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Topics - W1nTry

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General Gaming & System Wars / How do YOU play tetris?
« on: April 08, 2014, 08:45:41 AM »
Not on the side of a building I'll wager

That's all kinds of awesome

Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk

Trading Grounds / MOVED: Please delete
« on: January 14, 2014, 02:20:23 PM »

Microsoft Xbox / XBL > PSN
« on: October 15, 2013, 08:58:26 PM »
Sure the fanboys will be fanboys, but numbers are numbers  (troll)

Xbox Live users put in millions of hours a year
More than Playstation 3 users
By Dave Neal
Tue Oct 15 2013, 09:53

REDMOND GAMES TOWN CRIER, Major Nelson has revealed how much time gamers have spent on Xbox Online in the last year.

Nelson was posting about Xbox Live, the paid for access system to multiplayer action and teenage shouting, and how your friends list will work on the new Xbox One.

While that is interesting, the number of hours spent playing games online on the Microsoft Xbox 360 is eyebrow raising. Nelson claimed that it is more time than people spend playing on the free to play online Sony Playstation 3 (PS3).

"First, we want to thank you for choosing and for spending more time with us. In the last 12 months, we delivered more than 20 billion hours of gaming and entertainment on Xbox, over 17 [percent] growth over the previous year," he said.

"We're proud and humbled to be the top online gaming service - according to NPD's August 2013 Online Gaming report, close to 50 [percent] more online console gamers use the Xbox 360 for playing online than the Playstation 3."

The numbers were not broken down, so we cannot say how much of this time was spent playing games or watching content through streamers like Blinkbox, Crackle and Netflix.

Nelson said that he will release more information about Live this week, calling it a "Week of Xbox Live".

Kicking this off, he told us that the Xbox One will let people have as many as 1,000 friends, and they will be able to follow other players.

Nelson said that this means that you will be able to stay on top of clips, achievements and other things put out by other gamers.

Friends and followers have different settings and you can choose what information you impart to either.

"A great driver in 'Forza Motorsport 5', for example, could have a huge group of thousands or even millions of followers all tracking their performance in-game," said Rob Lehew, Xbox Live programme manager.

"Those followers can have this driver on their personal leaderboard so that they can constantly keep track of how they stack-up, and they can potentially connect online with the driver to get into a race with him."

Friends will be able to work together towards common goals, and Nelson said that games could set a weekend target of achieving a goal.

"As a nod to our stellar community, many challenges require a community to work together towards a common goal. Imagine, for example, a game releases a weekend objective that requires players to cumulatively secure an objective 'X' number of times in a three day period," said Nelson.

"And every person who participates and helps build towards the challenge's goals unlocks that Achievement and earns its reward." µ

Well the heading may be misleading, but it could very well be a change in our climate within our lifetimes...

The answer, according to a modeling study published in this week's issue of Nature, is "very soon"—as soon as 2047 under a "business-as-usual" emission scenario and only 22 years later under a reduced emissions scenario. Tropical countries will likely be the first to enter this new age of climatic erraticness and could experience extreme temperatures monthly after 2050. This, the authors argue, underscores the need for robust efforts targeted not only at protecting those vulnerable countries but also the rich biodiversity that they harbor.

Kinda... disturbing

Peripherals / Gaming in 3x 4K
« on: July 28, 2013, 10:57:24 PM »
Yeah you read right that whopping 11520x2160 resolution...

I think fctt should go for this

Sent from my MB865 using Tapatalk 2

Trading Grounds / FS: Dell ST2421L 24" LED MONITOR
« on: July 04, 2013, 03:26:50 PM »
Asking Price: $1600
Purchased: less than 1 month ago (17-06-13)
Condition: Brand New
Warranty: ~1 year from the Wizz, receipt, box, everything from the original packaging included
Inputs: VGA, DVI, HDMI


Reason for sale: I need the cash

News / AMD on the ropes
« on: November 14, 2012, 02:16:25 PM »
I can almost hear crixx laughing loudly somewhere... sadly the news I am about to bring to the forum is anything but funny...

AMD hires JP Morgan to find buyers
For parts or all of the firm
By Lawrence Latif
Wed Nov 14 2012, 12:40
AMD logo

CHIP DESIGNER AMD reportedly has hired JP Morgan to search for a buyer for part or all of the firm.

Although AMD had just about managed to struggle through its seemingly eternal battle with Intel, the firm has been unable to compete against Chipzilla and the many ARM chip vendors that drive the smartphone and tablet markets. Reuters reports that AMD has hired investment bank JP Morgan to find buyers for some of the company's assets or the whole firm.

AMD's stock price has taken a battering in the past year, making it an attractive proposition for other chip vendors. The company recently announced a 15 percent cut in its workforce and while AMD is trying to get into the ARM server market, those chips are not expected to turn up until 2014 and even then the firm will face stiff competition from established ARM vendors.

AMD's biggest asset is its extensive graphics patent portfolio, most of which it acquired when it bought ATI. It is highly likely that firms eyeing a buyout of AMD are interested in those patents that have yielded strong products in recent years.

JP Morgan will have its work cut out to find a buyer for AMD's assets aside from its graphics patents. While AMD's lucrative X86 processor licence would once have been seen as a valuable asset, these days, with the rise of smartphones and tablets, an ARM licence is a better value proposition.

Should AMD decide to sell the whole firm to the highest bidder then it will be PC customers that might suffer, with Intel left as the only vendor of X86 processor chips for the foreseeable future. µ

Competition has a way of keeping the corporations... 'honest' if AMD does go away... what will that mean for us the consumer? I shudder at the throught...

Power Supplies / WTB SLI/XFIRE capable PSU Locally
« on: September 21, 2012, 02:26:43 PM »
Sooooooo i'm looking for a high quality PSU, available LOCALLY 850W or greater and i'm looking for recommendations. Why locally you might ask? well simply put WARRANTY. I could grab something of amazon and run the ever so small risk of OTB failure, or I could get something that I have 3-6 months warranty on, which I prefer. So please let me know of the good deals out there. Just as a side note the PSU should be able to supply safely 2x Radeon 7970s or 2x GTX 670s, that's what i'm looking at, always have overhead room!

News / Olympic GOLD!!!
« on: August 11, 2012, 03:51:18 PM »
Boom Bang Bang Keshorn Walcott wins Olympic GOLD for Trinidad and Tobago in Javelin Throw!
First gold medal for an athlete from the western hemisphere to win javelin in 40 years! 2nd gold for T&T since 1976!!!
For a youth in a little country off the coast of south America, from Toco, yuh BIG YUH KNOW!

Sent from my MB865 using Tapatalk 2

Ole Talk / Kuratas
« on: July 30, 2012, 04:47:33 PM »
So these crazy Japanese mofos (whom we already know have a propensity for building gundams and the like) have built a 4m tall phone controlled robot armed with projectile weapons an gattling guns... and its available for your own customization via their website...

You can use your phone to control it, or if you like, you could jump into the cockpit... though well that may not be the best idea if you intend to go on a rampage...

check out the video

Game Theory / How do we get gamers enticed? Fear of course...
« on: June 18, 2012, 08:49:43 PM »
Interesting take on the strategy used by game devs to 'immerse' us in their storytelling... what do yal think? hogwash or 'I see what u did there'?

Op-Ed: E3 games exploit real fears in a tumultuous world
Cyber terrorism, sexual assault, and torture headline upcoming titles.

by Andrew Groen - June 17 2012, 3:00pm SAWST

    Console Gaming
    Game Development

As if you don't have enough to worry about, Black Ops 2 wants you to worry about unmanned military drones turning against us.
Treyarch / Activision

There's a new kind of fear that seems to be creeping in to the storylines of the next round of AAA blockbuster video games. These aren't the usual, fantastical fears of zombies or alien attacks in the classic vein of countless dumb action games, but rather fears of very real social and political problems that have been distorted to seem even more terrifying. From cyber terrorism and economic instability to torture and sexual assault, the games of this year's E3 seemed more than willing to twist real-world concerns and anxieties into all-too-convenient plot points.

The dumb action games have found their new straw man.
Drones are the new Nazis

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is leading the charge, with the game's director boasting that this would be the most provocative and controversial CoD game yet (which is saying something, as 2009 Modern Warfare 2 has players leading the interactive slaughter of dozens of innocents.) This time they're stoking fears of a terrorist cyber-attack on the United States' unmanned military drones, which are turned against us at home and abroad.

Not only does the game itself drive home the fear of this kind of unprecedented attack, but Activision also hired the controversial Iran-Contra figure (and now military analyst) Oliver North to participate in a faux documentary which outlines how terrifying the world secretly is. "I don't think the average American grasps how violent war is about to become," North says with well-rehearsed delivery in the faux documentary. "There's going to come a time when this technology is going to catch up with us. I have a nightmare scenario that a hacker breaks into our system that controls satellites, UAVs, even the launch of missiles." He later continues, "There is no defined battlespace. The enemy could be anywhere, and it could be anyone. I don't worry about a guy that wants to hijack a plane. I worry about the guy who wants to hijack all the planes."

Black Ops 2 was shown extensively at Microsoft's E3 press conference, which focused on the moments after the drones are hijacked. The Los Angeles skyline is blown apart and the President of the United States is attacked. The first words in the trailer whimper from a bloodied mouth, "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"

Yes, it's a work of fiction, but the implication is that this kind of attack is actually something we should be worried about. This despite the fact that the developers offer no real evidence that our military systems are vulnerable, or that we'd be unprepared if such an attack did happen. The game's plot and marketing amounts to little more than context-free, Stuxnet-and-Anonymous-era nightmares masquerading as a documentary.
No Honor

Medal of Honor: Warfighter features American super-marines going into Somalia to hunt down that nation's notorious pirates. In a demonstration of this so-called realistic shooter at EA's press conference, the main character is shot over twenty times as he marches through a pirate stronghold, indiscriminately killing dozens. The game doesn't seem that concerned with the real world story of Somali fishermen turning to piracy as a last resort after their waters were overfished by opportunistic foreigners, who took advantage of the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. That doesn't fit with the cleaner, more popular narrative about filthy, inherently evil pirates who want to kill and steal from innocent sailors. In video gaming we love a good, guilt-free kill.

The oversimplification doesn't stop with military shooters. Ubisoft's Watch Dogs showcased a gunslinging hacker who can shut down parts of our world by hacking into any piece of electronics through a smartphone. The idea of our vulnerability is driven home when the protagonist causes a massive pile up at an intersection by shutting down the traffic lights, then fights a gun battle hiding among the civilians, gruesomely witnessing one woman hit in the head by a stray bullet as her husband weeps. As in Black Ops 2, the idea seems to be that we should fear an enemy's ability to co-opt our modern technology, rather than appreciate its usual reliable convenience.

And then there's the litany of games that seemed to revel in extreme levels of sadistic violence at this year's show. Square Enix's Sleeping Dogs showed off a new trailer in which the protagonist is brutally tortured, enduring a scalpel through the chest and a power drill to the knee before going on to kill his torturers, along with a small village worth of people. Far Cry 3 also featured an escape from the island of a torturous madman, while the Last of Us' incredibly brutal trailer showed the main character nearly being choked to death before turning the tables on his aggressor and putting a shotgun shell through his pleading face. This last scene was met with whoops and raucous applause from the audience at Sony's E3 press conference.

But the most obvious participant in the industry's obsession with new types of fear was Tomb Raider. The new direction for the series casts famed protagonist Lara Croft as a worn and beaten survivor who endures countless horrors and pains. This year, a new trailer shows that Lara —and, by extension, the player—will be threatened with sexual assault, taking the usual video game violence to a darker place (through the developers have tried to downplay the importance of this scene in the days since the E3 reveal.)
Boogeyman tactics

Taken together, these games send a depressing message about the coming year in big-budget, AAA games. Rather than delivering heightened drama and storytelling by exploring new types of gameplay or the subtlety of human life, these titles seem content to use boogeyman tactics to create cheap thrills through feelings of patriotism and self-preservation. In tomorrow's big budget action game the goal is mind-numbingly simple: the terrorists, hackers, pirates, torturers, rogue nations, and rapists are coming for you, and you've got to kill them first. Whatever thick coat of aesthetic veneer the developers might put on top of that experience, the core is no more intricate than Space Invaders.

Taken individually, none of these games are too objectionable, and of course creators should feel free to focus on whatever themes they want. But as a whole, I worry that they show a trend towards lessened creativity in the game industry. This year's crop of AAA games don't seem to be able to drive an exciting plot without preying on our most basic insecurities. Fear of war. Fear of foreigners. Fear of modernity. Fear for our bodies.

It's no wonder tiny iPhone games are carving out a growing share of the industry. With stories only slightly less complex, they're able to deliver hours of fun entertainment while hardcore gaming sticks with high prices, diminishing accessibility, and its latest offering: anxiety.

Have to say it did raise and eyebrow or two for me

Mobile Phones & Gadgets / Intel takes on ARM again
« on: June 02, 2012, 11:50:32 AM »

Orange San Diego hands-on review
Our hands-on impressions of Europe's first ever Intel powered smartphone
By Alastair Stevenson
Fri Jun 01 2012, 10:55

THE INQUIRER attended UK mobile operator Orange's launch of its San Diego smartphone and got some hands-on time with the Intel powered device ahead of its 6 June release.

Here are our first impressions of the device and the chipset, which Intel will be hoping is the start of a successful assault on the mobile market.

Orange San Diego back

Intel chip performance
The San Diego's most unique feature is its single-core Intel Medfield Atom Z2460 1.6GHz processor, which makes it the first device in Europe to have an Intel chip.

Intel claims that its chips are optimised for Android, meaning that its single-core processor should match most Android dual-core processor devices' performance.

Though we didn't get a chance to fully put the device through its paces during our hands-on, we have to say the San Diego was far slicker than we expected, loading applications quickly and responding to commands instantly.

Web browsing was also smooth, with pages opening quickly. Admittedly done over a decent Wi-Fi network we were impressed at how smooth the San Diego ran and we're looking forward to testing out the device over 3G to see how it performs in the wild.

Design and build
The San Diego features a 4in 600x1024 resolution display that looked legible and crisp.

The one problem was checking its colour balance, with the Orange launch event taking place in a fairly sun-washed environment, making the device screen at points look dull - though given the conditions this would most likely have happened to most devices.

In terms of dimensions the San Diego is pocket friendly, measuring 123x63x9.9mm and weighing 117g. In hand the device felt quite nice, with its slightly curved sides letting us get a sturdy grip on it.

Externally the device houses HDMI out and microUSB ports and a headphone jack. The device also features three external physical buttons. The power button sits on the top right of the device, while volume and photo buttons line its right side.

Orange San Diego side

The one thing that made the device feel slightly less than high-end was its plastic chassis. While the device did feel fairly solid - much more so than its Orange's earlier Monte Carlo - we really weren't convinced it would survive an accidental drop unscathed.

Orange remained fairly tight-lipped about the San Diego's battery, simply promising that it will boast eight hours of talk time and last 14 days on standby.

While not stellar compared the like of the more expensive Motorola Razr Maxx, if true the San Diego's battery performance will be significantly better than the Monte Carlo. Its battery was abysmal, struggling to make it through the day even without using 3G or WiFi.

Operating system
Like most devices in the sub-£300 price bracket, the San Diego will be released running Google's outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.

Orange San Diego operating systemThe skin we saw running on the San Diego was close to identical to the one seen on the Monte Carlo. This is no bad thing, as outside of a bit of Orange bloatware the user interface is quite clean, keeping overt graphical flourishes and annoying widgets to a minimum.

The San Diego is full of Orange apps and features, housing the company's Orange Wednesday and Your Orange apps and supporting its custom Orange Gestures input commands.

We are disappointed that the first Intel Phone in Europe won't be released running Android 4.0 ICS. This is mainly as it will likely hamper the Intel chip's ability to shine, with Android 2.3 Gingerbread being significantly less demanding than Android 4.0 ICS.

Luckily Orange has confirmed the device will be getting an Android 4.0 ICS update soon after launch.

Camera and storage
The San Diego comes with a generous 16GB of internal storage. However, unlike the Monte Carlo, the San Diego doesn't feature a microSD card slot, meaning that you won't be able to upgrade 16GB, which is a shame.

The San Diego has 8MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing cameras. Though we didn't get a chance to try the cameras outside, we were impressed by how well they worked.

Orange San Diego cameraThe rear-facing camera was particularly swish, with images captured looking crisp and boasting decent colour balance. Even when taking photos in dark corners the photos remained crisp and weren't overly grainy or whitewashed.

What's more, the device's physical photo capture button meant we didn't have to awkwardly adjust how we held the device when taking photos.

Another nice touch is the camera's burst mode, which lets it capture images at 10fps.

Overall we're optimistic about the San Diego and are looking forward to getting the chance to really put it through its paces to see just how well an Intel processor works on an Android smartphone.

Shame there is no wintel synergy here... wouldn't mind seeing WP7.5 on this.

Science / Damnit Jordi I CAN SEE!!!
« on: May 14, 2012, 04:14:24 PM »
In something somewhat Straight out of Star Trek, the nice guys and gals working to bring sight to the blind are possiby one step closer to doing just that, in a move that would make Jordi smile have a read:

Wireless, photovoltaic retinal implants could recharge sight
Laser goggles would also be used to stimulate the implant.

by John Timmer - May 13 2012, 4:02pm SAWST

    Life Sciences

Enlarge / Prototypes of goggle-implant systems are already being tested.

In some forms of blindness, including age-related macular degeneration, most of the eye is perfectly fine. The cells of the retina that convert light into electrical pulses may die off, but the cells that support them, including the nerves that process these signals and relay them to the brain, are still intact. This raises the prospect that the eye's infrastructure can be used to help restore vision. Stimulate the remaining neurons in response to light, and they'll happily take the signals and feed them into the visual centers of the brain.

There are a number of ways of going about this, but one of the more promising is some form of retinal implant. These devices can take incoming light, convert it into an electrical signal, and feed that directly into the neurons within the retina. The problem right now is that these things are bulky and complex, requiring wires, external power sources, and the like. In this week's Nature Photonics, researchers report on a novel method to get rid of some of the complexity: implant a photovoltaic device directly into the retina.

This doesn't entirely eliminate the complexity, but it makes the most important parts—the ones that reside inside the retina—significantly simpler. It also eliminates their need for an external power source. The idea is appealingly easy. Photovoltaic devices work by converting light energy into free electrons, producing a current. By injecting that current into the appropriate layer of the eye, it's possible to use it to stimulate the nerves that were normally receiving signals from the retina's light-receptive cells.

In practical terms, the authors' device involves an array of silicon photodiodes etched in a flexible silicon substrate. When struck by light, these will produce a small voltage difference. They're layered atop a set of iridium oxide electrodes that extend into the neural layers that relay signals to the brain. When the array is hit by light, the charge that's generated stimulates these neurons, and the brain receives a signal letting it know.

Because they're embedded into the retina itself, these sensors receive some of the benefits we normally associate with the eye, like our ability to turn the eye to focus on specific objects. Over time, the nerve cells also grow in around the electrodes, increasing the contact and lowering the amount of charge required to generate a signal.

But the biggest bonus is that there's no external power supply required. Once the implants are in place, they'll continue to produce charge using nothing more than the energy provided by the incoming light.

That's the good part. The downside is that ambient light isn't sufficient to generate much of a current. In fact, it's too dim "by a factor of at least 1,000," according to the authors. So, is this good for anything?

The authors suggest there is a way to get the system to work. The photodiodes can be stimulated by an infrared laser, and they were able to show that the laser could trigger nerve activity in rats fitted with one of the devices. The nerves didn't require that much energy before they fired, either: the authors estimate that the laser caused some small amount of local heating, but nowhere near to the levels that would be considered unsafe for either instantaneous or chronic exposure.

They envision that the laser would be embedded in a set of goggles that would register the outside world, and hand off the images to a portable computer. That would convert the image to an appropriate series of laser pulses, targeted at different areas of the photovoltaic array. They envision using a single laser and a series of mirrors, much like those used in Texas Instruments DLP display technology. Most other retinal implant systems require some form of external camera system, though, so this isn't a weakness compared to competing approaches.

(What I do suspect is that it undercuts the authors' argument that being able to turn the eye towards an object of interest is an advantage, as the direction of the goggles would seem to be the key.)

This also isn't going to restore high-resolution color vision any time soon. The best most current systems can achieve is somewhere around 20/1,200 vision.

Even with all the limits of the system, there are a couple of things to like about it. One is that the parts that actually go into the eye are simple and self-contained, and can just be left alone once they're implanted. The second is that the complicated stuff—the sensor, laser, and portable computer system—are all external, and can be swapped out at will. This means most conceivable upgrades to the system can be as simple as a hardware swap that may actually be easier than upgrading a typical hard drive.

Ole Talk / SOCA shuts down credit card trading web sites
« on: April 27, 2012, 10:00:42 AM »
And in related news machel has been arrested as the ring leader in this whole racket...

36 web sites busted
By Dave Neal
Thu Apr 26 2012, 12:41

THE UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has shut down 36 web sites that it said were trading in stolen credit card information.

SOCA said that the web sites were used to sell compromised bank card data and have been felled thanks to cooperation from its partners the FBI, the US Department of Justice and a range of law enforcement agencies from countries as far away as Australia and Romania.

These were apparently sophisticated operations, and SOCA said that online trading platforms were used to sell bulk details. Not anymore though, as following yesterday's crackdown visitors to the web pages will be presented with "this domain has been seized" notices, which are becoming increasingly common.

The recovered data has been passed to the financial organisations that deserve the grey hairs over this, and SOCA estimates that its actions have saved as much as half a billion quid in potential fraud.

"This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud," said Lee Miles, head of Cyber Operations for SOCA.

"Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime."

Computers and other equipment have been seized, and three men have been arrested in the global police swoop. µ


CASES / Maingear
« on: April 13, 2012, 02:46:59 PM »
Saw this article on my G+ and wondered to myself... how would I get my hands on one of these...

Though its based around an entirely custom built system, all i'm interested in is the case itself, and also, maybe it'll give someone else ideas for a custom case of their own

Software, Security, Programming and Internet / Real Gears of War?
« on: March 31, 2012, 12:32:06 PM »
.... Not sure what to make of this...

Epic licenses Unreal Engine 3 to the FBI
Not unreal anymore
By Lawrence Latif
Thu Mar 29 2012, 15:02

GAMES DEVELOPER Epic Games has announced that it is licensing Unreal Engine 3 to Virtual Heroes, which in turn will license the engine to US government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the military.

Epic Games licenses its Unreal Engine to other games developers, however the firm announced it had signed a long-term reseller and support agreement with Virtual Heroes, a division of defence firm Applied Research Associates. Under the agreement Unreal Engine 3 will be licensed out to US government agencies such as the FBI and will be used for research projects to help the US Army.

Virtual Heroes will handle the licensing activities and said it will support Unreal Engine 3 on IOS, Android, Adobe Flash, Windows, Mac OS, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita and the Wii U. Given the almost complete operating system coverage Unreal Engine 3 has, there is little surprise that games developers and in this case US law enforcement agencies and the military want to use the game engine.

Jerry Heneghan, founder of Virtual Heroes said, "Virtual Heroes is committed to providing world-class support to our licensees to ensure that all UE3 [Unreal Engine 3] solutions achieve the best possible results across multiple platforms. Our technical and creative staff is uniquely qualified to provide a new standard of responsive, personalized service to government customers worldwide."

The US military and law enforcement agencies have previously used game engines for training and even as a means of recruiting people. The popular Americas Army game was in essence just a dumbed down battle simulator that the US Army released as a promotion. However in this case it seems Unreal Engine 3 will be used primarily for training rather than as a recruiting attraction. µ

Source: The Inquirer (

Wacky World of Weird News! / FBI Stumped by pimp's Android pattern
« on: March 15, 2012, 12:09:25 AM »
This is... well weird

FBI, stumped by pimp's Android pattern lock, serves warrant on Google
By Nate Anderson | Published about 10 hours ago
FBI, stumped by pimp's Android pattern lock, serves warrant on Google

The FBI can't get into a pimp's Android phone—so it wants Google to hand over the keys.

In addition to accessing the phone, agents also want Google to turn over e-mail searches, Web searches, GPS tracking data, websites visited, and text messages. A federal judge has agreed. Hopefully, digital devices can make life hard out there for a pimp—but the case also reminds us just how much data smartphones generate on even innocuous users.
Pimpin' Hoes Daily

In 2005, San Diego's Dante Dears was sentenced to state prison for founding and running a group called "Pimpin' Hoes Daily" (PHD). The name wasn't braggadocio; it was mere description. Before Dears pled guilty in the middle of his 2005 trial, one minor female testified how Dears had recruited her out of a homeless shelter.

"He told me he was going to help take care of me and be there for me," she told the court. "He told me what to do and how to do it and said we would make money that way... I was tired of living on the streets."

Her $500 a night went straight to Dears, though, who "took care of her" in his own special way. As San Diego's Union Tribune reported, Dears found out the woman had spoken to a man who wanted to help her get off the streets. So Dears "beat her up in the back seat of his Cadillac and then forced her to get into the car's trunk, she testified. While in the trunk, she was driven from East Main Street in El Cajon to Hotel Circle in Mission Valley, she testified."

A local TV channel noted that the girl, only 15 at the time, was released in Hotel Circle, "bleeding and bruised." She left prostitution after the experience and went back to her mother.

Dears went to prison. When he got out in 2009, he quickly violated his parole on three separate occasions and went back to jail for a year and half. Upon his release in May 2011, an FBI informant says he saw Dears return to his old activities. Shackled with a GPS monitor, Dears had to stay off the streets, but he was allegedly able to continue his "telephone pimping" with the help of a Samsung Android phone.

On June 10, 2011, the FBI source met with Dears in his apartment in Chula Vista for nearly three hours. During that time, he watched Dears "taking several telephone calls where he discussed the night's prostitution activities. He also sent multiple text messages throughout the evening. Shortly after sending a message, a woman would arrive at the apartment and give Dears money.”

The FBI put the target under physical surveillance and observed him one night using the phone “frequently for a period of nearly 6 hours”—despite the fact that he had denied even owning a cell phone for months to his parole agent.

Confronted with the evidence, Dears said the phone belonged to his sister. He eventually turned it over to the state parole agent, but the FBI says Dears refused to unlock the device. (Dears had signed a waiver to his Fourth Amendment right search rights, so his home and property could be legally searched at any time without a court order. His parole conditions prevented him from doing anything to hide or lock digital files.)
The keys to the kingdom

The FBI, which didn't have the right to search the phone without a warrant, obtained one on February 13, 2012. They took the phone from the parole agent and sent it off to an FBI Regional Computer Forensics Lab in Southern California. There, technicians “attempted to gain access to the contents of the memory of the cellular telephone in question, but were unable to do so,” said the FBI. They were defeated by, of all things, Android's “pattern lock”—not always notable for its high security.

Technicians apparently mis-entered the pattern enough times to lock the phone, which could only be unlocked using the phone owner's Google account credentials. But Dears wasn't cooperating, and the FBI didn't have his credentials. So it was back to a judge with a new warrant application, filed on March 9, 2012. That application, which was apparently supposed to be sealed, was instead made public and was located today by security researcher Chris Soghoian.

In it, the FBI asks for a warrant to be served on Google. It wants to know:

    The subscriber's name, address, Social Security number, account login and password
    “All e-mail and personal contact list information on file for cellular telephone”
    The times and duration of every webpage visited
    All text messages sent and received from the phone, including photo and video messages
    Any e-mail addresses or instant messenger accounts used on the phone
    “Verbal and/or written instructions for overriding the ‘pattern lock’ installed on the” phone
    All search terms, Internet history, and GPS data that Google has stored for the phone

Soghoian wonders about the legality of accessing a still-operational cell phone. "Given that an unlocked smartphone will continue to receive text messages and new emails (transmitted after the device was first seized), one could reasonably argue that the government should have to obtain a wiretap order in order to unlock the phone," he argues.

But a US Magistrate Judge disagreed and granted the warrant the same day it was filed. Google has not yet responded to our questions about whether it routinely supplies law enforcement with the information necessary to unlock Android phones.

Update: Google has provided us a general statement: "Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal process. Whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it."

Man name his operation

News / Guinness World record for FPS
« on: January 31, 2012, 04:03:12 PM »
It's articles like this make me wonder if i'm living under a rock  :shakehead:

Man vs Machine Breaks Record: 999 Simultaneous Players
8:00 PM - January 30, 2012 by Kevin Parrish - source: MuchDifferent

MuchDifferent was just one player shy from its original 1000-player goal, but landed in the Guinness World Records Gamer Edition nonetheless.

MuchDifferent battles it out with developers, press, and gamers.MuchDifferent battles it out with developers, press, and gamers.A 10am EST on Sunday, MuchDifferent set a new world record for having 999 players battle simultaneously on a single multiplayer map, just one player shy of the company's 1000 goal. The previous record-holder was Sony's PlanetSide which saw 399 players participate in a battle within the same zone.

"The world record number has been confirmed by an independent expert who was observing the game as it was taking place," MuchDifferent announced at the conclusion of the Guinness event. "Confirmation from the Guinness World Records Gamer Edition will take a few more days, but we are supremely confident that our world record will be included in their next edition."

According to MuchDifferent, more than 1000 players were trying to sign into Man Vs. Machine simultaneously, but only 999 players were able to get in at any one moment. That said, for those who signed up and weren't able to attend -- it's not your fault the 1000-player goal wasn't reached.

"At 16.04.29 CET, Man was winning the battle against Machine as 999 people were part of a new world record," the company said. "About a second later, our server choked on the enormous number of people trying to get in to the game. We were receiving a far higher number of requests than we were expecting."

"But the server was restarted and during the next hour and a half we were averaging somewhere around 980 players at any given moment," the company added. "Proving that PikkoServer can take the strain and deliver an entirely new multiplayer experience never seen before."

This is certainly good news for developers seeking to create a FPS of large-scale multiplayer proportions. PikkoServer, the server and network technology behind Sunday's Man Vs. Machine demo, will be offered to studios at a later date. MuchDifferent will likely take the data it acquired from the recent FPS-based "test" and make the necessary tweaks to provide a more stable solution... and maybe even achieve the 1000-player goal after all.

Wouldn't have mind being in dat, just for the hell of it!

News / Ocean Acidification
« on: January 30, 2012, 12:59:59 PM »
I've heard about this before but this sort of hits home a bit more... consider that our reefs and beaches (in the caribbean) is one of the primary tourist attractions that contribute substantially to the economies of various other neighbouring isles... now consider in 20-40 years it may all but be gone leaving us with alot less... also consider Trinidad though industrialized now what do we have to turn to in decades to come... well have a ponder for yourselves...

Ocean acidification already well beyond natural variability
By Scott K. Johnson | Published about 2 hours ago

Trends can be difficult to detect in real-world data, and the noisier the data, the tougher the task becomes. A longer time series can help limit the impact of noise, but these can be difficult to come by. Verifying the human alteration of ocean chemistry requires tackling challenges like these.

Ocean acidification entails a decrease in the pH of ocean water as the carbonate that buffers it is consumed. That carbonate does more than just maintain pH, though. Lots of marine organisms, from plankton to mollusks to coral, use it to build shells and skeletons. As the buffer is depleted, the saturation state of carbonate minerals like calcite (and its polymorph aragonite) decreases, making it more difficult for organisms to incorporate them. In most areas of the surface ocean, calcite and aragonite are supersaturated, making it easy for organisms to build shells and skeletons. In undersaturated water, the equilibrium tilts the other way, and dissolution of these structures becomes possible.

Calcite and aragonite saturation states vary regionally and seasonally, so how can we make sure the acidification trend we’re measuring is real and human-caused? One way to look into this question is to take the measurements we have and model the whole ocean to see what natural variation would have looked like before humans started emitting CO2. A recent study in Nature Climate Change does just that.

The researchers ran a climate model from 800 A.D. to 2100 A.D. using the best data available for the various forcings: solar activity, volcanic activity, changes in land use, and anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and reflective aerosols. They project the rest of this century using the IPCC A1B emissions scenario, a "middle-of-the-road" emissions estimate. To track acidification, they use the saturation state of aragonite in surface waters.

The model shows large variability between regions. For example, fluctuations in upwelling that occur near the Galápagos Islands cause large swings in the aragonite saturation state. In the Caribbean, on the other hand, it holds quite steady.

In all areas where coral reefs are found (these are often described as the "rainforests of the sea" for their astonishing diversity and abundance of life), the researchers find that the current saturation state of aragonite is well below the pre-industrial average. To put it into concrete terms, they estimate that calcification rates of reef organisms have already dropped by about 15 percent. Under the A1B emissions scenario, calcification rates would decrease by a total of 40 percent (relative to pre-industrial) by 2100.

Comparing this to the magnitude of natural variability in preindustrial oceans, the model indicates that we are already considerably outside that envelope (as the authors describe it, there’s a high signal-to-noise ratio). On average, aragonite saturation states at reefs in the Caribbean and western Pacific have dropped by 5 times the range of natural variability. In areas where that range is small, such as Melanesia, the drop is as high as 30 times the natural envelope. With a few small exceptions, the signal-to-noise ratio is already at least 2:1 across all of Earth’s oceans, even near the Galápagos Islands where natural variability is high.

The model also indicates that the Southern Ocean will be undersaturated with aragonite by 2030. The nutrients that come up from the deep ocean make this region incredibly fertile, supporting massive fisheries and attendant populations of birds and marine mammals. The plankton at the base of that food web require calcium carbonate to build their shells. While the Southern Ocean is the most sensitive region, it's not the only one with problems. The authors estimate that 30-50 percent of ocean water above 40° latitude becomes undersaturated in the model by 2100.

For another comparison, the group simulated the end of the last glaciation, which was the last time Earth saw a sizeable increase in CO2. Over 6,000 years, atmospheric CO2 rose from about 190 ppm to around 280 ppm. The authors write that the model shows “[t]he observed present-day anthropogenic rate of change in [surface aragonite saturation state] is one or two orders of magnitude larger than estimated for the last glacial termination.”

The researchers emphasize that other factors—such as changes in light penetration, temperature, and nutrients—will be affecting marine ecosystems at the same time. (And acidification can affect more than just the calcareous critters.) The authors write, “These stress factors probably do not simply add up, but combine in a species-dependent manner. Tropical surface temperatures are projected to increase at a rate that would lead to massive coral bleaching and mortality in the next three to five decades. Combined with a detectable change due to reduced ocean aragonite saturation and the corresponding estimated drop in carbonate accretion of ~15 percent since the industrial revolution, severe reductions are likely to occur in coral reef diversity, structural complexity, and resilience by the middle of this century.”

Nature Climate Change, 2012. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1372  (About DOIs).

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