Tech Today w/ Ken May

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Even the Dumbest Ransomware Is Almost Unremovable On Smart TVs

Posted by kenmay on November - 25 - 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently even the easiest-to-remove ransomware is painfully hard to uninstall from smart TVs, if they’re running on the Android TV platform, and many are. This didn’t happen in a real-world scenario (yet), and was only a PoC test by Symantec. The researcher managed to remove the ransomware only because he enabled the Android ADB tool beforehand, knowing he would infect the TV with the ransomware. “Without this option enabled, and if I was less experienced user, I’d probably still be locked out of my smart TV, making it a large and expensive paper weight, ” said the researcher. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ancient adventure texts at last unearthed

Posted by kenmay on November - 25 - 2015

Well, this is wonderful—Jason Scott, creator of the GET LAMP documentary and tireless historian in the service of games, is releasing a huge trove of scans from the archives of Infocom veteran Steve Meretzky. Infocom, of course, was a leading developer of mysterious and beautifully-written computer text adventure games in the 1980s. Meretzky’s carefully-kept notes—over 9000 scans, says Scott—document numerous aspects, from design to business, of what was widely considered the company’s golden age, in which it produced famous games like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall , and the remarkable, pioneering A Mind Forever Voyaging , written and made by Meretzky himself, among others. Jason Scott writes of these documents, which will live at The Infocom Cabinet : For someone involved in game design, this is priceless work. Unfettered by the crushing schedules and indie limits of the current industry, the designers at Infocom (including Steve, but not limited to him by any means) were able to really explore what made games so much fun, where the medium could go, and what choices could be made. It’s all here. One of the challenges in the video game space is that design knowledge is often prized tightly behind the doors of competitive game companies, and then lost when the tides of business change or studios close their doors. Software and hardware age, and works younger than a decade can be fundamentally impossible to access. The work of archivists like Scott is often unsung but essential to the memory of the medium, and his TEXTFILES.COM has become a virtual museum of all manner of computer history. Learn more here . Thanks to Alice for spotting this first!

The FBI has managed to link the theft of a frankly staggering 1.2 billion log-in credentials to a single hacker, after finding a Russian email address within reams of data obtained by security researchers. Read more…

If you’ve been using OS X El Capitan for a while, you might have noticed that the old option to “Secure Empty Trash” is gone from the trash can’s right-click menu. There’s a pretty good reason why, but it’s still possible to do it you don’t mind digging into the command line. Read more…

There’s a common misconception that tattoos are only a way to express your individuality (just like everyone else does), or only serve as loving tributes to moms. But they have practical medical applications too, especially now that circuit board temporary tattoos exist. Read more…

One Family Suffering Through Years-Long Trolling Campaign

Posted by kenmay on November - 25 - 2015

blottsie writes: Since 2010, the Straters have been under assault from an online campaign of ever-increasing harassment — prank deliveries, smear attacks, high-profile hacks, and threats of violence against schools and law enforcement officials in their name — and it’s slowly torn them apart. Masterminding it all is a teenage Lizard Squad hacker from Finland, at war with their son, Blair, over a seemingly minor dispute. “When the family started getting notices about their utilities being disconnected, they realized things were escalating out of control. Utility provider Commonwealth Edison once called the house to iron out the details about a request to have the power turned off after a supposed move. Something similar happened with their trash service. On Halloween 2013, Comcast shut off their cable and Internet service.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Unofficial app makes PlayStation 4 to PC streaming a reality

Posted by kenmay on November - 25 - 2015

Sony’s had its Remote Play tech in one form or another since the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, but it didn’t truly take off until its implementation on PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita handheld. But that’s kind of wasted when nobody is buying the Vita and it’s getting zero love from its parent company . Remote Play PC is exactly what its name implies: an application that tricks the PS4 into thinking a PC is a Remote Play device. Microsoft changed the game (sorry) with the ability for the Xbox One to stream its games to Windows 10-based hardware and until Sony catches up we’re just going to have to settle for an unofficial app that costs money to perform the task. Via: Kotaku Source: Tmacdev

Amazon Video gets a bunch of new features on iOS

Posted by kenmay on November - 25 - 2015

Amazon has released a ton of new features for its Video app. The update includes 3D touch support, Next Up (which is basically auto-play), picture-in-picture and X-Ray, which offers a wealth of IMDB information and trivia at the touch of a button. Even though some of these features are iPad exclusive (like picture-in-picture) they can help Amazon stand up against competition like Netflix when content alone won’t carry the day. The 3D touch option is only available on Apple’s latest smartphone offerings, the 6s and 6s Plus, and lets you access a number of features faster, but offers nothing in the way of exclusive functionality. Also, the app has been customized for the iPad Pro , meaning Amazon-exclusive content is bigger and better than it’s ever been before. What more could you ask for? [Image credit: AOL] Source: iMore

Understanding the Antikythera Mechanism

Posted by kenmay on November - 24 - 2015

szczys writes: We attribute great thinking to ancient Greece. This is exemplified by the Antikythera Mechanism. Fragments of the mechanism were found in a shipwreck first discovered in 1900 and visited by researchers several times over the next century. It is believed to be a method of tracking the calendar and is the first known example of what are now common-yet-complicated engineering mechanisms like the differential gear. A few working reproductions have been produced and make it clear that whomever designed this had an advanced understanding of complex gear ratios and their ability to track the passage of time and celestial bodies. Last year research by two scientists suggested that the device might be much older than previously thought. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Real-Time Traffic Cameras Could Make Me Actually Use Bing Maps

Posted by kenmay on November - 24 - 2015

Yes, Bing Maps does still exist, and thanks to a brand-new update, you might even have a reason to use it again. Read more…

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