Tag Archives: mobile applications

IRL: The OnePlus One is everything my iPhone wasn’t

After last month's iPhone event, I was disappointed -- I realized the iPhone 6 and its "Plus" sibling were still catching up to Android in a lot of ways. Regardless, the devoted iPhone fan in me still pre-ordered an iPhone 6 a few days later, in the...

NASA’s High Altitude Glider Can Fire Rockets Into Space from the Air

NASA's High Altitude Glider Can Fire Rockets Into Space from the Air

It still costs an arm and a leg (and sometimes an entire Antares rocket) to lift crews and cargo into space. So until we get around to building that space elevator we've always wanted, NASA will just have to use this drone-towed, pilot-less, rocket-launching glider.

Read more...








Brazil Is Keeping Its Promise to Disconnect from the U.S. Internet

Brazil Is Keeping Its Promise to Disconnect from the U.S. Internet

Brazil was not bluffing last year, when it said that it would disconnect from the United States-controlled internet due to the NSA obscenely invasive surveillance tactics . The country is about to stretch a cable from the northern city of Fortaleza all the way to Portugal. This is a big deal.

Read more...








Samsung’s 3G-ready Gear S watch reaches the US November 7th

Itching to strap Samsung's 3G-equipped Gear S smartwatch on your wrist? If you're in the US, you'll only have to wait one more week. The cellular-capable timepiece is now officially slated to reach American stores on November 7th, including Best Buy,...

FTC Fines Online Dating Site For Using ‘Fake, Computer-Generated Profiles’ To Lure Guys Into Buying Premium Memberships

In the past, we've written about lawsuits involving dating site Match.com and "dating site for married people" Ashley Madison over concerns about fake profiles being set up on the site to lure in paying users. Now it appears the FTC is stepping in on such things, and it's reached a settlement (pdf) with one company, JDI Dating, which runs a bunch of dating sites, for tricking lots of people into buying premium plans based on fake profiles sending messages to "free" users.
According to a complaint filed by the FTC, JDI Dating and William Mark Thomas operate a worldwide dating service via 18 websites, including cupidswand.com, flirtcrowd.com and findmelove.com. The defendants offered a free plan that allowed users to set up a profile with personal information and photos. As soon as a new user set up a free profile, he or she began to receive messages that appeared to be from other members living nearby, expressing romantic interest or a desire to meet. However, users were unable to respond to these messages without upgrading to a paid membership. Membership plans cost from $10 to $30 per month, with subscriptions generally ranging from one to 12 months.

The messages were almost always from fake, computer-generated profiles – “Virtual Cupids” – created by the defendants, with photos and information designed to closely mimic the profiles of real people. A small “v” encircled by a “C” on the profile page was the only indication that the profiles were fake. Users were not likely to see – much less understand – this icon. The fake profiles and messages caused many users to upgrade to paid subscriptions.
It's actually somewhat surprising that they even indicated that the profiles were fake with that tiny VC logo. I would have expected that a company doing this sort of thing wouldn't have even bothered.
Given that this sort of thing seems to happen quite a bit on dating sites, I wonder if lots of other dating sites are now rushing to scrub fake profiles...

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story







Google makes Play Books more student friendly

Google's latest Play Books update for Android makes the app a lot easier to use for reading non-fiction e-books. See, Play Books is perfect if you're just reading something from cover to cover. But if you're using it to read text or reference books...

The Worst Bugs in OS X Yosemite and How to Fix Them

The Worst Bugs in OS X Yosemite and How to Fix Them

There's a lot to like about OS X Yosemite , Apple's brand-new, super-powerful operating system of the future, but a quick glance around the software's official support forums shows that not all users are having a trouble-free experience. If you're struggling with strange bugs and quirks in Yosemite then these are the fixes you can try.

Read more...








3D-Printable Cookie Monster and Grover Figures Hit the MakerBot Store

3D-Printable Cookie Monster and Grover Figures Hit the MakerBot Store

The first series of Sesame Street characters to hit the MakerBot Digital Store weren't exactly its A-list residents. We all love Snuffleupagus, but he can't hold a candle to Big Bird. So thankfully Series 2 is finally here, just in time for Halloween, bringing with it some bigger Sesame Street stars you can 3D print at home including Grover and Cookie Monster.

Read more...








NASA finds the smoking crater left by its crashed dust probe

NASA just spotted a needle in a haystack: the remains of the lunar dust probe LADEE, which was deliberately crashed into the dark side of the moon last year. The satellite was launched from Wallops Island a year ago to determine if lunar dust tends...

Ex Machina Trailer: Sexy Lady Robots Can Love, Too

Here's the trailer for Ex Machina, a sci-fi thriller about a young programmer selected to serve as the human component in a Turing Test on a robot. A really hot lady robot.

Read more...








Reverse Engineering a Blu-ray Drive for Laser Graffiti

Coastermelt

There’s a whole lot of interesting mechanics, optics, and electronics inside a Blu-ray drive, and [scanlime] a.k.a. [Micah Scott] thinks those bits can be reused for some interesting project. [Micah] is reverse engineering one of these drives, with the goal of turning it into a source of cheap, open source holograms and laser installations – something these devices were never meant to do. This means reverse engineering the 3 CPUs inside an external Blu-ray drive, making sense of the firmware, and making this drive do whatever [Micah] wants.

When the idea of reverse engineering a Blu-ray drive struck [Micah], she hopped on Amazon and found the most popular drive out there. It turns out, this is an excellent drive to reverse engineer – there are multiple firmware updates for this drive, an excellent source for the raw data that would be required to reverse engineer it.

[Micah]‘s first effort to reverse engineer the drive seems a little bit odd; she turned the firmware image into a black and white graphic. Figuring out exactly what’s happening in the firmware with that is a fool’s errand, but by looking at the pure black and pure white parts of the graphic, [Micah] was able guess where the bootloader was, and how the firmware image is segmented. In other parts of the code, [Micah] saw thing vertical lines she recognized as ARM code. In another section, thin horizontal black bands revealed code for an 8051. These lines are only a product of how each architecture accesses code, and really only something [Micah] recognizes from doing this a few times before.

The current state of the project is a backdoor that is able to upload new firmware to the drive. It’s in no way a complete project; only the memory for the ARM processor is running new code, and [Micah] still has no idea what’s going on inside some of the other chips. Still, it’s a start, and the beginning of an open source firmware for a Blu-ray drive.

While [Micah] want’s to use these Blu-ray drives for laser graffiti, there are a number of other slightly more useful reasons for the build. With a DVD drive, you can hold a red blood cell in suspension, or use the laser inside to make graphene. Video below.


Filed under: hardware

Study: Solar Energy Will Be as Cheap as Fossil Fuel Energy by 2016

Study: Solar Energy Will Be as Cheap as Fossil Fuel Energy by 2016

A new study on solar energy from Deutsche Bank bears very good news. Thanks to technology and innovation, solar energy will be just as cheap as energy from fossil fuels by 2016. That's basically tomorrow, and it's awesome.

Read more...