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March 6, 2015
lockheed-martin-athena-laser-weapon
The idea of a Death Star-like beam piercing through the sky to zap its target may seem scary, but it's actually a military weapons refinement that could save lives. Directed energy weapons can neutralize other weapons or vehicles without any collateral damage, noted Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael Blades. "Additionally, DE weapons can 'dazzle' sensors so an adversary aircraft cannot attack." [More...]

March 6, 2015
Microsoft on Thursday issued a security advisory acknowledging a vulnerability in all versions of Windows that could allow FREAK exploits. Windows systems previously were thought to be immune to FREAK attacks. "The vulnerability could allow an attacker to force the downgrading of the cipher suites used in an SSL/TLS connection on a Windows client system," the advisory reads. [More...]

March 6, 2015
Almost 17,000 malware alerts surface every week, the Ponemon Institute recently found. Only 4 percent of alerts were investigated, and traditional antivirus products missed nearly 70 percent of malware in the first hour, researchers discovered in a recent Damballa study. Rescanning led to identification of 66 percent of the malware in 24 hours and 72 percent after seven days. [More...]

March 5, 2015
harmonix-rock-band-4-music-video-game
Harmonix on Thursday revealed that the fourth installment of Rock Band will launch this fall on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The news comes about five years after the last title in the franchise made its debut. Harmonix is celebrating the series' return by gifting fans Frank Turner's I Still Believe. It's an appropriate track for a series that has taken some time off. [More...]

March 5, 2015
China should change its tune on new rules for purchases from American high-tech companies if it wants to do business with the United States, President Obama recently warned. China reportedly is planning to ask U.S. high-tech firms to hand over their encryption keys and install security backdoors in their systems to allow surveillance as a counterterrorism measure. [More...]

March 5, 2015
verdun video game
It's fair to say that game developers have missed an opportunity with World War I. It was the first conflict to see aircraft used in combat, the first to see tanks and other armored vehicles make an appearance on the battlefield, and the first war in more than a century to completely draw in the major powers of the world. WWI should be a setting ripe for action and strategy games. [More...]

March 5, 2015
ChaletOS
ChaletOS began as a personal project of developer Dejan Petrovic. This operating system has a familiar Windows-like style, with appealing simplicity and impressive speed. Much of that performance credit goes to the use of the Xfce desktop. The system controls are tweaked to bring unique style-changing capabilities to a classic Linux desktop environment. [More...]

March 4, 2015
nvidia-shield-console
When it was prepping Crysis 3 a couple of years ago, Crytek said it wanted to melt high-end PCs. As an indication of how far mobile gaming has come, Nvidia just announced that the third iteration of Crytek's sci-fi shooter will be available on the Android-based Shield console when it arrives later this year. Shield will stream games from Grid, Nvidia's supercomputer-powered cloud gaming platform. [More...]

March 4, 2015
nikon-d810a-dslr-camera-astrophotography
There's a new Nikon camera that actually won't work for parents eager to flash their cash at a kid's birthday party with an expensive DSLR when a camera phone would work just fine. The D810A has an infrared filter that probably will result in distorted colors when used for everyday purposes. So you might not want to use it for that cute shot of a butterfly nestling on a poppy. [More...]

March 3, 2015
Twitter has announced actions to further protect users of its network -- but it left them vague. The company is rolling out unspecified improvements to its reporting process for content issues including impersonation, self-harm, and the sharing of private and confidential information, aka "doxing." It's also beginning to add new enforcement actions for use against accounts that violate its rules. [More...]

March 3, 2015
President Barack Obama last week made good on his promise to establish a center for cybersecurity information gathered by agencies of the federal government. It's a laudable initiative -- if it works. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will connect the dots regarding malicious foreign cyberthreats to the nation and cyberincidents affecting U.S. national interests. [More...]

March 3, 2015
18F, a development unit within the General Services Administration, was established a year ago to tap into the success of the United Kingdom's Government Digital Services unit by pursuing a similar strategy. The unit is tasked with getting developers from Silicon Valley and the ranks of civic developers all over the country to change how federal technology gets done. [More...]

March 2, 2015
samsung-galaxy-s6-and-s6-edge
Samsung's new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge phones are getting kudos for their aluminum and glass construction. The S6 edge differs from the S6 in that its Gorilla Glass screen curves and wraps around the phone on both sides. The curved edge functions as a secondary display for quick viewing of notifications, access to contacts, and single-handed launching of apps. [More...]

March 2, 2015
LG G Flex 2
At MWC 2015, you'll see curved screens on a lot of new phones. I used to think curved phones were a joke -- but I recently got to play with the LG G-Flex 2, pictured here. I fell in love. Our bodies are curved -- not straight like a typical smartphone. A curved screen phone fits our curves far better than a straight phone -- and it looks more advanced than any other phone in the market. [More...]

February 28, 2015
coolpeds-briefcase-e-scooter
Even for someone endlessly in awe of our ability to traverse continents in just a few hours, traveling is increasingly a chore. Anything I can add to trips to make them even a touch more enjoyable is nothing to sniff at. A suitcase with a built-in, motorized scooter may be just what I need to freshen up journeys. Warning: It's carry-on size, but it's far beyond typical carry-on luggage weight. [More...]

February 27, 2015
apple-watch-march-9-media-event-spring-forward
The fog shrouding the Apple Watch won't be lifted on March 9. Apple's invite to its media event displays the tease "Spring Forward," which likely refers to the shift in daylight savings time -- and time itself. Sure, we'll learn more about the Apple Watch's functionality, but the mystery is whether most of us new buyers suddenly will turn into watch wearers for longer than a few months. [More...]

February 27, 2015
Researchers at Google's DeepMind subsidiary in England have developed an artificial agent they call a "deep Q-network" that learned to play 49 classic Atari 2600 arcade games by just diving in. The DQN algorithm performed at more than 75 percent of the level of a professional player in more than half the games. It achieved the maximum attainable scores in certain games, such as Breakout. [More...]

February 26, 2015
Healthcare providers have garnered growing interest from hackers in recent months. More evidence of that trend appeared last week in a report on email trust. An email that appeared to come from a healthcare company was four times more likely to be fraudulent than an email purportedly from a social media company like Facebook, one of the largest creators of email on the Internet, Agari found. [More...]

February 26, 2015
If you favor the OS X environment, Pearl OS might be a Linux distro to feed your fancy. Pearl OS is a revival of the discontinued Pear OS distro. It picks up where Pear left off in early 2014. Pearl OS has two desktop versions: XFCE and MATE. Both are based on Ubuntu Linux distro version 14.04 Mini release. The two flavors of Pearl OS are customized to look and act like the OS X operating system. [More...]

February 25, 2015
volvo-drive-me-autonomous-self-driving-cars-vehicles
Volvo last week revealed the latest developments in its Drive Me project, showing off a complete system that could make it possible to integrate self-driving cars into regular traffic with drivers behind the wheel. Volvo is making progress toward its goal of releasing 100 self-driving vehicles to consumers on selected roads around Gothenburg -- Sweden's second largest city -- by 2017. [More...]

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