Category Archives: Technews

Chromebooks Sales Growing But Still A Drop In The Devices Ocean

By Natasha Lomas

Chromebook2_015_Detail2_Titanium Gray

Chromebook sales are rising, fueled predominantly by the North American education sector, but despite some increase in sales the Google OS-powered laptops will remain a niche market for next five years, according to analyst Gartner. Read More

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Via: TechCrunch Gadgets


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GUN Linux: On the range with TrackingPoint’s new AR-15s

By Lee Hutchinson

A near-production model of TrackingPoint’s AR 556, the 5.56mm NATO precision guided firearm.
Lee Hutchinson

Since first running into TrackingPoint at CES 2013, we’ve kept tabs on the Austin-based company and its Linux-powered rifles, which it collectively calls “Precision Guided Firearms,” or PGFs. We got to spend a few hours on the range with TrackingPoint’s first round of near-production bolt-action weapons last March, when my photojournalist buddy Steven Michael nailed a target at 1,008 yards—about 0.91 kilometers—on his first try, in spite of never having fired a rifle before.

But big, heavy, bolt-action rifles were only the beginning, with the underlying idea being that the company would scale its weapons both up and also down in size. And, last month, we day tripped back out to the Best of the West range just outside of Austin in Liberty Hill to lay hands on TrackingPoint’s newest set of PGFs, the TP AR 556 and TP AR 762. Unlike the big XS-series long rifles we fired last time, these newest PGFs are semiautomatic carbines—the type of weapon that the media usually (and incorrectly) refers to as “assault rifles.”

But the smaller form factor wasn’t the only thing that TrackingPoint had on tap for our demo that day. Last trip out, the highlight was hitting targets at 1,000 yards; this time, we’d be aiming at targets a bit closer in… but aiming through a tiny wearable screen while looking backward, over the shoulder.

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Via: Ars Technica Gadgets

Linux and guns, they go together like baseball and beer.

Tim


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Microsoft’s 1994 website looked like a Geocities page

By Tom Warren

Microsoft’s website has been online for 20 years now, and the company is celebrating by recreating its original look and feel. It’s a throwback to the days of dial-up modems when you’d access the internet through a series of terribly high-pitched buzzing sounds using a Windows 3.11 machine and AOL. Thankfully we’ve moved on from those terrible times, but it’s still nice to look back at the days when Internet Explorer didn’t exist, some browsers didn’t used to support images, or you’d have to wait five seconds for images to load. If you’re looking for even more nostalgia, there’s always the untouched Space Jam website to browse through too.

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Via: The Verge


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Mount your hard drive… on your RAM?

By Andrew Cunningham

A weird place for an SSD.
Apacer

PC makers do all kinds of things to save space inside their cases, but this is a new one to us: Apacer is apparently sampling sticks of DDR3 desktop RAM that include slots for M.2 SSD add-in boards and CFast CompactFlash cards, allowing you to mount storage devices directly to your RAM rather than using slots on the motherboard. The slots will still use the SATA III interface to transfer data—they’re just mounted to the RAM and they draw power through the RAM slot.

These sticks will support all three lengths of M.2 SSD boards (2242, 2260, and 2280). That’s especially useful because, as AnandTech points out, only one mini-ITX desktop motherboard can directly support full-length M.2 boards. Full-length M.2 boards are necessary to accommodate higher storage capacities—currently available drives top out at 512GB, but 1TB drives are on the horizon.

Connectors visible on top of the DIMMs would likely need to be connected to the SATA connectors on your motherboard; unfortunately it doesn’t look like these can take advantage of the faster PCI-Express flavor of M.2.

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Via: Ars Technica Gadgets


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This thumbdrive hacks computers. “BadUSB” exploit makes devices turn “evil”

By Dan Goodin

When creators of the state-sponsored Stuxnet worm used a USB stick to infect air-gapped computers inside Iran’s heavily fortified Natanz nuclear facility, trust in the ubiquitous storage medium suffered a devastating blow. Now, white-hat hackers have devised a feat even more seminal—an exploit that transforms keyboards, Web cams, and other types of USB-connected devices into highly programmable attack platforms that can’t be detected by today’s defenses.

Dubbed BadUSB, the hack reprograms embedded firmware to give USB devices new, covert capabilities. In a demonstration scheduled at next week’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a USB drive, for instance, will take on the ability to act as a keyboard that surreptitiously types malicious commands into attached computers. A different drive will similarly be reprogrammed to act as a network card that causes connected computers to connect to malicious sites impersonating Google, Facebook or other trusted destinations. The presenters will demonstrate similar hacks that work against Android phones when attached to targeted computers. They say their technique will work on Web cams, keyboards, and most other types of USB-enabled devices.

“Please don’t do anything evil”

“If you put anything into your USB [slot], it extends a lot of trust,” Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at Security Research Labs in Berlin, told Ars. “Whatever it is, there could always be some code running in that device that runs maliciously. Every time anybody connects a USB device to your computer, you fully trust them with your computer. It’s the equivalent of [saying] ‘here’s my computer; I’m going to walk away for 10 minutes. Please don’t do anything evil.”

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Via: Ars Technica Gadgets


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