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Hackers build cheap system to eavesdrop on any cellphone

BBC News - Hackers crack open mobile network
Mobile calls and texts made on any GSM network can be eavesdropped upon using four cheap phones and open source software, say security researchers. Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut demonstrated their eavesdropping toolkit at the Chaos Computer Club Congress (CCC) in Berlin. The work builds on earlier research that has found holes in many parts of the most widely used mobile technology. The pair spent a year putting together the parts of the eavesdropping toolkit. "Now there's a path from your telephone number to me finding you and listening to your calls," Mr Nohl told BBC News. "The whole way." He said many of the pieces in the eavesdropping toolkit already existed thanks to work by other security researchers but there was one part the pair had to create themselves.

Obsolete and beloved: Kodachrome

For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas - NYTimes.com
An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved. Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kan., will be processing the final rolls of it Thursday. That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap. In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides. In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline. The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay for developing them. “That’s crazy to me,” Ms. Carter said. Then she snapped a picture of Mr. DeNike on one of her last rolls.

December 17, 2010

Someone's gonna watch this and say we don't need Spanish teachers anymore...

...and someone else is gonna point out that "BEACH CLOSED:...

December 15, 2010

Oh, wow: I've been *waaaay* out-geeked here

A Lego Antikythera mechanism: Lego machine predicts future eclipses -...

Enjoy another free sample from Dave-o's book: Project 18--Cardboard Boomerangs

The good folks at No Starch Press have released another...

December 13, 2010

Scientists want to trick video gamers into working on real problems

Does solving the deficit crisis drop fat loots? Is there a tabard I can wear to grind rep with the Fed? Video Game Designers Play to Solve Real-World Problems - NYTimes.com
Now some other experts — ones who have actually played these games — are asking more interesting questions. Why are these virtual worlds so much more absorbing than school and work? How could these gamers’ labors be used to solve real-world puzzles? Why can’t life be more like a video game? “Gamers are engaged, focused, and happy,” says Edward Castronova, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University who has studied and designed online games. “How many employers wish they could say that about even a tenth of their work force? “Many activities in games are not very different from work activities. Look at information on a screen, discern immediate objectives, choose what to click and drag.” . . . Some schools are starting to borrow gamers’ system of quests and rewards, and the principles could be applied to lots of enterprises, especially colossal collaborations online. By one estimate, Dr. McGonigal notes, creating Wikipedia took eight years and 100 million hours of work, but that’s only half the number of hours spent in a single week by people playing World of Warcraft. “Whoever figures out how to effectively engage them first for real work is going to reap enormous benefits,” Dr. McGonigal predicts.