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Reverse Engineering An Old Bus Display December 12, 2019

When his makerspace was gifted a pair of Luminator LED signs of the sort you might see on the front of a bus, [PWalsh] decided to pull one apart to see what made it tick. Along the way, he managed to reverse engineer its control protocol and replace its original control board with a WiFi-connected […]

NASA's Curiosity rover makes unexpected discovery on Mars mountain – CNET

As the intrepid rover climbs Mars Mount Sharp, it makes a curious discovery. NASA's Curiosity rover makes unexpected discovery on Mars mountain – CNET
Source: CNet

400K+ items, making up ~1/3 of Amazon's ~$6B in annual sales in India, likely to disappear from Amazon India, while it works to meet new compliance rules (Vindu Goel/New York Times)


Vindu Goel / New York Times:

400K+ items, making up ~1/3 of Amazon’s ~$6B in annual sales in India, likely to disappear from Amazon India, while it works to meet new compliance rules  —  NEW DELHI — On Friday, Indian consumers will wake up to an emptier, more expensive version of Amazon’s shopping service.

400K+ items, making up ~1/3 of Amazon's ~B in annual sales in India, likely to disappear from Amazon India, while it works to meet new compliance rules (Vindu Goel/New York Times)
Source: Tech Meme

Some Reddit users who installed the Facebook Research VPN say they knew of its extensive data collection, but had little expectation of privacy to begin with (Shannon Palus/Slate)


Shannon Palus / Slate:

Some Reddit users who installed the Facebook Research VPN say they knew of its extensive data collection, but had little expectation of privacy to begin with  —  What the going rate for the hyper-invasive program tells us about the evolving understanding of our personal data’s value.

Some Reddit users who installed the Facebook Research VPN say they knew of its extensive data collection, but had little expectation of privacy to begin with (Shannon Palus/Slate)
Source: Tech Meme

Apple restores Google's internal iOS apps after certificate misuse punishment (Zack Whittaker/TechCrunch)


Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:

Apple restores Google’s internal iOS apps after certificate misuse punishment  —  Apple has blocked Google from distributing its internal-only iOS apps on its corporate network after a TechCrunch investigation found the search giant abusing the certificates.

Apple restores Google's internal iOS apps after certificate misuse punishment (Zack Whittaker/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

A Science Lab In Your Pocket?

Since even the cheapest phone or computer now has plenty of horsepower, there’s been a move to create instruments that can do everything, using a reasonably simple front end and crunching data back on the host device. This is one of those tasks that seems easy, but doing it well turns out to be a lot of effort. One we recently noticed was Pocket Science Lab — a board that connects to your PC or Android phone and provides an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer, a wave generator, a power supply, a multimeter, and a few odd items such as an accelerometer, barometer, compass, and lux meter. The cost is about $65, so it isn’t a big investment. But what can it do? Read on, or you can watch the video below from Geekcamp Singapore.

The datasheet shows a reasonable device, although nothing amazing. The oscilloscope has 4 channels but only does 2 MSPS, so assuming the front end can handle it, you might visualize 1 MHz sine waves. There’s also a 12-bit voltmeter, three 12-bit power supplies with different ranges, a 4 MHz 4 channel logic analyzer, two sine or triangle wave generators, 4 PWM outputs, and the ability to measure capacitance. Finally, there’s a frequency counter that’s good to 16 MHz.

The 4 channels on the scope are welcome but the low sample rate isn’t. Also, it doesn’t say in the datasheet, but one of the biggest problems with devices like these is that you can’t use major functions together. For example, we bet you can’t use the scope and the logic analyzer at the same time.

For the price, it isn’t a bad deal. But it really isn’t a proper replacement for nearly any of the included virtual instruments. On the other hand, for under $70 it might be worth a shot. There’s a Linux app, so that’s a plus. We like that it is all open source so you could fix anything you don’t like.

You can see a run through of logging data from the light meter on the FOSSASIA channel. They also have a video on the waveform generator.

The Analog Discovery 2 is nicer looking, but not open source and much more expensive. It also has better specs. Of course, you don’t need a PC to have a universal instrument.

 

A Science Lab In Your Pocket?
Source: HackADay

A breakdown of an internal memo in which Facebook details distribution and onboarding for its Research app, and defends its data collection methods, disclosures (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)


Josh Constine / TechCrunch:

A breakdown of an internal memo in which Facebook details distribution and onboarding for its Research app, and defends its data collection methods, disclosures  —  Early this morning, we received agreement from Apple to issue a new enterprise certificate; this has allowed us to produce …

A breakdown of an internal memo in which Facebook details distribution and onboarding for its Research app, and defends its data collection methods, disclosures (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

Scientists build a 3D printer that turns goo into solid objects – CNET

“The Replicator” uses light to transform liquids into 3D objects in a matter of minutes. Scientists build a 3D printer that turns goo into solid objects – CNET
Source: CNet

Scientists use drones to ease shark fears (it's probably just a dolphin) – CNET

That dark shape in the water? Australian scientists say its 135 times more likely to be a dolphin … or maybe even a “fever” of rays. Scientists use drones to ease shark fears (it's probably just a dolphin) – CNET
Source: CNet

What to expect as oral arguments begin Friday in Mozilla's lawsuit to stop FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules (Colin Lecher/The Verge)


Colin Lecher / The Verge:

What to expect as oral arguments begin Friday in Mozilla’s lawsuit to stop FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules  —  The FCC will make its case against the rules  —  Oral arguments will begin tomorrow for one of the most important cases in internet law history.

What to expect as oral arguments begin Friday in Mozilla's lawsuit to stop FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules (Colin Lecher/The Verge)
Source: Tech Meme

China's going back to the Moon and this time it's bringing back samples – CNET

Detailing their space plans for 2019, China reveals how their next Moon mission will bring lunar samples home for the first time in decades. China's going back to the Moon and this time it's bringing back samples – CNET
Source: CNet

Super Bowl 2019: Synced sex toys will buzz for Brady, rumble for Rams – CNET

Adult webcam platform CamSoda wants to make Bluetooth vibrators buzz for big plays during the big game. Super Bowl 2019: Synced sex toys will buzz for Brady, rumble for Rams – CNET
Source: CNet

Amazon’s Sales Growth Slows, Even as Cloud Business Stays Hot

The company is compensating for slowing growth in e-commerce by expanding its fast-moving, highly profitable cloud and advertising businesses. Amazon’s Sales Growth Slows, Even as Cloud Business Stays Hot
Source: NY Times Tech

Apple Shows Facebook Who Has the Power in an App Dispute

After two days of disruptions, the iPhone maker restored the social network’s access to internal apps that its employees rely on in their jobs. Apple Shows Facebook Who Has the Power in an App Dispute
Source: NY Times Tech

Sources: following Thiel-related controversy and declining private valuations, Palantir is giving employees larger bonuses and improved stock options (Lizette Chapman/Bloomberg)


Lizette Chapman / Bloomberg:

Sources: following Thiel-related controversy and declining private valuations, Palantir is giving employees larger bonuses and improved stock options  —  Palantir Technologies Inc. pitches itself to new recruits as a place where they can build data-mining software that will help thwart terrorism …

Sources: following Thiel-related controversy and declining private valuations, Palantir is giving employees larger bonuses and improved stock options (Lizette Chapman/Bloomberg)
Source: Tech Meme

I was wrong about retro consoles


The numbers for 2018 are coming in, and it appears the video game industry is getting along just fine. The year turned out to be an alright one for the industry, and it upends predictions that the focus on revisiting older games via remasters and nostalgic re-releases would put a crimp on things — namely, um, my own prediction. It’s not exactly a secret that the video game industry has a passion for repackaging old games to re-sell them on new machines. It’s not new: I’m old enough to remember when it was arcade games cropping up on the Nintendo…

This story continues at The Next Web

I was wrong about retro consoles
Source: The Next Web

This Chromecast Volume Knob Has a Certain ’70s Chic

Chromecast devices have become popular in homes around the world in the last few years. They make it easy to cast audio or video from a smartphone or laptop, to a set of speakers or a display connected to the same network. [Akos] wanted to control the volume on these devices with a single, simple piece of equipment, rather than always reaching for a smartphone. Thus was built the CastVolumeKnob.

The project began by using Wireshark to capture data sent by the pychromecast library. Once [Akos] understood the messaging format, this was implemented in MicroPython on an ESP8266. A rotary encoder is used as a volume knob, and a Neopixel ring is used for visual feedback as to the device being controlled and the current volume level.

Further work was done to improve usability, with an ATtiny85 microcontroller being used to monitor the encoder for button presses before waking up the ESP8266, greatly reducing power consumption. The device is also rechargeable, thanks to an 18650 lithium polymer battery, and charger and boost converter boards. It’s all wrapped up in a sleek 3D printed case, with a translucent bezel for the LEDs and a swanky machined aluminium knob as the cherry on top.

It’s a homemade device that nonetheless would be stylish and unobtrusive in the living room environment. We imagine it proves very useful when important phone calls come in and it’s necessary to cut the stereo down to a more appropriate volume.

For another take, check out this USB volume knob with a nice weighty feel, courtesy of lead shot.

This Chromecast Volume Knob Has a Certain ’70s Chic
Source: HackADay

Linux.Speakup

Risk Level: Very Low. Type: Trojan. Linux.Speakup
Source: Symantec lastest threats

Packed.Generic.542

Risk Level: Very Low. Type: Trojan. Packed.Generic.542
Source: Symantec lastest threats

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says former CEO Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election to its board (Matt Weinberger/Business Insider)


Matt Weinberger / Business Insider:

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says former CEO Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election to its board  —  – Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election for the board of directors at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  — This marks the final departure of Whitman from HPE, a company she helped create …

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says former CEO Meg Whitman will not stand for re-election to its board (Matt Weinberger/Business Insider)
Source: Tech Meme

Facebook won't let Firefox thwart political manipulation, Mozilla complains to EU – CNET

But hampering Mozilla’s ad analysis tool is just part of protecting Facebook users from bad actors, Facebook responds. Facebook won't let Firefox thwart political manipulation, Mozilla complains to EU – CNET
Source: CNet

China plans more than 30 space missions in 2019 – CNET

The Chang’e 5 will bring lunar samples back to Earth, says Chinese state media. China plans more than 30 space missions in 2019 – CNET
Source: CNet

Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices – CNET

The iPhone maker dings Google, the same way it did Facebook. Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices – CNET
Source: CNet

Facebook says Apple has restored Facebook's access to enterprise certificates; Apple says it's working with Google to reinstate Google's enterprise certificates (Chance Miller/9to5Mac)


Chance Miller / 9to5Mac:

Facebook says Apple has restored Facebook’s access to enterprise certificates; Apple says it’s working with Google to reinstate Google’s enterprise certificates  —  In a new statement today, Facebook says that Apple has restored its access to enterprise certificates.

Facebook says Apple has restored Facebook's access to enterprise certificates; Apple says it's working with Google to reinstate Google's enterprise certificates (Chance Miller/9to5Mac)
Source: Tech Meme

The clueless parent’s guide to understanding TikTok


In September last year, TikTok surpassed YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and even Facebook in monthly App Store downloads. For a fringe social network, the kind most would assume occupies a second-tier of the internet’s social media hierarchy, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the app had become the internet’s most interesting network of creatives. For more than 500 million monthly active users, TikTok is a place to let your freak flag fly. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but comparing it to Vine — the now-gone six-second video loop platform — seems like an obvious place to start. Like Vine, the…

This story continues at The Next Web

The clueless parent’s guide to understanding TikTok
Source: The Next Web

Apple revokes Google’s ability to use internal iOS apps, just like Facebook

The companies said they are hoping to resolve the issue quickly. Apple revokes Google’s ability to use internal iOS apps, just like Facebook
Source: Washington Post Tech