Digg Hints Its Google Reader Replacement Will Go Beyond RSS Alone

Digg today responded to early user feedback about its plans for a Google Reader replacement announced earlier this month, saying that it has narrowed down incoming requests to four key points: keep it simple, make it fast, synchronize across devices, and, finally, allow for easy import from Google Reader, of course. However, the company also hinted at its plans to go beyond just a Reader clone, saying that in future versions, it wants to design a tool that can pull in news and content from other sources, including social media sites, Reddit, Hacker News, and elsewhere.

The Google Reader shutdown has been a boon to several startups, which have gained an influx of new users to their various RSS feed-reading services. Feedly, for example, became the top RSS reader on mobile last week, but it’s too soon to count out competitors like NewsBlur, TheOldReader, Reeder, NetNewsWire and others from gaining traction in the weeks ahead.

Digg meanwhile, now incubated and being rebuilt by Betaworks, is an interesting one to watch in this space, as team members there describe themselves as rabid information addicts who also have relied on Google Reader in the past. But Digg’s involvement is appealing to Google Reader’s heaviest users, because the redesigned Digg.com offers a clean, minimalistic user interface, which is what many want to see in their news reader replacement — that is, they want more of a utility and less of a “news magazine”-styled design.

While it’s good to hear that Digg is listening to what this core crowd wants (some 800 comments were left on the company’s original post, the company says) even more interesting perhaps is what Digg may do with the reader replacement in the future — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Google Keep Labelled Delete

The Google Keep note-keeping app has had a frosty reception. Analysts including Gartner have said its functionality is laughable compared to that of the rival Evernote (saying it’s like saying MSFT Paint is a threat to Photoshop) and other users have rejected it on the grounds that after the death sentence on Reader, Google can’t be trusted not to pull the plug on a service which people have come to rely on — via Slashdot

Consumer group endorses bypassing online geo-blocks

Consumer advocacy group Choice has called on Australians to circumvent the technology that allows major software companies like Microsoft and Apple to charge higher prices for their products.

Three giant IT companies — Microsoft, Apple and Adobe — gave evidence to a Senate inquiry yesterday as to why their goods are more expensive in Australia compared to other markets.

Choice spokesman Matt Levey says the consumer group has published guidelines to help consumers circumvent geo-blocking, which prevents people from buying the cheaper, identical products available in other countries.

There’s one particular creative suite product from Adobe which currently has a $1,200 price difference between the US price and the Australian price, he said.

Similarly with Microsoft, there was one infamous product where you could actually pay someone… to fly to the US and back twice, buy the product when they’re there, and still come out ahead — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Adobe: Fly to US for cheaper software

Australians can go to the US if they want lower American prices on boxed Adobe products, or buy the company’s cloud-based offering, an Adobe official told a Parliamentary panel today.

In a hearing about higher IT pricing in Australia compared to other markets, Adobe managing director of ANZ, Paul Robson, dodged and slapped back a flurry of volleys from the House Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications.

Robson stressed that the Australian price of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, $49.99 per month, is similar to the US price. He said that most of Adobe’s customers are moving to the cloud versions of the company’s software — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Press regulation deal sparks fears of high libel fines for bloggers

Bloggers could face high fines for libel under the new Leveson deal with exemplary damages imposed if they don’t sign up to the new regulator, it was claimed on Tuesday.

Under clause 29 introduced to the crime and courts bill in the Commons on Monday night, the definition of relevant bloggers or websites includes any that generate news material where there is an editorial structure giving someone control over publication.

Bloggers would not be at risk of exemplary damages for comments posted by readers. There is also a schedule that excludes certain publishers such as scientific journals, student publications and not-for-profit community newspapers. Websites are guaranteed exclusion from exemplary damages if they can get on this list.

Kirsty Hughes, the chief executive of Index on Censorship, which campaigns for press freedom around the world, said it was a sad day for British democracy. This will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on everyday people’s web use, she said.

She said she feared thousands of websites could fall under the definition of a relevant publisher in clause 29 — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Forget the Cellphone Fight: We Should Be Allowed to Unlock Everything We Own

While Congress is working on legislation to re-legalise cellphone unlocking, let’s acknowledge the real issue: The copyright laws that made unlocking illegal in the first place. Who owns our stuff? The answer used to be obvious. Now, with electronics integrated into just about everything we buy, the answer has changed.

We live in a digital age, and even the physical goods we buy are complex. Copyright is impacting more people than ever before because the line between hardware and software, physical and digital has blurred.

The issue goes beyond cellphone unlocking, because once we buy an object — any object — we should own it. We should be able to lift the hood, unlock it, modify it, repair it … without asking for permission from the manufacturer.

But we really don’t own our stuff any more (at least not fully); the manufacturers do. Because modifying modern objects requires access to information: code, service manuals, error codes, and diagnostic tools. Modern cars are part horsepower, part high-powered computer. Microwave ovens are a combination of plastic and microcode. Silicon permeates and powers almost everything we own.

This is a property rights issue, and current copyright law gets it backwards, turning regular people — like students, researchers, and small business owners — into criminals. Fortune 500 telecom manufacturer Avaya, for example, is known for suing service companies, accusing them of violating copyright for simply using a password to log in to their phone systems. That’s right: typing in a password is considered reproducing copyrighted material — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Chameleon botnet grabbed $6m a month from online ad-slingers

A web analytics firm has sniffed out a botnet that was raking in $6m a month from online advertisers.

The so-called Chameleon botnet mimicked human visitors on select websites, causing billions of display ad impressions to be served to compromised machines. As many as 120,000 infected drones have been discovered so far. Almost all of the over 202 websites targeted in the scam are located in the US. In some cases, two-thirds of the websites’ traffic was generated from zombie machines.

All the bot browsers report themselves as being Internet Explorer 9.0 running on Windows 7.

The advertisers cough up a few pennies every time an ad is viewed, and the ad network, ad exchanges and the publisher all take their share.

The malign traffic was difficult to identify because the malware used a hundreds of thousands of different ad-exchange cookies. These characteristics earned the malware behind the scam the Chameleon moniker — via redwolf.newsvine.com

The Rare Disease Search Engine That Outperforms Google

In the late 1940s, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine coined an unusual phrase to describe unexpected diagnoses. When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra, he said. The phrase stuck and today, medics commonly use the term zebra to describe a rare disease, usually defined as one that occurs in less than 1 in 2000 of the population.

Rare diseases are inherently hard to diagnose. According to the European Organisation for Rare Disease, 25 per cent of diagnoses are delayed by between 5 and 30 years.

So it’s no surprise that medics are looking for more effective ways to do the job. An increasingly common aid in this process is the search engine, typically Google. This forms part of an iterative process in which a medic enter symptoms into a search engine, examines lists of potential diseases and then looks for further evidence of symptoms in the patient.

The problem, of course, is that common-or-garden search engines are not optimised for this process. Google, for example, considers pages important if they are linked to by other important pages, the basis of its famous PageRank algorithm. However, rare diseases by definition are unlikely to have a high profile on the web. What’s more, searches are likely to be plagued with returns from all sorts of irrelevant sources.

Today, Radu Dragusin at the Technical University of Denmark and a few pals unveil an alternative. These guys have set up a bespoke search engine dedicated to the diagnosis of rare diseases called FindZebra, a name based on the common medical slang for a rare disease. After comparing the results from this engine against the same searches on Google, they show that it is significantly better at returning relevant results — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Crown Casino rocked by massive betting scam

Melbourne’s Crown Casino is working with police and Victoria’s gaming regulator to investigate a betting scam which is believed to have netted a high-rolling cards player $32 million.

A staff member who looks after VIP gamblers has been sacked over the scam and a gambler has been banned from the premises.

The Herald Sun has reported the scam netted the high roller $32 million, but Crown is refusing to confirm that figure.

It is believed the scam involved the use of the casino’s own surveillance system, but Crown is not commenting — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Has Apple Quietly Extended Aussie Warranties?

When you buy an Apple gadget from Apple itself (and, indeed, from many of its resellers), AppleCare is pushed pretty heavily to extend your warranty beyond a year, even though strictly speaking most of Apple’s products should be warrantied for longer than that. It appears that Apple may be changing its policy, with reports that it’s extending that coverage out to two years, gratis.

MacTalk reported on the change over the weekend, noting that Apple has apparently advised its store staff that

Any iPhone, iPad or Mac brought to a Genius bar that is between 13 and 24 months old and has not been subject to abuse or accidental damage, will automatically be flagged as eligible for repair or replacement via the iRepair or MobileGenius software — via redwolf.newsvine.com

The Internet is a surveillance state

I’m going to start with three data points.

One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the US government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks.

Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practised good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up.

And three: Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous email service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels — and hers was the common name.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him;105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Almost Half Of The World’s Spam Comes From Just 20 ISPs: Study

Just 20 ISPs are responsible for half of the world’s entire haul of Internet scam and spam emails, says a study. The thesis (PDF), entitled Internet Bad Neighbourhoods is the work of a pair of researchers, Moreira Moura and Giovane Cesare, from the University of Twente, who researched over 42,000 Internet Service Providers worldwide and found the following trends:

  • Most spam comes from the U.S.
  • Most phishing comes from Asia–of that, Indian network BSNL came top of the list.
  • The most crime-ridden network is Nigeria’s Spectranet.
  • The majority of bad ISPs are to be found in India, Brazil, and Vietnam.

The researchers propose that Internet providers deal with such networks rather like people deal with crime-ridden neighbourhoods, using security tools to reroute messages from suspect networks or places known to be a source of malicious attacks. All the large Internet firms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google take the issue very seriously and have teams of security experts to deal with the problem — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Slick Trick Adds Much-Needed Shine to 3-D Printed Parts

Slick Trick Adds Much-Needed Shine to 3-D Printed Parts

3-D printers have progressed a lot in the past couple years, but still can’t rival the output of injection-molding machines without violating expensive, patented post-processing techniques.

Enthusiasts have been trying to smooth their printed parts for years by submerging them in acetone or brushing the liquid solvent on by hand — both of which led to unhealthy amounts of chemical exposure and less-than-impressive parts. Now, makers Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood have developed a process that can approximate the results of professional molding machines with only a hot plate, mason jar, and a few ounces of acetone nail-polish remover.

ABS-based printed parts are placed in the jar with the acetone and heated to 90 degrees Celsius on the hot plate. Acetone has a low evaporation point, but is heavier than air so the process creates a small cloud around the model which melts the surface, slowly smoothing it to a mirror finish. After a couple hours, the parts solidify, can be removed, and be displayed with pride — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Tiny Tiny RSS

Tiny Tiny RSS is an open source web-based news feed (RSS/Atom) reader and aggregator, designed to allow you to read news from any location, while feeling as close to a real desktop application as possible

Like a Dagger to Bloggers’ Hearts, Google Just Killed Google Reader

Journalists and geeks united in exasperation on Wednesday evening when Google made a very sad announcement: The company is shuttering Google Reader. We should’ve seen this coming. And those that didn’t see the inevitable death of Google’s RSS feed organiser and reader might’ve easily missed the news, since Google buried it halfway down an official blog post about a bunch of other stuff. But it is true. The search giant will pronounce Reader dead on 1 July 2013. Based on the somewhat storied history of Google killing Reader features, though, we’re pretty sure someone will start working on an alternative within the next few hours — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Google Launches Indoor Maps In Australia

Google has expanded its Indoor Maps range to include over 200 locations across NSW and Victoria. Users can access detailed floor plans of large public buildings by zooming into the location on their tablet or smartphone.

Indoor Maps are essentially indoor directories that you can carry around in your hand. Crucially, the service does not require a GPS signal and instead relies on wireless networks — which means you can use it indoors. The maps will also automatically update themselves when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Google Launches Help For Hacked Sites

No site is fully immune to getting hacked, but there are some obvious things every site owner can do to make it a bit harder for hackers to break into a web server and add rogue links or take over a site completely. Today, Google launched its new Help for Hacked Sites series to teach webmasters how to avoid getting hacked in the first place — and how to recover their sites if it happens.

The first part of the series is geared toward relatively non-technical users, while the later part is aimed at users who can read code and are comfortable with using terminal commands. Overall, the series features about 80 minutes of video and a dozen or so articles that cover everything from basic things like figuring out that a site was actually hacked to working with your host to recover a site, all the way to using vulnerability scanners, understanding SQL injections, reading log files and using the shell to log into your site to determine the root-cause vulnerability — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Judge to village: No cameras

A southwestern Ohio judge yesterday ordered a halt to a speeding-ticket blitz in a village that installed traffic cameras, saying it’s a scam against motorists.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman blasted the cameras and the thousands of $105 citations that resulted. He ruled that they violate motorists’ constitutional rights to due process and said the village’s enforcement was stacked against drivers.

Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-Card Monty, Ruehlman wrote, referring to a card game used by con artists. It is a scam that motorists can’t win — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Researchers Create Self-Healing Chips

Computers are taking another step toward independence from humans, following a new announcement from Caltech. A team of researchers has developed for the first time a method for chips to route circuits around damaged components and thus heal themselves.

These kinds of self-repairing integrated chips, the researchers said, could lead to smartphones that recover by themselves from technical failures ranging from a battery problem to total transistor failure, among many other applications. The research at the California Institute of Technology is described in the March issue of IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques.

The team, composed of engineers from the university’s High-Speed Integrated Circuits lab in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has demonstrated this capability in tiny power amplifiers. Seventy-six of these tiny amps, including the components needed for self-healing, could fit on a penny — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Cold, getting warmer, hot: New app helps blind people find each other

Lots of blind people have blind friends, so This game of cat and mouse takes place regularly. It can be funny but it’s certainly a little frustrating.

As smart phones are fast becoming a basic part of a blind person’s toolkit, it’s perhaps not surprising that someone has now created an app for that.

People Finder has a very basic but accessible interface. Like mainstream products with similar aims, such as Grindr for the gay community and Spotme for networking at conferences, you have to have the app running if you want to meet up with people in your circle.

It alerts a user, via a vibration and a noise, when someone else with the app comes within 50 feet. It uses Bluetooth to detect people.

As you search for your friend, the app will let you know how close you are, by saying near or cold as you walk around.

To aid social niceties, There’s the option to message the person through the app to say you’ve clocked them, before descending on them — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Why I Hacked Donkey Kong for My Daughter

My daughter, however, jumps at the chance to play games with her old man. She’s only 3, but she’s always exhibited a keen interest in games. Recently, she took a fancy to Ron Gilbert’s new puzzle adventure game The Cave. While she prefers not to play, she insists that I do and then she bosses me around in the game. She’s confident enough, however, to play some of the older arcade games. She’s not too shabby with Pac-Man; her favourite version is Pac-Man Arrangement.

But out of all of the older games, she most enjoys playing Donkey Kong. Maybe it was because it was the first game we really played together, or the fact that she watched the King of Kong documentary with me one afternoon from start to finish. Maybe it’s because Mario looks just like her Grandpa. Whatever the case, we’ve been playing Donkey Kong together for a while. She’s not very good at it, but insists on playing it over and over again until she finally hands me the joystick in total frustration.

Finally, one day after work, she asked to play Donkey Kong, only this time she raised a pretty innocent and simple question: “How can I play as the girl? I want to save Mario!”

It made sense. We had just played Super Mario Bros 2 on the NES a few days before, and she became obsessed with playing as Princess Toadstool. So to go back to Donkey Kong, I can see how natural it seemed to ask the question. I explained to her that Donkey Kong, while similar, is not the same game. On this occasion, I really could tell that she was disappointed. She really liked Donkey Kong, and really liked playing as Princess Toadstool. We left it at that and moved on.

But that question! It kept nagging at me. Kids ask parents all the time for things that just aren’t possible. But this time, this was different. I’m a game developer by day. I could do this — via redwolf.newsvine.com

4th Amendment Applies At Border, Password Protected Files Not Suspicious

Here’s a surprise ruling. For many years we’ve written about how troubling it is that Homeland Security agents are able to search the contents of electronic devices, such as computers and phones at the border, without any reason. The 4th Amendment only allows reasonable searches, usually with a warrant. But the general argument has long been that, when you’re at the border, you’re not in the country and the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply. This rule has been stretched at times, including the ability to take your computer and devices into the country and search it there, while still considering it a “border search,” for which the lower standards apply. Just about a month ago, we noted that Homeland Security saw no reason to change this policy. Well, now they might have to. In a somewhat surprising 9th Circuit ruling (en banc, or in front of the entire set of judges), the court ruled that the 4th Amendment does apply at the border, that agents do need to recognize there’s an expectation of privacy, and cannot do a search without reason. Furthermore, they noted that merely encrypting a file with a password is not enough to trigger suspicion — via Slashdot

New Texas Rangers Web page hopes to breathe new life into cold cases

Say the name Kathleen Suckley to Corpus Christi Police Captain Tim Wilson and his response is immediate: 8 April 1993.

He never met her, but he thinks about her often. He checks the file he has checked a million times before, looking for something, anything, to solve the homicide cold case he first responded to 20 years ago.

Suckley was 29 when her throat was slashed and she was stabbed about 40 times inside her rented duplex, while her two sons, ages 4 and 1, were home.

I haven’t forgotten, Wilson said. It’s just a tragic incident; she was a young girl, she had a good life before her, she had two infants, she had a nice family. To me it seemed like such a useless crime.

The Department of Public Safety last week unveiled a new Web page dedicated to unsolved cold case homicides. It will rotate through the Texas Rangers Top 12 Cold Case Investigations, and Suckley is among the first 12 to be featured. Like Wilson, DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said the goal of the new website is to make sure the victims are not forgotten and to try to catch a break in even the coldest of cases — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Thanks To HTML5, This Website Can Fill Your Whole Hard Drive With Trash

Sometimes a browser needs to leave a little data on your computer, just a little 5-10KB nibblit, a cookie. HTML5 is a hungrier beast than that which came before it though, and sometimes wants a little more. Maybe 5MB or so. But that’s where it should end. Thanks to a little HTML5 vulnerability, however, this site can and will fill your entire hard drive with trash.

In order to keep sites from going to wild, most browsers put a hard limit on how much space any site can get. Google Chrome says 2.5MB, Firefox goes with 5MB, Internet Explorer opts for 10MB, etc. And HTML5 standards dictate that a single stash should apply to all affiliated sites. So a1.example.com should have to share with a2.example.com. Except in most browsers, as discovered by Feross Aboukhadijeh, they don’t.

In Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer (FireFox users, pat yourselves on the back), subdomains all get their own little data cubbies, so as long as a site keeps churning out new ones, your hard drive will keep eating up the data until it’s bulging at the seams. And Feross Aboukhadijeh’s Filldisk.com does exactly that. Fortunately for you, it’s merciful enough to give you all your space back if you ask it to stop, but it’s easy to see how this could be a pain if it didn’t play nice — via redwolf.newsvine.com

France to invest €20bn in high-speed broadband for the entire country

French president François Hollande has confirmed plans to give every single household in the country high-speed broadband within the next 10 years, with around half getting getting superfast coverage by the end of 2017.

High-speed broadband strengthens [France’s] businesses competitiveness and the quality of [its] public services. [It] will bring more fluidity, more simplicity for communications between business, their customers, and the public sector as well, Hollande said on Wednesday, adding the rollout could directly generate 10,000 jobs — via redwolf.newsvine.com

The vast differences between the NBN and the Coalition’s alternative

The Coalition’s broadband policy slogan states that that they will Complete the current NBN cheaper and faster. This simply isn’t true.

We’ll continue to cover the sketchy claims of being faster and cheaper in other articles but for now we’ll focus on the supposed similarities and differences.

The Coalition’s NBN alternative is different by almost every measure. It uses different technologies to connect the bulk of the country; it has different uses and applications; it affects Australia’s health service differently; it provides different levels of support in emergencies and natural disasters; it requires a different amount of power to operate; the cost of maintenance is different; the overall cost, the return on investment and the re-sale value are different; the management, ownership, governance, competition and monopoly factors will be different; it has a different life-span and upgradability issues; the effect on businesses (of all sizes) and GDP is different; the effects on television are different; the effect on Senior Citizens is different; the viability and potential for cost blowouts is different; the costs of buying broadband will be different; the reliability is different; the effect on property prices will be different; the timescale is different; the legacy is different. Ultimately, it has completely different aims.

In just about every case the Coalition’s alternative compares unfavourably to the current plans – and usually in dramatic fashion. That’s based upon the facts and the information currently available in the public domain — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Yahoo CEO Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote)

According to numerous sources, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has instituted a HR plan today to require Yahoo employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities. The move will apparently impact several hundred employees, who must either comply without exception or presumably quit. It impacts workers such as customer service reps, who perhaps work from home or an office in another city where Yahoo does not have one — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Forget Dropbox, here’s Drobo-box: Small-biz array meets Barracuda cloud

Security appliance maker Barracuda Networks has agreed to marry its online file-sharing service to storage biz Drobo’s box of hard drives called 5N.

People can upload and download files to and from Barracuda’s Copy cloud, and share their data between desktop computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Android devices and Microsoft’s Surface slabs. The accompanying app and basic service offers 5GB of space for free. There are also group sharing functions.

Now Drobo, as part of today’s announced partnership, will plug its 5N desktop filer into Copy’s systems: each box will be able to extend its local storage and document sharing into the Barracuda cloud and back up its data to the remote service. An app for the 5N that can access Copy will ship in March — via redwolf.newsvine.com

How Google Fought Off Spammers Trying To Break Into One Million Accounts

The spam-blocking technology in Gmail is fairly effective, but that doesn’t mean spammers and criminals don’t want to use Gmail to send dubious messages. A blog post from Google notes a dramatic increase in attempts to hijack individual accounts.

We’ve seen a single attacker using stolen passwords to attempt to break into a million different Google accounts every single day, for weeks at a time, Google security engineer Mike Hearn wrote in the post. A different gang attempted sign-ins at a rate of more than 100 accounts per second — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Any Two Pages on the Web Are Connected By 19 Clicks or Less

No one knows for sure how many individual pages are on the web, but right now, it’s estimated that there are more than 14 billion. Recently, though, Hungarian physicist Albert-László Barabási discovered something surprising about this massive number: Like actors in Hollywood connected by Kevin Bacon, from every single one of these pages you can navigate to any other in 19 clicks or less.

Barabási’s findings, published yesterday in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, involved a simulated model of the web that he created to better understand its structure. He discovered that of the roughly 1 trillion web documents in existence — the aforementioned 14 billion-plus pages, along with every image, video or other file hosted on every single one of them — the vast majority are poorly connected, linked to perhaps just a few other pages or documents — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Bionic legs for military amputees

Military leg amputees are to be given the most up-to-date prosthetic limbs available after the government announced a £6.5m funding boost.

The latest technology micro processor limbs, known as bionic legs, will be available to service personnel who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The move is expected to benefit about 160 members of the armed forces.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said it was a top priority to give troops the best possible care and support.

And Chancellor George Osborne, who is making the money available from the Treasury’s Special Reserve, said: Our troops are heroes who have and continue to give absolutely everything for their country and it is only right that we do everything possible to help them, especially when they suffer injury — via redwolf.newsvine.com

The computer that never crashes

Out of chaos, comes order. A computer that mimics the apparent randomness found in nature can instantly recover from crashes by repairing corrupted data.

Dubbed a systemic computer, the self-repairing machine now operating at University College London (UCL) could keep mission-critical systems working. For instance, it could allow drones to reprogram themselves to cope with combat damage, or help create more realistic models of the human brain.

Everyday computers are ill suited to modelling natural processes such as how neurons work or how bees swarm. This is because they plod along sequentially, executing one instruction at a time. Nature isn’t like that, says UCL computer scientist Peter Bentley. Its processes are distributed, decentralised and probabilistic. And they are fault tolerant, able to heal themselves. A computer should be able to do that — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Exploit Sat on LA Times Website for 6 Weeks

The Los Angeles Times has scrubbed its Web site of malicious code that served browser exploits and malware to potentially hundreds of thousands of readers over the past six weeks.

On 7 February, KrebsOnSecurity heard from two different readers that a subdomain of the LA Times’ news site (offersanddeals.latimes.com) was silently redirecting visitors to a third-party Web site retrofitted with the Blackhole exploit kit. I promptly asked my followers on Twitter if they had seen any indications that the site was compromised, and in short order heard from Jindrich Kubec, director of threat intelligence at Czech security firm Avast.

Kubec checked Avast’s telemetry with its user base, and discovered that the very same LA Times subdomain was indeed redirecting visitors to a Blackhole exploit kit, and that the data showed this had been going on since at least 23 December 2012.

Contacted via email, LA Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning initially said a small number of users trying to access a subdomain of the site were instead served a malicious script warning on 2 and 3 February. But Manning said this was the result of a glitch in Google’s display ad exchange, not a malware attack on the company’s site — via redwolf.newsvine.com

W3C Declares DRM In-Scope For HTML

The W3C has ruled DRM in-scope for their HTML standard. A lot of big businesses have supported advancing the Encrypted Media Extension, including Google, Microsoft, and Netfix. The BBC calls for a solution with legal sanctions. The EME could well be used to implement a DRM HTML engine. A DRM-enabled web would break a long tradition of the web browser being the User’s Agent, and would restrict user choice and control over their security and privacy. There are other applications that can serve the purpose of viewing DRM video content, and I appeal to people to not taint the web standards with DRM but to please use other applications when necessary — via Slashdot

Ancient languages reconstructed by computer program

A new tool has been developed that can reconstruct long-dead languages.

Researchers have created software that can rebuild protolanguages — the ancient tongues from which our modern languages evolved.

To test the system, the team took 637 languages currently spoken in Asia and the Pacific and recreated the early language from which they descended.

The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science — via redwolf.newsvine.com

TV station hacker warns of zombies in Montana

A Montana television station’s regular programming was interrupted by news of a zombie apocalypse.

The Montana Television Network says hackers broke into the Emergency Alert System of Great Falls affiliate KRTV and its CW station Monday.

KRTV says on its website the hackers broadcast that dead bodies are rising from their graves in several Montana counties.

The alert claimed the bodies were attacking the living and warned people not to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous.

The network says there is no emergency and its engineers are investigating — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Spam attack getting worse

The YahooXtra email service is the victim of two separate, but potentially related malicious attacks, Telecom has said.

The security breach, which began on Saturday morning, saw emails sent to everyone on users’ contact list, asking them to click on a link directing them to an online advertisement.

Telecom responded in a statement issued this afternoon, saying the attacks were believed to have similarly affected other Yahoo mail users using Yahoo servers — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Science reporting: paywalls, journals put price on science research

There’s an unspoken pact scientists make with the public. In the same way that doctors and police are held by law and by honour to tell the truth and protect, a scientist is entrusted with performing research with integrity and transparency. The research is carried out, the process painstakingly recorded in laboratory books. The results are scrutinised by peers, often repeatedly, until the work is published in a journal, where readers trust that the work is done accurately and without disguise.

Publications are the key to science: they are a public acknowledgement and record of what has been done and how it can be repeated by other scientists. This ability to replicate is the key to truth and integrity: if the results can be replicated, they are valid. A new fact, a new discovery, has been made.

Given the importance of validation and publication, you would think access to this vital, new information would be relatively easy. Scientists ought to be shouting their discoveries from the rooftops. And they are? — ?but they’re also often paying to publish their own work behind a paywall.

In practice, the information in peer-reviewed publications is not freely available to the public. It’s not even freely available to other scientists. Journals have been around for hundreds of years but in the last quarter of the 20th century, academic publishing increased exponentially. The costs used to come from the physical processes of typesetting, printing and binding but access is now primarily electronic. Our largest databases are now closing in on 50 million articles and a library like that isn’t just a wealth of knowledge? — it’s a wealthy profit source, too — via redwolf.newsvine.com

North Korea propaganda taken off YouTube after Activision complaint

A propaganda video from the North Korean authorities has been removed from YouTube following a copyright claim by games maker Activision.

The clip showed a young man dreaming about a North Korean space shuttle destroying a city that resembles New York.

But the footage of burning buildings was taken from Activision’s top selling game, Call of Duty.

North Korea insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes.

But the country’s intent — particularly towards South Korea — has raised concerns leader Kim Jong-un has plans for a ballistic missile system.

The video was posted on Saturday by North Korea’s official Pyongyang YouTube channel — via redwolf.newsvine.com

AOL Is the Weirdest Successful Tech Company in America

It’s a historic day for one of America’s most confounding companies.

AOL ended an eight-year money-losing slump in 2012, the company announced this morning, as all of its divisions ended the year quasi-profitable for the first time under Tim Armstrong’s reign as CEO.

AOL was dubbed by some the hottest tech stock of 2012. You might question the use of the word hottest in that label, but it’s kind of true. Tim Armstrong is doing something right …

… but what is that, exactly? — via redwolf.newsvine.com

A $24.4 Billion Bet on Dell’s Future

Michael Dell is taking the company that bears his name private. As rumored, Dell has signed a leveraged buyout agreement worth $24.4 billion.

Dell, the company’s founder, chairman and CEO, in partnership with global technology investment firm Silver Lake Partners and backed in part with Microsoft’s money, will acquire Dell. Dell stockholders will receive $13.65 in cash for each share of Dell common stock they hold.

The price represents a 25 percent premium over Dell’s closing share price of $10.88 on Jan. 11, 2013. The Dell board unanimously approved a merger agreement, which will ultimately see Dell and Silver Lake take the company private.

It’s not a done deal yet. The merger agreement provides for a so-called go-shop period, during which the Special Committee — with the assistance of Evercore Partners — will actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals. The initial go-shop period is 45 days. The agreement also must be approved by a vote of unaffiliated shareholders — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Apps? No root? Your device serves others: Berners-Lee

The right to have root on your machine, that is, full administrator access to your computing devices including smartphones, is a key issue, Sir Tim Berners-Lee told a geek-heavy audience at the Linux.conf.au 2013 conference in Canberra this morning.

The right to have root on your machine is the right to store things which operate on your behalf, he said.

Berners-Lee recognised that when ordinary users have administrator rights on their devices, it introduces a security risk: The applications they install might inherit those rights and use them to perform malicious actions.

In the situation that we have apps working on someone else’s behalf, then we need to work on the security models. The JavaScript security models, the containment of cross-site access, are the best we can do at the moment… If you’ve got ideas about how we can make it more manageable and more powerful… I’d like to hear — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Axed HMVers hijack official Twitter stream

Axed HMV workers hijacked the music retailer’s Twitter stream to tell the world of a mass execution taking place at HQ.

A fortnight ago HMV — an abbreviation of His Master’s Voice — called in the administrators when bosses realised they were likely to miss banking covenants at the end of January.

Deloitte was brought on board to seek a way forward for the ailing biz but confirmed yesterday it was slashing 190 jobs from HMV’s head office and the distribution network.

But amusingly a running commentary on developments at corp HQ was provided by staffers who had seized control of HMV’s official Twitter feed.

There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand. #hmvXFactorFiring, the staffer said.

We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired, it added — via redwolf.newsvine.com

PayPal plugs SQL injection hole, tosses $3k to bug-hunter

PayPal has fixed a security bug that could have allowed hackers to compromise the payment website’s databases using an SQL injection attack.

Researchers at Vulnerability Laboratory earned a $3,000 reward for discovering and reporting the critical bug to PayPal in August. An advisory sent to the Full Disclosure security mailing list explained the scope of the vulnerability, which was fixed this month.

The flaw was found in the code that confirms an account holder’s email address, and could have allowed attackers to get past PayPal’s security filters to compromise backend databases and grab sensitive information — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Ticketmaster dumps hated Captcha verification system

The world’s largest online ticket retailer is to stop requiring users to enter hard-to-read words in order to prove they are human.

Captcha — which asks users to type in words to prove they are not robots trying to cheat the system — is used on many sites.

But Ticketmaster has moved to ditch it in favour of a simpler system.

It means users will write phrases, such as freezing temperatures, rather than, for example, tormentis harlory.

Captcha stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, and was first developed at Carnegie Mellon university in 2000.

For sites such as Ticketmaster, Captcha is used to make sure robots are not used to buy up tickets automatically — via redwolf.newsvine.com