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Hackers target toy maker VTech, make off with customer data

PC News - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 15:21

VTech, a company perhaps best known for its educational toys, was the target of a successful data breach, the company confirmed on Saturday

According to a statement published on VTech’s site, hackers made their way into the user database for the company’s Learning Lodge—an app store of sorts specifically for VTech’s educational toys—and made off with names, email addresses, mailing addresses, encrypted passwords, and responses to those “secret” questions you have to answer in case you forget your password. Hackers also absconded with users' IP addresses and download histories, according to the company.

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Watch cars levitate -- there's a down-to-earth explanation - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 15:00
Technically Incorrect: In China, cars roll up to a junction, lift off the ground and spin bizarrely. A weird magnetic field? Or something more prosaic?

Amazon and Jeremy Clarkson hint at the future of delivery drones

EnGadget - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 14:55
Former Top Gear co-host Jeremy Clarkson isn't just working on a new motoring show for Amazon... he's helping the internet giant pitch its vision for delivery drones, too. Amazon has unveiled a splashy new Prime Air ad where Clarkson shows off a new,...

Purdue Experiments With Income-Contingent Student Loans

SlashDot - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 14:42
HughPickens.com writes: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel writes in the Washington Post that Purdue University is partnering with Vemo Education, a Reston-based financial services firm, to create income-share agreements, or ISAs, that its students can tap to pay for tuition, room and board. In return, students would pay a percentage of their earnings after graduation for a set number of years, replenishing the fund for future investments. Purdue president Mitch Daniels calls the contracts a constructive addition to today's government loan programs and perhaps the only option for students and families who have low credit ratings and extra financial need. "From the student's standpoint, ISAs assure a manageable payback amount, never more than the agreed portion of their incomes. Best of all, they shift the risk of career shortcomings from student to investor: If the graduate earns less than expected, it is the investors who are disappointed; if the student decides to go off to find himself in Nepal instead of working, the loss is entirely on the funding providers, who will presumably price that risk accordingly when offering their terms. This is true "debt-free" college." However some observers worry that students pursuing profitable degrees in engineering or business would get better repayment terms than those studying to become nurses or teachers. "Income share agreements have the potential to create another option for students looking to pay for college while seeking assurances they will not be overwhelmed by future payments," says Robert Kelchen. "However, given the current generosity of federal income-based repayment programs and the likely hesitation of those who expect six-figure salaries to sign away a percentage of their income for years to come, the market for these programs may be somewhat limited."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

This Year's Holiday Cookie Recipe: Smiling Poop Emojis

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 14:30

For better or worse, the poop emoji is sure to go down as a symbol of 2015, nay, of this entire decade. The happy swirl-o-shit has already inspired fashion designers and artists , so it was only a matter of time before somebody figured out how to make it into a delectable confectionary treat, too.


Grow Herbs and Vegetables in Any Apartment With Miracle Gro's Aerogarden

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 14:26

Just because you don’t have a yard doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own food. Miracle-Gro’s Aerogarden 6 is a fully-integrated soil-free indoor garden that can grow herbs, vegetables, and salad greens up to five times faster than regular soil. Nothing beats cooking with food you grew yourself, and it never hurts to add a splash of green into a confined apartment, especially during the winter doldrums.


Students Have Brought An Extinct Vegetable Back To The Kitchen Table

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 13:30

In 2008, an archaeological team uncovered a clay jar buried on a Menominee reservation near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Inside, they found that it contained seeds. Now, a group of students have brought the plants back to life.


Facebook Expands Parental Leave Policy For All Employees Globally

SlashDot - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 13:18
Reuters reports that Mark Zuckerberg's not the only Facebook employee who will enjoy a nice chunk of time off to spend with a new baby; the company is expanding its parental leave policy (and posting on Facebook about it). The benefit includes up to four months of paid leave, to all full-time employees, including those outside the U.S., regardless of sex, within a new child's first year. That means that new parents of either sex will be allowed to take a longer absence; previously, non-U.S. employees who were not primary caregivers were granted four weeks of leave. From the Reuters story: [Facebook HR head Lori Matloff] Goler said the new policy will primarily help new fathers and employees in same-sex relationships outside the United States, noting that it will not change maternity leave already available to employees worldwide. ... Technology companies in Silicon Valley have been rushing to extend parental leave allowances and other benefits to help recruit and retain employees. Many high-tech workers, however, do not take advantage of such benefits for fear of falling behind at work or missing out on promotions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cyber Monday's the Only Excuse You Need to Buy a Hoverboard

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 13:02

Alright, it’s time. Go buy yourself a hoverboard (or swagway, skywalker, nerd mover, or whichever clever term you prefer) for $280, and make walking a thing of the past.


Galactic Warfighters Bridges The Gap Between Science Fictional War And Reality

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 13:00

Matthew Callahan joined the US Marine Corps six years ago, where he now serves as a combat correspondent. Recently, he’s been working on a photography project called Galactic Warfighters, showing off the wars in Star Wars.


Here's How To Make A Vaccuforming Machine

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 13:00

Over on io9, I’ve been charting my progress on how to make a set of Stormtrooper armor, working off of a kit. But, how do you make the kit in the first place? You need a vaccuforming machine.


VW reportedly knew its fuel economy figures were wrong a year ago

EnGadget - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 12:57
If one report is accurate, Volkswagen execs didn't just know that their cars' emission estimates were fishy -- they knew the fuel efficiency figures were off, too. German newspaper Bild claims that top brass was aware of misleading fuel economy estim...

Why Are SWAT Teams Being Called On Gamers? 

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 12:30

Welcome to this week’s Reading List, your Sunday guide to some of the most interesting science and technology stories on the internet this week. This week, we’ll examine a wartime deception, cyberattacks, swatting, and changes in the world around us.


Ethics: A Good Reason To Sit Further Away From Your Boss

SlashDot - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 12:21
schwit1 writes to point out an interesting finding about ethics in the workplace, but one that might not surprise anyone in the vast majority of workplaces: namely, that sitting far from your boss has some important advantages when it comes to stopping the spread of unethical behavior; ethics are a chief focus of researcher Gijs van Houwelingen . The research, published in the Journal of Management, sought to find out "how spatial distance between higher and lower management" affects the spread of behaviour and fair procedures in the work place. "Distance is a very useful tool that can be used to stop negative behaviours from spreading through an organization,... It creates the freedom to make up your own mind."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

When The Earth Is Attacked, Commando Cody Springs Into Action With Radar Men From The Moon

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 12:00

For this week’s installment of Sunday Matinee, let’s take a trip back to 1952 with Radar Men From The Moon, a twelve part serial movie starring George Wallace.


After 300 Years Of Evolution, Has The Piano Reached Acoustic Perfection?

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 11:30

The modern piano evolved rapidly in the first 150 years after its invention, but it is now so good, acoustically, that it probably won’t change much more in the future.


The New Roku 3 is Down to $75, Plus a Free HDMI Cable

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 11:24

While I personally think the 4K Amazon Fire TV is a better deal at the same price, if you prefer a Roku, the voice-controlled Roku 3 is down to $75 on Amazon, with a free HDMI cable tossed in. [Roku 3 With Voice Search and HDMI Cable, $75]


Cortana Coming To iOS, For 2000 Beta Testers

SlashDot - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 11:24
TechCrunch, InformationWeek, PC World, and other sources report that Microsoft's voice-recognition based personal assistant app Cortana is coming to iOS for a small group of beta testers. From TechCrunch: According to the description that accompanies the test build of Cortana for iOS, Microsoft explains how the assistant can help Windows users with iPhones connect the two platforms. For example, Microsoft suggests how you can set reminders on your PC – like a reminder to pick up milk on the way home – then be notified via your iPhone when you’re on the road. ... Testers report that the beta build is being distributed by Apple’s TestFlight. As one blogger and earlier tester points out that could mean only a small number of testers will be brought on initially, given TestFlight’s limitation of 2,000 testers per application. That may also explain why a good many who signed up for Cortana’s beta are saying that have still yet to receive their invite at this time. (A staged rollout is another possibility.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

So You Want To Join The Empire: Finishing Touches

Gizmodo - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 11:00

We’ve just about reached the end of this build: the end is in sight! This week, we’re finishing up the body work, and will finally get it all ready for a proper test fit.


The AfterMath: A week of excesses

EnGadget - Sun, 11/29/2015 - 11:00
Too much food? Too many bargains? With a handful of antacids nearby, we hope you've enjoyed this Thanksgiving week. Following in tradition of all that indulgence, we're all about size and excess here at TAM. Nuclear-powered data centers, puffy nugget...
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