Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for April 29th, 2017

The Primitive Technology guy builds a water-powered hammer

Posted by kenmay on April - 29 - 2017

The fellow in Australia, who makes tools and shelters from his bare hands and natural materials, is back with a new video. This time, he made water-powered hammer. It’s basically a log (hollowed out by fire) that pivots up and down when it receives and empties water from a stream. This is the first machine I’ve built using primitive technology that produces work without human effort. Falling water replaces human calories to perform a repetitive task. A permanent set up usually has a shed protecting the hammer and materials from the weather while the trough end sits outside under the spout. This type of hammer is used to pulverise grain into flour and I thought I might use one to mill dry cassava chips into flour when the garden matures. This device has also been used to crush clay for porcelain production. A stone head might make it useful as a stamp mill for crushing ores to powder. It might pulp fibres for paper even.

Categories: reader

Bruce66423 brings word that a terrorist’s WhatsApp message has been decrypted “using techniques that ‘cannot be disclosed for security reasons’, though ‘sources said they now have the technical expertise to repeat the process in future.'” The Economic Times reports: U.K. security services have managed to decode the last message sent out by Khalid Masood before he rammed his high-speed car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament on March 22. The access to Masood’s message was achieved by what has been described by security sources as a use of “human and technical intelligence”… The issue of WhatsApp’s encrypted service, which is closed to anyone besides the sender and recipient, had come under criticism soon after the attack. “It’s completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide. We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other, ” U.K. home secretary Amber Rudd had said. Security sources say the message showed the victim’s motive was military action in Muslim countries, while the article adds that though ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, “no evidence has emerged to back this up.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

Enlarge / The René C. Davidson Courthouse, at 1225 Fallon Street, in Oakland, hosts the Alameda County Superior Court. (credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr ) The public defender’s office in Alameda County, California, has recently appealed a local judge’s recent rejection of its demands to fix an upgraded court software. That software led to the unconstitutional and erroneous jailing of some of its clients. “These delays and errors violate Government Code § 69844 ’s express requirement that Superior Court clerks enter judicial orders ‘forthwith,’ as well as the constitutional right to a complete and accurate record on appeal and the Fourth Amendment prohibition upon unlawful arrests and illegal searches,” Charles Denton, an assistant public defender, wrote in his April 10 brief . Denton largely reprised many of the same arguments that his office made when he appeared before the Superior Court. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: reader

Open Ports Create Backdoors In Millions of Smartphones

Posted by kenmay on April - 29 - 2017

An anonymous reader writes: “Mobile applications that open ports on Android smartphones are opening those devices to remote hacking, claims a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, ” reports Bleeping Computer. Researchers say they’ve identified 410 popular mobile apps that open ports on people’s smartphones. They claim that an attacker could connect to these ports, which in turn grant access to various phone features, such as photos, contacts, the camera, and more. This access could be leveraged to steal photos, contacts, or execute commands on the target’s phone. Researchers recorded various demos to prove their attacks. Of these 410 apps, there were many that had between 10 and 50 million downloads on the official Google Play Store and even an app that came pre-installed on an OEMs smartphones. “Research on the mobile open port problem started after researchers read a Trend Micro report from 2015 about a vulnerability in the Baidu SDK, which opened a port on user devices, providing an attacker with a way to access the phone of a user who installed an app that used the Baidu SDK, ” reports Bleeping Computer. “That particular vulnerability affected over 100 million smartphones, but Baidu moved quickly to release an update. The paper detailing the team’s work is entitled Open Doors for Bob and Mallory: Open Port Usage in Android Apps and Security Implications, and was presented Wednesday, April 26, at the 2nd IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy that took place this week in Paris, France.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

Yik Yak’s anonymous chat app is shutting down

Posted by kenmay on April - 29 - 2017

Just four years after it started, Yik Yak is shutting down. In the past couple of years, issues like bullying have taken a toll on the allure of the anonymous internet , while this app had its own issues with threats and harassment. In a blog post , the Yik Yak team didn’t explain their reasons for shutting down, but did confirm earlier reports that a “few members” will join Square. In 2015 we recounted the rise and fall of Secret , however others like Whisper and Confide are still going. Business Insider reports that it raised more than $73 million in venture capital, but struggled to keep its users as students migrated to other apps like Snapchat. Via: Business Insider Source: Yik Yak

Categories: reader

The next season of Orange is the New Black isn’t supposed to premiere until June 9th , but the first episode has already leaked. That’s because a hacker or group of hackers going by the name ‘TheDarkOverlord stole the content from a third party, and they’re demanding Netflix pay a ransom in order to keep the rest of the season private. Late Friday night, TheDarkOverlord tweeted about content belonging to ABC, FOX, IFC and National Geographic, saying “We’re not playing any games anymore.” According to TorrentFreak , the source of the breach was Larson Studios, an audio production company in Hollywood that does ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement) work. The hackers claim Larson agreed to pay up but didn’t, and now they’re trying to squeeze Netflix. In a statement, Netflix has said “We are aware of the situation. A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved.” Who is next on the list? FOX, IFC, NAT GEO, and ABC. Oh, what fun we’re all going to have. We’re not playing any games anymore. — thedarkoverlord (@tdohack3r) April 29, 2017 We are releasing the remainder of OITNB Season 5. Press Release: https://t.co/5vqYglmZAN — thedarkoverlord (@tdohack3r) April 29, 2017 Update: “TheDarkOverlord” announced that they have released episodes 2-10 of the 13 episode season in another torrent. They also continued to threaten Netflix and the other studios, saying “You’re going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest offer was. We’re quite ashamed to breathe the same air as you. We figured a pragmatic business such as yourselves would see and understand the benefits of cooperating with a reasonable and merciful entity like ourselves. And to the others: there’s still time to save yourselves. Our offer(s) are still on the table – for now.” Source: TorrentFreak , AP , Pastebin

Categories: reader

Elon Musk made a few revelations about some his newer projects this week, including the electric semi-truck Tesla has been working on since 2016. The automaker promised to unveil the big rig this September, but the Tesla-slash-SpaceX chief has given us a shadowy first look during his TED talk on April 28th. Based on what little we can see in the image above, it looks smoother than your average truck, with headlights and general design that seem to take cues from the company’s cars. Musk described the vehicle as a “spry truck” that you can drive around like a sports car — he said he’d already taken it for a spin himself. You can judge for yourself when Tesla reveals it in its full glory this fall. Other than Tesla’s big rig, Musk also showed off what The Boring Company’s digging machine looks like earlier this week. His new company released a concept video showing how an underground tunnel network can help commuters get to their destinations much faster than before. Elon Musk teased semi-truck at TED talk. pic.twitter.com/sY0w7KSsTx — Johana Bhuiyan (@JMBooyah) April 28, 2017 Source: AutoBlog , TechCrunch

Categories: reader

The genetics of photosensitive sneezing, explained

Posted by kenmay on April - 29 - 2017

If you’re among the one in four people who sneeze when you move from a dark place into the sunlight, this nifty little explainer from a fellow traveler gives a great overview of causation theories over the millennia. Turns out it is just one transposed letter in the second chromosome that causes the effect. (more…)

Categories: reader

Fist-sized Hercules Beetle pupa

Posted by kenmay on April - 29 - 2017

HirokA1007’s youtube channel is a menagerie of enormous insects such as this Hercules beetle pupa. Below, a larva, also the size of his fist. [via JWZ ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ1fuq8rKZQ Previously:

Categories: reader

Acer has unveiled what may just be the perfect gaming monitor—so long as you don’t like ultrawides, at least. The Predator X27 is Acer’s take on Nvidia’s prototype HDR monitor design first unveiled at CES 2017, and features a 27-inch 16:9 panel, 4K UHD resolution, HDR , a wide colour gamut, local dimming backlighting, and a super-fast 144Hz refresh rate. And yes, it supports G-Sync for super-smooth variable refresh rate gaming. Digging further into the specs reveals some serious high-end tech. The X27 is based on an AU Optronics M270QAN02.2 AHVA panel with “quantum dot” technology. That’s the same quantum dot tech Samsung uses in its best 4K televisions, which promises deeper blacks and better colours. Indeed, the X27 supports both HDR10 and 96 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. It also features 1,000 nits of brightness, and a 4ms response time alongside its 144Hz refresh rate. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: reader