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    Storm-9-Net News 1:15 PM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    US Spy Agency Targeted top Brazilian Officials: WikiLeaks 

    Aside from listening in on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s phone calls, US spies also targeted top political and financial officials, according to new information released by WikiLeaks on Saturday.

    The whistle-blowing website published a National Security Agency list of 29 Brazilian government phone numbers that the American spy group monitored.

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    Storm-9-Net News 10:00 AM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    Watch Ars try out E3’s virtual reality rigs—and see how dizzy we got 

    Ars gets a little VR barfy. Video by Jennifer Hahn (video link)

    When virtual reality is done right, we at Ars Technica can’t get enough. We loved walking around a room—albeit a small one with cords on our backs—with a HTC Vive headset on our heads and a SteamVR game loaded up. We are proud owners of a few Oculus Rift dev kits, and we are even more excited by the final retail model’s redesign—not to mention the forthcoming, impressive “Touch” controllers.

    But that’s enough experience to also recognize VR at its worst. As a clunky, nascent form of gaming, VR-specific stuff already has enough hurdles, but new entrants to the space also must contend with the sheer barfiness enabled by its biggest failures—especially when real-life motion and joystick taps slam against each other and create vestibular disconnects.

    Thus, we put together a video, filmed and edited by our own Jennifer Hahn, that reveals both the worst experiments at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo and the impressive attempts by other developers to grapple with VR’s motion-sickness limits. There’s not much footage of any of us on a stationary bicycle while wearing a VR headset, but rest assured, that one made us the barfiest of them all.

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    Storm-9-Net News 9:15 AM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    Gallery: Tracing American technology from the cotton gin to the Game Boy 


    When you think about the Smithsonian Institution museums in Washington DC, you probably think of a lot of dinosaur bones and musty old documents tracing the founding of the country. If you’re really up on the organization, maybe you’ll think of Dorothy’s ruby slippers or the space shuttles and the Air and Space Museum.

    What you probably don’t think about is modern consumer technology. But a new wing at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum hopes to change that. The “America Innovates!” section of the museum reopened on Wednesday with a number of exhibits explaining the history of American invention, from early farm tools to Silicon Valley (and a few major examples of technology that came across the ocean to America’s shore, too). The wing features a number of rare and well-preserved items from the Smithsonian collection for perusal, including “Father of Video Games” Ralph Baer‘s workshop and his original “Brown Box” interactive video game prototype.

    Just before the July 4 holiday, we took a trip to the museum to see what technological treasures are now on display for the American public. The above gallery of interesting gems barely scratches the surface; come on down to the National Mall in Washington DC to see more.

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    Storm-9-Net News 8:00 AM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    Our favorite video games of 2015 

    Thanks to a heatwave zapping parts of the United States, some of this weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations may have fewer fireworks due to issues like burn bans. That’s as good an opportunity as any to enjoy the kind of virtual pyrotechnics that video games can afford—all in air-conditioned rooms with no annoying mosquitos or in-laws buzzing around, at that.

    As such, we’re taking this mid-year opportunity to pick out our favorite video games of 2015’s first half, but in Ars tradition, our list comes with an asterisk. We’ve asked our staffers, most of whom aren’t dedicated games writers, to list any favorite game they played this year, and we’ve broken the answers down into two lists: games published in 2015 and games published at any point in time.

    This isn’t necessarily a “best of” list, but rather a list of the games we’ve made time to play while reporting on the wider world of tech. In many cases, the results include a serious helping of comfort food and old franchises, and they’re all games that have survived repeat playthroughs as opposed to being propped up by nostalgia alone.

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    Storm-9-Net News 5:02 AM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    Matsnu Backdoor Uses RSA Crypto on Exfiltrated Data 

    The innards of a recently discovered malware piece have been analyzed by researchers to better understand the full extent of its functionality and the mechanisms implemented by the author(s) to protect against disruption of the operation.

    Security experts at Check Point have named it Matsnu, but products from other antivirus vendors identify it as Androm backdoor (Kaspersky) or Boxed.DQH (AVG).

    Stanislav Skuratovich, researcher at Check Point, says that the malware is an… (read more)

     
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    Storm-9-Net News 3:50 AM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    TYPO3 Enterprise CMS Update Adds 7 Security Fixes 

    Advertised as “the most widely used Enterprise Content Management System,” TYPO3 has recently received an update that plugs security vulnerabilities ranging from cross-site scripting (XSS) to improper login protection.

    TYPO3 content management system (CMS) was created with a focus on businesses and public institutions. According to official data, the product has more than 500,000 installations.

    XSS and authentication problems repaired

    The list of chan… (read more)

     
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    Storm-9-Net News 2:38 AM on 2015.07.04 Permalink |
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    Node.js Fixes Denial of Service Bug 

    A new version emerged on Saturday for Node.js that integrates a fix for a vulnerability leading to denial of service (DoS) attacks.

    Node.js is used to create network applications based on an event-driven model. The platform is built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime, the V8 engine, and its uses include building scalable server-side apps for handling data in real time.

    The latest revision is currently 0.12.6 and it was released to address a bug that impacts all Buffer to Str… (read more)

     
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    Storm-9-Net News 4:34 PM on 2015.07.03 Permalink |
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    Hear how Steve Ballmer bailed out Xbox after Red Ring of Death 

    The Red Ring of Death threatened to destroy the Xbox 360 and the entire Xbox brand. Consoles were dying en masse. Microsoft didn’t immediately know why, but it did know that it was a big problem. A plan was devised to fix gamers’ hardware, but it wasn’t going to be cheap: to provide the best possible experience for the unfortunate owners of expired hardware, units had to be overnighted to Microsoft, and then, once fixed, back to the waiting gamers. The total cost was estimated at $1.15 billion, $240 million of which was going to FedEx.

    Peter Moore, now at EA but then head of Xbox, had to go to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2007 to ask for the money to salvage the console’s reputation. Ballmer agreed, the Xbox 360 was saved, and it was a huge success.

    The full story of the Red Ring of Death, and many other stories, can be heard in the latest edition of IGN’s Podcast Unlocked. The show features three different Xbox heads: Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, the Xbox 360-era Peter Moore, and the current head of Xbox, Phil Spencer.

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    Storm-9-Net News 3:00 PM on 2015.07.03 Permalink |
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    Pirate Bay founders: FBI has Prenda Law under investigation 

    A federal judge referred the lawyers behind the Prenda Law “copyright trolling” scheme to investigators in 2013. Since then, there’s been no indication of what stage an investigation is at, or if it’s happening at all.

    Now, two co-founders of The Pirate Bay have said they have reason to believe that an investigation is underway. Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij each independently told the website TorrentFreak that Swedish authorities questioned them during their recent imprisonment.

    The Prenda Law strategy was to sue large numbers of Internet users for downloading pornography and then settle fast for several thousand dollars. The scheme netted millions over the years, but it was shut down in 2013 after sanctions from US District Judge Otis Wright. Other judges have punished Prenda since then. The harsh results were appealed, but to no avail.

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    Storm-9-Net News 1:33 PM on 2015.07.03 Permalink |
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    A most unpatriotic YouTube hijacking: America the Beautiful 

    Open-source hardware company Adafruit has received a copyright notice for a 4th of July-themed YouTube video.

    The video is simple to the point of ridiculous: it features a rotating Arduino processor in front of an American flag. That’s it. But music licensing company Rumblefish has claimed ownership of the song “America the Beautiful,” which played in the video.

    The claim is a reach, to say the least, since the lyrics of America the Beautiful date to a 19th-century poem and have long since passed into the public domain. As for the recorded music, Adafruit used a recording from the United States Navy Band, making the media a product of the federal government that can’t be copyrighted.

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