Forgot your password?

Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


All Over But the Funding: Open Hardware Spectrometer Kit 62

Posted by timothy
from the what-is-the-exact-color-of-your-van? dept.
New submitter mybluevan writes "The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science is putting together an open hardware spectrometer kit on Kickstarter. The kits are built using an HD webcam, discarded DVD, and a couple other odd bits. They've also put together a kit for your smart phone and open-source software for desktop, Android, and iOS. Need to analyze the contents of your coffee, the output of your new grow lights, or a distant star on a budget? Just build your own spectrometer, or pick up the limited edition steampunk version." Besides making cool hardware, they'd like to "build a Wikipedia-style library of open source spectra, and to refine and improve sample collection and analysis techniques. We imagine a kind of 'SHAZAM for materials' which can help to investigate chemical spills, diagnose crop diseases, identify contaminants in household products, and even analyze olive oil, coffee, and homebrew beer."

iPhone 5 Teardown Shows Boost To Repairability 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-it's-broke,-fix-it dept.
iFixit has posted a detailed teardown of the new iPhone 5. While the casing still uses Apple's proprietary pentalobe fasteners, the good news is that Apple has made the screen much easier to remove. Once the fasteners have been removed, the screen will lift out easily through the use of a suction cup. The screens are by far the most common parts of iPhones to break, and this change turns a complicated 38-step procedure that takes about 45 minutes at minimum into a quick, 5-10 minute job. The teardown also shows the iPhone 5 battery to be very similar to the iPhone 4S's, suggesting that the improvements to battery life come from other hardware and software changes. We get a look at the new A6 processor running the phone, which is a custom design based on ARMv7. iFixit also looks at the Lightning connector assembly; unfortunately, it includes the loudspeaker, bottom microphone, Wi-Fi antenna, and headphone jack as well, so fixing any one of those parts individually will be difficult. Whatever you think of Apple's decision to move to Lightning instead of micro-USB, it seems their switch away from the 30-pin connecter was necessitated by size constraints.

Raspberry Pi For the Rest of Us 170

Posted by timothy
from the bootstraps-for-all! dept.
mikejuk writes "The Raspberry Pi might be a cheap and reasonably powerful but it has a tough learning curve due to the Linux OS it uses. Adafruit, better known for their hardware, are working on a WebIDE which you can use to program the Pi without having to set things up. You write the code in a browser and run it on the Pi using a web server hosted by the Pi. It sounds crazy but if it can make the Pi more approachable then perhaps it could turn out to be an educational powerhouse."

6 Million Virgin Mobile Users Vulnerable To Brute-Force Attacks 80

Posted by timothy
from the see-also-bank-of-france dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'If you are one of the six million Virgin subscribers, you are at the whim of anyone who doesn't like you.' The Hacker News describes how the username and password system used by Virgin Mobile to let users access their account information is inherently weak and open to abuse." Computerworld also describes the problem: essentially, hard-coded, brute-force guessable passwords, coupled with an inadequate mechanism for reacting to failed attempts to log on.

Researchers Create Silicon-Based Quantum Bit 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the size-matters-not dept.
angry tapir writes "Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have created the world's first working quantum bit based on a single atom in silicon. The research team was able to both read and write information using the spin, or magnetic orientation, of an electron bound to a single phosphorous atom embedded in a silicon chip. In February, UNSW researchers revealed they had successfully created a single-atom transistor using a single phosphorous atom in a silicon crystal."

Open Compute Project Publishes Final Open Rack Spec 28

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-wide dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Open Compute Project has published the final specification of the Open Rack Specification, which widens the traditional server rack to more than 23 inches. Specifically, the rack is 600 mm wide (versus the 482.6 mm of a 19-inch rack), with the chassis guidelines calling for a width of 537 mm. All told, that's slightly wider than the 580 mm used by the Western Electric or ETSI rack. The Open Compute Project said that changes in the new 1.0 specification include a new focus on a single-column rack design. The new dimensions now accommodate hotter inlet temperatures of between 18 to 35 degrees Celsius and up to 90 percent humidity, which reflects other Open Compute designs and real-world data center temperatures, according to project documents. Facebook has led the implementation of the Open Compute Project, which publicly shares the designs it uses in data centers, including its Prineville, Ore. facility. As the spec clearly shows, however, the new designs deviate from the traditional configurations and specifications, which means data center operators will need to find and then source racks from third-party vendors (or, in the case of Facebook, design their own)."

Raspberry Pi Hits 1GHz With Official 'Turbo Mode' 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the awesome-because-they-test-with-quake-3 dept.
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi, which was recently used to build a cluster, has officially been given a 'Turbo Mode' by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, thus enabling overclocking. It will bump the frequency of the on-board processor as high as 1GHz as long as the temperature stays below 85C. The patch would dynamically increase the voltage and frequency of the core until the thermals hold. According to the Foundation, users have the option of choosing one of five peak frequencies, the highest being 1GHz."

Hacking the D-Link DPH-128MS VOIP Phone 26

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-does-it-run-netbsd dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've been working on reverse engineering the D-Link DPH-128MS VOIP phone. It's an end of life product for D-Link but a neat little desktop phone that runs Linux. I've figured out a way to exploit the tftp server running on it to get root access. I'm at the point now of trying to figure out how to update the phone with more files. Check out the writeups I have and the scripts on the link above."

DARPA Unveils System Using Human Brains For Computer Vision 82

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mad-scientists-with-funding dept.
MrSeb writes with news about our coming cybernetic overlords. From the article: "After more than four years of research, DARPA has created a system that successfully combines soldiers, EEG brainwave scanners, 120-megapixel cameras, and multiple computers running cognitive visual processing algorithms into a cybernetic hivemind. Called the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), it will be used in a combat setting to significantly improve the U.S. Army's threat detection capabilities. There are two discrete parts to the system: The 120-megapixel camera, which is tripod-mounted and looks over the battlefield; and the computer system, where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor with an EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats. In testing, the 120-megapixel camera, combined with the computer vision algorithms, generated 810 false alarms per hour; with a human operator strapped into the EEG, that drops down to just five false alarms per hour. The human brain is surprisingly fast, too: According to DARPA, CT2WS displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn't seem to affect accuracy."

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 Rooted 62

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the meddling-kids! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, XDA Developers forum users kinfaus and pokey9000 were discussing how the latest devices from Amazon (the second-generation 7 Kindle Fire and the 7 Kindle Fire HD) come with more sophisticated protection than their predecessors, including locked bootloaders and 'high security' features offered by their OMAP processors. Today, the devices have been rooted." Using a known bug in busybox dating to April even.

Fusion Power Breakthrough Near At Sandia Labs? 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An achievement that would have extraordinary energy and defense implications might be near at Sandia National Laboratories. The lab is testing a concept called MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion), which uses magnetic fields and laser pre-heating in the quest for energetic fusion. A paper by Sandia researchers that was accepted for publication states that the Z-pinch driven MagLIF fusion could reach 'high-gain' fusion conditions, where the fusion energy released greatly exceeds (by more than 1,000 times) the energy supplied to the fuel."

Programming a Wearable Android Device 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-geordi's-advice dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Dr. Dobb's reviews an alternative to Google Glass and goes through the steps of coding your own Android-based Heads-Up Display. 'By tucking their 428x240 pixel WQVGA heads-up display in the lower right corner of ski goggles, Recon has effectively created an unobtrusive HUD with a decent 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor running Android 2.3.3 (Eclair). Network connections can be made via a Bluetooth-paired Android smartphone.'"

Ask Slashdot: Teaching Typing With Limited Electricity, Computers? 325

Posted by timothy
from the muscle-memory dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am tasked with developing a service project to teach students in a Bangladeshi village how to type. The school has about 500 students, 12 computers donated to them in 2006, and a limited electricity supply. The students will be given job placement opportunities at a local firm in the city once they reach a certain proficiency. Therefore, we are trying to teach as many of them typing skills as possible. The problem: limited electricity, limited computers, many kids. I have some additional funding collected through donations. Instead of buying more computers, I am looking for a cost effective way that does not need a steady flow of electricity. I realize that to teach typing, I do not need a computer. I could achieve the same using a keyboard connected to a display. A solar powered calculator is a perfect example of a cheap device which has a numpad for input and an LCD for display. But so far I have not come across a device that has a qwerty keyboard and an LCD to display what's typed. I know there are some gaming keyboards that have LCDs built in but they are quite expensive. I am aiming to build a device that cost below USD 50. I considered using typewriters but they are in limited supply on the market. I also considered OLPC but it is double my anticipated budget. Do you have other suggestions?" Considering that (at least in China) sub-$50 Android tablets with capacitive screens are already here, I wish the Alphasmart line was cheaper, but apparently it currently starts at $169.

Leak Hints Windows 8 Tablets May Be Dearer Than Makes Sense 365

Posted by timothy
from the boutique-prices dept.
MrSeb writes "If, like me, you thought Microsoft would price Windows RT competitively, you were wrong: A leaked slide from Asus says that its Vivo Tab RT, due to be released alongside Windows RT at the end of October, will start at $600. Unbelievably, this is $100 more than the iPad 3, and a full $200 more than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. For $600, you would expect some sensational hardware specs — but alas, that's sadly not the case. The Vivo Tab RT has a low-res 10.1-inch 1366×768 IPS display, quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, 2GB of RAM, NFC, 8-megapixel camera and that's about it. Like its Androidesque cousin, the Transformer, the Vivo Tab RT can be plugged into a keyboard/battery dock — but it'll cost you another $200 for the pleasure. (Curiously, the Transformer's docking station only costs $150 — go figure.)"

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn