Madwand writes "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 6.1, the first feature update of the NetBSD 6 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. NetBSD is a free, fast, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system. It is available for a wide range of platforms, from large-scale servers and powerful desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent for use in both production and research environments, and the source code is freely available under a business-friendly license. NetBSD is developed and supported by a large and vibrant international community. Many applications are readily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection."
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First time accepted submitter iinventstuff writes "The Idaho National Laboratory has built a dirty bomb detection network out of cell phones. Camera phones operate by detecting photons and storing them as a picture. The INL discovered that high energy photons from radiological sources distort the image in ways detectable through image processing. KSL TV reports that the INL's mobile app detects radiation sources and then reports positive 'hits' to a central server. Terrorists deploying a dirty bomb will inevitably pass by people carrying cell phones. By crowdsourcing cell phones, the INL has created a potentially very large, inexpensive, and randomly mobile radiation detection grid."
grub writes writes with news that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has announced that BBM (BlackBerry Messenger, one of the favorite features of BlackBerry device-owners) will soon be coming to rival mobile operating systems. Devices running iOS 6 and Android ICS or later will be supported, pending approval with the App Store and Google Play. "BBM uses carrier data networks to pass secure messages back and forth through its servers to other BlackBerry users. The service recently gained the ability to make phone calls, conduct video chats and even share screen tops with other BBM users (requires BlackBerry 10). Normal chat and group chats will be the first features to hit the Android and iOS BBM apps, followed by the others (including voice and video) during the course of the year. BBM for Android and iOS will be free." The company also unveiled a new smartphone today: the Q5. It's a budget device intended for emerging markets.
First time accepted submitter llebeel writes "Kaspersky Lab has signed an agreement with chip designer Qualcomm to improve security at 'the lower level' of a smartphone's mobile operating system. The Russian security firm told The Inquirer that it has agreed to offer 'special terms' for preloading Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security products on Android devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors."
An anonymous reader writes "Ars takes a look at what Ubuntu Touch has to offer so far. From the article: 'It can't be stressed enough that even in this updated form, Ubuntu Touch is nowhere near usable as a mainstream mobile operating system. Canonical makes no claim that it is. For now, the software is about half development environment and half proof-of-concept tech demo. As such, we aren't going to be evaluating Ubuntu Touch using quite the same criteria we'd use for a shipping product—we're going to be focusing more on how the OS looks and works and less on how it performs. As we get closer to Ubuntu 14.04 and presumably Ubuntu Touch's retail availability, we'll certainly be revisiting it with a more critical eye.'"
MojoKid writes "Is the world really ready to shift from native apps to HTML5 Web apps? Probably not, at least not in North America yet, but developing nations may see it differently. That's the hope with Firefox OS, a web-based operating system that's (in theory) a lot more open. Of course, one needs only look at Microsoft's battle to get Windows Phone into a place of competition to realize that gaining market share is no easy task, which is why Mozilla will soon be handing out Firefox OS developer phones in order to bolster that. The company's goal is to get app builders to build for Firefox OS, so Mozilla is sending out free Preview handsets for folks to tinker with."
alphadogg writes "Incidents of cellphone theft have been rising for several years and are fast becoming an epidemic. IDG News Service collected data on serious crimes in San Francisco from November to April and recorded 579 thefts of cellphones or tablets, accounting for 41 percent of all serious crime. In just over half the incidents, victims were punched, kicked or otherwise physically intimidated for their phones, and in a quarter of robberies, users were threatened with guns or knives. This isn't just happening in tech-loving San Francisco, either. The picture is similar across the United States. A big reason for such thefts, until recently, is that there had been little to stop someone using a stolen cellphone. Reacting to pressure from law enforcement and regulators, the U.S.'s largest cellphone carriers agreed early last year to establish a database of stolen cellphones."
In the U.S., subsidized phones are the norm: for post-paid, long-term contract use, getting a low up-front price on a phone is one of the few upsides. New submitter Apptopia writes "After T Mobile mostly did away with subsidized phone plans, the other major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) are paying attention. Carriers lose money with phone subsidies for high-end smartphones (particularly Apple's iPhone). If they do away with the subsidy, you will have to pay full retail price for phones, but your monthly bill will be lower." If people had a better idea what they were paying for, though, manufacturers might fight harder on price. There are lots of well-reviewed, multi-band, unlocked phones on Amazon and DealExtreme from lesser-known companies, and Nokia's new Asha 501 (though limited in many ways, including availability, having just launched in India) shows that the "smartphone" label can apply even to a sub- $100 phone.
New submitter Noitatsidem writes "Good news for Cyanogenmod users, according to their blog it looks like 10.1 is nearing its stable release. 'We haven't used the "Release Candidate" nomenclature since the ICS days, but we feel the 10.1 branch is quickly approaching the point where a "final" build is due. To prepare for that eventuality, RC1 builds for CyanogenMod 10.1.0 are now landing on our servers! This will be one of (if not the last) milestone releases before a 10.1.0 is pushed out. These builds will appear as they complete the build process and, as always, you can download the builds via get.cm!' Android Police speculates that this is due in part to the rumored release announcement of Android 4.3 given at Google I/O 2013 which is taking place in (now) less than one week. Looks like the Android community will have a lot to talk about in coming days!"
puddingebola writes "Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a piece of commentary discussing Microsoft's profit from their patent claims on Android. From the article, 'To some, Windows 8 is a marketplace failure. But its flop has been nothing compared to Microsoft's problems in getting anyone to use its Windows Phone operating systems. You don't need to worry about Microsoft's bottom line though. Thanks to its Android patent agreements, Microsoft may be making as much as $8 per Android device. This could give Microsoft as much as $3.4 billion in 2013 from Android sales.'"
judgecorp writes "The city of San Francisco has abandoned a law proposed in 2010 which would have required mobile phones to be labelled with their radiation level. Mobile phone industry body the CTIA fought the bill in court, arguing that there is not enough evidence of harm. The city is not convinced phones are safe — it says its decision to abandon the law is simply based on the legal costs."
An anonymous reader writes "ARM licensee Allwinner sold more application processors for tablet computers in 2012 than Intel and Qualcomm put together, according to this EE Times article that references market researcher Strategy Analytics. Overall one in five tablet processors was provided by a Chinese vendor in 2012, according to the article, partly because they sell chips at half the price of similarly specified chips from better known vendors."
Eloquence writes "Remember the WikiReader? It was pitched as a device that would contain the text of the entire English Wikipedia, and run on two AAA batteries for months. Unfortunately it was sold to the wrong audience: people who already have smartphones, tablets and laptops. At a cost of $20 per device, Aislinn Dewey and Victor Grigas (who works for Wikimedia) are trying to raise funds to buy up the company's inventory and ship WikiReaders to kids in places without Internet connectivity."
symbolset writes "Though there were some troubles and worries along the way, Datawind has delivered to India's government the full allocation of 100,000 (1 lakh) 'Aakash 2' Android tablets from their first order. Priced at about $40, these tablets aren't the sort Americans would rave about: 330 MHz, 256MB RAM and so on. But for the last 2,000 units for the same price Datawind supplied Aakash 3 1GHz, 1GB RAM, 4GB Android tablets with SDHC and 3G mobile — for the same price. Such is the progress in mobile today. There was some doubt whether Datawind could deliver, so kudos to them."
Jakob Perry organized the first LinuxFest Northwest when he was still a student. He got off to a good start: now LFNW has been running for 14 years, and has retained its flavor as a low-key, friendly conference. Exhibitors from Linux distributions from tiny (CrunchBang) to huge (Red Hat) were on hand for 2013, and enough speakers and topics to fill about 80 different sessions over the two days of the conference. Not all of it's about Linux per se, either: the EFF and FSF were represented, along with a BSD table, and a local astronomy group with a great name. At this year's event I ran into the first Firefox OS phone that I've had a chance to play with in person. Firefox OS integrates Linux by way of the Android kernel, but is otherwise its own beast. Ubuntu and Mozilla contributor Benjamin Kerensa was on hand to talk about what makes it tick, and to give a demo of the all-HTML5 interface.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about shape-shifting mobile devices unveiled by researchers from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science. "Prototype mobile devices that can change shape on-demand will be unveiled today and could lay down the foundation for creating high shape resolution devices of the future. The research paper (Pdf), to be presented at one of the world's most important conferences on human-computer interfaces, will introduce the term 'shape resolution' and its ten features, to describe the resolution of an interactive device: in addition to display and touch resolution. The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science, have used 'shape resolution' to compare the resolution of six prototypes the team have built using the latest technologies in shape changing material, such as shape memory alloy and electro active polymer."
DavidGilbert99 writes "BlackBerry is on something of a roll. It finally delivered its BlackBerry 10 platform along with the first smartphone to run the OS, the Z10 in January. This weekend saw the launch of the Q10 and there is an 'insatiable demand' for this smartphone with its physical keyboard, says BlackBerry's UK head Rob Orr."
Meshach writes "A recent study (PDF) detailed in the Washington Post verifies that using hands-free or voice-activated texting is no safer than texting with your hands while you are driving a car. Using a handheld device to tap out a text message while driving has been banned in many states and provinces. From the article: '"One of the common comments was that they felt an inclination to look down at the screen to see if it heard them correctly, so that could be one possible explanation of why they were not looking at the roadway more frequently," Yager said. She said drivers said they felt safer when using voice-activated texting than when entering messages on a keyboard. "Perhaps it is because they view it as safer and therefore it must be, but still they have this inclination to look down at the screen," she said. "We found that their driving performance suffered equally with both methods." As has been proven in studies of cellphone conversations, Yager said drivers engaged in any form of texting were distracted by the communication effort.'"
Nate the greatest writes "Rumor has it that the new high resolution E-ink screen on the Kobo Aura HD was originally intended for another ereader maker. Inside sources have told me that B&N had first claim on the initial production run of 300,000 6.8' screens, only B&N decided to pass. If this rumor is true then this was the screen that B&N would have used on their new ereader this year. Can you imagine what a Nook Glow HD would have been like? I think it would be the next best thing to a 7" Android tablet with an E-ink screen. It's a shame we might never see it." While flying cars are still on my wishlist, daylight readable screens for more portable devices are even higher up the list.
An anonymous reader writes "A new malware scheme has been discovered that pushes fake antivirus software to Android users via in-app advertising. Once installed, the trojan informs the victims they need to pay up to remove threats on their device. The malware in question, detected as "Android.Fakealert.4.origin" by Russian security firm Doctor Web, has been around since at least October 2012 according to the company. While Android malware that masks itself as an antivirus for Google's platform is nothing new, and neither are ads in Android apps pushing malware, but putting the two together can certainly be effective. This is naturally a practice that Windows users are all too familiar with."