Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for August 15th, 2017

US court records are not copyrighted, but the US court system operates a paywall called “PACER” that is supposed to recoup the costs of serving text files on the internet; charging $0.10/page for access to the public domain, and illegally profiting to the tune of $80,000,000/year . (moreā€¦)

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Watch: Stunning rare white moose caught on video

Posted by kenmay on August - 15 - 2017

A white moose is rare, with only about 100 of them in Sweden. But Hans Nilsson, who has been tracking them for three years, according to Inhabitat , caught this moose on video on August 11 in Varmland, Sweden. The moose is not an albino, but its white fur is a genetic mutation. Or magical, to be more exact.

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(credit: Jeremy Brooks ) For 17 days starting last month, an advanced backdoor that gave attackers complete control over networks lurked in digitally signed software used by hundreds of banks, energy companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, researchers warned Tuesday. The backdoor, dubbed ShadowPad, was added to five server- or network-management products sold by NetSarang , a software developer with offices in South Korea and the US. The malicious products were available from July 17 to August 4, when the backdoor was discovered and privately reported by researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. Anyone who uses the five NetSarang titles Xmanager Enterprise 5.0, Xmanager 5.0, Xshell 5.0, Xftp 5.0, or Xlpd 5.0, should immediately review posts here and here from NetSarang and Kaspersky Lab respectively. Covert data collection The attack is the latest to manipulate the supply chain of a legitimate product in hopes of infecting the people who rely on it. The NotPetya worm that shut down computers around the world in June used the same tactic after attackers hijacked the update mechanism for tax software that was widely used in Ukraine . Supply-chain attacks that targeted online gamers included one used to spread the PlugX trojan in 2015 and the malware dubbed WinNTi in 2013 . Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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$550 dock turns a smartphone into a medical lab

Posted by kenmay on August - 15 - 2017

Smartphones can now be used as laboratory-grade medical testing devices thanks to new kit designed by the University of Illinois. The transmission-reflectance-intensity (TRI) analyzer attaches to a smartphone to examine blood, urine or saliva samples as reliably as large, expensive equipment, but costs just $550. The technology uses a high-performance spectrometer. First, a fluid sample is illuminated by the phone’s internal white LED flash, then the light is collected in an optical fiber . The light is then guided through a diffraction grating into the phone’s rear-facing camera, and a reading is provided on-screen. Retrofitting medical technology onto smartphones isn’t anything new. We’ve already seen innovation in HIV testing and fertility tracking , for example. But researchers say the TRI analyzer boasts a wider spectrum of applications, and the relatively cheap, portable nature of the kit means it could have uses in other sectors such as animal health, food safety and environmental monitoring , as well as health diagnostics. “Our TRI Analyzer is like the Swiss Army knife of biosensing, ” said Professor Brian Cunningham. “It’s capable of performing the three most common types of tests in medical diagnostics, so in practice, thousands of already-developed tests could be adapted to it.” Via: NBC Source: University of Illinois

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Mitch Lowe, a founder of Netflix, has a crazy idea. Through his new startup MoviePass, he wants to subsidize our film habit, letting us go to the theater once a day for about the price of a single ticket. From a report: Lowe, an early Netflix executive who now runs a startup called MoviePass, plans to drop the price of the company’s movie ticket subscriptions on Tuesday to $9.95. The fee will let customers get in to one showing every day at any theater in the U.S. that accepts debit cards. MoviePass will pay theaters the full price of each ticket used by subscribers, excluding 3D or Imax screens. MoviePass could lose a lot of money subsidizing people’s movie habits. So the company also raised cash on Tuesday by selling a majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a small, publicly traded data firm in New York. Theater operators should certainly welcome any effort to increase sales. The top four cinema operators, led by AMC Entertainment, lost $1.3 billion in market value early this month after a disappointing summer. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Here’s a 10-second clip of “Game of Thrones” costume designer Michele Clapton revealing where the capes of the Night’s Watch come from: Apparently folks were titillated that Ikea rugs were the source material. So too was someone at Ikea, who then had whomever’s in charge of producing Ikea’s assembly directions create one for the cape: Yanks are out of luck; the Skold sheepskin rug pictured above isn’t available in the ‘States. (The image is from Ikea’s Australian website.)

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In a note to investors on Monday, Bernstein analyst A.M. Sacconaghi Jr. said Google is paying Apple billions of dollars per year to remain the default search engine on iPhones and iPads. “The firm believes that Google will pay Apple about $3 billion this year, up from $1 billion just three years ago, and that Google’s licensing fees make up a large bulk of Apple’s services business, ” reports CNBC. From the report: “Court documents indicate that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014, and we estimate that total Google payments to Apple in FY 17 may approach $3 billion, ” Bernstein analyst A.M. Sacconaghi Jr. said. “Given that Google payments are nearly all profit for Apple, Google alone may account for 5% of Apple’s total operating profits this year, and may account for 25% of total company OP growth over the last two years.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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