Government

The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the watching-the-watchers dept.
New submitter Cuillere writes: In the fall of 2014, a hacker demanded the Seattle Police Department release all of their body and dash cam video footage, prompting chaos within the institution. Although it was a legal request per Washington state's disclosure laws, Seattle's PD wasn't prepared to handle the repercussions of divulging such sensitive material — and so much of it. The request involved 360 TB of data spread across 1.6 million recordings over 6 years. All recordings had to be manually reviewed and redacted to cut out "children, medical or mental health incidents, confidential informants, or victims or bystanders who did not want to be recorded," so fulfilling the request was simply not within the department's capabilities. Thus, they took a different strategy: they hired the hacker and put him to work on developing an automated redaction system. "Their vision is of an officer simply docking her body cam at the end of a shift. The footage would then be automatically uploaded to storage, either locally or in the cloud, over-redacted for privacy and posted online for everyone to see within a day."
Android

Factory Reset On Millions of Android Devices Doesn't Wipe Storage 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the stucking-around dept.
Bismillah writes: Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon of Cambridge University studied a range of Android devices and found that even though a "factory reset" is supposed to fully wipe storage, it often doesn't. Interestingly enough, full-device encryption could be compromised by the incomplete wiping too. ITnews reports: "The researchers estimated that 500 million Android devices may not fully wipe device disk partitions. As many as 630 million phones may not wipe internal SD cards. Five 'critical failures' were outlined in the researchers' Security Analysis of Android Factory Resets paper.
Transportation

GM's Exec. Chief Engineer For Electric Vehicles Pam Fletcher Answers Your Question 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Pam Fletcher was propulsion system chief engineer on the first Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and is now executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles at GM, overseeing electrified vehicles company-wide. A while ago you had a chance to ask about her work and the future of electric cars. Below you'll find her answers to your questions.
Bug

Linux 4.0 Has a File-System Corruption Problem, RAID Users Warned 212

Posted by timothy
from the don't-store-the-ark-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes: For the past few days kernel developers and Linux users have been investigating an EXT4 file-system corruption issue affecting the latest stable kernel series (Linux 4.0) and the current development code (Linux 4.1). It turns out that Linux users running the EXT4 file-system on a RAID0 configuration can easily destroy their file-system with this newest "stable" kernel. The cause and fix have materialized but it hasn't yet worked its way out into the mainline kernel, thus users should be warned before quickly upgrading to the new kernel on systems with EXT4 and RAID0.
Power

Hydrogen-Powered Drone Can Fly For 4 Hours at a Time 112

Posted by samzenpus
from the different-way-to-fly dept.
stowie writes: The Hycopter uses its frame to store energy in the form of hydrogen instead of air. With less lift power required, its fuel cell turns the hydrogen in its frame into electricity to power its rotors. The drone can fly for four hours at a time and 2.5 hours when carrying a 2.2-pound payload. “By removing the design silos that typically separate the energy storage component from UAV frame development - we opened up a whole new category in the drone market, in-between battery and combustion engine systems,” says CEO Taras Wankewycz.
Microsoft

In-Database R Coming To SQL Server 2016 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the r,-me-hearties dept.
theodp writes: Wondering what kind of things Microsoft might do with its purchase of Revolution Analytics? Over at the Revolutions blog, David Smith announces that in-database R is coming to SQL Server 2016. "With this update," Smith writes, "data scientists will no longer need to extract data from SQL server via ODBC to analyze it with R. Instead, you will be able to take your R code to the data, where it will be run inside a sandbox process within SQL Server itself. This eliminates the time and storage required to move the data, and gives you all the power of R and CRAN packages to apply to your database." It'll no doubt intrigue Data Scientist types, but the devil's in the final details, which Microsoft was still cagey about when it talked-the-not-exactly-glitch-free-talk (starts @57:00) earlier this month at Ignite. So, brush up your R, kids, and you can see how Microsoft walks the in-database-walk when SQL Server 2016 public preview rolls out this summer.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format? 200

Posted by timothy
from the when-plaintext-just-won't-do dept.
kramer2718 writes: I am working on a project that requires uploading and storing of documents. Although the application will need to allow uploading of .docx, doc, .pdf, etc, I'd like to store the documents in a standard open format that will allow easy search, compression, rendering, etc. Which open document format is the best? Since "best" can be highly driven by circumstances, please explain your reasoning, too.
Businesses

Is Big Data Leaving Hadoop Behind? 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-believe-the-hype dept.
knightsirius writes: Big Data was seen as one the next big drivers of computing economy, and Hadoop was seen as a key component of the plans. However, Hadoop has had a less than stellar six months, beginning with the lackluster Hortonworks IPO last December and the security concerns raised by some analysts.. Another survey records only a quarter of big data decision makers actively considering Hadoop. With rival Apache Spark on the rise, is Hadoop being bypassed in big data solutions?
Medicine

Dissolvable Electronic Stent Can Monitor Blocked Arteries 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-stents-never-die,-they-just-fade-away dept.
ckwu writes: To restore blood flow in a narrowed or blocked artery, doctors can implant a metal stent to hold open the vessel. But over time, stents can cause inflammation and turbulent blood flow that lead to new blockages. Now, researchers have designed a stent carrying a suite of onboard electronic blood-flow and temperature sensors, drug delivery particles, data storage, and communication capabilities to detect and overcome these problems. The entire device is designed to dissolve as the artery heals. Medical device companies and cardiologists could look at this electronic stent as a kind of menu from which they can pick whatever components are most promising for treating certain kinds of cardiovascular disease, the researchers say.
Data Storage

Enterprise SSDs, Powered Off, Potentially Lose Data In a Week 184

Posted by timothy
from the other-side-of-solid-state's-speed dept.
New submitter Mal-2 writes with a selection from IB Times of special interest for anyone replacing hard disks with solid state drives: The standards body for the microelectronics industry has found that Solid State Drives (SSD) can start to lose their data and become corrupted if they are left without power for as little as a week. ... According to a recent presentation (PDF) by Seagate's Alvin Cox, who is also chairman of the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC), the period of time that data will be retained on an SSD is halved for every 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature in the area where the SSD is stored. If you have switched to SSD for either personal or business use, do you follow the recommendation here that spinning-disk media be used as backup as well?
Data Storage

Samsung's SSD 840 Read Performance Degradation Explained 65

Posted by timothy
from the failure-to-spin-is-actually-ok-in-this-case dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to TechSpot's explanation of the reason behind the performance degradation noticed by many purchasers of certain models of Samsung SSD (the 840 and 840 EVO), and an evaluation of the firmware updates that the firm has released to address is. From the piece, a mixed but positive opinion of the second and latest of these firmware releases: "It’s not an elegant fix, and it’s also a fix that will degrade the lifetime of the NAND since the total numbers of writes it’s meant to withstand is limited. But as we have witnessed in Tech Report’s extensive durability test there is a ton of headroom in how NAND is rated, so in my opinion this is not a problem. Heck, the Samsung 840 even outlasted two MLC drives. As of writing, the new firmware has only been released for the 2.5” model of the SSD 840 EVO, so users of the 840 EVO mSATA model still have to be patient. It should also be noted that the new firmware does not seem to work well with the TRIM implementation in Linux, as this user shared how file system corruption occurs if discard is enabled."
Cloud

Dropbox Moves Accounts Outside North America To Ireland 135

Posted by timothy
from the which-is-technically-outside-of-north-america dept.
monkeyzoo writes: Similar to a previous announcement by Twitter, Dropbox has changed its Terms of Service for users outside of North America (USA/Canada/Mexico) such that services will now be provided out of Ireland. Will other companies follow this trend and leave the USA (and the jurisdiction of the NSA)? Note, the announcement states that North American users are not able to opt into the Irish Terms of Service.
Debian

$9 Open Source Computer Blows Past Crowdfunding Goal 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the computer-chips-soon-to-be-cheaper-than-potato-chips dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A team of engineers and artists has launched a Kickstarter campaign for C.H.I.P., a small computer that costs $9. The campaign met and far exceeded its $50,000 goal on the first day. The device runs an R8 ARM CPU clocked at 1 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and runs a version of Debian. The price was enabled by two things: super-cheap Chinese tablets pushing down processor costs, and support from manufacturer Allwinner to make it even cheaper. The team is also building breakout boards for VGA and HDMI connections, as well as one with a tiny LCD screen, keyboard, and battery. Importantly, "all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and use."
Security

USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device 288

Posted by timothy
from the content-scrambling-system dept.
Orome1 writes with a snippet from a report at net-security.org; a hacker going by Hephaestos has shared with the world a Python script that, when put on an USB thumb drive, turns the device in an effective kill switch for the computer to which it's plugged in. USBkill, as the programmer dubbed it, "waits for a change on your USB ports, then immediately kills your computer." The device would be useful "in case the police comes busting in, or steals your laptop from you when you are at a public library," Hephaestos explained.
Power

Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs 317

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-on-the-wall dept.
Technologist Ramez Naam (hat tip to Tyler Cowen's "Marginal Revolution" blog) has taken a look at the economics of Tesla's new wall-mounted household battery system, and concludes that it's "almost there," at least for many places in the world -- and seems to already make sense in some. From his analysis: For some parts of the US with time-of-use plans, this battery is right on the edge of being profitable. From a solar storage perspective, for most of the US, where Net Metering exists, this battery isn’t quite cheap enough. But it’s in the right ballpark. And that means a lot. Net Metering plans in the US are filling up. California’s may be full by the end of 2016 or 2017, modulo additional legal changes. That would severely impact the economics of solar. But the Tesla battery hedges against that. In the absence of Net Metering, in an expensive electricity state with lots of sun, the battery would allow solar owners to save power for the evening or night-time hours in a cost effective way. And with another factor of 2 price reduction, it would be a slam dunk economically for solar storage anywhere Net Metering was full, where rates were pushed down excessively, or where such laws didn’t exist. That is also a policy tool in debates with utilities. If they see Net Metering reductions as a tool to slow rooftop solar, they’ll be forced to confront the fact that solar owners with cheap batteries are less dependent on Net Metering. ... And the cost of batteries is plunging fast. Tesla will get that 2x price reduction within 3-5 years, if not faster.
Power

Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage 334

Posted by Soulskill
from the investing-in-wires-is-boring-but-necessary dept.
Lucas123 writes: Last year, renewable energy sources accounted for half of new installed electric-generation capacity (natural gas units made up most of the remainder). As more photovoltaic panels are installed on rooftops around the nation, an antiquated power grid is being overburdened by a bidirectional load its was never engineered to handle. The Hawaiian Electric Company, for example, said it's struggling with electricity "backflow" that could destabilize its system. Batteries for distributed renewable power has the potential to mitigate the load on the national grid by allowing a redistribution of power during peak hours. Because of this, Tesla, which is expected to announce batteries for homes and utilities on Thursday, and others are targeting a market estimated to be worth $1.2B by 2019. Along with taking up some of the load during peak load, battery capacity can be used when power isn't being generated by renewable systems, such as at night and during inclement weather. That also reduces grid demand.
Power

Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes 299

Posted by timothy
from the but-in-the-meantime-here's-this-preemptive-announcement dept.
Okian Warrior writes: Billionaire Elon Musk will announce next week that Tesla will begin offering battery-based energy storage for residential and commercial customers. The batteries power up overnight when energy companies typically charge less for electricity, then are used during the day to power a home. In a pilot project, Tesla has already begun offering home batteries to SolarCity (SCTY) customers, a solar power company for which Musk serves as chairman. Currently 330 U.S. households are running on Tesla's batteries in California. The batteries start at about $13,000, though California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PCG) offers customers a 50% rebate. The batteries are three-feet high by 2.5-feet wide, and need to be installed at least a foot and a half off the ground. They can be controlled with a Web app and a smartphone app.
Intel

Intel 'Compute Stick' PC-Over-HDMI Dongle Launched, Tested 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the minimally-elegant-product-names dept.
MojoKid writes: Intel has officially announced the availability of their Compute Stick HDMI dongle, and has lifted the embargo on early tests with the device. The Compute Stick is essentially a fully-functional, low-power, Atom-based system with memory, storage, and an OS, crammed into a dongle about 10cm long. There will initially be two compute sticks made available: one running Windows (model STCK1A32WFC) and another running Ubuntu (model STCK1A8LFC). The Windows 8.1 version of the Compute Stick is packing an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, with a single-channel of 2GB of DDR3L-1333 RAM and 32GB of internal storage, though out of the box only 19.2GB is usable. The Ubuntu version of the Compute Stick has as a similar CPU, but is packing only 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. All sticks have USB and MicroSD expansion capability. It doesn't burn through any benchmarks, but for multi-media playback, basic computing tasks, web browsing, HD video, or remote access, the Compute Stick has enough muscle to get the job done, and it's cheap, too: $99 — $149.
Intel

New PCIe SSDs Load Games, Apps As Fast As Old SATA Drives 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-don't-need-a-race-car-if-you're-just-driving-to-work dept.
crookedvulture writes Slashdot has covered a bunch of new PCI Express SSDs over the past month, and for good reason. The latest crop offers much higher sequential and random I/O rates than predecessors based on old-school Serial ATA interfaces. They're also compatible with new protocols, like NVM Express, which reduce overhead and improve scaling under demanding loads. As one might expect, these new PCIe drives destroy the competition in targeted benchmarks, hitting top speeds several times faster than even the best SATA SSDs can muster. The thing is, PCIe SSDs don't load games or common application data any faster than current incumbents—or even consumer-grade SSDs from five years ago. That's very different from the initial transition from mechanical to solid-state storage, where load times improved noticeably for just about everything. Servers and workstations can no doubt take advantage of the extra oomph that PCIe SSDs provide, but desktop users may struggle to find scenarios where PCIe SSDs offer palpable performance improvements over even budget-oriented SATA drives.
Data Storage

Kingston HyperX Predator SSD Takes Gumstick M.2 PCIe Drives To 1.4GB/sec 51

Posted by timothy
from the sure-hope-those-drives-appreciated-it dept.
MojoKid writes Kingston recently launched their HyperX Predator PCIe SSD that is targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts but is much less expensive than enterprise-class PCIe offerings that are currently in market. Kits are available in a couple of capacities and form factors at 240GB and 480GB. All of the drives adhere to the 80mm M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor and have PCIe 2.0 x4 connections, but are sold both with and without a half-height, half-length adapter card, if you'd like to drop it into a standard PCI Express slot. At the heart of the Kingston HyperX Predator is Marvell's latest 88SS9293 controller. The Marvell 88SS9293 is paired to a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND. The drives are rated for read speeds up to 1.4GB/s and writes of 1GB/s and 130 – 160K random 4K IOPS. In the benchmarks, the 480GB model put up strong numbers. At roughly $1 per GiB, the HyperX Predator is about on par with Intel's faster SSD 750, but unlike Intel's new NVMe solution, the Kingston drive will work in all legacy platforms as well, not just Z97 and X99 boards with a compatible UEFI BIOS.