Monthly Archives: April 2013

Is It true? Former AOL VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division

The CIA has appointed Dawn Meyerriecks, former AOL Senior Vice President for Product Technology, as its new Chief of Science and Technology. While it seems like a strange move on the CIA’s part, after reading through Meyerricks’s resume, we now understand why she is one of the best candidates. According to Wired, Meyerrick’s is the first internet executive to ever take a top-tiered position in the CIA.

Some of the things Meyerriecks has done in the past include working as a Jet Propulsion Lab engineer for NASA, working as a Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Acquisitions and Technology, working as a Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director for the Joint Interoperabillity and Engineering Organization (JIEO), establishing an in-house app market for both spies and analysts, encouraging the U.S. government to use open source software, and much more. At AOL, Meyerriecks oversaw the relaunch of AOL.com, and also the revamping of AOL Instant Messenger. Meyerriecks stated that the experience that she gained from AOL helped her become a better government tech executive. She said that because of AOL, she learned that it is possible to be innovative without needing to ask for additional funding. Aside from Meyerriecks’s resume, another reason why the CIA hired her is because it has been trying to improve its position in Silicon Valley. According to Wired, by hiring Meyerrieck, the CIA will be able to boost its position in Silicon Valley and increases its ties to the technology community there. Meanwhile, while the CIA is gaining a new asset, Meyerriecks’s old company AOL is firing a few dozen people. [via Wired] Former AOL VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division is written by Brian Sin .

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Is It true? Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move

Jay Freeman, an iOS and Android developer known for his popular Cydia app store accessible by jailbroken iPhones, has discovered a scary security flaw in Google Glass. While toying around with the Explorer edition of Google Glass, Freeman discovered that the device’s lack of a PIN code or any other form of authentication could make it easy for hackers to install surveillance malware onto the device.

Unlike a smartphone, which stays in your pocket most of the time, a hacked Google Glass can give hackers access to everything you see and everything you hear. According to Freeman, “The only thing it doesn’t know are your thoughts.” All a hacker needs to do is grab an unattended Google Glass, hook it up to their computer via USB, and enable root access on the device. Freeman says, “Once the attacker has root on your Glass, they have much more power than if they had access to your phone or even your computer: They have control over a camera and microphone that are attached to your head.” Not only will hackers be able to see and hear everything around you, they will be able to upload your files and recordings to remote servers. Freeman says that a hacked Google Glass “knows all your passwords” because it sees you typing them in. With a compromised Google Glass, “Nothing is safe.” However, chances are that Google will take note of these security flaws and issue fixes to them before the devices become available to consumers early next year. On the bright side, the only way hackers can install surveillance malware onto your Google Glass device is if they have physical access to it, meaning it won’t be too common. But nonetheless, Google needs to step up the security on the device. The user’s privacy and security should always be the top priority for any company. Freeman issued a statement to Forbes regarding the entire situation. He says, “It’s just kind of sloppy and negligent for Google to release a device to a bunch of early adopters that is missing a basic security function and even has a known bug on it that was disclosed eight months ago. Like someone could be inside of [tech pundit and blogger] Robert Scoble’s glass right now.” [via Forbes] Story Timeline Glass gets strict: Sharing, paid apps and ads risk remote kill Google to Glass owners: don’t sell them, and don’t share them Google Glass root is “easy,” according to developers Glass hack runs native Android code on wearable Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started

Google released an official how-to video for its upcoming, game-changing product, Google Glass. The video shows users how to get started with Google Glass, and how navigate around their new gadget. The interface is similar to Google Now, with all of the important information you need being available to you within just one swipe. Google Glass won’t be available to consumers until sometime early next year, but that won’t stop Google from increasing the hype of its product.

In the video, the main emphasis is on Google Glass’s touch pad. There you can swipe left to see future events, such as lunch dates, flights, weather, and more. Swiping right will let you see past events, like your friend’s status updates and picture uploads. By tapping on the touch pad, you can view more information on a card. You can swipe down to return to your timeline. To share photos, just scroll to a photo and tap your touch pad. Your friends list will then pop up, where you can navigate and choose which friend to share your photo with. Recently, the specs for Google Glass were revealed. It appears to be running a dual-core OMAP 4430 CPU, contain 1GB of RAM (with only around 682MB available to users), and run Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Other leaked specs suggest that the device will also have 16GB of built-in storage and a 5MP camera capable of recording 720p HD videos. The specs resemble that of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. More news regarding Google Glass will be released in the coming weeks before the Google I/O event being held from May 15th to May 17th. There Google will talk up developers and show off even more features for Glass. Consumers will have to wait a little less than a year before they can purchase Google Glass, but on the bright side, by then there should be a huge list of apps available for the device thanks to developers. Be sure to check in with SlashGear May 15th – May 17th, where we’ll be covering Google I/O live. Story Timeline Google Glass specs: 16GB of storage, 5MP camera, and more Google Glass Explorer edition video and photos hit the web Google Glass consumer units arriving as soon as next year Google Glass specifications reveal smartphone-level details Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Wiikey hacks Wii U to play games from USB drives

Wiikey, the hackers who invented mod chips and soft mods for the Nintendo Wii and many other consoles, have developed a new hack for the Wii U that lets them play content and games from a custom USB drive. With the new hacking method, it looks like you won’t need to do any hardware modifications to your system to hack it. All you need to do is connect the custom USB device, WiikeÜ, too your Wii U and you’re good to go.

The WiikeÜ isn’t available to consumers just yet, but Wiikey will be releasing updates regarding the product soon. In a statement on their website, Wiikey stated that they were able to completely reverse “the WiiU drive authentication, disk encryption, file system, and everything else.” When the WiikeÜ becomes available, gamers will be able to install homebrew software on their Wii U, and unfortunately for Nintendo, play pirated games. The WiikeÜ spells trouble for game developers, however it may do wonders for the Wii U. The sales for the Wii U failed to even meet Nintendo’s lowered expectations, selling only a measly 3.45 million units since its launch. People who purchase the WiikeÜ will inevitably use it to pirate games (with a few using it solely for homebrew purposes), and while it may be damaging to game sales, it may offer enough incentive for people to purchase a Wii U. It’ll be a bittersweet situation for Nintendo, who just replaced its North American CEO with Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata. Nintendo planned on improving sales of the Wii U by bringing more “key” titles to the platform, enticing more consumers to purchase the device, but that plan may be thwarted by Wiikey. We’ll see. But at this rate, anything would help the struggling platform. [via Wiikey] Story Timeline Nintendo Wii U continues with lackluster sales Xbox 360 best-selling console in US for 26th straight month, Wii U struggles Ubisoft foresees a rise in Wii U sales Wii U slump misses even Nintendo’s lowered expectations Wiikey hacks Wii U to play games from USB drives is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? HTC One “hero” efforts continue with hardware video reinforcement

This week the folks at HTC have made public a video which shows a few insights on the hardware build of their hero phone, the HTC One. With the launch of the HTC One already set or coming up soon for several of the top carriers in the United States (Verizon not included – yet), it appears that HTC is taking the opportunity to assure prospective users of the quality of the metal cuts they’ve made in their high-end handset.

What you’ll be seeing here is not just a few words from some of the designers and developers of the phone, but some up-close-and-personal looks at the creation of this device as well. It’s important to note the efforts HTC is making to promote this device as HTC jobs do, indeed, depend on its success. The CEO of HTC has – infamously, at this point – promised he’ll quit if the HTC One doesn’t succeed. The HTC One is shown here to have been cut of single pieces of metal and fit with plastic rims and a glass front precise enough to be considered a seamless construction. The HTC One is heading to the market in an atmosphere where the Apple iPhone 5 continues to be praised for its fine watch-quality detail and the Samsung GALAXY S 4 (recently) found its way into some not-so-great breakability reviews. With those top-selling (or about to be top-selling) devices up as head contenders, HTC has decided to play up its hardware credibility. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll find HTC’s efforts to not be dependent solely on the success of the HTC One. Instead products like the HTC 608t and the HTC First (aka the Facebook Phone) keep the hardware company’s efforts light. And of course there’s always legacy models like the HTC One S and HTC One X, both of which continue to be available from all manner of retailers – watch for additional oddities appearing through the rest of 2013 as well. HTC One “hero” efforts continue with hardware video reinforcement is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Twitter makes ads program available to all users

Twitter’s advertisement program was only available for several businesses in the past, but in order to generate more ad revenue this year, Twitter has decided to make its advertisement program available to anyone and everyone. The ads program allows users and small businesses to promote their brand and their products through promoted tweets and accounts. The tweets can be adjusted to appeal to the general public, or only to a targeted audience.

In the past, the ad program was only accessible to businesses who received a personal invite from Twitter. Now all anyone needs to do is sign-up to be considered. All you need to do is answer a few questions and you’ll be on your way. You can choose to promote your tweets, or you entire account. The pricing system is similar to Google AdWords, where you can set a budget to control how much you spend, and you can place bids to decide how much you want to spend per follower/click. This new move from Twitter is one of its first steps its taking to achieve its goal of generating $1 billion in ad revenue alone by 2014. Currently, its ad revenue for this year is expected to be a little over half that amount, but with the expansion of its ads program, and its more aggressive move towards mobile, its goal seems more and more realistic. It also helps that there are over 200 million people who are currently using its service and over 400 million tweets being sent out everyday. Twitter has focused a lot of its efforts into expanding and developing its advertisement platform. Back in February, it released an advertisement API that lets businesses create more targeted ad campaigns. The program saw impressive results, with some businesses seeing a huge increase of new followers on a daily basis. Twitter also improved its keyword-targeted ads so that when a user tweets about a product, like soda, they would see an advertisement for soda quickly after. While increased advertisements may be deterring, Twitter’s ad program becoming available to users and small businesses should do wonders in helping them grow their exposure and their businesses. [via Twitter] Story Timeline Twitter launches Advertisement API Twitter may generate $1b in ad revenue in 2014 Twitter gets creepier with keyword-targeted ads Twitter makes ads program available to all users is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Scientists devise Plasma Launcher: the “Holy Grail” of Physics

This week a group of scientists from the University of Missouri have decided it’s time to make public their work on creating and controlling plasma. The system that they’re making public has, they say, the potential to transform the way America – and the rest of the world, for that matter – store and create energy. The team has developed a way to make plasma create its own self-containing self-magnetic field, effectively allowing it to launch into open air.

Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering Randy Curry spoke up about the system this week. He and his team made clear their successful creation of a device able to launch a ring of plasma distances of up to two feet. Their creation, it seems, has them excited enough to make some rather bold claims. “Launching plasma in open air is the ‘Holy Grail’ in the field of physics. Creating plasma in a vacuum tube surrounded by powerful electromagnets is no big deal; dozens of labs can do that. Our innovation allows the plasma to hold itself together while it travels through regular air without any need for containment.” – Curry The fourth state of matter – not liquid, gas, or solid – is plasma. Lightening and fire are plasma, and as you might recall, the ability to summon fire was a rather important turning point in the history of humanity. The device that University of Missouri scientists have created can launch self-contained plasma. In the first iteration of this reportedly completely functional plasma-launching device, Curry and his team have used parts and technology that’s by no means optimized for size. Part of their continued work will be to create a reasonably sized device – this being possible in three to five years, Curry suggests. Curry has also been vocal about the fact that without continued funding, the University of Missouri’s Center for Physical & Power Electronics will be unable to continue development. So all you large cash sum-holding lovers of science: make with the push! [via University of Missouri] Scientists devise Plasma Launcher: the “Holy Grail” of Physics is written by Chris Burns .