. In 2014, the top 25 passwords represented about 2.2 percent of passwords exposed. While still frightening, that's the lowest percentage of people using the most common passwords I have seen in recent studies."

British Secret Service tracked internet usage on Apple iPhones

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 4:21 pm

The Apple iPhone has strong internal security that is hard to bypass, and iOS 8 encrypts data by default. Google has also followed suit with stronger protections for Android, much to the chagrin of government agencies, which are unable to hack into the phones directly to retrieve information. Apple and Google are also refusing to decrypt the data for anyone, so phone security is locked up pretty tight.

 

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Where there is a will there is a way. According to Der Spiegel, the publication with access to Edward Snowdens documents, the British Secret Service had figured out how to track iPhone users when they connect their phone to a computer. Once the phone is connected to an infected computer the agency analyzes the downloaded data. This eliminates the need to directly hack the phone, thus proving to be a working model for circumventing encryption and security features on the phone itself.

 

The British Secret Service also tracked internet usage on the device through a vulnerability in Safari and Google's Admob advertising service. The UDID, a device identifier number, is exposed through the tactic, and then the user can be tracked online. These methods were used by the agency in 2010, and likely the loophole has since been closed. However, variants of the same method may still be in use that are successful.

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US police have deployed radar that peers into homes

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 3:28 pm

Troubling news is coming to light. Under a cloak of secrecy over 50 U.S. law enforcement have deployed radars that allow them to see through walls. These agencies include the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, and the project began over two years ago. These radars run afoul of a Supreme Court ruling that bans the use of high-tech sensors probing the inside of someone's home without a warrant, which helps to explain the total silence on the new radars.

 

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The sensors are effective out to 50 feet and can detect human movement via radio waves. They are so sensitive they can even pick up human breathing. The new technology came to light during a December federal appeals trial of a parole absconder in Denver. During the trial officials revealed they used the device to locate the man, and the presiding judges sounded off that "the government's warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions."

 

The devices are manufactured by L-3 Communications under the Range-R product family. Each device costs $6,000 and over 200 devices have been sold to US law enforcement agencies. The radar displays if there is movement on the other side of the wall, and displays how far away the movement is. The Range-R doesn't actually show the inside of the building, but there are other models that do. There are similar radar devices that feature 3-D displays of the location of people in a building, and the Justice Department is already funding development systems that can map entire buildings and locate people, so they surely have no qualms with deploying these devices.

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Steam suffers from self inflicted drive-wiping bug

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 2:55 pm

Steam for Linux has a nasty bug, one that can wipe entire drives of all information in a matter of moments. The problem stems from users that have moved their installation directory from the default location. Steam for Linux features a command, 'rm -rf "$STEAMROOT/" that is used to refresh the Steam directory, which is usually required if there are installation problems with a game.

 

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Unfortunately, many users move their game directories to SSDs, or to other locations on the computer. This removes the part of the code that specifies the correct directory, instead issuing a 'rm -rf "/"' command. Users opening the app trigger a deletion of the entire contents of their drives, including external devices. Valve has confirmed the issue affected a "handful of users". Valve also states they are unable to replicate the issue internally, and are still attempting to do so.

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