itwbennett writes "Microsoft dropped a bomb yesterday: they won't be showing new hardware this year or 'anytime soon.' Microsoft told Kotaku that '2012 is all about Xbox 360.' Meanwhile, Bloomberg's mysterious sources are saying that Microsoft 'may show the successor to its Xbox 360 in June 2013 at the E3 conference and put it on sale that same year.' This would 'be a fast journey from announcement to launch,' says Peter Smith, 'but it'd mean we'd still get a new Xbox for holiday 2013, which is about the earliest anyone has expected it to arrive anyway.'"
mask.of.sanity writes "A working proof of concept has been developed for a dangerous vulnerability in Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The hole stands out because many organizations use RDP to work from home or access cloud computing services. Only days after a patch was released, a bounty was offered for devising an exploit, and later a working proof of concept emerged. Chinese researchers were the first to reveal it, and security professionals have found it causes a blue screen of death in Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 machines. Many organizations won't apply the patch and many suspect researchers are only days away from weaponizing the code."
Mr_Blank writes "Cameras at UK petrol stations will automatically stop uninsured or untaxed vehicles from being filled with fuel, under new government plans. Downing Street officials hope the hi-tech system will crack down on the 1.4 million motorists who drive without insurance. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are already fitted in thousands of petrol station forecourts. Drivers can only fill their cars with fuel once the camera has captured and logged the vehicle's number plate. Currently the system is designed to deter motorists from driving off without paying for petrol. But under the new plans, the cameras will automatically cross-refererence with the DVLA's huge database."
itwbennett writes "If you drew the short straw among your Minecraft-playing friends and ended up running the game server, this news is for you. A YCombinator-funded startup called Minefold will handle all the server admin tasks for just $5 a month. 'Minefold isn't the first firm to offer servers dedicated to game hosting (see for example gameservers.com) but as far as I know they're the first to structure things so each player pays his own way,' writes Peter Smith. 'In other words, if I want to set up a Call of Duty 4 server at Gameservers I can, but it'll cost me (for example) $15.95/month for a 16 player server. So I pay Gameservers and I get my buddies all to send me a few bucks to defray the costs. It's a messy system. Using the Minefold model, everyone would pay $5/month to play wherever they want. On my server today, on someone else's server tomorrow and on their own server the day after that.'"
eldavojohn writes "China's rare earth monopoly has resulted in a shortage as China blocks their export and the rest of the world resumes their operations. Now, in a first-ever joint filing from three members of the World Trade Organization, Japan, the EU and the U.S. are not sitting idly by as China repeatedly ignores the WTO's orders to export rare earth metals and raw materials at a fair price to other countries. China claims the embargoes are in place to protect its environment, while Obama denounces China as being unfair and not playing by the rules of the WTO. In 2009, the WTO released a report (PDF) that explained how actions like China's hurt trade partners."
snydeq writes "IT pros feeling the pressure to boost tech skills should expect little support from their current employers, according to a recent report on IT skills. '9 in 10 business managers see gaps in workers' skill sets, yet organizations are more likely to outsource a task or hire someone new than invest in training an existing staff. Perhaps worse, a significant amount of training received by IT doesn't translate to skills they actually use on the job.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at Cambridge University have used Lego Mindstorms robots to create an artificial bone-like substance. The toy robots proved to be much easier to set up and vastly more economical than more high-tech solutions. Their research is featured in a video for the 2012 Google Science Fair."
New submitter labnet writes with this excerpt from news.com.au: "University of New South Wales School of Physics professor Victor Flambaum has found a method of timekeeping nearly 100 times more accurate than the best atomic clocks. By using the orbit of a neutron around an atomic nucleus he says the system stays accurate to within 1/20th of a second over billions of years. Although perhaps not for daily use, the technology could prove valuable in science experiments where chronological accuracy is paramount, Prof Flambaum said."
snydeq writes with the opinion that Microsoft can afford Windows 8 failing on the desktop. From the article: "Windows 8 is an experiment that may well fail, but Microsoft will cull invaluable feedback for Windows 9 in the process, long before Windows 7 runs out of gas, writes InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp. 'Can Microsoft really afford to alienate one of its biggest market segments for a whole product cycle? In a word: Yes. In fact, doing something this risky might well be vital to Microsoft's survival,' Yegulalp writes. 'Microsoft needs to gamble, and right now might well be the best time for the company to do it. The company needs to learn from its mistakes as quickly and nimbly as they can — and then turn around and make Windows 9 exceed all of our expectations.'" Microsoft has managed to weather several OS flops (Windows Me anyone?) thanks to their domination of the market, but with Android gadgets and iPhones becoming pervasive can they pull it off again?
MrSeb writes about a really cool project from Microsoft's speech research group. From the article: "Microsoft Research has shown off software that translates your spoken words into another language while preserving the accent, timbre, and intonation of your actual voice. In a demo of the prototype software, Rick Rashid, Microsoft's chief research officer, said a long sentence in English, and then had it translated into Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin. You can definitely hear an edge of digitized 'Microsoft Sam,' but overall it's remarkable how the three translations still sound just like Rashid. The translation requires an hour of training, but after that there's no reason why it couldn't be run in real time on a smartphone, or near-real-time with a cloud backend. Imagine this tech in a two-way setup. You speak into your smartphone, and it comes out in their language. Then, the person you're talking to speaks into your smartphone and their voice comes out in your language." The Techfest 2012 keynote has a demo of the technology around minute 13:00.
christoofar writes "Gawker founder Nick Denton says online comments have proven themselves to be not worth the trouble, a waste of resources, and contribute nothing to online conversation or even capture the intelligence of readers. From the article: 'In the early days of the Internet, there was hope that the unprecedented tool for global communication would lead to thoughtful sharing and discussion on its most popular sites. A decade and a half later, the very idea is laughable, says [Denton]. "It didn't happen," said Denton, whose properties include the blogs Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo, io9 and Lifehacker. "It's a promise that has so not happened that people don't even have that ambition anymore. The idea of capturing the intelligence of the readership — that's a joke."'"
An anonymous reader writes "X-Prize Founder Peter Diamandis, speaking at SXSW, says he wants to set up a $10 million prize for fixing education — but he needs help figuring out how to target the problem. From the article: 'He said he has considered multiple directions that an Education X Prize could take, such as coming up with better ways to crowd-source education, or rewarding the creation of "powerful, addictive game" that promotes education. But he isn’t sure which way to go. There’s no shortage of high-tech visionaries and tycoons these days, running around with ideas about how to fix education. Many of them are finding, though, that technology alone isn’t enough. Exciting ideas founder quickly if they don’t sustain motivation in students who perform at widely different levels. Other challenges include the need to engage effectively with school districts, teachers and parents.'"
Trailrunner7 writes "When the long arm of the law reached in to arrest members of Anonymous's senior leadership on Tuesday, speculation immediately turned to the identities of the six men behind the Guy Fawkes mask. With the benefit of hindsight, it turns out that many had been hiding in plain sight, with day jobs, burgeoning online lives and — for those who knew where to look — plenty of clues about their extracurricular activities on behalf of the world's most famous hacking crew. Two of the accused, Darren Martyn (aka 'pwnsauce,' 'raepsauce,' and 'networkkitten,') and Donncha O'Cearbhail, formerly known as Donncha Carroll (aka 'Palladium'), sported significant online footprints and made little effort to hide their affinity for hacking. In other areas, however, Martyn (who was reported to be 25, but claimed to be 19), seemed to be on his way to bigger and better things. He was a local chapter leader of the Open Web Application Security Project in Galway, Ireland. He spent some of his free time with a small collective of computer researchers with Insecurety Research, under the name 'infodox.'"
Tackhead writes "Hot on the hooves of Sergey Glazunov's hack 5-minutes into Pwn2Own, an image of an axe-wielding pink pony was the mark of success for a hacker with the handle of Pinkie Pie. Pinkie Pie subtly tweaked Chromium's sandbox design by chaining together three zero-day vulnerabilities, thereby widening his appeal to $60K in prize money, another shot at a job opportunity at the Googleplex, and instantly making Google's $1M Pwnium contest about 20% cooler. (Let the record show that Slashdot was six years ahead of this particular curve, and that April Fool's Day is less than a month away.)"