Transportation

Tilting 4WD 'Spider Car' Makes Light Work of Bizarre Terrain 6

Zothecula writes: The Swincar Spider is a remarkable tilting 4-wheeler concept that boasts absolutely ridiculous rough terrain capabilities. Each wheel has its own electric hub motor and is independently suspended on a spider-like limb. The result is a vehicle that leans into fast turns like a motorcycle, but can also happily go up or down a 70-percent gradient, ride across a 50-percent gradient that puts the left wheels a couple of feet higher than the right ones, or ride diagonally through ditches that send the wheels going up and down all over the place like a spider doing leg stretches.
Privacy

How Boing Boing Handled an FBI Subpoena Over Its Tor Exit Node 30

An anonymous reader writes: Cory Doctorow has posted an account of what happened when tech culture blog Boing Boing got a federal subpoena over the Tor exit node the site had been running for years. They received the subpoena in June, and the FBI demanded all logs relating to the exit node: specifically, "subscriber records" and "user information" for everybody associated with the exit node's IP address. They were also asked to testify before a federal grand jury. While they were nervous at first, the story has a happy ending. Their lawyer sent a note back to the FBI agent in charge, explaining that the IP address in question was an exit node. The agent actually looked into Tor, realized no logs were available, and cancelled the request. Doctorow considers this encouraging for anyone who's thinking about opening a new exit node: "I'm not saying that everyone who gets a federal subpoena for running a Tor exit node will have this outcome, but the only Tor legal stories that rise to the public's attention are the horrific ones. Here's a counterexample: Fed asks us for our records, we say we don't have any, fed goes away."
Businesses

Amazon Cuts Down On Prime Sharing 45

An anonymous reader writes: Tech Crunch reports that Amazon quietly rolled out changes to how their Prime subscriptions can be shared. The good news is that existing members aren't immediately losing their current sharing setups. It used to be that Amazon would let Prime subscribers share free shipping and a few other benefits with up to four other "household" members, with little restriction on what counted as a "household." The bad news: as of last weekend, Amazon now limits sharing to one other adult and four "child" profiles. The adults will need to authorize each other to use credit/debit cards associated with the account. Amazon didn't make any announcement about this, so it's unknown how long existing Prime shares will stay in effect. They could disappear when the subscription is up for renewal, or earlier if Amazon decides to crack down on it.
Power

Giving Up Alternating Current 332

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday we discussed Soylent, the artificial food substitute created by Rob Rhinehart and his team. As it turns out, this isn't Rhinehart's only unusual sustainability project. In a new post, he explains how he gave up on alternating current — a tough proposition for anyone living in the U.S. and still interested in using all sorts of modern technology. Rhinehart says, "Most power in the US is generated by burning coal, immediately squandering 67% of its energy, then run through a steam turbine, losing another 50%, then sent across transmission lines, losing another 5%, then to charge a DC device like a cell phone another 50% is lost in conversion. This means for 100 watts of coal or oil burned my phone gets a mere 16."

The biggest hindrance was the kitchen. As you might expect for the creator of Soylent, he doesn't cook, and was able to get rid of almost all kitchen appliances because of that. He uses a butane stove for hot beverages. He powers a small computer off batteries, which get their energy from solar panels. For intensive tasks, he remotes to more powerful machines. He re-wired his apartment's LED lighting to run off direct current. Have any of you made similar changes? How much of an effect does this really have?
Printer

Epson Is Trying To Kill the Printer Ink Cartridge 178

An anonymous reader writes: Inkjet printer cartridges have been the bane of many small businesses and home offices for decades. It's interesting, then, that Epson is trying something new: next month, they're launching a new line of printers that come with small tanks of ink, instead of cartridges. The tanks will be refilled using bottles of ink. They're reversing the economics, here: the printer itself will be more expensive, but the refills will be much cheaper. Early reports claim you'll be spending a tenth as much on ink as you were before, but we'll see how that shakes out. The Bloomberg article makes a good point: it's never been easier to not print things. The printer industry needs to innovate if it wants us to keep churning out printed documents, and this may be the first big step.
Yahoo!

Hackers Exploit Adobe Flash Vulnerability In Yahoo Ads 74

vivaoporto notes a report that a group of hackers have used online ad networks to distribute malware over several of Yahoo's websites. The attack began on Tuesday, July 28, and was shut down on Monday, August 3. It was targeted at Yahoo's sports, finance, gaming, and news-related sites. Security firm Malwarebytes says the hackers exploited a Flash vulnerability to redirect users to the Angler Exploit Kit. "Attacks on advertising networks have been on the rise ... researchers say. Hackers are able to use the advertising networks themselves, built for targeting specific demographics of Internet users, to find vulnerable machines. While Yahoo acknowledged the attack, the company said that it was not nearly as big as Malwarebytes had portrayed it to be."
Social Networks

Facebook Allows Turkish Government To Set the Censorship Rules 107

New submitter feylikurds writes: Facebook has been blocking and banning users for posting Kurdish or anti-Turkish material. Many screenshots exists of Facebook notifying people for such. You can insult any single historical figure that you like on Facebook except one: Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal 'Ataturk'. However, he should not receive special treatment and be protected from criticism, but rather should be treated and examined like everyone else. In order to be accessible within Turkey, Facebook has allowed the repressive Turkish government to set the censorship rules for billions of their users all around the globe. Facebook censors Kurds on behalf of Turkey. To show the world how unjust this policy is, this group discusses Facebook's censorship policy as it relates to Kurds (Facebook account required) and how to get Facebook to change its unfair and discriminatory policy. Makes re-reading Hossein Derakhshan's piece worth the time.
Japan

NTT, Japan's Largest Fixed Telecom Provider, Begins Phasing Out ADSL 117

AmiMoJo writes: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), the third largest telecoms provider in the world, is beginning to phase out ADSL for broadband internet access (Google Translate helps). NTT is no longer accepting new registrations, and no longer manufacturing the equipment required. Instead they recommend users opt for their FLET'S HIKARI fibre optic service. Their "Giga Mansion Smart Type" services offers 1Gb/sec for around $40/month.
Businesses

Fuel Cells Promise To Reduce Carbon Emissions of Mobile Base Stations 25

Mickeycaskill writes: Vodafone says fuel cells could reduce the carbon emissions and noise pollution caused by mobile base stations in remote areas of developing economies. The company has 122 million mobile data customers in emerging markets and needs to expand its network in these countries to meet demand. However many base stations are in rural areas where grid power is unreliable and need on-site power generation. These are typically diesel powered, but Vodafone wants to move away from this type of power and says solar power is too expensive and not suitable for urban areas. It has already deployed 200 fuel cells in South Africa and wants to replicate the model elsewhere.
Music

KFC South Africa Lets Customers Listen To Music Using Bone Conduction 47

An anonymous reader writes: The end of annoying restaurant muzak may be nigh: A KFC branch in South Africa has put together a playlist of local artists for diners to enjoy — so long as they do so in silence. The in-shop broadcasts can only be heard using bone conduction as a speaker — diners put their elbows on the table and cup their ears if they want to hear the tunes.
The Internet

India Blocks Over 800 Adult Websites 188

William Robinson writes: The government of India has blocked over 800 adult websites through a secret order. “Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check,” N.N. Kaul, a spokesman at the department of telecommunications said. “We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.” The ban has provoked debates in the country about extreme and unwarranted moral policing by the government. The action came after the Supreme Court of India had refused to ban porn sites in India.
Businesses

Counterterrorism Expert: It's Time To Give Companies Offensive Cybercapabilities 210

itwbennett writes: Juan Zarate, the former deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism during President George W. Bush's administration says the U.S. government should should consider allowing businesses to develop 'tailored hack-back capabilities,' deputizing them to strike back against cyberattackers. The government could issue cyberwarrants, giving a private company license 'to protect its system, to go and destroy data that's been stolen or maybe even something more aggressive,' Zarate said Monday at a forum on economic and cyberespionage hosted by think tank the Hudson Institute.
DRM

FirefoxOS-Based Matchstick Project Ends; All Money To Be Refunded 99

Kohenkatz writes: Matchstick, a project built on FirefoxOS that aimed to compete with Google's Chromecast, which was initially funded on Kickstarter, is shutting down and will be refunding all pledges. In a post to Kickstarter backers today, they announced that this decision was due to the difficulty of implementing the DRM components that are necessary for access to a lot of paid content. Rather than drag out the project on an unknown schedule, they have decided to end the project.
The Internet

EFF Coalition Announces New 'Do Not Track' Standard For Web Browsing 71

An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, privacy company Disconnect, and several other organizations are publishing a new DNT standard. Partners in the coalition include: publishing site Medium, analytics service Mixpanel, AdBlock, and private search engine DuckDuckGo. Thought it's still a voluntary policy, the EFF hopes the new proposed standard will provide users better privacy online. "We are greatly pleased that so many important Web services are committed to this powerful new implementation of Do Not Track, giving their users a clear opt-out from stealthy online tracking and the exploitation of their reading history," said EFF Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley. "These companies understand that clear and fair practices around analytics and advertising are essential not only for privacy but for the future of online commerce."
AI

Apple Testing Service That Allows Siri to Answer Calls and Transcribe Voicemail 70

An anonymous reader writes: Apple is reportedly testing a new feature which would allow Siri to answer your calls and then transcribe the voicemails as text messages. The iCloud service would then send users the text of that transcribed voicemail. Apple employees are testing a voicemail service currently and a public release isn't expected until sometime in 2016 in iOS10.
Earth

Clinton Plan To Power Every US Home With Renewables By 2027 Is Achievable 504

Lucas123 writes: As part of her campaign pledge, Hillary Clinton has said she would make it a priority in her first term to increase the number of solar panels by 500M and U.S. installed solar capacity from 21 gigawatts (GW) today to 140GW by the end of 2020. Her plan, is to increase solar, wind and other renewables so that they'd provide 33% of America's electricity by 2027, enough to power every home. While the plan may sound overly ambitious, experts say, it's not. Today, renewables provide about 15% of America's power. Shayle Kann, senior vice president at GTM Research, said the Clinton's renewable energy goal is doable, but with caveats. In order to achieve the goal, current programs, such as federal tax breaks for solar installations (set to expire next year), must continue and future initiatives, such as Obama's Clean Power Plan that will begin in 2018, must not be curtailed. Considering that if elected, Clinton wouldn't take office until 2017, the her campaign goals could be more bravado than reality. Clinton, however, is not alone. While most candidates have yet to announce their clean energy plans, Clinton's Democratic contender, Martin O'Malley, also came out with strong support for the end of fossil fuel use and a full clean energy economy by 2050, and creating a national goal of doubling energy efficiency within 15 years.
Hardware Hacking

Leading the Computer Revolution In a Totalitarian State 75

szczys writes: How do you enter the information age when computers, and the components that go into them, are embargoed by other countries and imports of any value are restricted by your own? This and a myriad of other barriers didn't stop Voja Antonic from building his own computers and teaching others how to do so during the 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond.

He managed to get a TRS-80 into Yugoslavia by having a friend cut the cables between the two boards and send them separately to avoid getting caught in customs. He bootstrapped his own personal computer and published the plans in the country's first computer magazine. It was built by over 8000 people. Check out these stories and his experience of living in the Eastern Bloc and through the war in '90s, all while continuing to build and promote computers in what is now Serbia.
Google

Inside the Failure of Google+ 275

An anonymous reader writes: An article at Mashable walks through the rise and fall of Google+, from the company's worries of being displaced by Facebook to their eventual realization that Google services don't need social hooks. There are quotes from a number of employees and insiders, who mostly agree that the company didn't have the agility to build something so different from their previous services. "Most Google projects started small and grew organically in scale and importance. Buzz, the immediate predecessor to Plus, had barely a dozen people on staff. Plus, by comparison, had upwards of 1,000, sucked up from divisions across the company." Despite early data indicating users just weren't interested in Google+, management pushed for success as the only option. One employee said, "The belief was that we were always just one weird feature away from the thing taking off." Despite a strong feature set, there was no acknowledgment that to beat Facebook, you had to overcome the fact that everybody was already on Facebook.
The Internet

The Web We Have To Save 108

An anonymous reader writes: Hossein Derakhshan endured a six-year prison term in Iran for doing something most of us would take for granted: running a blog. He has a unique perspective — he was heavily involved in internet culture, becoming known as Iran's "blogfather," before suddenly being completely shut off from the online world in 2008. Seven months ago, he was released. When he got settled, he took up his old work of blogging, but was surprised by how much the web has changed in just a few years. Now he decries our reliance on monolithic social streams that prioritize image and meme sharing over the thing that makes the web the web: links.

"The hyperlink represented the open, interconnected spirit of the world wide web—a vision that started with its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. The hyperlink was a way to abandon centralization—all the links, lines and hierarchies—and replace them with something more distributed, a system of nodes and networks. Blogs gave form to that spirit of decentralization: They were windows into lives you'd rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. ... Since I got out of jail, though, I've realized how much the hyperlink has been devalued, almost made obsolete."
Businesses

Nokia's HERE Maps Sold For $3.2 Billion To Audi, BMW and Daimler 54

vivaoporto writes: Nokia announced an agreement to sell its HERE digital mapping and location services business to a consortium of leading automotive companies, comprising AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG (Mercedes brand owner). The transaction values HERE at €2.8 billion ($3.2 billion) with a normalized level of working capital, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Once the mapping unit is sold, Nokia will consist of two businesses: Nokia Networks and Nokia Technologies. The first will continue to provide broadband services and infrastructure while the second will work on "advanced technology development and licensing." Reader jppiiroinen notes that Nokia originally acquired digital mapping provider Navteq in 2007 for $8.1 billion. Once it merged with Nokia, it became the foundation of Nokia's HERE unit.