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Archive for June, 2012


zacharye writes “Friday marks five years since the world first got its hands on a smartphone that would turn the industry on its head. In five short years, Apple went from the ground floor to being the most profitable company in the smartphone business by a staggering margin. Apple and Samsung — two companies that weren’t even on the smartphone industry’s map a few years ago — are now the only two major global vendors making money, and the split was estimated at 80/20 in Apple’s favor last quarter. That’s 80% of smartphone industry profits in less than five years with just five different smartphone models under its belt during that span.”

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MojoKid writes “That didn’t take long. HP has publicly confirmed that it has cancelled plans to bring a Windows RT (aka Windows on ARM) tablet to market in time for the Windows 8 debut. The company has decided to focus on its x86 customer base instead. HP spokesperson Marlene Somsak has said, ‘The decision was influenced by input from our customers. The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.’ Sources at HP have confirmed that Microsoft’s Surface unveil last week was a huge factor in this decision. HP isn’t willing to go head to head with Microsoft when it comes to launching new, unproven products. Abandoning x86 is impossible, but dropping Windows ARM is a way for the computer manufacturer to signal its supreme displeasure without unduly risking market share. It also increases the burden on Surface itself. If other OEMs follow suit, MS could find itself as the only vendor selling ARM-based W8 tablets.”

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Stirling Newberry writes “Luciano Iess and team have hypothesized that Titan joins Earth, Europa, and Ganymede as ocean worlds. They measured the size of the tidal bulges and found that the moon is likely not solid (abstract). Team member Jonathan Lunine points out that Titan’s methane atmosphere is not stable, so it needs some source, perhaps from outgassing. On Earth, water means life, and in the future, ice covered ocean worlds are targets for human colonization. As the late Arthur C. Clarke observed, water is the most precious substance in the universe to humans.”

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darthcamaro writes “You don’t really buy an open source company — since the tech is all open. But then again, Red Hat ‘buys’ open source companies all the time, they just bought one this week. So when does it makes sense for Red Hat to buy a company versus just building it on their own? Apparently, it all comes down to community. ‘When you buy an open source company, if the people aren’t coming and passionate about staying then you spend a lot of money for what? Because you don’t get a lot of intellectual property,’ Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said.”

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thomst writes “Rob Coppinger of Space.com reports that UK-based private company Excalibur Almaz plans to offer commercial lunar-orbital tourist missions based on recycled Soviet-era Soyuz vehicle and Salyut space stations, using Hall Effect thrusters to power the ensemble from Earth orbit to the Moon and back. The company estimates ticket prices at $150 million per seat (with a 50% profit margin), and expects to sell about 30 of them. Excalibur Almaz has other big plans, too, including ISS crew transport, Lagrange Point scientific missions, and Lunar surface payload deliveries. It expects to launch its first tourist trip to the Moon in 2014.”

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sl4shd0rk writes “A new Mac OS X exploit was discovered Friday morning by Kaspersky Labs which propogates through a zipfile attachment. The attachment tricks the Mac user into installing a variant of the MaControl backdoor via point-and-grunt. Embedded in the virus is an encrypted IP address belonging to a server in China which is believed to be a C+C server. Once installed, the virus opens a backdoor allowing the attacker on the C+C server to run commands on the compromised machine. Shortly after Kaspersky’s announcement, AlienVault Labs claims to have found a similar version of the Mac malware which infects Windows machines. The Windows version appears to be a variant of the Gh0st RAT malware used last month in targeted attacks against Central Tibetan Administration. Both viruses are suspected of being tools in a campaign to attack Uyghur Activists.”

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Lasrick writes “Yun Zhou writes about the end result of China’s long reconsideration of nuclear power safety in the wake of Fukushima. Important details about the decision to adopt designs created in China, and incorporate Gen III in those designs.”

The short version is that they won’t be building more Generation II reactors, opting instead to only build Generation III reactors (which have passive safety systems). Instead of relying entirely on the AP1000, China is speeding up the design of their own Generation III reactors. Plans are still in place for 70GW by 2020, but that date will likely slip due to regulatory delays and the temporary construction moratorium.

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