Sabbetus writes "Seattle based Bitcoin startup CoinLab secured a $500,000 investment from various investors such as Silicon Valley firm Draper Associates and angel investor Geoff Entress. CoinLab is an emerging umbrella group for cultivating and launching innovative Bitcoin projects. CEO Vessenes said 'if there is a currency that can trade around the world, it's semi-anonymous, it's instant, it's not controlled by government or bank, what's the total value of that currency? The answer to that is, if it works, it's gotta be in the billions. It just has to be for all the reasons you might want to send money around the world.' This type of talk is common from Bitcoin enthusiasts but apparently seasoned investors are starting to agree. Forbes explains the details of their business plan but in short it has to do with tapping the GPU mining potential of gamers, more specifically gamers of free-to-play games. This would add a new revenue stream for online game companies that are trying to provide free games profitably."
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FhnuZoag writes "A backdoor has been found in Canadian based RuggedCom's 'Rugged Operating System', providing easy access to anyone with the devices's MAC address — something often publically displayed. Rugged OS is being used in a wide range of applications, including traffic control, power generation, and even U.S. Navy bases. The backdoor was first found over a year ago, and RuggedCom have so far refused to patch out the exploit." The exploit is trivial: each device has a permanent "factory" user, and an automatically generated password derived from the MAC.
ananyo writes "Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, whose work on the H5N1 avian flu virus has been embroiled in controversy, has now agreed to apply for an export permit to submit his work to the journal Science. Fouchier's paper is one of two reporting the creation of forms of the H5N1 virus capable of spreading between mammals. The other, by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Tokyo, and his colleagues, has already been submitted to Nature. Fouchier had said last week that he intended to defy the government and submit the work to Science without seeking the export permit that the Dutch government says is required." In related news, renek noted that the U.S. NIH director supports publishing the papers in full.
betterunixthanunix writes "Another remailer has been compromised by the FBI, who made a forensic image of the hard disk of a remailer located in Austria. The remailer operator has reissued the remailer keys, but warns that messages previously sent through the remailer could be decrypted. The operator also warns that law enforcement agents had an opportunity to install a back door, and that a complete rebuild of the system will take some time."
Google85 writes "Beginning April 23rd, Intel, through Lava International, began selling the Xolo X900 smartphone in India for $420, Anandtech has just published a review of the smartphone which runs Android on x86 and uses binary translation as the mitigation for both libraries and NDK applications that haven't yet been ported to x86."
DesScorp writes "James Lovelock, the scientist that came up with the 'Gaia Theory' and a prominent herald of climate change, once predicted utter disaster for the planet from climate change, writing 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.' Now Lovelock is walking back his rhetoric, admitting that he and other prominent global warming advocates were being alarmists. In a new interview with MSNBC he says: '"The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened," Lovelock said. "The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," he said. "The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that," he added.' Lovelock still believes the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace."
nukem996 writes "After initially reporting in 2010 that Valve was working on a native GNU/Linux client, one has finally been confirmed. Michael Larabel recently visited Valve's Bellvue, WA based office and has been able to see it himself. Included in the article are screenshots of the client running and speculation of a release." Valve has yet to officially comment, but you'd hope they wouldn't invite someone up to their offices and send them home to spew lies.
Cleveland-based programmer Paul Schneider, better known both online and in person as Froggy, first organized Notacon after trips to HOPE and other hacker cons gave him the idea; there weren't any gatherings like it in Cleveland at the time, and attending HOPE cost more in money and time than many locals would have been willing to justify for a weekend. Froggy sensed there was a big enough community in Cleveland of hackers, musicians, artists and others to support one, though. So he wrangled space, put out the word, and lined up enough presentations to make it happen. Now, Notacon's been going on for nine years straight (and year 10 is already in the works). In that time, Froggy's developed some thoughts about how to pull off organizing a gathering that involves hundreds of people at a time — and not just any people, but ones with soldering guns, nerf guns, fencing sabers, a lot of electrical equipment, and sometimes (egads!) even children. Froggy is quick to credit the dozens of people — about 20 core staff, and others with smaller but important roles — who also take part in planning and running the conference. Finding hard-working, like-minded souls may be the most universal part of his advice on running a similar event; watch the video interview for more.
Sci-Fi author Charlie Stross was recently put in the position of offering his thoughts to book publisher Macmillan on why eBook DRM is a terrible thing — not just for consumers, but for publishers, too. He makes a strong case that the removal of DRM, while not an immediate financial boon, will strongly benefit publishers in years to come through increased goodwill from users, greater leverage against Amazon's near-monopoly on distribution, and better platform interoperability. "Within 5 years we will be seeing a radically different electronic landscape. Unlocking the readers' book collections will force Amazon and B&N and their future competitors to support migration (if they want to compete for each others' customers). So hopefully it will promote the transition from the near-monopoly we had before the agency model, via the oligopoly we have today, to a truly competitive retail market that also supports midlist sales." Users have been railing against DRM for years, but it appears the publishers are finally starting to listen.
New submitter sethopia writes "Brooklyn Law School's Incubator and Policy Clinic (BLIP) hosted its first 'Legal Hackathon.' Instead of hacking computer code, attendees — mostly lawyers, law students, coders, and entrepreneurs — used the hacking ethos to devise technologically sophisticated solutions to legal problems. These included attempts to crowdsource mayoral candidacies in New York City and hacking model privacy policies for ISPs."
An anonymous reader writes "It's been one year since Google's $700 million acquisition of ITA Software was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice after an antitrust review. So what does the search giant's strategy in online travel look like now? Google's Flight Search and Hotel Finder tools have met with mixed reviews in recent months, but a new bit of analysis argues that the future of travel is not about search, it's about data. More specifically, Google wants to make available everything from airfares and restaurant reviews to maps and transit schedules, throughout the entire travel process. And it wants to use travelers' online behavior to serve up better targeted ads and content across all of Google's sites and services."
New submitter Serapth writes "Sony recently released the PlayStation Suite SDK to open beta. Using PSS, people are able to write games for various PlayStation certified devices in a C#/Mono based environment. This post takes a look at what's included in the SDK, which, surprisingly, is quite a bit."
nicholast writes "The New Yorker has a story by Ken Auletta about the connections between Stanford and Silicon Valley. The piece explains how important the university is to tech companies and venture capital firms, but it also questions whether Stanford has become too focused on wealth. 'It's an atmosphere that can be toxic to the mission of the university as a place of refuge, contemplation, and investigation for its own sake,' says one professor. The piece also explains Stanford's conflicted thoughts about distance education, which could transform the university or prove to be a threat to it."
CWmike writes "Google built a 'clean room' version of Java and did not use Sun's intellectual property, Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, testified in court Tuesday. Schmidt said its use of Java in Android was 'legally correct.' On this day seven of the trial, Schmidt gave the jury a brief history of Java, describing its release as 'an almost religious moment.' He told the jury that Google had once hoped to partner with Sun to develop Android using Java, but that negotiations broke off because Google wanted Android to be open source, and Sun was unwilling to give up that much control over Java. Instead, Schmidt said, Google created the 'clean room' version of Java that didn't use Sun's protected code. Its engineers invented 'a completely different approach' to the way Java worked internally, Schmidt testified."
New submitter wave9x writes "The United States Department of Agriculture confirmed today that the nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sometimes referred to as 'mad cow disease' was found in a dairy cow in California. The animal has been euthanized and the carcass is being being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed."